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Parliament makes it compulsory to have two credits and simple pass in A/L Bio stream for SLMC registration



by Saman Indrajith

A regulation under the Medical Ordinance to make it compulsory for obtaining two credit passes (C) and one ordinary pass (S) in G.C.E Advanced Level Biology stream to be registered with the Medical Council of Sri Lanka was passed on Tuesday (3) in Parliament.

Another regulation under the Act was passed on the same day amidst the objections of JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who suggested that the resolution should be added to the Ordinance allowing it to be subjected to amendments yearly. Therefore, he further suggested that the matter should be referred and discussed at the Consultative Committee and made open to amendments prior to the passing of the second Resolution.

However, Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out in Parliament that the government did not see eye to eye with Dissanayake and that the resolution should be passed in Parliament as agreed at the Committee on Parliamentary Business.

The two resolutions were passed in Parliament and objections raised by the JVP leader were recorded.

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi, in her reply, said that passing the two resolutions was a contemporary requirement. She pointed out that medical education met the stipulated standards.

Responding to a question raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, the Health Minister said that the appointment of the Director General of Health was done properly. She said it was approved by the Cabinet.

The Minister said the Medical Council ban on degrees offered by three Russian universities would be investigated as soon as possible in response to the question raised by the Chief Opposition Whip. She emphasised that measures had been adopted to lift the ban temporarily.

She said that thus far 25 labs had been established to conduct PCR tests following the COVID-19 virus eruption in the country. More than 8,000 PCR tests were now being conducted daily, she added.

Minister Wanniarachchi explained to the House that the delay in adding amendments to the Quarantine Act had been due to the need to conduct a comprehensive study thereon. The amendments added to the Act provided the police with the authority to arrest those who violated health guidelines. She said she expected maximum public support to beat the virus.

Minister Wanniarachchi said that the World Bank had provided USD 128 million until 2023 and out of that about USD 35 million had already been spent on health care, and another USD 22 million would be spent.

 The Quarantine Act applied to the entire country, the Health Minister said. The public places as mentioned in the recently issued Gazette notification referred to open public places in particular, she said.

 The Minister said that the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka had been significantly controlled and the participation of all MPs without division to control the situation was necessary. She said why 60 per cent of COVID-19 patients in Sri Lanka were asymptomatic was not known. The situation in the Gampaha District was under control, she said, adding that she hoped that the situation in the entire country would be brought under control soon.

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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving



Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest



By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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