Sri Lanka records an alarming rise in COVID-19 patients today

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy Ceylon Today

Colombo, 31st March (newsin.asia) – Sri Lankan Health Ministry has confirmed that 20 more persons have tested positive for COVID-19 today.

This was the highest surge in COVID-19 cases the country has recorded. The total now stands at 142 positive cases in the Island.

17 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovering completely.

Nationals of UK, France among 281 foreigners found at Markaz facility in Nizamuddin where a religious congregation, held in mid-March, has become a key source of coronavirus spread in the country,

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy The Economic Times

A total of 1,830, including these foreigners from 16 countries, continued to stay at the Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaj even as a 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, according to officials. The foreigners were from Indonesia (72), Sri Lanka (34), Myanmar (33), Kyrgystan (28), Malaysia (20), Nepal and Bangladesh (9 each),Thailand (7), Fiji (4), England (3), one each from Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Singapore, France and Kuwait.

NEW DELHI: Nationals from the UK and France are among 281 foreigners out of 1,830 people who were found by the Delhi police in last two days at Nizamuddin’s Markaz Masjid, where a religious congregation, held in mid-March, has become a key source of coronavirus spread in the country, officials said. Most of those who were found at the facility have been shifted to different quarantine centres and isolation wards of hospitals.

A total of 1,830, including these foreigners from 16 countries, continued to stay at the Tablighi Jamaat’s Markaj even as a 21-day nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24, according to officials.

The foreigners were from Indonesia (72), Sri Lanka (34), Myanmar (33), Kyrgystan (28), Malaysia (20), Nepal and Bangladesh (9 each),Thailand (7), Fiji (4), England (3), one each from Afghanistan, Algeria, Djibouti, Singapore, France and Kuwait.

Remaining 1,549 people were from Tamil Nadu (501), Assam (216), Uttar Pradesh (156), Maharashtra (109), from Madhya Pradesh (107), Bihar (86), West Bengal (73), Telangana (55), Jharkhand (46), Karnataka (45), Uttarakhand (34), Haryana (22), Andaman Nicobar Islands (21), Rajasthan (19), 15 each from Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha, Punjab (9) and Meghalaya (5).

In last one month, at least 8,000 people, including foreigners have visited the premises, and most of them have either returned to their respective places or currently in other Markaz facilities in different parts of the country, thereby having a link in some positive cases in those states.

Apart from six Indonesians, who tested positive in Hyderabad, one person each from Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana, who succumbed to the infection, had also attended the congregation.

Officials said Markaz office bearers informed police about the presence of about 1,200 people on March 25 after the lockdown was announced.

Some of these people were escorted out of Delhi by police.

On March 26, again about 2,000 people gathered at the Markaz facility.

Even though the Markaz office bearers sought the help of police and civil authorities to send these people out of the city, the road, rail and air traffic were completely shut by then.

Out o ..

Out of the 1,830 people found by the police, about 200 are believed to have showed COVID-19 symptoms and they have been shifted to hospitals.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said 700 people who attended this congregation have been quarantined while around 335 people have been admitted to hospitals.

Read more at:
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/nationals-of-uk-france-among-281-foreigners-found-at-markaz-facility-in-nizamuddin/articleshow/74912080.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Discrimination that the Sinhalese face in the North and the East

March 31st, 2020

Chanaka Bandarage

After the war, all governments have miserably failed to settle the displaced Sinhalese (numbering about 50,000) in the Northern province.

 In the past five years, the governments have embarked on a massive ‘Sanhindiyawa’ campaign, placing lots of onus on the Sinhalese to embrace Tamil culture and Tamil way of life. For this, a ministry of National Language and Social Integration was created. It ran racist policies against the Sinhalese.

State-owned TV and radio stations promoted ‘Sanhindiyawa’ day and night in the Sinhala dominated South. Even on Sinhala TV channels, cheap Thamilnadu movies were shown with Sinhala subtitles.

After the then government was very keen to establish the Northern Provincial Council (in 2013), Wigneswaran became the Chief Minister and his provincial government adopted racist policies one after another, against the Sinhalese.  Wigneswaran implied that he did not want the Sinhalese visiting the North even on short stays; he objected to the Sinhalese worshiping Buddha statutes in the North placed in the open.

The Jaffna railway station failed to announce the arrival of the train from Colombo in Sinhala. The writer is informed that Wigneswaran had directed that massive billboards in the province (including on A9) must not display a single Sinhala word. Even some premier Sri Lankan Banks who had their headquarters in Colombo had to advertise in the billboards sans Sinhala. In North/Jaffna, Sinhala was purposely omitted from many street name boards. 

In Madhu Road, Mannar, Sinhalese living there were deprived of the only Sinhala school that they had for more than 30 years. That was close down in January 2019. Sinhala people in Mannar (Madhu Road, Nari Kadu and Seelawathura), have no cemetery to bury/cremate their dead. They take the corpses to Anuradhapura.  The Hindus would not allow them to use their cemeteries.

Shops in the newly built shopfront near the Madhu church were given to Tamils and some Muslims only.  This happened despite the Sinhalese’ request that they also are given at least a shop or two.

In the Eastern province (Trincomalee) the Sinhalese were chased away from the paddy lands that they had cultivated for several years (in 2015).  These lands were later allocated to Tamils who were brought to the area only recently.  The Order to do this had been given by a prominent Eastern Province based Tamil politician who is much venerated in the South. 

Tamil divisional secretaries work to block the Sinhalese from resettling in the North (former Northern Sinhala settlers).  In Navatkuli, Sinhalese who were engaged in small businesses were deprived of continuing with their activities. A person running a breakfast food cart (string-hoppers) was unfairly stopped from his operation. A Sinhalese man, well experienced in making ice cream in Anuradhapura, was prevented from starting the same business in his Navatkuli home. These Sinhalese are mostly 2nd or 3rd generation Sinhalese, who speak fluent Tamil.

There are instances where newly arrived Sinhalese have been discouraged from settling in the North by Tamil Grama Seva Niladharis.   In the Tamil speaking areas of the North, all government offices work only in Tamil language.  Those who do not understand Tamil face huge difficulties as a result. But, in the South, Tamil is strictly enforced as a National Language.

However, the previous government forced Sanhindiyawa down upon the Southerners. Due to this many people (especially the children) have lost their patriotic feeling about the country. Sinhala songs such as ‘Me Sinhala Apage Ratai, Hela Derane Kandula Susuma, ‘Api Okkoma Rajawaru’ etc were removed from radio broadcasting.

The previous President proudly announced that his government reduced the acreage held by the Army in the North and the East from 84,523 to 14,769 – a reduction of  83%.

In the East, large numbers of Buddhist archeological sites are being discovered regularly. None of the governments since the ending of the war have shown a keen desire to preserve them and identify them as Sinhala Buddhist cultural sites.

In order to satisfy the minorities and win their vote, Sinhala history has been distorted in history books. Children are now taught that Vijaya and Mahavansa maybe myths. That, Buddhism may have arrived in the country before the arrival of Ven Mahinda.  The Sinhalese have been heavily indoctrinated to believe that King Ravana, a fictitious/mythical character in Hindu books, had indeed existed in Sri Lanka, more than 4,000 years ago. This has given Tamils the opportunity to make the false claim that Ravana was a Tamil, thus they are the first arrivals of the country. Wigneswaran got in the bandwagon to state that King Devanampiyatisa was a Tamil and his correct name is Devanampiyatissam! Until about 20 years ago, Ravana was totally a non-entity in Sri Lankan history. The Great King, Dutu Gamunu, was described in a famous movie (produced mainly for the children) as ‘Dushta Gamini’.

Given the acute land shortage in the South, the government must allow non-Tamils to live in the North and the East (1/3 of the country). Those are the only areas where land is now freely available to live.  The South is congested with Tamils (Wellawatta, Kotahena, Muttwal are just a few examples).  There is nothing wrong with this, but the Sinhalese must also be allowed to live in the North and the East (currently they cannot seek properties even on lease). It is time that the government corrects this serious anomaly. All citizens should be allowed to live wherever they wish to live. This is a right enshrined in our Constitution (Article 14 (1) (h). Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Sri Lanka is a signatory also prescribes this.

The writer is an International Lawyer

[email protected]

The Country That Used Nuclear (1945), Biological (1951) and Chemical (1968) Weapons on Civilians Blames Others!

March 31st, 2020

Kumar Moses

There is only one country in the world that has used nuclear weapons in anger. That too on civilians! It happened in 1945. The targets were large cities, not military bases. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese died due to direct and indirect exposure. No other country has done so.

Just six years later that same country bombed North Korea with various biological agents causing famine, widespread infestation and deaths. Once again it was targeted at civilians. No other country has used biological weapons.

In 1968 and throughout the Vietnam War that very same country used chemical weapons against civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were killed in indiscriminate chemical weapons attacks. These were aimed at civilians. A few other countries have also used chemical weapons after the lead of this nation. However, their use comes nowhere near the massive use by this particular country.

Having used all forms of weapons of mass destruction, this country has the audacity to blame others for the COVID-19 crisis. Is this some kind of a joke?

What is most worrisome is this country used all these weapons of mass destruction in Asia. Seems like the decision makers of this country consider Asians to be lesser human beings. Although this country publicly announced they have given up chemical and biological weapons, others have raised serious doubts about these claims. Most likely they still do have WMD programs. Others must not lower their guard and need not stick to their commitments to stop or curtail biological and chemical weapons. They may be the only means to keep the aggressor at bay.

කොරෝනා මද සුළඟ

March 31st, 2020

චන්ද්‍රසේන පණ්ඩිතගේ

පසුගිය වසරේ නොවැම්බර් මස 19 වෙනිදා ලෝකයේ උපත ලද කොරෝනා හෙවත් කොවිඩ්-19 නම්වූ මදනල කුමරිය පසුගිය වසරේ දෙසැම්බර් මස 10 වෙනිදා චීනයේ හුවාන පලාතෙන් මතුවී සුළි සුළඟක් ලෙසින් ලොවපුරාම ගමන් කරමින් සිටින අවස්තාවක අපි ඒ දෙස මහත් උද්යෝගයකින් බලා සිටින්නේ, මේ කොරෝනා කුමරිය මේ ලෝකය තුල කුමන අරමුණකින් කුමක් කිරීමට සැරසෙන්නේද යන කුතුහලයෙන් යුක්තවය.

ඇත්ත වශයෙන්ම අපි මේ දෙස මහත් බලාපොරොත්තු සාහිතව බලා සිටින්නෙමු. අපි එහෙම කියන්නේ මේක මහා විනාශයක් මේක වහාම නැවැත්විය යුතුයි යන හඬ හැම තැනකින්ම ඇසෙන තත්වයක් තුලදියි. නමුත් යම් ශුභවාදී වටිනා යමක් මේ තුලින් මතුවෙන බව අපි දන්නවා.

මේ ලෝකයේ විශේෂිත කටයුතු ඉටුකිරීම සඳහා විශේෂිත පුද්ගලයන් හා කණ්ඩායම් මේ ලෝකයට වරින්වර එවන බව අපි හොදින් දන්නවා. ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතා හා ඔහු හා බද්ධව වැඩකරන පිරිවර සේනාවන් එතුමා සහ එතුමාට පවරා ඇති කාර්යයන් ඉටුකිරීම සඳහා ස්වභාවය විසින් විශේෂිත නිර්මාණයන් ලෙස මෙබිමට එවන ලද බල මුලුවකි. දැන් මේ බල මුළුවට ඉටුකිරීමට ඇති කාර්යයන් ඉටුකිරීමට යාමේදී ඇතිවෙන බාධක මොනවාද? ඒවා ඉවත් කිරීම හා ඒවා විනාශ කිරීමටද ස්වභාවය කටයුතු නිර්මාණය කරයි.

මේ වනවිට ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ් මහතා බලයට පත්වී, මාස හතරක් නිමවා අවසන්ය. ඔහු ඉතා පිරිසිදු පාලනයක් ගෙනයාම සඳහා විශාල බලාපොරොත්තු පෙරදැරිව කටයුතු කලද ඒවා දැන දැනම ඔහුට එරෙහිව අවිගත් පිරිසක් රටපුරාම ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙමින් පැවතුනි. ඒ අධිරාජ්‍යවාදීන්ගේ සැලසුම් හා පෝෂණය කිරීම් තුලින් දිරිගත් පුද්ගල සමුහයක් තුලිනි. ස්වභාවය අපිට වඩා බලවත්ය. සැලසුම් සහගතය. ස්වභාවයේ විනිශ්චය බලවත්ය.

ගෝඨාභය ප්‍රමුඛ සේනාවට සිය ව්‍යාපෘතිය ආරම්භ කිරීමට හා පවත්වාගෙන යාමට බාධාවන් ගණනාවක් විය. එකක් වුයේ පැවතී පාර්ලිමේන්තුවයි. එය මාර්තු දෙවනිදායින් පසු විසුරුවා හැරිණි. ඒ එක හිසරදයක නිමාවයි. ඊට අමතරව, ජාතික වශයෙන්, එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂය, ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ, ද්‍රවිඩ සංවිධාන, මුස්‌ලිම සංවිධාන, දේශපාලන පිලිලයන්සේ කටයුතු කරමින් සිටියහ. ඔවුනගේ හඬ නිහඬ කිරීමට ස්වභාවය කටයුතු කල ආකාරය විශ්මිතය. මේ සියල්ලක්ම ස්වභාවය ඉටුකරන ලද්දේ කොරෝනා වයිරසය උපයෝගී කරගෙනය. මැතිවරණය සඳහා නාමයෝජනා බාරගත්තද මැතිවරණයට දින නියමයක් නැත. මැතිවරණ කොමසාරිස් නිහඬය. දේශපාලන පක්ෂ සියල්ලේම හඬ බොල්වී ඇත. ජනතාවගේ කණට නිවාඩුවක් ලැබී ඇත. කොතරම් අපුරු සිදුවීමක්ද මේ අපි දකිමින් සිටින්නේ.? ඒ ජාතික වශයෙන්ය.

ජාත්‍යන්තර වශයෙන්, ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට හා එම සේනාවට එරෙහිව බලවත්ව සිටි, ජාත්‍යන්තර ප්‍රතිගාමී සේනාවට අද සිදුව ඇති දේ එකවර කල හැකි බලවතා කවරෙක්ද? අපි ඒ දෙස බලා දුක් වෙමුද තුටු වෙමුද? පසුගිය මාර්තු මස අපිට එරෙහිව ජිනීවා නුවර මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සලයේදී හඬ නැගු රටවල් තුල බලවත් අර්බුද නිර්මාණය කර අපිට සැනසිල්ලේ ඉන්නට ඉඩ සලසා දුන් කොරෝනා වයිරසයට අපි කුමක් කරමුද? අප කල යුත්තේ එය අපට අවැසි විදියට හැසිරවීමට කටයුතු කිරීමයි. සත්‍ය ලෙසම මේ වයිරසය අපගේ මිතුරෙක් මිස සතුරෙක් නම් නොවේ.

අද අපට එරෙහිව අවි අමෝරාගෙන නැගිටීමට ඇමරිකා එක්සත් ජනපදයට නොහැක. කැනඩාවටද නොහැක, මහා බ්‍රිතාන්යටද නොහැක, නොර්වේ රාජ්‍ය, ජර්මනිය, ප්‍රංශය ඉතාලිය යන කිසිදු රාජ්‍යකට නොහැක. අපිට එරෙහිව සෘජුවම චන්දය දුන් අසල්වැසි ඉන්දියාවටද නොහැක. මේ අනුව කොරෝනා වයිරසය අප වෙනුවෙන් මිහිබට සුර ලොව නිමයුමක්සේ සැලකුවද කම් නැත.  මේ ලෝකයේ ධනවත්ම රාජ්‍යයන් සියල්ලම මහා ආර්ථික හා මානුෂීයව පරිහානියකට ලක්වෙන්නේ, දෙවන ලෝක යුද්ධයෙන් පසු එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානය නමින් සංවිධානයක් පිහිටුවාගෙන උත්තර ද්‍රවයේ ඉහල සිට මේ පොලොව දෙස බලන ඒ සංවිධානයේ රැකවරණ ලබමින් මේ ලොව පෙළමින් දස ලක්ෂ ගණන් මිනිසුන් මරමින තුටුවෙමින් ජය පන් බිවු ලෝක අධිරාජවාදී රාජ්‍ය සමුහයයි.

පිඩනයට පත්වෙන ජනතාව ඉටුකළ යුතු කාර්යයක්, අද දවසේ ඇසට නොපෙනෙන කුඩා වයිරසයක් ඉටුකරමින් සිටි. එදා මෙදා තුර මේ තර්ජනයට ලක්ව සිටින අධිරාජ්‍යවාදී රාජ්‍යන් සමුහය තවත් මහා ලේ වැගිරීම් රාශියක් කිරීමේ අරමුණින්, නවීන අවි ආයුධ ගොඩ ගසාගෙන සිටින මේ මොහොතේ, ස්වභාවය විසින් ඇසට නොපෙනෙන වයිරසයක් නිර්මාණය කර සිදු කරන මේ ක්‍රියාවලියේ චමත්කාරතත්වය අපි දකින්නේ මහා කුතුහලයකින් යුක්තව බව කිව යුතුමය. කොරෝනා වයිරසය මේ ඉටුකරන්නේ තුන්වන ලෝක යුද්ධයේ කාර්යභාරයයි. නමුත් තමන් යුද්ධයක් සඳහා නිපදවා ගොඩගසාගත් කිසිදු වැඩක් නැතිබව ස්වභාවය පෙන්වාදී ඇත. අවි ආයුධ ගැටෙන යුද්ධයකට වඩා මෙය සාධාරණය. හැම දෙනාමතම බෝම්බ දමා වනසන යුද්ධයට වඩා, මෙය තුල යම් සුන්දරත්වයක් දකිමු.

දැන් පිට්ටනිය හිස්ය ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතා ප්‍රමුඛ සේනාවට ක්‍රීඩා කිරීම ඉතා පහසුය. නමුත් ක්‍රීඩාපිටියේ නොපෙනෙන කොරෝනා වයිරසයද තිබේ. එයින් පරිස්සම් වෙමින් කලයුතු සමාජ පරිවර්තනයක් එතුමා අබියස ඇත. දැන් සෑම නිවසකටම ආහාර රැගෙන එයි. ජනතාව නිවසේ සිටම ඒවා මිලදී ගනු ලැබේ. හෙට ආහාර ගෙන ආවද ඒවා ගැනීමට ජනතාවට මුදල් නැත. එබැවින් ආහාර එවීමට පෙර මුදල් ගෙදරට ගෙනවිත් දීමට සිදුවේ. එයද බැංකු තුලින් ඉටු කල හැක. නමුත් හැමෝටම බැංකු ගිණුම් නැත. හැමෝම ලග මුදල්ද නැත. මෙයට පිළිතුරක් අවශ්‍යවේ. ඒ සඳහා කල හැකි හා කලයුතු ඉහලම පිළියම වන්නේ,
රටේ අවුරුදු 15ට වැඩි සියලු දෙනාටම මහා බැංකුවට අනුබද්ධිත බැංකු ගිණුමක් හා ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික් මුදල් සංසරණ කාඩ්පතක් ලබාදීමයි. ඊට පසු සාම මිනිසෙක් ලගම ඇති මුදල් නෝට්ටු හා කාසි බැංකුවට ගෙනවිත්දී ඒවා තම තමන්ගේ ගිණුම්වල තැන්පත් කිරීමට ඉඩ ලබාදිය යුතුය. මේ කාර්යයේදී තැන්පත් කරන්නා කුමන ආකාරයේ විශාල මුදල් ප්‍රමාණයක් ගෙන ආවද ඒවා ප්‍රශ්න කිරීමකින් තොරව බැංකුවේ තැන්පත් කිරීමට ඉඩ ලබාදිය යුතුය. මුළු රටේම මිනිසුන්ගේ ගිණුම් මහා බැංකුව හරහා මධ්‍යගත කිරීම තුලින්, මහා බැංකුව මුදල පිරි මිනිසුන් හා ආයතන මොනවාද යන්නත්, මුදල් නැති මුදල් අවැසි මිනිසුන් කවුදැයි යන්නත් සම්බන්ධව අවබෝධයක් ලැබේ. ඒ අනුව සෑම මාසයකදීම මුදල් නැති මිනිසුන් සම්බන්ධව අවබෝධ කරගෙන ඔවුනට ජීවත්වීම සඳහා රජය ප්‍රතිපාදන දැමීම හෝ ඔවුනට රැකියාදීම රාජ්‍ය කටයුත්තක් බවට පත්කල යුතුය.

කොරෝනා වයිරසයේ අවසාන පලය වන්නේ ධනවාදය අර්බුදයකට ලක්කර නවසමාජ ක්‍රමයක් ලොව තුල ගොඩනැගීම වන අතර, එම ක්‍රමය තුල මුදල් නෝට්ටු බාවිතය අහෝසි වන බැවින්ද ඒ වෙනුවට ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික් මුදල් බාවිතය සම්පුර්ණයෙන්ම සමාජගත වන බැවින්ද, එම ක්‍රියාවලියේ නියමු බලවේගය ශ්‍රී ලංකාව තුලින් ගොඩනගමු. මේ කාරයත් සමගම කොරෝනා වයිරසයේ නිමාවද දැකීමට හැකිවනු ඇත.

GMOA proposes ‘Hammer and Dance Theory’ to control COVID-19

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has proposed ten steps “Hammer and Dance Theory” to control COVID-19 Outbreak in Sri Lanka. All possible aggressive actions should be implemented immediately to control COVID-19,” it said.

Covid-19 deaths: Exclusive cremation says new guideline

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Updated guidelines on Covid-19 related deaths issued by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday state that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the disposing of bodies of those who succumb to coronavirus would exclusively be cremation.

The fourth update on the Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients indicate that cremation remains the best practice to avoid further spread of the disease.

Judicial Medical Officers across Sri Lanka were issued the SOP to be followed in the event of a death a coronavirus infected person last week. Accordingly, the guideline stated that remains of all those who succumb to the disease would be cremated within 24 hours. 

However, with reports of the second death due to coronavirus in Sri Lanka, many individuals and groups raised their concerns over the right of a Covid-19 infected person to be buried. Among them was Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauff Hakeem who, issuing a statement condemned the regulation. “It is unfortunate, regrettable and of course reprehensible that the Janaza of the Negombo Victim of the Covid 19 virus had been cremated without permitting the burial as is ordained in our faith,” the former Minister said in a Facebook post. 

The guideline issued by the Ministry today however states that bodies of confirmed and suspected persons as well as those with a suggestive history of the disease must be cremated. The body should never be washed under any circumstance, has to be placed in a sealed body bag and a coffin while the disposal of bodies must be monitored by police, Ministry of Health and Public Health Inspectors, the guideline said.  

China zeroes in on coronavirus patients with no symptoms as new infections rise

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy Ceylon Today

China will start releasing information from tomorrow (01) on coronavirus patients who show no disease symptoms, ordering them into quarantine for 14 days, a health official said, after the mainland witnessed its first rise in infections in five days.

As local infections peter out and new cases surface among travelers returning home, the existence of virus carriers with no symptoms is fuelling public concern that people could be spreading it without knowing they are ill.

From 01 April, the daily report of the National Health Commission will include details of such cases for the first time, Chang Jile, a commission official, told a briefing. People in close contact with them face 14 days of medical observation.

Asymptomatic patients under observation numbered 1,541 by yesterday (30), with 205 of the cases having come from overseas, the commission said separately.

Yesterday’s (30) 48 new infections, and one death, in mainland China were up from 31 the previous day, the commission said, reversing four days of declines. All were imported, taking China’s tally of such cases to 771, with no new local infection reported.

Many were students returning from overseas. About 35 infected Chinese citizens are still studying abroad, with 11 already cured, Education Ministry official Liu Jin said.

COLLEGE EXAM

Fearing a second wave of infections sparked by such inbound travelers, China will delay its college entrance exam by a month, until 07 and 08 July, China Central Television said, although Hubei Province, where the virus emerged late last year, and Beijing, the capital, will get more leeway in scheduling it.

The annual two-day “gaokao” test drew more than 10 million candidates last year, State Media have said.

Last week, a study in British medical journal the Lancet Public Health recommended that China extend school and workplace closures, since an earlier relaxation of curbs could bring a second peak in the outbreak by August.

“China has slowed transmission of the virus and in so doing, has passed one peak in the outbreak,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a representative of the World Health Organisation. “The challenge now is to prevent a resurgence of new cases.”

Tax authorities acknowledged the pandemic’s impact on exporters, saying they were studying policies to reduce pressure on businesses, from tax cuts to an extension of preferential policies for foreign firms.

New data from a survey of manufacturers showed that factory activity expanded in March from February’s collapse as businesses returned to work, but analysts warned that slumping external demand could prevent a durable recovery.

“The situation could be very fluid as the virus outbreak remains unpredictable,” analysts at ANZ bank said in a note. “Chinese policymakers will likely step up and expand the stimulus program if needed.”

The commercial hub of Shanghai saw 11 new imported cases yesterday (30), mainly among returning Chinese nationals, while Beijing had three.

Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei Province, reported no new infections for a seventh straight day. Groups of medical teams in brightly colored jackets took photographs around the city as they prepared to leave.

“Thank you, Wuhan. We are back,” read a message on a building that houses a Levi’s clothing store.

By yesterday (30), total infections stood at 81,518 in mainland China, with 3,305 deaths.

India cracks down on Muslim group emerging as coronavirus cluster

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy Ceylon Today

India sealed off the headquarters of a Muslim missionary group on Tuesday and ordered an investigation into accusations it held religious meetings that officials fear may have infected dozens of people with the coronavirus.

India has registered 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, 32 of whom have died. The numbers are small compared with the United States, Italy and China but health officials say India, the world’s second most populous country, faces a huge surge that could overwhelm its weak public health system.

One of the coronavirus hot spots that the government of the capital, New Delhi, has flagged is a Muslim quarter where the 100-year-old Tablighi Jamaat group is based, after dozens of people tested positive for the virus and at least seven died.

Authorities said people kept visiting the Tablighi center, in a five-storey building in a neighborhood of narrow, winding lanes, from other parts of the country and abroad and it held sermon sessions, despite government orders on social distancing.

Hundreds of people were crammed into the group’s building until the weekend when authorities began taking them out for testing. More buses arrived on Tuesday to take them away to quarantine centers in another part of the city.

“It looks like social distancing and quarantine protocols were not practised here,” the city administration said in a statement.

“The administrators violated these conditions and several cases of corona positive patients have been found… By this gross act of negligence many lives have been endangered… This is nothing but a criminal act.”

Authorities are trying to trace the movements of the Tablighi members after the meetings in Delhi and the people who were exposed to them.

Media said there were also Tablighi members from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia. The director general of Malaysia’s health ministry told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that they were investigating the presence of Malaysians at the Delhi meeting.

“Obviously there is a high risk if they attended the (Delhi) gathering,” Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

India, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, is under a 21-day lockdown that will end in mid-April to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus but tens of thousands of out-of-work migrants are fleeing to the countryside, undermining the restrictions.

Musharraf Ali, one of the administrators of the Tablighi center in Delhi, said the group had been seeking help from police and the city administration to deal with people streaming in. But the lockdown had made things more difficult.

“Under such compelling circumstances there was no option … but to accommodate the stranded visitors with prescribed medical precautions until such time that the situation becomes conducive for their movement or arrangements are made by the authorities,” the Tablighi said in a statement.

The Tablighi, one of the world’s largest missionary movements, hosted a gathering last month at a mosque complex on the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, that has emerged as a source of hundreds of coronavirus infections across Southeast Asia.

In Pakistan, the group called off a congregation on the outskirts of the city of Lahore last month, but there were still 1,100 people staying on a group premises. At least 27 have tested positive for the virus, the health minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Yasmin Rashid, told Geo TV this week.

Separately, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told government officials that she might extend the current 10-day lockdown for a few days beyond April 4. Bangladesh has 51 confirmed cases of the virus, five of whom have died.

Following is data on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia’s eight countries, according to government figures:

* Pakistan has registered 1,625 cases, including 20 deaths.

* India has registered 1,251 cases, including 32 deaths.

* Sri Lanka has registered 132 cases, including two deaths.

* Afghanistan has registered 170 cases, including 3 deaths.

* Bangladesh has registered 51 cases, including 5 deaths.

* Maldives has registered 28 cases and no deaths.

* Nepal has registered five cases and no deaths.

* Bhutan has registered four cases and no deaths.

Rs 5000 allowance for low income families affected by COVID-19 outbreak

March 31st, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

A host of more financial and material benefits have been granted to low income and vulnerable families and individuals in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the Presidential Task Force established to administer essential services that provision of Rs. 5000/= as a single payment to the low-income families will ease the financial difficulties faced by them.

The following are the declared concessions and the eligible groups, according to President’s Media Division.

– Measures have been taken to pay Rs.5,000 each to all 416,764 senior citizen allowance recipients and to the recently registered 142,345 senior citizens.

– An allowance of Rs. 5,000 will be provided to 84,071 disabled persons and 35,229 newly registered disabled persons.

– A total of 160,675 farmers who are registered under the Farmers’ Insurance Scheme will also receive an allowance of Rs.5000 each.

– An allowance of Rs. 5,000 will be paid to 25,320 kidney patients and 13,850 newly registered patients.

– Thriposha and other nutritional supplements will be delivered directly to the residences of expectant mothers and families with malnourished children.

– Measures have been taken to provide Rs.5,000 each to all 1,798,655 Samurdhi recipients and to the recently registered 600,339 Samurdhi recipients by the Samurdhi Bank/Samurdhi Authority.

– Payment of the pensions to 645,179 public officers.

– Steps will be taken to pay the April salary for 1,500,000 Public Sector employees and loan payment deductions from salaries to be suspended until further notice.

– Relief on lease installments for 1,500,000 self-employed persons, including owners of three-wheelers, trucks, school buses and vans and self-employed motorists.

– Reliefs will be provided for the private businesses that are not in a position to pay employees’ wages due to the prevailing economic hardships.

The circular signed by the Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara on the concessions granted by the President and how they will be implemented was issued yesterday (30). 

The circular had been referred to the Secretaries of Ministries of Finance, Economic and Policy Development and Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government and all District and Divisional Secretaries. This relief program will continue to operate until the priority program to eliminate the novel Coronavirus from Sri Lanka declared the completion of its mission. 

One of the prime objectives of the priority program is to ensure the uninterrupted continuation of civilian life, the Secretary to the President has highlighted in his circular. The Presidential Task Force had identified the necessity of re-integration of people who are affected due to the spread of the pathogen to the mainstream. 

Dr. Jayasundara stated that he had been instructed by the President to issue directives to all District and Divisional Secretaries to take all necessary measures to provide essential food items to the doorstep at a concessionary price.

COVID-19 cases tally jumps to 143 as 21 more test positive today

March 31st, 2020

Sri Lanka News

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that 11 more persons tested positive for COVID-19 as at 7.30 pm today (31).

With this addition, the tally of coronavirus cases in the country has now reached 142.

As of 4.15 pm this evening, 10 patients had tested positive for the virus. Sri Lanka has accordingly recorded the highest daily surge of COVID-19 cases with a total of 20 during the course of the day.

In the meantime, 17 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovering completely.

Trina Solar leads the era of 500W+ output with its shipment of world’s first Vertex modules to Sri Lanka

March 31st, 2020

By NS Energy Staff Writer Courtesy NS Energy

The facility waiting for the delivery, in Sri Lanka, has a capacity of 10MW

solar-panel-918492_640

The Vertex series includes bifacial double-glass modules and back sheet modules. (Credit: Pixabay/Free-Photos)

Trina Solar Co., Ltd (Trina Solar” or the Company”), a global leading provider of integrated PV modules and smart energy solutions, has just shipped the first lot of its Vertex series modules. The Vertex series modules, with conversion efficiency of up to 21 per cent, boasts power output exceeding 500W. With this shipment, Trina Solar sets a new benchmark for the global photovoltaic industry following the company’s announcement 11 days ago of the pilot line for the mass production of the Vertex series modules.

The facility waiting for the delivery, in Sri Lanka, has a capacity of 10 MW. It will deploy the modules upon arrival and is expected to complete grid connection during the third quarter of this year. Incorporating 210mm cells, the Vertex series modules integrate advanced three-piece, non-destructive cutting and high-density packaging technologies.

The Vertex series, includes bifacial double-glass modules and back sheet modules, delivering high power output, high reliability, high efficiency and high power generation. According to data from Trina Solar’s State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology, taking a large-scale ground power station in China’s Heilongjiang province as an example, compared with conventional 410W bifacial double-glass modules, the Vertex bifacial double-glass modules can reduce balance-of-system costs by 6 to 8 per cent and the levelized cost of energy by 3 to 4 per cent.

Trina Solar vice general manager and executive vice president Yin Rongfang said: Our customers worldwide have shown a strong interest in 500W+ Vertex series modules, which are not only suitable for utility scale solar plant but also for commercial and industrial scale solar project seeking to raise their level of efficiency. We plan to continue shipping more Vertex series modules to customers worldwide. The era of 500W+ power output is here, and the high-efficiency and high-power Vertex series modules are playing a critical role in the industry.”

Source: Company Press Release

New snake discovery in Sri Lanka is latest twist in slow-burning mystery

March 31st, 2020

by  Courtesy Mongabay

  • Sri Lanka’s southwestern mountains have yielded a new snake species, Dryocalamus chithrasekerai, based on specimens collected in 2009 and 2017.
  • Chithrasekara’s bridle snake, named in honor of local conservationist Nagamulla Hewage Chithrasekara, is the latest species in its genus, which researchers say should be kept taxonomically distinct from another genus of very similar snakes, Lycodon.
  • The researchers also make the case that a previously recorded Dryocalamus species, D. gracilis, was identified incorrectly and doesn’t actually occur in Sri Lanka.
Dryocalamus chithrasekarai, named in honor of N. H. Chithrasekara, a key player in the conservation of the southwestern rainforest of Kanneliya from where one of the specimens was collected, courtesy of L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.

COLOMBO — It’s a taxonomic mystery that’s been simmering for nearly 150 years, and in the process dealt out a parade of mistaken identities, dead bodies, and a suspect that was never there.

Like all good mystery stories, this one starts at the end: 11 years ago, to be exact, with the collection of a dead snake — roadkill left by the side of the road — from the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary in south-central Sri Lanka.

Herpetologists L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe and Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana suspected it might be a species new to science. But even with the female specimen in relatively good condition for roadkill, they didn’t have enough to go on. Then, in 2017, they caught a break: a live specimen, male, this time from the Kanneliya Forest Reserve in the island’s southwest.

Wickramasinghe has been dubbed Sri Lanka’s Darwin” for having introduced and rediscovered more than 100 species new to science. To him and his team, there was no doubt that the specimens they had were different from all other known snake species in Sri Lanka. These ones sported a distinct color pattern, with a body marked with solid white bands, a black-and-white mixed underbelly, and the underside of the tail end showing more black markings than white. The smooth dorsal scales were set in 15 neat rows, making the specimens easily distinguishable.

So much so that they’ve now been described as their own species, in a paper published in March in the journal Zootaxa. Wickramasinghe and his co-authors have named the new species Dryocalamus chithrasekarai, or Chithrasekara’s bridle snake, in honor of Nagamulla Hewage Chithrasekara, a conservationist who worked to protect the Kanneliya Forest Reserve.

Though described from two specimens, we have observed five of the same species in four other locations, all locations well within the rainforests of the island’s southwestern wet zone,” Wickramasinghe told Mongabay.

The researchers identify destruction of southwestern rainforests, habitat fragmentation, and vehicle traffic as the main threats to the species’ survival.

The Dryocalamus chithrasekarai specimen collected as roadkill in 2009 from the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Image courtesy of L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Species reclassification

The new paper also makes the case that Dryocalamus should be considered its own genus and not a synonym of Lycodon, as a 2016 study does. Other scientists have also called this move premature, Wickramasinghe says, given the significant differences between snakes of the two genera.

Prior to the addition of Chithrasekara’s bridle snake, there were two other Dryocalamus snakes recorded in Sri Lanka — D. gracilis and D. nympha — and four Lycodon species: L. anamallensisL. aulicusL. striatus, and the endemic L. carinatus.

We have observed that Dryocalamus have protruding eyes and behavioral characteristics that set them apart,” Wickramasinghe said. Dryocalamus species are largely arboreal whereas Lycodon species are terrestrial. Dryocalamus species also exhibit unique feeding behavior, their diet consisting of exclusively of eggs. They consume only the egg embryo and omit the egg shell. In contrast, Lycodon species consume whole eggs as well as small reptiles.”

Wickramasinghe also proposes that D. gracilis doesn’t actually exist in Sri Lanka, and that five earlier records of the snake on the island confused the specimens with D. nympha.

Based on the characteristics mentioned by these authors,” he said, we doubt that these five specimens represented D. gracilis; they are more likely to have been D. nympha. Based on our field experience, D. gracilis does not occur in Sri Lanka. As we have shown above, previous records of this species from the island are unreliable.”

The D. chithrasekarai. specimen collected alive in 2017 from the Kanneliya Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka. Image courtesy of L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe.

Twist in the tale

With one new species named and an existing one struck from the list, there’s still one final twist in this snake’s tale.

What if, Wickramasinghe posits, the dead snake they collected by the side of the road back in 2009 wasn’t the first specimen of its kind to be examined by researchers? What if there was another before it — and it was never correctly identified?

In 1877, the British naturalist William Ferguson recorded a snake specimen collected in the south of Sri Lanka that would later be declared Odontomus nympha (an early synonym of D. nympha). At the time, however, Ferguson suspected it was an as-yet-unknown species. Ferguson noted that the jar containing the specimen, labeled 77/1, had broken in transit, and that the snake’s body had shriveled. It has since been lost, leaving behind one valuable clue: the area where it was discovered, Morawak Koralé, in what is today’s Matara district, in Southern province.

There’s already a Dryocalamus snake known to occur in that area, Wickramasinghe says — and it’s not D. nympha.

Three of the five locations from which we recorded Dryocalamus chithrasekarai lie within the bounds of Morawak Koralé: Kanneliya, Kalubowitiyana, and Morawaka, while the other two, Sinharaja and Runakanda, are also situated in the vicinity of Morawak Koralé,” the study says. We therefore conclude that Ferguson’s No. 77/1 probably represented the first record of Dryocalamus chithrasekarai.”

Citations:

Wickramasinghe, L. M., Vidanapathirana, D. R., Pushpamal, V., & Wickramasinghe, N. (2020). A new species of Dryocalamus (Serpentes: Colubridae) endemic to the rainforests of southwestern Sri Lanka. Zootaxa4748(2), 248-260. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4748.2.2

Figueroa, A., McKelvy, A. D., Grismer, L. L., Bell, C. D., & Lailvaux, S. P. (2016). A species-level phylogeny of extant snakes with description of a new colubrid subfamily and genus. PLOS ONE11(9), e0161070. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161070

SriLankan Airlines brings down medical aid from China

March 31st, 2020

TradeArabia News Service

SriLankan Airlines uplifted a consignment of medical aid from Shanghai, China on March 28. This was a donation made by the Sri Lankan community in China through the Consulate Generals of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou and Shanghai, facilitated by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in China. 

The consignment contained essential medical items such as masks, protective clothing, goggles, face protection splash guards, nebulizers, pulse oximeters, thermometers and glucometers, which will be handed over to the Sri Lankan health authorities to be distributed among state hospitals for the benefit of medical staff tirelessly serving in the country’s battle against Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ever since the global outbreak, SriLankan Airlines has been fulfilling a pivotal humanitarian role through facilitating passage home to many Sri Lankan citizens across the globe, which includes the relief flight operated from Wuhan and ferry flights from India that brought over 800 stranded pilgrims back to the island. 

The airline will continue to reach out where assistance is required in the country’s collective endeavour to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. – 

Coronavirus: Iceland’s mass testing finds half of carriers show no symptoms

March 30th, 2020

Muhammed Nafie, Courtesy Al Arabiya English

As the coronavirus pandemic surges worldwide, each piece of data counts in the fight against the deadly pathogen.

But significant findings about the contagious disease are coming from an unlikely place: Iceland, the tiny Island state with a population of just 364,000 people, where authorities are testing large numbers of the population – without imposing any lockdown or curfew.

Read more:

The coronavirus test you don’t know about, but should: Experts

Coronavirus: WHO chief says ‘Test, test, test’

Social distancing flattens coronavirus curve, but outbreaks might not be over: Expert

As of Sunday night, the country’s health authorities and the biotechnology firm deCode Genetics have tested more than 10,300 people. That might not sound like a large number, compared to the around 350,000 Americans who have been tested for coronavirus according to the COVID Tracking Project, but it is a far higher percentage of tests per capita – a ratio Icelandic authorities have claimed is the highest in the world.

But it is not just the numbers of people being tested that is unusual about Iceland’s approach.

Unlike other countries, where people are only tested if they exhibit symptons of coronavirus or have come into contact with known spreaders, the country is testing thousands of people from the general population who don’t exhibit any symptoms of the virus whatsoever – helping to reveal information about the nature of the pathogen and its symptoms.

General view shows city of Reykjavik, seen from Hallgrimskirkja church, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)

General view shows city of Reykjavik, seen from Hallgrimskirkja church, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)

While Iceland has only 218 confirmed cases among its tiny population, its testing program has produced crucial data about the coronavirus – that half of those who were tested positive have no coronavirus symptoms.

This confirms multiple pieces of scientific research that have shown that coronavirus is spread more through people with the virus who show no sign of being sick. Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin had found out that more than 10 percent of patients were infected by somebody who has the virus but does not yet have symptoms.

Early results from deCode Genetics indicate that a low proportion of the general population has contracted the virus and that about half of those who tested positive are non-symptomatic,” Thorolfur Guðnason, Iceland’s chief epidemiologist, was quoted as saying BuzzFeed News. The other half displays very moderate cold-like symptoms.”

Read more: Coronavirus symptoms: Loss of smell, taste, might signal infection

A Flourish chart

Icelandic authorities claimed they had tested a higher proportion of the citizens than anywhere else in the world.

Iceland’s population puts it in the unique position of having very high testing capabilities with help from the Icelandic medical research company deCode Genetics, who are offering to perform large scale testing,” Guðnason said to Buzzfeed.

This data can also become a valuable resource for scientific studies of the virus in the future,” he added.

Find out the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic here.

40 mutations of the virus

Iceland’s high-volume testing also involves genetic sequencing of the different samples of the virus, which helps researchers to investigate the various mutations of the virus.

Icelandic scientists say testing has already revealed that there are at least 40 mutations of coronavirus in Iceland, and the virus might develop to become more contagious, but less dangerous. These variants can also act as the fingerprints of the virus to trace its origin. Seven of the infected people were traced to an undisclosed football match in England, the team said.

Read more: How long can coronaviruses survive in a freezer? Up to two years, warns expert

A Flourish data visualisationLast Update: 13:55 KSA 16:55 – GMT 13:55

COVID-19: WHY WE SHOULD ALL WEAR MASKS — THERE IS NEW SCIENTIFIC RATIONALE

March 30th, 2020

Sui Huang

The official recommendation in the United States (and other Western countries) that the public should not wear face masks was motivated by the need to save respirator masks for health care workers. There is no scientific support for the statement that masks worn by non-professionals are not effective”. In contrary, in view of the stated goal to flatten the curve”, any additional, however partial reduction of transmission would be welcome — even that afforded by the simple surgical masks or home-made (DIY) masks (which would not exacerbate the supply problem). The latest biological findings on SARS-Cov-2 viral entry into human tissue and sneeze/cough-droplet ballistics suggest that the major transmission mechanism is not via the fine aerosols but large droplets, and thus, warrant the wearing of surgical masks by everyone.

The surgeon general tweeted: STOP BUYING MASK, they are not effective…”. The Center for Disease Controls (CDC) states that surgical masks offer far less protection than the N95 respirator masks (which also must be perfectly fitted and only professionals can do it). The CDC recommends that healthy persons should not wear masks at all, only the sick ones. These guidelines are not rooted in scientific rationales but were motivated by the need to save the valuable masks for health professionals in view of a shortage. But they may have had unintended consequences: stigmatizing those that wear masks in the public (you are a hoarder, or you are contagious!)

Contrast this with the cultural habit, the encouragement, or even mandate to wear masks in Asian countries — which have now flattened the curve” or even have had a flatter curve from the beginning.

Sure, surgical masks, and improperly worn N95 respirator masks, do not offer perfect protection. But if the stated goal is to flatten” the curve (as opposed to eradication of the virus), we have to abandon the black-and-white thinking, and embrace shades of grey. We cannot any longer claim that masks are not effective”. We cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. What if a however partial protection afforded by leaky surgical or even self-made masks reduces transmission probability to an extent that is similar to that of the recommended (equally imperfect) distancing by more than 6 feet from each other or not touching your face”? It could then double the impact of non-pharmacological intervention (NPI) on flattening the curve (FIG. 1).

FIGURE 1. Flattening the curve”. Effect of mitigating interventions that would decrease the initial reproduction rate R0 by 50% when implemented at day 25. Red curve is the course of numbers of infected individuals (”case”) without intervention. Green curve reflects the changed (”flattened”) curve after intervention. Day 0 (March 3, 2020) is the time at which 100 cases of infections were confirmed (d100 = 0). The model is only for illustration and was performed in the SEIR-model simulator (http://gabgoh.github.io/COVID/index.html). The non-intervention model was fitted to these data points: a time period of twenty days in which the number of cases in the United States has risen from 100 (d100=0) to 35,000 (d100=20). Standard parameters were used (population size 330 M, Tinc=5.2 days, Tinf = 3.0 days but with the rather high value R0=5.6 in order to achieve the observed rate of increase of case numbers in the U.S. The curves are redrawn not to scale.

Since the CDC provides no scientific evidence for its statement that masks worn by the public are not effective”, here we review the scientific support for protection conferred by surgical masks. We focus on mechanistic rationale (as opposed to epidemiological-phenomenological evidence). We conclude, by considering cough droplet ballistics and the latest research findings on the biology of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus (which causes COVID-19) that any physical barrier, as provided even by make-shift masks, may substantially reduce the spread of COVID 19. If we are soon to yield to the pressure to loosen lockdowns and allow limited social interactions to revive the economy, then public masks should have a role and could facilitate a middle-of-the-road approach.

The official recommendation by CDC, FDA and others that masks worn by the non-health-care professionals are ineffective is incorrect at three levels: In the logic, in the mechanics of transmission, and in the biology of viral entry.

I. THE LOGIC

Of course no mask, be it the tight-fitting NIOSH approved N95 respirator mask or the loosely worn surgical mask, provide perfect (100%”) protection. But imperfect protection does not mean completely useless”, much as a glass not full need not be empty: I would gladly accept a glass of water filled to 60 % when I am thirsty. Absence of evidence (of protection) is not evidence of absence. But in our binary world, the official message that surgical masks are not effective” may have sent the wrong message: that they are absolutely useless. Sadly, with the black-and-white picture painted by officials, the discussion about the effectiveness of masks has been stifled, and with it the possibility of incentivizing industry to ramp up production of these 75 cents-a-piece protective devices.

But with the declared goal to flatten the curve” (and not to totally eliminate the virus) we have a relative” as opposed to absolute goal, which places the notion of partial protection” in a new light. In principle, one could compute the extent Y of flattening of the curve given a partial protection by X % as conferred by mask. But for that we need to first understand the mechanics and biology of transmission in detail.

II. THE MECHANICS

How viruses that cause airborne diseases are carried by droplets from person to person is a complicated, understudied matter. Droplets can (for this discussion) be crudely divided in two large categories based on size (FIG. 2):

FiIGURE 2. Droplet larger than aerosols, when exhaled (at velocity of <1m/s), evaporate or fall to the ground less than 1.5 m away. When expelled at high velocity through coughing or sneezing, especially larger droplets (> 0.1 micrometers), can be carried by the jet more than 2m or 6m, respectively, away.

(a) Droplets below a diameter of 10 um (micrometer), the upper size limit for the definition of ‘aerosol’ (particles so light as to be able to float in the air). For brevity, let us call this category aerosols”. These small aerosols are carried by ventilation or by winds and thus can travel across rooms. What makes N95 facial masks different from the surgical masks is that the former are designed (as per regulatory requirement) to stop aerosols: they have to filter out 95% of droplets smaller than 0.3 um.

(b) Droplets larger than 10um (micrometer), reaching 100um or more. Let us call these large particles spray droplets” here. (For a more detailed discussion, see Nicas and Jones, 2009). Of course, droplets can be even larger, up to a size visible to the naked eye in the spray generated by coughing or sneezing (0.1 um diameter to above). Calculations by Xie et al suggest that if exhaled, the >0.1 um droplets may evaporate or fall to a surface within 2m, depending on size, air humidity and temperature. But coughing or sneezing can shoot them like projectiles out of the mouth with a muzzle velocity” of 50 meters/second (for sneezing) or 10 m/s (for coughing), and droplets can reach distances as far as 6m away. If so, then the much mentioned safe distance” of 6 feet in social encounters may not suffice — except you wear a (simple) mask –more on that later.

Here is the central biological implication of the distinction between aerosols and spray droplets: For airborne particles to be inspired and reach deep into the lung, through all the air ducts down to the alveolar cells where gas-exchange takes place, it has to be small (FIG. 3): only droplets below 10 micrometer diameter can reach the alveolae. By contrast, the large spray droplets get stuck in the nose and throat (the naso-pharyngeal space) and in the upper air ducts of the lung, trachea and large bronchia. The droplets of a typical cough expulsion have a size distribution such that approximately half of the droplet are in the categories of aerosols, albeit they collectively represent only less than 1/100,000 of the expelled volume (Nicas et al 2005).

FIGURE 3. Anatomy of airways and where droplets can end up, depending to their size and what droplets are blocked by what masks

Itthus follows that the sophisticated N95 masks, designed to filter out the smallest particles, help to prevent droplets from carrying the virus down to the alveolae. But is this really relevant for flattening the curve? We shall see below. By contrast, it is plausible that the large droplets that end up in the nasopharynx can be stopped by any physical barrier, such as simpler surgical or dust masks.

Of course many aerosol droplets in the exhalation or cough spray may not contain the virus, but some will do. In the case of the SARS-Cov-2 virus it is not known what the minimal infectious load is (number of viral particles needed to start the pathogenesis cascade that causes a clinical disease). But we begin to appreciate whether the small aerosol or large projectile droplets are more relevant.

The tacit notion at the CDC that the alveolae are the destination site for droplets to deliver the virus load (the alveolae are after all the anatomical site of life-threatening pneumonia), has elevated the apparent importance of N95 masks and led to the dismissal of surgical masks. Nuances do not translate to the lay people (as well as many arm chair experts) who now, owing to message binarization, think that masks are useless.

Even with respect to the small aerosols we must not forget that thepartial filtering provided by surgical masks is better than nothing. In an experimental simulation of the filtering capacity of masks in 2008, van der Sande and her colleagues in the Netherlands compared the ability of three masks: (i) home-made (DYI) of tea cloth, (ii) standard surgical masks and (iii) FFP2, the European equivalent of N95 masks, with respect to their ability to stop small aerosols in the range 0.2 to 1 um –droplets that reach the lower lung.

Figure 4

What the authors found for inward protection warrants some questioning of CDC’s message that surgical masks are “not effective”: While FFP2 (or N95) masks indeed filtered out >99% of particles (thus, reducing the aerosol load by 100-fold), the surgical masks lowered the number of aerosol droplets behind the mask still by a substantial 4-fold compared to outside of the mask. It is plausible that for larger spray droplets from cough expulsions the difference between surgical masks and the F95 respirator masks would be even smaller. Interestingly, for outward protection, the effectiveness and differences are much smaller (see numbers in the FIG. 5).

FIGURE 5. Filtering effect for small droplets (aerosols) by various masks; home-made of tea cloth, surgical mask (3M Tie-on”) and a FFP2 (N95) respirator mask. The numbers are scaled to the reference of 100 (source of droplets) for illustrative purposes, calculated from the PF (protection factor) values in Table 2 of van der Sande et al, 2007. Measurement was performed with a Portacount counter that registers particles in the air with sizes in the range between 0.02 and 1 micrometer at the end of a 3-hour wearing period with no physical activity. The number for the protection are medians of 7 (or 8) adult volunteers per group. Protection at the beginning of the test was similar for the Tea Cloth and Surgical mask, but for FFP2 the protection was double. Children experienced substantially less protection (see van der Sande et al 2007)

These results raise the urgent question: If all we want is to mitigate the pandemic, that is, to flatten the curve”, how much does a 4-fold reduction of particles that reach the lungs decrease transmission from person to person? Intuition suggests that even an imperfect mask may offer some protection that is at least in the range of the recommended separation by more than 6 feet in social interactions or wasing hands or not touching your face — all recommendation based on mechanistic plausibility without strong epidemiological support.

Technically, one could quantify by how much the reduction by 4-fold of the droplets that a person is exposed to, as achieved by surgical masks, or by 3-fold, as achieved by makeshift tea-cloth masks, contributes to a reduction of the reproduction rate” from the initial R0 to the effective Rt after mitigation intervention at time t. Perhaps by 25%? Then one could, using SEIR-epidemiological models, compute to what extent a partial reduction of R would substantially flatten the curve –to the desired extent to avoid overwhelming the health care system (see Figure 1).

But such bottom up” calculation of R is complicated because it would require knowledge of many mechanistic factors that are not easy to quantify. For instance, we do not know to what proportion COVID-19 is transmitted via large spray droplets vs. small aerosols. Only in the latter case will the advantage of N95 respirator masks over surgical masks be fully realized! We also do not know how much social distancing alone contributes to reducing R.

