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Lankan leaders congratulate Biden and Harris on their victory

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Sri Lanka’s political leaders yesterday congratulated the President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory in the 2020 US presidential election on Saturday.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa congratulated the President-elect Biden on his “historic victory” and said “Look forward to working closely with you to strengthen the bilateral relations between our two countries.”

“The government and the people of Sri Lanka join me in extending our warmest congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on this historic victory. We look forward to working together towards an even more robust, mutually rewarding partnership, President Rajapaksa added.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa also extending his congratulations recalled that the two countries are marking 72 years of diplomatic relations.

“As we mark #72 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries, I look forward to working with both of you to further enhance Sri Lanka -USA relations to benefit both our peoples” the PM said.

Opposition Leader and Leader of Samagi Jana Balawegaya Sajith Premadasa has congratulated the new President and Vice President and extended best wishes for their efforts to transform America.



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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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