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Sri Lankan High Commissioner-designate to India Milinda Moragoda assumes duties in New Delhi

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, September 2: Sri Lankan High Commissioner-designate to India Milinda Moragoda assumed duties in New Delhi on August 30 at a simple ceremony. He arrived here with his wife Jennifer last weekend.

Moragoda is the island-nation’s 26th High Commissioner to India since 1942, when its first representative had arrived here.

He met with India’s Chief of Protocol Nagesh Singh on August 31, and handed over the open copies of his credentials as per the practice. He will present his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind at a formal ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the next few days.

He visited the Buddhist Temple at New Delhi Centre of the Mahabodhi Society of India, and received the blessings of its Joint Secretary Ven. R. Sumiththananda Thero. He offered flowers and incense to the Buddha statue.

After religious rites, he had a discussion with the monk on as to how the High Commission of Sri Lanka and the Mahabodhi Society can work together to advance Buddhist relations between the two countries. He inquired after the wellbeing of the Sri Lankan Buddhist monks engaging in missionary work in India. He was accompanied by Mission officials.

On September 1, Moragoda called on the dean of the diplomatic corps, the Ambassador of Eritrea  Alem Tsehaye Woldemariam.

On September 2, Moragoda visited the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in New Delhi. He was accorded a very warm welcome by the Chief Priest of the Temple Sadhu Gnanamunidas. He was given a special tour of the sprawling temple premises.

He performed the Abhishek rite by pouring water on the statue of Shri Swaminarayan at the temple, and had a discussion with the Chief Priest. He was accompanied by his wife and Mission Officials.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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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.

(SF)

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

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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

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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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