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India announces awarding of Gold Medal in name of Tagore to top academic performer at Sri Palee Campus of Colombo University each year

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Acting Indian High Commissioner Vinod K. Jacob has announced that New Delhi recently institutionalised a Gold Medal in the name of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to recognise the highest academic record holder in the Sri Palee Campus of University of Colombo.

Jacob said so when he attended the Annual Research Symposium 2021 of the University of Colombo on 23 November 2021 on the theme: ‘Impactful Research through an Interdisciplinary Approach’ which was also joined by Prof. G. L. Pieris, Minister of Foreign Relations, Sr. Prof. Chandrika N. Wijeyaratne, Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo, Distinguished Alumni, Scientists, Faculty Members and Students.

Speaking as the Chief Guest on the occasion, the Acting High Commissioner recalled the historic academic linkages between the two countries, including the visits of Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to Sri Lanka.

Highlighting the education reforms undertaken by the Government of India in the last few years, including New National Education Policy 2020, the Acting High Commissioner said that the contemporary challenges require innovative solutions which could be achieved through interdisciplinary approach. In 2015, the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) under its Cognitive Science Research Initiative has developed a new research programme – Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) which provides interface with Neuroscience, Medicine, Psychology, Philosophy, so on as an interdisciplinary approach.

He mentioned that owing to its immense knowledge capital, strong interdisciplinary approach, vibrant start-up ecosystem and public-private partnerships, India has moved to rank 46 in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, a significant jump from rank 81 in 2015. He also spoke about India’s ambition and commitment for combating climate change through concrete actions as articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26. These future steps called “Panchamrit” or the five nector elements was a highlight at Glasgow in particular the target of net zero by 2070 and emphasis of renewable energy in the overall energy mix.

The Acting High Commissioner said that with the establishment of Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies (CCIS) at the University of Colombo, a multidisciplinary research centre, both the countries have successfully conducted several programmes through an institutionalised network between the two countries. Recalling the robust bilateral cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, climate change, disaster management and sustainable development, he invited all the scholars and academics to fully avail the opportunities put forward by both the countries for the advancement of research, innovation and betterment of society.



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Speaker blasts ministers who often skip sittings

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Yapa

‘They are here only when Prez visits Parliament’

By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena expressed his displeasure over ministers skipping Parliament sessions while there were questions that they should be answering.

Following a heated argument between government MPs and their Opposition counterparts over explosions caused by defective domestic gas cylinders, the Speaker said that it was highly regrettable that there were no front-row ministers to respond to queries from the Opposition.

“I have noticed that all the ministers are present on the days the President visits Parliament. The ministers come and stay in the Chamber to mark their presence and show the President that they attend Parliament proceedings. Therefore, very soon I will have to request the President to come to Parliament everyday so that the ministers, too, would be here,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker pointed out that not a single minister was present in the front row either to the right or left of the seat of the Chief Government Whip.

The Speaker said that whenever a problem of national importance was raised by the Opposition, the government should respond to its questions. All ministers are duty bound to respond to questions from the Opposition and none should shirk their collective responsibility, the Speaker said.

Speaker Abeywardena said that he would summon a special consultative committee today (01) to discuss the gas cylinder explosions.

“Everyone including party leaders, officials of CAA and representatives of Litro and Laugfs Gas must be present at the special meeting,” he said.

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Fresh troops leave for overseas deployment

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SLAF personnel assigned for forthcoming mission under UN command

The annual change of personnel of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Aviation Unit, under the United Nations helicopter deployment in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) left the country during the early hours yesterday (30, November 2021).

The 7th contingent of 110 personnel, comprised 20 Officers and 90 Airmen, departed to Central Africa from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Wing Commander Sampath Liyanarachchi will lead this Contingent as the Contingent Commander. This contingent includes a female Officer, for the first time in the history of SLAF UN Deployments. This female Officer is one of the Medical Officers deployed with this Contingent.

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More gas explosions

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Several more explosive incidents connected to gas cylinders were reported from across the country in the 24 hours that ended yesterday noon.

A canteen at the Samurdhi Bank at Lidakumbura, Bibile, was damaged when a fire and explosion took place after the person who manages the place switched on the gas cooker yesterday morning.

A fire had occurred at a house at Thilinagama, Meerigama, on Monday night when the cooker there was turned on, police said,

In separate incidents at Meegoda and Lollegoda, Mawanella residents found that their gas cylinders were leaking and informed officials.

State Minister of Co-operative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, said that CAA had collected 12 samples of gas cylinders from the Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Gampaha, Galle, Kalutara, and Colombo areas to be tested. The lab reports had now been sent to the Moratuwa University and the university had appointed four experts to study the lab reports. The report was expected to be submitted in the next few days.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Dullas Alahapperumam yesterday said that the Moratuwa University, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the Government Analyst’s Department and the relevant institution would work together to determine the causes of explosions.

“Hopefully, we will be able to uncover what’s going on in the coming 24 to 48 hours. Everyone including my wife is scared,” he said.

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