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Media Minister confirms seeking legal advice on Sirasa telecasts



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says he has recently sought legal advice pertaining to what he calls the conduct of Sirasa TV.

Denying Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s accusations that the government was conspiring to suppress Sirasa, Rambukwella, who is also the co-cabinet spokesperson, told The Island, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya couldn’t challenge his right to take action according to the law.

Responding to another query, Minister Rambukwella emphasised that he didn’t do anything clandestine. “I consulted our lawyers regarding a section of the media brazenly abusing their privileged status,” the Media Minister said, urging the media not to propagate lies.

Minister Ranbukwella alleged that some interested parties had reacted as if he had called in underworld elements to discuss the issue.

Minister Rambukwella said that he had not been present in Parliament last Wednesday (7) when the SJB Leader alleged a plot to deprive Sirasa of its transmission licence. A group of SJB lawmakers invaded the Well of the House in protest, following the Opposition Leader’s claim.

Rambukwella said that the government wouldn’t hesitate to take measures against any media organisation if it violated the law.

MP Premadasa urged the government either to confirm or to deny claims as regards alleged moves to suppress Sirasa. Minister Rambukwella confirmed that the Sirasa coverage of various developments had been discussed with lawyers.

A spokesperson for Sirasa asked how they could be faulted for factually reporting what was happening. Except for those who had been profited by various illegal and clandestine ventures turning a blind eye to various developments, independent media courageously reported events.

Former Director General of Government Information Department attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardena said that instead of addressing the grievances of those who had been badly affected by shortage of fertilizer, massive ecological disaster caused by sinking of container carrier X-Press Pearl off the Colombo port and basically disruption of supply services due to rampaging Covid-19 epidemic, the government was bent on controlling the media.

Referring to strong condemnation the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) of police action against those engaged in public protests Gunawardena pointed out that the government was trying to discourage people from protesting. Sending those protesters who had been granted bail by courts to quarantine centers run by the military in Mullaitivu was aimed at achieving the government’s objective, he added.

Civil society activist noted that the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), too, has strongly criticized the Kotelawela Defence University Bill.

SJB MP Mujibur Rahman said that the situation was so bad the government couldn’t deceive the public by suppressing the media. The government was in disarray and quite clearly experienced difficulties it couldn’t cope with, he added. Accusing the government of mishandling the fertilizer issue, MP Rahman said the government was making a desperate effort to cover up the insufficient supply.


Washington will continue to support Lanka’s fight against Covid-19



US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz explaining a point to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Aebywardena during their meeting yesterday.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz yesterday said that the US would continue to support Sri Lanka’s fight against Covid-19 through the COVAX facility.

She made the pledge during a courtesy call on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday, Parliament sources said.

Marcus Carpenter, Deputy Chief of political division and Kushani Rohanadeera, Deputy Secretary-General of Parliament and Chief of Staff were also present at the meeting which was held at the Speaker’s Office in Parliament.

A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed between Sri Lanka and the US, including diplomatic and economic matters. Furthermore, the future intended investments of the United States in Sri Lanka for the future of the energy sector were also discussed, sources said.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka expressed how pleased she was over the steps taken to establish a Special Committee for the purpose of reforming the current electoral system in Sri Lanka and the steps taken by Parliament to re-establish the Sectoral Oversight Committees of Parliament.

The Ambassador also informed the Speaker that the US continues to support the development of Sri Lanka and protect democracy in the face of COVID faced by the whole world.


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Institute of Chemistry organises webinar on ‘Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines’



Arrangements have been made by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon to conduct a webinar on “Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines” with the intention of disseminating awareness on the widely spread COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination.

The webinar will be held via zoom from 8.30 am to 12.00 noon on Sept 4, a press release issued by the Institute said yesterday.

It said: The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan, China, has claimed countless lives within a span of two years causing significant damage to the world’s population and the global economy. Within the passage of a year, the emergence of changing COVID-19 variants with higher transmissibility, increased fatality was discovered around the globe. Currently, Sri Lanka is fighting the third wave of coronavirus and there has been an increase in the number of cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus across the country.

With the current situation, the need and importance of vaccination has become a vital tool in the battle against coronavirus. Vaccines save millions of lives each year and the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step taken forward in the effort to end the pandemic. Misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines provided by different information channels have led to hesitations in accepting the COVID-19 vaccine among the population. This seminar will provide information on COVID-19 vaccines currently available and will be an immense help to clear any doubt with regards to COVID-19 vaccines.

The programme hopes to cover topics such as “Genomics of COVID-19” by Dr. Sameera. R. Samarakoon. “COVID-19 and Nutrition” by Prof. Ranil Jayawardena, “Immune response in COVID- 19: friend or foe” by Dr. Narmada Fernando, “COVID-19 Vaccine: What is Best” by Prof. Chandima Jeewandra and “Concluding Remarks and a Q&A session” by Prof. Nimal Punyasiri. The seminar will be moderated by Prof. Chayanika Padumadasa.

You can register to this webinar by visiting the IchemC website ( while more information can be obtained by contacting the Institute at 011-2861231. Also you may obtain information by sending an email to

For more details, please contact Ms. Nishadi (077 730 6270) / Ms. Shanali (076 553 2142)

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COVID Shield app introduced to Sri Lanka to fight against COVID-19 pandemic



Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL) and the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) have introduced the COVID Shield app to Sri Lanka to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID Shield App allows users to assess their lung health on a regular basis to identify deteriorations associated with COVID-19 early.

The app uses the in-built sound recording features of a smartphone to analyze the breathing sounds and gather additional data when the user performs several simple tests to determine breathing performance.

The app tracks lung health along with other symptoms to support identifying COVID-19 related deterioration early.

In addition to identifying the state of lung health, COVID Shield is also capable of providing the users with alerts based on overall assessment of his or her symptoms. Based on these alerts, the users can take the next step without delaying seeking medical advice. The users will also receive COVID-19 related health education and latest statistics from reliable sources on his or her dashboard.

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