Thus, let us have a look at the actual biology of transmission which offers a way out of this problem and has also not been considered by officials who claimed that surgical masks are not effective”.

III. THE BIOLOGY

The SARS-Cov-2 virus, like any virus, must dock onto human cells using a key-lock principle, in which the virus presents the key and the cell the lock that is complementary to the key to enter the cell and replicate. For the SARS-Cov-2 virus, the viral surface protein Spike protein S” is the key” and it must fit snugly into the lock” protein that is expressed (=molecularly presented) on the surface of the host cells. The cellular lock protein that the SARS-Cov-2 virus uses is the ACE2 protein FIG 6).

This cell surface enzyme normally has a cardio-pulmonal protective function. ACE2 is expressed at higher levels in the elderly, in people with chronic heart failure or with pulmonary or systemic arterial hypertension. (Note that ACE2 expression is rate –limiting” because other host proteins whose presence is also needed for the virus to enter the cells, such as proteases, are more abundantly and widely expressed). Certain blood pressure drugs (as now intensely discussed since hypertension is a risk factor for progression to ARDS and death in COVID-19), but also mechanical stress from ventilation, ironically, can increase the expression of ACE2.

Figure 6. The SARS-Cov-2 enters the host cell by docking with its Spike protein to the ACE2 (blue) protein in cell surfaces.

Surprisingly, ACE2 expression in the lung is very low: it is limited to a few molecules per cell in the alveolar cells (AT2 cells) deep in the lung. But a just published paper by the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) consortium reports that ACE2 is highly expressed in some type of (secretory) cells of the inner nose! (FIG. 7).

Combine this fact with the above explanation of the mechanics: The nasal expression of ACE2 protein suggests that the SARS-Cov2 virus infects these cells. One can also infer that transmission of the SARS-Cov2 virus will occur largely via large cough or sneeze droplets, which comprise the vast portion of the sprayed liquid in cough/sneeze and will land in the nasopharynx due to their size — precisely where the molecular locks for the virus are present, allowing viral attachment and entry into the host cells. Obviously this route of transmission could be effectively blocked by simple physical barrier. (The proximal expression of ACE in the nasal cavity also supports the transmission by surface droplets — hence, indeed wash your hands).

FIGURE 7. Major route of viral entry is likely via large droplets that land in the nose — where expression of the viral entry receptor, ACE2 is highest. This is the transmission route that could be effectively blocked already by simple masks that provide a physical barrier.

In fact, Wölfel et al. now report that viral material can be readily detected and isolated from nasal swabs, unlike in the case of other airborne viral infections, such as the original SARS. Compared to SARS (which also uses ACE2 to enter cells) in the case of COVID-19, viral genomes (RNA) appear earlier in nasal swabs and at much higher concentration, such that detection is rather easy. In fact, the FDA just approved swabs for tests taken from just from the front of the nose through self-collection, instead of deep in the nasopharynx. The molecular analysis also show that the SARS-Cov2 virus is active and replicates already in the nasopharynx, unlike other respiratory viruses that dwell in deeper regions of the lung.

The viral replication in the nasopharygeal mucosa may also explain positive tests in the prodromal stage and transmission by healthy carriers, and perhaps the anosmia seen in early stages of COVID19. But this biology also means: avoiding large droplets, which cannot enter the lung anyway but land in the upper respiratory tracts, could be the most effective means to prevent infection. Therefore, surgical masks, perhaps even your ski-mask, bandanas or scarf, may afford more protection than portrayed by governmental official in their initial (understandable but unfortunate) recommendation against wearing of masks by the public in general. N95 respirator masks may offer relatively little additional protection than thought. (To be fair, the CDC suggests use of scarf by health care providers as last resort when no face masks are available).

From a practical and societal point of view, surgical or self-made masks, if handled properly, will at worst not hurt and may at best, help. (Make sure to discard or launder after use without touching the outward surface). These simpler, inexpensive masks may suffice to help to flatten the curve, perhaps a bit, perhaps substantially. Importantly: using them will not take away valuable N95 respirator masks from health care workers.

THE IMPLICATIONS

It would be tragic if the wrong logics and mechanics and biology, which has led Western governments to not encourage, if not stigmatize the wearing of masks, may have contributed to the steep rise of COVID-19. Given that the upper respiratory tract is the major site for SARS-Cov-2 entry into human tissues, wearing simple face masks which exert a barrier function that blocks those big projectile droplets that land in the nose or throat may substantially reduce the production rate R, to an extent that may be comparable to social distancing and washing hands. This would then double the effect of mitigation in flattening the curve”!

Looking forward: if we are soon loosening the lockdown due to the political pressure to sustain the economy, perhaps encouraging face masks to be worn in the public would be a good compromise between total lockdown and total freedom that risks resurgence of the invisible enemy. There is now a robust scientific basis for putting an end to the officials’ anti-surgical mask hysteria and to recommend or even mandate a broad use of masks as in Asian countries that have bent the curve.

WRITTEN BY

Sui Huang

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Institute for Systems Biology

ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 14 F

March 30th, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Examination of war history should focus on the transformation of the Navy and the Air Force with the former achieving 100 percent success by destroying LTTE’s floating arsenals in international waters while the Air Force achieved strategic bombing that caused massive losses on the enemy, including prized Tigers killed in their hidden lairs, said Shamindra Ferdinando. The Army and the Navy are yet to release their own versions of their work, he observed.

The navy was in an unfortunate position during Eelam wars II and III     said, analysts.  Jayanath Colombage has this to say.”I believe that there was a clear lack of policy coming from successive governments towards the Navy that made it difficult to develop, empower, and enhance the Navy. Being an island nation, we should have given priority to the Navy.

Throughout the war, there were many governments and many naval commanders. Promotions and appointments in the Sri Lanka Navy were given on seniority alone. Once you acquire particular seniority at the early stages of your career, you carry it forward. There’s no threat from anyone else. Seniority was based on academic work but not on performance in battle.

There was no grand plan incorporating maritime strategy in a substantial manner. We had mostly ad hoc strategies. These strategies were shortsighted. That is not the best way to go about winning a sustained fight,  said Colombage

Because there was no strategy, nobody had the courage to develop the Sri Lanka Navy in a substantial manner. Mostly, the development of the Sri Lanka navy was reactive. When the Sea Tigers would do something or improve their capacity, we would try to come up with a solution. When they increased their speed, we increased our speed. When they acquired more guns, we did the same. The initiative was with the LTTE. They were calling the shots, continued Colombage

We also did not use highly advanced technology and equipment, like sensors and automatic fire control systems. We were quite happy with what we had, and we never thought of making a quantum leap to acquire better technology. This hampered our early efforts.

Another drawback was our lack of proper intelligence. We were dependent on other sources for intelligence. The police, army, and air force all had their own intelligence apparatuses, but maritime intelligence is different. Not everybody can understand the ocean. In the maritime intelligence domain, we were quite low. We really did not know what was happening around our coast until the LTTE came and hit us, continued Colombage

The Sri Lanka Navy was raised, trained, and developed as a conventional navy. You are trained to fight another conventional navy that has ships and guns. Now here we had a totally different enemy. LTTE was an unconventional enemy using asymmetric tactics which we did not understand, explained Colombage.

We underestimated the enemy quite a bit. We thought the Sea Tigers were a small organization that could not become a threat to the country. We thought they would not be able to succeed in their overall mission. This goes along with, not understanding the potential of the asymmetric maritime threats, he said.

 Then with the change of government in 2005, there came a change of attitude in the Navy. We decided that we had to start considering merit, performance, and not only seniority when promoting officers and giving appointments and then rewarding them. That gave an opportunity for the real battle leadership to emerge, said Colombage.

We had, up until 2005, depended a lot on foreign suppliers to give us ships, weapons, systems, everything. We did not do much research and development work. We now remedied this and experimented with electronics, with communication, with gun mounts, with guns, with fire control systems. These were serious innovations.

LTTE underwater saboteurs were targeting the ships in the harbour. We developed a system called throwing scare charges into the sea. Sound travels in the water much faster than light or electromagnetic waves, so when you create an explosion underwater sound travels much faster. If a diver hears the explosion, his eardrums would burst, and he would get disoriented.

The main tactic used by the LTTE at sea was the ‘swarm attack’ of 20-25 boats with 5-6 suicide craft and sophisticated equipment. Each boat had about 15 persons, with each combatant donned in the helmet, body amour and carrying a personal weapon. Swarms were used to attack isolated naval craft, to escort LTTE craft coming from deep-sea carrying ammunitions, and terrorists moving along the coastline.

To counter this, the Navy decided to create its own ‘swarm’. Three types of small boats including arrow’, and ‘wave rider’ .were built at Welisara where there were facilities for boat building. We manufactured these boats through day and night because we needed them quickly .150 boats were manufactured in three years.   

There were over one hundred ‘arrow’ type, 23 feet long, fiberglass  boats, powered by  Japanese 200 horsepower outboard motors, and equipped with weapons, including cannon and automatic grenade launchers. The naval technicians were able to build and equip one boat including installing weapons in eight days.  Road engines were also used. The boats could operate in varying sea conditions. ‘Arrow’   was very effective in shallow water where Dvora could not go. They were manned by sailors from elite units, such as the Special Boat Squadron.

In 2007 the navy was able to launch a flotilla of arrow boats that outnumbered the LTTE boats. When LTTE launched 20 boats, the navy launched 40. It was ‘swarm against swarm’. Earlier there were long drawn out naval battles, some as long as 12 hours. But with the arrival of these small boats, the encounter became shorter.  In 2008 there were only three such encounters. The Sea Tiger capabilities declined dramatically with this they were not allowed to close in on valuable targets. Sri Lanka’s ‘small boats’ were given an unprecedented 6 page write up in the prestigious ‘Jane’s Navy International”.

We also monitored the fishing, who goes out, who comes in, how many are outboard motors, whether they are carrying anything illegal. The Navy was successful in curbing the Gulf of Mannar supply route by increasing patrols in the region. The LTTE’s efforts to move supplies, with the help of the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet to the Vidathalthivu-Pooneryn area on the west coast, were thwarted by stepped up naval operations.

But perhaps, the most difficult and dangerous operation sustained by the Navy was moving the converted passenger vessel Jetliner between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai during Eelam War IV.

The Jetliner passenger vessel played a pivotal role in ferrying thousands of security forces personnel, civilians and goods between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai ports during the war, since the land routes were closed.

The army acquired passenger craft “Jetliner” from an Indonesian company in 2006 and used it as a transport ship, ferrying thousands of security forces personnel, civilians and goods between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai ports. Jetliner holds the record for carrying more than three thousand security forces personnel at once.

This costly naval operation to move supplies, security forces and civilians to the Jaffna peninsula involved about ten cargo and passenger ships. The Jetliner left Trincomalee harbour with troops by first light (before 5 am) and returned to Trincomalee by 6 pm. The preparations started 12 hours before the departure of “Jetliner” by deploying over 16 FACs, 4 FGBs and 2 OPVs the previous evening to sweep the path to ensure that there are no floating mines, suicide boats disguised as fishing boats waiting in ambush, etc.

After they give the all-clear signal   Jetliner left the harbour escorted with 8 to 10 FACS. The craft/ships that left the harbour, the previous evening, maintained their positions along the route until the “Jetliner” returned to the Trincomalee harbour in the evening.

The entire Navy got involved in this operation. All the Area Commanders, including the Southern Commander, were present in the operations room from 3 am until the task was over. Katunayake-based jet squadrons were on alert on the days Jetliner carrying 3,000 officers and men moved between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai.

Defeating the LTTE would never have been possible without the unprecedented success achieved by Karannagoda’s navy, said Shamindra. Under Karannagoda, the navy discarded its obsolete weapons and replaced them with the latest high technology product. Navy lost its defeatist mentality and by 2007 they were very active.

No other Navy Commander in any part of the world has encountered the experiences and challenges Admiral Karannagoda had faced as he fought the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world, which used explosives, IEDs and suicide bombers to destroy their targets and achieve their goals, said Nimal Lewke.

Nimal Lewke also praised Wasantha Karannagoda’s role in destroying the LTTE weapons ships. His planning was methodical, precise. He was able to obtain assistance from USA.This was the turning point. The excellent rapport he had with the US Embassy and Ambassador Robert Blake and winning their confidence to assist the Navy is a huge achievement of Admiral Karannagoda, Lewke said.

His planning to get to the targets, selecting the correct personnel to handle difficult and important tasks, monitoring, supervising the plan and making alterations at required junctures, were ample examples of his real, committed and positive leadership. Why I highlight this operation regarding eliminating LTTE floating armories in the blue waters is because it was one of the major turning points in the victory of the war against terrorism, said Lewke.

Nimal Lewke said, ‘when I was the Senior DIG in-charge of the Northern Province during the last stages of the war, I was involved in interrogating many hardcore LTTE members who were arrested or surrendered to the forces.

During this time, I questioned Daya Master the LTTE spokesman. I said your leader Prabhakaran was a fool to get all the people into a limited area. His reply was: Sir, we did not have sufficient arms and ammunition to defend large areas and Prabhakaran was compelled to pull back as all our arms supplies were destroyed by the Navy.” I immediately conveyed to Admiral Karannagoda and congratulated him.

Kamal Gunaratne had attended the Tokyo defense forum in Japan after the Eelam War ended and senior officers of the UN Marines had praised the brilliant operation and the capabilities of the Sri Lanka Navy.

Admiral Karannagoda, on his own succeeded in securing vital US intelligence which enabled the Navy to destroy LTTE weapons stores on the high sea, said Shamindra. Karannagoda re-deployed available assets to hunt down floating LTTE arsenals on the high seas. Acting on information received from the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), the US, as well as its own, the Navy, within a matter of months, crippled the once-powerful LTTE sea supply route.

The destruction of eight LTTE ships, categorized by the Sri Lanka Navy as floating arsenals, in four separate forays on the high seas, delivered the enemy a knockout blow. According to the Sri Lanka navy, the ships, which were between 45 to 75 meters in length, had the capacity to carry 1,000 to 1,500 tonnes of cargo each. The seven ships sunk in 2007 and the vessel destroyed on September 17, 2006, off Kalmunai, had been loaded with several thousand tonnes of military cargo.

A vessel, without a name, was destroyed 120 nautical miles off Kalmunai on Sept 17, 2006. The SLAF carried out an attack in support of the Navy.MV Kiyoi was destroyed 365 nautical miles south of Dondra on Feb 28, 2007. MV Seiyoo and another unidentified vessel were destroyed 825 nautical miles southeast of Arugambay on March 18, 2007. MV Manyoshi and MV Seishin were destroyed 2200 km southeast of Dondra on Sept 10, 2007MV Koshia was destroyed southeast of Dondra on Sept 11, 2007. MV Matsushima was destroyed 2600 southeast of Dondra on Oct 7, 2007.

An unknown vessel northeast of Mullaitivu was destroyed on Dec 20, 2008. By late Dec 2008, the LTTE lost its wherewithal to sustain sea supply routes to Chalai-Mullaitivu, as well as between north of Mannar and Tamil Nadu.

The LTTE used to stockpile their ships in Indonesia and other parts of the ASEAN region.  ships would come about 200 nautical miles from the coast of Sri Lanka, and then they would use small boats to transfer the weapons to the country. Until about 2005, we were trying to prevent these small boats from landing the weapons. When we apprehended one small boat, another ten would get through, said Colombage.

So we realized that this strategy was not going to work. We wanted to attack the logistic network at sea, and that meant going after the warehouse ships. This was a major strategic development. And then, when we started attacking their logistic network within the exclusive economic zone of Sri Lanka, the LTTE moved further from the coast. The navy focused on following them further away. That was a major game-changer. In September and October of 2007, the Sri Lanka navy went all the way to the edge of Australian territory, and we destroyed all four of the LTTE ships, concluded Colombage.

The army was looking for Prabhakaran while busy fighting the LTTE at Vellamullivaikal in May 2009, In the meantime, Navy mounted massive operation involving over 100 vessels and smaller craft to thwart LTTE leader Prabhakaran fleeing the country. The SLAF stationed a pair of jets at the China Bay airbase, Trincomalee to engage foreign vessels in case the LTTE mounted an operation to evacuate Prabhakaran.

The navy showed considerable dedication to this matter.  During this final blockade, Navy staff did not want to go on leave till they had finished off the LTTE.  The sailors had to stay in great discomfort on the seas, in small boats filled with equipment, with hardly any room to move. They had to swim to get there and stay in their wet clothes all night. They endured all this discomfort willingly, to ensure that Prabhakaran did not escape by sea.  

The navy blockade was, in my view primarily a deterrent but the army did not think so.   The army did not like the fact that the navy had done a cordon to prevent Prabha from fleeing. They wanted the credit of taking Prabha themselves. He must die at the hands of the army, said Kamal Gunaratne.

 The Army commander had seen the battle images captured by UAV and had noticed a large group of naval vessels gathered off the coast of Pudumathalan. He wanted to know from Kamal Gunaratne, what was going on. His tirade was not fit to be repeated, said Kamal. Sarath Fonseka ordered the army to forget about advancing and close up all escape routes.  The army completely blocked the east coast. Navy’s chance of capturing Prabha also disappeared. 

Eelam war IV succeeded because, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, worked in tandem. Gotabaya was also able to secure the cooperation of the service commanders, Lt. Gen Fonseka, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke.   These three gave unparalleled leadership to the forces under their command. And the three forces, too,   gave unstinted support to the war cause.

But there was one flaw. The Army commander, Sarath Fonseka, and the naval Commander, Wasantha Karannagoda did not like each other. Both openly displayed their dislike and the rivalry was public knowledge.

This affected coordination in the war.  It almost led to a hostile battle between the army and the navy at Kytes. Army said enters Kytes and the navy said nothing doing. There was a standoff that was settled by the intervention of senior officers and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. But the army and navy did not let this matter affect the outcome of the war.  The armed forces were very careful on this matter. Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa mediated when necessary and the war was won.

Of the two, Sarath Fonseka seems to have come in for the most criticism. Kamal Gunaratne said in his book that he received incessant phone calls from Fonseka. This interrupted his work and also disturbed everyone else.  Calls turned into lengthy discussions. During the Muhamalai war Army commander was phoning regularly and this was a nuisance at times.

 Army commander Sarath Fonseka was in China from 16-19 May 2009. Before he left for China, he visited Vanni and advised us to go slow in our attacks advance just 100 meters a day. Earlier he had wanted us to advance at terrific speed, so this was a surprise, said Kamal Gunaratne. I felt that he wanted us to slow down as he did not want the war to end while he was in China. Troops wanted to finish it off.

Fonseka was not   there when they killed Prabha. That was done by Kamal Gunaratne’s team and Kamal was hoping to keep Prabha’s dog tag. But Fonseka asked for the dog tag as a souvenir and Kamal had to give it to him.

The air force has had a book written about itself. ‘The Aerial Tribute: The Role of Air Power in Defeating Terrorism in Sri Lanka’, authored in Feb 2014 by Nirosha Mendis.  The book extensively dealt with the air campaign during Eelam War IV and the extremely difficult circumstances under which the Sri Lanka Air Force conducted the campaign. I have not seen this book.

 In Eelam War IV, the air force has been very supportive. Young fighter pilots waited impatiently till we gave them their targets, if we did not they called and begged for targets. They were unafraid, said Kamal Gunaratne.

That was at the very end of the war. Before that, the Air Force had found it very difficult. Air Force declared that it had been stretched to the limit and that what it had achieved with available resources was tremendous. The Indian Air Chief had admired the way they had used its limited resources.   

Pilots performed under trying conditions. They carried out 1000 missions in the Vanni, amidst civilians. They had to airlift 500 army personnel using helicopters meant for 30 persons. They underwent much hardship. When they were short of pilots, available pilots went up 3 and 4 times a day. ‘This is very tiring for a pilot.’ Surveillance pilots risked safety to obtain real-time imagery. They burnt the midnight oil peering into the screen to catch enemy moves on the grounds.  They were on surveillance for 6-7 hours at a stretch. Pilots bravely went as low as 7000 feet to attack targets. Around 38 pilots and 430 other officers and rankers died, around 350 were wounded.

The engineers and technicians also responded magnificently. They forgot about 24 hours notice. In an emergency, the time available for the technician was counted in seconds.  Aircraft were returned to the flight lines in record time. If a plane was to fly at 6 am the technicians started loading bombs around midnight. For each jet, they had to load eight bombs each weighing 500kg.

Technicians worked round the clock to patch up damaged aircraft.  They sometimes worked continuously for 3-4 days. They innovated when spare parts were delayed. Battle damage and unserviceability did not deter them. They once took a badly damaged helicopter which was going to be destroyed and repaired within a few hours. They coaxed tired engines back into fighting mode. They took a life expired engine, stripped it, and put it together again. The electronics specialists kept the electronic systems going despite logistical and maintenance problems.  (Continued)

Presidential Pardons for criminals, terrorists, and who else?

March 30th, 2020

By Chandre Dharmawardana.

When the family of Czar Nicholas, children, and women included,  were brutally killed by the Bolshevik revolutionaries, that was justified by a throng of intellectuals who were ready to defend anything done in the name of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Clever dialectical arguments were presented as to why even the children had to be killed. More sensitive souls presented excuses rather than justifications. A  favorite one was that it is inevitable” that some bourgeois sentiments will be upset when a little extra blood is let – but all that is justified in the quest to reach the coveted end.

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has raised the ire of human rights (HR) activists when he pardoned  Sunil Ratnayake, a former army staff sergeant,  convicted and sentenced to death for murdering eight Tamil civilians including a five-year-old child in Mirusuvil (Mirijjavila)  in  December 2000. While Sunil Ratnayake has been duly tried by the courts and found guilty, the  HR activists have included people like General Shavendra Silva and Gotabhaya  Rajapaksa himself with the same “war criminal” label.  This blunts the focus and strength of the HR claims by converting a clear mater of justice into a matter of political activism.

The Bolsheviks, Fascists and other killer ideologues of history have also found solace in using political objectives in laundering their crimes. Thus, what appears as a heinous crime” to one set of people becomes unfortunate collateral” to the opposite political camp, if we are to use the words of the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright  (a one time Amnesty International official) calmly asserting that U.S. policy objectives were worth the sacrifice of half a million Arab children.

 In his address at the annual general meeting of the TULF on 29-Dec-2012, Mr. V. Anandasangaree stated that:
The mass scale killings of the LTTE injured cadre by the LTTE itself, recruitment of child soldiers even during the last lap of the war by the LTTE, were all concealed from the voters. When some of these matters were brought to the notice of a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament based in Mullaitivu, he commented that these things cannot be avoided in a war”.

While murder can have painful and disastrous consequences to the families of the victims, the political ideologues, dazzled by some nationalist, Eelamist or even Hegelian political Valhalla are ready to ride roughshod over individual humans. The regimes they set up are ready to exterminate innocents in gas chambers, gulags and in the killing fields of cultural revolutions or JVP style burning-tire”  immolations.

In an earlier era, the Portuguese soldiers and Spanish conquistadors had no qualms in using their bayonets on pregnant women’s bellies as unbaptized heathen” will end up in hell anyway! Today, violent religious fundamentalism has become an acceptable ideology which rose to destroy Churches and tourist hotels last Easter.   

A case unobscured by political ideology was the pardoning in November 2019  by President Sirisena of  Jude Jayamaha,  a well-connected Sri Lankan convicted in 2005 of murdering Yvonne Jonsson, a Swedish woman personally involved with the murderer. Why did Sirisena do so?

While a murderer should be made to pay retribution” to those affected by his crimes, what justification has the state to become a murderer and take life as punishment” for even a capital crime? In recognition of this, most civilized countries have banned capital punishment.

Unlike with a pre-meditated murder or a bond scam, a war-crime” of a soldier is the act of a war machine trained to kill, with his emotions and free will deadened by many days of drill and obedience. Add to it racist or ideologically nursed hate, coupled with the rush of adrenaline that controls the actions of the murderer who has been trained to kill by their training as soldiers, then the whole concept of trying soldiers for war crimes” becomes similar to putting down a Pavlovian dog who had been trained to kill, when it actually kills with no moral discrimination.

It is useless to talk of rules of good conduct” that apply to soldiers at war. The winners of war usually try the vanquished at war tribunals” for war crimes” using such rules, while their own warriors are not tried, but treated as heroes.

But that absurdity should not be perpetuated.

So how should we deal with our criminals and war criminals? In my view, the state is as guilty of these crimes as the accused individuals are. The state must pardon all such criminals, and rehabilitate them as far as possible. Most Pavlovian dogs can be re-trained using exactly the same Pavlovian methods. From then on, they should be made to work, even on user manual jobs, and a part of their earnings should be used to pay retribution” to the victims of their crimes. The state too must add an equal amount to the retributive pay”, as the state is equally guilty of the crimes, as are the individuals. Of course, these principles do not apply to premeditated crimes where the intent to commit the act existed over a time period.  A different set of principles, based on a person’s community of friends” and its values, economic conditions, as well as the psychiatric condition of the accused must be assessed. But most courts of law do not follow such principles or conduct experiments in neuroscience on accused individuals. If they do, they err on the wrong side, for example, by relying on the pseudoscience of  “lie detectors”.

Neuroscience has taught us that the degree of free will” that humans have is indeed very limited, and most of their actions are controlled by processes not powered by the conscious mind.  For instance, if you see someone approaching you, and recognize her as a friend, you may decide to shake her hand or embrace her. But neuroscience shows that the unconscious mind had already made that decision long before the conscious mind knows of it. The conscious mind is only subsequently informed” of the course of action to take, and then it identifies with the course of action thinking” that you decided” to follow the prescribed action (remarkably enough, this was already known to the 19th-century physicist and physiologist Helmholtz). That is, what we do, what we decide to do, and how much of it is our own conscious volition or unconscious-conditioned action, are a gray area that even careful neuroscience experiments cannot easily clarify. This is why Human Rights” claims often go counter to the facts of neuroscience.

So, the only scientifically rational action is to pardon almost all criminals and look for ways to rehabilitate them, while the pardoned criminals are made to compensate the victims and dependents by their own earnings, augmented by a contribution from the state which is equally guilty of the crime in most cases. Such an approach can also be justified by the compassionate teachings of most religions, while a majority of Sri Lankans should know what the Buddha taught. He even enrolled the rehabilitated serial killer Angulimala into his order of the Sangha. Human Rights Watch of the time, run by well-heeled Brahmins, surely did not approve!

Soldiers Sacrificed Much More Than You Know to Protect the Nation

March 30th, 2020

Dilrook Kannangara

Sri Lankan soldiers sacrificed much more than what everyone knows. Arms, legs, limbs, eyes, blood, sweat and life are not the only sacrifices. They sacrificed their time, marriage, family time and safety.

Most soldiers being Buddhists believe in good deeds and bad and their inevitable consequences. Taking life, right or wrong, is a bad deed resulting in suffering life after life. Sadly, people cannot be saved from most barbaric Tamil terrorists without taking their lives. Knowing its consequences, soldiers rose up to the challenge. In doing so they have signed up for suffering life after life. All this was done to save us and the nation.

There is a big difference between beliefs of a Christian, Hindu or an Islamic warrior killing for a holy” cause and a Buddhist soldier killing for the protection of a people. The former lot are not only pardoned for their killing, but also rewarded as they believe. No such pardoning and rewarding is found in Buddhist beliefs.

Appreciating these unparalleled sacrifices is only just. Those who find fault with soldiers for warzone happenings and mishaps are ungrateful beings unworthy of human existence in Sri Lanka. Give soldiers thanks and grace for they gave us hope. They have taken the longer route through Samsara and we shall wait for them.

This is a short rendition of Konstantin Simanov’s poem about a soldier – Wait for Me.

Suggestions for staying healthy and prevent COVID-19 infection:

March 30th, 2020

Sunil J Wimalawansa Professor of Medicine, Endocrinology, & Nutrition, USA

Dear friends:

Since I haven’t seen any medical society from Sri Lanka providing safe practices and guidelines for avoiding COVID-19, I thought of sending this in a summarized form.  I hope these and the links provided at the end of this email will be useful and save lives.

It is time that everyone takes personal responsibility and actions needed seriously, rather than waiting for the government to take care of yourselves.  The latter will not be materialized.  This includes but not limited to engaging in right personal hygiene (no short cuts please), keeping the distance of 6 feet or more between people, avoiding crowded places, frequent hand sanitation, minimize travel, wearing face masks when going out, and other essential hygienic maneuvers.

One must take extreme precautions to safeguard yourself and others.  You never know who is infected, until it is too late.  So, eat healthily and stay at home and be safe.  Thus, unless you invite a person for a specific purpose, there is no reason at all for anyone to come inside your home: It’s your home, your privacy, and your family’s safety.  

Until proven otherwise, assume that he/she is bringing the COVID-19 virus with them.  If anyone insists that they want to talk to you, speak to them outside your home (you do not even need to go out), but wearing a face mask.  Don’t be afraid to refuse entrance to strangers, including any official: Why taking unnecessary risk.  It is the right thing to do to safeguard you and the family.

All healthcare workers and others working in the frontlines are most vulnerable: they must be provided with effective face masks by the government and should take the utmost precautions.  Individuals should avoid visiting hospitals and clinics to see patients, visiting relatives, crowded markets, and any other exposures and gatherings.  

Eating herbs, such as garlic, rinsing nose, drinking hot water or alcohol, will not help.  Work from home.  But use the described stringent precautionary principles, when going out of the house at the workplace/store, etc.

I hope you are now using ideally, N95 (3M) or another type of effective face masks, routinely.  Contrary to some faulty claims by politicians, this is important to minimize airborne COVID-19 infection.  The use of standard surgical masks when seeing patients; while it protects patients, may not protect the doctors and nurses.  This might provide a false sense of security and could be the reason why so many healthcare persons getting infected with COVID-19.  Despite precautions, in the U.S. and several other countries, over the past two weeks, hundreds of healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 (e.g., over 160 is affected in Boston, MA, hospital system, alone).  Healthcare workers (all of them) vigorously working to protect you: affecting even one of them with COVID-19 is too many.

Together with handwashing with soap in running (warm) water for 20 seconds, every time returning to the office and home is essential.  The virus efficiently can enter via all mucous membranes, including eyes, nose, mouth (buccal mucosa), gastrointestinal tract (gut), and the genito-anal regions.  So, do NOT touch any of these areas till you thoroughly wash your hands as described above.  Same after going into any restroom/toilet.

COVID-19 has a fatty outer covering it; thus it is sticky; that’s why soap and any detergent works; it erodes the outer fatty covering thus, harming the COVID-19.  Footwear also gathers viruses.  Thus, consider keeping outside footwear, “outside” the house or at least in the porch or garage.  

With reference to clothing: COVID-19 can stay on clothing and any other material (including shipping bags) for up to 10 hours.  A longer period in damp conditions and/or with air conditioning.  Exposure of clothing to direct sunlight (outside the house) would help.

Fruits and vegetables can get easily contaminated in markets, by those carrying the virus, by coughing and touching them.  Pay extra attention and use your commonsense precautions.  Washing all food items, fruits, and vegetables, etc., in soap and water and rinse well, prior to use is helpful.  Vinegar or saltwater that traditionally used to kill bacteria in vegetables will not work against COVID-19, but detergents will.  For sterilization of surfaces, doorknobs, etc., spraying or rubbing diluted hypochlorite solution (bleach) or soap is apparently sufficient. 

The rapid growth of virus:  At the current rate of spread (at 33%; exponential growth phase) the viral load can double every 3-days.  Thus, in the USA, the number of infected people could exceed 10 million COVID-19 positive patients in six-weeks’ time, unless the expected infectious peaks are “flattened” through effective social distancing and above mentioned all precautionary and proactive actions (not merely by curfews).  However, the lack of access to food as a result of continued curfew (a third of the population is starving; it will lead to immune degradation), is likely to make the situation worse.

In addition, keeping the serum 25(OH) D levels in excess of 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) will markedly increase the inherent immunity (stimulating multiple immune pathways) in an individual.  Maintaining such a level will reduce the chances of getting any Coronaviral infections and the severity if they get infected.  

This can be achieved by oral supplementation of 50,000 international units (one capsule, once a week; or a collection of a number of capsules to make a total of 50,000 IU) for approximately, 8  to 12-week period; till the threat is over.  Alternatively, 30 to 45 minutes of daily exposure to direct sunlight (can be intermittent) of a “third of the skin surface, between 9.30 AM and mid-day (afternoons are too hot to be out in the sun), would generate an adequate amount of vitamin D to boost immunity.  This simple process applies to all countries and everyone; it costs nothing.

The current trend is that otherwise healthy younger people are now getting the disease: it is no longer exclusively affecting the elderly.  In addition, younger people can be carriers of transmitting the disease.  Consequently, they and any others should not visit elderly or sick people until the crisis is over unless they directly caring them for.  Anyone visiting them must strictly follow the mentioned hygiene and safety procedures, including wearing face masks.

These are suggestions to keep you and your loved ones healthy, and not considered as medical advice.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact your healthcare provider or the local health authority or hospital to obtain medical advice and additional information.

Everyone must take the current threat from COVID-19 very seriously and collectively work together to eliminate the threat, by abiding the above-mentioned public health guidance and local rules. 

Sunil J Wimalawansa ([email protected])

Professor of Medicine, Endocrinology, & Nutrition, USA

For more information (LinkedIn), a series of articles on COVID-19:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunilwimalawansa/detail/recent-activity/

A scientific article on COVID written  on 5th January (in ResearchGate), predicted what will be happening in March:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sunil_Wimalawansa/research

or 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340102912_EJBPS-Prof_WImalawansa-COVID-19-March_2020s

A lay summary of the beneficial effects of vitamin D:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-coronavirus

Extensive information on vitamin D and coronaviruses, including COVID-19:

https://vitamindwiki.com

ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 14 E

March 30th, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

In Eelam War IV the Sri Lanka army fought using military strategy. There was an operations room, where battle strategies were planned. In Eelam war II and III, the government had fought only on one front. In Eelam War IV, the army opened three fronts simultaneously, Eastern, Northern, and Wanni. 

The army made sure, in its battle plans, that there were enough soldiers for the three fronts.  The army had the numbers needed. For the Northern front alone, the numbers were increased from 27,000 to 34,000 with two reserve divisions.

The army started the attack in the Eastern Province and cleared out the LTTE who were there. This was always the preferred plan and it was suggested to President Chandrika as well. Starting north of Trincomalee, the army steadily went down to Batticaloa and Ampara, capturing Kanjikudichchiaru,   Tharavikulam, and Thoppigala.  The Eastern Province fell to the army in July 2007.

Sri Lanka had in 1983, created a Special Task Force (STF) of handpicked police officers who received paramilitary training. This is the only paramilitary organization in the world with police powers. They operated in teams of eight or less and could fight in a variety of situations such as built-up areas, and close quarter battle. STF was used for fighting in the eastern theatre. STF destroyed 24 LTTE bases in Kanchikudichchi Aru jungle while the army went into Thoppigala. This combined campaign continued till Thoppigala fell in 2007. In 2009, STF went after the LTTE in Yala.

While the eastern war was going on, the army hopefully opened up a northern front at Muhamalai. This was expected to come barreling down past Elephant Pass into the Wanni. Instead, this campaign got stalled at Muhamalai itself. LTTE opposition was too strong. Most of the LTTE reserve cadres were also at Muhamalai. The northern front was then instructed to keep the LTTE tied up in the North till the Wanni was taken. LTTE was kept occupied with short attacks.

Since the Northern front was not active, it was decided in March 2007, to open up the Wanni front. For Wanni seven new fighting formations were created,   the 57  Division (Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias), the 59 (Brig. Nandana Udawatte),  Task Force I (Brig. Shavendra Silva), Task Force II (Brig. Rohana Bandara), Task Force III (Brig. Sathyapriya Liyanage), Task Force IV (Col.Nishantha Wanniarachchi) and Task Force VIII (Col. G.V. Ravipriya) . They advanced in different directions, covering the Northern Province,  in an ‘unprecedented multi-pronged Vanni offensive’.

For the final push, these formations were joined by the longstanding 53 Division (Brig. Kamal Gunaratne) and 55 Division (Brig. Prasanna Silva) deployed in the Jaffna peninsula. The 53rd division, stuck for so long at Muhamalai, used its mechanized infantry to reach Elephant Pass at a speed faster than the LTTE had anticipated. The Vanni offensive ended successfully in May 2009.  It brought the Eelam war to an end

Eelam war IV had certain praiseworthy qualities. Previously we fought as battalions, brigades, divisions.   In Eelam War IV we fought as one team, said Kamal Gunaratne  It was a combined effort.  ‘People were not worried about taking credit,’ he said. 

Efficiency was given priority over seniority in the promotion and capable officers were appointed to new leadership positions regardless of their seniority and rank.      Junior leaders, including lesser ranks, were given the opportunity of taking charge and issuing commands and showing initiative. That produced results.  

The army had complete operational freedom to launch the offensive, using the best men for each task. In Eelam war II and III whenever we faced a major attack we blindly sent in commando and SF troops and it ended in disaster.  In Eelam War IV, we sent in the correct team. We sent infantry for close-range combat, commando for deep ops, having done reconnaissance first.

It was necessary for war, to have reinforcements ready, ‘to fill as they fall’. This was not done in Eelam wars II and III, but for Eelam War IV we were able to get more than the required number of fresh recruits to replace and reinforce the troops, said Kamal Gunaratne.

The army also innovated. It created small-group operations. Small groups penetrated LTTE defenses in the jungles, gathered information, then scattered in four directions and returned separately.  Once strategic enemy positions and camps were identified, infantry and commandos went in.  They sprang deadly surprise attacks on enemy patrols too.  Using the information provided, the air force engaged in highly accurate and successful airstrikes. LTTE had no counter-strategies to match the small team ops and the Special Forces.

It was necessary to hold territory after taking it. Non-army service personnel was sent, after training, to hold territory taken by the army,  leaving the army free to go forward.   The air force was sent into the jungles, the navy to the coastal belt along Trincomalee.   STF took over the A9 road from Omanthai.  Civil Defence Force was sent to several places including Mavil Aru and also to Nanthikadal lagoon to take over as the troops moved ahead.

Eelam War IV battles are forgotten today. Only the glorious victory is remembered. That is unwise. The battles must be kept in mind because they indicate some very important matters.

Firstly, there is the contrasting position of the LTTE and the army. The LTTE was fighting on home ground, they knew the terrain intimately, and were acclimatized to the environment. The Sri Lanka army did not live in the North. They came mainly from Panagoda or Anuradhapura. They were airlifted or shipped into battle, like outsiders, to face the LTTE who were resident there. They did not know the northern terrain and probably had not rehearsed specifically for these battles.

Some battles, such as the shootout in the Nanthikadal lagoon, could not, in any case, have prepared for. Fighting in muddy brackish waters of mangrove is a nightmare, said Kamal Gunaratne. A flight of birds could betray us. One must be specially trained to fight in a mangrove. It calls for a different set of tactics. We did not have such training.

Secondly, during the Ceasefire, the LTTE had plenty of time to dig in. They mined all potential battlefield areas,  such as  Pallai.  They also built huge bunds and trenches. They had smuggled in an enormous amount of arms and buried them. They constructed two FDLs at the northern boundary at Muhamalai.

The FDL at Muhamalai had been decided in such a way that the advantage lay with the LTTE and not the government. The government FDL was very vulnerable. It ran from Kilaly and Muhamalai to Nagarkovil. Nagarkovil was separated from the mainland FDL by the sea.

LTTE FDL was on higher ground. LTTE could observe and monitor our movements and were able to accurately target our troops, with artillery, mortar and sniper fire. We were constantly attacked, said Kamal Gunaratne. LTTE had two FDL with protective bunkers.

When it came to battle, LTTE again had the advantage The ground between government FDL and   LTTE FDL was also higher than the rest. It was an area that took most of our troops, said Kamal Gunaratne.  During the Ceasefire, LTTE had mined the area extensively, introducing also mines to blow up tanks. Muhamalai was heavily mined. Our soldiers lost the greatest number of legs at Muhamalai. over 500 soldiers lost legs there, said Kamal Gunaratne.  LTTE  had also dug trenches and large pits and camouflaged them so that troops and vehicles would fall into them.

LTTE FDL was at the head of the narrow 12 km wide neck which linked Jaffna to the mainland. This space was unsuitable for tanks and it was difficult to maneuver infantry and tanks in the space. The army had lost a large number of tanks to anti-tank fire.  It was very arduous, dangerous and fearful to advance in this area, said Kamal Gunaratne, also suicidal.  LTTE could cover the army easily. LTTE had battle-ready reserve fighters at Pallai, Elephant Pass, Paranthan and Kilinochchi, to defend the Northern FDL.

LTTE did not hesitate to hit the government FDL whenever possible. LTTE  hit the FDL bunker close to Kilali lagoon. They sent accurate, deadly fire on to the bunker, said Kamal Gunaratne with deep feeling.  In another instance, LTTE had allowed them to get into a cul-de-sac and then attacked them on three sides.  On a third occasion, the well-entrenched LTTE destroyed or damaged six armored vehicles, four T-55 tanks, and two BMPs, and killed 130 SLA soldiers.

At Muhamalai, the casualties were very high. Usually, an operation would end with around 200 or so dead and injured. In Muhamalai, the total was 440 officers and soldiers dead, 1986 injured, of which 280 were critically injured.

Kamal Gunaratne says the Muhamalai battle (2008) was the most decisive battle in the entire history of the Eelam war. LTTE tried its best to win and if they had succeeded, it would have been the birth of Eelam.  But this defining battle has not received the prominence it should have.

Muhamalai saw two separate battle failures that deserve mention. Both were significant. After taking the first LTTE FDL at Muhamalai, HQ ordered the division to capture the 2nd FDL without giving the army time to recover. Kamal Gunaratne protested.

 A large number of officers and soldiers of 53 and 55 have died or been injured.  The fighting capability has been reduced and reinforcements were needed. We should have trained the next lot and integrated them before the next move. The army needed more time to plan and organize. This was not given.  Kamal Gunaratne said he was personally against the operation.

He had pointed out that there were thousands of minefields in front of the  2nd FDL. Also, LTTE had deadly accurate, well-positioned artillery and mortar as well as high powered machine guns. These would fully cover our path of advance. There was also the threat of ground assault by LTTE on our by then decimated troops. In addition, there was also the lack of any cover.  HQ was told of the dangers but they said to somehow manage.

The attack was a failure for the army and a triumph for the LTTE. Several tanks had lost direction and instead of stopping at the 1st LTTE FDL had gone on to the 2nd FDL, where the LTTE was waiting. The two platoons coming behind had blindly followed. They all died. This was a prize blunder.

There was a second disaster at Muhamalai.  The 53 Division had suddenly attacked the LTTE FDL without informing others. They had planned this secretly, keeping the others, including Kamal Gunaratne in the dark. But they could not hold the FDL and they retreated in disorder. Casualties were far worse than expected, said Kamal Gunaratne. One officer and 87 soldiers dead, 11 officers and 303 others injured. Analysts wanted to know, was this done deliberately and was it sabotage.

 The commander of the 53 Division was transferred, not dismissed. He left silently, dejected by the devastation he had caused.   Kamal Gunaratne was asked to take over as commander. Kamal Gunaratne had not wanted a ceremonial take over since LTTE was spying on them. But Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka arrived unexpectedly. He had heard the news and came to bless the commander and the campaign.

Eelam war IV took four years. We had to fight for every inch of land we captured, said Kamal Gunaratne. There were fierce battles and the army lost 8500 and 29,000 were injured. but LTTE could not stop the forward march of the army.

 In addition to the battles at Muhamalai, there were battles in the Wanni. there was a fierce battle at Odusuddan. LTTE was at its peak at Odusuddan said Kamal Gunaratne. Odusuddan was in a strategic position on the Mankulam- Mullaitivu highway.

There was also a protracted battle at Pudukuduirippu. Pudukuduirippu was on the Paranthan Mullaitivu highway. It took    2 ½ months to break the LTTE stranglehold on Pudukuduirippu. The battle of Pudukuduirippu was the most brutal of all battle I have ever commanded, saidKamalGunaratne. There were serious reversals during the battle. The army nearly lost, then the battle reversed and Pudukuduirippu fell. Pudukuduirippu was a valuable victory.  LTTE had held it for over two decades. Pudukuduirippu was won at a tremendous cost, many died.

LTTE had buried large caches of weapons, ammunition, and food in the jungles.  they could continue the war for 6 months more at least said Kamal Gunaratne. There were hundreds of weapons of every model. The number of machine guns, various types of weapons, and explosives was quite frightening. 

Thought we had achieved success after success, LTTE had the uncanny habit to hit back at the very end in a most unexpected manner, said Kamal Gunaratne.   One stunt that astounded the army was the suicide truck at the Pudukuduirippu battle.

 A  large truck fully covered with steel plates, came barreling toward our FDL at a terrific speed. Inside the truck were LTTE fighters, shooting in all directions through holes cut out in the steel plating. Nothing could stop the vehicle. Then, fortunately, some battle tanks belonging to the army drove in from the opposite direction, realized what was happening and shot at the truck. The truck burst into flames and crashed into a ditch.

The truck had two steel plates welded together, covering the entire vehicle, with gaps packed with sand. It had been designed to withstand RPG7s. Small holes had been bored to facilitate shooting and there was an opening for the driver to see where he was going. This truck was targeting the headquarters, where all the senior officers had congregated. It was a gigantic attempt to destroy the command Headquarters, and the commander and thus bring the war to a halt.

LTTE fought to the finish. At the last stage of the war, they sent 30-40 boats at lightning speed across the lagoon to the western bank. LTTE fighters scrambled out and the boats turned around and left. 7 suicide boats came as they left,  also at high speed, crashed into the bunker at different places, and blew up. The earlier boats returned with more fighters. There was a brutal fight between the two sides.

In the meantime, Charles  Anthony, son of Prabhakaran, was trying to escape. He had got on the A35  with 11 others. They were killed there.  He was accompanied by well-built bodyguards, carrying state of the art weapons.  Army took in a large haul of weapons and bundles of money. Charles Anthony had Rs 2.3 million with him.

 700 LTTE  were gathered together at Vellamullivaikal, at the final stage of the Eelam Iv war. They had divided into three groups. The first group stayed back at Vellamullivaikal as a decoy. They walked up to the army saying they were civilians, but when the army fired a weapon,  the second group hiding in the background opened fire.

The third group containing Prabhakaran and the top leaders, including and Soosai, Pottu Amman had entered the Nanthikadal lagoon, planning to escape to Mullaitivu jungles through the bunker gaps created by suicide boats, Instead, this group somehow got pushed into the mangroves in the north of the lagoon.

Kamal Gunaratne had stationed soldiers in the mangroves. They noticed movement. At the same time  an informant had said Soosai was hiding there.  So troops went in. There was ferocious fighting. The army killed 52 persons.  This included all the leaders, who, it appears,  had grouped together there. They all died. We also found 150 bodies of sturdily built terrorists. They were LTTE’s best fighters, well built, muscular, said Kamal Gunaratne.

Prabha was in uniform, with his dog tag saying 001” and also his Identity card, intact in his upper shirt pocket. The identity card he been  Issued on 1.1.2007. These items were probably there to show his US rescuers that he was really and truly, their very own Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The army had killed all the  LTTE leaders, including Prabhakaran without even knowing that they were doing so.  They were delighted when they found out.   About   5000  soldiers had gathered to see Prabha’s body brought in, cheering loudly.. Solders bringing the body in were also cheering Body was still warm when I saw it said Kamal Gunaratne. The much-criticized  Sinhala triumphalism did not begin with Kiribat and raban  on the streets of Colombo. It started the moment the soldiers heard that Prabhakaran was killed.

Formal identification of Prabhakaran’s body was needed. Prabhakaran’s body was identified by Karuna. Later Prabhakaran was undressed on the order of the Army  Commander and shown bare-bodied. Army commander had ordered this, saying only the head of a standing army was entitled to wear a uniform.   The army cremated Prabhakaran as soon as possible.

On 18 May 2009, The 58 Division of the Sri Lankan Army led by Brig. Shavendra Silva, 59 Division led by Brig. Prasanna de Silva and the 53 Division commanded by Gen. Kamal Gunaratne,  defeated the LTTE  at  Vellamullivaikal, a small town on the A35 road, near Nanthikadal lagoon,    and brought Eelam War IV to an end. Television news showed the two teams coming in from opposite sides and greeting each other. On 20 May 2009  Sri Lanka army ceremonially silenced its guns.

Since the LTTE  leadership was dead, on 19 May 2009 Kumaran Pathmanathan,  head of international relations, stated on the LTTE  website that “This battle has reached its bitter end. We have decided to silence our guns. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and that we could not hold out for longer”

LTTE would have been hoping to drag on the battle, till a truce was declared. Then with the help of foreign countries, the island would be divided into two, with the coastline going to Tamils and the Sinhalese left landlocked.  (Continued)

Where is the G20?

March 30th, 2020

Dr Gaya  Kulasinghe    Consultant Physisian writes  …..

I thought to write a few words on FB, especially for my friends in Sri Lanka, though I have never posted my personal views on social media before.
As a physician, currently working in the front line, dealing with a new Coronavirus pandemic in a leading hospital in the USA, I have witnessed a drastic difference between the USA, which beliefs to be a part of first world country and Sri Lanka, known as a third world country.

I don’t have enough words to appreciate the SL government, health care personnel, military, and all the other supportive organizations for their extraordinary leadership and contribution compared to the subpar means used by so-called developed nations to handle this horrific battle.
Please tell your fellow Sri Lankan’s how lucky they are to have a government and healthcare sector pleading them to get tested if they are suspected to have an infection, begging people who needed to be quarantined to contain the spread of the disease for the sake of rest of the nation, mobilizing the little money and resources they have to build those quarantining facilities, going above and beyond to take care of most of the needs of the public during this country’s locked down period, etc.

On the other hand, people in the USA have to beg authorities to get the test done for them. Still, the chances of getting the test done were very slim for the past couple of weeks due to a lack of testing kits and facilities. People who were more than 100 % sure that they got infected were turned down on some occasions as they did not meet the criteria to get the test done!!!!

Due to multiple reasons( which I am not going to discuss here) America has lost the battle against the virus threat. Now, the country is leading in first place among other nations with the highest number of infected cases and escalating the number of fatalities as well.

One of the biggest problems for the health care workers here is the extreme shortage of personnel protective gear. We are asked by our authorities to go to the battlefield with toy guns” risking our own lives, our colleagues, other healthy patients and over loved one’s lives. We are asked to use scarves and handkerchieves as face masks once we run out of our last supply of face masks. We have to use /reuse N 95 masks and we would get one surgical mask per provider per day.

Some Emergency room physicians have stopped sleeping in their bedrooms as they are afraid that they would harm they are loved once and started sleeping in their garage or in hospital On-call rooms for days.
This is the bitter truth of the reality of the USA now, supposedly the most advanced and privileged country in the world!

Hats off to my colleagues and all the other health professionals in SriLanka for their noble duties they are performing in during this difficult time!!!
Please make aware your fellow Sri Lankans about the depth and seriousness of current pandemic, ask them to stop blame games, support the government to conquer the battle putting aside their own political views at this crucial moment, ask them to trust and believe in their health care professionals and lastly set a model as a proud nation to the rest of the world!!!

Thanks,
Gaya Kulasinghe.

SOS FROM UNCLE SAM

March 30th, 2020

Corona News

The US reaches out to Sri-Lankan health workers amid coronavirus outbreak

The United States has appealed to medical professionals in Sri-Lanka, particularly those working to treat or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to reach out to the nearest embassy or consulate to request a visa appointment.

The appeal was made on Thursday, March 26 through the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.

කොරෝනා සුව වෙන්න IDHදී උණුවතුර..- කොරෝනා සුව වූ පලමු ශ‍්‍රී ලාංකිකයා කියයි

March 30th, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා සී නිව්ස්

කොරෝනා වෛරසය වැළඳී තමන් කොළඹ ජාතික උණ රෝහලේ ප්‍රතිකාර ලබද්දී දිනකට උණුවතුර ලීටර් 06-07ක් පමණ බීමට ලබාදුන් බව කොරොන් වැලදී දැනට සුවපත් වී සිටින පළමු ශ‍්‍රී ලංකිකයා සදහන් කරයි.

තම රෝගය සුව කරන්න උණු වතුරද ඉවහල් වූ බව මත්තේගොඩ පදිංචි ජයන්ත රණසිංහ වන ඔහු කියා සිටී.

කොරෝනා වයිරස් රෝගීන් සුවකරන්න උණු වතුරද ඉතාම හොඳ දෙයක් යයි තමන් එම රෝහලෙන්ම දැනගත් බව ද ඔහු සඳහන් කරයි.

සති අන්ත පුවත්පතක් වෙත අදහස් පළ කරමින් ඔහු මේ බව සඳහන් කර ඇත.

COVID 19 AS A PROTECTION

March 30th, 2020

RANJITH SOYSA

Digressing from the plight brought about by the  COVID 19, I wish to draw the attention of your readers to an important item discussed in the Island, issue of 23rd March. It was referring to the British High Commissioner who was said to be too busy to comment on his alleged intervention in the judicial process of Sri Lanka. The former chief magistrate Mr. Tilina Gmage under oath at the Presidential Commission stated that he received a letter from the British High Commissioner offering ‘unsolicited advice’ in dealing with a case handled by him..

This is a serious matter which affects the rule of law, directly and indirectly, it is an act that violates the diplomatic rectitude. On the other hand during a period when it became known that the NGOs, high profile ministers attempted to interfere in the judicial process, it is impossible to shake off simply the allegation against the British High Commissioner. Some of the controversial statements issued by the Western embassies on governance in Sri Lanka during the period of the last government can be sited as evidence of attempted intervention in Sri Lanka’s domestic issues. It is indeed ironic to find that most of the advice contained in these statements wanted to fix our judiciary to redress the claims of ex-terrorists.

