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President briefs Meta on new Act to curb online hate speech

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe met with Sir Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs for Meta, in New York on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

During their discussions, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the government’s new initiatives to combat online hate speech and the spread of fake news, the President’s Media Division said.

He emphasized that the proposed bill would allow concerned parties to challenge specific aspects through the Supreme Court and further revisions could be considered during the Parliamentary Committee review.

The President was briefed on Meta’s advancements in Artificial Intelligence, with a particular emphasis on open-source technologies.

Both parties explored potential collaborations between the Sri Lankan Government and Meta in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

One of the proposals discussed was the development of a collaborative programme between Meta and Sri Lankan universities aimed at advancing AI technology.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized his two primary areas of focus: fostering the growth of the AI sector in the country, especially in the realm of education and utilizing AI to support data-driven initiatives aimed at addressing climate change.

Accompanying the President were Senior Advisor for Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardena, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake; BOI Chairman Dinesh Weerakody and Director of International Affairs, Dinouk Colombage.

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Alka Yagnik diagnosed with “rare sensory hearing loss

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Veteran Bollywood singer Alka Yagnik, who revealed that she has been diagnosed with a “rare sensory hearing loss” due to a viral attack, has suffered a type of hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways that transmit sound from the ear to the brain.

According to Dr Manish Munjal, Vice Chairman, ENT, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, sudden sensory hearing loss is a medical emergency as it can become irreversible if not aggressively treated in 48-72 hours.

“The centre of the problem is the inner ear organ called Cochlea, where it happens due to damage to the hair cells,” Munjal told IANS on Tuesday.

The causes may range from simple viruses like Herpes, Varicella, and Mumps or sudden loud exposure to noise levels above 85 decibel (dB).

Munjal also mentioned that this disorder may also result from more serious causes like painkiller overdose, chemotherapy, tumour compression, meningitis and stroke.

“The need of the hour is usually to rush to an ENT specialist to get the necessary ear examination done as well as get an audiometry test. Once diagnosed, the treatment may require a cocktail of antivirals, oral and intratympanic steroids, as well as rest from noisy environments,” he stated.

According to the doctor, once the treatment is initiated, the chances of recovery are usually 70 per cent and above.

The disorder affects only 1 per cent in bilateral ears as compared to single ear, Munjal noted.

(IANS)

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President apologizes over compulsory cremations during Covid-19 pandemic

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has apologized for making cremation compulsory during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During this time there was a lot of pain, mainly felt not only by the Muslims, but also Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, I know who also prefer burial,” President Wickremesinghe said in Parliament.

He said that a committee appointed to look into the matter at the time had recommended cremation, a decision which was upheld by the Supreme Court as well. So, that had to be followed. There was no other alternative during that time, he said.

He assured that Sri Lanka will bring in a law that will allow the right of burial, right of cremation or gifting one’s body to medical institutions.

(Excerpts : dailymirror.lk)

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Postage stamp to be increased to Rs. 100 in July

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A proposal has been made to increase the price of an ordinary postage stamp to Rs. 100 by July, Mass Media Ministry Secretary Anusha Palpita said.

He told the Daily Mirror that the Postal Department is currently incurring an annual loss of Rs. 7,000 million.

“Last year, the loss was reduced to Rs. 3,200 million. However, with a salary increase for postal employees costing Rs. 2,800 million this year, the Postal Department’s loss will rise again to Rs. 7,000 million.” he said.

“If the losses continue to increase, it might reach Rs. 5 billion by 2025. Less than 1.5 million people use postage stamps, yet the entire country bears the burden of the Postal Department’s losses,” he added.

The price of a stamp was Rs. 15 until 2022, and the current price is Rs. 50.

“We are awaiting approval from the Treasury to raise the price of a postage stamp. This decision is necessary due to the ongoing losses of the Postal Department,” Palpita said.

(dailymirror.lk)

(This story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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