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China responds to raids on Vivo, says 'India's frequent investigations disrupts business & damages goodwill'

July 7 2022 , Written by lankatime

China responds to raids on Vivo, says 'India's frequent investigations disrupts business & damages goodwill'

New Delhi: As the Enforcement Directorate (ED) continued searches at the premises of Chinese companies in a money laundering case, Wang Xiaojian, counsellor and spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in India, said the frequent investigations by Indian authorities into Chinese enterprises "chill the confidence and willingness of market entities from other countries, including those from China to invest in India".

Xiaojian said that the essence of China-India economic and trade cooperation is based on mutual benefit and win-win results.

"The Chinese government has always asked Chinese companies to comply with local laws and regulations in their overseas operations and will firmly support Chinese companies to maintain their legitimate rights and interests," Zhao said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"The Indian side should act in line with laws and regulations, and provide a fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese firms," he added.

ED raids 44 locations associated with Vivo

As the ED raided 44 locations in 22 states on Tuesday and Wednesday, the directors of some of the companies associated with Vivo fled India.

According to sources, two of the Chinese directors of Solan, a Himachal Pradesh-based company, that was associated with Vivo, have likely fled India, as ED registered a prevention of money laundering case.

The Chinese nationals were made directors in the Indian entities with fake documents.

The enforcement agency has so far received information about money laundering worth Rs 10,000 crore during the raids, according to ED sources.

The Chinese embassy spokesperson said that the "frequent investigations by Indian authorities into Chinese enterprises not only disrupt normal business activities and damage the goodwill, but also impede the improvement of business environment in India".

The CBI has also been probing the case and lodged a separate FIR.

Vivo earlier said that it is cooperating with the authorities to provide them with all required information.

"As a responsible corporate, we are committed to be fully compliant with laws," a company spokesperson said.

In April, the ED seized Rs 5,551.27 crore of Xiaomi Technology India Private Ltd lying in the bank accounts under the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) connection with the illegal outward remittances made by the company.

EAM Jaishankar meets Chinese counterpart

Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali. The discussion between the two diplomats "focused on specific outstanding issues in the bilateral relationship pertaining to the border situation." They also spoke about other matters including students and flights.
(Ani)

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Srilankan Army Open Fires On Rioters Over Petrol And Diesel

June 19 2022 , Written by lankatime

Srilankan Army Open Fires On Rioters Over Petrol And Diesel

Colombo: As petrol had exhausted, motorists started to protest and the situation escalated into a clash with troops, police stated.

Sri Lanka’s troops opened fire to contain rioting at a fuel station, officials said Sunday as unprecedented queues for petrol and diesel were seen across the bankrupt country.

Troops fired in Visuvamadu, 365 kilometers (228 miles) north of Colombo, on Saturday night as their guard point was hurling stones, army spokesman Nilantha Premaratne said.

“A group of around 20 to 30 people pelted stones and damaged an army truck,” Premaratne told AFP.

The Police stated, that four civilians and three soldiers were injured when the army opened fire for the first time to contain unrest linked to the worsening economic crisis.

As petrol had exhausted, motorists started to protest and the situation escalated into a clash with troops, police stated.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence, with the country unable to find dollars to import essentials, including food, fuel, and medicines.

The country’s 22 million population has been enduring acute shortages and long queues for scarce supplies while President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has for months resisted calls to step down over mismanagement.

Sri Lanka has deployed armed police and troops to guard fuel stations. The government declared a two-week shutdown of state institutions and schools in a bid to reduce commuting and conserve depleting fuel stocks in the impoverished nation.

Four out of five people in Sri Lanka have started skipping meals as they cannot afford to eat.
 

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Sri Lanka hunts desperately for fuel amid economic crisis; PM Wickremesinghe says he's open to Russian oil

June 12 2022 , Written by lankatime

Sri Lanka hunts desperately for fuel amid economic crisis; PM Wickremesinghe says he's open to Russian oil

Colombo, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka may be compelled to buy more oil from Russia as the island nation hunts desperately for fuel amid an unprecedented economic crisis, the newly appointed prime minister said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would first look to other sources, but would be open to buying more crude from Moscow. Western nations largely have cut off energy imports from Russia in line with sanctions over its war on Ukraine.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press on 11 June, 2022, Wickremesinghe also indicated he would be willing to accept more financial help from China, despite his country's mounting debt. And while he acknowledged that Sri Lanka's current predicament is of "its own making," he said the war in Ukraine is making it even worse - and that dire food shortages could continue until 2024. He said Russia had also offered wheat to Sri Lanka.

