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PMD rice outlet opens

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By Ifham Nizam

Paddy Marketing Board (PMD) Rice outlets and Milco NLDB product outlets were opened yesterday at the Ministry of Agriculture premises.

Agriculture Ministry official yesterday said that a Milco product outlet and a mobile outlet of the National Livestock Development Board’s coconut, coconut oil and milk products outlets had also been opened there.

Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and forest Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera attended the opening ceremony.

PMB Chairman Neil de Alwis said that they were marketing their rice to stabilise market prices and make available high-quality rice through CWE outlets.

He also said that the PMB would continue to purchase paddy during the Yala season.

Amaraweera said that he had taken over the Ministry of Agriculture at a very challenging time, and it would be impossible to overcome the challenges without working together.

“When I took over this Ministry, there was a big problem in the field of agriculture. About 475,000 hectares have been cultivated during the current season. Public servants will be able to purchase rice, Highland milk powder and other products at a discounted price at the PMB Rice outlet which opens today.”

When asked whether the PMB rice could be supplied regularly, the PMB Chairman answered in the affirmative. “We need the support of everyone to make this programme a success.”

Paddy was being harvested in areas such as Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Ampara, and those stocks will help bring down the prices rices, the PMB chief said.



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UN says humanitarian agencies face ‘biggest funding gap ever’

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Funds are to help 204 million people and communities as armed conflict and climate change threaten their livelihoods

(Al Jazeera) The United Nations’ humanitarian projects face a record funding gap this year, with only a third of the required $48.7bn secured so far as global needs outpace pledges, according to the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).The money is needed to help about 204 million people worldwide as armed conflict and climate change emerge as key drivers of “mega crises” that threaten the livelihoods of whole communities.

“More than halfway through the year, the funding shortfall is $33.6bn, our biggest funding gap ever,” OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke told a media briefing on Friday.

“The needs in the world are rising much faster than the donor funding is coming in,” he said.

So far, $15.2bn has been collected by the midyear mark, also a record, Laerke said, in a year of soaring humanitarian needs.According to OCHA’s website, the United States is the top donor, contributing just a little more than $8bn, while the World Food Programme was the largest recipient.

The nearly $50bn needed includes all the UN-coordinated appeals worldwide, like the annual humanitarian response plans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria, as well as flash appeals in war-torn Ukraine and regional appeals for refugees in Afghanistan.The money is meant for all UN humanitarian agencies and some NGOs, but does not cover appeals from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the ICRC because they have independent appeal processes, Laerke said.

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Scotland’s police investigate threat made to JK Rowling after Salman Rushdie tweet

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The Harry Potter creator had earlier tweeted her condemnation of the stabbing of Salman Rushdie.

Scotland’s police said on Sunday (Aug 14) they are investigating a report of an “online threat” made to the author JK Rowling after she tweeted her condemnation of the stabbing of Salman Rushdie, said a news report published by Channel News Asia.

The CAN report filed from London said: The Harry Potter creator said she felt “very sick” after hearing the news and hoped the novelist would “be OK”.

In response, a user said: “don’t worry you are next”

After sharing screenshots of the threatening tweet, Rowling said: “To all sending supportive messages: Thank you police are involved (were already involved on other threats)”.

A spokeswoman for Scotland’s police said: “We have received a report of an online threat being made and officers are carrying out enquiries.”

Rushdie, 75, was set to deliver a lecture on artistic freedom on Friday in western New York when a man rushed the stage and stabbed the Indian-born writer, who has lived with a bounty on his head since his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses prompted Iran to urge Muslims to kill him.Following hours of surgery, Rushdie was on a ventilator and unable to speak as of Friday evening. The novelist was likely to lose an eye and had nerve damage in his arm and wounds to his liver.

The accused attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault at a court appearance on Saturday.Rowling has in the past been criticised by trans activists who have accused her of transphobia.

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Govt. delists some Tamil groups

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The government has delisted some Tamil diaspora groups and individuals. Among those de-listed are the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an influential diaspora group based in the UK. GTF Spokesman Suren Surendiran has also been delisted.

The British Tamil Forum and the Canadian Tamil Congress are also among those de-listed.The de-listing was carried out through an Extraordinary Gazette issued by the Ministry of Defence signed by Secretary to the Ministry Gen Kamal Gunaratne.

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