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Councils to be told to cut diversity plans in Budget

The chancellor will urge councils to reduce wasteful spending but councillors say it is a distraction.

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Kate's uncle joins Celebrity Big Brother

Gary Goldsmith, the Princess of Wales' uncle, says the show won't "bring any stress to" the family.

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Russian Black Sea ship 'damaged in drone attack'

Ukraine said sea drones were used to target Russia's Sergei Kotov patrol ship near the Kerch Strait.

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UN says rape likely committed in Hamas attack on Israel

The UN also found "reasonable grounds to believe" rapes took place during Hamas's 7 October attack.

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Online hate left Traitors star afraid to go out

Jasmine Boatswain says her mental health suffered due to the attention she received after the show.

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'I earn £1,600 a month and two-thirds goes on bills' - Your Budget hopes

Changes to tax thresholds and child benefit, help for first-time buyers - what do people want from the Budget?

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India diners spit blood after being served 'dry ice'

Five customers fell sick after they were served dry ice after dinner at an Indian restaurant.

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Wales' Covid NHS chief being quizzed at inquiry

Dr Andrew Goodall, who led the Welsh NHS through the pandemic, appears at the UK Covid inquiry.

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Cautious backing for rise in physician associates

The doctors’ union is concerned about patient safety because of a new law regulating those roles.

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Meet McLaren's first female development driver

Meet McLaren's first female development driver, Bianca Bustamante, who says she shares her hopes and ambitions to become a professional Formula 1 driver.

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Girl held and stripped twice by male prison staff

Inspectors were "deeply shocked" by the treatment of a girl at Wetherby Young Offender Institution.

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Bairstow set for 'emotional' 100th Test cap

Jonny Bairstow says he is set for an "emotional week" as he becomes the 16th man to play 100 Tests for England.

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Teenage boy sets up his own pizza takeaway

Joshua, who runs a takeaway alongside a full-time job, says the experience has not been easy.

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Super Tuesday: Biggest day yet in US presidential race

The biggest day so far in the 2024 US election calendar will be a key test of the front-runners' strength.

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Miners thank Bruce Springsteen for 1985 donation

The rock star donated $20,000 to striking miners at the interval of his gig in 1985.

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When is the Budget and what will it mean for my money?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is reportedly mulling higher duty on business travel to pay for tax cuts.

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F1 Q&A: Your questions answered after Bahrain GP

BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson answers your questions following the 2024 season opener in Bahrain at the weekend.

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'Now we know the answers we can start to grieve'

An ambulance trust apologises after a boy died following a decision not to take him to hospital.

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At least 35 die in surprise snowfall in Pakistan

The icy conditions are unexpected as the region is typically humid in March.

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Inside the Gaza camp for widows and children

A woman widowed by the conflict in Gaza tells the BBC about her loss and life in a refugee camp.

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Emma Caldwell's mother to meet first minister

Margaret Caldwell is calling for an inquiry after it emerged police missed the chance to catch her daughter's killer.

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St Paul's Cathedral to allow £7 overnight stay

The "once-in-a-lifetime" one-night stay at the historic London landmark will mark World Book Day.

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'We feel like it's us repaying Birmingham's debt'

Residents of the Druids Heath housing estate share their concerns as the council prepares huge cuts.

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British Army 'tried to recruit IRA man's widow'

The widow of a killed IRA man says that she was offered inducements to inform for the British Army.

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The sound that signalled death for IRA 'informers'

An inquiry into the "dirty war" between British intelligence and the IRA is due to report this week.

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Philippine and Chinese boats collide in South China Sea

The Philippines says “dangerous manoeuvres” by China caused a collision in the disputed waters.

