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SL second in Covid-19 prevention measures, economic recovery…

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Sri Lanka has been ranked second in terms of Covid-19 pandemic prevention measures, economic recovery and international cooperation among 108 countries, according to a survey by YICAI Research Institute, a well-known Chinese financial think tank.

The report released on September 22, is the highest international recognition so far for Sri Lanka in fighting the coronavirus.

Nine out of the top 10 countries were in the Asia-Pacific region namely China, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Myanmar, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Ghana from Africa ranked third. Denmark and Germany performed best among European countries, ranked 21st and 23rd.

“Brazil and the US, both countries with leaders who initially downplayed the problem and with lower levels of co-operation by the public respectively are ranked 89th and 98th. Sweden, which opted for the controversial policy of herd immunity, came in at number 90,” the report said.

The Institute used the SEIR epidemiological model to predict the state of the pandemic in different nations, classing them as Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious or Removed, as well as its own self-developed “social network-based virus transmission model”. The evaluation system including 23 detailed indicators had made quantitative evaluation of the performance of 108 countries in the war against COVID-19.

Countries with strict epidemic prevention policies, such as China, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Italy, all had the pandemic under control in recent months, the models showed, which based their calculations on earlier disease trajectories and with the assumption that asymptomatic cases continued to be present.

“Until an effective vaccine is widely available, the novel coronavirus will co-exist with humans. Effective governance that responds quickly using technological means and which can depend on public support is an effective strategy to deal with the pandemic,” the report said.

YICAI Research Institute is part of the China’s largest financial media conglomerate Yicai Media Group (“Yicai” is the Pinyin abbreviation of its official Chinese name, meaning first and best in financial and business media). Founded in July 2003, Yicai employs a team of 1,000 journalists and professionals specializing in finance and economics and runs over ten overseas stations, sending real-time financial and economic news coverage back to its headquarter from New York, Singapore, Tokyo, London, Paris etc., around the world. In 2015, e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group took a 30 percent stake in Yicai.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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