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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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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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