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南非官员称校园暴力犯罪增加表明社会治安不断恶化

  中新社约翰内斯堡3月5日电(记者 王曦)针对日益频繁的校园暴力犯罪事件,南非高等教育、科学与创新部部长布莱德·恩齐曼迪5日在接受记者采访时回应称,这一趋势表明南非社会治安不断恶化,政府必须采取有效措施,杜绝类似事件再次发生。

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哈萨克斯坦农业部长:哈方愿扩大对华农产品出口

  中新网阿斯塔纳3月5日电 据中国驻哈萨克斯坦大使馆当地时间4日消息,大使张霄会见哈农业部长萨帕罗夫,双方就两国农业合作交换意见。

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柬埔寨人民党在参议院选举中赢得压倒性胜利

  中新社金边3月5日电 (杨强 黎海月)柬埔寨国家选举委员会当地时间5日正式宣布,执政的柬埔寨人民党在上月举行的第五届参议院选举中夺得55个议席,取得压倒性胜利。

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China sets ambitious economic target for 2024

The announcement comes as the ruling Communist Party tries to reinvigorate the Chinese economy.

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四名推特前高管起诉马斯克 索要逾1.28亿美元遣散费

  中新社旧金山3月4日电 当地时间4日,4名推特(已更名为“X”)前高管起诉美国企业家马斯克,要求其支付逾1.28亿美元遣散费。

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2024年金砖国家领导人会晤将于10月22日至24日在俄罗斯举行

  当地时间5日,俄罗斯总统助理乌沙科夫表示,2024年金砖国家领导人会晤将于10月22日至24日在俄罗斯喀山举行,这将是金砖国家扩员后的首次峰会。(总台记者 王斌)

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美国发生大规模枪击案致多人伤亡 蒙面嫌疑人持枪在逃

  中新网3月5日电 据哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)报道,当地时间3日,美国加利福尼亚州蒙特雷县金市警方发布声明称,该市一处住宅当日发生大规模枪击事件,已造成4人死亡、多人受伤。

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南非政府:校园暴力犯罪增加表明社会治安不断恶化

  中新网约翰内斯堡3月5日电 (记者 王曦)针对日益频繁的校园暴力犯罪事件,南非高等教育、科学与创新部部长布莱德·恩齐曼迪5日在接受记者采访时回应称,这一趋势表明南非社会治安的不断恶化,南非政府必须采取有效措施,杜绝类似事件再次发生。

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菲律宾2月通胀率环比升至3.4%

  中新社马尼拉3月5日电 (记者 张兴龙)菲律宾国家统计局5日发布的数据显示,该国2月通胀率环比升至3.4%,打破连续四个月的放缓趋势。

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超越马斯克,亚马逊创始人贝索斯再成世界首富

  中新网3月5日电 据彭博社报道,当地时间3月4日,彭博亿万富翁指数榜显示,亚马逊创始人贝索斯超过美国企业家马斯克,再次成为世界首富。

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日本民众发起集体诉讼 要求停止核污染水排海

  日本政府无视国内外反对呼声,执意推进核污染水排海计划,在国内外引起了广泛的质疑和反对。很多愤怒的日本民众拿起法律武器,通过集体诉讼的方式把日本政府和东电公司送上法庭。当地时间3月4日,部分民众作为原告在福岛地方法院参加了法庭首次辩论。开庭前,他们举行集会,表达捍卫自身权益的决心。

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不要污染海洋!日本民众叫停核污染水排海诉讼举行首轮口头辩论

  中新网3月5日电 据日本共同社报道,当地时间4日,福岛地方法院就日本居民和渔民要求停止核污染水排放入海的诉讼举行第一轮口头辩论。

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(八闽千姿)一出木偶戏 再续中法缘

  中新社漳州3月5日电 题:一出木偶戏 再续中法缘

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权威医学组织:肥胖已成为南非主要健康问题之一

  中新网约翰内斯堡3月5日电 (记者 王曦)当地时间3月5日,南非权威医学组织“心脏和中风研究基金会”对外证实,肥胖已经成为困扰该国民众健康的一个主要问题。

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多国人士期待中国为全球经济增长带来更多机遇

  央广网北京3月5日消息 据中央广播电视总台中国之声《新闻和报纸摘要》报道,多国人士对中国两会高度关注,期待中国经济的韧性和稳定继续为全球经济增长带来更多机遇。

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世界看两会 | 期待加强与中国合作 点赞中国式现代化

  央视网消息:多国人士关注中国两会召开,他们表示,中国式现代化和经济发展模式为各国发展提供了新思路,中国也为全球经济发展和共同繁荣作出了重要贡献,他们期待加强与中国的合作。

