Connect with us


Govt. trapped in its own strategies – SJB



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) lawmaker Mujibur Rahman yesterday (17) questioned the rationale behind Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekera’s announcement of banning the burqa and niqab.

This outburst came amidst former UNP Justice Minister Wijeyadasa  Rajapakse again, publicly this week, repeating the allegation that MP Rahman, too, was behind extremist Islamists.

Rahman said that the government owed an explanation regarding the handling of the issue at hand. “Have you ever heard of a Minister declaring to the media contents of a Cabinet paper before it is taken up?”, the former UNP MP asked.

Lawmaker Rahman said that the government should make its position clear on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) report on 2019 Easter Sunday attacks clear.

As regards the P CoI recommendation pertaining to the banning of burqa and niqab, the Public Security Minister declared his decision to immediately implement it whereas Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd.) Jayanath Colombage said the government was yet to take a decision with his eye on Geneva.

MP Rahman said that SLPP Chairman and Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris recent publicly declaring they had ly declared that the government would implement all P CoI recommendations except the banning of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). Prof. Peiris’ utterance echoed Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, who  publicly stated that they had no interest in banning any Buddhist organisation like the BBS.

The former Colombo District UNP MP Rahman asked whether Prof. Peiris was speaking on behalf of the SLPP or the government. The minister should explain how the controversial decision was made to ignore P CoI recommendations in respect of the BBS.

Rahman said that it was the prerogative of the Attorney General to take action on the basis of P CoI recommendations. The AG was not bound by those recommendations, the MP said, urging the government to address the post-Easter Sunday issues in a reasonable manner.

The Foreign Secretary’s response to Public Security Minister’s public declaration of burqa and niqab ban and the sudden meeting Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had with Pakistan High Commissioner in Colombo Major General (Retd.) Muhammad Saad Khattak following latter’s warning over the issue at hand.

The SJB spokesman alleged the government was busy causing turmoil. The invitation extended to Myanmar to participate in the BIMSTEC regardless of the recent military takeover there exposed insensitively of the current administration to developments here and abroad.

MP Rahman said that the Indian High Commission issuing unprecedented contradictions in respect of cabinet spokesman’s declaration on the proposed West Container Terminal (WCT) as well as planned take-over of Trincomalee oil tank farm revealed an extremely dicey situation. The MP alleged that the government seemed to be in turmoil, unable to tackle issues. Referring to the Core Group on Sri Lanka pushing for a new resolution at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) next week, lawmaker Rahman said that the government obviously played politics with the issue believing it could be exploited domestically regardless of the consequences.

Rahman alleged that every sector was in turmoil due to rampant mismanagement though ‘Pohottuwa’ leaders conveniently blamed Covid-19. The electorate quite early realized the incumbent government’s weakness, the MP said, adding that the ugly truth couldn’t be hidden by futile propaganda exercise.

The MP challenged the government to make its position clear on much publicized slaughter of cattle. The government last September declared ban on cattle slaughter as it wanted to divert public attention. The ban was never meant to be, the MP alleged, pointing out the decision announced by the Prime Minister was never implemented. Perhaps someone felt that media blitz over proposed ban on burqa could divert attention from massive scam in slashing duty on imported sugar. Acknowledging the accusations directed at his former party the UNP over Treasury bond scams perpetrated in Feb 2015 and March 2016, lawmaker Rahman said that the Committee of Public Finance (COPF) chaired and dominated by the SLPP found fault with the alleged scam. Rahman challenged the government to release the report received by the COPF from the Finance Ministry.

Both Treasury bond scams and massive sugar duty scam should prompt political parties to take remedial measures or face the consequences, he warned.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facilities for infected pregnant women inadequate – SLCOG



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The distribution and availability of high-flow oxygen machines to treat Covid-19 infected pregnant women were not adequate, President of the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (SLCOG,) Dr. Pradeep de Silva said yesterday.

Dr. de Silva said that while they had not yet faced any lack of oxygen in treating Covid-19 infected pregnant mothers, things could change rapidly given the limited availability of equipment. “Having an adequate supply of oxygen alone is not enough. You need high flow oxygen machines, and 50 litres of oxygen per minute is needed to operate a high flow oxygen machine. I do not know how many machines we have in this country but where I work, Castle Street Maternity Hospital has about four. We need to estimate the number of these machines we require and how much oxygen we want. From my understanding, the distribution and availability of high flow oxygen machines to treat Covid-19 infected pregnant mothers is not adequate.”

Dr de Silva said that Sri Lanka needed about 50–200 high-dependency unit (HDU) beds per district, based on the population, 10–50 high flow oxygen machines per district, four for ten ICU beds and two dedicated Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machines.

“If we get this, we will be able to deal with pregnant women who develop complications from COVID-19 for the next four to five years,” he said.

