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Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Sri Lanka’s brawling beauties end up at the police station

UNCROWNED: A video of the un-crowning taken by a member of the audience went viral on social media.

ECONOMYNEXT – A high-profile beauty pageant for Sri Lanka’s married women ended in disaster as the winner was unceremoniously de-crowned by her predecessor in front of a live audience, police said Monday.

The “Mrs. Sri Lanka 2021” contest at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa theatre became a farce after the declared winner, Pushpika de Silva, was forced out within minutes by her immediate predecessor Caroline Jurie.

Jurie said that de Silva was disqualified because she was divorced, a claim that is denied by the original winner who minutes earlier had been crowned by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wife Shiranthi.

Police said de Silva lodged a complaint Monday against Jurie and another woman identified as Chula Manamendra who forced the crown away from her and placed it on the runner up during the Sunday evening gala.

UPDATES ON THIS STORY: Sri Lanka arrests Mrs World over battle of beauties

The ceremony was not open to the media, but a video of the event was widely shared on social media Monday with many criticising both the organisers and Jurie, the current reigning Mrs. World for the brawl of beauties.

“If Mrs. World stands for demeaning other women by the reigning Mrs. World, then we no longer need men to put down women, because women do it better,” said Sri Lankan woman journalist Munza Mushtaq said in a message. “Utterly shameful!”

“What is the point of beauty without grace,” asked another woman editor Marianne David. “… Extreme lack of grace, dignity, decency on display.”

Police said distraught de Silva had been hospitalised after the de-crowning. She had complained of a head injury as her crown was pulled off along with pins holding up her hairdo.

However, organisers have reportedly said that they will organize another event on Tuesday to re-crown Pushpika who took to Facebook to insist that she had not divorced her husband, but was only separated from him.

“If I was unsuitable to compete, why did they wait till the finals,” she asked. The public stripping of the crown caused her deep hurt.

She said her young son was also traumatized by the events.

Police said an investigation into the assault complaint was underway.

“The minor offence branch is investigating this ugly incident at the beauty contest,” an officer at Colombo’s Cinnamon Gardens police said. “Parties have been asked to turn up at an inquiry, but the complainant is now in hospital.”

Sri Lanka has not had much luck at international beauty contests, but in 1984 won the first Mrs. World competition held in California when Rosy Senanayake was crowned the most beautiful married woman in the world. Jurie is also the latest Mrs. World after winning the Mrs. Sri Lanka title last year. (COLOMBO, April 5, 2021 – Update II)

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Sri Lanka UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

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