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SJB demands to know what action govt. will take against Aloysius

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By Saman Indrajith

The SJB yesterday demanded to know what action would be taken against W. M. Mendis & Co Ltd owner controversial businessman Arjun Aloysius, who should have been incarcerated for the Treasury bond scam. 

 “He should have been arrested for the Treasury bond scams. But the government recently permitted him to resume operations of his liquor company saying that it had been done to recover the company’s dues to the government. Now, we know that the licence has been suspended again. How does the government propose to recover the money he owes to the state?” SJB Colombo District MP S.M. Marikkar queried. 

MP Marikkar said that WM Mendis Company owed the state Rs 1.1 billion in excise taxes, Rs. 3.55 billion VAT and Rs 2.63 billion income taxes. In addition, the company had to pay five billion rupees to the People’s Bank, seven billion rupees to the Bank of Ceylon and 800 million rupees to the People’s Leasing Company. This company owes more than 17 billion to the government coffers. How are you going to recover this money? He should have been behind bars for the Treasury bond scams but instead the government tried to give his license back,” the MP said.

Earlier in the day, addressing the post-cabinet press briefing Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Dr Ramesh Pathirana, said that the Cabinet had decided to suspend the licence of WM Mendis Company to prevent funds earned through undue means to find their way into the state coffers.

Minister Pathirana said that businessman, Aloysius, was responsible for a massive financial scam, and the ministers had pointed out that money earned through fraudulent means would be used by Aloysius to pay his dues. The Cabinet of Ministers were of the opinion that Aloysius should not be permitted to use such funds to legitimize his other businesses and then to continue to earn through them. The licence had not been suspended as a proposal to the Cabinet but as a result of instructions issued by the Cabinet to the Finance Ministry, the minister told the post-Cabinet press briefing.

On Monday, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to cancel the licence issued to W. M. Mendis & Co Ltd to resume operations. The decision was taken on the advice of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. W. M. Mendis & Co Ltd lost its licence to produce liquor in 2018 for failing to pay taxes due to the state.



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Washington will continue to support Lanka’s fight against Covid-19

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US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz explaining a point to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Aebywardena during their meeting yesterday.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz yesterday said that the US would continue to support Sri Lanka’s fight against Covid-19 through the COVAX facility.

She made the pledge during a courtesy call on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday, Parliament sources said.

Marcus Carpenter, Deputy Chief of political division and Kushani Rohanadeera, Deputy Secretary-General of Parliament and Chief of Staff were also present at the meeting which was held at the Speaker’s Office in Parliament.

A number of issues of mutual interest were discussed between Sri Lanka and the US, including diplomatic and economic matters. Furthermore, the future intended investments of the United States in Sri Lanka for the future of the energy sector were also discussed, sources said.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka expressed how pleased she was over the steps taken to establish a Special Committee for the purpose of reforming the current electoral system in Sri Lanka and the steps taken by Parliament to re-establish the Sectoral Oversight Committees of Parliament.

The Ambassador also informed the Speaker that the US continues to support the development of Sri Lanka and protect democracy in the face of COVID faced by the whole world.

 

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Institute of Chemistry organises webinar on ‘Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines’

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Arrangements have been made by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon to conduct a webinar on “Genes, Immunity and COVID-19 Vaccines” with the intention of disseminating awareness on the widely spread COVID-19 and the importance of vaccination.

The webinar will be held via zoom from 8.30 am to 12.00 noon on Sept 4, a press release issued by the Institute said yesterday.

It said: The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan, China, has claimed countless lives within a span of two years causing significant damage to the world’s population and the global economy. Within the passage of a year, the emergence of changing COVID-19 variants with higher transmissibility, increased fatality was discovered around the globe. Currently, Sri Lanka is fighting the third wave of coronavirus and there has been an increase in the number of cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of coronavirus across the country.

With the current situation, the need and importance of vaccination has become a vital tool in the battle against coronavirus. Vaccines save millions of lives each year and the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step taken forward in the effort to end the pandemic. Misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines provided by different information channels have led to hesitations in accepting the COVID-19 vaccine among the population. This seminar will provide information on COVID-19 vaccines currently available and will be an immense help to clear any doubt with regards to COVID-19 vaccines.

The programme hopes to cover topics such as “Genomics of COVID-19” by Dr. Sameera. R. Samarakoon. “COVID-19 and Nutrition” by Prof. Ranil Jayawardena, “Immune response in COVID- 19: friend or foe” by Dr. Narmada Fernando, “COVID-19 Vaccine: What is Best” by Prof. Chandima Jeewandra and “Concluding Remarks and a Q&A session” by Prof. Nimal Punyasiri. The seminar will be moderated by Prof. Chayanika Padumadasa.

You can register to this webinar by visiting the IchemC website (ichemc.edu.lk) while more information can be obtained by contacting the Institute at 011-2861231. Also you may obtain information by sending an email to covidseminar21@gmail.com

For more details, please contact Ms. Nishadi (077 730 6270) / Ms. Shanali (076 553 2142)

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COVID Shield app introduced to Sri Lanka to fight against COVID-19 pandemic

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Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL) and the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) have introduced the COVID Shield app to Sri Lanka to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID Shield App allows users to assess their lung health on a regular basis to identify deteriorations associated with COVID-19 early.

The app uses the in-built sound recording features of a smartphone to analyze the breathing sounds and gather additional data when the user performs several simple tests to determine breathing performance.

The app tracks lung health along with other symptoms to support identifying COVID-19 related deterioration early.

In addition to identifying the state of lung health, COVID Shield is also capable of providing the users with alerts based on overall assessment of his or her symptoms. Based on these alerts, the users can take the next step without delaying seeking medical advice. The users will also receive COVID-19 related health education and latest statistics from reliable sources on his or her dashboard.

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