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Zuhair: Lanka should learn from New Zealand PM’s ‘empathetic but emphatic speech’



There is a lesson for Sri Lanka to learn from New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘empathetic but emphatic speech’ following the grievous knife attacks by a Muslim of Sri Lankan origin, says President’s Counsel M. M. Zuhair.

The text of the former MP’s statement issued in this regard is as follows:

Following the widely condemned despicable knife attack on innocent shoppers at the New Lynn mall in the suburb of Auckland, New Zealand on 3rd September, Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic but emphatic speech, “It was carried out by an individual; not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity. But an individual gripped by an ideology not supported here by anyone or any community” went viral particularly amongst Muslims worldwide!

What is significant in the Prime Minister’s timely and precise response was that she did identify the attacker of Sri Lankan origin as a single stand-alone individual, thereby instantly separating the alleged IS inspired attacker from the rest of his faith, culture and ethnicity and in effect from his countrymen. She paved the way for persons of the attacker’s faith as well to unite and fight the common enemy, real “terrorism”.

New Zealand’s strategy is bound to succeed in preventing greater radicalisation or widening resistance amongst those who feel victimised by the globalised unceasing wars, converting millions of otherwise normal people into refugees and then to modern day ‘slavery’ for the refugees’ survival.

In the absence of an objective strategic vision to isolate the terrorist from the rest of his kith, kin and compatriots in faith; ‘resistance, violent resistance and terrorism’ are bound to multiply in an unmanageable vicious cycle. That is a lesson Sri Lanka needs to learn from Arden’s handling of two major blows to peace and harmony that New Zealand went through on 15th March 2019 at Christ Church and on 3rd September 2021 at Auckland. Kiwi PM Jacinda Arden’s handling of the Auckland attack needs to be commended even while we condemn the attack! However the commendation does not extend to the New Zealand police but that is another subject!

The family has said, in a statement issued, that the Auckland attacker was wrong in what he did, expressed sorrow for the victims but that he has had a long spell of mental health problems. The family is sad that he could not be saved. It is noteworthy that a witness to the attack in the mall had said the attacker was “running around like a lunatic”. It is for the authorities in New Zealand to examine whether the attacker was indeed a ‘terrorist’ or a ‘lunatic’. Lunatics are excusable but not terrorists.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



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.


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



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



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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