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Military medical teams played a key role in mitigating the spread of Covid-19

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By conducting quarantine programs

With dedication and fearless commitment, military medical teams assisted the government by conducting quarantine programs to mitigate the spread of coronavirus outbreak in the country, Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said.

He said tri-services medical teams had proven their credibility of treating and saving the lives of wounded combatants throughout the Eelam war as the first respondents to any form of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, locally or overseas.

“The military medics, whether it is in a pitch battle or a disaster of any magnitude, have extended a highly credible service to the affected; both military and civilians, throughout the conflict from the first line to the depth,” he said.

The Defence Secretary said the role played by military medics was considered an essential service to support the government mechanism in countering any sort of conventional or non-traditional threat.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony to launch the Masters of Science (MSc) Program in Military Medicine of the College of Military Medicine, held at the Army Hospital Auditorium, Narahenpita, on Thursday.

Delivering the keynote address, he said deployment of military medical staffers in United Nations missions gave them the opportunity of providing their services to various multinationals around the globe.

“We will be able to develop them to a multinational forum, which calls for participation from regional and global levels once the recognition is gained. It was a demanding necessity to gear them with a suitable academic background while enabling them to work under any conditions, where their services are needed”, he said while lauding the College of Military Medicine for introducing the Masters Program in Military Medicine.

The Defence Secretary also said the new initiative will help to groom the young generation tri-services medical sector with a wide range of knowledge to combat crucial situations in pandemics, armed conflicts, natural or man-made disasters both, locally and overseas.

The program, which is conducted in affiliation with the Colombo University under the patronage of the Health Ministry, covers medical and related studies including combat, clinical and preventive medicine, jointly by tri-services experts, military ethics and customs, disaster management and military psychiatry conducted by Sri Lanka Army, aviation medicine by Sri Lanka Air Force and diving and hyperbaric medicine by Sri Lanka Navy.

The Defence Secretary commended the commitment of Health Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. Sanjeewa Munasinghe for introducing the program and pledged his fullest support to the College of Military Medicine and the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, Colombo University.

Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake, Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias, Chairman, University Grants Commission Prof. Sampath Amaratunga, Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne, Director, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine Prof. Senaka Rajapakse, serving and retired senior tri-forces officers and the members of Postgraduate Institute of Medicine were also present.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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