May 26, 2019
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    State Minister Eran Wickremeratne speaking on several allegations against the grant of USD 480 mn from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the US Government, pointed out that more than half of the loan amount will be used to develop a high-tech, comfortable Public Transportation system in the country. “I don’t know why some people speak against this loan. Most probably, because of ignorance. Or else, why would someone want to stop our people from getting a good transportation system? Of the USD 480 million we receive from MCC, USD 380 will be allocated for this transportation system. Private and CTB buses won’t be in competition anymore. Passengers will get electronic payment cards. It will have an electronic security surveillance system. Recent research reveals that 8 out of 10 women under go some sort of harassment when using public transportation. We would be able to minimize this issue with this system as well.” Wickremeratne pointed out.

    The Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) which accounts for 11.1 per cent of the asset base of the superannuation sector reported a healthy growth in 2018 in terms of assets. The ETF has around 14.6 million accounts, of which only 2.6 million were active, at end 2018. The number of employers contributing to the fund increased to 82,416, at end 2018 compared to 81,515 recorded at end 2017.

    A Sri Lankan man, believed to have connections with those involved in the Easter bombings that killed at least 250 people, was arrested in Myanmar on Thursday afternoon.Abdul Salam Irshad Mohmood, 39, was detained by police when he appeared at an immigration office in downtown Yangon to renew his visa.

    The arrest came after Myanmar Tourist Police’s request on Wednesday to the country’s Hotel and Tourism Department to report if the man had registered at hotels or guesthouses in the country. In Myanmar, hotels and guesthouses are operated on a license approved by the department.

    According to a letter sent out by the department to hotels and guesthouses, the suspect, a Sri Lankan citizen, arrived in Yangon on a tourist visa in January 2018. The letter also provides his passport number as well as his date of birth.

    An official from the Tourism Police said the arrest was made at 3:20 p.m. by police acting on the shared information of the suspect’s data. “Now he has been referred to the police’s Special Branch [for further investigation into his connections with the suicide bombings],” he added.

    The Tourist Police said Abdul Salam Irshad Mohmood has over-stayed (his tourist visa) for one year and two months.It is not clear whether Sri Lankan authorities tipped off the Myanmar government with the information that the suspect is in Myanmar.

    ( One of the Vatican's top officials has made an unheralded visit to Sri Lanka to show solidarity with Catholics still reeling from the Easter suicide bombings that claimed over 250 lives and injured more than 400.Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said during his three-day trip on May 22 that it was time to focus on rebuilding the nation.The cardinal condemned the April 21 bombings on a handful of luxury hotels and churches in the capital Colombo and Negombo by local extremists affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group as an attack on the nation as a whole, rather than being directed at Christians alone.

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