Oddly enough, one wonders whether COVID 19 is used as a convenient cover by the British High commissioner to run away from facing the issue. In any case, now that the quarantine period is over, he should now come forward and explain his position clearly to the Government of Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lanka. While waiting for his explanation, we trust that Sri Lankan government too will raise this issue to seek clarification. We hope that the High Commissioner will live up to the great British practices.

RANJITH SOYSA

COVID-19: Just Control Your Response To It and Keep Going!

March 30th, 2020

By Zaithoon Bin Ahamed Courtesy www.medium.com

When Sri Lanka went into lockdown about two weeks ago, the company I work for took a firm decision to follow government recommendations and close all offices and encouraged people to work from home wherever possible. Top priority was health and wellbeing of people and taking all measures to help the government’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country and ensure everyone is safe. At that time, it seemed like it would possibly be about a week or so in isolation and we’ll all be back on track. I checked my food supplies and other essentials and didn’t stress too much as I had enough of what I needed to last a week. However, things turned serious and suddenly we were in complete lockdown with an indefinite curfew that forced us to stay indoors, deliberately wash our hands every hour or so and sanitize self and surfaces, and of course the toughest one to do (at least for me) — ‘social distancing.’

We’re going into possibly another two weeks of house arrest and isolation. Supplies are running low and I’ve never been so delighted to hear and see the delivery guy from a small local bakery come by in his tuk tuk filled with fresh bread and buns blaring the tune ‘it’s a small world after all’ or random folks walking about or pushing rickety old carts with a few varieties of vegetables, greens, and fruits. Yesterday was a bonus — we had a truck drive down the road selling fresh veggies out of sacks. Some friends in other areas said they had a freezer van selling meats and other frozen items, including ice cream (yum, I sooo want some)! And some others had rice, lentils, fresh coconut, and canned fish sold to them at their doorstep. I quickly turned to the Internet and realized the very limited online network in Sri Lanka to purchase essential items had collapsed due to the sheer demand and volume. There were various flyers floating around promising delivery of basics ordered over the phone or via chat, but most of them were unable to cope and quickly shut services without any warning. In times where you supposedly ‘have access to everything’ we’re completely cut off and thrown into a hole in a flash.

We’re taking a day at a time and long-term plans have become mere writings on beach sand that will need to be revised and refreshed with every new challenge thrown at us during this uncertain time. Figuring out how long it will last is a fluid challenge, one that we definitely have no control over. I spent the first few days stressing about food and other essentials, unfinished office work, laundry I hadn’t picked up, yoga classes I had missed, a movie and pizza date with my two nephews, among a host of other things. Then reality hit, and it dawned on me that stressing over things you cannot control is futile and this was certainly one of those times where you needed to take a few steps back, take a deep breath and slow down. On the first day, I spent hours doing nothing, but watching the news and tracking the impact of COVID-19 around the world, and the way it began to unfold and engulf our nation of happy islanders who almost always seize any opportunity during a crisis to enjoy a few laughs and songs over food and drink. This was different.

We have been through a lot — a protracted war, communist-led riots, racial unrest, political instability, extremist-led attacks being the big ones in just the last few decades alone. The impact of this virus, however, is unprecedented and it’s really prompted us to rethink how we work and how we live. Apart from that, it’s definitely taught me to slow down and enjoy life the way it should be and focus on learning and exploring while attending to everyday things. I spent the first 3 days waking up much later than I usually do and thereby missing some important things in my daily routine, like reading, exercising. Instead, I was just wasting time lazying around in my pajamas and checking emails in bed. But I took control and realized this was not sustainable and not healthy and a complete waste of time.

It was time to reflect and focus on controlling my response to COVID-19, rather than fretting about dealing with things that were beyond control.

What I’ve done

De-junked and reorganized cupboards and shelves that I’ve been wanted to do for months and have been putting off. De-junking is therapeutic!

Started writing again — I had many work-in-progress bits of poetry and a novel I had started on some months ago and made little progress

Called friends and family I hadn’t spoken to in a while other than a random text message, usually during my commute to/from work

What I’ve learnt

How much we undermine technology as a society and country; for all those who have been skeptical about digital banking to buying things online, this would have saved you time and energy and would have been an absolute blessing at a time like this. So, get connected, now and learn how to do things online!

You don’t need all the fancy things and luxuries you buy on a regular basis; it all boils down to what you need to survive. Lifestyle is a choice and certainly hasn’t given any of us much of a choice in this crisis. Living simply and being able to manage with what you have is a good lesson

The importance of investing time in a close circle, especially at times like these, to help share thoughts, ideas, grief, and just chat to keep you sane, motivated, and hopeful. I’m so thankful and blessed to have wonderful family and friends-like-family

What I’ve discovered

It doesn’t matter where you are — all you need is a little discipline and passion. You can slice and dice your day and do all the things you have to (like home chores), work, hobbies, and socializing. It’s these moments that truly put technology and creativity to test and make you discover and do things you thought weren’t possible. I’ve discovered I can cook better than I thought I could as I have no choice but to further explore my culinary skills given the absence of Uber eats and limited supplies. I’ve learnt to be frugal and make do with the bits I have — I even potted a few herbs and spinach instead of throwing out the stems even though gardening is not something I enjoy doing

You can do everything (well almost everything) virtually — I started a daily virtual power yoga class with my guru and it’s been as good as the regular sessions. Actually, with my routine, I have time to do this every day and then get on with my other work. I discovered some very cool virtual party apps and have been connecting with the girls almost every day to chat about random things we would normally do when we meet up for happy-hour Fridays. We even invited some of the boys and had a virtual ‘dress up’ party, but clearly only I took the dressing up seriously!

Virtually Collaborating — Workout and Parties!

We have at least 20 kids in the neighborhood who play cricket every day after school and when their hits fly over the wall into our backyard, there usually would be no one at home to throw the balls back! I found a handful of balls and gave them back to the thankful kids. And then of course, we had to keep throwing the balls back at least 10 times a day (sigh!), so I had to quickly make a deal and tell them that only 4 over-the-wall hits allowed per day — all others must be collected the next morning 🙂 It’s worked and we’re still friends!

The muddy paw marks we see on the car everyday are those of our new furry friend — Gingerbread. Ginger scales the wall everyday just past 7am (by which time we have left the house to go to work) and hangs around the garage. We’ve now sort of adopted him. He comes over every morning for his milk and fish, begs to be petted, and even joins me in my yoga sessions. It’s a good feeling to bond with a pet we’ve never had before

Meet ‘Ginger’

Opportunities and way forward when we get back to normal?

In all of this madness, I was rather amused at how many retail giants were unable to cater to people’s basic needs through their (weak) online retail channels. It’s a two-way street though — I suppose these players had embarked on some form of online operation, but never improved or leveraged it because people didn’t see the need for it. This crisis, however, has proved that you’ve got to be ready for these things, both from a retailer’s perspective as it offers a great business opportunity, and for people, a convenient way of sourcing your basic requirements and have them delivered to your doorstep. A few days later, some of these retailers got their act together and met people halfway, but it’s been a frustrating one as the channels are not fully functional and there’s zero communication between vendor and customer! It’s a good wake-up call for all ‘digital and innovation’ teams to break away from traditional ways of doing online and look at quick collaborations to rise up to this sort of challenge and meet the current demands.

For corporates who have been exploring and mulling flexi-work, this would be the ultimate test to implement and go. There were some published statistics already that showed the use of online meeting platforms had spiked in the past few weeks as more people turned to digital tools to be connected and work collaboratively, albeit apart. It can be done. If corporates loosen their grip on rules and policies and trust employees with flexibility, it could translate to increased productivity and perhaps a decrease in overhead costs too. Individuals though need to practice discipline and meticulously plan your day, so you give equal importance to everything you love and deliver on your work in a timely manner. I always believe a slacker will be a slacker, whether working in an office or working from home, so it boils down to hiring the right talent .

What do I miss the most during this quarantine life?

Hanging out with my two nephews, even though, thanks to technology, we connect over a video call to chat about random things. I also miss partying with the girls, going for drinks and dinner, and taking silly selfies. Hopefully, I will be able to do all of these again soon once this is behind us.

The turn of events is proof that volatility and uncertainty are certainly a part of life. And your ability (you as a person, a corporate, and a country) to adapt quickly, change the way you function, and keep going will be the ultimate test of resilience if you want to ride the tide and settle gently on the shores, unscathed. For now, we can live knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ and the day will come when we jump back into our daily rat race. And when that happens, eventually, my daily exercise sessions will possibly be reduced to about 3–4 times a week, I may not be cooking as often as I do now, and Ginger will probably find another home where there are people to greet him during the day. But I will be glad that I would have used this time of self-isolation in the best way possible to look within, reflect, and identify things you can change for the better — for yourself, to be more valuable to society, and to be more meaningful to the people who deposit your monthly paycheck, so you could live a good life. Stay calm, stay positive.

The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”― Kahlil Gibran, The Broken Wings

Questions thrown up by the COVID-19 crisis in Sri Lanka

March 30th, 2020

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

COVID-19 containment jostles with demand for food and democracy

Questions thrown up by the COVID-19 crisis in Sri Lanka

Colombo, March 30 (Ceylon Today): Today, the people of Sri Lanka are in the grip of two worries: One of them, of course, is COVID-19. The other is food sufficiency – whether the household has enough food until the currently indefinite” curfew is lifted. However, people appear to be more worried about food than COVID-19.

Most are trying really hard to adhere to government regulations and expert advise on keeping themselves from getting infected. But there is also an indication that they would rather risk infection than go without food.

Sri Lankans, especially the Sinhalese, have been derided for prioritizing the stomach before the country. Yet, it is silly to ridicule their fixation with food when food is a basic need, indeed, the essence of life. It is necessary for the survival of every living organism. Even at the point of electing a President or a government, everything boils down to the ease with which food can be accessed for the family.

The government is certainly making Herculean efforts to ensure that no one starves. And these efforts go beyond the recently launched door-to-door delivery system.

When China first experienced a strange cluster of pneumonia cases in late 2019, the outside world could not care less. By early January, China warned the world that a new coronavirus has emerged. By mid-January, the number of infected cases was increasing and infection was spreading fast across China. Cases began to emerge in other countries as well. At first it was in China’s immediate neighborhood. But quickly enough it spread to the rest of the world. It was significant that the virus was being imported through travelers coming from China. And clearly, it was getting transmitted from person-to-person.

China quickly got genetic information about the virus and shared it with the world. China’s proactivity helped other countries quickly identify affected persons. China’s actions are especially noteworthy when WHO kept a tight lip on the matter. WHO’s procrastination however left most countries, including India, in a state of unpreparedness.

Though most countries began to take preliminary measures such as screening arrivals at airports for high temperature, not many took the necessary tangible steps to prevent the spread of the virus, not even when the virus proved to be a killer.

China locked down Wuhan – the seventh largest city in their country, with an estimated 11 million people. This was done just the day before the Chinese Lunar New Year. With this unprecedented decision, the debate in most governments was about bringing back their citizens in China, especially those in Wuhan.

Sri Lanka was one country that did not debate the issue. When WHO cagily noted in early January that a new illness was fast spreading across China, that day itself President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed the Health Ministry to be ready for the entry of the virus into Sri Lanka as well.

The very night that Wuhan got locked down, President Gotabaya instructed the Foreign Ministry to get the 700 or so students back to Sri Lanka. The Government offered the students a 60 percent discount on the airfare to return home. However, 34 students, some with families there, were trapped in locked down Wuhan. No one was allowed to get in or get out of the city. After much discussion with the Chinese Government, Sri Lanka flew in a special flight and got these students back home.

The night Wuhan was locked down, President Gotabaya formed a special National Task Force to ensure that Sri Lanka is affected only minimally. The President was not only concerned about the health aspects but also of food security. The government stocked enough food to last the entire year. If the situation is reined in soon, Sri Lanka may have enough even to export. Therefore, the Government is not bluffing when it assures that there are enough food stocks.

But the going will not be easy. To keep us indoors as much as possible, the government had initiated a door-to-door delivery system with the partnership of wholesale dealers and other service providers. However, there is a crucial missing link that either the government has not yet factored in or has not communicated to the public. Even if the groceries are brought to the doorstep, people would still need money to pay for them. Even if the government provides these at the cheapest rates, people would still need money to pay. With the ongoing curfew, people are unable to go to the banks to withdraw money sitting in their accounts.

In districts like Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara as well as five districts In the Northern Province, the situation is further aggravated by the imposition of an indefinite curfew. Even in other districts, because the break in the curfew is very short, there are long queues in front of banks and shops. The problem is far greater for daily wage earners. They do not have any cash reserves. They will eat only if they find work for that day.

The government has gone into minute details even into the question of feeding stray dogs. It is keeping a helpline open for those with mental disorders or addictions or for those with any other special need. However if people are to remain calm, the government must assure them very clearly that they will be looked after under all circumstances.

In the meantime, the humanitarian deeds of the military are circulating in the social media. It is obvious that no task is too small for them. When a household had run out of gas, the Army supplied it. When an infant’s feeding bottle broke, the Army replaced it. Obviously the soldiers are under clear instructions to look after civilians in every way possible.

Therefore, people should not worry too much. At the same time it is imperative that the government also communicates these assurances very clearly to the people. The current instruction to tell the Army or police of one’s needs is too vague. It is also unlikely that a poor man will pick up the phone and tell the government that he is without any purchasing power.

Notwithstanding these gaps, most people are appreciative of the government’s efforts to contain the situation. This is especially so with many horror stories pouring in on other countries’ experience with COVID-19.

However, even as people quietly comply with government directives, the opposition is trying to bring the people’s attention to another crucial matter. They are urgently calling the President to reconvene parliament.

However, when the minority Rajapaksa government on 20 February tried to move parliament for funds to pay debts accumulated by the predecessor Yahapalana government in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain, the opposition blocked it just to put the new government in difficulty. Therefore, the President rejected the call to reconvene parliament and instead reiterated the need for fresh general elections. He called upon the people to elect a strong government which can fulfill his election pledges.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesman MA Sumanthiran notes that Sri Lanka is without a parliament and warns that if this situation is allowed to continue the country is in danger of losing democracy. The TNA opposed the establishment of a quarantine center in Vavuniya but did not object to an infected Pastor from Switzerland conducting mass congregations in the North. This had led to five districts in the Northern Province being put at high risk.

This raises the question as to whether the opposition is really concerned about democracy. Given the situation at hand, with the deadly COVID-19 on the rampage, the question that Sri Lankans should ask is whether the urgent need is democracy or leaders with a nationalistic mindset.

Lanka’s economy can’t recover until the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 trauma

March 30th, 2020

By Shiran Illanperuma courtesy Xinhua

Lanka’s economy can’t recover until the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 trauma

COLOMBO, March 28 (Xinhua) — Global communities and financial institutions must unite to put the world economy back in order amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior Sri Lankan economic expert said here Saturday.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Senior Economic Advisor to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Xinhua that developing countries like Sri Lanka could face unemployment, low economic growth and debt problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka is looking at an economic situation created by circumstances beyond our shores. The global community must therefore come together to provide a solution to put the world economy back in shape,” Cabraal said.

Cabraal, who is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, said that Sri Lanka would attempt to tide over businesses and keep the economy afloat amid precautions taken against the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

However, he noted that Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign exchange earners include apparel manufacturing and tourism, both of which rely on external demand which has been contracting due to the impact of COVID-19 on developed economies in the West.

No amount of stimulus packages by Sri Lanka can help resurrect these sectors if the global conditions are not right,” Cabraal said.

Similarly, lower oil prices, while beneficial to Sri Lanka’s import bill, could lead to job losses for Sri Lankan migrant workers in West Asia. The resulting loss in remittances could negate the benefit of low oil prices, Cabraal said.

The current crisis will need an international response similar to the Bretton Woods system which was set up after World War II to promote reconstruction and recovery of demand,” Cabraal said.

We have to lobby institutions like the G20, IMF, World Bank and UN to create global policies to address these issues,” he added.

Small is useful

March 30th, 2020

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Tuesday 31st March, 2020

Time was when there were retail shops, or sillara kades, at every nook and cranny of the country, selling various commodities, including grocery items, at reasonable prices. Catering as they did mostly to low income groups, they could keep prices low as they had no overheads as such. They were open, from morn till night, daily. They stood the ordinary people in good stead in that essentials were available at affordable prices. But, most of these small businesses could not withstand the tide of consumerism, which paved the way for the rapid expansion of giant supermarket chains.

The need for ensuring the existence of the sillara kades is felt today more than ever, thanks to the current countrywide lockdown, coupled with a strictly enforced curfew. When the curfew, which is in force to prevent mass gatherings on account of the spread of Covid-19, is relaxed, people, desperate to buy essentials, throng streets and line up near supermarkets, which get stripped bare in next to no time. There can also be seen lines of people near the existing retail shops, where goods are cheaper than at supermarkets. Fashionably dressed men and women also join these queues, which are not long, for want of a better alternative. 

We have, in this space, urged successive governments to take action to protect retailers as their elimination will place the ordinary public at the mercy of giant businesses. Supermarkets are, no doubt, necessary, in the modern society, and the state is duty bound to look after their interests, as well, but the existence of small businesses, which cater to the ordinary people, must also be ensured. It may be recalled that the Rice Mafia is now exploiting both the farmer and the consumer, having driven most of the small-time millers out of business. No government can control the big-time rice millers, who have become a law unto themselves. This is what happens when small businesses go belly up.

We peddle no argument that retailers are driven by altruism; they, too, seek to maximise profit, which is the name of the game, but they are capable of keeping prices relatively low and making goods freely available at the grassroots level. Hence the need to protect them.

Meanwhile, what would have been the situation if Sathosa had been privatised and the co-operative outlets closed down? The state would have had no way of controlling the distribution and sale of essential commodities. Sathosa is playing a vital role in making goods available to the ordinary people at the prices prescribed by the government.

Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is heading the Presidential Task Force, appointed to manage the current situation, said, the other day, that the co-operative outlets had to be strengthened to streamline the distribution of essential commodities, at the grassroots level. Following the 1977 regime change, which led to the unbridled economic liberalisation, the co-operative movement was neglected and left to wither on the vine. Its survival has been a miracle. 

Now that the country has realised the value of the co-operative outlets and Sathosa, once again, the government should consider developing them a top priority. Similarly, action should be taken to help retailers stay afloat. It is hoped that the lessons learnt during the Covid-19 crisis won’t be forgotten when normalcy returns.

Let all political parties make a written pledge, in their election manifestos, to develop Sathosa and the network of cooperative outlets and ensure the protection of retailers. 

Five villages in Beruwala locked down as dodger tests positive for COVID-19

March 30th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The detection of an individual from Pannila in the Beruwala police area today, who failed to report his infection to health authorities, had compelled relevant officials to isolate at least 100 people from about 20 families in the area, police said.

The dodger Mohammed Haris Mohamed Hafeez (31), a driver attached to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) from Kiripattiyawatta in Pannila, has been reported to the police by residents of the area after he had gone into hiding with the development of cough and fever.

Commenting on this, Kalutara SP Kapila Premadasa said when the Beruwala Police received the information, a team of police officers visited his residence with health officials and brought him to the Nagoda District Hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19.

The man was referred to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) from Nagoda last noon. His family members and neighbours numbering to at least 100 from 20 families have been isolated. Health authorities and the police were on the lookout for others associated with him for the last two weeks,” he said.

Thus, Pannila becomes the fourth village to be isolated for 14 days quarantine after Kadayankulum in Puttalam, Atulugama in Kalutara and Kolombugahawatta in Akurana. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)

Chilaw family of 5 including infant infected with COVID-19

March 30th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Five persons from the same family have tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection, stated Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

Reportedly, the family from Chilaw had been detained and quarantined yesterday (29) under the suspicion of contracting the virus.

After testing for the virus today (30), all 5 members of the family have tested positive for COVID-19.

Among the family members is a 4-month old infant, according to the Health Minister.

Two new COVID-19 cases brings total to 122

March 30th, 2020

Courtesy Ada Derana

The Ministry of Health says that two new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified in the country.

Accordingly the total number of confirmed cases reported in Sri Lanka, as of 3.30 p.m. today (30), stands at 122.

Seven new patients have been identified within he past 24 hours.  

Meanwhile three (03) patients have recovered and were discharged within today, the ministry said.

A total of 104 patients are under observation at several hospitals on suspicion of contracting the virus while 14 patients have been discharged thus far after completely recovering. 

The second corona related death reported in Sri Lanka

March 30th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Another patient who had been infected by the novel coronavirus has passed away while receiving treatment at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH).

The deceased is a 64-year-old male from Porutota, Negombo, stated the Ministry of Health.

He had been admitted to the Negombo Hospital over a cardiac-related illness. However, the doctors had tested him for COVID-19 upon been diagnosed with suspicious symptoms.

This is the second patient in the country to succumb to the virus.

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ප්‍රජා -තන්ත්‍ර-වාදය නමැති නාස් ලණුවෙන් ගැලවෙමු! (පලවෙනි කොටස)

March 29th, 2020

චන්ද්‍රසිරි විජයවික්‍රම, LL.B., Ph.D.

ඇඳිරි නීති අතරතුර කාලයේ ජනයා හැසුරුණ ආකාරය නිසා මෙතෙක් කොරෝනා කොටු කිරීමට කල වැඩ සියල්ලම වතුරේ ගියාය යන සෞඛ්‍ය අධ්‍යක්‍ෂකගේ ප්‍රකාශයෙන් නොකියා කියන්නේ සුද්දගෙ නීතියේ, නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යය නොහොත් ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය මිථ්‍යා කතාවක් ලෙස මෝඩ හෝ මෝඩ නොවන ලංකා ජනයා සළකන බව නොවේද?

ප්‍රජා-තන්ත්‍ර යන සංස්කෘත වචන දෙකේ තේරුම ජනයා අතේ ඇති නාස් ලණුව (තීරක බලය) යනුය. එහෙත් මුළු ලෝකයේම දැන් ඇති දූෂිත නියෝජිත ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය යටතේ නාස් ලණුව වැටී ඇත්තේ (දමාගෙන ඇත්තේ) ජනයාටමය (චන්ද දායකයාටය). ඇමෙරිකාවේ වුවද යථා‌ර්‌ථය එයය. 1990/91 දී, ත්‍රෝ ද රාස්කල්ස් (බින්න බැස ඉන්නා මන්ත්‍රීන්) අවුට්, යන්න ඇමෙරිකාවේ ජනප්‍රිය සටන් පාඨයක් විය. මුන් 225 ම ඉන්නාවිට පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට බෝම්බයක් දැමිය යුතුය යන කතාවෙන් සංකේතවත් කරන්නේ ලංකාවේද සිදුවී ඇති මේ විපර්යාසය (ඩිමොක්‍රසි ට්‍රැප්) නොවේද? රනිල්, කරු, සජිත් යන අය පාර්ලිමේන්තුව යලි කැඳවන ලෙස ඉල්ලන්නේ කොරෝනාවට බේත ඇත්තේ මේ හොර ගුහාව තුල නිසාද?

මාක්ස්වාදී පසුබිමක් ඇති සරත් ද අල්විස් හා මාක්ස්වාදී, ක්‍රිස්තියානි, ද්‍රවිඩ පසුබිමක් ඇති කුමාර් ඩේවිඩ් යන දෙදෙනා විසින් කලම්බු ටෙලිග්‍රාෆ් වෙබ් අඩවියේ (මාර්තු 25, 2020) ලියමින්, ජනාධිපති ගෝඨාභයට, ලියුක්වාන් කෙනෙක් විය හැකිද, නොහැකිද යනාදී වශයෙන් කෙස්පැලෙන තර්‌ක ඉදිරිපත් කරමින් සිටී. කුමාර් ඩේවිඩ්ට අනුව ලංකාවේ අන්තවාදී පිස්සු හාමුදුරුවරු පිරිසක් සිටී. ඔහු 2014 දී මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත හිමියන්ව යහපාලන මුරුංගා අත්තේ නැංවූයේ ඒ නිසා විය යුතුය. පාසැලේදී උම්මග්ග ජාතකය, සැළලිහිණි සංදේශය හෝ සුභාෂිතය කියවා නැති සිංහල කළු සුද්දන් අක්මුල් සිඳගත් බටහිර ගැත්තන්‌ය. කුමාර්‌ට අනුව ලංකාව සිංගප්පූරුවක් කිරීම භාරදිය යුතු ජේ.වී.පී කට්ටියටය! සිංගප්පූරුව වනාහි කොළඹ හා තදාසන්න ප්‍රදේශයට වඩා ලොකු නැති, ඉතිහාසයක් නැති, සංක්‍රමණික චීන-ඉන්දියන් ජනයාගෙන් ආරම්භවූ, වානිජ වරාය මධ්‍යස්ථානයකි. ඉතිහාසයක්, හරි හමන් සංස්කෘතියක් නැති, වැලිකතරක් යට තෙල් ඇති ඩුබායි කොපි කරන්නේ මුහුද ගොඩකරණ සිංගප්පූරුවය.

ලෝකයේ අයිරිස් හෝ යුදෙව් ජාතිකයින්ගේ සුවිශේෂ ඉතිහාසයට නොදෙවෙනි අඛන්ඩ ඉතිහාස කතාවක් සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ ජාතියට තිබේ. මේ දිවයිනේ ඉතිහාසය හා භූගෝල විද්‍යාව නොදැන, එය දෙස සිංගප්පූරු, මැලයා, දකුණු කොරියා කණ්නාඩි දමාගෙන බැලීමේ මානසික වහල් භාවයෙන් ගැලවිය යුතුය. ඒ රටවල් පසුකල ඒකාධිපති අත්තනෝමතික පාලන අවධි අපට අවශ්‍ය නැත. මේ වයෝවෘධ, නූතන කළු සුද්දන්ට නොතේරෙන ඓතිහාසික බෞද්‌ධ රාජ්‍ය පාලන ප්‍රතිපත්ති හා සංස්ථා ක්‍රමයක් අපට උරුමව ඇත. සමහර කළු සුද්දන් මේ රට බහුජාතික, සර්‌වාගමික රටක් යයි කියන්නේ, මානව අයිතිවාසිකම් හා රෙස්පොන්සිබිලිටි ටු ප්‍රොටෙක්ට් යන පරණ යටත් විජිත හිමියන්ගේ අළුත් ගුණ්ඩු වලට අහුවී, බෞද්‌ධයින් අන් අයට සැළකූ ඉතිහාසය හා වර්‌තමානයට පිටුපානා පිරිසය.

ලිප්බොක්කේ හිරවුණ බෝධිසත්‌ව නාගයා හා දරපොල්ලක් ගත් මැහැළිය

සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයා මුණ ගැසීමේදී මෙන්ම වෙන්‌වීමේදීද අත් දෙක එකතුකර ආයුබෝවන් කියන්නේ හමුවීම හා වෙන්‌වීම, කාලය හා බැඳුණු එකම සිදුවීමක් නිසාය. මිනිස් ජීවිත චක්‍රය නම් ඉපදි-මැරී-යලි ඉපදීමය. සුද්දන් විසින් 1832 සිට අපට පුරුදු කරන්නට සැදූ ධනවාදී නියෝජිත ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදයට අයුබෝවන් කීමට සුදුසු කාලය පැමිණ ඇති බව, ගෝඨාභය ජනාධිපතිවීම හා කොරෝනා වෛරසය සම්බන්‌ධයෙන් මහජනයා හැසිරෙන ආකාරයෙන් පෙනී යයි. 1948 ට පෙර සිටම පැවතගෙන එන ආත්මාර්‌ථකාමී-වංක දේශපාලන නියෝජිත ක්‍රමය, 1978 න් පසුව ලොකු මාළුවා පොඩි මාළුවා ගිල ගන්නා, සල්ලි වලට දෙමව්පියන්-දරුවන් එකිනෙකා විකුණා ගන්නා, දූෂිත සමාජයක් බිහිකරදී ඇති තරම හදිසි නීතිය හා ඇඳිරි නීතිය කඩකරමින්, එය විහිළුවට ගනිමින්, මිනිසුන් ක්‍රියාකරණ අන්දමින් පැහැදිලිවේ. ගෙදරින්වත්, ගමේ-නගරයේ පන්සලෙන් පල්ලියෙන්වත්, පොලිසියෙන්වත්, ලබාදුන් හෝ අවසානයේදි යුදභටයාගේ තුවක්කුවට භයෙන් වත් හටගත් විනය ගරුක කමක්, හික්මීමක් අද සමාජයේ නැති බව දැන් දෛනිකවම ඔප්පුවෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අතර විපක්‍ෂය බලා සිටින්නේ නීතිය කැඩීමට විරුද්‌ධව වෙඩි තැබීමක් වුනොත් ඉන් දේශපාලන වාසියක් ලබාගන්නය.

ඉන්දියාවේ පොලිස්කාරයින්, ඇඳිරිනීතිය කඩන බයිසිකල් කාරයින්ගේ පිටට පොලුවලින් ගහනවා මෙන් නොව, උතුරු කොරියාවේදී මෙන් දෙතුන් දෙනෙකුට වෙඩි තැබුවා නම්, 1971 හෝ 1988/9 කාලයේ රෑ තාප්පවල ඇලවූ දැන්‌වීමකින් (ගමේ බෙදූ තුන්ඩුවකින්) මුළු රටක් දමණය කිරීමට ජේ.වී.පී. කාරයින් සමත්‌වූවා මෙන් මේ ආණ්ඩුවට මුළු රටේම විනය පවත්‌වා ගතහැකි වන්නේය. යුද්දෙට නැති කඩුව කොස් කොටන්නද කියන්නේ මේ නිසාය. එහෙත් උභතෝකෝටික ප්‍රශ්ණය නම් ඉදිරියේදි එන චන්දයකට ඇති භය නිසා එය කරන්නේ කෙසේද යනුය. සෞඛ්‍ය අධ්‍යක්‍ෂක කියන්නේ ඇඳිරි නීතිය තාවකාලිකව ඉවත්කල විට කොළඹට එන ජනයා දෙස බලනවිට මෙතෙක් කොරෝනාව කොටු කිරීමට ගත් උත්සාහ වතුරේ ගියා යනුවෙනි. ලංකාවේ විශාල සමාජ විපරිනාමයක් සිදුවෙමින් පවතී. විනාශ පිටුපසින් වෙස්වලාගත් භාග්‍යද (දිව්‍ය ආශිර්‌වාද?) පැමිණේ. ඒවායින් ප්‍රයෝජන ගැනීම ඥානවන්ත රාජ්‍ය පාලකයාගේ වෙනසය. 2019 පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරය නිසා ඉදිරියේදී රටේ සිදුවන්නට තිබූ අති දැවැන්ත සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ සංහාරයක් වැළකී ගියේය. 2004 ෂුනාමිය නිසා ප්‍රභාකරන්ගේ වළලා තිබූ බෝම්බ හා ආයුධ මුහුදු බත් විය. ගැමියන් මීට කියන්නේ තාමත් ලංකාවේ හඳහන හොඳය කියාය.

ජාති ද්‍රෝහී යහපාලන (සමයන්) අවතාර

2020 කොරෝනා වසංගතයේදී ජනයා, හිරුණිකා, රංජන්, සරත් ෆොන්සේකා, රාජිත, සජිත් හා කාවින්ද ජයවර්‌ධන (නිරෝධායනයෙන් ආණ්ඩුව රටම හිඟන්නන් කරනවා!) යන යහපාලන දේශපාලකයින් හැසිරෙණ ආකාරය පෙන්වන්නේ, තොප්පිගල කියන්නේ කැලයක්, මේ යුද්‌ධය නම් කවදාවත් දිණන්න බෑ යන පිරිස් ඉදිරියේ ප්‍රජා(තන්ත්‍ර)වාදය යනු කුමක්දැයි තෝරා බේරා ගතයුතුව ඇති බවය. වඳුරන්ට දැළිපිහි නොදිය යුතුය. වගකීමෙන් තොර අයිතීන් නැත (නෝ රයිට්ස් විතවුට් ඩියුටීස්). බ්ලැන්කට් ඒකාධිපති පාලනයක් නොව යම් යම් විශේෂ දැඩි තීරණ මඟින් රට තුල විනය ගරුක සමාජයක්, සාමය හා මනාපාලනයක් ගොඩනැඟිය යුතුය. උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් හිටපු සිවිල් නිලධාරී ගර්වින් කරුණාරත්න විසින් ලංකාවෙබ් වෙබ් අඩවියට ලියමින් (2020 මාර්තු 27) ජනාධිපති ගෝඨාභයට පෙන්වා දෙන්නේ 1970 ගණන්වල ඉතා සාර්‌ථක ලෙස තිබූ ලංකා අලෙවි දෙපාර්‌තමේන්තුව මළවුන්ගෙන් ගොඩගැනීමේ යෝග්‍යතාවයය. යුද හමුදාවේ සහාය ඇතිව දින ගණන කින් එයට යළි පණදිය හැකියයි ඔහු කියා සිටී. මෙවැනි තීරණ ඒ කාලයේ ෆිලික්ස් ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක කිව්වා මෙන් ලිට්ල් බිට් ඔෆ් ටෝටලිරිසම් නොවන්නේ යහපාලනකාරයින් විසින් සමස්ථ රාජ්‍ය පාලන යන්ත්‍රයම කඩා දමා ගොස් ඇති නිසාත්, අශීලාචාර විරුද්‌ධ පක්‍ෂ හැසිරීම ඉදිරියේ මිලිටරි විනයක් නැතිව එය නැවත නඟාසිටුවීම අසීරු නොව, කල නොහැකි කාරියක් වන නිසාත්‌ය. මෙවැනි අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය රාජ්‍ය-මිලිටරි මැදිහත්‌වීම් වලින් තොරව මේ රට ගොඩගත නොහැකි බව පෙන්වා දීම මේ ලිපියේ අරමුණය.

උඩු යටිකුරු වන සමාජ ආකල්ප

රවි කරුණානායක ඇතුළු නුගේගොඩ ක්‍රිස්තියානි පිරිසක් අසල පන්සලේ උදෑසණ පිරිත් නිසා ඔවුන්ට නිදාගැනීමට නොහැකියයි කියා සුද්දගේ නීතිය උඩ උසාවියෙන් තහනම් නියෝගයක් ලබාගත්තේය. ඔවුන් පන්සල අසලට පදිංචියට ඒම උසාවියට අදාල නැත! එහෙත් දැන් කොරෝනා නිසා අගරදගුරු මැල්කම් රංජිත් කියන්නේ මුළු රටටම ඇසෙණසේ රතන සූත්‍රය ස්ජ්ජායනය කරණ ලෙසය. සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයින් වන අපට රෑ එළිවනතුරු ගමේ පන්සලේ පිරිත් ඇසීම නින්දට භාධාවක් නොවීය. අත් දෙක පපුවට එකතුකර අයුබෝවන් කීම සරදමට ලක්කල ලෝකයේ බොහෝ සුද්දන් හා ලංකාවේ කළු සුද්දන් දැන් අතට අත දීම වෙනුවට ආයුබෝවන් ක්‍රමය අනුගමණය කරන්නේ කොරෝනාවට ඇති භය නිසාය. ඇමෙරිකාවේ කොලේජ් වල ලොක්කන් පවා බොහෝසෙයින් පිරිසිදු බාත් (රෙස්ට්) රූම් එකේදී මුත්‍රා කර අත්දෙක නොසෝදාම පිටව යනවා මා දැක ඇත. කොමෝඩ් එකේ ඉඳගන්නවා වෙනුවට ලංකාවේ/ඉන්දියාවේ කකුල් දෙකෙන් ඉඳ ගැනීම (කුක්කුට?) විද්‍යාණුකූල යයි දැන් පිළිරගෙන ඇති නිසා කොමෝඩ් එකේ ඉඳගත් විට කකුල් දෙක උඩට තබා ගැනීමට ඒ සමඟ වෙනම ප්ලාස්ටික් පුටුවකට සමාන දෙයක් දැන් ඇමෙරිකාවේ ජනප්‍රිය වෙමින් පවතී.

මෙම කරුණු සඳහන් කරන්නේ රාජ්‍ය පාලනය සම්බන්‌ධයෙන් යුරෝපයේ හා ඇමෙරිකාවේ මහාචාර්‍ය්‍යවරු දෙන ලණු කා, අපේ අතීත විසඳුම් පද්‌ධති ඉවතා ලා ක්‍රියාකරණ කළු සුද්දන්ගේ හැසිරීමද මීට සමාන නොවේද යන්න පෙන්වා දීමටය. රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ තාමත් ලෝක ක්‍රිස්තියානි ඩිමොක්‍රටික් සංගමයේ උපසභාපතිදැයි මම නොදනිමි. එහෙත් මොවුන්ගේ ලණුකා කොසොවෝ, සුඩානය, ටයිමෝර්, ලෙබනනය (හා සමහරවිට ස්කොට්ලන්තය) අමාරුවේ වැටුණේය (2002 සටන් විරාමය). 13 සංශොධනය යයි කියන විසඳුම දෙස බලන්න. මේ මඟින් තිබුණ ප්‍රශ්ණය තවත් අවුල් වුනා මිස විසඳුණාද? සිංහල පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලකයින් ජනයා රවටන්නට රට ඒකීය යයි කියද්දී සුප්‍රිම් උසාවිය කියන්නේ දැන් රට පෙඩරල් කියාය! මහජාතියේ අධික බල තන්හාව අඩු කිරීමට, සුළු ජන වර්‌ගවල ආරක්‍ෂාව සඳහා නන් මැජොරිටේරියන් ගනයේ එක් බටහිර විසඳුමක් ලෙස 13-ඒ ගෙණෙන ලදී. කලින් වර්‍ධරාජා පෙරුමාල් යටතේත්, මෑතදී විග්නේශ්වරන් යටතේත් රට එකතුකරනවා වෙනුවට රට බෙදීම තීව්‍ර නොවුණාද? ජාතිය ගීය භාෂා දෙකෙන් ගයන්නට සිරිසේන ජනාධිපති දුර දිග නොසිතා ගත් අත්තනෝමතික තීරණය නිසා දැන් දකුණේ භාෂා දෙකෙන් එය ගැයුවත් උතුරේ එය කෙරෙන්නේ දෙමළෙන් පමණය! සිංහල මිනිසුන් අතරත් තේසවලමෙයි නීතියක් තිබුණොත් කුමක් වේවිද?

19 සංශොධන ඇබ්බැද්දිය ගැන කිව යුත්තේ එය මාක්ස්වාදී ජයම්පතිගේත්, ක්‍රිස්තියානි ඊළම් සුමන්තිරන්ගේත් රට අකර්‌මණ්‍ය කර, රට කොට උඩ යැවීමේ කුමණ්ත්‍රනයක් බවය. මේ කූඨ ක්‍රියා නිසා විශේෂයෙන් දෙමළ ජනයාටවත්, බොරු ප්‍රජා(තන්ත්‍ර) වාදයටවත්, නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යය නම් මිථ්‍යාවක්වත්, අන්තිමේදී යහපාලනයක්වත් ලැබුණේ නැත. දැන් අවුරුදු දෙකක සිට 13-ඒ පලාත් සභා මන්ත්‍රීන්ගේ පලාත් මංකොල්ලය නතරවී ඇති අතර ඒ ගැන කතා කරන්නට කෙනෙක්වත් ඉතිරිව නැත. ඉන් මොන තරම් ධන විනාශයක් සිදු වුනාද? ටියුෂන් ගුරුවරු, දොස්තර, නීතීඥ කාක්කෝ (මේ දෙගොල්ල ඇමෙරිකාවේද මෙවැනිමය), පියුන්, කසල එකතුකරන්නාගේ සිටම පගාවට යටවුණ රාජ්‍ය සේවය, මද්‍රසා, රටේ ඉතිහාසය නොුගන්වන ඉන්ටර්‌නැෂනල් පාසැල්, කාති උසාවි, විල්පත්තු/මුහුදු මහවිහාර සංහාරය යන මේ එකී නොකී ව්‍යසන වලින් රට ගොඩගන්නට චන්ද ක්‍රමයක් යටතේ පුළුවන්ද? උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන්, මුන් 225 ම එලවන්න ඕනෑ කියූවත්, දැන් 2020 නොමිනේෂන් දුන් අය අතර මොවුන් කීදෙනෙක් ඉන්නවාද? ඔවුන් දැන් අළුතෙන් යහපත් අයසේ මැරී ඉපදිලාද? තමන්ගේ අවුරුදු 15 ක පාර්ලිමේන්තු කාලය ගැන රතන හිමියන් කියන්නේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ සිටි අයගෙන් අවම වශයෙන් සියේට 50 ක් වත් තකතිරු හරක් බවය! පවතින ගාබේජ් චන්ද ක්‍රමය අනුව සිදු වන්නේ ගාබේජ්-ඉන්-ගාබේජ් අවුට්‌ය.

කොසොල් රජතුමාගේ සීන දාසැය

කොසොල් රජතුමාගේ සීන ලංකාවේත්, ලෝකයෙත් සැබෑ වෙමින් තිබෙනවා කීමෙන් අදහස් වන්නේ, සුද්දන්ගේ නියෝජිත ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය අසාර්‌ථකවී ඇති බව නොවේද? ඒ සීන වලින් රෝගය හා රෝග නිධානය පෙන්‌වා දී ඇතත්, ඊට ඍජු විසඳුමක් ප්‍රකාශවී නැත. විසඳුම අවංක කමද? රාජ්‍ය පාලකයින් අධ‌ර්මිෂ්‌ඨ වීමට හේතුව නොයෙක් සූත්‍රවල පෙන්වාදී ඇති උපදෙස්, මඟපෙන්‌වීම් අනුගමණය නොකිරීමය. රාජා භවතු ධම්මිකෝ යයි කීමෙන් පමණක් එය සිදු නොවේ. ඇරිස්ටෝටල් කියුවේ රාජ්‍යපාලනය උගත්, බුද්‌ධිමත් (ඥානවන්ත) පිරිසක් විසින් කලයුතු බවය. එහෙත් වියත් මඟ සම්බන්‌ධයෙන් ඇතිවූ විවාදයේදී මතුවූ කරුණක් නම් උපාධි තිබුණත්, ජාතිවාත්ශල්‍යයක් නැති අයගෙන් වැඩක් තිබේද යන්නය. උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් පිටරටින් ලාබෙට හාල් ගේන්න පුළුවන් නිසා කුඹුරුවල බඩ ඉරිඟු හිටවන්නැයි රවි කරුණානායක කියන විට හෝ ඇඳුම් මෝස්තර කපන්නෙක්‌වූ, උසස් පෙළවත් සමත් නැති සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ හැදියාවක් නැති මංගල සමරවීර ගෑණුන්ටද බාර්/බියර්/විස්කි බීමේ සමතැන දෙන්නට කියන විට උගතා හා නූගතා කවුද? බුද්‌ධ ශාසනයේ සිදුවෙමින් පවතින පිරිහීමට වගකිවයුතු මහානායක හිමිවරුද, පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලකයින්ද, ගිහි දායකයින්ද? යම් අවංක මිනිසුන්, අවංක මෝඩයින් වෙන්නටත් පුළුවන්ද?

දූෂිත සමාජය නම් විෂබීජයෙන් ස්වයංනිරෝධායනය වීම!

ලෝභ-ද්වේශ-මෝහයෙන් පිරි, හිරි ඔත්තප්ප අඩු හෝ නැති මිනිසුන්ගේ, හොනස්ටි හා සින්සියැරිටි (අ‌වංකභාවය, හා සද්ගුණවත්භාවය) යන ගුණාංග දෙකට අදාල මෙම උභතෝකෝටික රාජ්‍ය පාලන ගැටළුවට කදිම ප්‍රායෝගික විසඳුමක් මධ්‍යම ඉතාලියේ ටස්කනියේ සියෙනෑ නගර සමූහාණ්ඩුවේ (රිපබ්ලික්) ක්‍රිස්තු වර්‌ෂ 1125-1555 කාලයේදී ක්‍රියාත්මක විය. චන්දයෙන් තේරෙන එහි නවදෙනාගේ කවුන්සිලය, කෙටි කලකින් එන ඊළඟ චන්දය තෙක්, තම නිවාස වලට නොගොස්, නගර සභා බිල්ඩිමේම බෝඩිංකාරයින් මෙන් පදිංචිව සිටින්නේය. සීගිරි බිතුසිතුවම් මෙන් අදටත් දැකගත හැකි එම නගර සභා බිල්ඩිමේ හා ඒ අවට බිත්ති යහපාලනය හා අවපාලනය පෙන්වන බිතු සිතුවම් වලින් ප්‍රදර්‌ශණය කරන ලද්දේ නගර වැසියන්ට ආදර්‌ශයක් වශයෙනි. ගුඩ් ගවර්‌න්මන්ට් හා බෑඩ් ගව‌ර්‌මන්ට් නිසා ලැබෙන හොඳ හා නරක ආනිසංශද චිත්‍රවලට ඇතුලත් විය. මෙම කවුන්සිලය විධායක හා අධිකරණ බලතලද සහිත විය.

අශොක අධිරාජයාගේ සෙල්ලිපි වල ලියා තිබෙන්නේත් මීට සමාන අදහස්මය. එහෙත් රජුගේ අභාවයෙන් කෙටිකලකට පසු මුළු සදාචාර නීති පද්‌ධතියම කඩා වැටුනේය. ලෝකයේ ඇති ප්‍රශ්ණ වලට විසඳුම් බෞද්‌ධාගම අනුසාරයෙන් ලබාගත හැකියයි අබ්දුල් කලාම් හා ප්‍රතිභා පටිල් යන බෞද්‌ධ නොවන ඉන්දියන් ජනාධිපතිවරු දෙන්නෙක්ම කියා සිටියේය. ඇමෙරිකාවේ ප්‍රශ්ණ සම්බන්‌ධයෙන් රොබට් ත‌ර්‌මන් නම් ඇමෙරිකන් බෞද්‌ධයා විසින්ද මෙසේ ලියා ඇත. ගුණදාස අමරසේකර මහතාද මේ අදහස ඉදිරිපත් කරන ලදී. සර්‌වෝදය ව්‍යාපාරය මෙම මග අනුගමනය කරන බව සඳහන්වේ. ගම් 15,000 ක එය ක්‍රියාත්මක වන බව කියුවත් එහි සාර්‌ථක භාවය පෙන්වන සංඛ්‍යාලේඛන ප්‍රසිද්‌ධ කර නැත. රටේ ජනාධිපතිවරු, අගමැතිවරු අපේ හාමුදුරුවනේ, අපේ හාමුදුරුවනේ කියමින් කඹ වැනි පිරිත් නූල් බැඳගෙන යතත් සමාජයේ ගුණාත්මක වර්‌ධනයක් නොපෙනේ.

මේ සම්බන්‌ධයෙන් සරලව සිතුවොත්, ලොව සියළු දේම නැසීයන සුළුය, සියළු සත්වයෝ (මිනිසුන් පමණක් නොව) නිදුක්-නිරෝගී-සුවපත් වෙත්‌වා හා මධ්‍යම ප්‍රතිපදාව යන මූලික සිද්‌ධාන්ත තුලින් මිනිසාගේ දෛනික හැසිරීම හැඩ ගැසෙන්නේ- දුක, දුකට හේතුව, දුක නැතිකිරීම, ආර්ය අෂ්ටාංගික මා‌ර්‍ගය- යන බෞද්‌ධ-අබෞද්‌ධ හැම දෙනාටම පොදු සූත්‍රය (චතුරාර්ය සත්‍යය) අනුවය.
(මතු සම්බන්‌ධයි)

බෝවන ‌රෝග ගැන අතීත අත්දැකීම්

March 29th, 2020

මතුගම සෙනෙවිරුවන්

                පෘතුගීසීන් ලංකාවට පැමිණ සිංහල රාජධානිය තමන් සන්තක කර ගැනීමට යුද්ධ කරන කල්හි.ඒවාට ‌නොබියවම මුහුණ ‌දීමට අපේ මුතුන් මිත්තන්ට හැකිවුණා.මේ කාලෙ තමයි 1580 දී පමණ ලංකාවට වසූරිය බෝ වුණේ. මන්නාරම් කොටුවේ පරංගීන් ගේ රැකවරණය යටතේ සිටි කරලියද්දේ බණ්ඩාර සහ බිසව මේ වසූරිය රෝගය නිසා මිය ගිය බව ඉතිහාසයේ සඳහන්ය. ලංකාවෙ මුහුදු කරය විදේශිකයන් ‌ගේ ආධිපත්‍යට නතුවන්නට ඉඩ හැර සිංහල රජුන්ට උඩරට දුර්ග වල සිය රාජධානි පිහිටුවාගන්නට සිදු වූයේ රජ පවුල තුල ඇති වූ බල අරගල නිසාවෙනි.පසුව 1766 දී මුහුදේ සිට ගව්වක ප්‍රමාණයක් ලන්දේසි කොම්පඤ්ඤයට පවරා දීමට ගිවිසුම් ගැසීම නිසා ස්ථීරවම මුහුදුකරය අහිමි වුණා..‌මේ කාලෙදි රට ආර්ථික වශයෙන් ‌බොහොම දුර්වල වන්නට ආරම්භ වුණා.ලුණු ලේයාවල් වල තිබෙන ලුණු පවා උඩරටට ලැබුණේ නැහැ.තොතරම් දුෂ්කර තත්වයක් යටතේ වුවත් සිංහල රාජ්‍යය රැක ගත්තද විදේශිකයන් ගේ පැමිණීම වලක්වන්නට හැකිවූයේ නැත.  මේ කාලයේ මුහුදුකරයේ පළාත් වල ඉන්දියාවෙන් ජනයා ගෙනත් පදිංචි කරන ලද්දේ ලින්දේසීන් විසිනි. දකුණු ඉන්දියාවෙ මේ වෙන කොට වසූරිය රෝගය දරුණුවටයි තිබුණේ. මේ ලෙඩත් අරන් රෝගීන් ලංකාවට පැමිණියා.

‌     1697 දී පමණ දෙවන විමලධර්මසූරිය රජුට සිය මාළිගාව හැර යන්නට පවා සිදු වුණා.මේ යුගයේ මන්නාරමට ගෙනත් පදිංචි කරන ලද කේරළ වැසියන් නිසා නැවතත් වසූරිය උඩරට රාජධානියට පැතිරුණු බව විශ්වාස කළ හැකිය.වසූරිය පිටිපස්සෙන් පැමිණි ජුසේ වාස් නම් කොන්ගානි ජාතික ක්‍රිස්තියානි පූජකයෙකු උඩරට වැසියන් ක්‍රිස්තියානියට හරවා ගන්නට මේ රෝගය සුව කරන දේව මෙහෙයන් පවත්වනු ලැබූ බව දැක්වේ. ඔහුද ඒම රෝගයෙන් පීඩා විඳි නමුත් මිෂනාරි ව්‍යාපරය දිගින් දිගටම පවත්වාගෙන යමින් රෝගීන්ට උවටැන් කොට තිබෙ.මේ නිසා රජු ඔහුට විශේෂ වරප්‍රසාද ලබා දී තිබේ.

           වර්ෂ 1796 න් පසු ලන්දේසීන් සතු පළාත් ඉංග්‍රීසීන්  භාරගත් පසු විහාල වශයෙන් දකුණු ඉන්දියාවෙන් ජනයා ගෙනත් පදිංචි කරතිබේ.මේ ජනයා සමග වසූරිය සහ කොළරා වසංගත පැමිණි බවට වාර්තා රාශියක් ඇත.ඉන්පසු 1815 න් පසු උඩරට රාජධානියද ඉංග්‍රීසීන් ට භාරවුණි. අනතුරුව ඇති කළ ප්‍රතිසංස්කරණ නිසා රටේ සමාජය දුර්වල වී තිබේ. ‌සේවා සැපයීම අඩාල වුණි.‌මෙහි ප්‍රතිඵලයක් වශයෙන් වසූරිය ‌මෙන්ම මැලේරියාවත් වේගයෙන් ගම්වල පැතිරුණු බව දක්වා තිබෙනවා.මෙවැනි වසංගත දෙයියන්ගේ ලෙඩ වශයෙන් හඳුන්වා එම රෝගීන් සමාජයෙන් දුරස්තර කරලීමට ජනය පෙළඹුණා. කැලේ පැලක් සාදා රෝගියා ඒහි ගොස් තැබූ බවයි සඳහන් වන්නේ.

    1805 දී වසූරිය වසංගතය නැවතත් උග්‍ර වුණා. ශ්‍රී වික්‍රම රාජසිංහයන්ටත් මේ රෝගය වැළඳී තිබෙන බව සඳහන්ය. නමුත් රජුගේ වෙදනාවන් එයට ප්‍රතිකාර කොට ඔහු සුවපත් කර ඇත.ඒ කාලෙ ගම්වල සිංහල ‌වෙදකම ‌බොහොම සාර්ථකව ක්‍රියාත්මවුණා. ‌බෝ වන ‌රෝග ‌නොහොත් ‌දෙයියන්ගෙ ‌ලෙඩ පාලනය කරගන්න ‌වෙද මහත්වරු තමන් දන්න දැනුමින් අලුත් ඖෂධ ‌හොයා ගත්තා.ඉන් එක ඖෂධයක් තමයි දිව්‍ය රාජ ගුලිය. ‌මේ ගුලිය තමන්ගේ හිණ බැඳ යෑමෙන් ‌ලෙඩ ‌රෝග ‌බෝවන්නේ නෑ.‌ගෙයි උඩලිපතේ තැබීමෙන් නිවසට ‌‌රෝගය පැමිණීම වලක්වනවා. ගමේ හතර ‌කොණ ‌මේ ගුලිය වළ ලෑමෙන් ගමට පැමිණීම වළක්වනවා.මාතර පැත්තේ දෙවිනුවර රාජගුරු මුදියන්සේ රාළහාමි නම් වෛද්‍යවරයෙකු  ද්‍රව්‍ය ගුණ විඥාණය පිළිබඳ සිය දැනුම භාවිත කොට පීත කරෝසන ගුලිය නමින් ඖෂධයක් සාදා වසූරිය ලෙඩුන්ට ලබා දී තිබේ.මෙම ඖෂධයන්හි බෙහෙවින්ම රස බෙහෙත් අඩංගු බවයි පෙනෙන්නේ.රසදිය සාදිලිංගම් පාසානම් වගේ සැර බෙහෙත් සමග දේශීය ශාක ඔසු යොදා ගනිමින් කල පර්යේෂණ බොහොමයි.මේ ගුලි මීපැණියෙන් මෙන්ම විෂ්ණු ක්‍රාන්ති යුෂයෙන්ද අඹරනු ලැබුවා.මෙහි තිබෙන වැදගත් ම අංගය නම් ඔවුන් ගේ රෝග විනිශ්චයයි.