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美国密歇根州一处建筑爆炸 “情况及其危险”

  中新网3月5日电 据哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)报道,当地时间3月4日晚,美国密歇根州克林顿镇的一处建筑爆炸起火。

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西班牙学者:中国倡导包容对话,西方挑起制度竞争

  导读:欧盟称中国为“体制性竞争对手”,但中国从未搞过制度输出,反倒是西方国家常把自己的价值观和社会体制强加于人。事实上,中国与西方国家的文明交流互鉴是人类历史的重要组成部分,尽管二者在文化、政治、经济和社会制度等方面差异很大,但对话并非不可能。中国提出的人类命运共同体理念和“一带一路”倡议为世界各国提供了和平共处、共同繁荣的道路选择。

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美最高法院暂时阻止得州允许警察逮捕非法移民法律实施

  中新社北京3月5日电 华盛顿消息:美国联邦最高法院当地时间4日暂时阻止了得克萨斯州一项允许警察逮捕非法移民法律的实施。

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(两会访谈)访中国驻法大使卢沙野:中法建交60年的启示

  中新社北京3月5日电 题:访中国驻法大使卢沙野:中法建交60年的启示

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'One of worst displays I've ever seen' - Sheff Utd's new low

Sheffield United's first half against Arsenal was so bad, one pundit described it as "one of the worst performances I've ever seen".

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Concern as the gambling industry embraces AI

Campaigners worry that the gambling industry will not use AI responsibly.

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Watch: 'My biggest financial regret is...'

People in Kent share their finance stories ahead of Wednesday's Budget. Would you share yours?

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In Ukraine, the show must go on - even underground

Kharkiv National Opera and Ballet is reopening underground, away from Russian drones and missiles.

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Rider, runner, winner - the second coming of Meier

Christian Meier rode as a domestique in all three Grand Tours - but locked down and retired, he found a new sporting obsession.

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推特前高管起诉马斯克 要求支付超1亿美元遣散费

  中新网3月5日电 据法新社报道,当地时间3月4日,社交媒体公司“X”(原推特)4名前高管起诉美国企业家埃隆·马斯克,要求其支付合计近1.3亿美元的未付遣散费。

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最新行星科学研究:木星冰卫星木卫二产氧量或少于此前预期

  中新网北京3月5日电 (记者 孙自法)施普林格·自然旗下专业学术期刊《自然-天文学》最新发表一篇行星科学研究论文认为,木星的冰卫星木卫二(Europa)拥有的氧可能少于此前模型提出的预期,这项发现会影响木卫二冰下海洋的潜在宜居性。

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国际最新研究:利用羊水所制类器官可模拟孕晚期发育

  中新网北京3月5日电 (记者 孙自法)施普林格·自然旗下专业学术期刊《自然-医学》最新发表一篇干细胞研究论文称,羊水样本中收集的细胞可生成多种不同组织类型的类器官,而无需终止妊娠。这些类器官或提供了解孕晚期发育的手段,有助于对先天畸形的研究。

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美报社论:美国损害世贸组织是严重错误

  参考消息网3月5日报道美国《华盛顿邮报》3月3日发表题为《没有世贸组织,每个人都会更穷,拜登需要拯救它》的社论。文章摘编如下:

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美国2024财年政府预算难谈拢

  美国国会民主、共和两党领袖3日公布为交通部、农业部和司法部等部分联邦政府机构提供运转资金至9月30日的2024财政年度拨款法案,涵盖防务开支的剩余拨款法案条款仍在谈判桌上。

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国际锐评丨雷蒙多的“雷人雷语”是对国际经贸的无知还是装戆?

