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UNDP Human Development Report presented to Foreign Minister

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UNDP Resident Coordinator Robert Jukham presented a copy of the UNDP Human Development Report 2020 to Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 5 January 2021 at the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena appreciated the UNDP’s cooperation with Sri Lanka and expressed his appreciation of UNDP’s response to Covid-19 early interventions. He mentioned that free education and health policies of Sri Lanka, among other things, have significantly contributed to the country’s achievements in human development. He underscored the commitment of the Government towards achieving Sustainable Development as stated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his inaugural speech. The Minister went on to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the people, for instance micro financing schemes and related vulnerabilities, improvement in digital infrastructure and human-elephant conflict. Special emphasis was paid to areas where the UNDP can work in collaboration with Sri Lanka in addressing the issues including those related to the SDGs.

UNDP Resident Coordinator Jukham complimented Sri Lanka for the progress the country has made over the 30 years that have passed since the first Report. He also appreciated Sri Lanka’s initiatives towards addressing the effects of climate change and commitment towards environment protection. He provided a briefing on the UNDP’s ongoing assistance to Sri Lanka in various sectors working with a number of Government agencies and reaffirmed the UNDP’s continued cooperation with Sri Lanka. Reference was also made to a pending “virtual mission” to Sri Lanka by the UNDP Regional Director for Asia and Pacific.

The Human Development Report (HDR) and its Human Development Index (HDI), which rank all countries in the world by their level of human development, remains a powerful voice in the development space. Sri Lanka has made steady progress and significant achievements in term of Human Development. The country is positioned at 72 in the global HDI ranking.



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Sajith says ‘super’ PM has failed, SJB ready to take over govt.

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Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa has said that his party is ready to accept the daunting challenge of re-building the country.

Premadasa, who is also the Opposition Leader, has said that the SJB is capable of restoring the economy to pre-2019 status within five years. The declaration was made at the Opposition Leader’s Office, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, on Monday (27)

The SJB won 54 seats, including seven National List slots, at the last parliamentary election in August 2020.

Demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step down without further delay, the SJB leader launched a scathing attack on UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Those who claimed Wickremesinghe was a ‘super’ PM capable of performing economic miracles had to eat their own words, he added.

Having mismanaged the national economy thereby causing unprecedented disruption of fuel supplies, some ministers undertook foreign jaunts at the taxpayers’ expense to beg for fuel and gas. Alleging that the government was trying to deceive the masses struggling to cope up with a severe shortage of almost all essential items, the SJB leader reiterated his call for President Rajapaksa and Premier Wickremesinghe to step down.

Of the 54 member parliamentary group, three lawmakers, Harin Fernando, Manusha Nanayakkara and Nazeer Ahamed have accepted ministerial portfolios while another MP, Dayana Gamage switched her allegiance to the SLPP.

SJB leader Premadasa said that under his leadership there wouldn’t be space for waste, corruption and irregularities. The former UNP Deputy Leader offered to lead the country at an event held to announce the setting up of a unit to work out a national consensus regarding just solutions for political, economic and social issues, Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana heads the unit. (SF)

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House sittings expected to be cancelled coming week

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (28) told The Island that the Parliament wouldn’t be able to meet next week due to the disruption of fuel supply.

Speaker Abeywardena said that he couldn’t visit his Matara home for want of fuel and many lawmakers experienced the same problem. The Matara District MP said that he had been compelled to stay at his Colombo residence.

Parliament was earlier scheduled to meet from Tuesday to Friday. Last Week the Opposition boycotted the Parliament. After the Opposition announced its decision, the Parliament announced sittings wouldn’t take place as members were unable to attend due to fuel shortage (NP)

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Lankan envoy to Lebanon calls on UNIFIL Head

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Ambassador Karunaratne with Major General Aroldo Lâzaro(pic courtesy Foreign Ministry)

Sri Lanka Ambassador to Lebanon Shani Calyaneratne Karunaratne paid a courtesy call on Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lâzaro at the Head Quarters of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) at Blue Line, in Naquara, on June 21, 2022.

They discussed matters of mutual interest which included increasing Sri Lankan troops at UNIFIL. The Force Commander stated that the Sri Lankan troops are respected for their outstanding professionalism and thanked them for their contribution to the UNIFIL for the past 11 years. Contingent Commander of 13th Force Protection Company (UNIFIL) Sri Lanka Lieutenant Colonel Nayan Samarakoon, and Attaché (Administration) of the Embassy Priyantha Dasanayaka also participated in the meeting.

The Ambassador was accorded a Guard of Honour and an inspection of troops and armored vehicles. A k9 demonstration and a concert by the Sri Lanka Army Calypso band was also held.

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