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Sunday December 3rd, 2023

Writ petition seeks better care for Covid 19 infected persons and close contacts

ECONOMYNEXT – A group of public-spirited citizens have filed a Writ Petition before the Court of Appeal seeking better protection for the people who are either infected with Covid 19 or deemed at risk and therefore being quarantined.

The petition filed this week by Attorney Randima Tennekoon said that there have been many instances where the authorities have not protected the people who are either being isolated or being taken to be quarantined.

The petitioners are Sandun Thudugala, Sajeewa Chamikara, Herman Kumara, Chinthaka Pradeep Rajapakse and Gamage Ashila Niroshini.

They informed the court there once a close contact of an infected person is found the authorities have not given them sufficient time to gather their belongings.

Some of them had been taken for quarantine without giving “at least one-hours’ notice.”

They allege that sometimes children have been taken without proper custody or care and that these persons have been unnecessarily exposed in the media.

The petition pays much attention to the behaviour of the media which the petition says is unsatisfactory for a number of reasons.

The media, the petitioners say have “given unnecessary weight and attention on the 1st patient recently discovered from the Garment Factory. But however, she is not the 1st patient from the factory.”

They alleged that the media has given unnecessary weight and attention to her daughter so that her school and the surrounding people were unnecessarily affected by the conduct of the Society.

The media has given unnecessary attraction and weight to the relatives, victims and its family members and sometimes labelled them as the vector.

The petitioners asked the court to compel the Minister of Health to promulgate regulations that will ensure that the above issues do not arise in the future.

They also said that there should be regulations with regard to the manner that quarantined people are treated and that their surroundings are kept clean and sanitized.

The petition also notes that the Minister is yet to appoint a Director of Health Services [Eds note: the position is now called Director-General of Health Services] and asks the court to issue a writ of Mandamus to compel the Minister to fill the vacancy.

(Colombo, October 16, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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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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