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10 jackals killed to prevent rabies in Milleniya

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by Ifham Nizam

Ten Sri Lankan jackals (Canis aereus naria) have been killed so far with the assistance of the police to prevent rabies in Milleniya, Horana in the Kalutata distinct, a senior official of the Department of Wildlife Conservation said.

“There was no option but to kill the rabies- infected jackals”, he noted.

“We were very systematic in our approach. We don’t like to kill animals but it was beyond our control and with the Covid-19 spread in most parts of the country, we had to act fast,” the official said.

However, villagers were not given the authority to carry out the task, he said. “Some animals did have natural deaths due to rabies infection.”

When jackals are infected with rabies, they have a tendency to attack people and animals, the official explained. “Otherwise, they are generally very shy, especially when it comes to people.”

The threat is under control now, though there’s an ongoing battle between the villagers and jackals especially at nights and early in the morning, he further said.

The Sri Lanka jackal (Canis aereus naria), a subspecies of the golden jackal, is the country’s only wild canid.

Jackals are widespread hunters and scavengers; thus, animal activists strongly believe any attempt to cull them would lead to ecological imbalances across its range.

An animal activist said the Wildlife Department failed to take timely action to neutralize the threat. “This led to dozens of jackals being killed. We were told villagers in Milleniya are now carrying out frequent attacks”.

Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, according to the World Health Organization. It accounts for nearly 99 per cent of all rabies transmissions to humans globally.

Dog bites account for about 96 per cent of all animal bites in Sri Lanka, while another 2% come through domesticated cats. Wild animals accounted only for two per cent of reported cases.

Reported cases of rabies in different species in Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2014, based on data from the government’s Medical Research Institute (MRI) and the Department of Animal Production and Health, had not included jackals in the list of 18 animals.

The jackals with rabies in Milleniya must have contracted the disease from dogs, an expert says.

Veterinarians will inoculate the dogs in the area, Director of Wildlife at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Dr. Tharaka Prasad told The Sunday Island.

“We have found dogs with rabies in the area and the jackals must have contracted rabies from them. We are confident the vaccination program could be completed soon. We have ruled out the use of a rabies bait vaccine (a sachet containing a rabies vaccine) for the jackals as it would lead to other complications’, he added.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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