Wickremesinghe, who is also Sri Lanka's finance minister, spoke to the AP in his office in the capital, Colombo, one day shy of a month after he took over for a sixth time as prime minister. Appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resolve an economic crisis that has nearly emptied the country's foreign exchange reserves, Wickremesinghe was sworn in after days of violent protests last month forced his predecessor, Rajapaksa's brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, to step down and seek safety from angry crowds at a naval base.

Sri Lanka has amassed $51 billion in foreign debt, but has suspended repayment of nearly $7 billion due this year. The crushing debt has left the country with no money for basic imports, which means citizens are struggling to access basic necessities such as food, fuel, medicine - even toilet paper and matches. The shortages have spawned rolling power outages, and people have been forced to wait days for cooking gas and gasoline in lines that stretch for kilometers (miles).

Two weeks ago, the country bought a 90,000-metric-ton (99,000-ton) shipment of Russian crude to restart its only refinery, the energy minister told reporters.

Wickremesinghe did not comment directly on those reports, and said he did not know whether more orders were in the pipeline. But he said Sri Lanka desperately needs fuel, and is currently trying to get oil and coal from the country's traditional suppliers in the Middle East.

"If we can get from any other sources, we will get from there. Otherwise (we) may have to go to Russia again," he said.

Officials are negotiating with private suppliers, but Wickremesinghe said one issue they face is that "there is a lot of oil going around which can be sourced back informally to Iran or to Russia."

"Sometimes we may not know what oil we are buying," he said. "Certainly we are looking at the Gulf as our main supply."

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, global oil prices have skyrocketed. While Washington and its allies are trying to cut financial flows supporting Moscow's war effort, Russia is offering its crude at a steep discount, making it extremely enticing to a number of countries.

Like some other South Asian nations, Sri Lanka has remained neutral on the war in Europe.

Sri Lanka has received and continues to reach out to numerous countries for help - including the most controversial, China, currently the country's third-largest creditor. Opposition figures have accused the president and the former prime minister of taking on a slew of Chinese loans for splashy infrastructure projects that have since failed to generate profit, instead adding to the country's debt.

Critics have also pointed to a beleaguered port in the hometown of then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Hambantota, built along with a nearby airport as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative projects, saying they cost too much and do too little for the economy.

"We need to identify what are the projects that we need for economic recovery and take loans for those projects, whether it be from China or from others," Wickremesinghe said. "It's a question of where do we deploy the resources?"

The prime minister said his government has been talking with China about restructuring its debts. Beijing had earlier offered to lend the country more money but balked at cutting the debt, possibly out of concern that other borrowers would demand the same relief.

"China has agreed to come in with the other countries to give relief to Sri Lanka, which is a first step," Wickremesinghe said. "This means they all have to agree (on) how the cuts are to take place and in what manner they should take place."

Sri Lanka is also seeking financial assistance from the World Food Program, which may send a team to the country soon, and Wickremesinghe is banking on a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. But even if approved, he doesn't expect to see money from the package until October onwards.

Wickremesinghe acknowledged that the crisis in Sri Lanka has been of its "own making." Many have blamed government mismanagement, deep tax cuts in 2019, policy blunders that devastated crops and a sharp plunge in tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he also stressed that the war in Ukraine, which has thrown global supply chains into a tailspin and pushed fuel and food prices to unaffordable levels, has made things much worse.

"The Ukraine crisis has impacted our ... economic contraction," he said, adding that he thinks the economy will shrink even further before the country can begin to recoup and rebuild next year.

"I think by the end of the year, you could see the impact in other countries" as well, he said. "There is a global shortage of food. Countries are not exporting food."

In Sri Lanka, the price of vegetables has jumped threefold while the country's rice cultivation is down by about a third, the prime minister said.

The shortages have affected both the poor and the middle classes, triggering months of protests. Mothers are struggling to get milk to feed their babies, as fears of a looming hunger crisis grow.

Wickremesinghe said he felt terrible watching his nation suffer, "both as a citizen and a prime minister."

He said he hasn't ever seen anything like this in Sri Lanka - and didn't think he ever would. "I have generally been in governments where I ensured people had three meals and their income increased," he said. "We've had difficult times. ... But not like this. I have not seen ... people without fuel, without food."