  “现在的汽车就像‘装了轮子的iPhone’”,想象一下,假如有数百万辆中国汽车在美国的路上行驶,每天每分钟都在‘收集’数百万美国人的数据,再将它们‘传回北京’……”难以想象,这番“雷人雷语”,出自美国商务部长雷蒙多之口。

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世界看两会丨多国媒体人士:中国为世界提供了对现代化的东方诠释

  今年中国两会引发全球媒体广泛关注,很多国家派出记者来报道中国两会。这些记者在接受总台采访时表示,中国高质量发展和中国式现代化的成就令人瞩目。中国为全世界提供了对现代化的东方诠释。

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世界看两会|多国人士期待中国为全球发展贡献更多动力

  央视网消息:多国人士高度关注中国两会,期待通过两会窗口倾听中国声音,期待高质量发展的中国与世界共享更多机遇。

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这一把火,给美国舆论机器CPU干烧了

  2月25日在以色列驻美大使馆门前自焚身亡以抗议美以在加沙进行种族灭绝的25岁现役美空军亚伦·布什内尔,以身证道,成了近期震惊世界的事件。关于这位义士的生平简介、抗议行动本身和以后的价值、意义,这两天想必各位也听了、看了不少了,今天乌鸦来谈谈这次自焚抗议事件发生后,也许更加值得细品的一些状况。

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美媒:特朗普集团前首席财务官魏塞尔伯格承认作伪证

  中新网3月5日电 据美国有线电视新闻网(CNN)报道,当地时间4日,特朗普集团前首席财务官魏塞尔伯格承认,他在特朗普民事欺诈案中提供了虚假证词。

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美国加州发生枪击事件 致4死3伤

  中新社旧金山3月4日电 美国加利福尼亚州蒙特雷县金市警方当地时间3日深夜在一份声明中称,该市一处住宅当日发生枪击事件,导致4人遇难、3人受伤。

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How Donald Trumped The Supreme Court

And, are UK prisons fit for purpose?

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Transparency tool launched by BBC Verify

BBC Verify has introduced a new feature to show audiences how we know what we know.

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Would a £150,000 wage tempt you to a Scottish island?

High salaries are on offer to bring doctors and teachers to Scotland's most beautiful remote communities.

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Bondholder agreement delay unlikely to affect IMF review: Coomaraswamy

Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy

  • Expresses confidence in reaching AIP with bondholders soon
  • Says in case of a delay, IMF is likely to provide breathing space
  • Acknowledges SL has made good progress in stabilising economy

By Nishel Fernando 
A potential delay in securing an agreement-in-principle (AIP) with Sri Lanka’s private bondholders is unlikely to impact the second review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, former Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said.

Rothschild, the financial advisor to the bondholder group, is currently studying the proposal and consequently, will present the proposal to the bondholder group with its recommendations, said the senior economist, addressing an informative forum organised by CA Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday.

While this process could take some time, he was confident that the bondholders, based on the recommendations of their advisors, would soon come onboard to reach an AIP with the government, possibly within the second review of the IMF programme. 

In a case of a delay, Dr. Coomaraswamy shared that the IMF would provide breathing space to the country, given that the negotiations are progressing on a ‘genuine and good faith’ basis. 

He acknowledged that the country has made significant strides in stabilising the economy, in line with the IMF criteria, ahead of the second review, which is set to start this week (March 7).  

“I think one can safely say that we have done very well. In the sense that when the IMF conducted its review in December, they actually upgraded the macroeconomic framework. Growth recovered to the positive territory in the third quarter of last year,” Dr. Coomaraswamy told the forum.

The progress in meeting the key commitments under the IMF-backed programme is set to be formally assessed in the context of the second review of the Extended Fund Facility arrangement, alongside the forthcoming 2024 Article IV consultation assessing Sri Lanka’s economic health.

In addition, the IMF expects Sri Lanka to reach the final agreements with the official creditors as well as reaching in-principle agreements with the external private creditors (bondholders) on the external debt restructuring, ahead of the second review.  

The government earlier last month submitted an ‘enhanced’ proposal through its advisor Lazard, countering the bondholder group’s previous offer from October last year. The bondholders had proposed a 20 percent haircut and the issuance of macro-linked bonds. 

