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UNDP launches ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ crowdfunding platform

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An online crowdfunding platform titled ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is now live providing the opportunity for global citizens to contribute to alleviating the impacts of the crisis in the island nation, the UNDP said.The facility can be accessed at www.undp.org/srilanka/donate.

Sri Lanka is undergoing its worst economic crisis since Independence, after excessive money printing led to galloping inflation, which led to a massive drop in the standard of living and quality of life.

“To rally global support to rebuild the island nation rich in culture and diversity, the crowdfunding platform will facilitate contributions towards ongoing support to provide food security and medicines to the vulnerable people in Sri Lanka,” the UNPD said in a statement on Friday September 09.

Through the ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ platform, interested parties can contribute to two ailing sectors: healthcare and food.

Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director, Bureau for Asia and the Pacific stated, “The ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ platform will enable people from across the globe to directly support vulnerable families in Sri Lanka through the procurement of critical medical supplies and strengthened food security efforts. The platform will provide full transparency over the use of funds, to ensure that these contributions will go exactly where they are needed. UNDP is committed to stand with the people of Sri Lanka in this time of need.”

Sri Lanka’s healthcare and agriculture sectors are in states of exhaustion due to inadequacies in fuel supply and the depleting financial reserves which is barring everyday procedures.According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 30 percent of the population is food insecure and is in search of humanitarian assistance.

Sri Lanka spiraled into a food shortage combined with skyrocketing inflation due to a decision taken in April 2021 when fertilizer was banned which resulted in a massive gap in domestic agricultural production. Moreover, scarcity of foreign exchange reserves and depreciation of the local currency have caused food shortages and adversely affected the quality of life for citizens.

“The ‘Rebuild Sri Lanka’ crowdfunding platform will engage with well-known Sri Lankan and International personalities from across various fields, to echo and help reach wider global audiences interested in contributing towards essential crisis relief in Sri Lanka,” said the statement.

Several local partners have pledged to support Sri Lanka’s health sector, brands such as Hemas Holdings PLC, Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company, Brandix Apparel Limited, Daraz Sri Lanka, Citi Foundation and Amana Bank alongside the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Sarvodaya, the United Nations Global Compact Network Sri Lanka and oDoc Sri Lanka have also come on board as strategic partners of the facility,” the statement said.

Mynamar donated 1,000 MT of rice to Sri Lanka worth Sri Lankan 170 million rupees (approximately 463,215 US dollars), which is to arrive in the island by the end of September.Sri Lanka has been receiving donations of food and medical supplies from countries such as Australia, China, India, United States, Japan.



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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