Thursday, August 18, 2022

Sri Lanka crisis: ex-FM Basil Rajapaksa stopped from leaving country


Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former finance minister and younger brother of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was turned back at Colombo airport on Tuesday as he attempted to leave the country through the VIP terminal, an immigration officer said, amid mounting anger against the powerful family for mishandling the worst economic crisis.
Basil Rajapaksa, 71, tried to leave the crisis-hit island nation, a day before Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is expected to publicly announce President Rajapaksa’s resignation to the nation.
President Rajapaksa signed on Monday his resignation letter, dated for July 13, and and it was later handed over to a senior government official who will give it to the Parliament Speaker. Basil, a US passport holder, resigned as finance minister in early April as street protests intensified against shortages of fuel, food and other necessities and quit his seat in parliament in June.
The Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Officers Association said its members declined to serve Basil at the VIP terminal of Colombo airport. “Due to the crisis situation in the country, it has been decided to withdraw from activities at the Silk Route/CIP passenger clearance activities until further notice,” the trade union said in a statement, according to Economy Next website.
“We decided to withdraw from serving the silk route passenger clearance terminal from mid night yesterday,” said K.A.S Kanugala, the chairman of the association.
He said the corrupt people were trying to leave the country using the service. The immigration officials objected to serve him at the VIP clearance line and even the passengers of the Emirates flight to Dubai had objected to his leaving. Basil is being widely held responsible for the country’s worst economic crisis which has heaped misery on the people.

No resignation till safe exit of family: Rajapaksa’s u-turn

In an unexpected turn of events, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has hinted he will not resign till his family gets a safe exit from the country, said sources. According to sources, negotiation is going on with the Opposition, but no party is willing to accept this suggestion so far.
Three days ago, the president spoke to the speaker and informed him that he would resign on Wednesday.
However, in the last 40 hours, he has not mentioned anything about his possible resignation on Wednesday.
Rajapaksa wants safe passage for him and his family to leave the country before sending his resignation.
If the President doesn’t resign tomorrow, the situation in Colombo is likely to escalate further, said sources. Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had fled his official residence in Colombo on Saturday moments before thousands of protesters broke through police barricades and stormed the compound seeking his resignation over the government’s failure to save the country’s economy.

Bread prices up by Rs 20, other items by Rs 10 in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

A man displays a loaf of bread to highlight the rising food prices outside the president’s office in Colombo.

The price of a 450 gram loaf of bread will be hiked by Rs 20 from midnight Wednesday while other bakery items will see a price increase of Rs 10 in crisis-hit Sri Lanka due to a spike in the cost of wheat flour, an industry association announced on Tuesday.
The decision to hike the prices was taken due to an increase in price of a kilogramme of wheat flour by Rs 32 on Monday, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror news website quoted the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association President N.K. Jayawardena as saying. A kilogramme of wheat flour previously priced at Rs 84.50 in the market is now sold at more than Rs 300, the association president explained. “The rupee value against the dollar does not exceed Rs 400, but the flour price has increased to Rs 300 in the local market and thereby the price of wheat flour has gone up by 400 per cent,” Jayawardena said. Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.


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