       දොස් දෙකින් ත්‍රිදෝෂයෙන් හා ආගන්තුක වශයෙන් වසූරිය නවයක් වූ බව දක්වා ඇත.උණ ගැනීමය. ලේ වැසීමය.ඇඟ වියළීමය.සන්ධි ඇරීමය ඇඟ ලොමු ඩැහැ ගැන්මය ඇසේ ඉසේ ලෙඩ ප්‍රතිශ්‍යා යන්න මෙහි පූර්වරූපයන් බව දක්වා තිබේ.වාතයෙන් වූ කල්හි  ඇඟ රුජා ද පිතින් වුව දාහ ඇති වී වහා පැසීමද කඵයෙන් නොහොත් සෙමෙන් වුව ඉක්මනින් පැසෙයි. කඩුචි සහිත වෙයි. මෙම අවස්ථාවන් සාද්‍ය වෙයි. සුව කල හැකිය. ත්‍රි දෝෂයෙන් වූ කල්හි බලවත් වේදනා ඇතිවෙයි. අසාධ්‍ය වෙන බවද දක්වා තිබේ.ආගන්තුක වූ කල්හි ත්‍රිදෝෂයෙන් වූ ලක්ෂණම ඇති වෙයි.සියලු වසූරිකාවට සෙම් පිත් විරේක කරවීමද ලේනහර විද ලේ හැරීමද වමන කරවීමද සිදු කළ යුතු යැයි දක්වා තිබේ.ඉන්පසු විවිධ කෂාය මගින් යටකී වසූරිකා ගුලි ලබා දීම කරති.එයින් කෂාය දෙකක් මෙසේය.

වැල්මී කොහොඹ පොතු කකාරා පෙවීම

ත්‍රස්තවාලු සුණු මී පැණියෙන් දී විරේක කිරීම

ඉගුරු තිප්පිලි කොහොඹ දුම්මැල්ල කොට්ටන් කොත්තමල්ලි නෙල්ලි කසාය කර මී පැණියෙන් දීමෙන් වසූරි අටක් ගූන දෙන බවද මෙම වට්ටෝරු වල දක්වා තිබේ.

  දහනව වන සියවසේ මුල් භාගයේ සිට ඇරඹි මෙවැනි උත්සාහයන් ඉංග්‍රීසි ආණ්ඩුව වුවමනාවෙන්ම වළක්වන ලද බවද සැළකිය යුතුය.ඒ යම් යම් තහංචි ඇති කිරීමෙන්. කංසා තහනම ඉන් එක් අවස්තාවක්..වර්ෂ 1798  එඩ්වඩ් ජෙනර් ගව වසූරිය ( සැර බාල කරන ලද චීන ගව වසූරිය වෛරසයක්) ලබා දීමෙන් රෝගියාට ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණය ඇතිවීමේ අවස්තාවක් ලබා දෙන ලදී. 1886 දී ඉංග්‍රීසි ආණ්ඩුව ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණ පනත මගින් සෑම දෙනෙකුටම ඒන්නත් ලබා දීමට නියෝග කර ඇත. ඉන් පසු 1949 දී ක්ෂය රෝග එන්නතද  1961 දී ගල පටල එන්නතද  1962 දී මුඛ පෝලියෝ එන්නතද 1963 දී නවජ දරුවන්ට බී.සී.ජී. ඒන්නත ආදී වශයෙන් ඒන්නත් රාශියක්ම හඳුන්වා දී ඇත. සරම්ප සහ රුබෙල්ලා වැනි රෝග සඳහා ද එන්නත් ලබා දීමෙන් මනුෂ්‍යා සදා සුරක්ෂිතයයි යන හැඟිමක් මේ මගින් ලෝකය පුරාවටම  ඇති කර තිබේ. ඇමරිකාවේ කරන ලද නොයෙකුත් අත්හදා බැලීම් නිසා ජානමය එන්නත් පවා අද නිෂ්පාදනය වෙයි. එම නිසා ඇමරිකාවේ චීනයේ සහ රුසියාවේ විද්‍යාගාර පැරණි වෛරස ක්ෂුද්‍ර ජීවින් ගබඩා කොට නෙයෙකුත් අත්හදා බැලීම් සිදු වෙයි. කෙරෝනා යනුවෙන් අද පිටවී ඇතිතේ එම විද්‍යාගාර වලින් නිකුත් වූවක්ය යන්න දැන් කතාබහට ලක් වී ඇත. කෙසේ වුවත් ඒ මගින් ලෝකයම අද අනතුරට පත් කොට තිබෙන්නේ එන්නත් මගින් ඇති කරන ලද ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණය මිත්‍යාවක් ලෙස බැහැර කරලමිනි.

          ‌ජෙනර් ‌ගේ එන්නත ලංකාවේ මිනිසුන්ට විදින්නට පටන් ගෙන ඇත්තේ රජයේ නියෝග මගිනි. ඉන් පසු පාසලකට ඇතුල් වන විට එම එන්නත අනිවාර්ය කරන ලදී. අපේ සිරුරේ තිබෙන ස්වභාවික ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණය කුමක්දැයි වැටහීමක් බටහිර සෞඛ්‍ය අංහ වලට නොමැති බව පසක් වී තිබේ.ත විවිධ රස කාරක කෘතිම ආහාර නිසා සීඝ්‍රයෙන් මේ ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණය අහිමි වී යමින් පවතින බව නිසැකය.
නමුත් අදටත් එදා මෙන්ම අපේ සිංහල ‌වෙද මහත්වරු ‌මේ වන විටත් පාරම්පරික වට්ටෝරු වලින් නව ‌බෙහෙත් ‌මෙන්ම පැරණී ‌බෙහතේ අත්හදා බලමින් සිටින බව දැක්වේ. ඉන්  එක ප්‍රතිකාරයක් තමයි ඔසු වැරටිය යෙදීම.මින් ශ්වශන අපහසුතා මගහැරේ.නියුමෝනියා තත්වයන් පාලනය වේ. ජනාධිපති තුමාගේ කාර්ය සාධක බලකාය ‌මේ වෑයම් ඉදිරියට ‌ගෙන යෑම වලක්වන බව පෙනේ. ‌වෛද්‍ය නිළධාරි සංගමය ජාතික වාදීන් අතර ‌හොඳ මුහුණක් ‌පෙන්වමින් පරිපාලනයේ දී සිංහල කමට විරුද්ධව වැඩ කරමින් තිබේ..අපේ පාලකයන් අතීත අත්දැකීම් ගැන කියවා නැත.. කියවන්ට වුවමනාවක් ද නැත.  එම නිසා  හැමදාම කුමන්ත්‍රණ කරුවන්ගේ උගුල් වලට අහුවන බවඇත්තක්..ඉඟුරු කොත්තමල්ලි වලින් විෂ්ණු ක්‍රාන්තිය පත්පාඩගම් වලින් රටේම ජනතාව තුළ ප්‍රතිහක්තිකරණය ඇති කරන්නට හැකියි. ඒ සමගම කළ යුත්තේ හඳුනා ගත් රෝගීන් ඉතා ඉක්මනින් සුවපත් කරලීමයි. එයට දේශීය මෙන්ම බටහිර ප්‍රතිකාරද එකවර යෙදීමෙන් සාර්තක ප්‍රතිපල අත් කර ගත හැකිය. ජනතාව බලවත් සේ බියට පත් නොකර  මේ පියවරයන් වෙත යා යුතු වනවා නිසැකයි.

මතුගම සෙනෙවිරුවන්

Pardoning Sunil Rathnayaka is the Right Thing

March 29th, 2020

Dilrook Kannangara

The president must be commended for pardoning Sunil Rathnayaka. It’s the right thing to do. Those who howl foul about it are missing the point. They are wrong on many counts.

Sunil committed no war crime. Some half-baked reporters say Sunil was in prison for a war crime. No such accusation or charge was made against him in court. He was charged for murder and other offences but not for war crimes. So many others who have committed murder, arson, terrorism and robbery have been pardoned over the years. A very large number of Tamil terrorists have received presidential pardon. They killed scores of civilians. There cannot be two different laws and two different treatments for different convicted persons. Sunil too deserves the same pardon.

The court convicted only Sunil for the crime which could not have been committed by a single individual. That itself proves his conviction is wrong. Going through the material presented to court, one cannot be satisfied that all relevant context was presented. The incident happened just a year after the then president was bombed by a Tamil old woman and a retire military officer was also bombed by another on the same day. In that context taking precautions is only just. The incident happened at a time when LTTE infiltrated into villages in the north with a view to gather information and ultimately launch an attack after their repeated attacks the same year failed. LTTE was well known to use civilians to do their terrorist acts. Using civilian spotters” was a common tactic of Tamil terrorists. Were these facts presented to the court substantially?

The alleged incident is not the only case where Sunil was involved. He was involved in many incidents where his courage and bravery saved massive catastrophes saving thousands of lives.

All these matters must be considered when judging the incident.

LTTE Rump and the war crimes mafia were trying to use Sunil’s convicted case as a stepping stone to convict other military officers. Thankfully their plans were foiled by the timely action by the president.

It is shameful that some true Sri Lankans also losing their heads over nonsensical bad luck stories of war losers. They have a lot to learn from Japan. Even if they believe Sunil or anyone else in the military committed war crimes, they deserve human respect. Japanese people including the PM openly venerate adjudged war criminals who were involved in some of the cruellest acts known to mankind. Has that resulted in anything bad for Japan? On the contrary, a nation that is grateful to its saviours thrives and succeeds. A nation that forgets or worse punishes its saviours has no future.

President Gotabaya has done the right thing in pardoning Sunil Rathnayaka. He and his family must be compensated for the grief they went through all on behalf of the safety and prosperity of the nation.

As coronavirus becomes pandemic, scientists ask if lines on the map hold the key to contagion’s spread

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy South China Morning Post

  • Studies suggest that ‘hotspots’ for virus that causes Covid-19 are found between the 30 to 50 degree lines of latitude north
  • Temperature and humidity data might allow scientists to forecast the ‘next’ Wuhan
Anti coronavirus measures in the historic Marciana area of Venice as all of Italy is completely locked down and scientists look for patterns in areas of high infection. Photo: EPA-EFE

The coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 125,000 people around the world is concentrated in a corridor” across the northern hemisphere, researchers said, as more studies focused on how temperature and humidity could be used to predict the spread of the contagion.

Despite worries that Southeast Asia may become a coronavirus hotspot after central China (where the Covid-19 outbreak started) because of their proximity and travel connections to the infection’s epicentre, more countries and regions like South Korea, Japan, Iran, northern Italy and the northwestern United States may have to bear the heaviest burden.

The establishment of community transmission has occurred in a consistent east-and-west pattern. The new [regional] epicentres of the virus were all roughly along the 30-50 degree [lines of latitude] north zone,” according to a team of US and Iranian researchers.Their work, made public this week on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and pending review by peer experts, said that common temperature and humidity factors in these locations may allow epidemiologists to anticipate where virus cases may become focused.

The study was part of wider efforts by scientists to understand which traits the new coronavirus shared with other human coronaviruses and flu viruses, which display strong winter seasonality.

Earlier, researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, found that transmission of the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 disease was sensitive to temperature, with an optimum environment of around 8.72 degrees Celsius – a finding that concurred with the US-Iran researchers’ observations.

Other researchers, including Marc Lipsitch of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, said that transmission of the new coronavirus was sustained in a range of temperatures and humidity, and that people should not pin their hopes on weather alone for the epidemic to go away.

The US-Iranian researchers, led by Mohammad Sajadi of University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, said there was a striking similarity” between conditions in locations inside the current outbreak corridor, with average temperatures in the five-to-11 degree Celsius range and relative humidity of between 47 and 79 per cent.

These locations also exhibit a commonality in that the timing of the outbreak coincides with a nadir in the yearly temperature cycle, ” the study said. [This is] perhaps pointing to increased risk of outbreaks with prolonged conditions in this [temperature] range.”

The team said that none of the cities affected by the coronavirus reported minimum temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, which may be a low for the contagion.

Making reference to temperature data from last March and April, the study predicted that new community spread in the coming weeks could emerge in areas just north of the current corridor. This spread could include northeastern and Midwest US, British Columbia, the British Isles and northeastern China.

But the study added that if temperatures warmed rapidly, coupled with lower population density and a well-prepared medical response, the risks to these areas might be mitigated.

The weather factor was also supported in a separate study by researchers from Beihang University and Tsinghua University in Beijing, one that was also undergoing peer review and was released on SSRN this week.

The university researchers found both data samples of China and 14 other countries showed that in the early days of their respective outbreaks, areas with lower temperatures and lower humidity suffered more severe outbreaks than places that were warmer and where humidity was greater.

Drawing on Chinese data collected between January 20 and 23, when local governments around the country started reporting Covid-19 cases but before aggressive lockdown and quarantine measures were imposed, the Beihang-Tsinghua team projected that high temperature and relative high humidity could help cut transmission of the virus.

Series of Strategies for Reviving the Economy in the ‘post-Covid-19’ era

March 29th, 2020

By Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Courtesy The Island

March 29, 2020, 6:29 pm

article_image

Former Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, andPrime Minister’s Senior Advisor on Economic Affairs

Strategy 1: Return approximately 20% of the balances amounting to around Rs.500 billion of the Employees Provident Fund, lying to the credit of members, directly to the Members.

As is well known and documented, the Sri Lankan economy has suffered tremendously from the gradual and continuous deterioration of the economy for five years, from 2015 to 2019. It has also been devastated by the shock of the Easter Sunday bombings, in April 2019. In response, the new Government had already given a substantial stimulus, in January 2020, in the form of a significant tax cut and a far reaching debt moratorium.

Aganist this background, in the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka, unfortunately, does not now possess the fiscal space to provide a stimulus of the kind practised by certain advanced economies, whereby huge tax refunds, or outright grants, have been provided to the public in order to boost consumption and other economic activity.

Nevertheless, as an alternative to providing a direct fiscal hand-out, around Rs.500 billion could be infused into the economy by unconditionally returning around 20% of the EPF Member balances to the respective Members, out of the total of around Rs.2,500 billion lying to the credit of the EPF members, as at 31st December 2019.

This simple and uncomplicated return of capital could be a useful and viable alternative that could achieve the same outcome of serving as an economic stimulus, without any fiscal burden being placed on the Government.In addition, this newly created “equity” in the hands of around 2,500,000 individuals would expand further and perhaps even double, as many recipients are likely to leverage such funds with borrowings from lending institutions, which would provide a further boost to the economy.

By “unlocking” this vast pool of funds, at the present time, and through the release of such finances, which would be circulating amongst millions of people, many other “knock-on” benefits would also accrue to the people and the economy.Among such benefits would be:

(1) enhanced economic growth being recorded in the economy due to the higher investment and consumption as a result of the funds infusion.

(2) many persons being able to settle their high interest debt which is presently crippling them.

(3) new business ventures being created as a result of persons with entrepreneurial ideas and abilities being able to embark on new business ventures.

(4) more opportunities opening out for the financial sector to lend, since persons who are embarking on new economic activity are likely to leverage their new equity with debt.

(5) business confidence being enhanced and optimism rekindled due to the higher level of economic activity as a result of investment of the newly released “locked” savings, in the wider economy.

(6) an upturn being recorded in the small-scale construction activity in all parts of the country, which is now at a standstill.

(7) enhanced employment opportunities arising in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector of the country, leading to lower social tensions.

(8) Government tax revenues improving due to the rise of the level of economic activity throughout the economy.

Note: More revival strategies will be unveiled in the coming days.  

Japan, China donates drug for COVID-19

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka is to use anti-influenza drug ‘AVIGAN’ on COVID-19 patients on an experimental basis from next week, a senior Public official said today.

Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) Dr. Prasanna Gunasena told Daily Mirror that a stock of 5,000 ‘AVIGAN’ tablets would be handed over to the SPC as a gift from Japan and China tomorrow (31) to be given to COVID-19 patients on a trial basis.

No one must take ‘VIGAN’ as an absolute drug for the recovery of the COVID-19 viral infection. It is up to the physician to decide whether to prescribe the drug for the infected patient. Besides, this drug is used worldwide for Ebola viral infection. However, the tablet can be prescribed as a substitute drug for COVID-19,” Dr. Gunasena said.

Dr. Gunasena added that the consignment of 5,000 drugs is donated by Japan and China as a gift to Sri Lanka from both countries with the approval of Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

If the drug proves as an absolute remedy to cure the viral infection, the SPC would purchase a bigger consignment to be prescribed for patients of the viral infection, he added.(Sandun A. Jayasekera)

Three villages sealed off to prevent COVID-19 spread

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Two villages in Kadayankulam, Puttalam and one village in Akrurana, Kandy have been sealed off after health authorities found two more COVID-19 patients, official sources said.
The decision has been taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. They also said that the residents in Kadayankulam have moved to a nearby centre for 14 days quarantine purpose.

Legal action against former MP Patali Champika for conducting a meeting disregarding health advisory

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

Police Media Spokesperson stated that the law will be enforced against former minister Patali Champika Ranawaka who held a meeting yesterday disregarding the health advice.

It has been reported that the meeting was held in the premises of the former minister’s residence yesterday.

The health units had worked together to disperse the crowd.

The Police Media Spokesperson further stated that the charge against the former Minister who conducted the meeting was reported to the court .

Main suspect of suicide bomb attack on Zion Church arrested

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The main suspect who had allegedly organized the suicide bomb attack Zion Church in Batticaloa on Easter Sunday 2019 has been arrested.

Police Media Spokesperson SP Jaliya Senaratne mentioned this addressing a special press conference held at the Department of Government Information this afternoon (29).


On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches and three luxury hotels Colombo, were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings.

The attack on the Protestant Zion Church came just before the church’s Easter mass was to begin. At least 26 were killed and more than 100 wounded in the attack to the Batticaloa church.

Unemployed graduate trainees to be assigned to MOH offices for coronavirus prevention duties

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Considering the prevailing situation, training period of trainee graduates who have reported to the Divisional Secretariats has been delayed until May, the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government has announced.

However, taking into account the request of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine, a decision has been taken to temporary attach these trainee graduates to Medical Officer of Health (MOH) offices for assisting the process of controlling coronavirus disease.

The Secretary to the Ministry revealed this in a press release issued yesterday (29).

Due to the existing curfew, it is not compulsory to report for duties at MOH offices today (30) and there will be an announcement in this regard in the future, the release read further.

Two new COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka; Tally rises to 117

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

As of 8.00 pm today (29), two more patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sri Lanka increasing the total cases tally to 117, says the Ministry of Health.

In the meantime, a total number of 11 patients have recovered from the deadly virus so far.

Currently, Sri Lanka has 105 positive cases of coronavirus and 117 suspected patients who are under observation at selected hospitals.

The country reported its first COVID-19 death yesterday; a 60-year-old male from Marawila area.

Sri Lanka to import Japanese drug against COVID-19

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Chairman of State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC), Dr. Prasanna Gunasena says that an order has been issued through the Presidential Secretariat to import the drug found in Japan against COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.

Joining Ada Derana Big Focus, he said that plans are underway to streamline the drug distribution system in the country.

He further said that the pill found by Japan to combat coronavirus is due to be brought to Sri Lanka within two days.

Previously, Japan’s health minister said the government was considering using a drug called Avigan, also known as favipiravir, to treat patients sickened by COVID-19.

More than a month later, favipiravir has shown promise in two trials involving coronavirus patients, with more countries, all desperate for an answer to COVID-19, prepare to test its effectiveness, reports foreign media.

WHO considers ‘airborne precautions’ for medical staff after study shows coronavirus can survive in air

March 29th, 2020

Courtesy CNBC News

  • WHO is considering airborne precautions” for medical staff after a new study showed the coronavirus can survive in the air in some settings.
  • The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, WHO officials said.

The World Health Organization is considering airborne precautions” for medical staff after a new study showed the coronavirus can survive in the air in some settings.

The virus is transmitted through droplets, or little bits of liquid, mostly through sneezing or coughing, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told reporters during a virtual news conference on Monday. When you do an aerosol-generating procedure like in a medical care facility, you have the possibility to what we call aerosolize these particles, which means they can stay in the air a little bit longer.”

She added: It’s very important that health-care workers take additional precautions when they’re working on patients and doing those procedures.”

World health officials say the respiratory disease spreads through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing as well as germs left on inanimate objects. The coronavirus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity, they said.

Kerkhove said health officials are aware of several studies in a number of countries looking at the different environmental conditions that COVID-19 can persist. Scientists are specifically looking at how humidity, temperature and ultraviolet lighting affects the disease as well as how long it lives on different surfaces, including steel, she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus lives for hours in air particles and days on surfaces, new US study shows

Health officials use the information to make sure WHO’s guidance is appropriate, and so far … we are confident that the guidance that we have is appropriate,” she added. Health officials recommend medical staff wear so-called N95 masks because they filter out about 95% of all liquid or airborne particles.

In health-care facilities, we make sure health-care workers use standard droplet precautions with the exception … that they’re doing an aerosol-generating procedure,” she said.

Need to maintain the 24 Hour, island-wide Curfew for some more time; caring for the curfew affected population is equally important

March 28th, 2020

Chanaka Bandarage

The government should be commended for imposing a 24 hour, island-wide curfew. It was a brave decision. 

Sri Lanka is possibly the first country in the world to impose a 24 hour, island-wide curfew.

We are also one of the first countries in the world to shut down schools.

Many countries have followed our successful examples.

Avoidance of close contact between peoples is the best way to stop the spreading of the deadly virus. In 3rd world countries, where people are less educated/disciplined, a blanket nation-wide (24 hour) curfew is the best way to achieve this.

Sri Lanka did another thing right, which is closing down its national airports and sea entries. This means even Sri Lankan nationals living overseas are prevented from entering the country. This is another bold step that the government undertook, as other countries have allowed their citizens to enter through the borders subject to strict conditions.

But, Sri Lanka did this (closing the airports) only after learning a bitter lesson. Previously it allowed all its citizens to return to Sri Lanka with the condition that they undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period. Unscrupulous Sri Lankans who are suspected of having Corona, returned to the country (especially from Italy and Chennai) and botched the mandatory quarantine regime. Some fled and hid in various parts of the country.

This was a major drawback in our fight against Corona.

Some of them were later diagnosed with having Corona.

Thus, thanks to them, we inherited Corona. 

Our numbers are now growing steadily. As of 9 pm on 28 March 2020, we  have 113 Corona cases in the country, with 1 dead. We have reached this number within 15 days.  It is remarkable that we have done better than Spain and USA who recorded only 84 and 75 cases respectively during their first 15 days.

In Sri Lanka we have no/very few Corona testings being done.  Advanced economies like US, UK and Australia test many thousands of people daily. 

Thus, our actual number of Corona patients could be much higher than the statistics at hand.

There is no doubt that in the coming weeks Sri Lanka’s Corona  numbers, including fatalities, will significantly increase. Though the writer hopes he is wrong, it is impossible to think otherwise.

We should request friendly governments to supply us with relevant equipment, so that we could better face with the impending calamity. The country is desperately in need of face masks, surgical glows/gowns/equipment, various medicines, respirators, ventilators etc to fight the war against this ‘invisible enemy’. We must have many new intensive care beds.

It is important that the government formally establishes a national ‘Corona Care Fund’, so that those who can afford both locally and internationally could contribute. Only people well accepted in the community as honest, with high integrity, must be appointed as Trustees of the Fund to manage it.

The government is stressing the people to stay at home and maintain a minimum of a meter distance between them.  The curfew is strictly enforced. These are all very positive things. In print/electronic media, there is ongoing education programs on how to face the Corona epidemic.

Again, the government must be commended for these.

However, the government must realise that while satisfactorily fighting the deadly disease, it must do everything possible to look after the essential needs of the people. The government’s record in looking after/caring for them thus far, especially the most disadvantaged members of our community, is  far from satisfactory.

The majority of the people in the country are poor and many have no money to buy food. Many are subsistent workers and they have lost their jobs. So, even if the shops are open, they may not have money to buy food/provisions. There are reports that people in some areas are starving due to lack of food. The writer is unaware of the authenticity of these stories but believes that the situation is serious. The government must not be complacent on this most important subject.

If people are starving/do not have money to buy food/provisions, these could easily lead to other problems like civil unrest. This is also a reason why the government must take urgent action now (prevention is better than cure).

The irony is that there are people with vested interests who would love to see people disobeying curfews and embarking on social unrest activities. Some people want nothing else but disruption/chaos.

Again, it is extremely important that the government pays top priority to ensure that people will not go hungry and that they are all fed/looked after. The government along with humanitarian orgnisations (temples, churches, various charities) should embark on the quick action of feeding the curfew affected people, importantly the country’s poor. Free food distribution to affected families (poverty stricken) is a must and this should not be further delayed. Those who like to conduct Wesak type food stalls (dansals) should be encouraged to do so.

Those who have money, should be allowed to go out and do their shopping. For this supermarkets, other essential shops especially pharmacies (including private) should be allowed to be kept open daily.  To avoid people misusing this ‘freedom’, a strictly enforced ‘permit system’ should be introduced, like in Wuhan.

This means the government gradually moving away from the current strict curfew regime to a highly control lockdown regime.

Corona has come to stay with us for some time. Whether we like it or not, it does not seem to disappear soon. Australia has set out a plan to ‘live with Corona’ for the next   6 months.

The biggest obstacle is that we will not have a vaccine during the course of this year (2020).

It is time that we develop both short and long term plans/strategies to deal with Corona. People should be able to work; otherwise it will be the collapse of the economy, financial systems etc. The effects of such calamities will be too hard to fathom. This is why US, UK and Australia always talk about saving their economies.

Once people resume work, the police/military must monitor these activities very carefully. Those who disobey the very strict lockdown rules must be subjected to very heavy fines/imprisonment.

Again, we must learn to live with Corona.

We must think wisely and become prepared to face any future situation.

During future lockdowns, we must target that at least 70% – 80% of the people would remain indoors.

Social isolation and social distancing (minimum of 2 meters) are so important, BASICALLY THEY DETERMINE OUR FUTURE EXISTENCE (whether we would live or die). This message must be conveyed to the masses more comprehensively, unfortunately many in our country do not still understand.

We can defeat Corona, as long as if we have clever governments and clever people.

How sick will the coronavirus make you? The answer may be in your genes

March 28th, 2020

By Jocelyn Kaiser Courtesy Science

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center.

COVID-19, caused by the new pandemic coronavirus, is strangely—and tragically—selective. Only some infected people get sick, and although most of the critically ill are elderly or have complicating problems such as heart disease, some killed by the disease are previously healthy and even relatively young. Researchers are now gearing up to scour the patients’ genomes for DNA variations that explain this mystery. The findings could be used to identify those most at risk of serious illness and those who might be protected, and they might also guide the search for new treatments.

The projects range from ongoing studies with DNA for many thousands of participants, some now getting infected with the coronavirus, to new efforts that are collecting DNA from COVID-19 patients in hard-hit places such as Italy. The goal is to compare the DNA of people who have serious cases of COVID-19 (which stands for coronavirus disease 2019)—but no underlying disease like diabetes, heart or lung disease—with those with mild or no disease. We see huge differences in clinical outcomes and across countries. How much of that is explained by genetic susceptibility is a very open question,” says geneticist Andrea Ganna of the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM).

It’s hard to predict what will pop out from these gene hunts, some researchers say. But there are obvious suspects, such as the gene coding for the cell surface protein angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which the coronavirus uses to enter airway cells. Variations in the ACE2 gene that alter the receptor could make it easier or harder for the virus to get into cells, says immunologist Philip Murphy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose lab identified a relatively common mutation in another human cell surface protein, CCR5, that makes some people highly resistant to HIV.

Ganna heads up a major effort to pool COVID-19 patients’ genetic data from around the world. The idea came quite spontaneously” about 2 weeks ago when everyone was sitting at their computers watching this crisis,” says Ganna, who is also affiliated with the Broad Institute, a U.S. genomic powerhouse.

He and FIMM Director Mark Daly quickly created a website for their project, the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, and reached out to colleagues who run large biobank studies that follow thousands of volunteers for years to look for links between their DNA and health. At least a dozen biobanks, mostly in Europe and the United States, have expressed interest in contributing COVID-19 data from participants who agreed to this. Among them are FinnGen, which has DNA samples and health data for 5% of the 5 million–person Finnish population, and the 50,000-participant biobank at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The UK Biobank, one of world’s largest with DNA data for 500,000 participants, also plans to add COVID-19 health data from participants to its data set, the project tweeted this month. And the Icelandic company deCODE Genetics, which is helping test much of the nation’s population to see who is infected with the new coronavirus, has received government permission to add these data and any subsequent COVID-19 symptoms to its database, which contains genome and health data on half of Iceland’s 364,000 inhabitants, says its CEO Kári Stefánsson. We will do our best to contribute to figuring this out,” Stefánsson says.

Another effort to identify protective or susceptibility DNA variants is the Personal Genome Project led by Harvard University’s George Church, which recruits people willing to share their full genome, tissue samples, and health data for research. Earlier this month, it sent questionnaires to its thousands of participants, asking about their COVID-19 status. More than 600 in the United States responded within 48 hours. It seems that most people want to do their part,” says Church, whose group isn’t yet part of Ganna’s collaboration.

Other researchers working with Ganna’s initiative are recruiting COVID-19 patients directly within hospitals for such genomics studies. Italian geneticist Alessandra Renieri of the University of Siena expects at least 11 hospitals in the nation to give ethics approval for her team to collect DNA samples from willing patients. It is my opinion that [host] genetic differences are a key factor … for susceptibility to severe acute pneumonia,” Renieri says.

Pediatrics researcher Jean-Laurent Casanova at the Rockefeller University, who specializes in identifying rare genes that can make healthy young people susceptible to certain serious diseases, is drawing on a network of pediatricians around the world to look for the relatively few young people who develop COVID-19 serious enough to get admitted to intensive care. We study exclusively patients who were previously healthy” and under 50, as their serious COVID-19 illness is more likely to have a genetic basis, he explains.

In addition to genetic variants of the ACE2 receptor, scientists want to see whether differences in the human leukocyte antigen genes, which influence the immune system’s response to viruses and bacteria, affect disease severity. And some investigators want to follow up a finding, which a Chinese team reported in a preprint: that people with type O blood may be protected from the virus. We’re trying to figure out if those findings are robust,” says Stanford University human geneticist Manuel Rivas, who is contributing to Ganna’s initiative.

The catastrophic spread of the coronavirus should soon increase the number of COVID-19 patients available to these gene hunts. And that could speed findings. Ganna expects the first susceptibility genes could be identified within a couple of months.

With reporting by Elizabeth Pennisi.

No, the coronavirus wasn’t made in a lab. A genetic analysis shows it’s from nature

March 28th, 2020

By Tina Hesman Saey Courtesy Science News

Scientists took conspiracy theories about SARS-CoV-2’s origins seriously, and debunked them

The coronavirus pandemic circling the globe is caused by a natural virus, not one made in a lab, a new study says.

The virus’s genetic makeup reveals that SARS-CoV-2 isn’t a mishmash of known viruses, as might be expected if it were human-made. And it has unusual features that have only recently been identified in scaly anteaters called pangolins, evidence that the virus came from nature, Kristian Andersen and his colleagues report March 17 in Nature Medicine.

When Andersen, an infectious disease researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., first heard about the coronavirus causing an outbreak in China, he wondered where the virus came from. Initially, researchers thought the virus was being spread by repeated infections jumping from animals in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, into humans and then being passed person to person. Analysis from other researchers has since suggested that the virus probably jumped only once from an animal into a person and has been spread human to human since about mid-November (SN: 3/4/20).

But shortly after the virus’s genetic makeup was revealed in early January, rumors began bubbling up that maybe the virus was engineered in a lab and either intentionally or accidentally released.

An unfortunate coincidence fueled conspiracy theorists, says Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University in New Orleans. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is in very close proximity to” the seafood market, and has conducted research on viruses, including coronaviruses, found in bats that have potential to cause disease in people. That led people to think that, oh, it escaped and went down the sewers, or somebody walked out of their lab and went over to the market or something,” Garry says.

Accidental releases of viruses, including SARS, have happened from other labs in the past. So this is not something you can just dismiss out of hand,” Andersen says. That would be foolish.”

Looking for clues

Andersen assembled a team of evolutionary biologists and virologists, including Garry, from several countries to analyze the virus for clues that it could have been human-made, or grown in and accidentally released from a lab.

We said, ‘Let’s take this theory — of which there are multiple different versions — that the virus has a non-natural origin … as a serious potential hypothesis,’ ” Andersen says.

Meeting via Slack and other virtual portals, the researchers analyzed the virus’s genetic makeup, or RNA sequence, for clues about its origin.

It was clear almost overnight” that the virus wasn’t human-made, Andersen says. Anyone hoping to create a virus would need to work with already known viruses and engineer them to have desired properties.

But the SARS-CoV-2 virus has components that differ from those of previously known viruses, so they had to come from an unknown virus or viruses in nature. Genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone,” Andersen and colleagues write in the study.

This is not a virus somebody would have conceived of and cobbled together. It has too many distinct features, some of which are counterintuitive,” Garry says. You wouldn’t do this if you were trying to make a more deadly virus.”

Other scientists agree. We see absolutely no evidence that the virus has been engineered or purposely released,” says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She was not part of Andersen’s group, but is a member of a team of scientists with Nextstrain.org that is tracking small genetic changes in the coronavirus to learn more about how it is spreading around the world.

That finding debunks a widely disputed analysis, posted at bioRxiv.org before peer review, that claimed to find bits of HIV in the coronavirus, Hodcroft says. Other scientists quickly pointed out flaws in the study and the authors retracted the report, but not before it fueled the notion that the virus was engineered.

Some stretches of the virus’s genetic material are similar to HIV, but that’s something that stems from those viruses sharing a common ancestor during evolution, Hodcroft says. Essentially their claim was the same as me taking a copy of the Odyssey and saying, ‘Oh, this has the word the in it,’ and then opening another book, seeing the word the in it and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s the same word, there must be parts of the Odyssey in this other book,” she says. It was a really misleading claim and really bad science.”

Finding peculiar features

Andersen’s group next set out to determine whether the virus could have been accidentally released from a lab. That’s a real possibility because researchers in many places are working with coronaviruses that have potential to infect humans, he says. Stuff comes out of the lab sometimes, almost always accidentally,” he says.

A couple of unexpected features of the virus caught the researchers’ eyes, Andersen says. In particular, the gene encoding the coronavirus’s spike protein has 12 extra RNA building blocks, or nucleotides, stuck in it.

This spike protein protrudes from the virus’ surface and allows the virus to latch onto and enter human cells. That insertion of RNA building blocks adds four amino acids to the spike protein, and creates a site in the protein for an enzyme called furin to cut. Furin is made in human cells, and cleaves proteins only at spots where a particular combination of amino acids is found, like the one created by the insertion. SARS and other SARS-like viruses don’t have those cutting sites.

Finding the furin cutting site was a surprise: That was an aha moment and an uh-oh moment,” Garry says. When bird influenza viruses acquire the ability to be cut by furin, the viruses often become more easily transmissible. The insertion also created places where sugar molecules could be fastened to the spike protein, creating a shield to protect the virus from the immune system.

The COVID-19 virus’ spike protein also binds more tightly to a protein on human cells called ACE2 than SARS does (SN: 3/10/20). Tighter binding may allow SARS-CoV-2 to more easily infect cells. Together, those features may account for why COVID-19 is so contagious (SN: 3/13/20).

It’s very peculiar, these two features,” Andersen says. How do we explain how this came about?  I’ve got to be honest. I was skeptical [that it was natural]. This could have happened in tissue culture” in a lab, where viruses may acquire mutations as they replicate many times in lab dishes. In nature, viruses carrying some of those mutations might be weeded out by natural selection but might persist in lab dishes where even feeble viruses don’t have to fight hard for survival.

Clinching the case for nature

But then the researchers compared SARS-CoV-2 with other coronaviruses recently found in nature, including in bats and pangolins. It looks like SARS-CoV-2 could be a mix of bat and pangolin viruses,” Garry says.

Viruses, especially RNA viruses such as coronaviruses, often swap genes in nature. Finding genes related to the pangolin viruses was especially reassuring because those viruses’ genetic makeup wasn’t known until after SARS-CoV-2’s discovery, making it unlikely anyone was working with them in a lab, he says.

pangolin
Coronaviruses that infect pangolins gave researchers important clues that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is natural.2630BEN/ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES PLUS

In particular, pangolins also have the amino acids that cause the tight binding of the spike protein to ACE2, the team found. So clearly, this is something that can happen in nature,” Andersen says. I thought that was very important little clue. It shows there’s no mystery about its tighter binding to the human [protein] because pangolins do it, too.”

The sugar-attachment sites were another clue that the virus is natural, Andersen says. The sugars create a mucin shield” that protects the virus from an immune system attack. But lab tissue culture dishes don’t have immune systems, making it unlikely that such an adaptation would arise from growing the virus in a lab. That sort of explained away the tissue-culture hypothesis,” he says.

Similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to bat and pangolin viruses is some of the best evidence that the virus is natural, Hodcroft says. This was just another animal spillover into humans,” she says. It’s really the most simple explanation for what we see.” Researchers still aren’t sure exactly which animal was the source.

Andersen says the analysis probably won’t lay conspiracy theories to rest. Still, he thinks the analysis was worth doing. I was myself skeptical at the beginning and I kept flipping back and forth,” Andersen says, but he’s now convinced. All the data show it’s natural.”

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON EARLY BUDDHISM IN SRI LANKA Part 2

March 28th, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Buddhism was accepted with enthusiasm in the north Indian republics of the Ganges region. People took robes in considerable numbers. In the lifetime of the Buddha, there were 29 monasteries. There were 18 at Rajagaha, 4 at Vesali, 3 at Kosala and 4 at Kosambi. Over time, it became clear that a set of rules governing the conduct of the Bhikkhus were needed. These rules became the Vinaya Pitaka.

The Vinaya rules were not commandments ordered from above. They were rules made by the Buddha for practical reasons. Most were to enforce discipline in the order, but they also took into account the ease and comfort of the bhikkhu. The Vinaya rules developed gradually, over time,  but they did not develop haphazardly. By the time Baddali sutta was preached, there was a fairly large set of rules, observed Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana in his book A critical study of the Sri Lankan development of the rules of Vinaya (Sarasavi, 2018)

Vinaya rules did not remain static. They were amended when necessary.   Buddha made five amendments to the Vinaya for Avanti. He said higher ordination could be conferred with four bhikkhus, not eight,  the bhikkhus could wear sandals with thick soles as the soil was black, they could bathe regularly, sheepskin and goatskin could be used as coverlets, and robes could be accepted on behalf of a monk who had left the district and the robe need not reach the monk concerned within the prescribed ten days.  Ven. Wimalaratana observed that while the Buddha relaxed rules when he found it helpful for the monks, he also tightened rules when he found that there were laxities.

In a Vinaya inquiry, the monk concerned was given a hearing. No judgment could be passed without his presence.  He had the right to cross-examine, and defend himself, raising legal issues. Bhikkhus had sometimes offered prize excuses. When charged with having engaged in sexual intercourse, one monk said he had taken off his robe, and another said he had done it naked.

Each school of Buddhist thought had its own Vinaya, observed Ven. Wimalaratana.   There were at least 18 other schools of Buddhism, if not more by 3rd Buddhist Council and these would have had their own vinayas. Most of these Vinayas are lost, but some fragments were found in Eastern Turkistan and Nepal.  The Gilgit manuscript, containing the Pratimoksa of the Mahasangika School has been published.  Further vinayas are preserved in Chinese and Tibetan versions. The Mahayana does not possess a separate Vinaya. Mahayana Vinaya is contained in the Suttas itself.

With the passing away of Buddha, the Vinaya gradually began to assume a rigid form. The First Buddhist Council, held at Rajgir soon after the Buddha’s death, decided not to repeal any rules. The Theravada tradition faithfully holds that the whole Vinaya Pitaka was compiled and recited at the First Buddhist Council, observed Ven. Wimalaratana. But the present Vinaya Pitaka was not in existence at the time of First Council. Vinaya Pitaka was in an initial stage of evolution, during the First Council he said. The Second Council, held a hundred years later at Vaisali, was no better. There were sharp differences in the Vinaya rules. The matter was hotly debated and a committee appointed to look into the items under dispute.

Arahat Mahinda brought into Sri Lanka the Theravada doctrine approved by the Third Buddhist Council held at Pataliputra in the reign of king Dharmasoka. This early Buddhism is glimpsed today in the Sutra Pitaka said Ven. Wimalaratana.The Vinaya, including amendments and the Vinaya commentarial tradition was brought in. The commentaries came in written form, said Malalasekera.

The Sinhala Sangha produced a vast commentarial literature on the Vinaya, with useful interpretations of the Vinaya rules. Buddhagosha used these Vinaya commentaries, in his Samantapasadika and Kanakavitarani.  Sinhala texts on Vinaya such as Sikavalanda and Sikha Valanda Vinisa show that Vinaya underwent considerable development in Sri Lanka, said Ven. Wimalaratana.

The Vinaya Pitaka consists of Patikmokkha, Suttavibhanga, Khanadhaka, and Parivara. Pattimokha is the code of rules, Suttavibhanga explains the rules and the Khandhaka section dealt with new situations and changing conditions. The Parivara, consisting of 19 chapters, is a digest of the earlier parts of the Vinaya Pitaka. It does not contain anything new.

The Vinaya Pitaka introduced to Sri Lanka did not contain the Parivara, said Ven. Wimalaratana. The Parivara section is a later addition. It is believed to have been compiled by a Sri Lanka bhikkhu in the early Anuradhapura period. Oliver Abeynayake said that the Parivara section of the Vinaya is not identical to that brought in by Mahinda. Sri Lanka has added to it.

The Theravada school thought that the Vinaya should be maintained and protected at all costs. Sri Lanka Buddhists also thought this. For them, the strict observance of the Vinaya was one of the main qualities of a good bhikkhu. This is one of the reasons why the forest monks were highly esteemed over those who were village dwelling, observed Ven. Wimalaratana.

The Sangha frequently needed purification, since there was no central authority and no hierarchy of control. Katikavatas to cleanse the Sangha started in Sri Lanka in the late Anuradhapura period. First, there was vihara katikavata, such as the inscription of Mahinda V, Kaludiya Pokuna inscription of Sena IV and Puliyankulam inscription of Udamahaya. Udamahaya was the first viceroy under Dappula IV. He ascended the throne as Udaya III.

Then came Sasana katikavat which applied to the whole Sangha. These started in the Polonnaruwa period and continued into the Udarata period. The first Katikavat was the Katikavata of Parakrama bahu I knew also as Galvihara inscription. This was followed by Hatadage inscription of Nissanka Malla, Dambedeni Katikavata of Parakarama bahu II,   katikavata of Parakrama bahu VI, katikavata of Kirti Sri Rajasinha and Katikavata of Rajadhi rajasinha. Vijayabahu III also had issued a Katikavata. This has not been discovered.

Katikavat was initiated by the king. The rules were formulated by senior monks, the king gave his assent and the Katikavata became binding on the Sangha. The katikavata was like a royal decree.  It was compulsory for all monks.

The initiative for the katikavata of Parakrama bahu I came from the king himself. The rules were by Udumbara Giri Maha Kassapa Thera.  The Katikavata started with a preamble giving the reasons for the katikavata.  Then came 27 rules, mainly on the day to day behavior of monks including their daily routine. All monks had to meditate every day. This was compulsory.

Dambadeni Katikavata was also preamble and text. The Preamble had a wealth of information on the declining state of Sangha. This katikavata created two separate headships, (Mahathera), for Gramavasi and Aranya Vasi bhikkhus, with a Mahimi above both. Below them came the heads of the 8 ayatanas, and deputies, followed by the principals of Pirivenas. None of these offices are in the Vinaya.

The age limit to enter the order now became 12 years for grama vasi and 13 years for forest dwelling monks. Higher ordination could not take place where the bhikkhus wanted it, only with approval and consent of king. The quorum needed for ecclesiastical matters were amended. What was earlier carried out by 4 bhikkhus was now to be carried out by 8 bhikkhus. What had been done by 20 was now to be carried out by 30. This was to ensure that there was a minimum of monks of unblemished character in it, said Ven. Wimalaratana.

The katikavata also ruled on the behavior of Bhikkhus. Monks must walk in slow, unhurried manner and must abstain from laughing aloud. Monks cannot use harsh speech to laymen, or refer to their pedigree and caste.  Even a servant in the temple cannot be subject to such treatment. If so monk must apologize.  Bhikkhus had been composing flattering poems for lay people to get them to donate to the temple.  This was prohibited.  Bhikkhus cannot sell excess gifts. They cannot teach children of householders, they cannot teach poetry and drama  and they should not perform the exorcism duties of Kapuvas.

Ven Wimalaratana observed that, Vinaya rules were not sufficient to deal with the practical issues faced by the viharas. The monasteries had become extensive landowners, thanks to huge endowments of cash, land, tanks, paddy fields, villages. Sangha had to manage these lands and fields and villages.  Large scale economic management and managing peasants are not included in the Vinaya   pitaka. Vinaya pitaka rules were insufficient for this. Vinaya had blanket rules for opulence, but that was insufficient. Special rules were needed now.

Slab inscriptions erected in vihara premises tried to remedy this. Anuradhapura slab inscription of Kassapa V, Virankurarama slab inscription of Dappula V, Abhayagiri inscription of Mahinda IV and the second Vessagiri inscription,  contain various rules and regulations for conducting the affairs of that vihara, their properties and workers.  Also for admission to the order, settlements of disputes in monasteries and the role of government officer in settling disputes.

The inscription of Kassapa V says, when admitting a new monk into the order, there must be unanimous agreement.  Gifts should not be accepted when admitting someone into the order. Quarrelsome bhikkhus and those who violate the Vinaya should be expelled and exiled to India. Abhayagiri inscription said if the money provided for repairs to the monastery is insufficient, monks must use the money allocated for their personal needs.

Buddhism became popular in north India, very quickly and young men started to take to robes. This did not please everyone. Parents complained, accusing Buddha of breaking up families, making families devoid of sons and making young wives widows by encouraging young men to join the Maha Sangha. 

Therefore an alternative had to be found. The ‘lay disciple’ was created. Historians trace the creation of lay followers to the family of the bhikkhu Yasa. The young man, Yasa, son of a rich gild master in Benares, found his way to Gautama Buddha and eventually became a disciple. Yasa’s father went in search of his son, and ended up as the first lay disciple.

Buddha was invited by Yasa’s father for alms at his house the next day and with this started the growth of lay followers. At the start they were not considered a component of Buddhist society. They were like admirers, providing the basic needs of the ordained members. They were enthusiastic but did not have any particular practices to follow or any formal duty to perform.

 As time passed the lay followers wanted to be formerly recognized as followers of the Buddha with a practice approved by the Buddha himself. They also desired a particular goal to aspire for. Vyaggapajja sutta of Anguttara nikaya described how some members of the Koliyna clan headed by Digajanu made this request.

Buddha did so. He gave a series of actions to follow while remaining in lay life, and the possibility of a good future life. This consisted of    8 items, of which 4 were for this life and 4 were for the next. The lay followers had thus opted for the lesser goal of continuing samsara life, hoping for a better destiny in the future.

This makes an important juncture in the practice of Buddhism, observed Ven. Wimalaratana. The original aim was to put an end to dukkha, end of Samsaric existence. But lay followers opted for a lesser goal. Buddha agreed and approved the practice.

This was the best option to keep the lay community on the right track with the possibility of changing lanes in the future and attain final liberation. This approach provides a graduated practice, of the path of Buddhism, to suit the different personalities of the practitioners. In the relaxed practice approved for the laity, realization of NIbbana is not completely discarded. It is postponed for a future date.

The lay follower of the Buddha were enthusiastic, they were more in number than the ordained followers.  They came from all levels of society, royalty to the lowest. The prospect of   gaining good and happiness in this life as well as the next, they found very attractive.

A common aspiration was the accumulation of merit. Supporting those ordained was one way of accumulating merit. It was also an easy way. So they lavished their generosity on them. Now supporting the Sangha turned into a duty of the laity and in turn the Sangha became the guides of the laity, directing them on the proper path. The Sangha ranked above the laity.

This led to extremes in some cases. Spending excessively on dana to the Sangha, specially by wealthy persons, otherwise known to be utterly stingy, was ridiculed in Sri Lanka as ‘giving in this birth to get it back in the next’.  I have personally heard this said in the 1950s at a dane in Panadura.

The Sangha also did not like to   eat too much rich food. In 2012, Buddhist monks had told the Health Ministry  in Sri Lanka to advise the Buddhists to prepared proper alms for monks, as they were getting diabetes and heart problems due to the rich food they were given. The Danas contained great quantities of oil, starch, salt and sugar. They wanted a nutritious meal which did not have these.

Ven Beligalle Dhammajoti observed that during British rule, Buddhism was presented as an ‘other worldly’ religion, which was not rooted in everyday living.  It was so sublime that ordinary people could not practice it. That is incorrect. Buddhism is not an ‘other worldly’ religion.  And it is not asocial.  Buddhism is not an other worldly religion.  And it is not a-social.  Sigalovada sutta explicitly explained the family and social relations, and gives a set of instructions and ethical guideline that pertain to social living.

During British rule, non-Buddhists also said that Buddhist philosophy is interest only in higher morality and ignore the social and economic welfare. This is incorrect. Kutadanta sutta explains the way of developing a country with proper planning and the nature of socio-economic process. These ideas, it should be noted were propounded in the 6 century BC.  In Agganna sutta there is a theory of the origin of classes. Chakkavattisihanada sutta explains poverty, revolution, crime and the reasons for those social ills.

Gunadasa Amarasekera thought that Buddha’s interest was in social change, he notes that a large part of Buddha’s major preaching is meant for the layman and not for those who have renounced lay life. Most of the steps in the Ariya astangika margaya are meant to be followed by the layman.

Rajitha P Kumara writing on early Buddhist philosophy   (Economic Review, Peoples Bank, 2011) observed that Buddhism recognized the mental and physical needs of human beings. According to Agganna sutta the fundamental human needs are reproduction, existence and protection.

Buddhism recognized basic needs such as subsistence, economic stability, education, social interaction, mental and physical health, human dignity and social status.  Kutadanta, Agganna and Mahasuddassana sutta focus much attention on the economic condition of individuals and advice is given for the fulfillment of economic realities by the state.

Buddhist gave equal importance to all the sections of society. In the Pali discourses much emphasis is made of cultivation, agriculture, government service, business ventures and employment. The hoarding of wealth was condemned.

Buddhism emphasizes the appeasement of the divided sections of society by building a harmonious and cordial relationship among the conflicting sections of society.  It is necessary to be responsive to the need and expectation of others and to have a regard and respect for them. This sort of responsible social behavior is known as samacariya, observed Rajitha.

A system of good governance was needed in human society primarily for the maintenance of justice and peace. There should be a good system of law (justice) and order (peace) above everything. . It is the responsibility of any government to create a harmonious atmosphere in which justice and peace are enjoyed. (Concluded)

Global War on COVID19 -An Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Asking Him to Call Upon the United States of America to Forthwith Lift-All Embargos and Sanctions imposed on Some Countries

March 28th, 2020

The Sri Lanka Study Circle

An Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Asking  Him to Call Upon the United States of America to Forthwith Lift-All Embargos and Sanctions imposed on Some Countries  

We, the members of the Sri Lanka Study Circle in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka call upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to immediately impress on the United States of America and some other countries to forthwith lift, unconditionally, all sanctions and embargos imposed against some Nations, in order to save human lives and facilitate the global war against COVID 19.

We, as citizens of a country committed to Non-Alignment and global health, share with the people of these countries on whom sanctions and embargos have been placed, their frustration and sorrow in having to deal with the Corona Virus with these man-made impediments in place.    

ERASING THE EELAM VICTORY Part 14 D

March 28th, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The Eelam war IV victory can be interpreted historically, as yet another Sinhala triumph over Tamils, when they threaten to destabilize the country. This is not the first time that the Sri Lanka army, acting on its own, defeated Tamils in the north.

In the Gampola period, when Ariyachakravarti, the head of the Pandya outpost at Jaffna, attacked, the Sinhala king ruling at Gampola (forget the name) refused to fight or ran away or some such thing. The army took over and defeated the Tamil invader.

In 2002, the army was in a similar position. The armed services had angrily observed the deliberate bungling of Eelam war II and III. Then came the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002. The Sri Lanka army deeply resented the Ceasefire Agreement. The soldiers had told Kamal Gunaratne in 2005, at Muhamalai, that they preferred an honorable war rather than be insulted and ridiculed by the LTTE.

