Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs proposed awarding the contract to M/S Taisei Corporation of Japan.Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank of Japan has agreed to provide funds of Japanese Yen 100 billion for the project and cabinet approved the proposal to award the contract to M/S Taisei Corporation of Japan. (Colombo Gazette) Cabinet has approved awarding the contract for the third phase of the Central Expressway project to a Japanese company.The third phase of the Central Expressway project will be from Pothuhera to Galagedera via Rambukkana covering a distance of 32.5km.
“I am gravely concerned over the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel,” said Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement.“I deeply regret the loss of life. It is imperative that all sides urgently step back from the brink of another devastating conflict”, he added.On 30 March this year, Palestinians in Gaza – controlled by Hamas, a militant Palestinian faction – started a mass protest against a blockade of the enclave imposed by Israel since the early 1990’s. The confrontation between the sides has since escalated.On Friday, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier and the Israeli military launched dozens of strikes that killed three Hamas fighters, according to media reports. A fourth Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during a protest near the border.In the statement, Mr. Guterres called on Hamas and other Palestinian militants in Gaza to cease the launching of rockets and incendiary kites and provocations along the enclave’s border fence. He also said Israel must exercise restraint to avoid further inflaming the situation.“Any further escalation will endanger the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike, deepen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and undermine current efforts to improve livelihoods and support the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza,” he said.The Secretary-General also encouraged all to engage with the UN, and particularly his Special Coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov, and work to find “a way out of this dangerous situation”.