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AG suspends consultations with public officers in areas under corona curfew

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… countrywide curfew unlikely as Year 5 Scholarship and GCE AL exams on

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, has directed that his officers refrain from dealing with government servants and police officers currently serving in areas where a curfew has been imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19

The Attorney General’s Office yesterday (9) afternoon announced the unprecedented measure as the government battled what a section of the media called the Brandix cluster.

Coordinating Officer to AG de Livera, Attorney-at-law Nishara Jayaratne told The Island officers would refrain from consultations as a precautionary measure. Since a 39-year-old female employee of Brandix garment manufacturing facility reported positive last Sunday (4), police headquarters imposed curfew in Gampaha, Ganemulla, Kiridiwela, Dompe, Malwathuhiripitiya, Mirigama, Nittambuwa, Pugoda, Veyangoda, Minuwangoda, Weeragula, Weliweriya, Pallewela, Yakkala, Ja-ela, Kandana, Divulapitiya and Seeduwa.

There is a likelihood of the AG extending the suspension in case police headquarters brought more areas under curfew.

So far, the health ministry had reported nearly 1,100 positive cases whereas several thousands were quarantined in military run facilities, hotels as well as in their own homes.

Well informed sources told The Island a substantial number of Brandix workers had been affected by the time the first detection was made. Therefore, an inquiry was needed as over1,000 couldn’t have been affected under any circumstances within four or five days, sources said.

Responding to another query, sources emphasized that random tests conducted on those having flu led to the first detection over the last weekend. If not for the chance detection, the situation would have been far worse, sources said.

Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi told the first media briefing following the ‘Brandix eruption’ last Sunday (4) that government health sector made the chance detection. Her statement contradicted the first Brandix statement that the detection was made by them.

The Attorney’s General announced restrictions in the wake of the entire police contingent deployed at the Munuwangoda police being quarantined after a food supplier to the station tested corona positive. Minuwangoda police station didn’t function on Thursday.

 Sources pointed out that the Brandix eruption had taken place days before the chance detection. This was proved by the food supplier to the Minuwangoda police station being infected by his son, an employee at the Brandix facility, sources said. They said that Brandix workers had been tested positive in many districts, including Jaffna, outside Gampaha as they were allowed to go on leave until the chance detection was made over the last weekend.

Police spokesman and attorney-at-law DIG Ajith Rohana yesterday said that there had been 85 personnel there at the time the food supplier tested positive. “We moved there 80 new officers and men to resume operations. In addition to personnel who had been brought from police stations within the Gampaha Division, men were called from police training facilities at Kalutara, Nikaweratiya, Boralanda, Elpitiya, Pahalagama and Kundasale,” DIG Rohana said. Those who had been previously at the Minuwangoda station were in the process of undergoing RT PCR tests, the police spokesman said.

Earlier, the Army decided to postpone the Army Day parade at the Galle Face due to the Corona outbreak.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union, in a letter to Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday urged the government to take maximum possible precautions to ensure the safety of those sitting the Year Five Scholarship Examination scheduled to be held on Oct 11 and the GCE Advanced Level from Oct 12 to Nov 16 due to corona threat.

Sources said that contrary to claims that the government was to declare countrywide curfew in view of the deteriorating situation, the decision to go ahead with the Year 5 Scholarship Examination as well as resume the GCE Advanced Level as scheduled on Monday would prevent declaration of curfew.

 

 

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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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