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US Ambassador commissions online education platform

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US envoy Alaina B. Teplitz is being welcomed in Vavuniya

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz inaugurated a U.S.-funded online education platform that connects students and teachers from different regions and responds to education challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions. These “Smart Classrooms” connect Sinhala and Tamil speakers and provide remote schools with access to teachers trained in science and technology, the US embassy stated in a statement datelined Vavuniya

 “This Smart Classroom directly supports children’s access to a quality education using new technology,” said U.S. Ambassador Alaina Teplitz. “This opens a new world for them and also improve the connection between Sinhala and Tamil students, building stronger links with each other and their communities.” 

 The U.S. government’s Agency for International Development (USAID) supported an initiative that worked closely with provincial and district authorities to identify a school in Vavuniya and one in Trincomalee to pilot the Smart Classroom programme. These state-of-the-art classrooms include digital displays, audio equipment, desks, and chairs provided from the American people through USAID. This USD 20,000 pilot programme helps less advantaged schools deal with the challenges of meeting educational goals during a pandemic. It also connects students and teachers from different regions so they can support lasting peace in their communities.  

 The Smart Classroom activity is one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support self-reliance, strengthen stability, and promote economic growth. USAID’s programme in Sri Lanka, totaling more than 350 billion Sri Lankan rupees since 1956, promotes a healthy, educated, and employed population.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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