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‘Nature is also one of our strongest allies against climate change’



By Ifham Nizam

Protecting nature is one of the most immediate, powerful and cost-effective solutions to the climate crisis. Nature provides people with food, water, clean air and other services worth over USD 125 trillion a year, Environmental Scientist, Supun Lahiru Prakash said.

As the Convener of the Biodiversity Conservation and Research Circle, he was delivering the keynote address at the Earth Hour 2021 celebration organized by the Sri Lanka Scout Association at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, recently.

“Nature is also one of our strongest allies against climate change”, he stressed.

“Earth Hour aims to increase awareness and spark global conversations on protecting nature not only to combat the climate crisis, but also to ensure our own health, happiness, prosperity and even survival,” he outlined.

Major General (Retd.) Milinda Peiris, Vice Chancellor of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and the Chief Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Scout Association was the chief guest at the event held with the participation of Commissioners and hundreds of scouts from across the country.

Prakash said that 2021 presents an unmissable opportunity for change. This year, world leaders will come together during key global conferences and fora to set the environmental agenda for the next decade and beyond.

Crucial political decisions will be made on climate action, nature and sustainable development decisions that will directly affect the fate of humanity and our planet for years to come, he pointed out.

“With your support, Earth Hour 2021 could be a spotlight moment that puts nature at the center of international conversations.

Together, we can speak up and show world leaders and other decision-makers around the globe that nature matters and urgent action must be taken to reverse nature loss”, he emphasized.

The Earth Hour celebration was initiated by WWF and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007. It is now one of the world’s largest grassroots movements for the environment.

Celebrated annually on the last Saturday of March, Earth Hour engages millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories, switching off their lights to show support for the planet.

But, Earth Hour goes far beyond the symbolic action of switching off lights – it has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people and collective action.

Earth Hour is open-source, and welcomes everyone to take part and help amplify the mission to unite people to protect the planet. In 2007, People were encouraged around the world to switch off their lights to call attention to climate change.

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SJB, JVP move SC against Finance Secy. for contempt of court



The main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (21) moved Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana over his failure to provide funds required by the Election Commission to conduct the Local Government polls, ignoring an interim order issued by the apex court, on 03 March.

Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, is the petitioner for the SJB and Vijitha Herath, MP, moved court on behalf of the JVP, the leading party in the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB).

Two Opposition parties declared action against Siriwardana the day after the Freedom People’s Alliance (FPA) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Secretary to release the funds.

EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa is on record as having said that in spite of SC directive he didn’t receive fresh funding.

The petitioners sought the issuance of summons on Siriwardana for contempt of court over failure to carry out its interim orders, given on 03 March.

The petitioners want the Finance Secretary punished in terms of Article 105 (3) of the Constitution.

The SJB stated that Siriwardana had refrained from carrying out the March directives, on the basis of a Cabinet decision, taken on 13 Feb., 2023. The SJB also pointed out that the offensive conduct of the Treasury Secretary, inter alia, causes grave prejudice to the esteemed authority of the Supreme Court and in turn disturb the public confidence in the authority of the highest Court in the country. (SF)

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Minister indicates reduction in fuel prices in April



Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told Parliament yesterday that fuel prices would be reduced considerably according to the fuel price formula at the next fuel price revision, due in April.

The Minister said that the government would be able to procure fuel shipments, at lower prices, during competitive bidding, with the receipt of the IMF bailout.

There had been practical issues, and problems, in opening Letters of Credit, and obtaining credit facilities, in the recent past, as Sri Lanka could not give a guarantee to fuel suppliers, Minister Wijesekara said.

“We could not open LCs and obtain credit facilities when procuring fuel. After the IMF bailout, we will be able to procure fuel at lower prices during competitive biddings. We will be able to obtain a long-term credit facility as well. Fuel prices in the global market seem to have declined and the rupee has also gained strength against the US Dollar. Having considered all these factors, fuel prices will be reduced by a considerable margin which could be felt by the people,” he said.

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IGP tells CID not to brook any interference from any quarter while they probe ’Harak Kata’ and ‘Kudu Salindu’



By Norman Palihawadane

IGP CD Wickramaratne has directed the CID to maintain a special log of names and details of any attempts by external parties to influene the ongoing investigations on notorious drug traffickers Nandun Chinthaka Wickramaratne aka Harak Kata and Salindu Malshika aka Kudu Salindu.

The suspects are currently under the custody of the CID.

The IGP issued the orders to the DIG CID and its director during a meeting of senior police officers on Monday, police headquarters said.

Sources said that the IGP has further instructed not to allow statements from the detainees to be taken by any police team other than the team currently investigating the suspects.

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