Without divulging the details of the ‘enhanced’ proposal, Dr. Coomaraswamy noted that the government is not against the idea of linking debt restructuring with macroeconomic performances in principle.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s official (bilateral) creditors are only expected to finalise agreements on external debt restructuring after studying the AIP reached with the private bondholders.

Therefore, Dr. Coomaraswamy asserted that the AIP with the private bondholders needs to be aligned with the in-principal agreements that were reached with the country’s bilateral creditors late last year. Otherwise, he cautioned that the bilateral creditors could walk back from in-principal agreements, triggering back and forth negotiations with the two groups, as happened in the case of Zambia. 

Although Zambia defaulted on its debt in 2020, the country is expected to complete the external debt restructuring only in the first half of this year.
Sri Lanka reached the AIP with the Official Creditor Committee, representing the bilateral creditors and China, late last year.

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All you need to know about Tuesday's Euro 2025 qualifying draw

European countries will learn their fate in Tuesday's Women's Euro 2025 qualifying draw at 12:00 GMT in Nyon.

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Panorama - Trump: The Sequel?

Justin Webb and Marianna Spring look ahead to an unprecedented American election year.

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Eight Sri Lankans rescued from illegal cyber center camp in Myanmar

March 04 (Daily Mirror) - Eight Sri Lankan nationals who were forcibly detained at an illegal cyber center camp in Myanmar have been rescued, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Myanmar, Janak Bandara confirmed. 

The rescue operation was conducted under the intervention of the Myanmar government.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ambassador Janak Bandara said the detainees are currently held at the Myawaddy Central Police Station in Myanmar.

“Steps are being taken to repatriate the rescued individuals,” he added.

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Parents urged to cease pressure on primary school children

The pressure exerted by parents on their children during primary education from Grades 1to 5 should be stopped and the necessary environment will be prepared to reduce its competitiveness, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said.

However, the Grade Five scholarship examination will be held in the future, he assured.

In order to evaluate students, measures are taken to evaluate their good skills by recognizing the skills displayed by children for activities outside the classroom, the Minister added.

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Five ways to save on train tickets as fares rise

As rail fares rise on Sunday, we find the ways passengers can keep journeys as cheap as possible.

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First ever semi-transparent solar PV pilot project commissioned

Colombo, March (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka’s first ever semi-transparent solar PV-powered agrivoltaic pilot project was commissioned at Hanthana in Kandy.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the project was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He said the pilot project will assist the Plantation Industries Ministry, Power & Energy Ministry, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Tea Small Holders Development Authority and Sustainable Energy Authority to study the development of renewable energy in tea plantations in the country.

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How much is the minimum wage going up?

Millions of workers in the UK will see their wages go up in April.

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WNPS vows tough action against Adani wind power project

Colombo, Feb 28 (Daily Mirror) - Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) vowed stern legal action against the Adani-sponsored wind power project in Mannar if the proposed environmental concerns on the EIA is not heeded by the Central Environment Authority (CEA), saying over one million birds will be affected annually if the project came into being.

Senior biodiversity scientist Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said yesterday the proposals on serious environmental concerns about the Mannar wind power generation project will be submitted to the CEA before the given deadline on March 6th.

Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday Dr. Pethiyagoda said if the proposals on the environment impact assessment (EIA) submitted by them were rejected by the CEA, they would seek legal action against the project.

He said even the concerned citizens could comment on the EIA, while it is open for public comments until March 6th addressed to Director General, CEA through [email protected]

Prof Sampath Seneviratne explaining about the situation said Sri Lanka is annually visited by 15 million migratory birds of 250 species from 30 countries as the southernmost destination of the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).

Out of this, over one million migratory birds of 150 species are visiting the Mannar corridor, which functions as a critical over-wintering ground providing breeding habitats for another 26 species of threatened birds.

Prof. Seneviratne said with the oncoming proposed 50 turbine wind power project on the Mannar corridor all those birds will be affected or destroyed. “The proposed 250MW will pose significant risks to both ecological and economic balance,” he said.

