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Australian video competition for Sri Lankan students launched

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Develop a short three minute video in English on a theme nominated by the partner university in Australia

Sri Lankan School students in Grades 9 – 12 with outstanding English language, analytical and video production skills are invited to participate in the Study Australia Video Competition.

Organised by The Australian Trade and Investment Commission, Australian Government, the competition is open to students in grades 9 to 12 from schools across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The Study Australia Video Competition will be held sfrom 21 September 2020 to 23 November 2020.

The Study Australia Video Competition involves production of short videos by students around the themes of:

·  Future of Work – What is your dream future job?

·  Where the Wild Things are: How COVID-19 has impacted the ecology of wildlife

·  Building circular cities

·  Lockdown Blues – Design an innovative solution that improves mental health for people facing increased stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

·  Responsible young innovators and entrepreneurs – how can the community benefit from your great ideas?

Background information about the themes developed by the participating Australian universities is available on the competition website.

Students can access the competition website – www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/India for more details about the competition.

Schools can nominate maximum of 20 teams. Each team can select only one theme with a team composition of two students and one member of the teaching staff.

Each winning team will receive a prize of three Mini Apple iPads (Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB) awarded by the partner Australian university.

The competition is sponsored by Macquarie University, The University of Queensland Australia, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia and University of Wollongong Australia, Allianz, NIB Health Funds and Synapse Medical Services.

Registration for the competition commenced on Monday, 21 September 2020 and the last date for the submission of competition video entries will be Monday, 23 November 2020.

Trade Commissioner – South Asia, Australian Trade and Investment Commission Stuart Rees said, “Australia offers a safe, inclusive, supportive environment for international students and is one of the most inspiring places in the world to study. Our education system is ranked among the best, recognised globally for its high quality and for giving international students the opportunity to achieve their ambitions. I invite more students from India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to study in Australia and be a part of our world class education system”.

For more information about the participation at the competition, please visit www.studyinaustralia.gov.au/India or e-mail Mr Kanishka Padidilian at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission at Kanishka.Padidilian@austrade.gov.au

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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