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$1.8 mn from Japan to provide essential services for children in SL

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The Government of Japan has provided a new contribution of over $1.8 million to UNICEF’s emergency response for the most vulnerable children in Sri Lanka. The new contribution will enable over 600,000 children to access clean water, good hygiene and sanitation, and treatment for malnutrition.

Sri Lanka faces an economic crisis which is disproportionately affecting the poor and vulnerable households, with dire implications for children. Access to a nutritious diet has emerged as a potent threat to children. The practice of proper hygiene through handwashing with soap has been identified as inconsistent especially among the most vulnerable, further compounding the situation of children.

Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki said, “We are pleased to announce that the Government of Japan has decided to provide additional humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka in this critical situation. With this latest contribution, the total amount of assistance provided by the Government of Japan through UNICEF has exceeded USD 3.8 million since the beginning of the economic crisis last year. Japan continues to stand by and support Sri Lanka.”

UNICEF has remained agile in its work to address the needs of children in Sri Lanka and ensuring that the most vulnerable and their families are cushioned from the worst effects of poverty, COVID-19 and now the economic crisis.

“The Government of Japan has made a significant contribution to support the efforts of UNICEF collaborating with the Government of Sri Lanka in responding to both the long- and short-term needs of children”, said Christian Skoog, UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative. “UNICEF appreciates and relies on such contributions for its work for children”.

This contribution will enable UNICEF and partners to among others:

Treat 9,000 children with severe acute malnutrition through provision of therapeutic food and support access for children with complications to effective care in 97 hospitals where in-patient treatment is prioritized.

Procure and distribute multiple micronutrient powders for 200,000 children under two years to address deficiencies.

400,000 children and their parents/caretakers reached with accurate information on proper sanitation and hygiene information.

Support 100,000 people mainly women through provision of safe and adequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in identified Maternal and Child Health clinics.

This contribution is in line with the Japanese Government’s commitment that people live in dignity, free from want and fear through the provision of basic social services for the most vulnerable populations, including access to essential lifesaving WASH and nutrition services.

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“14.3% Surge in new HIV infections in 2023, reveals national program”

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The National Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Prevention Program states that the reporting of new HIV infections has increased by 14.3 percent.

This is higher in 2023 compared to 2022, director, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, community medicine specialist said.
She said that last year, 694 new HIV infected people were identified, most of them were men, and the number is 611, which as percentage is 88%. Last year, 81 HIV infected women were reported, which is 11.7 percent as a percentage. It is also
reported that there are 4100 infected people in society.

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Sri Lanka to Host Digital Economy Summit in July

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The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, announced that the anticipated National Cyber Security Act will be introduced this year, followed by the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority.

Additionally, the State Minister underscored the preparations made for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka by the end of July. The summit serves as a platform for fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in digital technologies, thus propelling the country towards a more resilient and prosperous digital economy.

Speaking at a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (29),

State Minister Herath further said;

The digital economy, which previously stood at 4.73%, has now surpassed the 5% mark, indicating significant growth.

This expansion has notably bolstered the country’s overall economic resilience. To further enhance this momentum, preparations are underway for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka at the end of July. The summit aims to attract both local and foreign investors, with collaborative efforts from foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Investment Promotion facilitating this initiative.

Furthermore, a sum of Rs. 50 million derived from the profits of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) was allocated to the treasury in the previous year. In line with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal, a new initiative has been launched to uplift small and medium-sized industrialists, who constitute 52% of the country’s economy. This endeavour seeks to empower such enterprises technologically, offering them Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and SLSI certifications. Additionally, plans are underway to facilitate access to low-interest loans through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the ultimate goal of guiding these small and medium-sized industrialists into the market.

(dailynews.lk)

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SC quashes Cabinet decision granting Paget Road residence to Maithripala

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The Supreme Court on Thursday (29 Feb.) quashed the Cabinet decision allowing former President Maithripala Sirisena to occupy his official residence at Paget Road in Colombo 07 even after he left office.

Accordingly, the court stated that an order will be issued invalidating the Cabinet decision taken on 15 October 2019 in this regard.

The relevant court order was issued by Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, with the concurrence of Justices Gamini Amarasekera and Kumudini Wickremasinghe, upon consideration of a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.

The petition further sought a court order stating that former President Sirisena had violated several fundamental rights of the public by taking decisions pertaining to his own privileges and rights during his tenure as the President, thereby making him the head of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Announcing the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena highlighted that the relevant Cabinet decision made by Sirisena was, in fact, unlawful, given that he was both, the President and the head of the Cabinet of Ministers at the time the decision in question was taken.

In their petition, the CPA and Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu claimed that the residence in question is of great financial value to the country, and thereby stated that such an allocation for a former President was irrational, illegal and arbitrary, and also violated several fundamental rights of the country’s citizens including that of the right to equality.

(adaderana.lk)

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