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இந்திய நிவாரண பொதிகளை விநியோகிக்கும் பணிகள் ஆரம்பம்

May 30 2022 , Written by lankatime

இந்திய நிவாரண பொதிகளை விநியோகிக்கும் பணிகள் ஆரம்பம்

இந்தியாவினால் இலங்கைக்கு வழங்கப்பட்ட நிவாரணப் பொதிகள் இன்றைய தினம் யாழ்ப்பாணத்திற்கு கொண்டு வரப்பட்டு சம்பிரதாய பூர்வமாக விநியோகிக்கும் பணிகளும் ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டது.

இன்று காலை 8.30 மணியளவில் யாழ்ப்பாணம் புகையிரத நிலையத்திற்கு வந்த நிவாரணப் பொதிகள் சம்பிரதாயபூர்வமாக பொதுமக்களுக்கும் விநியோகிக்கப்பட்டது.

யாழ்ப்பாணத்துக்கான இந்திய துணைத் தூதர் ராகேஷ் நடராஜ் ஜெயபாஸ்கரன் சம்பிரதாயபூர்வமாக நிவாரணப் பொதியை யாழ் மாவட்ட அரசாங்க அதிபர் கணபதிப்பிள்ளை மகேசனிடம் கையளிக்கப்பட்டது.

இந்நிகழ்வில் யாழ் மாவட்ட செயலக அதிகாரிகள், இந்திய துணை தூதரக அதிகாரிகள், பிரதேச செயலர்கள் கிராம சேவகர் உள்ளிட்ட பலரும் கலந்து கொண்டனர்

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யுடியூப்பர் கார்த்திக்கோபிநாத் திடீர் கைது: ஒரு கண்ணில் வெண்ணெய் மறு கண்ணில் சுண்ணாம்பு வைக்கும் தமிழக போலீஸ்

May 30 2022 , Written by lankatime

யுடியூப்பர் கார்த்திக்கோபிநாத் திடீர் கைது: ஒரு கண்ணில் வெண்ணெய் மறு கண்ணில் சுண்ணாம்பு வைக்கும் தமிழக போலீஸ்

சென்னை: பிரபல அரசியல் விமர்சகரும், இளைய பாரதம் என்ற யுடியூப் சேனல் நடத்தும் கார்த்திக் கோபிநாத்தை, ஆவடி மிட்டனமல்லியில் உள்ள அவருடைய ஸ்டுடியோவில் வைத்து ஆவடி மத்திய குற்றப்பிரிவு துணை கமிஷனர் பெருமாள், உதவி கமிஷனர் கந்தக்குமார் ஆகியோர் அவசர கதியில் கைது செய்து கமிஷனர் அலுவலகத்திற்கு அழைத்துச் சென்றுள்ளனர். தொடர்ந்து விசாரணை நடந்து வருகிறது.

கார்த்திக் கோபிநாத் மற்ற யடியூப்பர்களை போல் இல்லாமல், நாகரீகமாகவும் விருப்பு வெறுப்பு இன்றியும் தமிழக அரசியலை விமர்சனம் செய்பவர். ஆளுங்கட்சி மீது விமர்சனம் வைத்தாலும், தனது கருத்துகளை நாகரீகமாக பதிவு செய்பவர். எந்த சூழ்நிலையிலும் அநாகரீகமான வார்த்தைகளையோ, ஆபாசமான கருத்துகளையோ கூறாதவர். இவர் சமீபகாலமாக, ஆளும் திமுக அரசு பற்றி விமர்சனம் செய்து வந்தார்.

அவரை ஆவடி போலீசார், திடீர் என கைது செய்து கமிஷனர் அலுவலகத்திற்கு அழைத்து சென்றுள்ளனர். அவரிடம் தொடர்ந்து விசாரணை நடந்து வருகிறது. அவர் மீது என்ன குற்றச்சாட்டுகளை வைத்து வழக்கை ஜோடிக்கலாம் என்று நீண்ட நேரம் போலீசார் ஆலோசித்ததாக தெரிகிறது.

இதற்கு காரணம், ஆளும் கட்சியை விமர்சனம் செய்ததற்காக சிலர் கைது செய்யப்பட்டதை கோர்ட் ஏற்கவில்லை. ஏனெனில், கைது செய்ததற்காக வலுவான காரணங்களை போலீசாரால் நிரூபிக்க முடியவில்லை. இதனால், கோர்ட்டின் கண்டனத்திற்கும் போலீசார் ஆளாகி, கைது செய்யப்பட்டவர்களை விடுவிக்க வேண்டிய சூழ்நிலைக்கு தள்ளப்பட்டனர்.

