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Apparel community immunisation; 30% receive first dose

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80% expected to have first dose by August, and entire workforce before year end

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) says a major progress has been made in its efforts to safeguard workers and revitalise the industry, with approximately 30% of workers having received their first dose of COVID vaccines, as at the end June 2021.

JAAF Secretary General Tuli Cooray says the apparel industry has been able to achieve such progress with the help of Minister Namal Rajapaksa.

“Prior to this most recent mobilisation, only 5% of our workforce had been able to receive their first dose, owing to difficulties in securing vaccine supplies. However, during the last few weeks, the authorities have been able to partially vaccinate approximately one third of the entire apparel workforce. This is a tremendous step towards protecting the health of our workers, and we are deeply grateful to the authorities for having provided solutions to the issues we had previously raised pertaining to worker safety. The number of workers vaccinated in the Free Trade Zones is higher, and the rollout is now cascading across the country.

“The government has issued protocols that manufacturing companies and other industries must follow to ensure an infection-free environment. We are committed to the safety and welfare of our workers on the shop floor and everywhere else,” added Cooray. “It’s also in our national interest, and that of the families of our employees to get back to business as safely and quickly as we can.”

At the end of June 2021, approximately 30 per cent of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry workers, out of a total of 300,000 in the sector – were vaccinated against Covid-19.

Domestically, the apparel sector provides direct employment to approximately 300,000 Sri Lankans.

“Continuing at the same pace, we expect more than half of the workforce to receive their first jab within the next two weeks, and approximately 80% by August. If all goes as planned, by December, we should have nearly our entire workforce vaccinated, and safely back to work. This is very positive news for workers, their families and the communities they have helped to build up, as well as the industry and national economy as a whole,”.



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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