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said the EIA on the Mannar project has been conducted based on incomplete Terms of Reference, violating Sri Lankan laws, lack of consultation with key stakeholders and oversight of the Department of Wildlife Conservation’s expertise. 

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Locals outraged as Israeli and Ukrainian tourists operate businesses in South

By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe

Following the Daily Mirror’s expose on Russian tourists engaging in illegal businesses in several areas in the south, it has now come to light that many Israeli and Ukrainian tourists are also engaged in running similar businesses in the south, hampering local businesses and causing much concern among industry stakeholders.

The Daily Mirror visited these areas along the southern coastal belt and learnt that business operations run by Israeli and Ukrainian tourists include boutique hotels, restaurants and cafes.

However, local tour operators claim that most Ukrainian tourists have even reached the extent of organizing excursions which they claim is illegal as tourists don’t have a license to operate as inbound tour guides.

Local nationals in the south claim that if an immediate monitoring process is not enforced, tourists and locals are likely to clash as the tourists are attempting to hinder local businesses and hinder their livelihoods.

During a visit on ground, the Daily Mirror also learnt that Israeli nationals have purchased lands to set up their businesses. Local sources told the Daily Mirror that some Israeli nationals have purchased lands on a 99-year lease basis. As a result, the demand for land and property has skyrocketed in these areas.

The tourism sector stakeholders on Monday confirmed that Sri Lanka is witnessing an increasing trend of international visitors engaging in business activities and warned that the industry, in certain parts of the country, is impacted as a result.

Officials from the industry said they had alerted the relevant authorities regarding a section of tourists arriving in the country for long stays, carrying out business activities, without proper registrations and a majority of these tourist-run businesses started off small but have grown considerably over time.

“We have been talking about this to the authorities as early as 2022. We saw this situation brewing in the South but now it has spread to other areas as well," SLAITO President Nishard Wijetunge said.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando had over the weekend said his Ministry had held discussions with the Immigration Department following several complaints from local businesses and following raids conducted by the authorities, several of these foreign run businesses were not registered with the SLTDA and neither were they paying taxes.

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Colombo, Feb 25 -  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has responded to recent media reports surrounding comments made by Members of Parliament regarding the latest revision of remuneration for CBSL employees. 

 

In a statement released today, the CBSL emphasized its commitment to transparency and accountability in its operations.

 

The Governing Board of the CBSL, at a meeting held on 21.02.2024, directed the Governor to formally request an opportunity to address Members of Parliament through an appropriate parliamentary committee.

 

This request, made in accordance with Section 80 (2) (b) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act No. 16 of 2023, aims to provide clarity on the process and rationale behind the recent remuneration revision, which was approved under the triennial Collective Agreement with Trade Unions covering the period 2024-2026.

 

On 22.02.2024, the Governor of CBSL submitted a written request to the President, who also serves as the Minister of Finance and acts as the conduit through which CBSL communicates with Parliament. 

 

The request seeks an opportunity to apprise Members of Parliament of the factors driving the remuneration adjustment for CBSL staff.

 

CBSL also reiterated its willingness to provide explanations and insights into the decision-making process behind the remuneration revision either upon being granted the requested opportunity or upon receiving a formal request for information.

 

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Speaking of the matter, Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Palitha Mahipala said the at least five deaths have occurred since January at the dialysis unit.

 

Accordingly, a five-member committee headed by Chief Epidemiologist Dr Samitha Ginige has been appointed to look into the matter.

 

According to sources, the incident may have occurred due to the entry of certain unidentified pathogens into the blood dialysis unit.

 

However, the Health Ministry is investigating the entire scenario to ascertain the actual cause of the deaths.

 

In light of the situation, the health authorities have taken prompt measures to shut down the unit and direct the kidney patients to other nearest units.

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The District Court made this order pursuant to a plaint filed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka against SJB office bearers.

This order will be effective till March 4.

 

 

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Colombo, Feb 18 (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka has the worst record among South Asian countries in blacklisting corrupt contractors in public procurement, according to a new report by Verité Research.

