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Japan donates large shipment of canned fish to Lanka

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Kitamura Toshihiro, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Japan to Sri Lanka and Andrea Berardo, WFP Deputy Country Director of Sri Lanka, sign the Exchange of Notes for the donation of canned fish, in the presence of N.H.M. Chitrananda, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, L.M.W. Darmasena, Additional Secretary, School Activities of the Ministry of Education and Renuka Peiris, Director, Health and Nutrition of the Ministry of Education. 

The Government of Japan has donated a large shipment of canned fish, weighing 388 MT and worth JPY 300 million (LKR 519 million), to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Sri Lanka, to meet the protein needs of school children covered by the national school meal programme.

The donation was formalised at a ceremony held at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence in Colombo, at which the Exchange of Notes were signed by Kitamura Toshihiro, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Japan to Sri Lanka and Andrea Berardo, WFP Deputy Country Director of Sri Lanka. The event was presided over by N.H.M. Chitrananda, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, L.M.W. Darmasena, Additional Secretary, School Activities of the Ministry of Education and Renuka Peiris, Director, Health and Nutrition of the Ministry of Education.

“The Governments of Sri Lanka and Japan have had a strong bond with a mutually supportive relationship between the people of our countries for many years,” says Kitamura Toshihiro, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Japan to Sri Lanka.

“The Government of Sri Lanka and its people demonstrated their solidarity to Japan in the immediate aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, through a cash donation of US$ 1 million and 3 million tea bags. The canned fish provided by Japan is sourced from the areas supported by Sri Lanka, as an extension of the continuous supply provided by Japan, reflecting our appreciation of our Sri Lankan friends for lending a hand to Japan in times of need. We will continue to support Sri Lanka, in the spirit of unity and solidarity in our joint battle against the effects of Covid-19”.

Through this agreement, the Government of Japan commits to making available to the Government of Sri Lanka – through WFP – 388 MT of canned fish, enough for the preparation of 19 million nutritious meals, rich in protein, for 270,000 school children. This latest contribution ensures that canned fish will continue to be offered to school children, for the period 2021 – 2022, in addition to the previous consignment of canned fish supplied by the Government of Japan which will last up to mid next year.

“Nutritious meals are the foundation to good health, especially for children,” says Andrea Berardo, WFP Deputy Country Director in Sri Lanka. “This generous contribution from Japan comes at a crucial time when so many Sri Lankan families are hard hit by COVID-19 with reduced incomes and job loss. Fish is a great source of protein and by including it in school meals, we can be certain that children are getting the right nutrients they need to grow and develop.”

Lack of adequate protein intake could result in several health issues amongst children, including slow growth, poor concentration and decreased immunity. In Sri Lanka, nutrition surveys have indicated that 40% of primary-level school children were too thin before Covid-19. Consumption of protein-rich foods such as fish is vital to help children meet their dietary requirements.

“The Government of Sri Lanka has been conducting the National School Meal Programme for several decades,” said the Secretary of the Ministry of Education, N.H.M. Chitrananda. “The programme was developed with the objective of ensuring that children are healthy and can optimally benefit from educational opportunities provided to them. We are thankful to the Government of Japan and WFP for providing canned fish to supplement the school meal programme and for supporting us in enhancing the nutritional status of school children.”

The National School Meal Programme which WFP has supported since 2003 was disrupted by Covid-19-induced school closures in March 2020. The Government of Japan, through WFP, has been supporting the programme since 2011, with approximately 1,500 MT of canned fish worth more than JPY 1 billion, to supplement school meals twice a week, adding diversity, nutrition and taste. WFP, together with the Government of Japan, will continue to support the Government of Sri Lanka in its efforts to scale up and enhance the National School Meal Programme.

 

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Murder convicted SLPP candidate not allowed to vote

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The murder convicted SLPP Ratnapura district candidate Premalal Jayasekera, who was sentenced to death over a killing in Kahawatte during the Presidential Election in 2015, was not allowed to vote at Aug.5 general election, CaFFE Executive Director Manas Makeen said.

Although Jayasekera was sentenced to death there was speculation that he would be allowed to vote. The shooting took place on Jan 05, 2015 and caused the death of a supporter of then Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena.

The UNP supporter, who was engaged in decorating a stage, was fatally wounded in the shooting and succumbed to his injuries in hospital on January 8.

The Pelmadulla Magistrate issued arrest warrants on the suspects involved.

Former Deputy Minister Jayasekara was arrested on January 10 that year over the election-related shooting incident while he had been released on bail on December 07, 2015.

Former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councilor Nilantha Jayakody and former Kahawatte Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Vajira Darshana were also arrested over the shooting.

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Over 70 per cent turnout

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The overall voter turnout at yesterday’s general election was over 70%, according to election officials and monitors.

The overall turnout at the Vanni Electoral District was 74%, district returning officer S.M. Saman Bandulasena said. The Vanni Electoral District comprises of Mullaitivu (74%) Vavuniya (74%) and Mannar (76%) administrative districts

The turnout in other districts were: Galle 70%, Matale 72%, Nuwara Eliya 75%, Ratnapura 71%, Puttalam 64%, Kandy 72%, Polonnaruwa 72%, Hambantota 76%, Anuradhapura 70%, Matara 71%, Batticaloa 76%, Kalutara 70%, Trincomalee 73%, Digamadulla 72%, Kurunegala 65%, Kegalle 70%, Gampaha 68%, Colombo 70%, Badulla 74%, Jaffna 67% and Moneragala 75%.

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Mangala prepares to launch new movement

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…support for LGBTQ assured

Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera plans to launch a combined political-civil society campaign tomorrow against the authoritarian rule.
In a statement issued yesterday (5), Samaraweera, who quit the electoral contest after obtaining nominations from the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) a few weeks before the polls, emphasized the need for re-commitment to democracy as the country hurled towards an autocracy with the rapid convergence of the executive, the military and the clergy; the legislature and the judiciary are being turned into mere rubber seals of the executive President.

Mangala Samaraweera

The former minister addressed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights among other issues amidst indications the SLPP could comfortably form the next government. Samaraweera said: “The LGBTQ movement must be supported and encouraged in their struggle to do away with archaic Victorian laws governing same sex relationships between consenting adults. All human beings – irrespective of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, caste or religion should be treated as equal and diversity must be celebrated in all its manifestations.”

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