இது குறித்து பெயர் குறிப்பிட விரும்பாத போலீஸ் அதிகாரி ஒருவர் கூறும்போது, ‛‛கார்த்திக் கோபிநாத் விஷயத்தில் கோர்ட்டிடம் குட்டு வாங்கக் கூடாது என்பதில் ஆவடி போலீஸ் கவனமாக இருக்கிறது. கோர்ட்டின் கண்டனத்திற்கு ஆளாகாமல் கார்த்திக் கோபிநாத்தை எந்த சட்டப்பிரிவுகளின் கீழ் கைது செய்யலாம் என்று போலீசார் ஆலோசித்து வருகின்றனர். இந்த ஆலோசனைக்கு பிறகு தான் அவர் மீது பண மோசடி வழக்கு போடப்பட்டிருக்கலாம் '' என்றார்.

சமூக ஆர்வலர்கள் சிலர் கூறும்போது, ‛‛அரசியல் விமர்சகர்கள் விஷயத்தில் போலீசார் ஒருதலைப்பட்சமாக நடக்கின்றனர். சிதம்பரம் நடராஜர் பற்றி அநாகரீகமாகவும், ஆபாசமாகவும் கருத்து தெரிவித்த யடியூப்பர்களை கைது செய்ய வேண்டும் என்று சிவனடியார்கள் நுாற்றுக்கணக்கில் கூடி போராடினர். ஆனால், போலீசார் கண்டுகொள்ளவில்லை. ஆனால், ஆளுங்கட்சியை நாகரீகமாக விமர்சனம் செய்த கார்த்திக்கோபிநாத்தை அவசர கதியிலும், அதிவேகத்திலும் கைது செய்துள்ளனர். இவரை கைது செய்த வேகத்தை, தொடர்ந்து ஹிந்து மதம் மீது அவதுாறுகளை பரப்பும் மற்ற விமர்சகர்களிடம் ஏன் போலீஸ் காட்டுவதில்லை. ஆளும் திமுக அரசு, இந்த விஷயத்தில் ஒரு கண்ணில் வெண்ணெயும் மறு கண்ணில் சுண்ணாம்பும் வைப்பது அப்பட்டமாக தெரிகிறது. இது கடும் கண்டனத்திற்கு உரியது'' என்றனர்.

Dinamalar

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the Minister of Finance before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

May 25 2022 , Written by lankatime

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the Minister of Finance before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gets finance ministry portfolio

He was given the post at a time when the crisis-hit island nation is discussing restructuring of its debt with the International Monetary Fund.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn-in as the finance minister of the island nation on Wednesday, PTI reported, citing an official statement.

Wickremesinghe's appointment as the finance minister came at a time when Sri Lanka is discussing restructuring of its debt with the International Monetary Fund.

Sri Lanka had approached the International Monetary Fund for a bailout after announcing that it would default on its entire external debt worth $51 billion (over 3.88 lakh crore Indian rupees).

A country's external debt pertains to the money borrowed by it from foreign lenders through commercial banks, governments or international financial institutions. Debt restructuring allows a company or a nation in financial distress to reduce or renegotiate lower interest rates on loans taken or extend payment due dates.

The island nation is battling its most devastating economic crisis since 1948. An inflation rate spiralling towards 40% along with shortages of medicines, milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essential items have sparked nationwide protests. Nine persons have been killed in violent clashes between government supporters and protestors.

The economic crisis had forced Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign as the prime minister on May 9. Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the prime minister on May 12. A new Cabinet was appointed in the following week, except for the finance minister.

On May 16, Wickremesinghe had allowed authorities to print money to pay state-sector employees. However, he had warned that this would lead to the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee.

The government will soon present a new alternative budget, he has said.

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Sri Lanka economic crisis: No-trust vote against Lankan govt on the cards; Oppn claims it has numbers in Parliament

April 26 2022 , Written by lankatime

Sri Lanka economic crisis: No-trust vote against Lankan govt on the cards; Oppn claims it has numbers in Parliament

Colombo: A Sri Lankan dissident lawmaker, fired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the Cabinet for his critical views, claimed on Monday that the Opposition has crossed the 113-mark required to win a no-trust motion against the government in the 225-member Parliament.

President Gotabaya, facing fierce public protests against his government's mishandling of the country's worst economic crisis, had said that he would hand over the government to any group that could muster 113 seats but would not step down from the presidency.

