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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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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’



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



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



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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