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Japan remembers Prof. Dammika Ganganath Dissanayake with fond memories

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The Embassy of Japan has expressed its profound sorrow and grief at the demise of Prof. Dammika Ganganath Dissanayake on 11th August, 2020.

In respect of Prof. Dissanayake’s contribution to promoting friendship and mutual understanding between Sri Lanka and Japan, KITAMURA Toshihiro, Chargé d’ Affaires of Japan visited Prof. Dissanayake’s residence on 12th August to extend his sincere condolences and Sympathy on  behalf of SUGIYAMA Akira, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, to the beloved family of Prof. Dissanayake.

“Prof. Dissanayake’s longstanding friendship with Japan dates prior to his appointment as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan in 2015. The former ambassador read for both Master’s and PhD degrees at Tokai university in the early 90s from which his profound affection and compassion for Japan and the people of Japan began to blossom.

“An enthusiast in mass communications and a renowned Sinhala linguist, Prof. Dissanayake served in several capacities at various universities and institutes in Japan, while guiding budding Japanese diplomats to mature as Sinhala specialists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. Prof. Dissanayake’s indelible zeal to promote the bilateral relationship was reflected in many of his creative writing which gained much popularity among both the Sri Lankan and the Japanese readership and earned him many accolades for his untiring contribution to bridge cultures and friendship between the two countries.  In particular, “Pani Walalu”, a collection of essays illustrating the empathetic image of Japan, culminates his embracing vision that he held for the country of his gentle passion.

“An iconic personality held in high esteem is an unfathomable loss for both Sri Lanka and Japan, but his relentless spirit will continue to resonate deep within our hearts and shall cast shimmering light in our passage ahead.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of beloved family at this hour of great grief and pain.

May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana

 



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CEB chief seeks to allay fears of unprecedented power cuts engineers have warned of

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By Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) top management yesterday assured that they would do their utmost to avoid any blackouts by ensureing that there would be enough coal stocks in the country.

Responding to Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) claim that there would be a fuel shortage, CEB Chairman Nalinda Illangakoon told The Island that the country needed about 33 shipments of coal and arrangements had been made for the import of 21 of them and action would be taken to bring the rest expeditiously.

The CEB engineers warned that if coal was not procured in an orderly manner, the country would experience unprecedented power cuts come April 2023.

CEBEU Chairman Nihal Weeraratne told journalists that Sri Lanka needed about 38 coal shipments from 15 September 2022 to April 2023.

“However, only four shipments have arrived so far, and the fifth one was delayed. If all these shipments do not reach the country by 15 April 2023, power outages will have to be extended,” he said, adding that the delay in procuring coal would lead to dark July for Sri Lanka.

Weeraratne said the requests made to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) were pending approval, and the current power cut now was limited to two hours.

He also said that it was not possible to bring in sufficient coal to generate electricity at the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) for the whole year due to rough seas after April.

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New species of Nelu discovered from Knuckles

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By Ifham Nizam

Lead scientist on Molecular Biology and Plant Taxonomy Dr. Nilanthi Rajapakse of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and her team have discovered a new species of Nelu, Strobilanthes glandulataNilanthi (Acanthaceae) based on morphological and molecular data, from the Knuckles Forest Reserve.

Morphological and DNA evidence were used to distinguish the new plant species from the other closest plant species, S. lupulina.

When contacted Dr. Rajapakse told The Island that Nelu has medicinal value could be used to treat many ailments. Serving as a watershed, it plays an important ecological role. It also helps maintain soil moisture. Young plants are a delicacy of sambur. Many birds and bees come to drink the nectar of the harvested flowers. Nelu is also the host plant of some butterfly species.

Other team members are Nuwan Jayawardena of the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Prof. Cyril Wijesundera of the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Prof. Pradeepa Bandaranaike of the University of Peradeniya, Hiruna Samarakoon and Bhagya Hathurusinghe.

During the plant explorations on 22nd April 2016, Nilanthi has found an interesting Strobilanthes population with about 300 individuals growing in the shady places along the stream at Rambukoluwa in the Knuckles Mountain Range. The species named “Strobilanthus glandulataNilanthi” because the epithet glandulata refers to the glandular-hairs on the bracts. It flowers from March to May.

Nearly 450 species of Nelu are spread around the world, most of which are found in tropical and subtropical Asia. With the discovery of the new species, there are about 34 species of Strobilanthes found in the natural environment in Sri Lanka, of which 33 species are endemic to Sri Lanka. Fourteen of these species are protected by the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO).

The species has the ability to be used as a mature woody twig. Dyes such as indigo, are produced from the leaf extract of most harvested species. Land use for economic crops, illegal use of land, deforestation due to development projects, invasive plant growth, collection for firewood, arson, and climate change threaten plants. Due to these reasons, about 21 species of Nelu that are endemic to Sri Lanka are threatened with extinction.

The team thanked the Director General, Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) for the constant encouragement and facilities provided. They also thanked and Department of Forest Conservation, for permitting them to collect samples and the Agriculture Biotechnology Centre, of the Peradeniya University for molecular analysis and the National Herbarium (PDA), the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya for the assistance in specimen examination, to Rukmal Ratnayake for the line drawings and acknowledged the Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project (EACAMP) for financial support.

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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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