Like in the Gampola period, the armed services decided they were going to fight and they were going to win. Preparation for winning the war started during the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002-2005.

Under terms of the Ceasefire agreement negotiated by Norway and underwritten by the US, EU, and Japan, the military was ordered to suspend all operations and return to base. Kamal Gunaratne observed that the soldiers were sitting passively at FDLs and their combat efficiency had deteriorated. The government showed no desire to improve the army during this ‘rest’ period.

Eelamists would have hoped that the army would rot away, but that did not happen. Instead, the armed forces used the Ceasefire period to improve the forces. Even before the Ceasefire, during Eelam Wars II and III, despite the defeats, the armed forces had managed to develop additional capabilities.  The capability to mount large scale amphibious operations, for instance, was developed during Eelam War II.   Army conducted Special Infantry Operation Team (SIOT) training sessions during the Ceasefire,  

The army made a detailed analysis of what they had done wrong in Eelam war II and III. Kamal Gunaratne received valuable input from those who took part in earlier battles, including sergeant majors and sergeants. We rectified the weaknesses and improved our strengths, he said. New products were tested such as a new type of claymore bomb.    

An Air Mobile training enclave with capable course instructors and excellent facilities had been set up at Muhamalai, during the ceasefire, on the personal initiative of Col Udaya Perera. It was an excellent facility, with imposing entrance, good accommodation, superb curriculum, and capable teachers, said Kamal Gunaratne.

In 2005 Kamal Gunaratne initiated fresh training for his troops. He found that combat efficiency had fallen to a low level because the soldiers had been sitting passively at the Forward Defence Lines, obeying the Ceasefire.  All soldiers,   old and new had to be freshly trained.  The soldiers were enthusiastic.

It was not possible to train everybody at once. Therefore, a platoon from each battalion was selected and given six weeks of training. At the end of which they were combat-ready with enhanced combat skills, physical fitness, and a high level of fighting spirit and morale. Kamal Gunaratne made soldiers and officers train together, to develop team spirit and rapport.

 The best soldiers from this preliminary course were sent to a ‘Special Infantry Operatives   Training Course’,  where they were trained in target shooting,  marksmanship,  sniper attacks, and maximum use of limited ammunition. They became competent and accomplished infantry soldiers.  Soldiers with weak marksmanship improved.

This group was then trained further staring with a Signals training course conducted by the Signals Corp. This trained the soldiers in handling communication equipment, including the highly secure communications devices in the field. Then the group was sent to the School of Artillery for training in obtaining artillery support, and direction of artillery fire.

They were then sent to the Air Force for training in how to obtain air support for combat. Then came a course on the use of explosives, conducted by the Engineering Corp, then lastly a special training at Commando or Special Forces training schools were inter alia they also learned GPS, first aid and physical training.    The Commandos and Special Forces always accommodated our requests despite their busy schedules, said Kamal Gunaratne. 

This combined intensive training transformed the infantry soldier to an extremely efficient and capable warrior. This group of soldiers received a badge at the end and increased pay. They were then asked to go back and train the others. You could see the infantry improve before your eyes, said Kamal Gunaratne.  Firing skills were honed to the highest standard. Even the weakest soldier improved.

This was not all.  ‘Rifle companies’ were given special training at Maduru Oya and Minneriya training schools.    They received training in advanced combat skills, high tech weapons training, and jungle warfare. 

The ‘Support companies’ trained in operating mortars, machine guns. Selected Non commissioned officers were sent to Non-Commissioned Officers Training School in Kala Oya for leadership training so that they could provide their troops with good junior level leadership.  Special Operations Platoon and Recce platoons were given specialist training. This was not officially sanctioned training but was an initiative of a group of visionary commanding officers who got together at a personal level and planned this, said Kamal Gunaratne.  

The soldiers had to be physically very fit since they carried into the battlefield, protective helmet, body armor, weapons, ammunition, food, and water, which put together weighed a lot. They had to carry all this while moving through minefields. The soldiers also had to be trained to withstand the high temperature of the north.

LTTE mostly attacked us during the night. The soldiers were therefore scared of darkness, said Kamal Gunaratne. We showed them that for infantrymen, darkness is our best friend as we are not visible to the enemies. We inculcated this in the minds of our soldiers and trained them in night fighting. Finally, they became good night fighters.  They were also trained in GPS night vision.

In 2005 the government changed, Mahinda Rajapaksa became President and Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Secretary, Defence. The two brothers prepared for war. They changed their attitude to the war. Instead of the defeatist ‘, We can never win this war,’ they substituted ‘We will definitely win this war’.

Thanks to Eelam War II and III, there was a reluctance to join the army. Also, the public had been given a poor image of the soldier. Gotabaya Rajapaksa took steps to change this. ‘Army karaya’ was replaced with ‘ranaviruwa’.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided that an advertising campaign that would simultaneously bring in recruits and also change the negative image of the soldier was needed. Rs. 1 billion worth of advertising was negotiated free of charge, with all local media companies contributing. Triad Advertising was given the account.

 Initial agency research showed that a major shake-up in the attitudes and perceptions of the general public was essential before attempting to attract new recruits. A stronger, more positive image of the soldier had to be crafted first, in order to create respect for this profession.

Instead of depicting the soldier as a Rambo-style hero in battle, Triad produced an advertisement that said the soldier was one of us”. The images showed touching, intimate moments of family life. By presenting the soldier as a son, a daughter, a fiancé, a neighbor and a friend, the communication created a strong bond between the soldiers and the general public, said, analysts.

My recall is that there were three different presentations, set in three different backgrounds, catering to different ethnic, religious and age groups. The impact of the advertisement was not in the visuals but in the song.  The song had meaningful lyrics, a haunting melody and was sung beautifully, with feeling.  It became a hit. Mobile phones used it as a ring tone” due to its popularity. The images, lyrics, and music were an emotionally charged combination that appealed to the viewer, said, analysts.    

Acceptance of the “Api Venuwen Api ” communication campaign by the people was instantaneous, said Kamal Gunaratne. Recruitment figures showed an increase in numbers as never before. Desertion rates reduced. Troop morale skyrocketed.  We were quickly able to expand the troops, said Kamal Gunaratne. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Defence Secretary inquired from the field commanders about the needs of the soldiers and then took steps to supply them.    Having been a soldier himself, he understood.  Salaries and allowance of the armed forces were increased substantially.     The soldiers were given good uniforms with body armor and equipped with good weapons. He also saw to the welfare of their families.

The total strength of the army was increased from 120000 to 230,000.    This enabled the army to create sufficient infantry formations to take the battle into the hitherto enemy-held territory, through deep penetration units and frontal assaults from several directions, said Kamal Gunaratne  

The army expanded its divisions. New divisions, brigades, battalions were started.   The nine Divisions were increased to 20 divisions. The 55th  Division was made an offensive division. The army also created three new offensive divisions, 57th, 58th, and  59 divisions. 

A new mechanized infantry regiment was created and armored personnel carriers were imported for them from China. This regiment was able to travel across the country at high speed fitted with powerful machine guns. This gave additional power to the 53rd division.

Military intelligence was revamped under Major Kapila Hendawitarane. The intelligence community began working together for a common purpose, said Jayanath Colombage. After 2005, there was one chief of national intelligence, and all the agencies reported to him. This allowed us to acquire actionable, precise intelligence.

The latest technology was adopted. Satellite images were made available. Special Forces and commando regiments were provided with satellite phones and commanders were provided with satellite imagery of any area as demanded.   Attacks planned in a sophisticated manner using satellite imagery were highly successful. LTTE camps, training centers and other military facilities located deep within the Wanni jungle were fully destroyed, using these.

 The Special Forces branch of the army,  which included, I believe, the commandos,  had developed specialized skills and were a force to be reckoned with. They had been trained in counter-insurgency, counter-guerrilla, jungle warfare and urban warfare. They knew long-range patrolling, jungle patrolling, waterborne operations and heliborne operations.   They had gained extensive experience in Eelam war II and III.

Three new groups were formed. Home guards were transformed into Civil Defense Force. the number was increased from 18,000 to 42,000. They were given new uniforms, new weapons, and asked to look after the border villages. The soldiers there were brought back into fighting.   

Battalions of injured but well enough to function soldiers were deployed to secure the road network during the fighting. Those who could fight, including cooks, were released for duty, replaced by those disabled. Human rights groups had objected, said Kamal Gunaratne.   

Disabled soldiers dressed in civilian clothes were placed in public places in the south to observe suspicious behavior. They sat in public places like bus halts and railway stations and maintained vigilance, in rain and shine, with and without food or comforts. They rendered an invaluable service to the nation, said Kamal Gunaratne, many citizens are unaware of this.   

A new company, Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd was created for the procurement of military items from vendors. This eliminated middlemen and arms dealers.      Navy got new ships, air force got new planes.       Essential weapons such as missiles, battle tanks, artillery, mortars and radar systems were bought.      

Sri Lanka Electrical and  Mechanical Engineers Unit were asked to repair weapons, using parts from old or obsolete weapons. The unit also sent teams to the war zone to repair equipment like night vision goggles. The Ordnance Corp repaired items like helmets and reissued them.  

After making the Sri Lanka Army stronger, we were waiting for a day for the Government to give us the final nod to commence Eelam War IV,  said Kamal Gunaratne  We knew that the LTTE was also getting prepared to attack us. We had profiled and studied the capabilities and modus operandi of every senior LTTE leader and when we heard that a particular LTTE leader had arrived on the scène, we knew what he would do.

 In July 2005, LTTE closed Mavil Aru anicut.  in the second week of Aug 2006, LTTE carried out simultaneous attacks in the north and east. That was the start of Eelam War IV. ( continued)

කොරෝනා හෙවත් ලෝක විනාශය

March 28th, 2020

යූ. ෂාති උදිතේන්ද කුරුදුගහහැතැක්ම ඇල්පිටිය

කොරෝනා හෙවත් covid 19 වෛරස් රෝගය මේ දිනවල ලෝකය පුරා පැතිරෙමින් තිබේ. මෙම රෝගයෙන් මිනිසුන් දහස් ගණනක් මිය යමින් සිටින අතර ලෝක සෞඛය සංවිධානය අනතුරු අගවන්නේ මෙම රෝගය පාලනය කිරීමට නොහැකි වුණ හොත් විශාල මිනිස් ජීවිත විනාශයක් සිදුවන බවයි. මෙම රෝගයට ගොදුරු වීමෙන් ඉතාලිය ඇතුළු යුරෝපා රටවල් රැසක මිය යන ප්‍රමාණය දිනෙන් දින වැඩි වෙමින් තිබේ. කොරොනා වෛරසයේ ආරම්භය සිදුවූයේ චීනයේ උහාන් නගරයෙන් බව පැවසුවත් චීනය චෝදනා කරන්නේ මෙහි ආරම්භය සිදු වූයේ ඇමරිකාවේ බවය. ඇමරිකන් ජාතික සෙබලෙකුගෙන් උහාන් නගරයේ ජනතාව අතර මෙම රෝගය පැතිර ගිය බවත් චීනය පවසන අතර. චීනයට පැමිණීමට පෙර ඇමරිකාව තුළ මෙම වෛරසය පැතිරගොස් ඇති අතර ඇමරිකානු රජය මෙය වසන් කර ඇති බවත්ය. සිද්දිය කෙසේ වෙතත් මෙම වෛරසය ලෝක විනාශයක් බවට ඇතැමුන් පවසති.

මීට පෙර සුනාමි කාලෙත් ලෝක විනාශය ගැන කතා බහට ලක්වුණු අතර තවත් මතයක් නම් ලෝකේ විනාශය සිදු වන්නේ ඉරවල් හතක් පායලා යනුවෙන්.

දැන් මේ ලෝකේ පායලා තියෙන්නේ 04වෙනි ඉර, 05 වෙනි ඉර පායන කොට මේ ලෝකේ තියෙන මුහුදේ සහ පොළව මත තියෙන වතුර නැති වෙන බවත්, 06 වෙනි ඉර පායද්දි වතුර නැති පොළව රත් වෙද්දී දුන් දමන බවත්, 07 වෙනි ඉර පායද්දී දුන් දමමින් තිබුණු පොළව ගිනි ගන්නා බවත්. එසේ ගිනිගනිද්දී පොළෙවේ කිසිවක් ඉතිරි නොවන බවත් එමගින් ලෝක විනාශය සිදුවන බවත් පැවසේ.

බදුදහමට අනුව ලෝක විනාශය

බුදුන් වහන්සේ ජීවමානව වැඩ වසන කාලයේදී පවා ලෝකය හා විශ්වය ගැන දැන ගැනීමට උනන්දු වූ භික්ෂූින් වහන්සේලා හා බරාී  හ්මණ ආදී විවිධ පුද්ගලයන්, ලෝකයේ ආරම්භය හා විනාශය ගැනත්, මෙවැනි තවත් ගරන් හලෝක විශ්වයේ ඇද්ද යන්න ගැනත් බුදුන්වහන්සේගෙන් කරුණු විමසා තිබේ. බුද්ධ කාලයේදී විශ්වයේ ගුප්තභාවය සෙවීමට උනන්දු වූ එක් බලසම්පන්න ඍෂිවරයෙකු ඍද්ධිබලයෙන් වසර සියයක් පමණ විශ්වයේ සැරිසරා විශ්වයේදීම මිය ගිය බවත්, ඍද්ධි බලයෙන් අගතැන්පත් මුගලන් මහ රහතන් වහන්සේ විශ්වය ගැන සෙවීමට විශ්වයේ සැරිසරන විට බුදුන්වහන්සේ, මුගලන් මහ රහතන් වහන්සේ ගෙන්වා, -විශ්වයේ කෙළවරක් නොමැති බවත් විශ්වය ගැන සෙවීම අගක් මුලක් නැති නිශ්ඵල කිර් අයාවක් බවත්” වදාළහ. විශ්වය හා සත්වයා ගැන අපරිමිත දැනුමක් බුදුන්වහන්සේට තිබුණත් එවැනි අවස්ථාවල උන්වහන්සේ ඒ ගැන කරුණු කියාදීමට එතරම් කැමැත්තක් නොදැක්වූහ. එහිදී උන්වහන්සේ වදාළේ, -බුදුවරයෙකු ලොව පහළවන්නේ විශ්වය ගැන සෙවීමට නොව, අනන්ත අපරිමිත සංසාර භවයන්හි ඉපිද ඉපිද, මැරී මැරී දුක්විඳින සත්වයා මේ සංසාර කතරින් එතෙර වීමට මග පෙන්වීමට” බවයි.

බුදුන්වහන්සේ අසංඛ්ය් අපරිමිත භවයන්හි ඉපදී පරත්වඥාව දියුණු කරගත් අසමසම ශ්රේ්ෂ්ඨ මනුෂ්යඅයෙකි. එහි උත්තරීතර තත්ත්වය සම්මා සම්බුද්ධත්වයයි. බුදුවරයෙකුට මසැස, දිවැස, පැණැස, බුදු ඇස, සමතැස යන පස් ඇසක් ඇතැයි බුදු දහමේ සඳහන්වේ. ඉන් ‘සමතැස’ යනුවෙන් හැඳින්වෙන්නේ සංසාරය හා විශ්වය පිළිබඳ උන්වහන්සේ තුළ තිබූ මහා පර න්ඥාවයි. බුදුන් වහන්සේ ලෝක විෂය ගැන කරුණු දැක්වීමට එතරම් උනන්දුවක් නොදැක්වුවත් යම් යම් පුද්ගලයන්, යම් යම් අවස්ථාවල ඇසූ පරුන්ශ්න වලට කරුණු දැක්වීමේදී ඒ තුළ ලෝකයේ ආරම්භය, විනාශය හා විශ්වය ගැන කරුණු සඳහන් වී තිබේ. බෞද්ධ සාහිත්යණයේ එන ‘අග්ගඤ්ඤ’ සූතරයම්යේ හා ‘සීහනාද’ සූතරබෞදයේ ලෝකයේ ආරම්භය ගැනත් ‘සප්ත සූර්යෝද්ගමන’ සූතරත්යයේ ලෝකයේ විනාශය ගැනත් කරුණු අන්තර්ගත වී තිබේ.

එක් අවස්ථාවක ආනන්ද හිමියෝ, ලෝකය හා වෙනත් ගර‍ දහලෝක තිබේදැයි බුදුන් වහන්සේගෙන් ඇසූ පැනයට උන්වහන්්සේ කරුණු දැක්වීමේදී, 1. සහස්සි චූලනිකා ලෝක ධාතු 2. ද්විසහස්සි මජ්ඣිමා ලෝක ධාතු 3. තිසහස්සි මහා සහස්සි ලෝක ධාතු වශයෙන් තවත් ලෝක ධාතු මේ මහා විශ්වය තුළ ඇතැයි උන්වහන්සේ වදාළ බව  බුදු දහමේ සඳහන්වේ. තවත් අවස්ථාවකදී ආනන්ද හිමියන්ට ලෝකය ගැන කරුණු දැක්වීමේදී, -මේ ලෝකය විෂමය. සක්වලවල් අන්නතය. එක් තැනක හිරු නැගෙන කල තවත් තැනෙක මධ්යුහ්නයයි. අන් තැනෙක හිරු අවරට ගොස්ය. එක් තැනෙක පූර්වයාමයයි, තවත් තැනෙක මධ්යෙහ්නයද, වෙනත් තැනක පශ්චිම යාමයද වේ.” යනුවෙන් කරුණු දක්වා තිබේ. දීඝ නිකායෙහි ‘අග්ගඤ්ඤ’ සූතර‍යුයෙහි සහ අංගුත්තර නිකායෙහි ‘සප්ත සූද්යෝද්ගමන’ සූතර්වායෙහි බුදුන්වහන්සේ දක්වා ඇති ආකාරයට, ලෝකයේ ආරම්භක කිරන්දයාවලිය කවදා සිදුවූවාදැයි කිවනොහැකි බවත් ලෝකයේ ආරම්භය හා විනාශවීම සංස්කාර ධර්මතාවයන්ට අනුව සිදුවන බවත් දක්වා ඇත. ලෝක සත්වයන්, කර්මශක්තිය අනුව පේරසංසත, මනුෂ්යක, දේව, බරහැ හ්ම ආදී භවයන්හි උපදින බවත් -ලෝකයට කර්මශක්තියක් නැතත් සංස්කාර ධර්මතාවය අනුව ලෝකයේ හටගැනීම හා විනාශවීම සිදුවන බවත්” බුදු දහමෙහි දක්වා ඇත.

ලෝකය විනාශවන කිරමතායාවලිය සංවට්ට කප්ප යනුවෙන්ද, නැවත ඇතිවීම විවට්ට කප්ප  යනුවෙන්ද හැඳින්වේ. බුදු දහමෙහි සඳහන් මහා කල්පයකට සංවර්ත කල්පය, සංවර්තස්ථායි කල්පය, විවර්ථ කල්පය, විවර්තස්ථායි කල්පය යනුවෙන් අසංඛ්යප කල්ප සතරකි. මහා කල්පයක අවසාන අසංඛ්යප කල්පයේදී පෘතුවිය ඇතුළු ගරි කහ ලෝකයන්ගේ හා ජීවීන්ගේ විනාශය සිදුවන බව බුදු දහමෙහි සඳහන්වේ. බෞද්ධ සාහිත්යදයෙහි දැක්වෙන ආකාරයට මීට අසංඛ්ය් කල්ප ලක්ෂස ගණනට පෙර (කල්පය යනු කාලය දක්වන අති දීර්ඝ කාලමානයකි.)  තණ්හංකර බුදුන්වහන්සේ සිට ගෞතම බුදුන් වහන්සේ දක්වා බුදුවරු විසිඅට නමක් මේ ලොව පහළ වී ඇත. සාර මණ්ඩ කල්පයේ සිට මහා මණ්ඩ කල්පය දක්වා මහා කල්ප 11ක් ගෙවී ඇත. අප දැන් ජීවත්වන කාලය මහා භද්රි කල්පයයි. මේ මහා භද්රය කල්පයේ, කකුසඳ, කෝණාගමන, කාශ්යපප හා ගෞතම යන බුදුවරු සිව්නමක් මේ ලොව පහළවී ඇත. මේ මහා භද්රය කල්පයේ ඉදිරියට බුදුවීමට ඇත්තේ මෛතීරඇතල බුදුන් වහන්සේය. බුදු දහමේ දැක්වෙන පරිදි මෛතීරද්ර බුදුන් වහන්සේගෙන් පසුව මෙම මහා භද්ර  කල්පය අවසන් වේ.

අප දැන් ජීවත්වන්නේ ගෞතම බුදුන් වහන්සේගේ ශාසන කාලයේය. මෙම ශාසන කාලය අවුරුදු 5000ක් දක්වා පවතින බවත්, ඉන්පසු ලෝකයේ මිනිසුන් පංචශීල පරම  තිපත්තියෙහි පිරිහී, අධර්මිෂ්ටවීමෙන් බුද්ධ ශාසනය පිරිහෙන බවත්, මිනිසුන්ගේ ආයුෂ පිරිහී ආයුෂ දස වසර දක්වා කෙටිවන බවත්, දෙවියන්ගේ පෙළඹවීමෙන් මිනිසුන් නැවත පංචශීල පරශා තිපත්තියෙහි පිහිටා ධාර්මික වීමෙන් ආයුෂ අවුරුදු 80,000 දක්වා වර්ධනය වන බවත් ඒ කාලයෙහි මෛතීර්ිර බුදුන්වහන්සේගේ පහළවීම සිදුවන බවත් බෞද්ධ සාහිත්යරයෙහි සඳහන් වේ.

බුදු දහමෙහි සඳහන් කල්පය යනු කාලය මනින අති දීර්ඝ කාලමානයකි. -යොදුනක් දිග, යොදුනක් පළල, යොදුනක් උස ලෝහ බලකොටුවක් අබ ඇටවලින් පුරවා, එක අබ ඇටය බැගින් වසරක් පාසා ගැනීමෙන් එම බලකොටුව හිස් වන්නේද කෙදිනකද ඊටත් වැඩි කාලයක් කල්පයකට ගත වන්නේය.” බුදු දහමෙහි දක්වා ඇත. මිනිසුන්ගේ ආයුෂ අවුරුදු 10ක් දක්වා අඩුවීමට ගතවන කාලය ඉතා දීර්ඝ කාලයකි. ඉන්පසු යහධර්මයෙහි ඇලීමෙන් මිනිසුන් යළි දීර්ඝායුෂ ලැබීමද, එම කාලයෙහි මෛතීරඉතා බුදුන්වහන්සේගේ පහළවීම සිදුවන බවද, මෛතීරි ද බුදුන්වහන්සේ අවුරුදු 80,000ක් ආයු වළඳා පිරිනිවන් පා දීර්ඝ කාලයකට පසු බුද්ධ ශාසනය නැවත වරක් පිරිහීමෙන් පසු ලෝ වැසියන් පංච ශීලයෙහි පිරිහී, අධර්මයට යොමුවීමෙන් මිනිසුන් ආගමික හා සමාජයීය වශයෙන් පිරිහෙන කාලයක් උදාවන්නේය. එම කාලය මෙම මහා භද්රබ කල්පයේ අවසාන කාලයයි. ඒ දක්වා ගතවන කාලය කොතරම් දීර්ඝ විය හැකිද? මහා කල්පයක අවසානයේදී ලෝකය හා සියලූ ජීවීන්ගේ විනාශය මහා ගින්නෙන්ද, මහා මේඝයෙන්ද, මහා වාතයෙන්ද විනාශ වන බවද, -ගිතෙල් පිඬක් ගිනිගත් විට යම් දෙයක් ශේෂ නොවන්නේද, ඒ් ආකාරයට ගින්නෙන් වන විනාශයේදී ලෝකයේ අළුවත් ඉතිරි නොවන බව” ‘සප්ත සූතරහා යෝද්ගමන’ සූතරට ගයෙහි සඳහන්ව ඇත.

බුදු දහමෙහි සඳහන් ආකාරයට බුදුන්වහන්සේ අසංඛ්යන කල්ප ගණනාවක කාලයක් පෙරුම් පුරා, මහා පර ආ ඥාවක් ලබාගත්තෙකි. ඒ උත්තරීතර තත්ත්වය සම්මා සම්බුද්ධත්වයි. ‘ලෝකවිදූ’ යන නාමයෙන් උන්වහන්සේ හඳුන්වන්නේ එහෙයිනි. -සංස්කාර ධර්මතාවයට අනුව හටගන්නා සියලූ දෙයෙහි විනාශවීම සිදුවෙන බව” බුදුන්වහන්සේ දේශනා කර ඇත. ඒ ධර්මතාවයට අනුව ‘ලෝකයේ ආරම්භයත් ලෝකයේ විනාශයත්’ සිදුවේ. ඈත ඉතිහාසයට අපේ මතකය යොමු කළහොත් නොයෙක් යුගයන්හි, ලෝකයේ නොයෙක් රාජ්යිය, නොයෙක් දේශ-දේශාන්තරවල ආගමික හා සමාජයීය වශයෙන් ජනතාව පිරිහීමත්, යුධ කෝලාහල ඇතිවීමෙන්, වසංගත රෝග ඇතිවීමෙන් හා ජල ගැලීම්, මුහුදු ගොඩගැලීම්, සුළි සුළංවලින්, ගිනි කඳු පිපිරීමෙන් හා භූමිකම්පා ආදී භයංකර ස්වභාවික ව්යකසන ඇතිවීමෙන් මිනිස් ශිෂ්ටාචාර මුළුමනින්ම පවා මේ මිහිතලයෙන් වඳවී ගොස් ඇති අවස්ථා තිබේ.

දකුණු ඇමරිකාවේ හා කාම්බෝජයේ තිබූ පුරාණ ශිෂ්ටාචාර විනාශවී යාම නිදසුන් වශයෙන් දැක්විය හැකිය. ඒවා ලෝක විනාශ නොවේ. අතීතයේදී එම ව්යනසන ඇතිවූවා සේම අනාගතයේදීද එවැනි ව්ය්සන ඇතිවිය හැකිය. බුද්ධ සාහිත්යීයේ සඳහන් ආකාරයට මෙම ලෝකය විනාශ වීමට කල්ප ගණනාවක් ගත වන්නේය. බුදු දහමට අනුව මෙම මහා භද්රබ කල්පයේ අවසානයේදී මෙම ලෝකයේ විනාශය සිදුවන්නේය. ඒ -හටගැනීමත් විනාශවීමත් යන සංස්කාර ධර්මතාවයට” අනුවය. එය වර්ෂ ගණනින් ගතහොත් වර්ෂ දශ ලක්ෂ් ගණනින් ගතවන අති දීර්ඝ කාලයකි.

යූ. ෂාති උදිතේන්ද
කුරුදුගහහැතැක්ම
ඇල්පිටිය

Coronavirus: Warning against ‘Made in China’ monopoly

March 28th, 2020

LIONEL RAJAPAKSE

Most countries in the world are experiencing a shortage of essentials. These include day-to-day household items, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, food items, etc.

Luckily, only a couple of cities in China were locked down, due to the COVID-19 threat. If the whole of China had been locked down, there would have been a catastrophic situation in the world, which is dependent of Chinese products. COVID-19 has alerted the world to the danger of relying on one country for supplies.

Open economic policies have worsened this situation, especially in the developing world. Once a country opens its economy, domestic products of that country disappear from the market, and are replaced with cheap imports, mostly from China.

COVID-19 has sent a message to the developing nations: Don’t rely on China, or any other country, for that matter, for the products you can produce by yourselves. Grab this opportunity and start manufacturing whatever you can. Don’t be the victims of the open economy anymore.

LIONEL RAJAPAKSE

COMPASSION: FOR BETTER HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

March 28th, 2020

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Genuine compassion is based on the rationale that all human beings have an innate desire to overcome suffering and be happy. As an integral part of the Buddhist spiritual path, compassion is a state of mind that is non-violent, non-harming and non-aggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering.  Compassion is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility and respect towards the other. It brings about a sense of affinity and closeness with others. Reaching out to help others can induce a feeling of happiness and a calmer mind. Developing compassion and altruism has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health.

Clinical Psychologists Elisha Goldstein and Stefanie Goldstein reveal that research shows that feeling compassion causes our heart rate to slow, which makes us more relaxed and calm and leads to the release of the bonding hormone” oxytocin, which helps us to feel more connected and affectionate toward others. Also, it activates regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving, and pleasure. Researchers have discovered that people who actively practice compassion and altruism have lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and higher expression of antiviral and antibody genes than people who lived for greater self-gratification or pleasure. Adopting an altruistic or unselfish lifestyle is a critical component of good mental health. Studies have shown that those regularly involved in volunteer activities helping others, display feelings of warmth, more energy and elation. They have a distinct feeling of calmness and enhanced self-worth. These caring activities provide an interaction that is emotionally nourishing and relieves one from a variety of stress- related physical disorders.

Metta bhavana” is a popular from of meditation practiced by Sri Lankan and other Theravada Buddhists. The word Mettā (Pali) or Maithri (Sanskrit) implies loving-kindness, benevolence, friendliness, amity, goodwill, gratitude, kindness and appreciation of others.

Mettā signifies a strong wish for the happiness of others caring for the well-being of another living being, not expecting anything in return. This practice includes reciting specific words and phrases to evoke a boundless warm-hearted feeling,” or visualizing suffering and wishing well for those who are suffering. It is practiced as a means of cultivating and expanding our natural capacity for an open and loving heart that evokes compassion and joy in the happiness of others. The practice begins with the meditator cultivating compassion or benevolence  towards oneself and then towards others, including one’s loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. The primary aim of Metta bhavana, is to send unconditional love, positive feelings and best wishes to others starting from familiar people to all the living beings in the universe expecting nothing in return. One needs to first direct compassion, and positive feelings towards oneself before directing them towards others as it would naturally be difficult to radiate love and positive feelings towards others unless one has them within oneself. Those who practice self-compassion ruminate and experience less resentment, and have higher emotional resilience. It is an effective way to control aggressive feelings including anger and has a therapeutic effect on reducing stress and anxiety. Self-compassion provides emotional strength allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with kindness, care for others, and be fully human. Each one of us possess the potential to free ourselves from mental states that perpetuate our own suffering and the potential to find inner peace for ourselves and contribute to the happiness of all around you. If we learn to cultivate inner calm and altruistic love, our lives certainly would not lose any of its richness. Rapidly expanding research clearly demonstrates that self-compassion is related to emotional wellbeing, lower anxiety and depression, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and more satisfying personal relationships.

A Contemporary Scientific Field

‘Metta’ or Compassion meditation is a contemporary scientific field that demonstrates the efficacy of metta and related meditative practices. Richard J. Davidson (Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as Founder and Chairperson of the Center for Healthy Minds) has shown metta to induce changes in the brain’s tempo parietal lobe. The benefits of metta practice are increasingly identified by contemporary research. Meditation on compassion or benevolence is considered a good way to calm down a distraught mind and an antidote to anger. Someone who has cultivated benevolence will not be easily angered and can quickly quell anger that arises, being more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally. to harbour ill will or hostility. Cultivating benevolence is thought to contribute to a world of love, peace, and happiness. Meditation on benevolence is considered a good way to calm down a distraught mind and an antidote to anger. Someone who has cultivated benevolence will not be easily angered and can quickly quell anger that arises, being more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally. Compassion meditation and mindfulness meditation are complementary, going hand in hand enhancing the positive effects of both practices.

Inner Transformation and Self Understanding

Bhavana or Buddhist meditation practices, involve inner transformation leading to calm and peacefulness and self understanding at the deeper level, or complete awareness and understanding of one’s inner self”, and realization of the true nature of what one conventionally understands as oneself or self”. By unlocking the innermost mystery of who you are, you are free to commune with the ineffable mystery penetrating all existence. Buddhist meditation practices help one to develop a state of consciousness that leads to self understanding and a state of awakening to realities of life, and eventually to the ultimate meaning of life. Inner discipline involves combating or resisting negative states of mind such as anger, hatred, greed, and jealousy, and the cultivation of positive states of mind such as compassion, kindness, tolerance and caring. These are basic ethical values without which human existence becomes hard and meaningless. Inner discipline is the basis of a wholesome life. It is the fundamental method of achieving health and happiness.

It is through ‘bhavana’ practices that one develops peace and tranquillity of mind. With peace, comes the end to fears and expectations, anxiety and stress, and the ability to see yourself as you truly are, or in other words, a deeper understanding of the ‘self’. Using self-directed neuroplasticity through meditation, we can return our brains to their natural states of joyful peace, opening the way to our own path of awakening. We spend a lot of time and effort to improve the external conditions of our lives, but in the end it is always our mind that creates our experience of the world and translates this experience into either our well-being or suffering. Training our mind is important if we want to develop emotional balance, inner peace and wisdom that would lead to well-being. We have within ourselves the potential to develop these qualities using the mind-training bhavana or meditation practices. If we want to observe the subtlest mechanisms of our mental functioning and have an effect on them, we must refine our powers of looking inward. In order to do that, our attention has to be sharpened so that it becomes stable and clear. We will then be able to observe how the mind functions and perceives the world. Buddhist Meditation practices, especially samatha” and vipassana”,  help us to unmask the causes of our stress, discontentment and suffering and to dispel our mental confusion and turbulence. It helps us to develop our own understanding of ourselves that comes from a clear view of reality. 

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

BAN ON ANIMAL SLAUGHTER – PROTECTION OF NATURE

March 28th, 2020

Navin Gooneratne Honorary Chairman Light of Asia Foundation

His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa President of Sri Lanka

BAN ON ANIMAL SLAUGHTER – PROTECTION OF NATURE

The Peoples Republic of China announced the ban on the slaughter of Wild Animals which is a lucrative Billion Dollar Industry, after experiencing the disastrous effects of the Corona Virus that started in China now spreading across the globe in uncontrolled proportions.

Over 2600 years ago, the path shown by The Enlightened Buddha clearly defined the need to protect all living beings as a fundamental principle of the five precepts to be observed to overcome suffering.

Furthermore, the act of Mindfulness thorough the practice of Meditation as a means to enrich life, is presently sweeeping across the world, which also originated from the guidelines given by The Buddha.

The untold damage caused to nature by the relentless greed for materialistic advancement at any cost, by almost all the countries in the world, has resulted in the adverse reaction we face today with no remedies in sight . This gives us a window of opportunity to restructure our global development strategies if we are to survive from the predicament we face today.

The enforced isolation is an ideal time for reflection and to arrive at a solution where we can all live in harmony with nature, without destroying it for selfish enrichment and enjoy its unsurpassed bounty.

To achieve this for the benefit of all humankind, we must resolve firmly to denounce greed as the driving force of our actions and instead embrace Loving Kindness, Compassion, Equanimity and Sympathetic Joy – Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upeksha – again proposed by The Buddha, as the essential four wheels for a journey of lasting happiness.

Sri Lanka, the resplendent isle selected as the repository of the Dhamma that would benefit all humanity, must now take the lead in spreading the all encompassing words of The Buddha to the helpless global community to overcome the rising tide of disaster before us.

The Light of Asia Foundation requests the President and the Government of Sri Lanka to initiate the ban on animal slaughter and purify our hallowed land as a first step towards its commitment towards the ushering of a New World Order.

Navin Gooneratne Honorary Chairman Light of Asia Foundation

How is Sri Lanka managing the coronavirus pandemic -Setting a global example

March 28th, 2020

Courtesy Health Review Global

Colombo,Sri Lanka -www.healthreviewglobal.com

Sri Lanka, dubbed as the pearl of the Indian ocean, is a very famous tropical destination among thousands. The island nation ranked as the number 01 tourist destination by lonely planet.

We did a thorough analysis of public health measures employed by Sri Lanka.

The point to ponder is how a properly organized preventive care plan can bring about astounding results in a pandemic situation.

Sri Lanka Health System – Brief

Sri Lankan health system has both public and private health care sectors. The public health system is free for all citizens. Going hand in hand, Sri Lanka has a free education system until graduate school for the last 60 years. Thanks to the free education system. Sri Lanka has trained thousands of well-qualified healthcare professionals and paramedical workforce for many decades through 9 well regulated and state of the art medical faculties covering all regions of the country. And, all free of charge. The doctors and paramedical staff receive post-graduate training and continuous medical education throughout their career.

Sri Lanka boasts to a well-planned radial public health institution system. The private health system is tightly regulated under the private health care regulatory commission and the government.

The island nation has a robust century-old community health program. Health statistics such as maternal and child mortality rates are the lowest in the region. In fact, comparable to the western world. The life expectancy is highest in the region. The paradise nation is 100% vaccination covered, and all treatments under the extended program of immunization are administered free of charge.

The ministry of health regulates and sets the guidance to the future policies of the health system.

Coronavirus threat

Since the origin of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan Sri Lankan authorities started to take vigilance in stopping the potential danger. The military forces and the national intelligence service was put on high alert. The government created specialized aviation and border control expert teams, to track the movement of all inbound tourists and with a potential threat.

The first case

27th January:

A 43-year-old lady from Hubei Province, China was the first confirmed case of Covid19 in Sri Lanka. The authorities immediately admitted the patient to the National Infectious Disease Hospital. She was isolated and treated by infectious disease specialists. The patient recovered uneventfully and discharged back to china with a public farewell event.

A warm farewell to the Chinese lady who recovered in Sri Lanka Minister of Health (Lady with Pink Saree to the left)
A warm farewell to the Chinese lady who recovered in Sri Lanka by Minister of Health (Lady with Pink Saree to the left)

One of the first countries to rescue and quarantine

1st February:

Sri Lanka became one of the first countries to send rescue missions to Wuhan, China to evacuate 33 Sri Lankan families. The families were brought down via an exclusive carrier and quarantined in a unique quarantine facility. All potential contacts are observed continuously under quarantine.

The first local case

10th March:

A 52-year-old Sri Lankan becomes positive for Covid 19. The patient has served as a travel guide to a group of Italians. The patient all contacts are quarantined and supervised.

The sequel

12th March:

The second local infected with the virus is detected. The 44-year-old man admitted to the infectious disease hospital, and they traced his contacts.

Sri Lankan government has requested the general public to practice proper hygiene methods and self-quarantine methods to safeguard from the disease.

14 March:

The Sri Lankan government declared 16 March 2020, as a national public holiday to contain the coronavirus spreading in the country.

15 March:

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa proposed plans to combat coronavirus to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders during a video press conference. Sri Lankan President directed the authorities to implement quarantine centres to examine the foreigners and ordered relevant authorities to provide necessary essential services to the general public via the internet.

A Sri Lanka army quarantine facility: Source Sri Lanka Army- www.healthreviewglobal.com
A Sri Lanka army quarantine facility

16 March:

The Sri Lanka Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) requested the President to extend the Public holiday to 1 week, and close all ports of entry to the country. The government of Sri Lanka extended the public holidays to three days from 17 March to 19 March due to an increase in new cases except for health, banking, food supply and transportation.

17 March:

The President ordered the banking sector not to overburden the coronavirus hit business sector, which is unable to repay the loans and ordered the banking sector further to extend the payback period to another six months.

Ministry of Health revealed that around 24 hospitals are available ready to tackle the coronavirus emergency.

19 March:

The government decided to further extend the public holidays for eight days to both private and public sectors. Therefore, work from home for eight days was declared. The state-imposed island wise curfew to cease all public gatherings and movement. All potential contacts and people with travel history were registered by the local police authorities.

Sri Lanka Air Force conducting fumigation in the famous " Temple of the Tooth Relic"- www.healthreviewglobal.com
Sri Lanka Air Force, conducting fumigation at the famous ” Temple of the Tooth Relic.”

21 March:

The government also urged the public not to utilize chloroquine at will. Many leading 4-star hotels offered their facilities to the government as quarantine facilities.

Hotels offered as quarantine centres to the government - www.healthreviewglobal.com
Hotels offered as quarantine centres to the government

23 March:

Sri Lankan authorities have reported 86 positive coronavirus cases and 0 deaths.

We have studied the responses of many countries to the coronavirus pandemic. We at healthreviewglobal.com decided to select Sri Lanka for its swift and impressive response to the global epidemic despite being a second world economy. On top of it, we learned the importance of investing in public health.

26 March:

Sri Lankan authorities have published details of 2 more positive cases after a day of silence. The government has extended the local curfew for three urban districts suspecting more sporadic cases. According to local media, the police and state and private sector have arranged door to door food and necessity delivery services. Work at home policy got extended as well.

The island nation has closed its airports for arrivals since last week.

healthreviewglobal.com team brings more updates on the global coronavirus pandemic

Sources:

  1. https://www.army.lk/news/national-operation-centre-prevention-covid-19-outbreak-appeals-all-entered-without-quarantine
  2. http://www.pmdnews.lk/army-commander-shavendra-silva-heads-national-operation-center-for-prevention-of-covid-19-outbreak/
  3. http://www.health.gov.lk/moh_final/english/
  4. https://www.gmoa.lk/

Corona prevention Police should do better

March 28th, 2020

Dr Sarath Obeysekera CEO Walkers Colombo Shipyard Colombo Sri Lanka

Today I went to the Thalangama police station after calling the OIC who asked me to come in person to get a curfew permit

I had a letter from the company involved in export and foreign exchange earnings 

At the gate a young cop who was surrounded by many people trying to get into the police station 

After much persuasion, I went in to see the small police  station of 30x 30 feet reception full of people waiting  to see the OIC get curfew permit 

He was either  chatting with someone or engaged in official work ignoring the crowd outside shoulder to shoulder despite the advice to keep away from each other 

I approached a cop on duty and explained my requirement and he bluntly told me without even reading my letter to see the OIC

I was not  happy to stand there even a minute fearing to contaminate myself and walked out disgusted

How can police behave in such an irresponsible manner rather than imposing strict rules of keeping distance among possible virus carriers?

The government should first educate OIC’s of police stations to be more disciplined 

Corona : මුල් දින 15 ලංකාවේ 100යි.. ඇමරිකාවේ 75යි, ස්පාඤ්ඤයේ 84යි, ජර්මනියේ 13යි.. ලංකාවට දැඩි අවදානම් වාර්තාව මෙන්න..

March 28th, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා සී නිව්ස්

Corona : මුල් දින 15 ලංකාවේ 100යි.. ඇමරිකාවේ 75යි, ස්පාඤ්ඤයේ 84යි, ජර්මනියේ 13යි.. ලංකාවට දැඩි අවදානම් වාර්තාව මෙන්න..

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව තුල කොරෝනා ව්‍යාප්තියේ මුල් දින 15ක කාලය ජර්මනිය, ස්පාඤ්ඤය, ඇමරිකා යක රටවල මුල් දින 15 සමග සසදද්දී අවදානම් තත්ත්වයක ඇති බව රජයේ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරීන්ගේ සංගමය සඳහන් කරයි.

එහි ලේකම් වෛද්‍ය හරිත අලුත්ගේ මහතා දත්ත සටහනක් ඉදිරිපත් කරමින් මේ බව කියා සිටියේය.

එම සටහන අනුව කොරෝනා ආසාදිතයන් මුල් දින පහළොවේ දී ශ්‍රී ලංකාවෙන් 100ක් වාර්තා වෙද්දී ජර්මනියෙන් 130ක්, ස්පාඤ්ඤයෙන් 84ක්, ඇමරිකාවෙන් 75ක් වාර්තා වී ඇත.

නමුත් ඊළඟ දින 15දී සහ දින 25 වැදී එම රටවල තත්ත්වය බොහෝ දරුණු බව ඔහු සඳහන් කළේය.

මේ හේතුවෙන් ඉදිරි දින 15 මෙරටට ඉතා තීරණාත්මක බව ද වෛද්‍ය ලේකම්වරයා කියා සිටියේය.

ආගමික කටයුතු නෑ.. එම්බාම් නෑ.. ඥාතීන්ට මුහුණ පමණක් පෙන්වයි.. පැය 24න් සීල් තබා වලදමයි..- කොරෝනාවලින් මිය යන අයට WHO නිර්දේශ මෙහෙමයි…

March 28th, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා සී නිව්ස්

වසංගත රෝගයකදී මිය යන පුද්ගලයන්ගේ දේහයන් පිළිබඳ අවසන් කටයුතු කරන ආකාරය ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය විසින් සියළු රටවල් වෙත නිර්දේශ කර ඇත.

ඒ අනුව මෙරටද අධිකරණ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරීන්ට ඒ පිලිබදව උපදෙස් නිකුත් කර තිබේ.

වසංගත ඔහුගේ යන පුද්ගලයන් ගේ දේහය විසිහතරක් ඇතුළත අවසන් කටයුතු කළ යුත්තේ මරණ පරීක්‍ෂණ හෝ ආගමික කටයුතුවලින් තොරවයි.

පවුලේ සාමාජිකයන්ට අවසන් ගෞරව දැක්වීම සඳහා ඉතා සීමිත කාලයක් ලබාදෙන අතර එය රෝහල් පරිශ්‍රය තුළදී සිදු කළ යුතුය.

ඥාතීන්ට පෙන්වනු ලබන්නේ මියගිය පුද්ගලයාගේ මුහුණ පමණක් වන අතර ශරීරය ස්පර්ශ කිරීමට ඉඩ ලබා නොදෙයි.

දේහයන් බහාලීම සඳහා නිර්දේශ කර ඇති කවරයකට දමා පෙට්ටියකට දමා සීල් තබනු ලැබේ.

ඉන්පසුව නිර්දේශ කරන ලද ස්ථානයේ දේහය වළ දමනු ලබයි.

මේ පිලිබදව පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ප‍්‍රකාශක නියෝජ්‍ය පොලිස්පති අජිත් රෝහණ මහතාද රූපවාහිනි නාලිකාවකදී අදහස් පල කලේය.

Indigenous robots to look after COVID-19 cases in Lankan hospitals

March 28th, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Local company Atlas, a subsidiary of Hemas, has manufactured and supplied the robots to Homagama hospital.

Indigenous robots to look after COVID-19 cases in Lankan hospitals

Colombo, March 28 (newsin.asia): At the Homagama Base Hospital near Colombo, indigenously manufactured robots called Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) will be used to assist the treatment of persons suspected to have been infected by the COVID-19 virus.

The robots had been designed by the Sri Lankan company Atlas, a subsidiary of Hema’s.

It will now be possible to send medicines and other substances to the patient through these robots. Using the camera and speaker in the robot, it will now be possible to communicate with the patient without coming into close contact.

This has been custom built for this very purpose of looking after patients in isolation wards by the Sri Lankan company Atlas – a subsidiary of Hemas. The robot has been built using mostly materials sourced locally.

Though this is the first time I witnessed an appliance of this nature made in Sri Lanka,” said Dr Anil Jasinghe, it has been very well designed and developed.”

Built with sensors, this smart appliance can stop in its tracks without colliding with objects and persons in front of its path. Each bed in the ward is tagged with what is termed as an RFID identification. The robot is sent to the required bed by giving the respective identification tag. Among its sophisticated features is also the ability to control the speed of its movement. By pressing the home” button, the robot is brought back to the originating point.

These robots save not only manpower hours but also ensures the safety and protection of the hospital staff.

Considering the prevailing situation in the country,” Dr Jasinghe further said, I request from the Hemas subsidiary Atlas Company to provide us with 25-50 of these robots.”

Besides the Homagama Base Hospital, the center used by Voice Of America in Uswatakeyya will also be converted to monitor and treat patients suspected to be infected with COVID-19. This unit will be ready In about four days, noted Dr Jasinghe. Likewise, a large number of hospitals throughout the Island will be soon equipped with special wards with isolation units to manage the situation, he stated.

Accordin to Hema’s, the AGV can carry food and medicine to patients and perform basic medical check-ups, such as checking temperatures. It also enables doctors to monitor patients remotely, while having conversations with them through the cameras mounted on it. In addition to this, the AGV can charge itself using a wireless charging port, further reducing its physical proximity to healthcare workers. The use of the AGV will automate patient monitoring, thereby enabling healthcare workers to apply their expertise in managing the crisis more efficiently and to stay safe while saving lives.

Atlas AGV Robot at the Homagama Base Hospital

Dr. Indika Jagoda, the Regional Director of Health Services, Colombo lauded the launch of the prototype AGV. It is truly remarkable that a Sri Lankan company has developed a home grown robotic medical assistant. The advancement of technological development is vital in the fight against this pandemic. The ready access to patients that healthcare workers have without putting themselves at risk, thanks to the AGV robot, is truly a massive advantage in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Speaking on the initiative, Asitha Samaraweera, Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Axillia said, I am extremely proud of our team for creating a solution to address one of the challenges our medical personnel are facing today in the country with respect to infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus. We humbly share this invention to further the national cause to effectively combat COVID-19. We are gifting the prototype to the Homagama Hospital, as it is a designated facility to treat COVID-19 patients exclusively”.

As a company with the national interest at heart for over 60 years, we have remained focused on contributing to Sri Lanka’s economy by investing in the country. This innovation by our team is the best way for us to do so in this critical time of need, ensuring that we are enabling our healthcare workers to fight the spread of this pandemic more efficiently,” Asitha Samaraweera added.

Currently, healthcare providers who work closely with infected patients use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when treating them, at great physical discomfort to themselves. The deployment of the AGV will ease this burden to a great extent, where one-on-one patient interaction is focused on mandatory and critical health requirements.

Dr. Janith Hettiarachchi, Medical Superintendent, Base Hospital Homagama, thanked Atlas Axillia for stepping in to help the nation at this crucial juncture. The most important thing in a situation like this is keeping our staff safe. If even one of our staff is infected, the entire team will have to undergo quarantine, upsetting the entire operation. To have a robotic nursing assistant doing the work that a human healthcare worker would otherwise have to do, significantly reduces the chance of an infection and is therefore invaluable. This is apart from the large monetary saving the state makes, from not having to use multiple sets of expensive PPEs by healthcare workers to interact with patients each day.”

The AGV was developed by a team of innovators within the manufacturing and engineering division of Atlas, led by Viraj Jayasooriya, COO / Director Operations. The team, which practices manufacturing innovation, developed the AGV originally as a robotic assistant to carry goods within the Atlas production facility. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the team immediately began innovating the existing model to create a machine that can be used at hospitals, as a remote medical assistant.

Viraj Jayasooriya from Atlas said, Our teams designed and fabricated the entire robot from scratch and have been working around the clock the past few days to perfect the modifications that will enable it to monitor COVID-19 patients. Medical professionals are constantly in danger of being exposed in the frontlines. With the AGV in place, we can minimize the need to send humans inside the ward, as the robot goes to each bed in multiple wards and allows the remote monitoring of patients by doctors. We welcome organisations who are interested in scaling up the production of this robot, in order to deploy them for the support of more medical personnel combating COVID-19.”

Atlas intends to secure all design and patent rights in respect of this invention as soon as the circumstances permit it, in order proceed with further development.

Coronavirus | Sri Lanka terms Chennai COVID-19 ‘high-risk zone’

March 28th, 2020

Meera Srinivasan Courtesy The Hindu

Wearing a coronavirus-themed helmet, Police Inspector Rajesh Babu speaks to a family at a checkpoint in Chennai on March 28, 2020.

Alert as 4 test positive after city visit.

Sri Lanka on Saturday reported its first COVID-19 death, of a 65-year-old patient, who had diabetes and renal health complications, Health Ministry officials said. The island nation has 113 confirmed coronavirus patients so far.

Sri Lanka’s health officials have also detected four COVID-19 positive cases in people who recently returned from Chennai, prompting authorities to term Chennai a high-risk” zone.

Two cases detected today and two more cases from earlier this week were all Chennai returnees, Chennai is definitely a high-risk zone” Director-General of Health Services told The Hindu on Saturday. The government has asked all those returned from Chennai in the last 14 days to report to health authorities for quarantine.

Mid-March, Sri Lanka reported four persons — an Indian tourist and three Sri Lankans — who tested positive on arrival from India. With the latest detections, a total of eight cases have originated from India, according to authorities. Nine patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital, according to an official bulletin.

Coronavirus | Indian among 100 patients in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka stopped flight arrivals in all its airports on March 17. For a week now, the island has been on a near-total shutdown and travel between districts has also been banned.

Sri Lanka confirms first COVID-19 death.

March 28th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

First COVID-19 death in Sri Lanka has been reported from the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) earlier this evening (28).

Reportedly, the deceased 60-year-old male is a resident of the Marawila area.

The patient had suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, according to Director-General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe.

Further, he had undergone a kidney transplant several years ago.

Coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka climb to 113

March 28th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Three more patients have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, hiking the total number of cases in Sri Lanka up to 113.

Earlier today (28), four patients were reported as having contracted the COVID-19 virus.

It was also reported that two patients who contracted the virus had made a complete recovery today, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 9.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s first coronavirus death was confirmed from the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), earlier this evening. The deceased is a 60-year-old kidney transplant patient who had suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Currently, more than 190 patients suspected of contracting the virus are under observation at selected hospitals across the country.

The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life

March 28th, 2020

by Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy in New York Courtesy Guardian (UK)

The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions

When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.

On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.

In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites.

One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.

Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease.

A nurse at testing booth outside the Yangji hospital in Seoul.
 A nurse at testing booth outside the Yangji hospital in Seoul. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million.

The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

‘A fiasco of incredible proportions’

A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster.

Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing.

It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.

Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed in the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table

Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China.

More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died.

Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea.

The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”

An empty Times Square. New York is now considered a global center of the pandemic.
 An empty Times Square. New York is now considered a global center of the pandemic. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Reuters

Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the US government’s response to international disasters at USAid from 2013 to 2017, frames the past six weeks in strikingly similar terms. He told the Guardian: We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.”Advertisement

In Konyndyk’s analysis, the White House had all the information it needed by the end of January to act decisively. Instead, Trump repeatedly played down the severity of the threat, blaming China for what he called the Chinese virus” and insisting falsely that his partial travel bans on China and Europe were all it would take to contain the crisis.

