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Thawarsa and Mawai will hold TNA NL post for two and a half years each

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by Dinasema Ratugamage

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided to appoint two people, each holding the post for two and a half years, to its National List post.

A spokesman for TNA made this comment when asked about rumours that Thawarasa Kalaiarasan, who was appointed to the post will soon resign from his post. The appointment of Kalaiarasan, who is from Ampara, has caused a rift in the TNA. Thus, a number of TNA MPs had met in Colombo and the decision to appoint two men to the post had been taken there, the TNA spokesman said.

Kalaiarasan will hold the post for first two and a half years while Mawai Senathirajah will be the TNA NL MP thereafter. However, this arrangement will change if Senathirajah contests the Northern Provincial Council elections and secures the post of Chief Minister.



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Govt. dethrones national mammal giant squirrel

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The government had decided to remove the grizzled giant squirrel as the national mammal of Sri Lanka, given that it is an animal that caused much crop damage through its voracious eating habits, the Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera, said yesterday.The Minister said that a number of farmers’ associations have asked him to delist the giant squirrel as the national mammal.

The farmers say that the grizzled giant squirrel is one of the biggest threats to crops and they can’t do anything against it because it is the national mammal.Minister Amaraweera said the government was sensitive to the issue and plans to replace the grizzled giant squirrel with an endemic mammal.

“I will talk about this matter with all stakeholders including the Consultative Committee on National Heritages. We are thinking about replacing the grizzled giant squirrel with the Sri Lankan leopard,” the minister said. (RK)

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CP frowns on govt.’s handling of Chinese ship issue

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Sri Lankan governments have, during the past several years, ruined the relationship, progressive forces cultivated with China, over the past seven decades, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL) Dr. G. Weerasinghe says.Commenting on the decision by the government to delay the arrival of Chinese research vessel, Yuan Wang 5, Dr. Weerasinghe said that Sri Lanka had shown itself to be an unreliable partner.

“The damage is done. We have been trying to persuade the government to change its mind and allow the Chinese ship to dock, as scheduled. We are very disappointed at what happened.”

Dr. Weerasinghe said that a few months ago, an Aeroflot flight was arrested in Sri Lanka, over an issue with an Irish insurer. This was done, despite guarantees given by the Sri Lankan government that Russian aeroplanes will not be subjected to any issues created by sanctions levelled against Russia.

“It has been two months now. We no longer receive Russian tourists and, despite what is said officially, the Russian goodwill has been affected,” he said.Similarly, the controversy over the arrival of a Chinese research vessel and the government’s actions have created a rift with China. The government had indicated that it might allow the vessel to arrive in Sri Lanka following the Indian Independence Day, which falls on 15 August, he said. However, this is too little, too late, he said.

“We initially approved a request by China to dock Yuan Wang 5 at Hambantota. This was done on 12 July. Then we decided to walk back on our word on 05 August. By that time the Chinese ship had been at sea for over two weeks. If we had said we can’t accept the ship when the request was made, China would have understood. We have denied a request made in 2017 to dock a submarine that year and China understood where we came from. This is different. China is surprised and disappointed, for obvious reasons,” he said.

The CPSL General Secretary said that China and Russia have been reliable partners for decades and successive governments, despite their ideologies, have cherished these relationships.

“It takes decades to build a relationship, but these can be destroyed in weeks or days. Those who are high on anti-China propaganda will realise that they had been taken on a ride. However, it will be too late then,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Sri Lanka – China Friendship Association (SLCFA), attorney-at-law, Ananda Goonatilleke said that Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming a vassal state of India.

“India has made things harder for us in the past. India played a role in creating a war in Sri Lanka. China helped us end it. It has helped us at the international stage. We must assert our independence and sovereignty,” he said.

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Dengue, COVID cases at LRH

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Consultant Paediatrician, at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital (LRH), in Colombo, Dr. Deepal Perera, said that the number of children, afflicted with dengue and COVID-19, was increasing.Dr. Perera said that the hospital administration had decided to carry out random testing due to fears that there might be COVID and dengue patients among children, being treated for other illnesses.

Dr. Perera told the media that 25 dengue-positive cases had been found by Thursday evening. Among them were eight with dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), he said. There are 11 children being treated for COVID-19. Out of them two are at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).

“These cases were found after random testing of patients. If we checked all patients, the number would have been more,” Dr. Perera said.

He urged the people to clean their homes, offices, school premises and surroundings. He also advised to follow basic health guidelines again to prevent children getting infected with COVID-19 virus.

“Dengue is on the rise. So is COVID. People forgot about dengue in the last few years because of COVID. However, dengue is on the rise again and dengue is a very serious disease,” he said.

Dr. Perera also said that if anyone has a fever that has not subsided after three days, they should get tested.

There is a shortage of 60 essential medicines at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, deputy hospital director Santhushitha Senapathi said.

These shortages are having a serious negative impact on conducting surgeries and general treatment of patients at the LRH, Dr. Senapathi said.

The deputy hospital director said that there is a drop in donations by philanthropists.The LRH has informed the ministry of health that they might even have to cancel scheduled surgeries, if the medicine shortages are not addressed.

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