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British Ayurveda Medical Council established in the UK

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By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

The untiring efforts of three Sri Lankan medical professionals saw the establishment of the British Ayurveda Medical Council in the United Kingdom recently.

Thanks to the initiative of Shantha Godagama, Mauroof Athique and Palitha Serasinghe, the project has now become a reality.

The Council has a ten-member expert advisory board chaired by Dr. Godagama, two professors, research scientists and three highly qualified Western medical specialists with a keen interest in Ayurveda.

Dr. Godagama said the British government set up three committees over the past 30 years, including a Parliamentary Select Committee on regulation of Ayurveda and the Prince of Wales Foundation of Integrated Health headed by Prince Charles himself, to draft a report to ascertain whether Ayurveda medicine can be included in the National Health Service.

The final government report submitted by Professor David Walker, Deputy Chief Medical Officer in the UK, highlighted the importance of a self-regulatory body to win public confidence and to provide safe and high quality service in the UK”, he said.

‘We are now one step closer to seeing Ayurveda in the National Health Service in the near future. There has been tremendous interest for Ayurveda treatment from the British public and more Western doctors are joining the College of Ayurveda as they are of the view that it is the way forward for the safe practice of medicine in treating diseases”, he further said.

He said that both the Sri Lankan and Indian High Commissions extended their support. He expressed his gratitude to Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London, Saroja Sirisena and the Trade Commissioner, Dr. Lakmini Mendis for their assistance.

Dr. Godagama is the founder president of the Ayurvedic Medical Association in the UK. He was the first-ever adviser on Ayurveda for the British government and worked for 15 years with the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority and was involved in licensing herbal medicinal products under new licensing law.

He has also worked closely with Prince Charles, who believes that Ayurveda can be a therapeutic modality available under the National Health Service soon.

Dr. Godagama has been awarded ‘Glory of India’ and ‘Bharat Gaurav Award’ as well as ‘Ayurveda Rattan’ from the House of Lords.

Dr. Athique, a graduate from the Colombo Ayurveda College, obtained postgraduate qualifications from Harvard University in the USA. Earlier, he worked as the Director of Nursing at University of Northampton.

Dr. Serasinghe has a postgraduate qualification from King’s College London and worked as a senior lecturer at Faculty of Ayurveda in Colombo.



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AG turns down plum diplomatic post, keeps his options open

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… offer made after Canada rejected ex-Air Force Chief as High Commissioner

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, scheduled to retire later this month, has kept his options open by turning down a government offer of a plum diplomatic post. The Island learns that the government has made the offer in writing.

The offer came in the wake of Canada refusing to accept the appointment of retired Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias as the High Commissioner to Ottawa. Canada, a key member of Sri Lanka Core Group at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) asserted that the retired Air Force Chief couldn’t be accommodated due to war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan military.

Subsequently, Air Marshal Dias was named as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Italy, a member of the European Union (EU) backing Geneva moves against the war winning military. EU is also represented in the Sri Lanka Core Group led by the UK.

The Canadian High Commission in Colombo declined to comment on the issue saying, “… It is subject to state-to-state confidentiality.”

The AG’s Office told The Island that the President’s Counsel de Livera, having appreciated the offer of high profile diplomatic posting, has informed the Office of the President, in writing, of his intention to serve the people further.

The AG has received the offer before the all-party parliamentary High Posts Committee (HPC) chaired by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena cleared the appointment. However, HPC’s approval is routine with successive governments seeking its consent after having made the announcement.

Authoritative sources said that the Constitution allowed the AG and IGP to serve in same capacity even after reaching the retirement age consequent to the enactment of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution last October. The 19th Amendment made it mandatory for the IGP and the AG to retire at 60.

There has been no previous instance of a top public servant giving up an opportunity to serve as head of a top diplomatic mission.

The then Additional Solicitor General and President’s Counsel de Livera captured public attention during the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI/January 2017-Dec 2017)) into Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016 before being appointed as the Solicitor General in Feb 2018. A week after April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, de Livera, received the appointment as Acting AG before being cleared by the Constitutional Council on May 7.

Livera succeeded Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, who was elevated to the post of Chief Justice.

Following the change of government in Nov 2019, SLPP administration recalled heads of missions to pave the way for new appointments. In addition to the offer made to the incumbent AG, the only other person from legal fraternity to receive diplomatic posting was one-time Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, PC, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in New York.

The change in the Office of the AG takes place amidst two high profile cases-Treasury bond scams and Easter Sunday carnage, both perpetrated during the previous administration.

Sources said that the Easter Sunday case had taken a new turn with the unprecedented stand taken by Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera that anyone detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) shouldn’t be allowed to participate in parliamentary proceedings. The Minister’s position contradicted the incumbent AG’s recent instructions issued to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and Samagi Jana Balavegaya Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen could attend parliament without any hindrance.

In spite of the consensus among the Speaker’s Office, AG and the CID as regards MP Bathiudeen’s participation in the parliamentary proceedings on May 4 and 5, Minister Weerasekera intervened. The Minister on Wednesday appealed to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to reconsider his request to prohibit PTA suspects attending parliament.

 

 

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Amaraweera to take on Unilever

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By Ifham Nizam

The Environment Ministry would suspend the environmental licences of the multinational company that violated the laws banning the sale of plastic sachets, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said.

Unilever has manufactured and distributed 24-gram sachets of shampoo in defiance of the ban on plastics and polythene. Amaraweera said: “This company has tried to use loopholes in the laws. We will take action against it.

“According to the powers vested in me as the Minister, I can impose additional regulations to plug any loopholes. This multinational company will have to face the consequences of its actions.”

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Dr. Godahewa calls for tightening of laws to halt destruction of environment

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There was an urgent need to amend the existing laws to prevent the destruction of the environment and to conserve the ocean and coastal resources, State Minister for Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said yesterday at the 6th National Ocean Resources Summit 2020/21.

National Ocean Resources Summit 2020/21 under the theme “Ocean-Based Solutions and Policy Frame Works for Enhanced Clinical Action and Blue Economy” was held in Colombo.

A government media release said: Speaking at the summit, State Minister Dr. Godahewa said “Oceans belong to the citizens. Hence all citizens have the responsibility to protect our oceans. When we use our land as well as ocean resources, we ought to have our future generations in mind.”

State minister invited all citizens to safeguard the ocean resources. He added that Sri Lankan beaches were strewn with plastic waste.

“Where does this waste come from? These polluting is not being done by the people who come to the beaches. They also pollute a little. But more than 70% of the plastic and other waste come through rivers and canals. Hence it is necessary to create awareness amongst people living inlands. If we educate them about this aspect, I believe they will refrain from polluting rivers and canals,” he said.

State Minister Godahewa said people in general care for the environment. However, most are not aware of the unintentional damage they are causing. Thus, the government must try to increase awareness among the masses.

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