Sri Lanka revokes ban on women buying alcohol, only to reimpose it a few days later

Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, on 14th January 2018 reimposed the four-decade-old ban on women buying liquor that was lifted by his finance minister earlier.

A week ago, Mangala Samaraweera, the finance minister had announced his decision to relax the laws on alcohol in an attempt to remove sexist bills from the statute books. Apart from the 1979 law that banned the sale of liquor to women, the one restricting women from working in any place where alcohol was made or sold was also repealed. Further, as per the new measures passed by Samaraweera, bars and pubs were allowed to remain open for a longer period of time. He also pointed out that strict restrictions laid on Sri Lanka’s licensed liquor manufacturers would only encourage a black market for spirits, and deprive the state of much-needed revenue.

However, these annulments were met with a lot of criticism in the Buddhist-majority nation with a population of 20 million. The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection even went to the extent of accusing the finance minister of encouraging drinking and urged Sirisena to intervene and restore the restrictions.

In view of the large-scale resentment, Sirisena ordered the finance minister to reimpose the ban on women buying liquor. “From tomorrow [Monday], the minister’s order will be rescinded,” the president’s office said without offering any explanation for its decision.

It, however, remains unclear whether the decision to permit women to work in the alcohol industry has also been reversed.

Sources -TOI, The Guardian

Indians dominate Sri Lanka again in lone T20, beats them By 7 wickets

Proving their consistency throughout, India concludes their tour with Sri Lanka on a high. The lone T-20 match that both the teams played saw India thrashing the Lankans ruthlessly by 7 wickets. Sri Lanka had set up a competitive score of 170-7 after losing the toss to India and batting first. However, they proved to be no match for the ‘Men in Blue’ who powered through the total with ease. Captain Virat Kohli scored a magnificent 82 while Manish Pandey kept company by making 52 runs. The two partnered 119 runs after losing both the openers quite early in the match.

While the match started on a dull note, with rains delaying the toss in Colombo. But the gloom did not last long, and thankfully for team India, the fireworks were on full display. India is gradually gearing up for the 2019 World Cup for 50 overs and experimenting with several young players before deciding on the final 11 that will play. With this, India has comprehensively beaten their opponents at all three formats in their land. After this, India faces a tough contest versus Australia when they begin playing against them on home ground. India would try to continue the same performance when they face the Kangaroos.

Sri Lankan Navy arrests eight TN fishermen

Colombo (Sri Lanka): Eight Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, along with two boats, near the Delft Island, reported ANI.

These fishermen were later taken by the officers to Kankesanthurai Naval Cap for interrogation. This is the fourth time in a month that Sri Lankan army has arrested fishermen from TN and interrogated them.

Earlier, on August 14, Sri Lankan Navy apprehended four TN fishermen along with a country boat near Punkudi Island. Similarly, on August 14, four and on August 8, 49 fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and detained their boats.

The fishermen captured on August 10, were to remand till August 23 by a Sri Lankan Court. The fishermen in Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu went on an indefinite strike to demand the release of the captured fishermen and their boats. The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edapady K. Palanisamy had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter to intervene and secure the release of 64 fishermen from Tamil Nadu lodged in a Lankan jail and 125 mechanised boats detained by Lanka.

Sources –  ANI, Business Standard 

India wins Galle test against Sri Lanka, take 1-0 lead in series

The first test match in the ongoing India-Sri Lanka series ended swiftly for the hosts as the visitors razed the lower order in the final session, registering a massive 304-run win on Day 4 of the Galle Test. India has taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Shikhar Dhawan was given the Man of the Match award.

This is India’s biggest away win and Sri Lanka’s biggest defeat at home. Skipper Virat Kohli registered extra pleasure at having won the match particularly because the pitch lacked venom and did not offer much to the bowlers. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, two of their key players were injured – Asela Gunaratne and skipper Rangana Herath. Though their bowling attack looked weak, missing the skipper, Nuwan Pradeep was the pick, registering his best figures in Test cricket.

With 550 runs needed to win, Sri Lanka’s batting order collapsed with two batsmen absent-hurt. On Day 4 of the test, they were at 192/4 at lunch and would have been hoping to continue to the next day, but Ravichandran Ashwin (3/65) pulled out all stops and took his first wicket of the second innings, going to on to take India to the brink of a win. Ravindra Jadeja (3/71) finished off what Ashwin had started, taking India to the victory.

The match was always in India’s pocket, thanks to their massive first innings total. Both Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara notched up tons, taking India to their mammoth total. Sri Lanka fell behind by 309 runs while chasing this total, brought on by a Ravindra Jadeja-led Indian attack. India, however, decided not to enforce a follow on, instead of taking to bat again and declaring at 240/3, giving themselves a 550 run lead. Kohli, who had fallen early in the first innings, made up for his failure by bringing up his 17th to in tests.

This win for India is an avenging of sorts for the loss at the same venue in 2015, although Sri Lanka looked meek throughout, with only Dimuth Karunaratne putting up a fight. Sri Lanka needs to improve their game if they are to balance out the series. The second test will begin on August 3, 2017, at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo.


News Sources- Economic Times, Times of India 

Sri Lanka opens door for its people’s return

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Rinal Wickremesesinghesaid that it is now safe for the Sri Lankan asylum seekers stranded on Pacific islands to return home without the fear of being prosecuted during his visit to Australia on Wednesday.

