‘One of the darkest chapters of Sri Lanka’s history’ – Canada’s Prime Minister commemorates 41st anniversary of Black July

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, released a statement on the 41st anniversary of the anti-Tamil Black July pogroms, which saw the slaughter of over 3,000 Tamils, and renewed the country’s commitment to “demand accountability for human rights violations” on the island.

Trudeau’s statement further noted that:

“In 2022, the Parliament of Canada unanimously adopted a motion to make May 18 Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day– a recognition of Canada’s commitment to stand in solidarity with Tamil-Canadians and Tamil communities around the world in remembering and honouring the victims and survivors of these senseless acts of violence”.

He further highlighted that at time of the Black July riots, Canada established a “Special Measures program to help 1,800 Tamils relocate to safety in Canada and build new lives for themselves and their families”.

“On this day, I join Canadians in expressing my deepest condolences to all who have suffered and lost loved ones during Black July. Together, let us honour the victims of this tragedy and recommit to building a more inclusive and peaceful future, free of hate and violence, for people everywhere”.

12 SLPP district leaders decide to back Ranil

Twelve district leaders of the SLPP have decided to act against it if the party decides to field a presidential candidate other than incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Their decision came during talks at a state minister’s residence at Malalasekara Mawatha in Colombo last night (22), lankadeepa.lk reports.

Quoting political sources, it said the participants claimed to have the backing of nearly 75 SLPP MPs.

They also decided to coordinate with them and local government chiefs to carry out a campaign in support of Wickremesinghe.

Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief

Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.

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SC Issues Interim Order Barring Deshabandu from IGP Post

The Supreme Court issued an interim order restraining the exercising duties of Deshabandu Tennakoon as Inspector General of Police.

The petition was filed by eight individuals, including the Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

The case was taken up before a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Yasantha Kodagoda, Achala Wengappuli, and Mahinda Samayawardhena.

The petitioners argue that Tennakoon’s appointment, as recommended by the President, contravenes fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The Constitutional Council, including Speaker, Deshabandu Tennakoon, the Attorney General, and other relevant parties, have been named as respondents in the case.

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Japan decides on immediate disbursement of suspended Sri Lanka loans

Japan has decided to make immediate disbursements of suspended loans, making it the first country to do so after Sri Lanka reached an agreement to restructure official debt, Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki said.

Yuri ide, Senior Representative of the Japan International Corporation Agency Sri Lanka office said the decision was taken by Japan to make immediate disbursement instead of waiting for new agreement to be singed in line with the debt restructure.

The decision to make immediate disbursements was showed the confidence in Sri Lanka’s economy and it will also support cashflows and interest rates, Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana said.

Director General of External Resources Ajith Abeysekera said the move will result in the immediate disbursement of 75 million dollars of pending contractor bills in the next few week.

The were about 1.1 billion dollars of committed but undisbursed fund for 11 projects, in power, healthcare, rural infrastructure and an airport terminal.

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Daily Wage Increase for Plantation Workers Cancelled

The Labour Ministry has issued a new Gazette cancelling the previous notification that increased the daily wage of plantation workers to Rs. 1,700. Instead, the new directive mandates that payments be processed through the Wages Board.

Earlier, the Minister of Labor had set the minimum daily wage at Rs. 1,350, with additional allowances of Rs. 300 and Rs. 80. This move faced legal challenges from 21 plantation companies, including Agarapatana Plantations Ltd., which filed a petition to invalidate the wage increase.

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SJB to form broad alliance on Aug 8th for Presidential Election

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the SJB will face the upcoming Presidential Election as the strongest alliance in Sri Lanka’s political history.

The relevant agreement will be signed on August 8.

Speaking during a media briefing today MP Madduma Bandara said the SJB will face the upcoming election as an alliance comprising of MPs from the most powerful parties in Parliament.

He added that the alliance, comprising over 35 MPs, will be revealed to the public following the signing of the agreement.

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Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna to Announce Presidential Candidate After Election Date

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has stated that it will reveal its presidential candidate following the official announcement of the Presidential Election. Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, speaking after an SLPP meeting, expressed his commitment to preserving the party and refrained from commenting on the candidate selection.

Minister Ranatunga personally supports President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his efforts in restoring law and order and rebuilding the economy post-Aragalaya. However, he said that the final decision will be made collectively by the party at an appropriate time.

MP Tissa Kutti Arachchi confirmed the SLPP’s decision to support President Wickremesinghe until the end of his term aligns with Minister Ranatunga’s stance. He clarified that while SLPP members hold ministerial positions and support the government, the party’s decisions remain independent. He also highlighted that withholding the candidate’s name is a strategic move in the party’s election campaign, with the announcement expected within a week.

Election Comm. to meet Thursday to decide prez poll date

The National Election Commission is reportedly scheduled to meet on Thursday (25), in order to discuss regarding the holding of the upcoming Presidential Election.

The discussions will be preliminarily focused on deciding the date for the 2024 Presidential Election and following that, the election date will be announced.

However, a spokesperson from the Election Commission stated that the Gazette notification related to announcing the Presidential Poll will be published before this weekend.

US missile destroyer arrives in Colombo

USS Michael Murphy of the United States Navy arrived at the port of Colombo on a formal visit today (23).

The Sri Lanka Navy welcomed the visiting ship in compliance with naval traditions.

The 155m – long Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyer is manned by a crew of 323 and she is commanded by Commander Jonathan B. Greenwald.

Meanwhile, Commander Jonathan B. Greenwald called on Rear Admiral Chinthaka Kumarasinghe, Commander Western Naval Area at the Western Naval Command Headquarters today. The cordial interaction came to an end with an exchange of mementoes.

During the stay of USS Michael Murphy in the island, her crew members are expected to visit some of the tourist attractions in the country. The ship is scheduled to depart the island on 26th July.