‘The CDC was caught flat-footed’

If Trump’s travel ban did nothing else, it staved off to some degree the advent of the virus in the US, buying a little time. Which makes the lack of decisive action all the more curious.

We didn’t use that time optimally, especially in the case of testing,” said William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University medical center. We have been playing reluctant catch-up throughout.”

As Schaffner sees it, the stuttering provision of mass testing put us behind the eight-ball” right at the start. It did not permit us, and still doesn’t permit us, to define the extent of the virus in this country.”

Though the decision to allow private and state labs to provide testing has increased the flow of test kits, the US remains starkly behind South Korea, which has conducted more than five times as many tests per capita. That makes predicting where the next hotspot will pop up after New York and New Orleans almost impossible.

The National Guard is helping to manage a Covid-19 testing site in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.
 The national guard is helping to manage a Covid-19 testing site in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. Photograph: Bryan Tarnowski for the Guardian

In the absence of sufficient test kits, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially kept a tight rein on testing, creating a bottleneck. I believe the CDC was caught flat-footed,” was how the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, put it on 7 March. They’re slowing down the state.”

The CDC’s botched rollout of testing was the first indication that the Trump administration was faltering as the health emergency gathered pace. Behind the scenes, deep flaws in the way federal agencies had come to operate under Trump were being exposed.

In 2018 the pandemic unit in the national security council – which was tasked to prepare for health emergencies precisely like the current one – was disbanded. Eliminating the office has contributed to the federal government’s sluggish domestic response,” Beth Cameron, senior director of the office at the time it was broken up, wrote in the Washington Post.

We didn’t use that time optimally, especially in the case of testing. We have been playing reluctant catch-upWilliam Schaffner

Disbanding the unit exacerbated a trend that was already prevalent after two years of Trump – an exodus of skilled and experienced officials who knew what they were doing. There’s been an erosion of expertise, of competent leadership, at important levels of government,” a former senior government official told the Guardian.

Over time there was a lot of paranoia and people left and they had a hard time attracting good replacements,” the official said. Nobody wanted to work there.”

It was hardly a morale-boosting gesture when Trump proposed a 16% cut in CDC funding on 10 February – 11 days after the World Health Organization had declared a public health emergency over Covid-19.

Schaffner, who describes himself as the president of the CDC fan club”, said he has been saddened by how sidelined the CDC has become over the past two months. Here we have the public health issue of our era and one doesn’t hear from the CDC, the premier public health organization in the world,” Schaffner said.

Under Trump, anti-science sweeps through DC

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the diagnostic tests and will control any new treatments for coronavirus, has also shown vulnerabilities. The agency recently indicated that it was looking into the possibility of prescribing the malaria drug chloroquine for coronavirus sufferers, even though there is no evidence it would work and some indication it could have serious side-effects.Advertisement

The decision dismayed experts, given that Trump has personally pushed the unproven remedy on a whim. It smacked of the wave of anti-science sentiment sweeping federal agencies under this presidency.

As the former senior official put it: We have the FDA bowing to political pressure and making decisions completely counter to modern science.”

Highly respected career civil servants, with impeccable scientific credentials, have struggled to get out in front of the president. Dr Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who has become a rare trusted face in the administration amid the coronavirus scourge, has expressed his frustration.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo with Dr Anthony Fauci and HHS secretary Alex Azar.
 The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, with Dr Anthony Fauci and the health secretary, Alex Azar. Photograph: Al Drago/EPA

This week Fauci was asked by a Science magazine writer, Jon Cohen, how he could stand beside Trump at daily press briefings and listen to him misleading the American people with comments such as that the China travel ban had been a great success in blocking entry of the virus. Fauci replied: I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?”

Trump has designated himself a wartime president”. But if the title bears any validity, his military tactics have been highly unconventional. He has exacerbated the problems encountered by federal agencies by playing musical chairs at the top of the coronavirus force.Advertisement

The president began by creating on 29 January a special coronavirus taskforce, then gave Vice-President Mike Pence the job, who promptly appointed Deborah Birx coronavirus response coordinator”, before the federal emergency agency Fema began taking charge of key areas, with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, creating a shadow team that increasingly appears to be calling the shots.

There’s no point of responsibility,” the former senior official told the Guardian. It keeps shifting. Nobody owns the problem.”

Trump: everything’s going to be great

Amid the confusion, day-to-day management of the crisis has frequently come directly from Trump himself via his Twitter feed. The president, with more than half an eye on the New York stock exchange, has consistently talked down the scale of the crisis.

On 30 January, as the World Health Organization was declaring a global emergency, Trump said: We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great.”

On 24 February, Trump claimed the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA”. The next day, Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s top official on respiratory diseases, took the radically different approach of telling the truth, warning the American people that disruption to everyday life might be severe”.

Trump was reportedly so angered by the comment and its impact on share prices that he shouted down the phone at Messonnier’s boss, the secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar.

Messonnier was 100% right. She gave a totally honest and accurate assessment,” Konyndyk told the Guardian. And for that, Trump angrily rebuked her department. That sent a very clear message about what is and isn’t permissible to say.”

Traders, some in medical masks, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. Traders are now trading remotely.
 Traders, some in medical masks, work on the floor of the New York stock exchange last week. Traders are now working remotely. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Konyndyk recalls attending a meeting in mid-February with top Trump administration officials present in which the only topic of conversation was the travel bans. That’s when he began to despair about the federal handling of the crisis.

I thought, ‘Holy Jesus!’ Where’s the discussion on protecting our hospitals? Where’s the discussion on high-risk populations, on surveillance so we can detect where the virus is. I knew then that the president had set the priority, the bureaucracy was following it, but it was the wrong priority.”

So it has transpired. In the wake of the testing disaster has come the personal protective equipment (PPE) disaster, the hospital bed disaster, and now the ventilator disaster.

Ventilators, literal life preservers, are in dire short supply across the country. When governors begged Trump to unleash the full might of the US government on this critical problem, he gave his answer on 16 March.

In a phrase that will stand beside 20 January 2020 as one of the most revelatory moments of the history of coronavirus, he said: Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves.”

To date, the Trump administration has supplied 400 ventilators to New York. By Cuomo’s estimation, 30,000 are needed.

You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo scathingly asked on Tuesday. You pick the 26,000 who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”

‘A total vacuum of federal leadership’

In the absence of a strong federal response, a patchwork of efforts has sprouted all across the country. State governors are doing their own thing. Cities, even individual hospitals, are coping as best they can.

In an improvised attempt to address such inconsistencies, charitable startups have proliferated on social media. Konyndyk has clubbed together with fellow disaster relief experts to set up Covid Local, an online quick and dirty” guide to how to fight a pandemic.

We are seeing the emergence of 50-state anarchy, because of a total vacuum of federal leadership. It’s absurd that thinktanks and Twitter are providing more actionable guidance in the US than the federal government, but that’s where we are.”

Valerie Griffeth is a founding member of another of the new online startups that are trying to fill the Trump void. Set up by emergency department doctors across the country, GetUsPPE.org seeks to counter the top-down chaos that is putting frontline health workers like herself in danger through a dearth of protective gear.Advertisement

Griffeth is an emergency and critical care physician in Portland, Oregon. She spends most days now in intensive care treating perilously ill patients with coronavirus.

Medical personnel are silhouetted against the back of a tent at a coronavirus test site in Tampa, Florida.
 Medical personnel are silhouetted against the back of a tent at a coronavirus test site in Tampa, Florida. Photograph: Chris O’Meara/AP

Her hospital is relatively well supplied, she said, but even so protective masks will run out within two weeks. We are all worried about it, we’re scared for our own health, the health of our families, of our patients.”

Early on in the crisis, Griffeth said, it dawned on her and many of her peers that the federal government to which they would normally look to keep them safe was nowhere to be seen. They resigned themselves to a terrible new reality.

We said to ourselves we are going to get exposed to the virus. When the federal government isn’t there to provide adequate supplies, it’s just a matter of time.”

But just in the last few days, Griffeth has started to see the emergence of something else. She has witnessed an explosion of Americans doing it for themselves, filling in the holes left by Trump’s failed leadership.

People are stepping up all around us,” she said. I’m amazed by what has happened in such short time. It gives me hope.”

FDA will allow doctors to treat critically ill coronavirus patients with blood from survivors

March 28th, 2020

By Mike Hixenbaugh Courtesy NBC News

Experts say the treatment might be the best hope for some patients until more sophisticated drugs are developed.

Image: New York City Hospital Adds New Protocols And Triage To Address Coronavirus
Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for COVID-19 in triage tents at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The Food and Drug Administration will allow doctors across the country to begin using plasma donated by coronavirus survivors to treat patients who are critically ill with the virus under new emergency protocols approved Tuesday.

The FDA’s decision comes a day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s health department planned to begin treating the sickest coronavirus patients with antibody-rich plasma extracted from the blood of those who’ve recovered.

The treatment, known as convalescent plasma, dates back centuries and was used during the flu pandemic of 1918, in an era before modern vaccines and antiviral drugs. Some experts have argued that it might be the best hope for combating the coronavirus until more sophisticated therapies can be developed, which could take several months.

“The approach definitely has merit, and what’s remarkable about it is it’s not a new idea; it’s been with us for a good hundred years or longer,” said Dr. Jeffrey Henderson, an associate professor of medicine and molecular microbiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “I think we don’t know until we have experience and case reports with this particular disease whether it will be effective, but just based on its track record with a number of other viruses, I think it has a very good chance of working.”

Henderson is part of a nationwide network of doctors and researchers, led by a team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who have been working to establish protocols for use of plasma to treat those suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The method — essentially harvesting virus-fighting antibodies from the blood of previously infected patients — was associated with milder symptoms and shorter hospital stays for some patients during the 2002 SARS outbreak. And initial reports from China suggest convalescent plasma might also be effective in dulling the effects of COVID-19.

Under the emergency protocols approved by the FDA, doctors can request permission to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients on a case-by-case basis. For now, the experimental treatment will be reserved for patients who are in dire condition and at risk of death. The FDA will respond to most requests within four to eight hours, the agency said. For patients who require treatment faster, doctors can call the FDA’s Office of Emergency Operations to get approval over the phone.

If the treatment is proven safe and effective, experts said it would likely work best if given to patients before symptoms become too severe. And past studies indicate that proactive infusions of convalescent plasma might also be effective in protecting front line health care workers from becoming seriously ill.

Untouchable Humans Vs Coronavirus (Corvid-19)

March 27th, 2020

Kanthar Balanathan, Australia

It would be much appreciated if readers read this article with a positive and constructive mind, rather with a negative and destructive mind to criticise.

In the early centuries, people in India were classified into various categories on caste basis. Indians had a category known as untouchables (தீண்டத்தகாத / නොපැහැදිලි). The disgraceful part is that the Indians categorised people based on their profession. India has safety standards; however, they never apply and practice the safety standards.

The untouchables and some lower caste (පහත් කුලය) people were not allowed into temples, not touch higher case people, not be close to them, not fetch water from their wells, not bathe in rivers and several other unhuman kinds of practice.

In the 21st century, current era, even the top powerful person, Prince Charles heir to the throne of the UK did not shake hands with others, be close to people, hug anyone else and be unlike another normal person. The wife of the PM of Canada, PM of Spain, and several people cannot be like normal persons. This definitively does not mean that they are untouchables. The PM of Canada is a top human being who loves everyone irrespective of their race, creed or colour and a top Boxer. Such a lovely kind person (PM-Canada) has his wife infected with Corvid-19. What is the cause? Its Nature, irrespective of who their god is. These people are not from the ancient disgracefully categorised category known as low caste and untouchable. They are top officials and high-class humans.

Today law has been enforced to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters between two people, no gathering of more than 10 people, no congregating in temples, roads, mosques, churches, no hoarding of foodstuffs etc. These laws were enacted by law enforcers in the legislature.

In the early centuries, man-made cultural practice made these habits based on caste distinction. Even now the Tamil folks practice the caste system in SriLanka and India. These practices evolved among the Indians. After attending a funeral people do not enter homes but take a head bath and various practice were practised by the Indians. No handshakes but say Vanakkam (ආයුබෝවන් ) with their two hands together.

It may be that the world may get back to the old system of cultural practice quite soon.

Why did the caste system evolve? It’s all based on financial status and capability. Liquor and toddy were sold at a very cheap price, and it was based on supply and demand. Thus, the financial status of a toddy tapper was quite low. To have a good decent life people need money. This applies to the Fisherfolks also. Hence based on the financial capacity of the people they were oppressed under the caste system. Today the fisher folks are well to do people and rich. This oppression and suppression prevail in India and SriLanka only. In the Muslim race caste system does not conquer the people and all are treated equal. Even among the Tamil and Sinhala Diaspora the caste system prevails among them wherever they are domiciled. A lower caste person is not recognised even if that person is intelligent.

Today Nature has brought all to be equal in living standards and they cannot evade these standards. This is by law.

Australians are proud of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his team, for his competency, reliability, capability, and the effort he has been making to protect the Australians. Majority of the Australians are following the advice he had given to the people. The PMs effort during the last few months had made him be a Statesman in Australia similar to the former John Howard. May Nature relive Australia from this evil Corvid-19 pressure. May all citizens of Australia listen to the PM and follow his guidance.

At this juncture, it would be appropriate to honour the SriLankan governance, especially the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, His deputy Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratna and the Army Commander Lt Gen. Shavendra Silva for their efforts in keeping SL to be with minimum Corvid-19 infection and the people are co-operating except a few Tamils who travelled from Italy went on hiding in Point Pedro. Relatively SL has very few victims compared to India.

The military is to be commended for sacrificing their lives to protect the Northern people (Tamils) from infection. The army works from day and night to keep people safe. The world should acknowledge and commend the SL military and praise them for the services they are rendering irrespective of caste, creed and race.

It is hoped that SriLankans and Indians will now understand what the practice means. It is hoped that the world may get back to the Indian customs and practice.

Jaya Wava SriLanka.

Attempts to politicise Corona Pandemic

March 27th, 2020

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

The Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is a true friend of Sri Lanka, has commended Sri Lanka for steps being taken to combat the Corona Virus pandemic and expressed his readiness to send a team of specialist doctors and health sector personnel who have gained expertise in treating corona affected people.

The reputed Saudi Arabian newspaper Arab News” widely read throughout the Middle East similar to the well-known Al Ahram” newspaper of Egypt has hailed measures taken by Sri Lanka to confront the Corona pandemic threat.  The Arab News on 24th March in a lead news item says that Sri Lankans from all walks of life welcomes measures announced by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to breathe life into the virus-hit economy.  The newspaper highlights that the President has announced relief packages to lessen financial difficulties and has also pledged a donation to the SAARC Fund even at this time of difficulties displaying the country’s desire for the welfare of the people in the neighbouring countries as well. 

The newspaper has also welcomed the President’s decision to keep the Pharmacies and Banks open during the Curfew Hours to ensure smooth economic activities and to care and protect the sick people.

Indian dai;y The Hindu” also has commended the measures being taken in Sri Lanka.  The newspaper’s Colombo correspondent Ms Meera Srinivasan has posted a Tweeter message saying that Sri Lanka has the capacity to overcome the pandemic situation within one week as the country has the best health care services in the region.

Addressing the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 25th March President GR has said that the forthcoming two weeks will be crucial to Sri Lanka and he will not allow Sri Lanka to become another Italy.  He has hinted the possibility of extending the curfew for the next two weeks and has assured that all steps will be taken to home deliver food and other essential items throughout the country.  In addition to this that he has announced a plethora of concessions to cover people belonging to all walks of life including a six months moratorium from all banks, leasing companies, financial institutions, in respect of bank loans instalment recovery, monthly leasing charges for vehicles, three-wheelers, trucks and other vehicles, and levying of interest charges for pawned articles and mortgages.  He has declared banks as essential services and has instructed the Central Bank. State Banks and Commercial Banks to be kept open during curfew hours and facilitate e-transactions.  Post offices will also be kept open for 2 hours during curfew hours. 

While the President, the PrimeMinister, Ministers of the government, health and security service authorities are working round the clock to ensure the safety of the people from this deadly virus which has already engulfed 198 countries throughout the world, some misbegotten fellows who call themselves politicians seem to be making relentless efforts to politicise the calamity and overcome their political degeneration as it has been rightly said by Prime Minister Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa the two factions in the UNP are attempting to gain political capital out of this pandemic”. 

The biggest joker in today’s Sri Lankan politics, the imbecile and nincompoop Sajith Premadasa who does not have any original thinking and parrots borrowed views and suggestions has made a colossal mockery of the situation self-contradicting his own statements.  The borrowed views parroted by him included:

  • Shut down all government activities; – What about health services?
  • Lockdown Sri Lanka as it had been done by many countries; If that happens from where people get their food at least.  Will it automatically fall down from the sky? Does this nincompoop have a magic wand to create things?
  • Convene the parliament immediately;  Are they doctors or murses to combat the pandemic? A day’s sitting by the Parliament cost Rs. 7Million and former State Minister Vidura Wickremanayake have called for converting the Parliament as a quarantine centre.  He has also offered to use his ancient bungalow in Ingiriya to be used as quarantine centre.

In addition to this nincompoop, Sajith in a Facebook note has requested people to take two varieties of tablets to prevent getting affected by the virus.  Prof. (Dr.) Channa Jayasumana has written to him explaining that these two tablets are highly dangerous tablets with many side-effects and it should not be taken without prescription from a specialist doctor.  What a messy ignoramus guy this fellow is?  Latest reports confirm that the stupid politico who is parroting what is said by others without realising the meaning and gravity of such utterances has apologized for the statement he made about prescribing tablets to be used against coronavirus.  He has made this apology only in English in his Facebook page maybe because he doesn’t care about the life of Sinhala speaking people and because he is only concerned about the English speaking elite society in Colombo, his new electorate!

People of Ruhuna has kicked him out from the Hambantota district. People of the district say that he is very fond of watching elephant games (Ali Keli) in the Yala forest and he went to Hambantota district to enjoy these games and not to serve for the people in the district.   

The UNP leader Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe has requested to convene an all-party leaders meeting.

The politically eclipsing former Speaker Kalu Jayasuriya also has endorsed stupid Sajith’s call fore-convening the Parliament. 

There is no news from 3% popularity Jeppos who unsuccessfully attempted to destroy this country twice and the other political merchants trading on the goodwill of their communities and from the terrorist TNA or Pottu Grandpa Vigneswaran despite a danger looming in all districts of North as several hundred people from these districts have attended a special church service conducted by a Swiss Priest who after returning to that country had been admitted to a quarantine centre as a carrier of the deadly virus.   All these guys need to be locked up in solitary confinement in quarantine centres until the last affected patient is discharged.

Sri Lanka’s worst-ever quisling, even worst than Don Juan Dharmapala, and the alleged terrorist money launderer Mangala Samaraweera in a lengthy statement has stated that even after the whole country asked to stay at home, the President did not revoke the Election Gazette. This nincompoop purposely attempts to misguide the people by misinterpreting the constitutional provisions related to election laws and knowing very well that it is only Chairman of the Election Commission who is now empowered to take any decision related to Elections. 

While the whole country is cooperating with the measures being taken by the government at this hazardous situation he says that Sri Lankans have lived through countless crises. Civil wars, insurgencies, constitutional coups droughts and famines and blames the government which he says failed to take adequate preventative measures, such as in the case of travellers from Italy.

With defeat looming in the horizon he says that there is no need for elections and the President, although briefed on the coronavirus threat, has decided to conduct early polls. If he is so scared of elections why don’t he withdraw the nomination list he had submitted for Matara district, he cannot do this because all those in his list except him are ready to face elections, and the ground situations indicate that only Buddhika Pathirana will get elected from the UNP (Sajith faction). At the same time why he didn’t urge his party (SLFP at that time) in 1988 to call for the cancellation of the Presidential election when his current bed-fellows JEPPOS were killing SLFP stalwarts and were taking all measures including shooting at his residence, to disrupt the elections under a clandestine contract with Premadasa.

He has in this lengthy statement implied that the government should solicit their assistance for the current activities. How can we Sri Lankans trust people like Rodee Ranawaka, Crocodile Van Rajitha and this Diaspora proxy when they even attempted at the last moment to block funds for government expenditure and topple the government?  He has by this suggestion coughed out their ardent desire to topple the government regardless of subjecting the people to great inconvenience.  It is only a desperate call to cushion out the inevitable wipeout of them in the forthcoming election.

This nincompoop who is in the last leg of his political misadventure criticizes all aspects of actions being taken by the government to help the people, has failed so far to visit Matara area and at least say a word of consolation to the people.  He has only become a cardboard hero, a paper-tiger of issuing statements aimed for consumption by his foreign audience as he cannot face the people who now repent for electing him as their representatives.  They even blame Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa for working hard during the 1989 elections to get Goigama votes to this ungrateful fellow and made him enter parliament for the first time.  His hollow statements are only aimed at his image-building exercise of getting qualified for a UNHRC post.  It is the bounden duty of all patriot Sri Lankans to ensure that this quisling is banished out of this country humiliated, disgraced and despised as soon as possible.

Contrary to the despicable attempts being made by imbecile Sajith and quisling Mangala to gain political advantage over the corona pandemic the stance taken by Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe can be appreciated.  He has told the government that it is likely to face a peak situation from April 4 to 11 as highlighted by some health sector officials and urged that it is important to have a common plan, with the public and private sector stakeholders in the health sector and produce or import ventilators, masks and ensure that there are sufficient beds in hospitals, initiate a private/public supply chain to supply essential goods and use even ordinary three-wheelers other than taxi service companies and introduce special laws as done by many other countries worldwide. He has also drawn the attention of the government to the statement made by the GMOA where it has said there may be some 500 cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. Mr Wickremasinghe has also stated that his party will support the government to introduce new legislation to combat coronavirus if it becomes necessary. 

It is indeed pleasing to note that majority people of this country have come forward to fully cooperate with measures of the government and health authorities to prevent the spread of the pandemic which has already affected 198 countries in the world,

Several Ministers are reported to be making round the clock efforts to ensure the people get food and essential items at concessionary priced home delivery packages as well as fish, chicken and vegetables.   Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawana, Prasanna Ranatunga, and Mahinda Amaraweera are reported to be coordinating these activities in getting products from farmers, fish from fishermen, and transporting them to various areas.

On the instructions of President Minister S.M.Chandrasena has made arrangements for the paddy. Vegetable and fruit farmers too indulge in their farming activities unhindered during curfew hours, transport their products to rice mills, paddy marketing Board, and Economic centres, and ensure adequate fertilizer and other inputs are supplied to the farmers. 

Meanwhile, under the directive of the President, a Task Force headed by former Minister Basil has been created and this Unit in collaboration with health and security officials, the staff of Sathosa, Cooperatives, an official from Gas. Pradeshiya Sabhas and Grama Sevakas have started home delivery of food and other essential items throughout the country.  The Egg Producers’ Association on a request made by the Prime Minister has made arrangements to sell eggs at Rs. 10/- each and it will be delivered to all parts of the country in 400 odd trucks belonging to mem. The Litro and Laughs gas companies have announced hotline numbers for home delivery of gas cylinders throughout the country. 

During the 3 days 24th, 25th, and 26th nearly 1,000 persons have successfully completed their 14 days quarantine schedules and have been released.  They have profusely thanked the security forces for treating them March kindly and with much care during their quarantine period.  They were transported to the nearest Police stations to their homes. More is to be released in the coming days and those who have been released have profusely commended the treatment meted out and care shown to them by the security forces.

Similar to the enormous service done by them during the war the security forces are reported to be working round the clock to make their maximum contribution to the pandemic combat situation.  The Air Force on its own initiative has converted one of its transport planes equipped with 12 beds to transport coronavirus patients to and from ant part of the country. Meanwhile, the Navy has developed a disinfectant chamber to protect the people from the effects of the virus.  In addition to this, the Navy is also carrying disinfection programmes covering public and private sector institutions.  The army personnel have constricted  wards om several hospitals 

Many philanthropists have made valuable offers to the President in appreciation of his dedicated services and determination to overcome this unprecedented calamity.  Following are some of the offers made by them in writing to the President.

The well-known business tycoon Dhammika Perera has placed an import order worth Rs. 70 Million from his personal funds to import 6 ICU ventilators and 485 modern hospital beds including 169 ICU beds.

The Chairman of the Derana Media Mr Dilith Jayaweera has offered his 150 room Citrus Luxury Hotel in Hikkaduwa to be used as a quarantine centre and the necessary modifications to be made by him.   

John Keels Ltd. has offered one of its hotels in Trincomalee and Jemas has also offered one of its hotels to be used as quarantine centres. 

Meanwhile, the Police have taken all measures to ensure people adhere to curfew rules.  The Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana told media that so far over 3,000 curfew violators and nearly 1,000 vehicles of all types have been taken into custody. 

China successfully managed the virus situation because its health and public utility services were under State control. However, America and European countries have been unable to control the pandemic since health and utility services in these countries are completely under the control of the private sector and their services are commercially oriented.  In Italy coronavirus patients of over 50 years are reported to be left out unattended by the hospitals there.  The situation is reported to be same in other European countries and America as well.  Fortunately, we have a highly admirable state health service and consumer products distribution networks such as Sathosa, Cooperatives, Litro Gas and other institutions which have prevented a private sector monopoly attitudes. 

We are indeed fortunate to have the present government in power at this crucial time. If the Sirisena/Ranil government was in power we would have faced a greater carnage than the Easter Sunday carnage in which over 500 persons were killed and a similar ar number was injured due to purposeful negligence of the government which ignored all intelligence warnings and took actions only to protect its Ministers and MPs by preventing them attending church services on that day.  Just imagine how the situation could have been if the nincompoop Sajith got elected as President last November?  The country would have been completely shut down with a continuous curfew as in India and Italy, people unable to get their food and other essentials and forced to eat grass or Croten leaves, MPs meeting in Parliament to enjoy subsidized rich meals and in addition getting daily attendance allowance and the country incurring Rs. 7 million each day of parliament sittings and people forced to take the dangerous drugs he has stupidly prescribed.  Sri Lanka will thus become the worst affected country in the world.    

Extraordinary message in extraordinary times

March 27th, 2020

by A. Abdul Aziz

Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community addresses the worldwide Jama’at from his office, Tilfrod, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Today  (27 March 2020), during the Covid-19 pandemic, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper), delivered a LIVE message for the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.

Ahmadiyya Khalifa at the beginning of his address said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, governments around the world, including the British government, have stopped all congregational prayers.

His Holiness pointed out that at present, the exact law is not clear. There are various interpretations; some say that a few close relatives and people can congregate, while others have differing opinions.

Nevertheless, in such conditions, until it is not made clear, we cannot offer Jumuah (Friday) prayers. For this reason, after consultation, he said that instead of delivering a Friday Sermon, he would deliver a message.

It has become the habit of Ahmadi Muslims around the world to watch the Friday Sermon on MTA. His Holiness said that if he had not addressed the Ahmadiiyya Muslim Community today, then they would have had a longing to watch the sermon and so, he thought it best to address the Community  in one way or another.

His Holiness said, We cannot, for a prolonged period, leave the Jumuah prayer, and my connection with the Community is also essential”. After consultation, His Holiness explained, a solution to this will be found.

In the UK, people are allowed, individually, to pray at mosques while maintaining distance. But congregational prayers are not allowed at mosques.

In this condition, Jama’at members should offer congregational prayers at homes and also offer Jumuah prayer with the family. Extracts from Malfuzat, or Jamaat literature, or the writings of the Promised Messiahas, or extracts from Al Fazl or Al Hakam can be read and the khutba [sermon] can be given.”

The Jumuah cannot be left for a long time. When people will prepare their sermons”, their knowledge will increase.

Ahmadiyya Khalifa said, Al Hakam has started an initiative on how people are spending their time at home. In those comments, most people are writing that they are increasing their knowledge by reading the Quran, hadith and writings of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him”

Ahmadiyya supreme Head explained that even in the wider world, people are commenting on how they are spending their time.

MTA (Muslim TV Ahmadiyya International)  has lots of beneficial programmes, which should also be watched. He emphasised that the governmental advice that is being spread should be followed.

Ahmadiyya Khalifa made it clear that prayers are key and through them, one can draw the grace of God. This is what the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, continuously said, that the most important thing is that we seek God’s forgiveness, cleanse our hearts and remain engaged in good works”.

Where the question of not offering Jumuah prayer comes, it is clear from sayings of Prophet Muhammad (sal) – ahadith that in some conditions, the Jumuah prayer become exempt in mosques.

His Holiness mentioned a hadith from Bukhari and Muslim in which Hazrat Ibn Abbasra, when it rained, told the muazins to say Sallu fi buyutikum” (pray in your homes) as opposed to Hayya alas-Salah” (come to prayer) and this is also what the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) practised when such conditions arose.

Further references from Islamic scholars of jurisprudence were presented by His Holiness to support this fact. 

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and instructions from the government, Ahmadiyya Khalifa said that in their homes, everyone should continue congregational prayers and offering Jumuah prayers.

Khalifa of Islam made it clear that from an Islamic perspective, narrations prove that during contagious pandemics, people should practise distancing and taking cautions.

Everyone should offer Jumuah prayers at home and His Holiness said that he would make arrangements for this as well.  

Towards the end, His Holiness  prayed that this virus may quickly subside and that mankind makes the most of this time in helping one another in the best possible manner.

Newspapers’ struggle to survive the novel coronavirus

March 27th, 2020

by NJ Thakuria

Guwahati: Newspapers in many parts of the world face an uphill task to maintain its readership index as Bharat (India) goes for a complete lockdown till 14 April 2020 because of pandemic COVID-19 outbreak. A shutdown that prevents the vendors to deliver newspapers at the doorsteps of buyers and the rumour that the paper itself can carry the novel coronavirus has forced the publishers to drastically reduce their circulation figure.

As China originated deadly virus started smashing almost all the countries on the planet resulting in affecting over a hundred thousand people and casualties up to few thousands, Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the front to lead the fight against the deadly virus. Modi in a televised address to the billion-plus nation on 24 March 2020 declared a total shutdown to break the chain of infection so that the spreading of COVID-19 can be prevented.

As the pandemic infected over 700 people in the country with over 15 casualties, its immediate impact was observed over the circulation of newspapers in Mumbai as the vendors ceased to work  because of

COVID-19 outbreak. Brihanmumbai Vruttapatra Vikreta Sangh had a formal meeting with the management of all print media houses and finally, they resolved to suspend publications temporarily. The decision resulted in no newspaper day for the residents of Mumbai as well as Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Nagpur etc.

However, management of The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Mid-Day etc made it clear that even though no physical editions would hit the stands on account of the new-found restrictions their newspapers would be thoroughly available on the internet. Acclaimed news magazine Outlook also suspended its print edition making the digital edition available to nurture the need of readers.

After Mumbai, it was the turn for hundred thousand residents of Bangalore, Hyderabad along with Guwahati, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawl in Northeast to miss their favourite morning newspapers as the local distributors decided to suspend their works because of the virus outbreak. Guwahati newspaper-hawkers’ association, Manipur hawkers’

association, Tripura and Mizoram based newspaper vendors separately came out with the resolution that they would not distribute the newspapers fearing of the virus infection for some days.

The region witnessed the publication of over 50-morning dailies in different languages including English,  Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Boro, Meitei, Karbi, Khasi, Mizo, Nagamese, Nepali, etc. A recent message that went viral on the social media indicating the newspapers as a potential career of coronavirus created panic to the newspaper agents and hawkers along with other media employees.

World Health Organization (WHO) has however asserted that newspapers are still safe to touch by anybody even though the coronavirus can live on some surfaces for several days. The papers used in print media outlets are produced in highly automated mills and the process hardly needs human hands. Moreover, the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low, it added.

But reports relating to the suspended publication of physical editions because of COVID-19 started pouring from different parts of the globe.

From Sylhet (Bangladesh) to Colombo (Sri Lanka), Rabat (Morocco) to Rome (Italy), Vatican City to Jordan, Oman, Yemen capitals along with American cities like Pittsburgh, Seattle, Missouri, West Virginia, Lewisburg etc witness the temporary suspension of newspaper productions. Those media outlets have already committed to entering into the digital platforms completely.

The largest democracy in the world today supports over 82,000 registered newspapers with a cumulative daily circulation of 11 crores estimated to be a Rs 32,000 crore (5 billion USD)  industry. As India has been improving its literacy rate up to 75 per cent, more citizens now develop the capacity and resources to access newspapers and digital forums. More middle-class Indian families now start using the internet for various activities for the first time in their lives.

Understanding the heat of changing social engineering, various print media houses opted for boosting their presences in the digital media.

As millions of Indians now start using smartphones with internet connectivity, the media owners come to the realization that they would now prefer to get all necessary and almost free news contents from the digital platforms rather than paying for newspapers or even news channels. So the advertisers have also substantially shifted their focus to the digital media space.

It needs not to be reminded that a newspaper is sold in the market at a lower price than its actual cost. The deficit (also profit) is managed by the advertisers. They want a newspaper to reach more people (with a price or even without it) so that their products get necessary visibilities. Minus circulation, the advertisers would not support the newspapers anymore. So no distribution of newspapers (even it is duly

published) simply means nil advertisement (read financial supports) for the print media outlets.

The situation can emerge alarming for regional newspapers like those in Guwahati, Imphal, Agartala, Aizawl etc, as the owners may not be able to sustain their media houses for a longer period. It would directly impact the employees including thousands of scribes in the region. A number of media bodies came out with statements against the rumour that newspapers can carry the coronavirus. They also appealed to the governments to support the media houses in this time of crisis.

Lately, a host of Guwahati based media houses including Asomiya Pratidin, The Assam Tribune, Dainik Janambhumi, Niyomiya Barta, Dainik Asom,  Amar Asom, Purbanchal Prahari, Sadin, The North East Times, The Meghalaya Guardian etc made a collective statement that there is no scientific proof for newspapers carrying the coronavirus to the readers. The managements also asserted that a section of electronic and social media outlets spread the unauthenticated news.

But countering it, many social media users put a harsh question to those media houses if they could assure their valued readers of authenticated, credible and balanced news items hereafter ! COVID-19 is a time-bound disaster and everyone would probably return to normalcy after some time, but will the traditional media houses ever get its dedicated readers back in the post-corona era, a difficult question to be answered.

රටේ පවතින තත්වය මත පීඩාවට පත්ව සිටින සී/ස අධ්‍යාපන සමූපකාර සමිතියේ සාමාජිකයන් සඳහා ණය වාරික සහන ලබාදෙන ලෙස ඉල්ලා සිටීම

March 27th, 2020

ලංකා ගුරු සේවා සංගමය

සමූපකාර සංවර්ධන කොමසාරිස්,
සමූපකාර සංවර්ධන දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව,
අංක 330, යුනියන් පෙදෙස,
කොළඹ 02.

රටේ පවතින තත්වය මත පීඩාවට පත්ව සිටින සී/ස අධ්‍යාපන සමූපකාර සමිතියේ සාමාජිකයන් සඳහා ණය වාරික සහන ලබාදෙන ලෙස ඉල්ලා සිටීම


සී/ස අධ්‍යාපන සමූපකාර සමිතියේ අතිශය බහුතරය වන ගුරුවරුන් ඇතුළු සාමාජිකයන්ගේ ඉල්ලීමත්, මූල්‍ය ආයතන වලින් ලබාගත් ණය වලට අදාළ මාසික වාරික ගෙවීම රටේ පවතින තත්වය මත තාවකාලිකව අත්හිටුවීමට රජය ගෙන ඇති තීරණයත් පිළිබඳ ඔබගේ කාරුණික අවධානය යොමුකර සිටිමි.

මෙම සමිතියේ ණය ක‍්‍රම යටතේ ණය ලබාගත් සාමාජිකයන් හට රටේ පවතින වත්මන් තත්වය මත එකී ණය වලට අදාළ ණය වාරික ගෙවීම මේ මොහොතේදී වඩාත් පීඩාකාරී බැවින් මෙකී තත්වය පහව යනතුරු එම ණය වාරික අයකර ගැනීම තාවකාලිකව අත්හිටුවීමට පියවර ගන්නා ලෙස උක්ත සමිතියේ පාලන අධිකාරියට උපදෙස් ලබාදෙන මෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමි.

තවද මෙකී සමිතියේ ණය ලබාගැනීමට බලාපොරොත්තුව සිටින සාමාජිකයන්ට එම ණය කඩිනමින් ලබාදීම මේ මොහොතේදී ඔවුන්ට ඉතා අත්‍යවශ්‍ය වනු ඇත. එබැවින් කිසියම් විධිමත් හා කඩිනම් වැඩපිළිවෙළක් හරහා එම ණය මුදා හැරීමට සමිතියේ අදාළ පාර්ශවයන්ට පියවර ගන්නා ලෙසට අදාළ නියෝග හා උපදෙස් ලබාදෙන ලෙසද කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටිමි.

ස්තූතියි.

මෙයට,
ප‍්‍රධාන ලේකම්,
ලංකා ගුරු සේවා සංගමය

Coronavirus: Emergency flights for tens of thousands of travellers stranded in South Asia

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy The Straits Times

KATHMANDU (AFP) – Foreign governments on Friday (March 27) stepped up operations to evacuate tens of thousands of tourists stranded by the coronavirus pandemic in remote locations across South Asia, from Everest base camp to beach hotels in Sri Lanka.

A plane chartered by Berlin took 304 people out of Kathmandu in the first of a series of flights aiming to ferry more than 10,000 people from Nepal.

Almost 17,000 tourists are stuck in Sri Lanka, while tens of thousands of travellers and expatriates are in India, according to the authorities in the two countries.

All have cut or virtually halted international flights over the past week in a bid to halt the coronavirus spread.

The plane that left Kathmandu on Friday was carrying Germans and other European nationals, Mr Rajan Pokhrel, director-general of Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority, told AFP.

“Other countries are consulting us about evacuating their citizens,” he added.

A second German flight is to leave on Saturday and the Australian embassy said it was trying to negotiate a special flight.

Other countries, including the United States, are trying to secure joint flights.

Nepal’s government estimates about 10,000 people – from Europe, Australia, South Korea, the United States and India – are in far-flung places across the Himalayan nation that halted all international flights last weekend.

About 200 trekkers are waiting at Everest base camp.

The Nepal Tourism Board said 137 people were brought from high-altitude trekking trails on Thursday and taken to Kathmandu.Related Story

France and other governments organised local flights to get their nationals from remote towns to the Nepalese capital. Some hotels have given free rooms and meals to the stranded tourists.

France and Germany are also negotiating charter flights to get their nationals out of India.

Sri Lankan authorities have let almost 17,000 foreign tourists use their cancelled flight tickets as curfew passes since they became stuck after incoming flights were halted and a nationwide lockdown imposed. Many are stuck in beach resorts far from Colombo airport.

Those stranded include 2,439 Indians, 2,167 Chinese, 2,061 Russians, 1,732 Germans, 1,377 Britons, 916 Canadians and 614 French, the immigration service said.

“We are encouraging other governments to arrange evacuation flights to take back their nationals,” Mr Madubhani Perera, director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board, told AFP.

The Maldives, whose economy is dependent on tourism, on Friday halted the arrival of all visitors and ordered the 135 resort islands tobe  empty of visitors within two weeks.

The nation of 340,000 people has reported 13 confirmed coronavirus infections and all are foreigners.

The United States said it was organising a special flight next week to take its nationals based in Pakistan.

South Asia shows vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Economist

Cases of the novel coronavirus have now been recorded in all South Asian countries. Dense living conditions, low hygiene awareness and overburdened healthcare systems make the region vulnerable to the worst effects of an outbreak. Preventive measures to stem the spread of the outbreak are set to exact a heavy economic toll. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects countries to provide fiscal and monetary stimulus, although the scope of such measures will vary. India and Bangladesh, given their stronger economic positions, will be able to provide relatively more; meanwhile, measures in Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be more limited.

On March 26th representatives of the South Asian Association for Regional Co‑operation (SAARC) came together on a video conference to exchange experiences of combating the spread of the coronavirus. This came as the region is emerging rapidly as a hotspot for a large-scale outbreak. The number of cases in South Asia has grown swiftly, with Pakistan and India recording the steepest rises. We believe that the number of confirmed cases is being underreported, primarily because of a lack of widespread testing. India, for example, had carried out around 10 tests per million people by March 20th; in comparison, Vietnam had conducted 160 tests per million people by the same date.

South Asia has one of the world’s youngest populations, which is advantageous, as younger people are generally less susceptible to the effects of the virus. Hot and humid conditions in many parts of the region would also inhibit the spread of the virus. However, these advantages are largely discounted in the face of other factors. The region has some of the world’s most densely populated cities, making social distancing difficult. Low hygiene awareness and unequal access to clean drinking water make it especially vulnerable to the worst effects of an outbreak.

We expect the countries to struggle as the number of cases rises in the coming weeks. Chronic underinvestment in healthcare infrastructure and a low number of doctors and hospital beds in relation to the population mean that health systems will not be able to cope with the further toll, exacerbating the spread of the virus and the death rate.

Healthcare infrastructure, 2019
RegionDoctors (per 1,000 people)Hospital beds (per 1,000 people)Healthcare spending (US$ per head)
India0.80.583
Pakistan0.90.633
Sri Lanka1.13.6161
G73.05.37,230
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Reacting swiftly to the outbreak has been tough for the region. Wages are low and a large share of households are heavily dependent on employment for their daily sustenance. As a result, some governments in the region, such as that in Pakistan, were reluctant to implement lockdowns. Nonetheless, given the delicacy of the situation, India and Sri Lanka have announced countrywide shutdowns. Nearly all regions of Pakistan have imposed restrictions on non-essential activities, while Bangladesh has imposed a partial lockdown from March 26th. However, Afghanistan continues to be exposed because of its porous border with Iran.

Heavy economic toll

We expect the coronavirus pandemic to dampen economic growth substantially. Preventive measures taken by governments to curtail the movement of people will lead to a demand-side shock to private consumption—the primary driver of economic growth in many South Asian economies. The closure of factories and businesses will result in a supply-side shock, and the subsequent lay‑offs will exacerbate the demand shock. 

Similar measures around the world will also constrain demand for exports. Countries like Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka have already experienced a halt in tourist inflows owing to travel restrictions and a collapse in demand. Lower private consumption and exports will lead to a loss of regular business revenue, making firms unable to pay dues on their loans and forcing them to defer investment plans.

Central banks and governments have responded by providing stimulus in the face of the economic costs of the pandemic. However, we believe the measures will not come close to offsetting the loss of economic activity. The Indian, PakistaniBangladeshi and Sri Lankan central banks have cut their policy rates and announced other measures to ensure liquidity in the financial sector, while the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi governments have announced fiscal stimulus plans, primarily to support low-income households.

Fiscal stimulus plans
RegionAdditional committed spending (US$ bn)Share of GDP (%)
India24.10.7
Pakistan7.12.6
Bangladesh0.60.2
Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Stimulus measures unable to support growth

As the crisis worsens, we expect further fiscal and monetary stimulus to be provided by nearly all South Asian countries. Fiscal stimulus will continue to focus primarily on tax relief and support for low‑income households through direct or indirect cash transfers, while monetary stimulus will focus on deferring loan payments and ensuring adequate liquidity in the financial market.

However, the extent to which different countries are able to stimulate their economy will vary. India and Bangladesh have yet to provide large-scale packages, although we expect them to ramp up stimulus aggressively, given sufficient monetary policy space and manageable public debt and fiscal deficit levels. While the relaxation of IMF fiscal targets for Pakistan and Sri Lanka will provide space for stimulus, it will still be largely limited by high borrowing rates and fiscal deficit levels. 

Monetary policy stimulus in these countries will also be constrained, as the authorities try to limit the depreciation of their currencies and strain on the external account. Meanwhile, weak institutional capacity in Afghanistan and in‑fighting within the government will leave it unable to respond aptly to the crisis. In the light of this, we will be revising down our GDP growth forecasts for various countries.

A chart showing steep reductions in our forecasts for real GDP growth in 2020 in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Why Lankans arriving from Italy are a problem for coronavirus control

March 27th, 2020

By P.K.Balachandran/Daily Express Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Large-scale illegal migration to Italy makes tracking difficult, say researchers.

Colombo, March 25: Italy has been identified as the predominant source of COVID-19 infection in Sri Lanka. No wonder then that the Lankan government has imposed an indefinite curfew in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara where most returnees from Italy reside.

Italy is one of three countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 24, Italy reported 602 new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,077 with the tally of cases rising to 63,928.

Italy has been home to a large number of immigrants from Sri Lanka, both legal and illegal, since the 1980s. Many of the returnees in recent weeks could be illegal migrants on whom the State does not have adequate records. Identifying them, tracing them and examining them for the symptoms of the virus and treating or quarantining them pose a major challenge to the authorities.

On Wednesday the police sought public support to identify at least 12 persons who had failed to undergo quarantine on their arrival from Italy recently. There are reasons to suspect that the arrivals who have played truant are illegal migrants who had come back.

Illegal migration of Lankans to Italy has been a long standing phenomenon and a cause of concern too. V.P.N.Senadhi of the Department of Demography, University of Colombo, who had studied illegal and legal migration to Italy found that 46% had gone illegally by boat. This was so because they came from the West Lankan coast which had many multi-day trawlers with an ability to traverse the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean to reach Italy. This was the cheapest transportation to Italy.

Italy had a liberal migration policy in the 1990s which helped both legal and illegal immigrants. The Dini Decree in 1996 made it easier for Lankan workers to bring their families to Italy. In Rome, Naples and Milan, Lankans had built up enlarged families”, where jobs were exchanged among relatives and compatriots, Senadhi says.

However, as illegal migration increased continuously, the Italian government gave the responsibility of controlling illegal migrants to NGOs, vocation campaigns and the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church treated them well by supplying food, medicine, clothes and every day necessities. The Church also taught them Italian to make it easier for them to find work. Although, eventually, Italy controlled illegal immigration, it could not stop it.

According to Jagath Pathirage of Charles Darwin University, in 2011, 88,000 Sri Lankan nationals were legally residing in Italy. They went from Lanka for the very good wages in Italy. Even cleaners earned in excess of Euro 1000 a month, enabling savings of at least E300 every month. Some of the informants with several years of experience in Italy were putting aside more than E5000 a year,” he notes.

As a result, in 2012, Sri Lankans were one of the largest immigrant nationalities in Italy and Milan, with about 80,000 Sri Lankans living in the country. About 16,000 Sri Lankans were residing in Milan alone. Lankans earning well in Italy helped their kinsmen back home to migrate likewise. Some of the migrants returned to Sri Lanka and invested in the fishery and tourism industries,” Pathirage points out.

Writing in Groundviews” in 2012, Bernardo Brown said that the fishermen of Negombo, Chilaw and Wennapuwa had been seasonal migrants for centuries because of the weather conditions. They would go to Kokilai in Mullaitivu and also Mannar. But with the start of the war in 1983, the presence of these migrants – although seasonal – was no longer welcomed by the Tamil separatists in Mannar and Mullaitivu,” Brown said. In 1984, Sinhalese Catholic fishermen were massascred in Kokilai. As the violence escalated in the late 1980s, fishermen could no longer migrate to these localities,” he pointed out.

The economically affected fishermen then began to look at other avenues to earn a livelihood. The first batch of Lankan fishermen travelled to Italy in the 1980s and managed to secure profitable jobs. Others followed suit.

At about this time, the Lankan government was encouraging fishermen to acquire motorized fishing trawlers, thanks to the then Fisheries Minister, Festus Perera. These motorized boats became multi-day boats and eventually helped in human smuggling from 1994 onwards.

In 1994, the charge for an illegal journey was less than US$ 2,000 per person. But it grew exponentially over the next few years, eventually to touch the US$ 4,000 mark, Brown said. Lacking the money to pay, many young Lankans would offer their family’s property as collateral.

Initially, only young Catholic fishermen from the west coast went to Italy but soon others from other communities and regions joined the bandwagon. Human smuggling also became an international business. Nationals from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan entered Sri Lanka through the main airport and were whisked away to Negombo and put on a boat to Italy and other countries in the West.

However, a change came about in 2002 which helped control or minimize illegal immigration, Brown said. The Italian Parliament passed the Bossi-Fini law, which offered a path to regularization to those already living in Italy even as it devised stricter border controls.

The second important change was a consequence of the ASEM — Ministerial Conference on Cooperation for the Management of Migratory Flows between Europe and Asia. Following this conference, the Italian government established bilateral agreements with sending countries to help curb illegal migratory flows. One of the advantages to the countries that signed was that Italy offered them special quotas for immigrants and readmission priorities in exchange for their cooperation,” Brown added.

As a consequence of these measures, illegal migration to Italy was drastically controlled, but not eliminated.

Infected man had associated with more than 50 people: Minister

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily News

Health Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi today expressed her utmost disappointment and anger when the Police and Health authorities detected a 67-year-old COVID 19 infected individual who had dodged quarantine for more than a week and suspected of having infected over 50 other Sri Lankans in the last few days.

The patient from the East has come back to Sri Lanka after a two week stay in India on March 18 and travelled to many parts of the country and associated with more than 50 other persons.

After he realized that he had fever and breathing difficulties, he had gone to a famous private hospital in Colombo where he was diagnosed for viral infection. When he sought inbound treatment, the doctors and private hospital authorities refused and asked him to enter a government hospital. But he had not done so and until last Monday has travelled widely and associated with many people, probably infecting dozens of people,” Minister Wanniarachchi said.

The action of this man is unacceptable and highly irresponsible. He may have infected several dozens of people by now. It is sad and unfortunate if people behave like this ignoring the facilities provided by then government to protect the people from this viral infection and ignore the advice of health officials, the Police, the Army an the media, she stressed.

Minister Wanniarachchi said the man who has been admitted to the IDH – Angoda would be charged under the Criminal Procedure code and Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance.(Sandun A Jayasekera)

Govt. urges public to strictly adhere to curfew orders

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The Government insists that the public must strictly adhere to the curfew now in force island-wide.

Curfew has been imposed with the sole purpose of to preventing the spread of COVID – 19 which has now become a major health issues, the President’s Media Division said.

The Task Force entrusted with the management of the essential food and other items distribution has taken all the necessary measures to ensure continued door to door supply of essential items for the people to purchase, it said.

While the curfew is in force no one should be on the roads at their freewill. Only the delivery vehicles permitted by the Task Force are allowed to ply. No other vehicle will be allowed on public roads without a valid curfew pass,”

Traveling to and from between any district is entirely prohibited while transporting foreign tourists from place to place is also banned. 

Paddy farming and plantation including work on tea small holdings and fishing activities are permitted in any district. Airports and Ports will continue their regular operations.

Police and the Tri-Force should strictly implement curfew regulations, the release said.

Police chief orders supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies closed

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Acting IGP C. D. Wickramaratne has ordered police stations to ensure that all supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies, except state-run Rajya Osu Sala outlets, in the country are closed with immediate effect.

The Police Media Spokesman said that although supermarkets have been permitted to deliver essential food items to the homes of consumers, there have been reports that certain supermarkets and grocery stores are open and selling goods to customers. 

Therefore the Acting IGP has instructed the OICs of all police stations to close down all such supermarkets and groceries effective immediately.

Meanwhile the Acting IGP has also instructed all officers-in-charge (OIC) of police stations to close down all pharmacies excluding Rajya Osu Sala outlets with immediate effect. 

However, pharmacies will be allowed to deliver medicine to homes, the police spokesman said.

Health Ministry publishes list of pharmacies for home-delivering medicines

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has introduced a mechanism to home-deliver medicines through pharmacies in relevant areas.

For this purpose, the Ministry of Health has identified pharmacies island-wide and the list of these pharmacies can be accessed from the official website of the ministry: www.health.gov.lk

The details include the address, contact number for WhatsApp/ Viber/ IMO and the name of the pharmacist.

The Health Ministry says that payments can be made online or via cash on delivery, adding that a fair amount will be charged for transportation.

In order to purchase the medicinal drugs, the general public is requested to send a recently obtained prescription via WhatsApp/ Viber/ IMO to the selected pharmacy.

The pharmacy will deliver drugs within 24 hours, the release issued by the Ministry read.

Instructions on the consumption of the prescribed drugs and the phone number of the pharmacist will be displayed on the cover. However, the pharmacist’s instructions can also be obtained by dialling the given number.

For more details, the general public can call the following contact numbers: 072 0720720 (English/Sinhala) and 072 0606060 (Tamil).

Medicines for clinic patients at govt hospitals to be home-delivered during curfew

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

he Ministry of Health and the Postal Department of Sri Lanka have jointly arranged a programme to distribute medicine for those who are getting treatment from government hospitals and have not enough medicine for their daily use.

The correct name, address, clinic number and telephone number are essential to distribute medicine to the doorstep of the patient, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said in a press release.

Hence, clinic patients are requested to contact the hospital they are registered with and update the aforementioned details at the earliest possible. The hospital staff will prepare the required medicines and deliver them via post regularly during the curfew period.

The clinic patients can inform these details to the Grama Niladhari or the Public Health Midwife in their respective residential areas, who are tasked with informing them to the relevant hospitals.

Sri Lankans abroad – Request to come home will only be considered after eradicating the virus threat

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

The government has requested the expatriate Sri Lankans who wish to return home to stay in the country that they are residing  now until the coronavirus threat is eradicated in Sri Lanka.

The President’s Media Division issuing a statement stated that the government has taken several steps to prevent coronavirus spreading in the country.

As a measure to prevent the virus coming into the country and its spread, all incoming overseas travel has been completely stopped.

The government also pointed out that travel within the country and inter country air travel have been suspended by many countries.

The government stated that requests by foreign students, businessmen and the migrant workers to visit Sri Lanka will be taken into consideration after the country has eradicated the coronavirus.

