Connect with us

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister's official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018.

Ishara S. Kodikara | AFP | Getty Images

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, center, speaks to supporters at the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo on December 16, 2018.

What might seem as a crisis averted in Sri Lanka — is actually far from being over and investors could potentially be underestimating the level of uncertainty in the country, an expert told CNBC.

The hostility between the country’s top two statesmen reached its peak in October when President Maithripala Sirisena fired Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, claiming the action was within his constitutional rights and swore in Mahinda Rajapaksa — a former president whose decade-long regime had a track record of suppressing free speech, intimidating minorities and harassing critics.

After that, Sirisena forced the country’s parliament into a three-week recess, stopping lawmakers from holding a no-confidence vote against Rajapaksa.

Last month, the country’s supreme court ruled that the president’s moves to dissolve parliament and prepare for snap elections were illegal and unconstitutional. Sirisena complied with court orders and reinstated Wickremsinghe as prime minister in mid December.

While that development seemed to be a return to the status quo, it is “at best an uneasy and fragile truce” explained Sasha Riser-Kositsky, senior analyst at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

“What I think is under appreciated by a number of investors is how fragile things still are. The relationship between the prime minister and the president is fundamentally broken. The president has now shown that he is willing to take pretty out-there unconstitutional actions, there’s nothing preventing him (from doing) something like this again,” Riser-Kositsky said.

The country is set for its political divisions to yet again come to a head during presidential elections that are expected to occur in late 2019 and the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for the 2020.

“It’s going to be a pretty rocky and tumultuous time through the next elections. Governance rarely works when the two most senior figures in government despise one another. And one is continuously seeking means to undermine the other,” he said.

“It does not make for stability or policy making. And that’s the scenario investors will confront in Sri Lanka for much, if not all, of 2019,” he added.

The country has already suffered some economic repercussions: Reports said the country’s financial sector and tourism industry have taken a hit following the political crisis.

Source link

World

EU leaders issue ultimatum to Britain over no-deal Brexit

Published

on

May, who had asked to be able to delay Britain’s departure until June 30, said British lawmakers now faced a “clear choice.”

They could either support her Brexit deal, deliver on the referendum result and exit the EU in an “orderly manner” or face the prospect of having to stand candidates in the European Parliamentary elections three years after a small but clear majority voted for Brexit.

On Thursday, EU leaders spent seven hours discussing a host of options regarding Brexit, saying that while they regret the country’s decision to leave, they are eager to move on with the process.

Eventually, the bloc decided a May 22 departure date would apply if Parliament rallies behind the prime minister next week. Otherwise, Britain must decide whether to offer a new plan or leave the EU without a deal on April 12.

“In case of no vote (in Parliament)… it will guide everybody to a no-deal for sure,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Thursday.

“This is it. We are ready,” Macron said.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Electric taxis in Oslo to be charged using wireless technology

Published

on

Taxis in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, are set to use wireless fast-charging technology to keep them running.

In an announcement Thursday, Finnish energy firm Fortum said it would work with the City of Oslo and Momentum Dynamics, a U.S. company, to build the system.

The project will use induction technology, with charging plates installed in areas where taxis, which will carry a receiver for the charging, park.

“We will install the wireless chargers at taxi stands, such as the one at… Oslo Central Station,” Annika Hoffner, the head of Fortum Charge and Drive, said in a statement.

“Taxis will be able to drive up to the charger and a wireless charging session will automatically start,” Hoffner added, explaining that taxis could charge while waiting for new customers.

The rollout of a wireless charging system in Oslo is part of a wider transition to cleaner types of transport in the country.

In 2018, there were 46,143 new passenger car registrations for battery electric vehicles in Norway, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Sture Portvik, electric mobility manager for the City of Oslo, said that all taxis in Oslo would be zero-emission from 2023.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Swedbank board reaffirms support in CEO after money-laundering report

Published

on

Swedbank‘s board has continued confidence in the bank’s chief executive after seeing the results of an external report into its alleged involvement in money-laundering in the Baltics, the head of the company’s board said on Friday.

“After reviewing the FRA Update, the board confirms its continued confidence in the CEO and her ability to lead and manage the bank’s work in the fight against money laundering,” Swedbank chairman Lars Idermark said in the statement.

Still, the board said it would also conduct a deeper review in cooperation with the “relevant authorities”, without specifying which ones.

Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA) was hired by Swedbank last month to investigate allegations in the media that at least 40 billion Swedish crowns ($4.3 bln) of suspicious payments moved between accounts held at its Baltic branches and suspect accounts at Danske Bank between 2007-2015.

Swedbank is one of several banks pulled into a widening scandal engulfing Danske Bank, whose Estonian branch was used for some 200 billion euros ($227 billion) of suspicious payments between 2007 and 2015.

The FRA report, published by Swedbank but redacted in parts, focused on the 50 clients identified in a media report by Swedish Television.

It did not include findings of a previous internal and undisclosed report or cover allegations made by activist fund manager Bill Browder.

Swedbank said it would continue to strengthen its anti money-laundering capabilities.

“I have also decided to establish a specialized Financial Crime Intelligence Unit to secure a continued focused approach as criminal behaviour develops over time,” Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen said in the statement.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending