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Hafsah Muheed selected as a Youth Delegate for 2020 YOUNGA Forum

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Ms. Hafsah Muheed will represent Sri Lanka as part of the inaugural youth delegation, participating in dialogues on creating an inclusive, sustainable future this fall.

Hafsah, a ‘Women Deliver Young Leader & Wedu Rising Star’ from Sri Lanka, has been selected for the inaugural YOUNGA™ Forum. Organized by BridgingTheGap Ventures, this first-of-its-kind virtual global youth takeover of the United Nations is focused on a central theme for 2020 — ‘the future youth want, the action we need’.

Using VR and XR technologies, YOUNGA will connect 1,500 youth delegates with top-level decision-makers and influencers to co-create solutions to global challenges like the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speakers include senior leaders from the World Health Organization, UN Foundation, UNAIDS, The World Bank Group, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and a variety of celebrity mentors.

“As a youth delegate at YOUNGA2020, the three things we do are discuss, inspire, and co-create solutions to world’s issues”, says Hafsah.

“As a girl, I was told not to aim too high so that I don’t scare people. I have been told as a girl my ideas of equality and accessibility were not practical. I realized if it’s not available to me, I will create it, so I made the decision to work in sustainability giving me exposure to be able to create the needed equity and accessibility for young girls”, she stressed.

Hafsah’s work focuses on gender equality and women’s rights, community outreach and engagement for Sustainable development, diversity and inclusion with a focus on persons with disabilities, mental health advocacy through employee engagement, and youth development through sustainable development education.

YOUNGA youth delegates have the important role to represent the voice of young people— along with their region in key dialogues and interactive sessions. They receive access to a free, bespoke four-week program throughout October including 36 hours of top-notch leadership and advocacy training, with curated career advancement and networking opportunities.

Programming focuses on five thematic tracks that align with youth priorities and UN75 topics: Climate Action and Sustainable Living, Equality and Inclusion, Future of Education and Work, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Peace and Justice.

On October 24, the hopes, concerns and ideas of young people for the future identified by youth delegates will be presented to world leaders through the 2020 YOUNGA online broadcast and a world-first virtual reality event alongside the commemoration of 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

YOUNGA was conceptualized upon the belief that the passion, experience and perspectives young people like Hafsah bring to discussions about global problems proves they are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the leaders of today.

To learn more about how the Forum provides young people with an accessible and inclusive platform to voice their ideas concerning the action needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda, visit youngaforum.com

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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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