They are also at risk of contracting the disease when traveling to airports or other locations.

President’s Additional Secretary to Foreign Relations Admiral Jayanath Colombage requests all Sri Lankans who wish to return to the country to be safe and to share their information with the Sri Lankan Embassy or Consulate General Office

18 persons arrested for religious gathering during curfew

March 27th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

Horowpathana Police say that 18 persons including the President of the Kiwulekada Mosque have been arrested in Horowpatana for attending a religious service disregarding the danger and threat to the public.

According to the police, nearly 80 people attended the service

NY Times Column Blames Evangelicals for ‘Coronavirus Hell’

March 27th, 2020

By Theodore Bunker Courtesy Newsmax

President Donald Trump’s “ultraconservative religious allies” are responsible for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, author Katherine Stewart wrote in an opinion article for The New York Times on Friday.

Stewart, a journalist and the author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism,” noted “Trump rose to power with the determined assistance of a movement that denies science, bashes government, and prioritized loyalty over professional expertise. In the current crisis, we are all reaping what that movement has sown.”

She adds the “denial of science and critical thinking among religious ultraconservatives now haunts the American response to the coronavirus crisis.”

Stewart cites statements from several evangelical leaders who are close with Trump, such as Guillermo Maldonado, who said “Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not.”

She also quotes Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida, who called people worried about the disease “pansies,” and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., who said the response to the coronavirus was “overreacting,” and said it was an “attempt to get Trump.”

Stewart notes, “By all accounts, President Trump’s tendency to trust his gut over the experts on issues like vaccines and climate change does not come from any deep-seated religious conviction. But he is perfectly in tune with the religious nationalists who form the core of his base. In his daily briefings from the White House, Mr. Trump actively disdains and contradicts the messages coming from his own experts and touts as yet unproven cures.”

එකෙක් රැවුළ පත්තුවී එය නිවාගන්ට දඟලන විට තව එකෙක් සුරුට්ටුව පත්තු කරගැනීමට සූදානම් වෙන ස්‍රී ලන්කාවේ කුහක දේශපාලනය

March 26th, 2020

සුදත් ගුණසේකර මහනුවර 

26 3 2020.

කොරෝනා වසන්ඟතය විසඳීමට මේ රටේ ප්‍රවීන යයි කියාගන්නා දේශපාලන නායකයින් තිදෙනෙකුගේ විසඳුම්

වහාම පාර්ලිමෙන්තුව කැඳවන්ට- සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස හිටපු විපක්ශ නායක

වහාම  සර්ව පාක්ෂික රැස්වීමක් කැඳවන්ට” – කරු ජයසූරිය –හිටපු කථානයක

පක්ස නායකයින්ගේ රැස්වීමක් වහාම කැඳවන්ට”- රනිල් වික්‍රමසින්හ”              

                                                                                                                                   ප්‍රවුර්තිකීපයක්

(එකෙක් රැවුළ පත්තුවී එය නිවාගන්ට දඟලන විට තව එකෙක් සුරුට්ටුව පත්තු කරගැනීමට සූදානම් වෙනව සහ බොරදියේ මාලු බානවා, කියන ගැමි කතා දෙක මට මතක් උනේ  මේ කථා දකින විටය).

ඉහත සඳහන් නායකයෝයයි කියන අයගේ මේ යෝජනා දකින විටම මට ඇතිවූ පලමු ගැටලුව මේ තිදෙනාම මේ රටේ නායකයෝද යන ප්‍රශ්නයය. දෙවැන්න දේශපාලන පක්ශ කියන ඒවා අද තියෙන්නෙ කොහේද යන්නය. තෙවැන්න ඔවුන් පක්ශ නායකයෝ කියන අය කොහේද ඉන්නෙ යන්නය. සිව්වැන්න ප්රවීන යයි කියාගන්නා නායකයින් වශයෙන් පෙනී සිටින මේ අයගේ බුද්ධි මහිමය මෙවැනිනම් ඊට පහලින් එම පක්ශයේ සිටින ගෝලබාල දේශපාලකයින්ගේ බුද්ධිය තියෙන්නේ කොහේද යන්නය.

නායක්යෝ තුන් කොටසක් ඇතැයි අප පාසැලේදී ඉගෙන ගෙන ඇත. එනම් උපතින්ම, ක්රියාවෙන් සහ දයිවය විසින් ඔවුන්වෙත නායකත්වය පටවනලද අය වශයෙනි (leaders by birth, made  by themselves through hard work and those on whom leadership is thrust upon them by destiny). මගේ අදහස අනුව මේ තිදෙනාම මින් එක් වර්ගයකට හෝ අයිති නැත. රනිල් ජේ ආර් ගේ බෑනා නිසා අහම්බෙන් එතනට නායකයෙකි. එසේම ලලිත් සහ ගාමිනි ඝාතනය කළ නිසා හිදසට පත්ව පසුව උපක්රම මඟින් එතන බලයෙන් රැඳී සිටින අයෙකි

කරු ජයසූරිය “භෙරුණ්ඩාපි දෘමා යතේ” යන වර්ගයේ (ගස් නැති කැලේ එන්ඩරුගහත් ගහක්) යන නියාය අනුව මතුවූ නායකයෙකි. සජිත්, ආර් ප්‍රෙමදාසගේ පුතාව උපන් නිසා  තමාත් නයකයෙක්යයි සිතාගෙන සිටින සිහින නායකයෙකි.  ඒ අනුව මේ තිදෙනාගෙන් එක් අයකු හෝ නියම නායකයකු වශයෙන් මා නම් පිළිනොගනිමි. එසේ වීමට ඉහත සඳහන් ප්‍රකාශ තුන පමණක් වුවද සෑහේයයි මම සිතමි. අනෙක් අතින් මේ බව මේ තිදෙනාම දේශපාලනයට ආ දා සිටම මෙතෙක්  හැසිරී ඇති ආකාරයෙන් සහ ක්‍රියාකොට ඇති ආකාරයෙන් මෙන්ම නොයෙක් වර කියා ඇති අමණ කථාවලින්ම් ඔප්පුවී ඇත.  පස් දීපු ප්‍රදේශය පස්දුන් රට” කී රනිල්ගේ කථාව සහ  සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාසගේ කොරොනා වලට බෙහෙත් නියම කිරීමම” මීට කදිම උදාහරණ වශයෙන් පෙන්විය හැක.

ඊලඟ ගැටළුව රටක් කරවීමට මෙවැනි අය තුළ ඇති ඇති හැකියාව කුමක්ද යන්නය. මෙය වූ කළී මේ රටේ දේශපාලන ක්ශේත්‍රයේ ලොකුම ඛේදවාචකය නොවේද.? මෙවැනි අයට රටක් භාරදීම නරින්ට කුකුල් කොටුවක් භාරදීමක් නොවන්නේද? එසේම මෙවැනි අයගෙන් රටක් පාලනය වේයයි සිතීම ඉබ්බන්ගෙන් පිහාටු බලාපොරුත්තු විමක් වැනි දවල් හීනයක් නොවන්නේද.

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ඔබ අප කවුරුත් මැනවින් දන්නා පරිදි මේ රටේ දැන් ශ්‍රි ළන්කා නිදහස් පක්සයක් දන් නැත. එය 2014 නොවැ 10 වනදා පක්ශයේ නිර්මාතෘ බන්ඩාරනයක මහතාගේ අතිජාත දෝනියක් යයි කියන චන්ද්‍රිකා සහ එම පක්සයේ එවකට මහ ලේකම්වු අගමැති රෝගයෙන් දරුණු ලෙස පෙලුණු සිරිසේන විසින් කුමන්ත්‍රණකාරීව එය ඝාතනය කොට මිහිදන් කරන ලදී.

එසේම අද එක්සත් ජාතික පක්සයක්ද නැත.රනිල් වික්‍රමසින්හ සහ සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස යන අඳ බාල මුග්ධයින් දෙදෙනාම එක්ව එය විනාසකොට මේ වනවිට යළි කිසිදිනක නැගිටීමට නොහැකිවනසේ එයද මිහිදන්කොට හමාරය

විජෙවීරගේ ජා. වි. පෙරමුණද අනුර ප්රධානකොටැ ඇති දෙපයින් ලක්පොලවේ සිටියත් මනසින් රුසියාවේ  හෝ වෙනත් පිට සක්වලක මනෝලෝකයක සිටින එසේම නැගෙනහිර යුරෝපයේ රතු සුද්දන්ගේ යල්පැනගිය මතවාදවල වහලුන්වූද දේශපාලන ලෝකයේ අතරමන්වූද. පිරිසක් විසින් මරාදමා මිහිදන්න්කොට අවසානය.

දේශපාලන දාදු කෙළියේ සුදුවේ යෙදී සිටින දෙමළ සහ මුසල්මානුවන් වසර 2600 පැරණි ඉතිහාශයක් ඇති මේ ශින්හල බෞද්ධ රට අල්ලා ගැනිමට දිවා රෑ උගුල් අටවමින් නිදිවර්ජිතව සිටින ත්‍රස්ථවාදි කන්ඩායම් මිස කිසිලෙසකිනුත් දේසපාලන පක්ශ නොවේ. සමසමාජ් සහ කොමුනිස්ට් පක්ශද මියපාරලොව ගොස් වසර 70 කටත් වැඩිය.

මේ අනුව දැනට දේශපාලන කන්ඩායමක් ලෙස  ඉතිරිව ඇත්තේ පිපීමට දඟලන නෙලුම් පොහොට්ටුව පමණි. එහි නායකයා දැන් රටේ ජනාධිපති වශයෙන් කටයුතු කරන නිසා අද රටේ දේශපාලන පක්සයක් වශයෙන් සැලකිය හැකි එකම කණ්ඩායම පොහොට්ටුව පමණි. වසර ගණ නකට පසුව එනම් 2009 ට පසුව අද ඒ කන්ඩායම රට පාලනය කරන බව පෙනේ. එය රටවැසියන් වන අපට එක්තරා අන්දමක සැනසීමකි

එබැවින් මේ රටේ නැති පක්ස රැස්වීමක් හෝ නැති පක්ස නායකයින්ගේ රැස්විමක් හෝ එසේම වසර 4 1/2 ක් තිස්සේ පිස්සු කෙළිය නීත්යානුකූල නොවන පර්ලිමේන්තුවද කැඳවීමට කෙරෙන ඉල්ලිම පිස්සුවක් නොවේද.

අනෙක් අතට පර්ලිමේන්තුව හෝ පක්ශනායක රැස්විමක් තියලා මෙ ප්‍රස්නෙ විසන්දන්නේ කොහොමද කියන එකයි අපට තියෙන ප්‍රස්නෙ. එහෙම පුලුවන්නම් ඉතින් වයිද්ය වරු අවස්ය නෑ නෙ. ඒක අයගෙ රාජකරියක් මිස මෙ අසමජ්ජාති දේසපාලකයින්ගේ වැඩක් නොවෙන බව ඔනෑම ගොනෙකුට තේරෙනව. මේ ජාතික ප්‍රස්නය විසදන්ට ජනාධිපති වරයා ඇතුලු අමාත්ය මන්ඩලය අවස්ය දේශපාඅලන නායකත්වය නොඅඩුව දැනටමත් දෙනවා. බෙහෙත් කරන්ට වයිද්ය වරු නිදි නොලබා සේවය කරනව . ත්‍රිවිද හමුදාව සහ පොලීසිය මෙන්ම රටේ පරිපාලන යාන්ත්‍රනය පැය 24 ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. මේ වනතුරු එක් අයකු හෝ තවම මියගොස් නැති එකම රටද මේක.

රට පුරා මිනිස්සු සියළුදෙනාම පක්ෂ පාට නොබලා (පිස්සෝ ටික දෙනෙක් හැර), රජයේ වැඩපිලිවෙලට සම්පූර්ණ සහාය දෙනවා. මේ රෝගය පිටින් රටට ඇතුල්වීමට ඇති සියලු මාර්ග ගුවන් හා මුහුදු මාර්ග තහනම් කිරීමත්ට සහ පිටින් දිවයිනට පැමිනෙණ සියලුදෙනාම සති දෙකක් දැඩි නිරෝධායනයට ලක්කිරීමටත්  රජය පියවර අරන් තියෙනව

මෙම වැඩපිළිවෙල සාර්ථකව ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමට අවස්ය සියළු පියවර අරන් තියෙනවා.  නීතිය අකුරටම ක්‍රියාත්මක් කිරීම සඳහා හදිසි නීතිය අවස්ය පරිදි ජනතාවට අවහිරයක් නොවෙන පරිදි යොදා ගෙන තියෙනව.  වගේම රෝගීන්ට ප්‍රතිකාර කිරීම සන්දහා අවස්ය රෝහල්  බෙහෙත් ද්‍රව්ය සහ පිරිස් බලය නොඅඩුව සම්පාදනය කොට තියෙනවා

එසේම ජනතාවට අවස්ය අහාරපාන ලබා දීම සඳහා  ඒවා ප්‍රවාහනය හා ජනතාවට බෙදාහැරීම සඳහා සතොස, සමුපකාර සමිති හා පුද්ගලික වෙළන්දුන් මගින් කටයුතු යොදා තිබෙණවා. එ වගේම එදිනෙදා කුලිවැඩ කර වේල සොයාගන්නා අයට විශේෂ සහන මල්ලක් ලබා දිම්මටද පියවර අරන් තියෙනවා.

ඒ අතර නීති කඩන පුද්ගලයින්ට විරුධව දැඩිව ක්රියාකිරීමටද පියවර අරන් තිබෙනවා.

වගකිවයුතු රජයක් වශයෙන්  මේ අන්දමින් තත්වය පාලනය කිරිමට අවස්ය සියළු පියවර ගෙන තිබියදී මා මුලින් සඳහන් කළ දේශපාලකයින් විසින් කරණු ලබන අමණ ප්රකාශ අපි බැහැර කරමු. ඔවුන් විසින් පවතින අවදානම් තත්වය යටතේ කළයුතුව ඇත්තේ බොරදියේ මාලු බෑම වහාම නතරකොට  වසර පහක පූර්ණ අරාජකත්වයකින් පසු දැනට ස්ථාපිතව තියෙන රජයට හමදෙන්නගේම සහාය ලබා දිමයි

 අනෙක් අතින් ඔය පාර්ලිමේන්තුව කියන කෙහෙල්මළ රැස්වෙලා ඇති වැඩේ මොකක්ද කියන එක පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ  එදිනෙදා කටයුතු කෙරෙන හැටි මේ රටේ මිනිස්සු දන්නව නෙ. මාසෙට රැස්වීටමට ඇති දින 8 වත් නොඑන , ආවත් එකිනෙකාට බැනගනිමින් සණ්ඩුවෙමින් සත්තුමෙන් හැසිරෙන , එක් දවසකට රුපියල් ලක්ශ 45 කට වැඩිය වියදම් වෙන, මාසික පඩිය සහ පැමිනීමේ ගාස්තුව වන2500 ගැනීමට පමණක් එන, රටේ සන්වර්ධනයට කිසිදු මෙහෙයක් නොකෙරෙන පාර්ලිමේන්තුව හෝ තම තමන්ගේ මඩිය පුරවාගැනීම සහ තමතමන්ගේ දේශපාලන බලය රැකගැනීම එකම අරමුනින්  මෙවැනි විකාර ප්‍රකාශන නිකුත්කරණවා වෙනුවට ඔවුන් කළයුත්තේ දැනටමත් වැඩේ හරියෙට කරන රජයට සහාය දීම නොවේද.

 එදා දඹදිව බුදුන් වහන්සේ බුදු බනින් කෙළ ලක්ශ ගනන් නිවන් දක්වද්දී තමන්ලඟ මිස බුදුන් ලඟ රහත් බැව් නැතයි කියමින් නිර්වස්ත්‍රව වීදි දිගේ පෙළැහැර පාමින්, තමන් හෙලුවෙන් යන බවවත් නොදැන ගිය නිගන්ඨයින්මෙන් නොහැසිරී, විකාර බස් නොදොඩා, තමන් තවමත් දේසපාල්න නායකයින්යයි සිතා සිටින මේ පුද්ගලයින් දැන්වත් තමතමන්ගේ හෙළුව සහ අමණකම් මුලු ලොවටම නොපා නිවෙස්තුළම සිට පණකෙන්ද හෝ බේරාගෙන සිටියේනම් වඩා මැනවයි මම යෝජනා කරමි.

අවසාන වශයෙන් ලන් කාවෙබ් නෙව්ස් සයිට් එකේ ලොව දැවැන්තම කොරෝනා ඇන ගැනීම සජිත්ගෙන්” යන මැය යටතේ  පලවී ඇති නොදන්නා දේ කිමට ගොස් සජිත් හත්පොලේම ගාගෙන තිබීම ගැන හිරන්ති නැමැත්තෙක්  ලියා ඇති පහත සටහනින් මම මේ සටහන අවසන් කරමි

Sajith replaced Anasley Dias, Berty Gunathilaka and Samuel Rodrigo trio.

Sajith, Ranjan and Sujeewa can bring back that entertainment to the public if they get together and continue this way.

They can get Hirunika to replace Mercy Edirisinghe”

A Special Message to our Excellency the President. From Dr Garvin Karunaratne

March 26th, 2020

By Garvin Karunaratne,

Please consider getting the Army to establish the Marketing Department of the Fifties and thereby enable vegetable availability as well as controlling inflation. It can be later developed to be a major department. The total outlay can be recouped including the cost of establishing a Cannery within the first year. I can vouch for this,

My earlier paper is reproduced and if implemented now(can be done in days) will be a great feat. Thanks Garvin Karunaratne(garvin_karunaratne @ hotmail com)26/03/2020

Our President’s Clarion Call for a Remedy to high veg prices.
Posted on February 25th, 2020

By Garvin Karunaratne,

It is hoped that our President’s attention is brought to the fact that our country was the only country in the world to  have a system by which the prices of veg and fruit was unofficially controlled. That was the Marketing Department(MD) at work, buying and selling vegetables and fruit, competing with private traders, keeping a low margin of around fifteen percent to cover up cost of transport and wastage in handling.

It would behove of our President to immediately order the Army to buy vegetables from the Producer Fairs, keep a margin of fifteen percent to cover cost of petrol and wastage and sell in the Cities. Traders keep at least a total of one hundred percent  at the buying place, at the wholesale dealer in Colombo and at the retailer’s place.

The Army was entrusted with this task in the days of Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa in about 1998 and then the city was full of army lorries selling vegetables. I have seen them perform this yeoman service.

The Dambulla Economic Centre and economic Centers at many places- is not the answer, because as detailed in the Daily Mirror of 24/2 Take Immediate steps to control Veg prices: Pres. to Officials” because vegetables brought to Dambulla from the areas of vegetable cultivation are distributed back (for sale) to the original areas… these centers are controlled by large scale traders  with vested interests.” Once it was reported that the officer entrusted with the Dambulla Economic Center was severely assaulted.

It is traders that rule. When I once went to Dambulla and walked around, it was only traders. My incessant visits to producer Fairs  for over six years enables me to sniff producers from a fair distance. It will be a difficult task to find a Producer Fair in entire Sri Lanka not visited by me.

In 1955 when I joined the MD as an Assistant Commissioner we did work from small shanty type of  sheds- we called them Packing Sheds. They were all buildings built with timber, a cement floor and a corrugated cladding to keep off the rain and in a corner was housed the Assistant Commissioner working in the air and dust of onions and condiments. There were no DPJ Towers or Setsiripayas for us.  These were shed put up overnight to house the British Army when the Japanaese declared war.

In the MD,our work commenced at 4 AM in the mornings on at least four days a week, visiting Producer fairs and ensuring that we bought produce competing with the traders.

I include parts of my earlier writings, edited to avoid repetition in support.

(From:High Prices for Vegetables: Is there a remedy? Posted on January 19th, 2020 0

Once in the pre IMF days, in the days before Sri Lanka started playing poodle to the IMF Sri Lanka did have a method by which it controlled inflation.

That was the Marketing Department at work. There was a  scheme where the Marketing Department purchased vegetables at the producer fairs, brought the produce overnight to the cities and sold the produce keeping a very low margin of fifteen percent to cover up cost of transport and wastage. This Scheme which had been developed by Sri Lankan administrators and politicians was abolished on instructions from the IMF in 1978 when the Jayawardena Government caved in to the IMF. Since then it is the private sector traders that rule trade.

If only the Marketing Department  activities are restored, we can not only control inflation, but we can also reduce imports and also find employment for our people.

It is time that our new Government makes an initiative to re establish the Marketing Department activities- its vegetable and fruit marketing scheme and the Canning Factory. That will be a real achievement.

Inflation- Rising Prices is a major concern today. Sri Lanka had built up the infrastructure to control inflation. What we are seeing today-unbridled inflation, has been caused because we  did away with the infrastructure we had.

For the marketing of essential commodities, in my own words:

The Department for the Development  of Agricultural Marketing”¦ ensured that prices of all essential commodities were indirectly controlled and the traders were compelled to offer fair prices to the producers and the retail shop keepers were compelled to sell at fair prices to consumers.  This is a system that I have never seen elsewhere in the world’ ¦The motto of the Department was to pay the highest possible price to the producer and sell at the lowest possible price  to the consumer.( From: How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka,”¦ (Godages: 2006)

 I was involved with the entire System because I was appointed Assistant Commissioner for the Development of Agricultural Marketing in 1955, and worked in the Ratnapura, Hambantota, Anuradhapura  Districts as well as was in charge of the Tripoli Market, the Headquarters of the Vegetable Marketing Scheme for a year in 1957.

 This System involved a Network of Retail Shops(Fair Price Shops) in every major city and a Vegetable  and Fruit Marketing Scheme involving purchasing, selling and processing   vegetables and fruits, a Scheme  that covered the entire island.

The entire island was covered by Assistant Commissioners in the Provinces and Marketing Officers posted in producer areas, who had to report the availability of produce, prices at the Fairs, and guide producers to plant varieties in demand.

 

The Marketing Department established Vegetable and Fruit Packing Sheds(actually purchasing units) in all producing areas. The name given was packing sheds and they were in many places in temporary buildings mostly made with timber. Even some Assistant Commissioners had their offices in these temporary buildings in 1955.

The entire Vegetable Marketing Scheme was administered from Tripoli Market, based in the largest hangar in the Colombo Goodshed.  One part of the Scheme was to purchase vegetables and fruits from producers who brought their produce to our Vegetable Packing Sheds. They were paid immediate cash. The Department was equipped with lorries that were sent to the chief  Producer Fairs in the producer areas. Thus there were mobile purchasing uints at all major fairs like Embilipitiya, Colombage Ara,  Bandarawela, Welimada, Kekirawa to mention just a few. These Purchasing Units comprised Marketing Officers and a staff of purchasing officers and labourers. The produce brought in was weighed and accepted from producers and they were paid cash immediately. The Assistant Commissioners of the Districts were required to visit all major fairs to ensure that the purchases were made regularly. When I worked in the Districts on most days my day commenced at four to get to the Fairs by six in the morning. Vegetables were purchased and packed and dispatched to Triploi by evening either by wagons(by trains) or by special lorry.

At Tripoli Market, the Assistant Commissioner  had a Marketing Officer at the Colombo Wholesale Market. His task was to report the prices at which the wholesale traders sold the produce to the retail traders and to report on the availability of produce. In the Districts, the Assistant Commissioners and the Marketing Officers had to report the prices at which private traders purchased vegetables and fruit.  Generally there was a wide gap between the prices at which the traders purchased goods and the prices at which the Wholesale Traders sold to the retail traders in Colombo. Based on these prices, the Assistant Commissioner at Tripoli Market decided the purchasing prices at which goods were to be purchased at the Fairs. This price was always above the prices offered by the traders who bought goods at the Fairs. This helped the producers and the traders at the Fairs too had to offer a similar price because otherwise they will be out of business.

On a daily basis Tripoli Market received around twenty wagon loads of vegetables and a similar number of lorries bringing in produce. These were checked and had to be in our Retail shops by ten in the morning.  Tripoli Market was a hive of activity from early morning.  Then the Railways ran a very efficient service and brought in produce in time.  For instance curd from Ridiyagama Farm in Hambantota was sent by lorry to Matara and came by night mail train to Tripoli. This was an item in high demand. The retail price we fixed for Ridiyagama Curd effectively controlled the prices of curd in private shops in Colombo.

The Assistant Commissioner at Triploi Market kept a very low margin to cover up cost of transport and handling and fixed a low price for sales to the consumers through the network of Shops. Generally the Marketing Department kept a margin of around 10 to 15% above the purchase price while the private trader at the Fair  kept a margin to 40 to 50% and the Whoelsale Traders too kept around 40% and further the retail trader too kept around 40%.  Thus while the private trader generally kept a margin of 100% or 120% over the purchasing price at the Fair, the Marketing Department kept a margin of 10% to 15%.  

The working of the Marketing Department  meant that the private traders at the Fairs and the Wholesale Traders as well as the Retail Traders in the cities had to be satisfied with a low margin.

The Marketing Department in the Fifties was headed by BLW Fernando, a Chartered Accountant and he would not allow any Assistant Commissioner to keep a higher margin than 15%. That was a rule to be followed. Every month all Assistant Commissioners had to attend a Conference where the Profit and Loss calculations were closely studied and the Commissioner would chastise all Assistant Commissioners that  had a profit of over 10% or incurred a loss.  We were expected to cover up, not to incur a loss or  to get a large profit.

This was the key method by which the prices of vegetables and fruits were kept in check. The Scheme has thus a dual aim- of offering the producer a fair price as well as offering the consumer a low price.  At times it was like walking on a rope but we got used to walk on it.

The Retail Shops had to be well stocked and full of goods otherwise the wrath of the Commissioner had to be faced.

A few years ago on one of my visits I found tomatoes being sold at forty rupees a kilo by a producer on the Mahiyangana Road, when the retail price in Colombo was around rupees eighty to one hundred, a margin of over hundred percent. This could not happen while the Marketing Department was at work. The Assistant Commissioners  were eternally traveling as they had to visit Fairs, inspect purchasing at the Fairs and the Vegetable Purchasing Depots, contact producers and offer advice on items on demand. Generally our traveling allowances exceeded our salaries.

Tripoli Marker had cold rooms where the excess produce could be stored.

This Vegetable Marketing & Fruit Marketingh Scheme  was very successful in ensuring that consumers in cities obtained vegetables and fruits at cheap rates. The Cost of Living was effectively kept in check.

 The Canning Factory

Local producers got a boost with the establishment of the Canning Factory in 1955. At that time Sri Lanka imported fruit juice and fruit from Australia and the task of the Canning factory was to produce fruit juice, jam and jellies. The Vegetable Purchasing Centers sent goods to the Canning Factory. At the initial stages in canning fruit juice many problems were faced and it took over a year to surmount them and get down to production for all Sri Lanka’s requirements. The Marketing Department offered  floor prices for pineapples, red pumpkin and ash pumpkin and producers benefited immensely. Floor prices meant that the Department will purchase everything offered at that price. Pineapple was tinned and even an export trade was built up. Assistant Commissioner Oswald Tilekeratne spread his wings abroad very often. Red Pumpkin was turned into Golden Melon Jam and Ash Pumpkin was turned into Silver Melon jam. The Factory activity made Sri Lanka self sufficient in fruit juice, jam and many other processed food within a few years.

The Marketing Department was called upon to attend to many tasks.

Once Sri Lanka was not self sufficient in eggs. The Marketing Department offered a floor price for eggs and Triploi Market collected eggs from the Negombo-Nattandiya area till Sri Lanka was self sufficient in egg production. Once Self sufficiency was  reached the scheme was disbanded.

With the abolition of the Marketing Department, and the privatization of the canning factory all this achievement was lost. That was the way in which the IMF crippled the development of the Third World and created a situation where we had to import our requirements from the Developed Countries.

Once the tomatoes producers at Hanguranketa made pandals of tomatoes in order to highlight their plight of not being able to sell their tomatoes. This could not have happened while the Marketing Department was functioning. To start with the Assistant Commissioner of the area would be held responsible. If that happened when I was in charge of The Tripoli Market I would have sent a few lorries and the entire stock of tomatoes would have been purchased within a few hours and it would have been turned into Tomatoe Sauce and Juice at the Factory. The MD had a fleet of over a hundred lorries. Today Spain produces tomatoe sauce, tomatoe juice, tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes for most countries in Europe. With a Tomatoe belt in Hanguranketa we cannot produce tomato sauce even for our requirements. Our climate had enabled a variety of crops. There is a mango belt from Anuradhapura to Matale. Even today if action is taken to pluck mangoes and process it, we can be self sufficient in all fruit juice within six months. The Chena cultivators will find sales for their Red Pumpkin,Ash Pumpkin and Melon. There is an Avacado belt from Peradeniya to Gampola and avacado juice can easily be made. The country will benefit by avoiding the millions spent on imports.

Following the liberalization free market economics of the IMF we  created a market for tomatoe sauce from the USA, and fruit juice from as far as Canada and Oregan in the USA.  Our producers have stopped producing large quantities for fear of being unable to sell and we have unemployment and our farmers have low incomes. The Colombo Supermarkets are full of Heinz Tomatoes sauce from the USA and fruit juice and jam from Australia.Even vinegar from the USA! The IMF did its work right to cripple development in our countries and for us to buy goods from the Developed Countries.  That was the Structural Adjustment Programme in action. (For more details: How the IMF Sabotaged Third World Development: Kindle & Godages) It is sad that we have   deaf, dumb and blind  economists who even fail to come to grips with how we were duped by the IMF.

I hope the Army will be enlisted for this task of marketing development. In President Trump’s USA the Army is widely used for irrigation, power station construction, even maintaining levees that keep the sea from flooding New Orleans. In my wide travel in the USA, clocking over 50,000 miles in my Roadtrek motorhome, crossing America thrice I have seen the Army at work doing non military duties on a regular basis. It is we fools that do not enlist the Army for development tasks. If at all we touch the army we call them to the barracks in a short while.

Let the Army experience of Van Sales, this time end with the establishing of a proper Marketing Department with a Cannery. The total cost of establishing a Cannery can be easily recouped in the very first year by the savings of foreign exchange we use today to import fruit juice and fruit preparations   Later on the Army venture can be handed over to a SLAS Department and the Army moved to another task- perhaps the reconstruction of our irrigation tanks.

Let me live in hope.

Garvin Karunaratne,

25/2/2020

“ALMIGHTY GOD” AND CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC

March 26th, 2020

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Rev. Tom Honey was the Parish priest (vicar) of the Church of England in Oxford for more than 20 years and was highly reputed for his thoughtful sermons and the best perhaps being the one he gave in 2005, on Almighty God and Tsunami Disaster” after the devastation caused by the Indian ocean tsunami in which some 300,000 people died.  https://www.ted.com/speakers/revtom honey

What he said then on god and the tsunami devastation, is directly applicable to the present CORONA VIRUS HEALTH DISASTER as well. The corona virus pandemic has been spreading rapidly across the world, affecting more than 520,000 people by late March 2020, in 175 countries, with a death toll of more than 23,500. Numbers affected and death toll appear to show an increasing trend, especially in European (Catholic and Christian countries), notably Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, UK, Netherland,  Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey, Austria, Denmark and among non-European countries, the most affected are in China, USA, Iran, Brazil and South Korea

Rev. Tom Honey, the British Parish priest said in his sermon, How can the existence of evil be reconciled with an almighty God who is also all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful? I have been a parish priest in the Church of England for more than twenty years. For most of that time I’ve been grappling with questions about the nature of God. I’m very aware that when you say God, most people within and outside the church, still have a picture of a celestial controller, a policeman in the sky who orders everything and causes events to happen. He will protect his own people and answer the prayers of the faithful. In the worship of our church the most frequent adjective when we address God is ‘almighty’; but I have become more and more uncomfortable with this common perception of God over the years. Do we really believe in the male boss that our liturgies proclaim?”

He said Two weeks after the tsunami, Sunday morning 9th January. I found myself standing in front of my congregation, intelligent, well-meaning, thoughtful Christian people. I needed to express, on their behalf our feelings and our questions. This is what I said. Shortly after the tsunami I read a newspaper article, written by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, about the tragedy in Southern Asia. The essence of his words was this: the people most affected by the devastation and loss of life do not want intellectual theories, about how God can let this happen. If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier, or safer or more confident in God?”

If the man in the photograph holding the hand of his dead child was standing in front of us now, there are no words that we could say to him. The only appropriate response would be compassionate silence and practical help. It isn’t really a time for preaching or theology, but for tears. This is true, and yet we are here, semi-detached from events so far away, with our faith bruised, and we want an explanation from God.”

Some have concluded that we can only believe in a God who shares our pain. In some way, God feels the anguish and grief, and physical pain that we feel. In some way the eternal God can enter into the souls of human beings and experience the torment within. And if this is true, it must also be that God knows the joy and exaltation of the human spirit. A God who weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. This seems to me both a deeply moving and a convincing restatement of Christian belief about God. For hundreds of years the prevailing orthodoxy, the accepted truth was that God the Father, the creator, is unchanging and therefore cannot feel pain or sadness. The unchanging God feels a bit cold and indifferent to me. I wonder if you agree.”

The devastating events of the 20th century forced people to question the cold unfeeling God. The slaughter of millions in the trenches and in the death camps, caused people to ask, ‘Where is God in all this?’ And the answer was, God is in this with us, or God doesn’t deserve our allegiance. If God is a bystander, observing but not involved, then God may exist, but we don’t want to know about him. Many Jews and Christians now feel like this, I know. And I am among them. So, we have a suffering God. A God who is intimately connected with this world, and with every living soul. I very much relate to this idea of God. But it isn’t enough. I need to ask some more questions, and I hope they are questions that some of you want to ask as well, some of you.

Over the last few weeks I have been struck by the number of times that words in our worship have felt a bit inappropriate, a bit dodgy. On Tuesday mornings we have a Pram Service for Mums and their pre-school children. Last week we sang with the children, one of their favourite songs – The Wise Man Built His House on the Rock. Some of the words go like this the foolish man built his house upon the sand…….and the floods came up……and the house on the sand went crash”. Then at a funeral there was the familiar hymn We plough the fields and scatter”. In the second verse comes the line, the wind and waves obey him.” Do they? I don’t think we can sing those words again. So, the first big question is about control. Is God in control? Does God order each moment? Does God have a plan for each of us? Do the wind and waves obey him?

From time to time one hears Christians telling the story of how God organised things for them, so that everything worked out alright. Some difficulty was overcome, some illness cured, some trouble averted, a parking space found at a crucial time. I can remember someone saying this to me, her eyes shining bright with joy, as a wonderful confirmation of her faith and the goodness of God. But if God can or will do these things, intervene to change the flow of events, then surely, he could have stopped the tsunami happening. A local god who can do little things like parking spaces, but not big things like 500mph waves. That’s not acceptable, and we must acknowledge it. Either God is responsible for the tsunami, or God is not in control. After the tragedy, survival stories began to emerge. The man who surfed the wave. The teenage girl who recognised the danger because she had just been learning about tsunamis at school. Then there was the congregation who had left their usual church building on the shore to hold a service in the hills. The preacher delivered an extra long sermon, so that they were still out of harm’s way when the wave struck. Afterwards someone said God had been looking after them. So, the next question is about partiality. Can we earn God’s favour by worshipping him or believing in him? Does God demand loyalty like any medieval tyrant? A god who looks after his own, so that Christians are ok, while the others perish. A cosmic us and them, and a god who is guilty of the worst kind of favouritism. That would be appalling, and I would have to hand back my membership. Such a god would be morally inferior to the highest ideals of humanity.

So, who is God, if not the great puppet-master or the tribal protector of Christians? Perhaps God allows or permits terrible things to happen, so that heroism and compassion can be shown. Perhaps God is testing us, testing our charity or our faith. Perhaps there is a great, cosmic plan that allows for horrible suffering so that everything will work out in the end. Perhaps, but all these ideas are variations of God controlling everything. The supreme commander toying with expendable units, in a great campaign. We are still left with a God who can do the tsunami and allow Auschwitz. Almighty God is just incompatible with loving God.

In his great novel The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky gives these words to Ivan, addressed to his naive, devout younger brother Aly osha, If the sufferings of children go to make up the sum of sufferings which is necessary for the purchase of truth, then I say beforehand that the entire truth is not worth such a price….we cannot afford to pay so much for admission….it is not God that I do not accept. I merely most respectfully return him the ticket.” Or perhaps God set the whole universe going at the beginning and then relinquished control for ever, so that natural processes could occur, and evolution run its course. This seems more acceptable, but it still leaves God with the ultimate moral responsibility for human behaviour and natural processes. Is God a cold unfeeling spectator?…or a powerless lover, watching with infinite compassion things God is unable to change?…..Or is God intimately involved in our suffering, so that God feels it in his own being.

If we believe something like this, we must let go of the puppet-master completely, take our leave of the almighty controller. Abandon traditional models. We must think again about God. Maybe God doesn’t do things at all. Maybe God isn’t an agent in the sense that we are all agents. Early religious thought conceived God as a sort of super human person, doing mighty acts all over the place. The God of the Old Testament fought for his people, drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea, wasted cities, and wiped out the enemy down to the last woman and child. The people knew their God by his mighty acts.

But what if God doesn’t act? What if God doesn’t do things at all? What if God is in things? The loving soul of the universe. An indwelling, compassionate presence, underpinning and sustaining all things. What if God is in things? In the infinitely complex network of relationships and connections that make up life. In the natural cycle of life and death, the creation and destruction that happen continuously. In the process of evolution. In the incredible intricacy and magnificence of the natural world in the collective unconscious, the soul of the human race. In you and me, mind and body and spirit, in the tsunami, in the victims. In the depth of things. In presence and in absence. In simplicity and complexity, in change and development and growth.

How does this in-ness, this interiority of God work? It’s hard to conceive and begs more questions. Is God just another name for the universe, with no independent, external existence? I don’t know. To what extent can we ascribe personality to God? I don’t know. In the end, we have to say, I don’t know”. If we knew, God would not be God. To have faith in this God would be more like trusting an essential goodness and benevolence in the universe, and less like believing a system of doctrinal statements. Isn’t it ironic that Christians who claim to believe in an infinite, unknowable being, then tie God down in closed systems and rigid doctrines? Faith in God demands the huge step of saying, despite all appearances to the contrary, I trust that there is a loving presence, but I will live without knowing.”

How would one practise such a faith? By seeking the God within. By cultivating my own inwardness. In silence, in meditation, in my inner space, in the me that remains when I gently put aside my passing emotions and ideas and preoccupations. In awareness of the inner conversation. How would I live such a faith? By seeking intimate connection with your inwardness. The kind of relationships when deep speaks to deep. If God is in all people, then there is a meeting place where my relationship with you becomes a three-way encounter. There is an Indian greeting ‘namaste’, accompanied by a respectful bow which roughly means, ‘that which is of God in me greets that which is of God in you’. How would one deepen such a faith? By seeking the inwardness which is in all things. In music and poetry, in the natural world of beauty, in the small ordinary things of life, there is a deep indwelling presence that makes them extraordinary. But it needs a profound attentiveness, and a patient waiting. A contemplative attitude, an awareness of my own infinite value, and a generosity and openness to those whose experience is different from mine.

When I stood up to speak to my people about God and the tsunami, I had no answers to offer them. No neat packages of faith with Bible references to prove them. Only doubts and questions and uncertainty. I had some suggestions to make – possible new ways of thinking about God. Ways that might allow us to go on, down a new and uncharted road. But in the end the only thing I could say for sure was I don’t know, and that might just be the most profoundly religious statement of all.

DR ROWAN WILLIAMS –  THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, writes in The Sunday Telegraph UK, on 02 January 2005 a deeply personal and candid article, where he says “it would be wrong” if faith were not “upset” by the catastrophe which has already claimed more than 150,000 lives. The Asian tsunami disaster should make all Christians question the existence of God, 

Dr Rowan Williams admits that Prayer provides no ‘magical solutions’ and most of the stock Christian answers to human suffering do not “go very far in helping us, one week on, with the intolerable grief and devastation in front of us”.

Dr Williams, who, as head of the Church of England, represents 70 million Anglicans around the world, writes: “Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up in comfort and ready answers. Faced with the paralysing magnitude of a disaster like this, we naturally feel more deeply outraged – and also more deeply helpless.” He adds: “The question, ‘How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?’ is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren’t – indeed it would be wrong if it weren’t.” Dr Williams concludes that, faced with such a terrible challenge to their faith, Christians must focus on “passionate engagement with the lives that are left”.

වගකීම ආණ්ඩුවට පවරලා කොරෝනාවෙන් මිදෙන්න බෑ!

March 26th, 2020

ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති

තමන් මුහුණ දුන් කෝවිඩ් – 19 උවදුරෙන් අත්මිදීමට චීනය සමත් විය. එහෙත් ඉතාලිය ඇතුළු බටහිර රටවල් මෙම සටන තුළ බලවත් අර්බුදයකට මුහුණ පා සිටිති. මේ වන විට අපිදු මෙම වසංගතය නිසා පීඩාවට පත් වී සිටිමු. චීනය මෙම සටනින් ජය ගත්තේ කෙසේ ද, බටහිර රටවල් මුහුණ දී සිටින ගැටලුව මොකක්ද, මේ සියල්ලෙන් අපට උගත හැකි පාඩම් මොනවා ද යන මේ ප්‍රශ්නවලට පිළිතුරු ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා අප හමුවූයේ අන්තර්-සංස්කෘතික සන්නිවේදනය සහ චීන අධ්‍යයන විෂයය පිළිබඳ ප්‍රාමාණිකයකු ද සමාජ විචාරකයකු ද වන ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති මහතායි.

කොරෝනා උවදුරෙන් මිදෙන්න චීනයට පුළුවන් වෙලා. ඒ අය මේ සටන ජයගත්තේ කොහොම ද?

මේ වගේ මහා පරිමාණ අර්බුදයක් ආණ්ඩුවකට හරි හමුදාවකට හරි තනියෙන් පාලනය කරන්න බෑ. වෛද්‍යවරුන්ටත් බෑ. මේකට සියලුම ජනතාව එක විදිහට සම්බන්ධ වෙන සාමුහික ප්‍රයත්නයක් ඕන. හැම කෙනෙක් ම තමන්ගේ වගකීම හඳුනාගෙන ඒ දේ කරන්න ඕන. මේක මිනිස්සුන්ගේ පැත්තෙන් ගත්තාමත් තනි වගකීමක් නෙවෙයි. අපි මේක තේරුම් ගන්න ඕන සාමූහික වගකීමක් විදිහට. සාමුහිකත්වය කියන්නේ සංස්කෘතික විදිහට නිර්මාණය වෙන දෙයක්. අවුරුදු හාර පන්දාහක දීර්ඝ ඉතිහාසයක් තියෙන චීන මිනිස්සු තුළ තාමත් අඩුවක් නැතුව සාමුහිකත්වය තියෙනවා. චීන කොමියුනිස්ට් පක්‍ෂය මුල් වෙලා කරපු විප්ලවය ජයග්‍රහණයෙන් අවසන් වුනෙත් මේ සාමුහික ගුණය මනාව හදුනා ගෙන ඒ වැඩේ කරපු හින්දා. ඉතින් මේ වතාවේ කොරෝනාව පරද්දන සටනටත් චීන මිනිස්සු ළඟ තියෙන ඒ සාමුහික ගුණය හේතු වුනා.

චීනයේ තියෙන දැඩි පාලනය මේකට හේතු වුනා කියන්න බැරි ද?

කොච්චර දැඩි පාලනයකට වුනත් සමාජයක හැම අස්සක් මුල්ලක් ම බලන්න බෑ. මේ දවස්වල අපේ රටේ ඇඳිරි නීතිය ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. මේක ඉතාමත් දැඩි විදිහට මිනිස්සු පාලනය කිරීමක්. ඒත් මේ නීතිය පනවපු පමණින් මිනිස්සු ගෙවල්වලට වෙලා ඉන්නවා ද? හැම ගමක් අස්සට ම පොලීසියට යන්න පුළුවන් ද? අපේ රටේ වගේ ජනගහනයක් ද චීනයේ ඉන්නේ? චීනය කොච්චර නම් ලොකු ද? ඉතින් දැඩි පාලනයක් තිබුණා කියලා මේ වගේ වැඩ කරන්න බෑ. මේක මිනිස්සු එකතු වෙලා සාමූහික විඥානයකින් කරන්න ඕන වැඩක්.

සාමුහික විඥානයක් කියලා ඔබ අදහස් කරන්නේ?

තව සති තුනක් ගත වෙන්න කලින් අපි සිංහල අවුරුද්ද සමරනවා. අවුරුද්දට අදාළ වැඩ අපි කරන්නේ ආණ්ඩුවේ හරි කාගේ හරි නියෝගවලට අවනත වෙලා නෙවෙයි. මේ වැඩේට අදාළ සාමූහික විඥානයක් අපිට තියෙනවා. ඉතින් අපි හැමෝම ඒකට අදාළ වැඩ එක විදිහකට කරනවා. මේ විඥානය උපද්දවලා තියෙන්නේ සංස්කෘතිය විසින්. පහුගිය දවස්වල අපේ තරුණ ළමයි එකතු වෙලා තාප්පවල චිත්‍ර ඇන්දෙත් එක්තරා සාමූහික විඥානයකින් බැඳිලා. යුද්ධයක් ඇති වුනාමත් අපි මේ විදිහට සාමූහිකව බැ‍ඳෙනවා. මේ හැකියාව සංස්කෘතික විදිහට හැඩ ගහගෙන නැතිනම් මිනිස්සුන්ට තමන්ගේ වගකීම හඳුනාගෙන එකතු වෙන්න බෑ.

ඉතාලියේ අයට මේ සංස්කෘතික පුහුණුව නැති ද?

ඉතාලිය කියන්නේ කතෝලික රටක්. කතෝලික කියන වචනයේ තේරුමත් සාමූහික කියන එක. ඉතින් ඉතාලි සංස්කෘතිය ඇතුළේ මේ පුහුණුව තියෙන්න ඕන. ඒත් මේ බටහිර රටවල් දැන් වැඩි තැනක් දෙන්නේ ලිබරල් සංස්කෘතියට. ප්‍රංශ විප්ලවය මහා ජයග්‍රහණයක් විදිහට බටහිර රටවල්වල සළකන්නේ පැරැණි සාමූහික සමාජ ක්‍රමය බිඳ දාලා ලිබරල් ලෝකයක් උදා කරන වැඩේට අදාළ මූලික පෙරැළියක් ඒකෙන් සනිටුහන් කෙරුණු හින්දා. ඉතින් දැන් කතෝලික, ක්‍රිස්තියානි භේදයක් නැතුව මේ හැම රටක් ම සාමූහිකත්වය අමතක කරලා, පුද්ගලිකත්වයට මුල් තැනක් දෙන ලිබරල් සංස්කෘතියට යට වෙලා.

ඒත් බටහිර රටවල්වල පාලන ක්‍රමය හොදින් සංවිධාන ගත කරලා තියෙනවානේ?

තර්කානුකූල විදිහට හිතලා ඇති කරපු පාලන යාන්ත්‍රණයක් බටහිර රටවල්වල තියෙනවා. ඊට අමතරව නීතියේ පාලනයත් ඉහළින් ම තියෙනවා. ඉතින් රට පාලනය කරන්නේ කවුද කියන එක ඒ අයට අදාළ නෑ. කවුරු ජනාධිපති වුනත්, කවුරු අගමැති වුනත් පාලන යන්ත්‍රය ඒකට අදාළ විදිහට ම ඉස්සරහට යනවා. ඒත් මේ වගේ මහා පරිමාණ ආපදාවක දී ඒ යන්ත්‍රය අකර්මන්‍ය වෙනවා. මෙහෙම වෙලාවට කරන්න ඕන මොකක්ද කියලා යන්ත්‍රය දන්නේ නෑ. ඒ යන්ත්‍රය මෙහෙයවන අය දන්නෙත් නෑ. ඔක්කොම වගකීම් යන්ත්‍රයට පවරලා තමන්ගේ පුද්ගලිකත්වයේ ගැලිලා ඉන්න සාමාන්‍ය මිනිස්සු ඒ ගැන කිසිම දෙයක් දන්නේ නෑ.

එතකොට අපේ රටේ වෙලා තියෙන්නේ මොකක් ද?

අපිත් චීන ජනතාව වගේ ම දීර්ඝ ඉතිහාසයකට උරුමකම් කියන ජාතියක්. ඉතින් ඒ හරහා උරුම කරගත්ත සාමූහිකත්වයක් අපිට තියෙනවා. මේක අදාළ සාමූහික විඥානය ඉස්සරහට එන්නේ අපි අවුරුදු කද්දි විතරක් නෙවෙයි. නාය යෑමක්, මහා ගංවතුරක් වගේ හදිසි ආපදාවක් ඇති වුනාමත් අපේ මිනිස්සු සාමූහිකව ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙලා ඒ ප්‍රශ්න විසඳා ගන්නවා. ඒ වෙලාවට අපේ රාජ්‍ය යාන්ත්‍රණය හරිම අකාර්යක්‍ෂම බව අපි දන්නවා. චක්‍රලේඛවලින්, නියෝගවලින් අපේ මිනිස්සු මෙහෙයවන්න බෑ. හැබැයි දැන් තියෙන්නේ වසංගතයක් හින්දා මේකට එරෙහි සටනට මිනිස්සු එකතු කරන්න පුළුවන් වෙනත් ක්‍රම අපි හොයාගන්න ඕන. මොන විදිහකින් හරි මේ සටනටත් අපි අපේ සාමූහික විඥානයෙන් වැඩ ගන්න ඕන.

ඒත් දැන් අපි කරන්නේ වගකීම ආණ්ඩුවට පවරලා බලාගෙන ඉන්න එකනේ?

අපි බලාගෙන ඉන්නවා නම් ඒත් කමක් නෑ. ඒ වුනත් ඇඳිරි නීතිය වගේ ක්‍රමවලින් අපේ මිනිස්සු මේච්චල් කරන්න බෑ. කරන්න ඕන හොඳම වැඩේ තමයි මිනිස්සුන්ට වගකීම් පවරන එක. ඒක වුනත් නියෝගවලින් කරන්න බෑ. අපි එකතු වෙලා මෙහෙම කරමු” කියලා කිව්වොත් විතරයි අපේ මිනිස්සු ඒ වගේ වැඩට සම්බන්ධ වෙන්නේ.

මොන වගේ වැඩ ද මේ විදිහට කරන්න පුළුවන්?

කොටි ප්‍රශ්නය තියෙන කාලේ අපි සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටු ක්‍රියාත්මක කළා. ඒක සාමූහික විදිහට වගකීම පැවරීමක්. ඉතින් මේ සටන සඳහාත් අපිට පුළුවන් සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටු පිහිටුවන්න. අපේ ගම්වල පන්සලේ ස්වාමීන්වහන්සේලා, ග්‍රාමීය නායකයෝ සහ තරුණ පිරිස් සම්බන්ධ කරගෙන මේ වැඩේ කරන්න පුළුවන්. ත්‍රී රෝද රථ ධාවනය කරන අයටත් පුළුවන් මේ වෙනුවෙන් සෑහෙන වැඩ කොටසක් කරන්න.

ත්‍රී රෝද රථ ධාවනය කරන අයට?

ඔව්. ගෙවල්වල අවශ්‍යතා හඳුනා ගෙන ඕන කරන දේවල් තොග වශයෙන් ගෙනැල්ලා ඉල්ලපු දේවල් අදාළ ගෙවල්වලට බෙදන වැඩේ සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටුවට කරන්න පුළුවන්. ත්‍රී රෝද රථ ධාවනය කරන අයට මේ යටතේ කරන්න පුළුවන් දේවල් කියන්න ඕන නෑනේ. මෙහෙම කරන්න පුළුවන් නම් තමන්ට අවශ්‍ය දේවල් මිල දී ගන්න හැම කෙනෙක් ම කඩේ යන්න ඕන නෑ. ඒ අයට පුළුවන් තමන්ට අවශ්‍ය ගනුදෙනු ගෙදර ඉඳලා ම කරගන්න.

චීනයේත් මේ වැඩේ කළා ද?

චීනය පුරා ම සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටු පිහිටෙව්වා. හැබැයි චීනයේ මංගත (online) වෙළෙඳාම දියුණු හින්දා මිනිස්සු තමන්ට ඕන දේවල් මිල දී ගත්තේ ඒ හරහා. හැබැයි ඒවා ගෙයක් ගෙයක් ගානේ බෙදන එකට හවුල් වෙන්න සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටුවලට සිද්ද වුනා. අදාළ සමාගම්වල ඉඳලා බඩු ප්‍රවාහනය කරන අය ආවේ සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක නිලධාරින් ඉන්න තැනට විතරයි. ඒත් අපේ රටේ මංගත වෙළෙඳාම දියුණු නෑ. ගම්වල අයට මේ වැඩ තේරෙන්නෙත් නෑ. ඉතින් අපේ සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටුවලට පුළුවන් ගෙවල්වලට දුරකථන ඇමතුම් දීලා අවශ්‍ය දේවල් ගැන අහන්න. ඊට පස්සේ දවසකට දෙකකට වතාවක් ඒ අවශ්‍යතා සපුරලා දෙන්න.

මේ විදිහට වගකීම් පැවරීමෙන් ලැබෙන තවත් ප්‍රයෝජන තියෙනවා ද?

