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Australia continues to support Sri Lanka’s National Defence College

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Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka David Holly and Australian Defence Adviser Group Captain Sean Unwin presented 600 books to the Commandant of the Sri Lankan National Defence College, Major General (Retd) Amal Karunasekara last week.

At the handover ceremony, High Commissioner Holly said: “The Australian Department of Defence is pleased to continue its support to Sri Lanka’s establishment of a National Defence College, which will provide professional military education to senior officers from all three services.

“Australia has been involved with the National Defence College since its inception when then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Sri Lanka in 2017 and pledged Australia’s support for this important institution”.

The 600 books consist of 173 different titles covering subjects relating to international relations, strategy, economics, politics and history, and will assist in establishing the college’s library prior to the start of academic courses in 2021.

In the early stages of the college’s establishment, Australia seconded a Royal Australian Navy Captain to support curriculum development staff to design the strategic studies courses offered by the college.

Currently, as a part of ongoing support to the college, the Australian Department of Defence is sponsoring a Sri Lankan Navy officer to study a Masters of National Security Policy at the Australian National University’s National Security College for 18 months.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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