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F7 jet squadron celebrates 30-year service to nation



…Over 600 strikes during 2006-2009 war

The No 5 Jet Squadron that carried over 600 air sorties celebrates its 30th anniversary today (Feb 1). The SLAF acquired Chinese jets in the wake of Eelam War II. SLAF headquarters yesterday (31) issued the following statement on the No 5 squadron: The No 5 was formed with the induction of two new FT-7 jet trainers based at Katunayake under the command of Sqn Ldr H.D. Abeywickrema. At the same year the fleet was enhanced by further acquisition a FT-7 trainer and four F-7 “Airguard” day fighters. These were the first jet aircraft added to the SLAF’s inventory since the retirement of Mig-17s and Jet provost T-Mk-51s which were used from 1970s. F-7BS was mainly designated for Battlefield Air Support for ground operations, Air Interception, Air Interdiction and Armed Reconnaissance roles.

“Sqn Ldr P Gunasinghe, Flt Lt SK Pathirana, Flt Lt IJI Wijetilleke and Flt Lt S Hendawitharane were first pilots in SLAF history to break the speed of sound and consider as the pioneers in the supersonic fighter age. The squadron’s initial operations commenced from SLAF Base Katunayake but was soon moved to SLAF China Bay in 1994 as measure of reducing the response time to act promptly for operational requirements. However, due to security concerns it was later resifted to its home Base Katunayake in 1996.

“As an extent of enhancing the No 5 Fighter Squadron’s Air Interdiction and specialized low level strike capability, six Russian MiG-27 and one MiG 23UB trainer were inducted to the squadron in 2000.

“2007 was a remarkable year to SLAF and to No 5 Fighter Squadron in terms of fleet enhancement. Modern F-7 GS which is the advanced version of F-7 BS in relation to avionics including an AI Radar, sophisticated weapons delivery system with Air to Air missile strike capability and user-friendly glass cockpit was inducted. 

“Much needed and well maintained SLAF air superiority over the nation was threatened with the emergence of LTTE air wing followed by the first air space intrusion in 26 March 2007. Newly introduced F-7 ‘Air guard’ fighter was called upon with expectations to live up to its literal reputation, being the first supersonic interceptor with air to air strike capability with PL-5E passive IR guided air to air missiles and 30mm cannon guns in its arsenal.

” In the course of the squadrons remarkable trail it has been commanded by ten Commanding Officers. Shouldering its responsibility as the cradle of fighter pilots the squadron has produced more than 25 pilots who were the front-line fighters to face the brutal enemy counter attacks, delivering tons of explosives to weaken the enemies’ moral to fight back in the prolonged Eelam war.

“No 5 Squadron has contributed its effort promptly and effectively whenever it was called upon with distinction and honour performing multitude Counter Air and Counter Surface Force Operations conducting an excess of 600 flying sorties during the humanitarian operation. The results of these efforts were clearly manifested in the nation’s ultimate victory over terrorism.

No 5 fighter Squadron continue to render its service to the nation as the leading air defence platform guarding the skies of our mother land and will continue to prosper in future with the newest updates and highly trained crew.”


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Lanka to lend US$2.5bn to US and top-rated borrowers in 2023 under IMF deal: analysis



ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is projected to lend 2,533 million US dollars mainly to the US and Euro areas during an International Monetary Fund deal in 2023 including a mandatory 1.4 billion US dollars collected from exports and remittances, according to official documents.

Sri Lanka is expected to get two tranches of 331.2 million dollar (254 million special drawing rights each) in March and September 2023 from the IMF.In 2023 Sri Lanka has to repay 256.4 million dollars from an earlier IMF loan taken during an earlier currency crisis.

Net inflows from the IMF would be 406.12 million US dollars in 2023 if the first review is completed in September 2023.Sri Lanka has committed to collect at least 1.4 billion US dollars from remittances and exports and lend to the US and other developed nations during 2023 under the IMF deal.

A large volume has already been collected. An ad hoc peg is now operated under the IMF deal to buy dollars and export to the West, as ‘below-the-line outflows. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are usually loaned to highly rated sovereign or sovereign linked borrowers, mainly in the US.

But there have been amounts of Euro assets in Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves at times, triggering forex losses when the dollar to Euro parity changed.Under the IMF program there is a performance criterion to increase net international reserves by 1,948 million dollars during 2023.