The report shows that Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia that 1) does not recognise engaging in corrupt and fraudulent activities during procurement as a valid reason for blacklisting 2) has not blacklisted contractors that have defaulted on contractual obligations despite having the provisions to do so.

The first issue can be attributed to gaps in the procurement guidelines of 2006, which govern almost all public procurement in Sri Lanka — except in a few instances such as pharmaceutical procurement. 

The report emphasises the importance of urgently fixing these gaps to combat corruption and restore fiscal governance.

The second issue – not blacklisting defaulting contractors – shows a lack of compliance with existing regulations. Sri Lanka has provisions not only to blacklist defaulting contractors, but also to publish their names on a public, online database. 

However, this database, maintained by the Department of Public Finance, is empty. By contrast, as of July 2023, Nepal had 629 entries on its online database and Bangladesh had 510. 

High levels of corruption in procurement and the importance of fixing then have also been highlighted in the civil society governance diagnostic and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) governance diagnostic on Sri Lanka. In fact, one of the key IMF recommendations is to enact a public procurement law in Sri Lanka that reflects international best practices by December 2024.

The report by Verité Research, titled “Backwards in Blacklisting: Gaps in Sri Lanka’s Procurement Framework Enable Corruption”, is available on the Verité Research website – https://www.veriteresearch.org/publication/sri-lanka-procurement-corruptiongaps/ 

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Colombo, Feb 17 (Daily Mirror) - Following the initiative with the French government to detect oil spills in Sri Lankan waters using satellite surveillance, Sri Lanka has detected the first such incident and fined Rs. 15 million to the responsible company, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said.

According to the MEPA, on February 5, the CLS analysts (The French Company) reported the detection of significant oil pollution off their coasts, by an illegal discharge of the Global Crest, a 120-metre tanker cruising from Malaysia to the UAE.

Action was taken immediately against the vessel and an onboard inspection was conducted, which revealed clear evidence of the illegal discharge. The ship was detained until the owner admitted the offence and acknowledged the maximum fine of Rs. 15 million pursuant to national regulations.

Lying at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka is strategically located to become a key stage along the main Indian Ocean shipping routes. However, it is exposed to the increasing risk of pollution from both accidental spills and illegal discharges.

In the frame of the OSDS initiative funded by the French Government, Sri Lanka recently entrusted CLS with the delivery of a service to detect oil pollution and identify polluters from space. This proven detection system has already been successfully deployed in other regions around the world, like in Europe, where the Cleanseanet service operated by the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA) has had a clear deterrent effect, halving the number of pollution incidents detected in European waters in 10 years.

Since September 2023, CLS has been delivering more than 100 detection reports to MEPA with the aim of demonstrating the effectiveness of satellite technologies in reducing marine pollution and mitigating their environmental impact.

This case is considered a real success by the OSDS stakeholders, proving the relevance and efficiency of the initiative. It paves the way towards developing a sovereign, fully operational local capability to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

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Forensic audit reveals frauds at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation

Colombo, Feb 16 (Daily Mirror) - KPMG's forensic audit into discrepancies at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals (CPSTL) has revealed substantial losses attributed to alterations and deletions in SAP data related to stock holdings.

The forensic audit was initiated in response to a complaint filed by the Power and Energy Minister with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in August 2022.

The major findings of the forensic audit conducted by KPMG on the sales and distribution of petroleum products from the CPSTL was briefed to Minister Kanchana Wijesekera last afternoon.  

Accordingly, the KPMG and CPSTL audit investigation officials have found that more than 1.3 million entries on SAP data have been changed or deleted since 2010 and most have occurred in 2022 during the height of the fuel crisis.

After the complaint was lodged in August 2022 the number had significantly reduced in 2023.

Massive losses have been recorded from stock holding in 2022 amounting to Rs. 28 billion & after the complaint was lodged it had come down to Rs. 4 billion in 2023.

Use of outdated circulars and procedures and no adequate data have been available or kept to determine certain irregularities.

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