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Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passes away at 74

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Besides singing in movies across 16 languages including Tamil, Telugu Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi, SPB also played significant roles in many films.

Singer-actor SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away on Friday following coronavirus complications. He was 74. SPB’s son SP Charan told reporters at MGM Healthcare in Chennai, “SPB belongs to everyone. He will live on in his songs. My dad passed away at 1.04 pm.”

A statement from the hospital read, “Thiru S P Balasubrahmanyam had been admitted at MGM Healthcare on August 5th and commenced on life support measures since August 14th for severe COVID-19 pneumonia. He continued to be closely monitored by our multidisciplinary team in the critical care unit.

“He tested negative for COVID-19 on September 4th. In a further setback this morning, despite maximal life support measures and the best efforts of the clinical team, his condition deteriorated further and he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest. With profound grief, we regret to inform that he has passed away on September 25th at 13:04 Hours. We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, well-wishers and admirers at their loss during this time of anguish and sorrow.”

SPB was tested positive for Covid-19 in the first week of August. He was later shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of MGM Healthcare after his condition deteriorated. He remained on ventilator and ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) support till his last breath.

SP Balasubrahmanyam was revered by fans across age groups for his unparalleled contribution to Indian music. He held a Guinness World record for singing over 40,000 songs.

Besides singing in movies across 16 languages including Tamil, Telugu Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi, SP Balasubrahmanyam also played significant roles in many films. His major movies include Keladi Kanmani (1990), Thiruda Thiruda (1993), Kadhalan (1994), Ullaasam (1996) and others.

In a career spanning over five decades, SPB won six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer and 25 Nandi Awards. The Government of India honoured the singer-actor with Padma Shri in 2001 Padma Bhushan in 2011. (The Indian Express)

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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