Sri Lanka is also expected to repay a 200 million US dollar swap to Bangladesh during 2023, which will also raise the NIR.At the moment Sri Lanka’s central bank is in debt after borrowing from India, Bangladesh, India including on Asian Clearing Union dues as well as the IMF. Year end net international reserves would still be negative.

Sri Lanka’s gross reserves are expected to rise by 2.5 billion US dollars to 4.4 billion US dollars in 2023 indicating that the country will lend 2.5 billion US dollars to the US and other highly rated borrowers. It may include re-invested interest coupons.

Sri Lanka is also expected to get 650 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank and 250 million dollars from the World Bank as part of partner support for the IMF deal. Outside of core monetary reserves linked to reserve money, balances in Treasury accounts are also counted as forex reserves.

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BASL writes to IGP over protest against Saliya Peiris



The BAR Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has condemned a protest staged outside the Law of Chamber of BASL President Saliya Pieris, PC on Friday.The protest was staged against the representation of Saliya Pieris, PC for notorious Sri Lankan drug kingpin Nadun Chinthaka alias “Harak Kata”.

Condemning the protest, BASL said in a statement that Saliya Pieris, PC was only conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client.

“We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law,” it pointed out.

The BASL called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take action to ensure that Saliya Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.

Full text of the letter: ” We write with reference to an organized protest outside the chamber of Mr Saliya Pieris, President of the \Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

We have been made aware the said protest relates to Mr. Pieris conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client. We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law.In the case of Wijesundara Mudiyanselage Naveen Nayantha Bandara Wijesundara v Sirwardena and Others (SCFR 13/2019), the Supreme Court observed that:

“The first piece of legislation passed by the Parliament soon after the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution was the Judicature Act No. 02 of 1978. As the administration of justice in any civilized society cannot be effectively implemented without lawyers, the legislature in its wisdom, through the Judicature Act, established the legal profession.

Thus, there is no dispute that the legal profession is a sine qua non for the due administration of justice in this country and for that matter in any civilized society. The said profession is essential for the maintenance of the Rule of Law and maintenance of law and order and its due existence is of paramount importance to the organized functioning of the society which is primarily the basis for the smooth functioning of the country as a whole.”

Further, Section 41 of the Judicature Act which has clearly set out the right of representation, and, has further shed light on the above mechanism established for implementing the administration of justice in the country.

It is as follows; Section 41 of the Judicature Act (Right of Representation)

(1) Every attorney-at-law shall be entitled to assist and advise clients and to appear, plead or act in every court or other institution established by law for the administration of justice and every person who is a party to or has or claims to have the right to be heard in any proceeding in any such court or other such institution shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney-at-law.

(2) Every person who is a party to any proceeding before any person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial powers and every person who has or claims to have the right to be heard before any such person or tribunal shall unless otherwise”

Therefore, we strongly demand that you take action to ensure that Mr. Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.”

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State need not do business, says Ranil, seven SOEs to be divested



ECONOMYNEXT – The State need not engage in business as its mandate is to provide services such as education and maintain law and order, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Thursday defending plans to divest government-held shares of seven state owned enterprises (SOEs).

At a discussion at the presidential secretariat on Thursday morning, Wickremesinghe responding to a question about the decision said that Sri Lanka must no longer hold on to corporations and enterprises owned by the government.

Sri Lanka has been spending more on the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) than it has on education, he said.The following seven SOEs will undergo the divestment of state-held shares: Sri Lankan Airlines Ltd including Sri Lankan Catering Ltd, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd,

Canwill Holdings Pvt. Ltd., (Grand Hyatt Hotel), Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd., (Hilton Hotel Colombo), Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., including Litro Gas Terminals (Pvt) Ltd., (LPG retailing), and Lanka Hospital Corporation PLC

The State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies will oversee the process, a statement said.

“Not all of them are loss making. But we do have to repay debt. You can’t keep these and pay back loans.

“If we can’t pay off our loans, we might have to sell something in the house and pay it,” said Wickremesnghe.

Asked why Sri Lanka should sell SOEs that aren’t making losses, he responded: “Why is the state engaged in business? That’s not our mandate. The state has no business engaging in business.”

“In what country is there a law that these (businesses) should be (held by the state)?” he added.

Noting that the crisis-hit nation is trying to embark on a path of recovery and rapid development, the president said Sri Lanka must follow India’s example.

“India is selling their airports, profit making ones. India has come to that stage. We have to go there too.”

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