The PM along with his Australian counterpart Malcom Turnbull initiated talks on bilateral cooperation to check people smuggling. The primary reason of concern is that Sri Lankans, Afghans and Iranians constitute a large part of the refugee population of 2000 in the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Australia pays the countries to house them. No Sri Lankan asylum seeker has reached Australia by boat since 2013.

The comment from the Wickremesinghe came in the light of the Australian government’s decision to cease funds to house the asylum seekers any further. Although the United States has agreed to take in 1250 refugees, President Donald Trump said that they would undergo “extreme vetting”.

Officials from the U.S. State Department’s Resettlement Support Center began the interviews in the camps of Nauru and Manus last week.

The PM said that although the Sri Lankan asylum seekers had broken the Sri Lankan law by fleeing to Australia, they had nothing to fear back at home. “They are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won’t prosecute them,” Wickremesinghe told reporters in Australia’s capital Canberra, reported Reuters. “Come back” He also added, “It is quite safe in Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka has been attempting to reconcile its population since a bloody 26-year civil war ended in 2009.


Sources: Reuters, New Indian Express,

Sri Lanka wins the war against malaria

In a breakthrough achievement, the World Health Organisation on Monday declared Sri Lanka as malaria-free, thus, making it the second country in the region to eradicate malaria after Maldives.

From being termed as the worst-affected country by malaria 60 years ago to now being declared as a malaria-free nation, Sri Lanka has definitely come a long way in terms of tackling the menace of mosquito-borne diseases, and the WHO has rightly called it a “remarkable public health achievement.”

However, the road to eliminating malaria was not easy for Sri Lanka. It was achieved through sustained efforts from the side of the government as well as the communities concerned, coupled with well-calibrated policies.

How did Sri Lanka eradicate malaria?

Sri Lanka’s strong public health system is definitely one of the key reasons for this breakthrough. Health workers were properly trained to deal with malaria-related cases and the early diagnosis and swift treatment by these health workers with special focus on high-risk areas helped in decreasing the number of malaria-related deaths significantly. Additionally, an efficient sanitation system along with other methods that lowered mosquito breeding supplemented the strong health care system that was in place.

Talking about the various unconventional steps that were taken under the Anti-malaria Campaign designed by the health ministry, the web-based surveillance system was one of the most effective strategies. All fever cases were tested for malaria and each case was reported under the AMC. The officials kept a close watch on tourists, immigrants, pilgrims, armed forces on peace keeping missions etc.

Rationing of medicines was another step that was taken in the direction of providing affordable health care facilities to patients affected by malaria. All the malaria-related medicines were kept with AMC, forcing the private sector hospitals to notify all such cases with the health ministry.

Further, the government ran a 24*7 hotline for patients in isolation to stop the possibility of further transmission. Through the hotline, the patients were tracked and treated, which helped in bringing down malaria cases to a great extent.

Apart from all the above mentioned efforts, one of the major reasons for this feat was the fact that the AMC, in early 1990s, moved from a mosquito-control strategy to parasite-control strategy. Ever since, the malaria cases in the country saw a steady decline.

The relentless grass roots level community engagement cannot be ignored while talking about the Sri Lankan success story. No public health policy can work without the constant engagement of the citizens concerned. And in the case of Sri Lanka, due to better awareness and successful health education, citizens did not wait until it was too late and also played a role in the fruitful implementation of the health policies.

What can India learn from its neighbour?

Sri Lanka’s achievement comes at a time when different states of India are grappling with an upsurge of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

Various aspects of the AMC can be adopted in the Indian context to develop a proper surveillance system for the deadly disease. The private hospitals in the country should be asked to record all malaria-related cases with the health ministry, which can then devise a target-based approach to fight the infection.

Further, the central government and the respective state governments should also focus on providing more social, financial and technical support for facilitating the eradication process.

For a country that receives four times as much rainfall than India, the process of eliminating malaria was an uphill task. Yet, the island nation rose to the challenge, giving various other countries a much-needed reality check and inspiration. With more than thousand people dying due to Malaria every year, the Sri Lankan story can teach India a lesson or two in terms of combating the mosquito menace.

Sources: TOI ,  The Guardian

India at the top of Test rankings

On the eve of their fourth test in the ongoing series against the West Indies, team India climbed to the No. 1 spot in the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) Test rankings.

This comes after Sri Lanka blanked Australia 3-0 in a home test series. The No.1 ranked Australia lost the third and final test against their hosts by 163 runs on the fifth day.
They subsequently lost 10 points on the ratings and slipped down to the third spot in the table with 108, four behind India at 112.

India will now have to win their last test in the Caribbean if they want to retain their No. 1 rank. The fourth test is scheduled to begin on Thursday August 18, 2016. In the event that they draw or lose, Pakistan will move to the top of the rankings for the first time.

A win will give India 112 points, one ahead of Pakistan. A draw will slip them down to 110 and a loss to the West Indies a further slide down to fourth place at 108 points.

Pakistan jumped to the second spot with a win against England at the Oval. They tied the four match series 2-2 and moved to 111 ranking points.

For their efforts against Australia, Sri Lanka added ten points to their tally and occupied sixth spot, relegating the South Africans.

ICC Test rankings 1 India (112 points), 2 Pakistan (111), 3 Australia (108), 4 England (108), 5 New Zealand (99), 6 Sri Lanka (95), 7 South Africa (92), 8 West Indies (65), 9 Bangladesh (57), 10 Zimbabwe (8)


Read more at ESPN Cricinfo, Wisden India