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June 29, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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UN General Assembly elects new Security Council members. Image credit - palinchak / depositphotos

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Sri Lanka formally applies for GSP+

The government has submitted its formal application for regaining GSP+ benefits on 28 June and is optimistic that Brexit would have no immediate impact on the Sri Lankan economy.

The Deputy Foreign Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva, expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would regain its GSP+ status in eight months. However, the UK’s exit from the EU would result in reduced GSP+ gains, as the UK accounts for almost 40% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU.

Sri Lanka Human Capital Summit to be held

A collaboration of public and private organizations is scheduled to host the Sri Lanka Human Capital Summit in August. The event is supported by the International Labour Organization, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank.

The Summit will focus on the development of a national agenda to tackle human resource challenges faced by the tourism, manufacturing, construction, foreign employment, logistics, and service sectors. The Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.

Sri Lanka strengthens ties with Europe

The Cabinet has approved the proposal of Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, to enter into an agreement with the government of Ukraine. The agreement focuses on trade relations and information exchange.

The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera, to establish a Consulate General in Nicosia, Cyprus to serve the 25,000 Sri Lankans residing in the country.


General Assembly elects new Security Council members

The UN General Assembly has elected Sweden, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan as new non-permanent members of the Security Council. Their two-year term will begin on 1 January 2017.

One Security Council seat for the 2017-2018 term remains vacant, after both Italy and the Netherlands received equal votes. The two countries proposed to split the two-year term, with Italy taking the seat in 2017 and the Netherlands taking over in 2018. The newly-elected countries will replace Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, and Venezuela.

Preparations for Rio Olympics remain uncertain

The acting Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, has stated that his state is yet to receive the recently approved USD 850 million federal funding to increase security and transportation for the 2016 Olympics.

The request for funds came after the declaration of a state of financial emergency by the Governor. On 27 June, police officials staged a strike at Rio’s international airport, warning visitors that they ‘will not be safe’ amidst budget cuts in numerous sectors, including the police department.

Netherlands seeks Ukrainian commitment over association agreement

The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, has requested the EU to provide ‘legally binding’ assurances to address Dutch concerns over a trade and association agreement with Ukraine.

The Netherlands is the only EU state not to have ratified the deal, after a referendum held in April showed that 64% of Dutch voters rejected the agreement in its present form. The Prime Minister said that if the concerns were not addressed, the Netherlands would block the agreement.

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