Dr de Silva said that currently one pregnant woman who has been infected with COVID-19 is receiving ECMO treatment. There is also a shortage of beds at the Mulleriyawa Base Hospital, which has the largest ward dedicated to COVID-19 infected pregnant women. On Thursday, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Dr Mayuramana Dewolage, who heads the ward that treats COVID-19 infected pregnant women at the Mulleriyawa Base Hospital, said that they only had 37 beds were dedicated to pregnant women with COVID-19. They didn’t have any HDU or ICU beds dedicated for their use, he said.

“We share HDU and ICU beds with other patients at Mulleriyawa Base Hospital,” Dr Dewolage said.

The President of the SLCOG also urged all hospitals to find a separate space for pregnant women who were receiving treatment at their institutions. When COVID-19 pandemic started, the Health Ministry instructed all hospitals to do so but it was now obvious that those instructions had not been followed, he said.

“When the second wave started people got ready but later, they just stopped getting ready and now we are unprepared to meet the challenges of the third wave. We need to find a way to manage this. If the Ministry of Health has not prepared a plan, we are ready to help formulate one,” the President of the SLCOG said.

Continue Reading


Those who had AstraZeneca first jab, should take Sputnik V with adenovirus 26 – Specialist



By Rathindra Kuruwita

If those who have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca are to receive a second jab of Sputnik V, they should take the first Sputnik V vaccine with adenovirus 26 (Ad26), Consultant Immunologist and head of the department of Immunology-MRI, Dr Nihan Rajiva de Silva says.

Dr. de Silva said that the first dose of Sputnik had Ad 26 and the second had adenovirus-5. “Adenovirus-5 is common. We may have been exposed to that and we may have developed antibodies. Adenovirus-26 is rarer and we will better respond to that. That is why the vaccine-maker has used adenovirus-26 in the first vaccine. So, if you had a first jab of AstraZeneca and you are to get the second dose from Sputnik-V remember to get the first jab,” Dr. de Silva said.

He added that any vaccine has the chance of reducing the severity of the virus and that the general public should get vaccinated when the opportunity is available.

Dr. de Silva said that there was a shortage of AstraZeneca vaccines because the Serum Institute of India could not deliver shipments as promised.

“However, we are now getting Sputnik V vaccines and we are looking at mixing them. There is a study in Russia about the efficiency of mixing Sputnik V with AstraZeneca and the results should be out soon. I can say that theoretically mixing the two vaccines should work,” he said.

Dr. de Silva added that the AstraZeneca vaccine should work against the new variant spreading in the country.

Consultant Cardiologist at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Dr. Gotabaya Ranasinghe said that those with heart issues, non-communicable diseases and were obese must get vaccinated to minimise the complications of Covid-19.

Dr. Ranasinghe said that those in the above-mentioned categories were at risk of contracting, getting complications and dying of COVID-19 and research had proven that vaccination would reduce the chance of such eventualities.

“If you worry about getting vaccinated, talk to your doctor. Don’t seek advice from friends and family,” he said.

Dr. Ranasinghe added that they had limited the number of heart surgeries they do due to COVID-19. ICU beds used for heart patients too were being now allocated for COVID-19 patients. “We only do the most pressing cases. But this means that the waiting list keeps on growing. Now, the waiting list is over eight months. If we limit the surgeries more and keep taking away ICU beds available for those who have had heart surgeries, the waiting list will grow further,” he said.

The Consultant Cardiologist also advised the public to eat healthy food and engage in moderate exercises, at least five days a week. This will reduce the mental stress as well as boost the immune system. ‘We recommend moderate exercises like jogging and brisk walking, for 30 minutes, five days a week. Being healthy is as important as wearing masks or adhering to physical distancing,” he said.

Continue Reading


STF raids narcotics distribution centre close to Bloemendhal police station



Acting on information received from the Organised Crime Fighting Unit of the elite Special Task Force (STF), police commandos, on Thursday (6), arrested a person running a narcotic distributing network, 1.5 km away from the Bloemendhal police station.

The STF identified the suspect as Thawasidevan Pradeep Kumar, 21, a key associate of one Suresh with links to a criminal outfit run by Kimbulaele Guna, now absconding in India.

DIG (Legal) Ajith Rohana said that the raiding party had recovered 2 kg, 22 g and 88mg of ‘ICE,’ with a street value of Rs 25 mn in addition to 4kg, 2 g and 527 mg of substance known as ‘hash,’ as well as Rs 400,000 in cash and a mobile phone.

Kimbulaele Guna is believed to have sought refuge following an LTTE attempt to assassinate President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the final PA presidential election rally at the Town Hall in December 1999.

DIG Rohana said that Guna’s brother Suresh was a major heroin distributor in Colombo. The STF later handed over the suspect, along with contraband and locally made ‘hash,’ and his phone to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). The raid on the heroin distribution centre situated in Aluth Mawatha, Colombo 15, followed specific information received as regards the ‘operation’ conducted with impunity (SF)

Continue Reading