Udaya Gammanpila, who held the energy ministry portfolio before being sacked by Gotabaya Rajapaksa along with industry minister Wimal Weerawansa for openly criticising then finance minister and the president's younger brother Basil Rajapaksa, is advocating an all-party interim government with the resignation of prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Gammanpila said that with enough numbers of MPs breaking away from the government and with support from the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Marxist Janatha Vikmuthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), they are assured of winning the no-trust vote. "We told the SJB to wait till we could get 113, now we have 120," he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has not informed any group that he will resign from the premiership as he still has the majority in Parliament, senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) told the Daily Mirror newspaper. Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his discussions with Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) members, independent and religious groups, had not discussed his resignation as he still has over 100 seats in Parliament, the PMO said, responding to claims by Gammanpila that 120 MPs were now supporting the no-confidence motion against the premier after he informed that he was ready to step down.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the powerful Buddhist clergy, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that while he respects the advice of the clergy, the changes, if any, in the system of governance must be made in line with the specified constitutional provisions.

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India agreed to extend $500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel

April 23 2022 , Written by lankatime

India agreed to extend $500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel

New Delhi: Sri Lankans shout slogans at the ongoing protest site against the economic crisis outside the president's office in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Colombo:India has agreed to extend an additional USD 500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel, Finance Minister Ali Sabry said, amid delays in chalking out a bailout package with the IMF to mitigate the dire financial crisis facing the island nation.

Sri Lanka has been struggling to pay for imports after its foreign exchange reserves plummeted sharply in recent times, causing a devaluation of its currency and spiralling inflation.

"India has agreed to provide an additional USD 500 million for our fuel imports," Sabry said on Friday, while adding that he was hopeful that New Delhi would consider handing out another USD 1 billion dollars as a credit line.

India has already agreed to defer USD 1.5 billion in import payments that Sri Lanka needs to make to the Asian Clearing Union.

On Friday, New Delhi has also extended the tenure of a USD 400 million swap given in January this year, the Indian High Commission said.

Sabry is currently in Washington to negotiate a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The finance minister said that talks have begun on an Extended Fund Facility, but the finer details of the programme are yet to be finalised.

Sri Lanka needs at least USD 4 billion to tide over its mounting economic woes, and Sabry has been holding talks with international institutions such as the World Bank as well as countries like China and Japan for financial assistance.

"It will be a difficult period in the next nine months. During that time there is a need to bring in more investments in US dollars into the central bank. We are talking with several countries. If these efforts are successful, and if investment of about USD 2 billion comes to the central bank, it will help stop the depreciation and stabilise the rupee," Sabry said.

On April 12, Sri Lanka suspended its debt servicing for the first time in its history.

Last week, the Sri Lankan government said it would temporarily default on USD 35.5 billion in foreign debt as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine made it impossible to make payments to overseas creditors.

Sri Lanka has been witnessing mass anti-government protests in recent weeks as it suffers food shortages, soaring fuel prices and major power cuts due to the unprecedented financial crisis.

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Colombo: Economic crisis: Sri Lankan President appoints 17 ministers in Cabinet to firefight crisis Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday appointed 17 Cabinet Ministers even while anti-government protests continue to pick steam following the economic and political crisis in the country. The new Ministers have been appointed with the aim to ensure the smooth functioning of the adminis

April 18 2022 , Written by lankatime

Colombo: Economic crisis: Sri Lankan President appoints 17 ministers in Cabinet to firefight crisis  Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday appointed 17 Cabinet Ministers even while anti-government protests continue to pick steam following the economic and political crisis in the country.  The new Ministers have been appointed with the aim to ensure the smooth functioning of the adminis

Colombo: Economic crisis: Sri Lankan President appoints 17 ministers in Cabinet to firefight crisis

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday appointed 17 Cabinet Ministers even while anti-government protests continue to pick steam following the economic and political crisis in the country.

The new Ministers have been appointed with the aim to ensure the smooth functioning of the administration. They were sworn in at the President's house.

This is the third Cabinet reshuffle carried out by President Rajapaksa.

While the new Cabinet consists of eight former Ministers, it will have a number of new faces, Colombo Page reported.

On April 3, the entire cabinet of 26 Ministers except for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from their respective portfolios amidst the worst economic crisis in the island's history.

On the next day, President Rajapaksa had appointed four Ministers to maintain the legitimacy and stability of Parliament and other functions of the country.

The island nation is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power cuts affecting a large number of the people, resulting in massive protests over the government's handling of the situation.

Sri Lanka's economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the crash of the tourism sector.

Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.

The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in a special address to the nation had requested people to remain patient and stop taking to the streets in order to enable the government to resolve the situation.

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