DAILY BRIEF: THURSDAY, 22ND DECEMBER 2016

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EU proposes countermeasures to terrorism financing. Image Credit - sashk0 / depositphotos

EU proposes countermeasures to terrorism financing. Image Credit - sashk0 / depositphotos

LOCAL NEWS

Thailand willing to strengthen tax collection process

Thailand’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Nopporn Adchariyavanich, has stated that his country is willing to assist Sri Lanka in strengthening tax collection procedures. The Ambassador shared these views during a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake.

Ambassador Adchariyavanich highlighted the need to identify and guide tax evaders, to ensure higher government revenue.  

Ministry of Defence hosts Japan-Sri Lanka Defence Dialogue

The Japan-Sri Lanka ‘Defence Dialogue 2016’ took place on 20 December at the Ministry of Defence. The discussion was led by the Japanese Vice Minister of Defence, Hiroyuki Miyazawa, and State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene.

During the discussion, Japan extended its support to enhance defence cooperation, and strengthen Sri Lanka’s maritime security. Vice Minister Miyazawa also proposed to provide a naval vessel and training to Sri Lanka in the future.

Government approves Chinese agreement on Hambantota Port

The Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama, has announced the approval of President Sirisena and the Cabinet for the Hambantota Port agreement with China Merchant Holdings.

Minister Samarawickrama confirmed that the Framework Agreement had already been signed, and that a concession agreement would be finalised in January 2017. The implementation of this agreement will grant China Merchant Holdings 80% of shares in the Hambantota Port, worth USD 1.12 billion.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

European Commission asks Poland to change its constitutional amendments

The Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, has given the Polish government two months to rewrite proposed amendments to its constitutional tribunal.

The Polish parliament previously passed eight pieces of legislation regarding the constitutional tribunal, which critics argue could minimise the court’s ability to hold the government to account. Vice President Timmermans expressed his concern about the independence of the tribunal.

Japan approves increase in defence budget

The Japanese government has approved a 1.4 percent increase in defence spending, to USD 43.66 billion. The increased spending enables an upgraded missile defence system, following advances in North Korea's ballistic missile programme, as well as construction of a new submarine.

The funding will also be used to boost coast guard capabilities, to help defend the disputed East China Sea.

EU proposes stricter controls on terrorism financing

The EU has proposed new measures to combat the financing of terrorism, including tightening controls on cash and transfers of precious metals. The measures form part of an EU "action plan against terrorist financing", unveiled after the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015.

The EU’s proposal also calls for greater cross-border judicial and police cooperation to combat money laundering.