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G20 considers quick relief to Lanka debt crisis

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The G20 group, under India’s Presidency, has decided to provide relief to countries burdened with debt crisis, including Sri Lanka, said a report published by the Indian Express yesterday.The decision has been taken at the First G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) Meeting held in Bengaluru, February 24-25, 2023, and it is reported that the group has decided to focus on the areas where relief can be given to the respective countries.

The FMCBG meeting, concluded on Sunday, has focused on subjects ranging from global debt crisis, MDB reforms, climate finance, global approach on cryptos, digital public infrastructure, financial inclusion, financing cities of tomorrow, and taxation.

The Chair in a Summary and Outcome Document, following the conclusion of the meeting, recognizing the urgency to address debt vulnerabilities in low and middle-income countries, including Sri Lanka, said the group looks forward to a quick resolution for Sri Lanka’s situation.

“Further, we look forward to a swift resolution to Sri Lanka’s debt situation,” the G20 FMCBG said.

The group added that strengthening multilateral coordination by official bilateral and private creditors is needed to address the deteriorating debt situation and facilitate coordinated debt treatment for debt-distressed countries.

IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, making a statement yesteray at the first meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors urged the G20 Leadership to strengthen the debt architecture and improve the speed and effectiveness of debt resolution in light of rising debt vulnerabilities in many countries.

She said more predictable, timely, and orderly processes are needed both for countries under the Common Framework (CF) for debt resolution and for those not covered by it, including Sri Lanka and Suriname.

On the sidelines, the International Monetary Fund held a meeting on Saturday with the World Bank, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the G7 on restructuring debt for distressed economies.

However, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has noted that there were disagreements among members, according to a Reuters report.

While pressure has been building on China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, and other nations to take a large haircut in loans given to struggling developing nations, China has reiterated that the World Bank and other multilateral development banks participate in debt relief by taking haircuts alongside bilateral creditors.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has also said before the debt meeting that she would press all bilateral creditors, including China, to participate in meaningful discussions, adding that debt treatment for Zambia and financing assurances for Sri Lanka were “most urgent”.

Sri Lanka owed Chinese lenders $7.4 billion — or nearly a fifth of public external debt — by the end of 2022, Reuters reported.President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently said the prospects for relieving the debt burden of low-income countries, such as Sri Lanka, will become clearer at the G20 FMCBG meeting, concluded today.

“By the end of this week, we will get to hear the outcome of these talks. Then we will know with greater clarity as to how they intend to cooperate on debt relief for Sri Lanka, and how we should go forward,” he said.



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Social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity – President

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President Rani Wickremesinghe in his New Year Message stressed that social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity

The full text of the President’s message follows:

“The progression of nations, countries and the global community is propelled by the perpetual cycle of renewal, where innovative ideas are nurtured and novel creations come to fruition.

Embracing renewal in accordance with the traditional New Year, the calendar year, or the changing seasons, individuals across the globe find themselves revitalized, endowed with fresh opportunities for growth and advancement. Beneath the surface of these myriad renewals lies a fundamental truth; the paramount importance of social relationships and collective unity.

During the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we engage in a profound renewal of self, centering our focus on nurturing bonds and fostering a sense of gregariousness. This emphasis on interpersonal bonds is the cornerstone of traditional New Year rituals observed across diverse cultures worldwide.

It is important to emphasize the significance of this pivotal point, particularly during the New Year festivities, as it serves as a poignant reminder of the essence of human connection and communal solidarity.

In the dawn of the New Year, social relations and solidarity emerge as fundamental pillars essential for steering our nation forward along the path of progress and prosperity. With this understanding in mind, I extend my heartfelt wishes for a joyous and fulfilling Sinhala and Tamil New Year.”

 

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Sinhala and Tamil New Year auspicious times

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The Auspicious times for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year 2024 are as follows

13th April
02:41pm –  Punya Kalaya
09:05pm  – Dawn of the New Year
11:06pm –  Lighting of the Hearth

14th April 
00:06am – Starting work, Partaking of meals and transactions

15th April
10:17am – Anointing

17th April
06:52am – Leaving for work

18th April 
10:16am – Planting trees

 

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Heat Index at ‘Caution’ level in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district

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Heat Index advisory issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 4.00 p.m. 12 April 2024, valid for 13 April  2024

The Natural hazards Early Warning Centre says that the Heat Index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution level’ at some places in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district.

The Heat Index Forecast is calculated by using relative humidity and maximum temperature and this is the condition that is felt on your body. This is not the forecast of maximum temperature. It is generated by the Department of Meteorology for the next day period and prepared by using global numerical weather prediction model data.

Effect of the heat index on human body is mentioned in the above table and it is prepared on the advice of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.

ACTION REQUIRED

Job sites: Stay hydrated and takes breaks in the shade as often as possible.
Indoors: Check up on the elderly and the sick.
Vehicles: Never leave children unattended.
Outdoors: Limit strenuous outdoor activities, find shade and stay hydrated.
Dress: Wear lightweight and white or light-colored clothing.

Note:
In addition, please refer to advisories issued by the Disaster Preparedness & Response Division, Ministry of Health in this regard as well. For further clarifications please contact 011-7446491

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