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President takes initiative to contribute to UN Climate Change and Global Warming Prevention activities



By Ifham Nizam

On the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the government had prepared a detailed document pertaining to the UN Climate Change and Global Warming Prevention activities,  Secretary to the Environment Ministry Dr. Anil Jasinghe said yesterday.

Dr. Jasinghe told the media that action would be taken to increase the country’s forest cover to 30 percent by 2025 and introduce a gree manufacturing economy.

Therefore, he said the Sri Lankan government on the President’s initiative, had prepared a comprehensive programme in response to the Environmental Red Alert issued by the United Nations Secretary-General recently.

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has pointed out that climate change is affecting more and more people around the globe. Many of the current climate changes did not occur hundreds of thousands of years ago, and events such as sea level rise did not occur for hundreds of thousands of years, Dr. Jasinghe said.

The Environment Ministry Secretary pointed out that reducing the emissions of Carbon Dioxide and Greenhouse gases could help mitigate the incidence of climate change.

He said President Rajapaksa had realised the adverse effects of climate change and issued the Gazette Notification No. 2238/20 of 29 July 2021 establishing the Presidential Task Force on Transforming Sri Lanka into a Green Social Economy with a Sustainable Solution to Climate Change. Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera was appointed as a chief of that task force.

The role of this force is to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in Sri Lanka and to directly contribute to keeping the global warming of the Paris Agreement below the global target of 02 degrees Celsius.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.


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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter



The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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