01. Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki welcomes the recent launch of a coordinated debt restructuring programme for the bilateral creditors of Sri Lanka, with Japan, India and France announcing the start of the process in April; says it is “essential to improve debt data transparency and accuracy to prevent future debt crises.”
02. Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella takes swift action to combat the spread of dengue in several parts of the island: 31,098 cases reported this year alone, situation said to be critical and requires urgent attention: Gampaha district reports the highest number of cases (6,953), followed by Colombo (6,500).
03. Two Covid-19 related deaths reported from the Kinigama and Akbar Town Grama Niladhari Divisions of the Mahara Grama Niladhari Division: First two deaths after one and a half years since the pandemic: One of the deceased said to have not received any dose of the vaccines, while the other only one dose: The death toll mounts to 16,844.
04. Adverse weather conditions affect at least 9,000 individuals belonging to 2,000 families in 11 districts across the island: The Disaster Management Centre says steps taken to evacuate residents from the flood-affected areas of Katana, Rubber Watta and Gomaswatta in the Gampaha district.
05. Police bust a large-scale racket of stealing and selling oxygen cylinders from the Polonnaruwa General Hospital: 06 suspects arrested, including a hospital employee: Racket said to be in operation since 2020: 210 government-owned oxygen cylinders stolen in this manner: Suspects to be produced before the Polonnaruwa Magistrate Court: Further investigations conducted.
06. Sri Lanka included among 13 of the safest countries to travel in 2023 by ‘Worldpackers’, a global website that connects travellers with hosts, all over the globe, who need help with things like housekeeping, bartending, and farming: Tourism Minister Harin Fernando says delighted to see only Sri Lanka and Japan are included in the list from Asia.
07. Tourism Minister Harin Fernando says Sri Lanka is expecting to attract 2 million visitors from India this year; reveals in the first three months of 2023, Sri Lanka welcomed 46,432 Indian tourists; asserts around US$ 530 million earned in the 1Q of 2023, compared to US$ 482.3 million in the same period last year; stresses the aim is to generate a total of US$ 3 billion in tourism revenue this year.
08. The Indian Marine Police say ten more refugees, including three children and four women from Mullativu reached India’s Dhanushkodi islet on a vessel: Preliminary inquiries reveal that the ten people had decided to leave Sri Lanka following the economic crisis, and the prices of essential goods touching new highs: Refugees reported to have lamented that they were not getting jobs regularly to survive.
09. President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the gathering of the Commonwealth leaders convened in London emphasises the importance of the Commonwealth playing ‘a more significant role’ in supporting education reforms that encourage youth involvement and bolstering connectivity through digitisation.
10. Former Indian Captain MS Dhoni says Sri Lankan fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana should not play Test Cricket instead focus on shorter version of the game; stresses Pathirana is ‘a great asset’ for Sri Lanka and therefore, “should play less ODIs and all the ICC tournaments”: Pathirana took 3/15 runs in his 4 overs in Chennai Super Kings comfortable win against Mumbai Indians.