ඔව්. මේක තමන් මහන්සි වෙලා කරන සටනක් බව මේ වැඩේ හරහා මිනිස්සු තේරුම් ගන්නවා. එහෙම වුනාම ඒක කඩාකප්පල් වෙනවා දකින්න මිනිස්සු කැමැති වෙන්නේ නෑ. මේ සටනට ඕන සාමූහික විඥානය ඉතාමත් තද විදිහට මේ හරහා වර්ධනය වෙනවා. එහෙම වුනාම මේකට බාධා කරන අය මෙල්ල කරන වගකීම මිනිස්සු ස්වේච්ඡාවෙන් ම තමන්ට පවරා ගන්නවා. ඒ හින්දා පුළුවන් ඉක්මනින් ම මේ වැඩේ පටන් ගන්න ඕන කියලා මම හිතනවා.

සාමුහිකත්වයට අමතරව මේ සටන වෙනුවෙන් චීනයෙන් අපිට ගන්න පුළුවන් ආදර්ශ තියෙනවා ද?

චීනය මේ සටන දිනුවේ දේශප්‍රේමය මුල් කරගෙන. හැම වැඩ බිමක ම වගේ ශබ්ද විකාශන යන්ත්‍ර හරහා දේශප්‍රේමී ගීත ප්‍රචාරය කරන්න ඒ තැන්වල වගකීම් දරපු අය ක්‍රියා කළා. ඒ හරහා තමයි මේ සටනට අවශ්‍ය චිත්ත ධෛර්යය මිනිස්සුන්ට ලබා දුන්නේ. එහෙම වුනාම තමයි මිනිස්සු ආත්මාර්ථය පැත්තකින් තියලා තමන්ගේ ජීවිතය වුනත් කැප කරලා ඉස්සරහට යන්න ඉදිරිපත් වෙන්නේ. දේශප්‍රේමයට මුල් තැනක් දීලා තමයි මාධ්‍ය ආයතන පවා ක්‍රියා කළේ. ඉතින් අපිට ඒ ආදර්ශයත් බොහොම ප්‍රයෝජනවත්.

චීන සාම්ප්‍රදායික වෙදකමින් මේ සටනට ලැබිච්ච උදව්ව මොකක් ද?

තමන්ගේ වෙදකමට චීනයේ නීතියෙන් ම ප්‍රමුඛතාව දීලා තියෙනවා. චීනයේ තියෙන හැම බටහිර රෝහලක ම අනිවාර්යයෙන් ම චීන වෛද්‍ය අංශයක් පවත්වා ගෙන යන්න ඕන. ඊට අමතරව, චීන – බටහිර ඒකාබද්ධ රෝහල් විශාල ප්‍රමාණයකුත් චීනයේ තියෙනවා. චීනයේ ඉන්න බටහිර වෛද්‍යවරු තමන්ගේ ජාතික වෛද්‍ය උරුමයට ගරහන්නේ නෑ. ඉතින් මේ සටන දිනන්න චීන වෙදකමින් ලැබිච්ච උදව්ව බොහොම ඉහළින් චීනයේ කතා වෙනවා. චීන වෙදකමින් නිර්දේශ කරන පිළියම් මිනිස්සු අනුගමනය කරනවා.

චීනය මේ වෙද්දි ‍අනිත් රටවල්වල කොරෝනාව මඩින්නත් මැදිහත් වෙනවා නේ ද?

ඔව්. මේකත් සාමූහික විඥානය මුල් කරගෙන කරන වැඩක් කියලා තමයි මම හිතන්නේ. තමන් විතරක් දිනලා මේ හතුරා පරද්දන්න බැරි බව චීන මිනිස්සු දන්නවා. පහුගිය සතියේ ඉඳලා චීනයෙන් වාර්තා වෙච්ච හැම කොරෝනා ලෙඩෙක් ම වෙන රටවල්වල ඉඳලා චීනයට ආපු අය. ඉතින් අනිත් රටවල්වල ලෙඩේ දරුණු විදිහට පැතිරෙද්දි චීනයට විතරක් ආරක්‍ෂා වෙන්න බෑ. මේ සටනින් දිනන්න නම් මුළු ලෝකයේ ම මිනිස්සු සාමූහිකව හිතලා අදාළ වගකීම් තමන්ට පවරාගෙන කටයුතු කරන්න ඕන.

ඒ කියන්නේ ලිබරල් අදහස්වලින් ලෝකය ම මිදෙන්න ඕන කියන එක ද?

මම එහෙම ම කියන්නේ නෑ. ලිබරල් අදහස්වල තියෙන හොඳ, ගැලපෙන දේවල් අපි රැකගන්න ඕන. හැබැයි සාමූහිකත්වය අමතක කරලා පුද්ගලවාදයෙන් විතරක් නම් ඉස්සරහට යන්න මිනිස්සුන්ට බෑ. මේ ලෝකය රැක ගන්න පුළුවන් සාමූහික විදිහට එකතු වෙලා මිසක් තනි තනියෙන් තමන්ගේ අයිතිවාසිකම් ගැන හිතලා නෙවෙයි. ඉතින් මේක මිනිස් සංහතියේ අනාගතය තීරණය කරන චින්තන පරිවර්තනයකට අදාළ කරගන්න පුළුවන් අර්බුදයක් කියලා මම හිතනවා. මේ වගේ පරිවර්තන අවස්ථාවක දී ඒකට හවුල් වෙන්නේ නැතුව ආණ්ඩුවට බැන බැන ඉන්න ගියොත් අපි විශාල කරදරයකට මුහුණ දීලා තමයි වැඩේ ඉවර කර ගන්නේ. විවෘත ආර්ථිකයේ ගියෙන ගැටලු පවා මේ හරහා ඉස්සරහට ඇවිල්ලා තියෙනවා. ගෙවතු වගාව, කෘෂිකර්මයට මුල් තැන දීම වගේ දේවල් ගැන අපි දැන් සෑහෙන්න කතා කරනවා. අපි මේවා කතාවට විතරක් සීමා කරගෙන බෑ. සමුපකාරය පවා නැවත පණ ගන්වන්න ඕන.

සමුපකාර ක්‍රමය ගැන අපේ මිනිස්සුන්ට කිසිම පැහැදීමක් නෑනේ?

ඒක ඇත්ත. අපි සමුපකාර ක්‍රමය ආයෙත් ඇති කරගන්න ඕන අසාර්ථක වෙච්ච පරණ ආකෘතිය ඇතුළේ නෙවෙයි. සමුපකාරය ගමේ මිනිස්සුන්ට අයිති හවුල් සමාගමක් බවට පත් කරනවා වගේ ආකෘතික වෙනසක් කරලා තමයි අපි ඒ වැඩේ කරන්න ඕන. සහෝදරත්වයේ ආර්ථිකය (Solidarity economy) කියලා සංකල්පයක් ලෝක මට්ටමින් ඉස්සරහට එමින් තියෙනවා. අපේ සාමූහික ආර්ථික අවශ්‍යතා සම්පූර්ණ කරගන්න අපිටත් ඒ වගේ ක්‍රමයක් ගැන හිතන්න වෙනවා. අද වෙද්දි මේ අර්බුදය නිසා සුපිරි වෙළඳසල් පවා අකර්මන්‍ය වෙලා. ඇදිරි නීතිය අයින් කළාම වරුවක් විතර පෝලීමේ ඉඳලා සුපිරි වෙළඳසල් ඇතුළට යන මිනිස්සු දකින්නේ හිස් රාක්ක. ගමේ මිනිස්සුන්ට අයිති හවුල් සමාගම් විදිහට සමුපකාර ක්‍රමය ඇති කරලා තිබුණා නම් මේක වෙන්නේ නෑ. ඒ ක්‍රමය ඇතුළේ ප්‍රාග්ධන හිමියාත්, වෙළෙඳසල් සේවකයාත්, පාරිභෝගිකයාත් එකම පිරිසක්. ඉතින් ඒ අය පොදු සාමූහික වගකීමකින් කටයුතු කරන එක ඉබේම සිද්ද වෙනවා.
 
සාකච්ඡා කළේ: දිහාන් බණ්ඩාර කීරියවත්ත

කොරෝනා වෛරසයේ දේශපාලනය

March 26th, 2020

චන්ද්‍රසේන පණ්ඩිතගේ 

මේ දිනවලදී කොරෝනා වෛරසය ජාත්‍යන්තර දේශපාලනයේදී හා ජාතික දේශපාලනයේදී මනරම් කාර්යභාරයක් ඉටුකරමින් සිටි. අප මේ වෛරසය හා ගනුදෙනු කිරීමේදී, ඉතා බුද්ධිමත්ව කටයුතුකර කොරෝනා වෛරසය ඉතිහාසයේ, විමුක්තිදායකයකුගේ කාර්යභාරය ඉටුකළ දෙවාශිර්වාදයක් බවට පරිවර්තනය කරගත හැක.

ඉපදෙන සෑම සියලු දෙනෙක්ම මැරෙන අතර, කොරෝනා වෛරසය විසින් මේ මතක්කර දෙන්නේ, අමරණීයයි සිතාගෙන කටයුතු කරන මිනිසුන්ට මරණය ඔවුන් කරා ඕනෑම අවස්ථාවකදී ලඟා විය හැකි බව පෙන්වාදීමයි. අපි ඉතිහාසයේ, වෛරස් ගණනාවක් සමග ඇසුරුකර ඇති මිනිසුන් වශයෙන් ඒ ඒ වෛරසයන් විසින් ඉටුකරන ලද දේශපාලන කාර්යයන් සම්බන්ධව මනා අවබෝධයකින් සිටින්නෝ වෙමු. වසුරිය, සරම්ප, පැපොල, ඒඩ්ස්, ඉබෝලා, සාස්, දැන් කොරෝනාව දිදුලමින් සිටියි.

ඇමරිකාවේ මුල්පදින්චිකරුවන් වන රතු ඉන්දියානුවන්ව මිලියන ගණනින් වනසන්න එදා බටහිර ජාතින් පාවිච්චි කලේ වසුරිය වෛරසයයි. ඒ එරට තුල අධිරාජ්‍යවාදය ස්ථාපනය කල මුල් අවදියේදී වෛරසය සිදුකල දේශපාලනයයි. එදා ඒ ආකාරයෙන් ආරම්භවූ ඒ වෛරස් දේශපාලනය ඉතා දරුණු ආකාරයෙන් ජනතාව පෙළමින් මුළු ලොවම පාලනය කලේ දැඩි මර්ධනකාරී පිලිවෙතකිනි. වෛරසය, විෂ රසායනිකයන්, පරමාණු බෝම්බ, හා විවිධ බෝම්බ වර්ග, මත ද්‍රව්‍ය, ත්‍රස්තවාදය, එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ සංවිධානය යන සියලුම මර්ධනකාරී යාන්ත්‍රණයන් ඉටුකළේ ජාතික හා ජාත්‍යන්තර ප්‍රජාව මර්ධනයකර සුලුතර පාලනයක් ලොව පුරාගෙන යාමයි.

අධිරාජ්‍යවාදීන් පසුකලෙක ප්‍රබලව පාවිච්චිකරන ලද වෛරසය වුයේ, ඒඩ්ස් වෛරසයයි. මෙය අප්‍රිකා මහාද්වීපය ඉලක්ක කර ස්ථාපනය කරන ලද අතර, මෙය විසින් මරා දමන ලද මිනිසුන්ගේ සංක්‍යාව හා මරා දමමින් ඉන්නා සංක්‍යාව සම්බන්ධව අද කිසිවෙක් ප්‍රශ්න නොකරන තරමට මෙය සාමාන්‍ය දෙයක් බවට පත්ව ඇත. ඒඩ්ස් අප්‍රිකාව පුරා සුවසේ සිය බලය පාවිච්චිකරමින් මිනිස් ජිවිත විනාශ කරන අතර, ඒඩ්ස් වයිරසයට පැතිරීමට ලබාදී ඇති පහසුකම් දෙස බලන විට මේ මිනිසුන් මොන තරම් තුච්ච පහත් පෙලේ අය දැයි යන්න අපට වැටහේ. ඒඩ්ස් වැළදුන රෝගියාගේ මානව අයිතිවාසිකම් සුරැකීම අනිවාර්යෙන් කලයුතු කාර්යක් සේ හඟවා රෝගියා නිරෝගී මිනිසුන් අතර රදවා ඒඩ්ස් රෝගයට හිත සුව සමාජයක් අප්‍රිකාව පුරාම නිර්මාණය කර ඇත. ඒ අධිරාජ්‍යවාදීන් අප්‍රිකාව කොල්ල කෑමට මේ වනවිටත් යොදාගෙන ඇති වෛරස් කෙවිටයි.

වර්තමානයේ ලොවපුරා රංග දෙන මේ කොරෝනා වෛරසයේ උපත අප නොදන්නා බැවින්, ඒ සම්බන්ධව පවතින කතා සම්බන්ධව අපේ අවධානය ඉවතලා, මේ වෛරසය සිදුකරන දේශපාලන අපට හිතකර ආකාරයට පාවිච්චි කිරීමට වෙර දැරිය යුතුය. දැන් මේ වෛරසයෙන් ප්‍රබලව බැටකන්නේ, ඉතාලිය, ජර්මනිය, ප්‍රංශය, ස්පාඥය, ඇමරිකාව, කැනඩාව යන රාජ්‍යන් වීම විශේෂිතය. දැන් සිදුව ඇත්තේ ශත වර්ෂ ගණනාවක් පුරා ලොව මරණය අන්ජාතීන්ට උරුමකරමින් අමරණිය ලෙස ජිවත්වුවන්ට වෛරසය පාරා වළල්ලක් බවට පත්ව තිබීමයි. අප ඒ දෙස බලාසිටිනවා මිස අන් කිසිවක් කිරීමට වෙහෙසීමක් නොකළ යුතුය. නමුත් අපි අප රට තුල මෙය මර්ධනය කර අනාගතයේ බිහිවෙන සොදුරු ලෝකයක බලය හොබවන්නේක්ගේ තත්වයට අප රට නිර්මාණය කිරීමට මග පැදිය යුතුය.

වතු කම්කරුවන් සඳහා සහන සැලසීම

March 26th, 2020

මුනියණ්ඩි කාලිදාස් කැඳවුම්කරු කඳුකර සහෝදරත්ව ව්‍යාපාරය

ඉතා බිහිසුනු ලෙස කොරෝනා වෛරසය ලොවපුරා ජීවිත දහස් ගණනින් බිලිගනිමින් තිබෙන මොහොතක ලාංකික අප ද එම භයානක තත්වයට මුහුණදී සිටින්නෙමු. මෙම වෛරසය පැරදවීම සඳහා ආණ්ඩුව විසින් තීන්දු තීරණ ගණනාවක් ගෙන තිබුනද මෙරටේ විශාල පිරිසක් ජීවත්වන වතු ආශ‍්‍රිත ජනතාවගේ ජන ජීවිතය පිළිබඳ කිසිදු සාධාරණ තීන්දුවක් නොගැනීම සම්බන්ධව අපට තිබෙන්නේ මහත් කණගාටුවකි.

සියවස් දෙකක ඉතිහාසයකට හිමිකම් කියන වතු කම්කරු ජනතාව මේ මොහොත වන විට ඉතා අසරණ තත්වයකට පත්ව සිටී. එසේම ඔවුන්ට සේවයට පැමිණෙන ලෙසට වතු සමාගම් බලපෑම් කරමින් ඇත. පෙර පාසල් ද ඇතුළුව සියලූ අධ්‍යාපන ආයතන වසා දමා තිබෙන තත්වයක් තුළ දරුවන් නිවාස තුළ හුදකලාකොට වැඩට යෑම නිසා දරුවන් අනතරුවලට ලක්වීමට තිබෙන අවස්ථාව වැඩිය. වතු කම්කරුවන් සමූහයක් ලෙස අඩු පහසුකම් මධ්‍යයේ පේලි නිවාස තුළ ජීවත්වන නිසාම ඔවුන්ට ලෙඩ රෝගවලට ගොදුරුවීමේ අවදානම වැඩිය. එමෙන්ම කොරෝනා වැනී ඉක්මනින් පැතිරයන වසංගත තත්වයකට මොවුන් ලක්වීමට තිබෙන දැඩි අවදානම කෙසේවත් නොසලකා සිටිය නොහැකිය.

මෙම අවදානම් තත්වය හමුවේ රටේ වෙසෙන විවිධ තෝරාගත් කොටස් වෙනුවෙන් රජය විසින් නොයෙක් වර්ගයේ සහන කීපයක් යෝජනා කර ඇත. එහෙත් වතු කම්කරු ජනතාව සඳහා කිසිදු සහනාධාරයක් රජය විසින් ඉදිරිපත් කර නැත. අමතර කිසිදු ආදායම් මාර්ගයක් නොමැති වතු කම්කරුවන් මේ මොහොතේ ඉතා අසරණ තත්වයකට පත්ව සිටී. එබැවින් රටේ ජාතික ආදායමෙන් වැඩි පංගුව රටට ලබාදෙන වතු කම්කරු ජන ජීවිත අඩපන නොකර වැවිලි කර්මාන්තයේ ඉදිරි දියුණුව සම්බන්ධයෙන් ද සලකා රජයේ බලධාරීන් වගකීම් සහගත පියවරක් ගතයුතුය. වැවිලි සමාගම් හා රජය මගින් සහතික කළ නිසි සනීපාරක්‍ෂක වැඩපිළිවෙලක් නොමැතිව වතු සේවකයන් වැඩට නොකැඳවිය යුතු බව අප ඉල්ලා සිටින අතර වතු කම්කරුවන් වසර ගණනාවක සිට ඉල්ලා සිටි වර්තමාන කැබිනට් මණ්ඩළය විසින් ද අනුමත කළ බව ප‍්‍රසිද්ධ කළ රු 1000/= වැටුප ගෙවීම සඳහා නොපමාව කටයුතු කළ යුතුයැයි අප දැඩිව ප‍්‍රකාශ කර සිටිමු. එමෙන්ම අනෙකුත් ක්‍ෂේත‍්‍රයන් සඳහා ලබාදීමට පොරොන්දු වූ සහනාධාර වතු කම්කරුවන් වෙනුවෙන්ද ලබාදී ඔවුන් මුහුණ දී සිටින ඛේදවාචකයෙන් ගලවාගැනීමට කටයුතු කළ යුතුයැයිද වැවිලි ක්‍ෂේත‍්‍රය ආශි‍්‍රත කඳුකර ජනතාවගේ උන්නතිය වෙනුවෙන් කටයුතු කරන අප ව්‍යාපාරය, වත්මන් රජයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නෙමු.
ස්තුතියි.
මෙයට,
මුනියණ්ඩි කාලිදාස් කැඳවුම්කරු කඳුකර සහෝදරත්ව ව්‍යාපාරය

කොරෝනා වැනි ජාත්‍යන්තර ව්‍යසන/වසංගතවලින් ඉදිරියේදී ආරක්ෂා වීමට ශ්‍රී ලංකාව අනුගමනය කළ යුතු ක්‍රියා මාර්ග 07ක් මැයෙන් නීතිඥවරයෙකුගෙන් ජනාධිපතිවරයාට විවෘත ලිපියක්….

March 26th, 2020

නීතිඥ අරුණ ලක්සිරි උණවටුන

1. සංචාරකයන්ගේ පැමිණීම සීමා කිරීම, සංචාරක ප්‍රවර්ධන කටයුතු නතර කිරීම සහ සෑම සංචාරකයෙක්ම ලංකාවට පැමිණීමේදී තමා පිටත්වෙන රටෙන් “නිරෝධායන වූ බවට සහතිකය” ලබාගෙන තිබිය යුතු බවට නියම කිරීම සහ පූරණ සෞඛ්‍ය  පරීක්ෂණයට ලක් කිරීම.

2. රාජ්‍ය තාන්ත්‍රික කටයුතු සදහා පැමිණෙන සියලු දෙනා දින 14ක් නිරෝධායනය සදහා යොමු කිරීමෙන් පසු අදාල රාජ්‍ය තාන්ත්‍රික කටයුතු සදහා අවස්ථාව ලබා දීම හෝ  තමා පිටත්වෙන රටෙන් “නිරෝධායන වූ බවට සහතිකය” ලබාගෙන තිබිය යුතු බවට නියම කිරීම සහ පූරණ සෞඛ්‍ය පරීක්ෂණයට ලක් කිරීම.

3. විදේශ රැකියා සදහා පිටත්ව යන අය පිටත්වීමට නියමිත දිනද ඇතුලුව දින 14ක නිරෝධායනය වූ බවට සහතිකයක් ලබා තිබීම අනිවාර්ය කිරීම.

4. විදේශයන්හී සිට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට පැමිණෙන සියලු පුරවැසියන් දින 14ක් නිරෝධායනය සදහා යොමු කිරීම.

5.අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය හෝ හදිසි හෝ දින 14ක් ඇතුළත ඉටුකළ යුතු අවශ්‍යතා ඇති අය විදේශවල සිට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට පැමිණෙන අවස්ථාවල අනුගමනය කළ යුතු විද්‍යාත්මක ආරක්ෂිත විධි අනුගමනය කරන බවට සහතික කර ගැනීම සහ පූරණ සෞඛ්‍ය පරීක්ෂණයට ලක් කිරීම.

6.පෙරදිග වෛද්‍ය ක්‍රම සහ පෙරදිග තාක්ෂණය  පිළිබද පශ්චාත් උපාධි අධ්‍යයන කටයුතු සිදුකිරීමට සියලුම උපාධිධාරීන්ට අවස්ථාව ලබා දීම.

7. කෘෂිකාර්මික කටයුතු අධීක්ෂණය සහ නියාමනය සදහා ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ සෘජු විධානය සහ අධීක්ෂණය යටතේ බුද්ධි අංශයක් ස්ථාපිත කිරීම සහ පූර්ණ කාලීන කෘෂිකාර්මික කටයුතු කිරීමට අදහස් කරන අයට රජයේ ඉඩම් අක්කර 3 බැගින් බෙදා දීම.

නීතිඥ අරුණ ලක්සිරි උණවටුන (2020.03.26)

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A MORAL LESSON FROM THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

March 26th, 2020

Senaka Weeraratna

What we do to animals ruthlessly and brutally the Coronavirus is doing likewise to humans, generating so much fear, alarm and anxiety. Do humans deserve pity, when we have no pity for innocent animals, who are eternal victims of our cruelty and inhumanity?   

Senaka Weeraratna

GMOA urges people not to lower guard because of lull in detections

March 26th, 2020

By Rathindra Kuruwita Courtesy The Island

The public should not let their guard down because of a decrease in the detection of COVID-19 patients, Dr. Haritha Aluthge of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA), warned yesterday.

Dr. Aluthge told The Island that though the official count of COVID-19 patients was 101, the actual number of infected people might be about 500.  The GMOA feared that many people were not able to maintain an appropriate distance when they went out to buy goods, after the curfew was lifted, and that could have led to more infections.
 It is possible that the number will spike, by around April 08. About 19 000 people had come into physical contact with COVID-19 patients, currently in hospital, and these people are being monitored by authorities. If the people follow instructions properly, we can expect a positive outcome within two weeks.”

SL may have 550 Covid-19 infected persons: GMOA

March 26th, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) today said that based on the experience from Hubei, China, It can be technically assumed that at present, 550 infected individuals are circulating within the population.”

Issuing a situational report, they said 101 cases were confirmed by today (25) while 32 of them were among those who arrived from abroad and sent to quarantine directly and 69 from the community.

The GMOA said an estimated 550 possible patients would have had a total of 19, 000 contacts.
Nineteen Thousand of our population may have been exposed to this disease condition, and they are now under the observation of Medical, Military and Administrative structures,” the report said.

If movements freely take place, without social distancing, one individual can infect 500 others within 30 days. Within 50 per cent social distancing, one individual can infect 15 others. By 70 per cent social distancing, the ability to infect others is 2.5 per one infected person within 30 days, the situation report added.

The report added: Considering Western nations that have been unsuccessful in carrying out social distancing, it can be assumed that between the period of 25.03.2020 and 07.04. 2020, if social distancing is not carried out, the numbers will face a rapid increase. Thus if the citizens of Sri Lanka follow through with the health advice that is given, we can assume that there will be a favorable outcome in the subsequent two weeks.”(Chaturanga Samarawickrama)

Coronavirus: US now has most cases in the world, report says

March 26th, 2020

Courtesy worldometers.info

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reaches more than 82,000, including nearly 1,200 deaths, the US now has more cases than any other country.

The latest global health data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows the US eclipsing hard-hit countries Italy and China as the nation struggles with a consistent response after delayed efforts to take the mounting Covid-19 crisis seriously.

On Thursday, Margaret Harris with the World Health Organization warned that the US was likely to become the world’s viral epicentre as the number of cases escalated in several states, including New York, which spiked to more than 33,000 cases.  

Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake on death row released

March 26th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Army officer Sunil Ratnayake who was on the death row over alleged murder has been released of his sentence.

The court convicted Sergeant Ratnayake and he was to be hanged for the murder of 8 civilians in December 2000.

Along with Ratnayake, 4 others had been charged with the same offense; however, they were acquitted by the court for lack of sufficient evidence.

However, there was a stir in the social media regarding the death sentence given to the army sergeant.

Presidential Task Force empowered with responsibility to maintain civilian life

March 26th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

As per the powers vested in the President under the Constitution, the responsibility to ensure that the civilian life moves on without any hindrance has been bestowed with the Presidential Task Force established to combat COVID–19 in Sri Lanka.

Special Representative of the President Basil Rajapaksa has been appointed as the Chairman of the Task Force while Additional Secretary to Prime Minister Anton Perera serves as the Secretary.

The membership of the Task Force is 40 including Provincial Governors, several Secretaries to Ministries, Commanders of Tri-Forces, security chiefs including Acting Inspector General of Police, Chairmen of several Departments, Corporations and Authorities and District and Divisional Secretaries.
 
The President had declared powers and functions of the Task Force through a special gazette notification, stated President’s Media Division.

The Task Force should carry out its responsibilities covering every district in the country while giving priority to districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu which have been identified as facing a greater risk.

Provision of required facilities to farmers for the production of rice, grams, vegetables, fish, dairy and egg and crops including tea, cinnamon, and pepper is one of the main tasks. The Task Force should maintain a proper coordination mechanism with Ports, Customs, corporate banking sector, and other State regulatory entities to create a conducive environment to import essential dry food items and medicine and to export goods such as tea and sanitary apparel and implement decisions.

The Task Force will ensure supply food items purchased from producers directly to the consumers while presenting operational reports to the President.

All Government Officers and other relevant persons who may be requested to extend assistance to deliver services shall comply with the instructions in respect of such tasks. The President has instructed government officials and others through circulars that they should provide all necessary assistance and information. The Task Force is also required to report to the President regarding all incidents related to delays or omissions in the discharge of duties and responsibilities by an assigned officer.

Some of the other tasks assigned to the Task Force are,

  • Directing and providing facilities to the Department of Agriculture and to the Department of Agrarian Services to provide seeds, plants, fertilizer and equipment required for farming activities.
  • Encourage seed farming, use of organic fertilizers and home gardening as well as to grant loans to farmers through Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Regional Development Banks, and Samurdhi Bank branches.
  • Particular attention should be given to women, low-income families and vulnerable persons in carrying out the related tasks.

The distribution of rice, vegetables, and products to the people of all districts should be streamlined to strengthen the farmer and the local economy. Organizing of Co-operatives, Sathosa, Economic Centers, Cargills, Keells, Arpico, and Laugfs business networks. 

Helping farmers for farming and plantation activities the Task Force is empowered to continually sustain the process that required for maintaining the day-to-day life of the community, including the distribution of medicines and the opening of commercial banks.

Coronavirus: Italian city’s warning to the rest of the world

March 26th, 2020

Bergamo’s streets are empty as it deals with a devastating number of coronavirus-related deaths – and residents have a warning for others.

Hell’ at New York City’s COVID-19 ground zero

March 26th, 2020

Courtesy Sky News

President Trump has admitted that New York City is “by far our biggest problem” – the city is now the epicentre of the outbreak in the US. New York State alone has accounted for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.

Lankan government’s plan to deliver essentials at the doorstep

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Meant to prevent crowding in markets. Delivery will take place even during curfew

Lankan government’s plan to deliver essentials at the doorstep

Colombo, March 25 (newsin.asia): In order to prevent uncontrolled gathering of people at market places amidst effort to combat COVID – 19, a special mechanism has been established by the govenment of Sri Lanka to deliver essential food items to homes.

This will be implemented through a local system in collaboration with Cooperative Societies and super market chains, Head of the Presidential Task on Continuous Supply, Operation and Coordination of Services that are essential to maintain the day to day life in the battle against COVID- 19, Basil Rajapaksa said.

The entire process should be in line with the corona control initiatives carried out by the health sector. It is imperative to maintain the day to day life of the public. Steps have been taken to distribute food items while protecting domestic farmers and the national economy.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa made these observations during a meeting held today (25) at the Presidential Secretariat with all District Secretaries, Heads of banks and State and private entities tasked with the supply of essential food items.

There is no shortage of rice, coconut, vegetables, eggs and chicken. Mr. Rajapaksa pointed out the possibility of distributing these items through a combined effort between Cooperative outlets and super markets after purchasing from domestic farmers. These items can be packed according to the need. Assistance of the Center for Disaster Management will be obtained for this operation.

A decision was taken to deliver medicines to the homes of regular patients who have registered at hospitals with the support of Divisional Secretaries, Public Health Officers and the security forces.

It was also discussed to implement a system to distribute medicines thorough few locally selected pharmacies to patients who purchase medicines from private pharmacies.

Heads of the banks were also advised to take action to keep the commercial banks open to facilitate trade and other essential activities.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa requested the authorities to implement a programme to supply domestic gas at consumer’s doorstep responding to the telephone orders.

The objective of the entire project is to prevent the public from gathering at market places so that the health sector’s efforts to combat the coronavirus could be a success.

Divisional Secretaries, Grama Seva Niladharis, Agricultural Research Officers and Samurdhi Development Officers will assist this distribution process. At present, several countries have completely stopped the import and export activities.

It was discussed at length about building a stable production economy in the country while paying greater attention to the prevailing situation.

It was decided to facilitate the cultivation and fisheries activities without any interruption.

The relevant officials were advised to encourage the farmers to cultivate vegetables as well as paddy, maize, ulundu, green gram, cowpea and kurakkan.

Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, Bandula Gunawardena and Douglas Devananda, Secretary to the President, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Attygalle and Secretary, Defence, Major General Kamal Gunaratne participated in this discussion.

No new Covid-19 positive cases so far today – Health Minister

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi says that as of 4.30 p.m. today (25), there have been no new Coronavirus positive patients reported in the country within the day.

The minister confirmed this at the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak.

Accordingly the total number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country as of yesterday is 102, she further said. 

Door-to-door delivery of essential items commences in Western Province

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

he Department of Co-operative Development implemented the door-to-door dry rations sale program “Wait for Us, Stay at Home” in the Western Province today.

Under this program, bags containing dry rations worth Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were provided to the public for purchase. 

A system has also been introduced to deliver a bag of goods as requested by a telephone call, the Government Information Department said.

Plans have been made to further strengthen the program through Divisional Secretaries and Grama Niladhari, the release said.

Updated schedule for curfew announced

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The President’s Media Division has announced the updated scheduled with the times for the lifting and re-imposition of the curfew currently in effect across the island.

The President’s Media Division has announced the updated scheduled with the times for the lifting and re-imposition of the curfew currently in effect across the island.

The on-going island-wide curfew will be lifted and re-imposed as follows:

1. The curfew currently in force in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts will continue until further notice.

2. The curfew currently in force in Puttalam, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna districts will be lifted at 6.00 a.m. on Friday 27th March and will be re-imposed at 12 noon on the same day.

3. The curfew currently in force in other districts will be lifted at 6.00 a.m. on Thursday 26th (tomorrow) and will be re-imposed at 12 noon on the same day.

Movement from one district to another has been completely banned. Furthermore, taking foreign tourists from place to place is completely prohibited. 

People who engaged in agricultural activities and people engaged in small-scale tea production as well as export crops are allowed to carry out their usual activities in any district during the curfew hours. 

Transportation of media personnel and essential items including rice and vegetable is also permitted.

Airports and Ports services will also continue.

The subject Minister in charge of Agriculture and Trade should effectively coordinate these activities, the Government has directed.

Notice Regarding Curfew – PMD

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

The President’s Media Division (PMD) stated the following with regard to the enforcement of curfew and the times that curfew will be relaxed.

The Curfew currently enforced in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts will continue until further notice.

The existing curfew in Puttalam, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna districts will be lifted at 6.00 am on Friday, 27 March and will be reinforced at 12 noon on the same day.

The curfew currently in force in all other districts will be lifted tomorrow, Thursday 26th at 6.00 am and will be reinforced at 12 noon on the same day.

Inter District travel – from one district to another has been completely banned.

Meanwhile, the President’s Media Division announced that taking foreigners from place to place will be strictly prohibited during this period.

PMD also stated that people from any district who are engaged in agricultural activities, tea small holders engaged in production as well as those who are engaged in export crops are allowed to carry out their relevant activities during the curfew period.

Transportation for media personnel and essential commodities including rice and vegetable will also be permitted during the curfew period.

Approval has been provided to maintain the Airport services for passengers and to continue port services.<br /><br />The notice has directed the subject Minister in charge of Agriculture and Trade to effectively coordinate these activities,

Commercial banks to be kept open – President

March 25th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

The President has instructed the heads of commercial banks to keep all the banks open to facilitate trade and other essential transactions

8 Ways To Enter The Present Moment

March 25th, 2020

How to enter the present moment? These are 8 ways! Eckhart Tolle – The Power Of Now (audiobook): https://amzn.to/31IrMWi (affiliate link)

THE WORLD ECONOMY IN CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AND POLICY OPTIONS FOR SRI LANKA

March 24th, 2020

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

It is reported that the world economy has commenced to unexpected backward as a result of the corona outbreak and many leaders have commented that this experience could be regarded as the main incident after a century of economic history.  The major impact would be unemployment and lower-income for families. It will impact the aggregate demand in all countries and the significant consequence will be declining the purchasing power of people forcing to restrict spending. It also encourages us to assume that the prices of certain goods and services might get a down turning trend as the demand for goods and services might reduce due to less money in hand. In this situation, the economic impact on companies is vital because it will reduce government tax revenue (combined impact of lower profit and unemployment) thereby reducing the capacity of governments to spending on welfare and investments.

Many developed countries have introduced incentive packages for individuals and businesses. Many countries in the world concern about the impact on small businesses as a result of social distancing which brings into being bad effects on the fashion industry, hospitality, tourism, and many other related business areas.  Some analysts indicate that incentive packages are not working as expected and others indicated that incentives are not enough to revive the economy. Many countries have problems with how to give incentives continuously when tax revenue has a down turning trend and the only way to governments borrowing for the purpose and it may adversely impact the medium term to many countries.  Some countries have limits to borrow.  Australia originally introduced A$ 17.0 billion package and later it has increased to $ 100 billion and economists have predicted that unemployment would rise to 7% at the end of this year, which is a similar situation in 2008. Although developed nations introduced large incentives (USA $ 1.7 trillion) Sri Lanka has no capacity for such a $ billion incentives and the country has limits to borrow. However, the presidential task force has introduced maximum possible reliefs and incentives and controls.

After the cold war, many developed countries shifted from manufacturing base to services and manufacturing industries were absorbed by China and other Asian countries. Corona epidemic badly hit the Chinese economy for a strong slowdown and restricted growth possibilities and it will be a blow to developed and developing countries.  Since the early 1990s, Sri Lanka’s economy also attracted service businesses especially tourism and hospitality, education and training, information technology, construction services, medical and dental services, fashion and many other services and they became areas of employment for the labor force.  Besides, employment overseas also played a considerable contribution to the country, but the corona crisis seems to limit foreign employment opportunities in short and medium terms. Many need to change the field of employment departing from the currently engage in, for example, I had to change my career field from banking and finance to education and training after a deep recession in the early 1990s and similar experience would become of the end of the current crisis.

According to Reuter report Mr. Chen Ulu, Deputy Governor of Peoples’ Bank of China stated that strengthening international cooperation regarding public health policies, trade policies, fiscal and monetary policies are vital policy actions to face international economic backwardness and Sri Lanka is not immune to this situation and it must go along with international cooperation and policy actions.

It is recorded that more than one million population of Sri Lanka are living exile and they send $ billions to the country supporting foreign exchange earnings and the government of Sri Lanka should have multiple strategies to expand foreign exchange reserves.  The Current backward economic environment needs rational thinking intending to maintaining a reasonable level of stability and providing employment opportunities for increasing the labor force. I believe that economic policymakers need to consider the following areas of rational actions despite politically motivating opposition to some rational policy actions.

  • Policy correction process must be continued directing lower spending for public enterprises and allowing private investments of Sri Lankan citizens without selling government assets to foreigners are, vital actions to strengthen the economy of Sri Lanka.  The country needs to maintain a safety net for the poor and some areas of spending must be limited widely using a user-pay system.  Many Sri Lankans living in the country and overseas can contribute to capital management of public enterprises and 30% of capital contribution from Sri Lankan will be supported to innovations, effective and efficient management, research and development and expanding market base of public enterprises.
  • Implementation of productivity enhancement program in the public and private sectors. The attitude of people is normally negative and selfish.  They like to get payments without contributing to the workplace.  They like more holidays and enjoyment.  Many people ready to work hard when they go to work overseas but they are not ready to work similar way in the country.  This situation needs to change and productivity must be the base of payment.  
  • Sri Lanka needs improvement in savings.  There is a considerable gap between savings and investment.  The current price level and inflation don’t permit to massively promote individuals from the salary and wages so superannuation systems should be the strong method of saving.  The superannuation management should be independent of the Central Bank, which is the regulatory authority of the financial system of the country.  The best option is to establish a sperate organization to manage super funds in the country combining the government pension, individual pension funds, EPF, ETF, and others.  This organization can provide at least 10000 employment opportunities.
  • Sri Lanka imports much agricultural produce such as rice, onion and many others. All these agricultural imports must stop and promoting import substitutions-all possible items should produce domestically.  In this way, Sri Lanka can save a large volume of foreign exchange.
  • It is recorded that the monetary unit of the country is badly depreciating and this situation has been influenced by several factors such as lower level of foreign reserves, lower level of product and services export, budget deficit, debt services, and many other factors. To improve the export economy Sri Lanka needs assistance from China and India.  China can help to improve product quality and there are many strategies such as exporting Sri Lanka products through China and India.  In China and India, many products could be improved and such policy action would help to become a nation with export power and strong export revenue flow.
  • Sri Lanka needs to consider and investigate possibilities of currency swap agreement with China and India for the US $ 50 billion which keeps as foreign reserves to settle agreements from exports to both countries.  This quite difficult negotiation and foreign policy-related matters.  Sri Lanka needs supports from China and India both and such diplomatic stewardship would be useful to the entire Asian region. Taiwan is equivalent to Sri Lanka in population and land area but it has more than the US $ 500 billion foreign reserves.  If Sri Lanka can build theUS $ 50 billion reserves within the next five years, there is no doubt that the foreign value of Sri Lanka Rupee radically increases and many international trade advantages could be gained.
  • Sri Lanka needs to maintain market economic policies with strong disciplines. I will generate more jobs and income to disadvantage people. This will support to reduce welfare payments and eliminate disparities in economic status.
  • As Sri Lanka is a small island it is easy to maintain a balanced growth, however, during the past 40 years, economic growth networked to Colombo and many skilled people pushed to go overseas for working than using knowledge and skills of them for the use of the country.  The government spending on education and training is gained by other countries giving small jobs and this situation could be changed by giving good value to Sri Lanka Rupee.  Before 1970, Sri Lanka’s monetary unit was comparatively strong and very fewer people looked for job opportunities in overseas and now all skilled people look jobs overseas.  This could change by improving the value of Sri Lanka rupee.

UNIQUE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE SINHALA BUDDHIST NATION

March 24th, 2020

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane    

  • Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that was visited by the Buddha on three different occasions. During these visits, the Buddha set foot on 16 different places within the country which are still venerated as sacred sites (for details see Deepawamsa written in the 3-4th century CE).
  • Sri Lanka and Thailand are the countries with the largest collection of relics of the Buddha. The most venerated among these relics are The Tooth relic, the right collar bone and the Alms Bowl of the Buddha are enshrined in Sri Lanka. All stupas found across the island contain relics of the Buddha.
  • Sri Lanka’s Sangha Sasana or the organization of the ordained Buddhist community is the world’s oldest institution, which is unique in being still active and operational in Sri Lanka for over 2250 years.
  • The Sangha Sasana has survived in Sri Lanka for a continuous period that is longer than all dynasties of Chinese emperors, and much longer than the Roman and British Empires. It is noteworthy that it has survived without armies and weapons, but merely through the power of virtue and wisdom.
  • The oldest recorded tree in the world, the Sri Maha Bodhi, is in Sri Lanka. It is the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Gotama Buddha attained Enlightenment. It was planted in 288 BCE and is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date. It is respected by Buddhists all over the world.
  • World’s oldest Buddhist, architecture, sculpture, monuments, dagabas, shrines and monasteries are found in Sri Lanka.
  • World’s oldest Buddhist paintings, literature including poetry are found in Sri Lanka.
  • Remains of world’s oldest royal palaces and landscaped gardens are found in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka.   
  • There is widespread evidence that Sri Lanka’s ancient Sinhala Buddhist builders and planners were quite familiar with the principles of building construction or structural engineering, and some of their structures have lasted for over 1600 years.
  • The Lovamahapaya (Brazen Palace) was the world’s oldest skyscraper, 145 feet high with nine stories and the building was about 400 feet in length. It took six years for the construction and accommodated about 1000 monks. Ruins of this building are found in Anuradhapura. 
  • The largest known brick structures of the world are the ancient Buddhist stupas or dagabas of Sri Lanka, prominent among them being Jetavanaramaya, Abayagiriya, Ruvanweliseya, and Tissamaharamaya. The Jetavanarama Stupa is about 400 feet high and is the largest brick structure in the world.
  • The high degree of sophistication in engineering technology and skills in surveying are well reflected in Sri Lanka’s ancient Buddhist structures and monuments. These skills were transferred to Buddhist architecture, sculpture, and other works of art.  Brickmaking, plasters for reinforcing bricks and rocks used in buildings and making of huge statues, both indoor and outdoor, are of special significance.
  • Engineering technology of the ancient irrigation system of the island is of special significance. The vast man-made reservoirs and irrigation systems that were developed by the nation’s Buddhist royalty in the past, which even today defy engineering interpretation. The earthen and stone dams and reservoir systems, the canal network and related water control and management structures and techniques display the skills of ancient Sinhala people. The canal system is characterized by minimum siltation. The Jayaganga is 54 miles long and its first 17 miles gradient is ONE inch per mile. Our ancient irrigation engineers, more than 2100 years ago, were the first inventors of both, the hydraulic surge chamber and the valve tower and to incorporate both principles in the same structure called the “bisokotuva”
  • Sustainable agriculture based on irrigation technology operational even today, some reservoirs being more than 2000 years old. Adoption of environmentally friendly and compatible Water and Watershed management systems where the protection of forest land, soil and water resources were given high priority, thereby promoting environmental protection and biodiversity.
  • The brilliant surveying tradition of the ancient Sinhala people is well reflected in the laying of the island’s sophisticated irrigation system and related agricultural land management system. A sound understanding of the topography, geology and structure of the land was necessary to plan and implement such sustainable water conservation and transfer systems and to identify where reservoirs to be located and associated irrigated lands to be developed.
  • Mathematics and Astronomy were highly developed in ancient Sri Lanka. The ‘Sandesha kavya’ (poetry) written in the 15th century refer to the teaching of Mathematics in Sri Lanka. Geometry would have been a highly developed science in the past, because all the massive and complex structures designed and built in the past had to utilize principles of geometry.
  • The sophistication of ancient City Planning is well evident in ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa in particular. It includes an amazing system of well laid out buildings and road network bridges, parks etc. Sigiriya had a system of underground canals.
  • A wealth of information on the country’s past scientific and technological history lies hidden in the numerous ancient ‘ola’ palm-leaf manuscripts stored in Buddhist shrines across the country, and in the National Archives and Museums.         
  • Special types of plasters were developed and used on rock and on brick wall surfaces to effect paintings, ensuring their durability.  Some paintings found on such ancient plasters are 1500 to over 2000 years old. Notably, the Hindagala, rock surface paintings are over 2000 years old, and those of Sigiriya are more than 1500 years. Pigments used in paintings are based on natural products and are used on varied surfaces – walls, ceilings, statues, wooden, cloth, earthenware.
  • Ancient Chinese reports refer to Sinhala ships”. The biggest ships that called at Chinese Ports during 4th-5th centuries were from Sri Lanka. This is evidence of the marine engineering skills of the ancient Sinhala people. Sinhala ships crossed the ocean to Java – as Indonesia was known at that time. The present Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Maldives islands, and a good part of India were predominantly Buddhist in ancient times, and there were close interactions and travel between these countries. Sri Lanka was the ideal stop-over of the Ancient Sea farers sailing in the Indian Ocean to East Asia and Pacific. The ancient port of Mantota is reputed to have been an important port of call between China and Rome.
  • There was remarkable achievement in metal work industry – there were iron implements during the 4th and 5 century BCE. The Tara statue and the Avaloketheesvara statue of Sri Lanka exhibited in several European, British, and American museums are considered among the best metal works of the past – outstanding aesthetically.
  • Sri Lanka’s traditional pottery, ivory works, brass works, lacquer work have a long history of development in the island and are popular household items even at present.
  • Medical Science – Ayurveda was highly developed in Sri Lanka in the past. King Buddhadasa was a famous Ayurveda physician. Many books on diverse aspects and issues pertaining to medical science and health were written in Sri Lanka, in Sinhala, Sanskrit and Pali languages. Among books compiled by King Buddhadasa on medicine is the famous Saarartha Sangrahaya”. 
  • Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to have established a dedicated hospital in Mihintale, in the 3rd century BCE. There were several other hospitals built in other ancient cities. The ruins of the hospitals in Mihintale and Polonnaruwa are still well evident. Several surgical instruments were discovered in the ancient Polonnaruwa hospital premises.
  • There were great physicians and surgeons in the past including Veterinary surgeons and animal hospitals. There is reference to elephants being treated for various health ailments. The world’s first recorded animal hospital was at Mihintale, established by King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd century BCE
  • The world’s first recorded wildlife sanctuary was at Mihintale, established in the 3rd century BCE, by the Sinhala Buddhist king Devanampiyatissa.  
  • Popular traditional food ingredients of Sri Lanka, especially the combination of spices popularly used in processing food namely ‘thunapaha’ including turmeric, ginger, garlic, curry leaf, cinnamon, coconut milk are among the recommended healthy nutritional items of contemporary times across the world.   
  • Sinhala language and literature originated in Sri Lanka. From historical times, the Sinhala language has been the defining element of the nation’s culture.  Sinhala is one of the world’s oldest living languages.  There have been a wide range of languages in the world, particularly in Asia which lived and died without leaving evidence of their existence, because they were never written down. This is not the case with the Sinhala language.
  • The Sinhala language grew out of Indo-Aryan dialects and exists only in Sri Lanka and has its own distinguished literary tradition. Overwhelming majority of people of Sri Lanka are distinguished by their language – Sinhala, which even today has a strong unifying effect in our motherland helping to reinforce the solidarity of our people as a unique cultural entity in the world. Almost all place names of the country from historic times, are in the Sinhala language – in the North, South, East, West and Central regions.
  • There is a rich tradition of Sinhala Literature  – prose , novels, poetry, lyrics, meaningful names, Sinhala Songs, Sinhala Films and Sinhala jokes, Sinhala ‘baila’ songs. Sinhala Dances, Sinhala Drama, Sinhala motifs, designs, decorations, costumes, jewellery, sculpture,  architecture, handicrafts, clothing, food and drinks. 

RECORED HISTORY OF SRI LANKA

A good part of the long history of the island, has been recorded in an unbroken continuous manner. This written history goes back to over 2500 years and is described chronologically, in detail, in the ancient chronicles namely, Deepavansa (3rd-4th century CE), Mahavamsa (6th century CE), Chulavamsa, besides the Rajavaliya, Pujavaliya, Dhatuvamsaya, Elu-Attanagaluvamsaya, Elu-Bodhivamsaya, Maha Bodhivamsaya,  Thupavamsaya, Daladavamsaya and Viharavamsaya. This written history is supported by archaeological evidence, and reports of foreign travelers of ancient times. Among archaeological evidence substantiating recorded historic information are rock inscriptions.  The written history of Sri Lanka is regarded as the second-most remarkable recorded history in existence of an ancient and cultured civilization. It is second only to the records maintained by the Shang dynasty of Chinese emperors. The historical chronicles narrate in detail the history of the country since the arrival of Buddhism in 237 BCE or 3rd century BCE or about 2246 years ago.

The accuracy of this historical record of ancient Sri Lanka is generally accepted by means of other numerous local and Indian edicts such as the  rock edicts of Indian Emperor Asoka and records of the Fa Hien the Chinese pilgrim monk, Roman historian Pliny and several others who have already been referred to. Also, by means of inscriptions, historical works, and literary works as well as by way of ruins, renovated historical and Buddhist monuments, ancient yet sophisticated irrigation networks, which extend the lifeline to date.  

HISTORIC MOTHERLAND OF THE SINHALA PEOPLE

Compared to the other 196 countries of the world, Sri Lanka, the motherland of the Sihala or Sinhala people, is small, in terms of area (65,610 sq. km) and population (21 million).  Sinhala is the ethnic group native to Sri Lanka, forming the mainstream or the dominant indigenous community of the island for more than 2500 years. In fact, Sri Lanka is the only national sovereign motherland of the Sinhala people. Their culture, way of life and their Sinhala language originated and developed in Sri Lanka. Sovereign national rights of Sri Lanka rests with the Sinhala people who form the original dominant community of this country.

The national culture of Sri Lanka is the Sinhala Buddhist culture, where Buddhist norms and principles and the Sinhala language form the foundations. With the arrival and spread of Buddhism in the island, there came an era of unsurpassed attainments and achievements.The island’s civilization achieved an individuality and identity that distinguished it from its neighbors. Sri Lanka’s identity is based on the Sinhala Buddhist culture and the Sinhala language which is the defining element of Sinhala culture. Despite foreign invasions, threats and various forms of challenges and atrocities, Buddhist culture has remained intact in the island, unlike the case with many ancient cultures in most other countries in the world.  Throughout most of its history, Sinhala kings and Buddhist institution of monks, played a major role in the development and maintenance of Buddhist culture and institutions in the island. The world recognition of the greatness of this unique Sinhala Buddhist culture is reflected by the UNESCO designating ancient sites, including the ancient royal capitals of the Sinhala people such – Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mahanuwara (Kandy), Sigiriya and Dambulla as World Heritage Sites.

There is only one nation in this island of Sri Lanka or Sinhale. A ‘Nation’ is a self-identifying group of people who share a common history, a common language, a common culture and most importantly a homeland. In other words, a nation is the most persistent alliance or organization of three main social components -people-culture- territory. Culture can be defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.  In a broader sense, a subculture is any group within a larger complex culture who has interests that vary from those of the mainstream culture. In a more specific sense, it is a group with a distinct style and identity. Even though it is obvious that there are large number of sub-cultures within any given national culture, People live and think in ways that form finite patterns that can be mutually constructed through a constant process of social interaction. The country’s predominant culture is Sinhala Buddhist. Over the centuries, both Hindus and Buddhists have co-existed well despite occasional politically motivated power struggles. One should not be confusing the issue of citizens’ rights with that of a nation’s identity.

VICTORY OVER TAMIL TERRORISM

The historic victory over Tamil terrorism, with the elimination on 16 May 2009, of  Prabakaran, the ruthless terrorist leader, led to a spontaneous elated reaction on the part of all patriotic citizens of Sri Lanka. There was countrywide lighting of firecrackers and ringing of temple bells, and roadside gatherings of people serving and sharing traditional ‘kiribath’ in jubilation of the victory over terrorism and the dawn of peace in the country after nearly thirty years of terror. It was a spontaneous expression of the overflowing thrill, ecstasy and gratitude of ordinary people who were overwhelmed by this great victory over terrorism, a menace that plagued Sri Lanka for some three decades. Roadside banners and posters highlighted pictures of our gallant Army, Navy, Air Force, Civil Defence, Police and STF personnel, especially of those heroic ones who sacrificed their lives, fighting to save our nation from Tamil terrorists so that peace and stability would be restored in the country. They were expressions of the overflowing appreciation, joy and gratitude of our people towards the saviors of the nation – our heroic sons and daughters of the nation’s military and security forces.

Two weeks after the fall of Prabakaran, on June 03 009, our Nation celebrated on a formal basis, in a glorious manner, at the Galle Face grounds, our nation’s Victory over racist Tamil Terrorism,  the grandeur of which was perhaps never witnessed in our land in its living memory. Here, then President of the country in his speech said that … this great and glorious victory was achieved because of the younger generation …. Young men and women from the four corners of Sri Lanka joined the Security Forces to free their Motherland. Some mothers and fathers gave their children to the Armed Forces and the police. When the eldest child had already sacrificed his life for the country, they gave more children to the Armed Forces. He said, if anyone were to ask me what the secret of the victory is, I would extend my hands and show our beloved people, who include these mothers, fathers, wives who gave their closest and dearest for this battle. Our entire nation owes an immense debt of gratitude to these mothers, fathers and wives. They sacrificed their children and loved ones for the nation, to save the lives of others. In order to defeat racist terrorism, the people of the country have a mature knowledge of the threat before them. The fortune of a nation lies is such knowledge and maturity…”

VIOLATION OF NATIONAL INTERESTS                                                                                      

Patriotic Sri Lankans will not tolerate any person or community whilst living in this Sinhala Buddhist Nation and considering it their home, deliberately misusing such privilege by scheming and adopting violent and extreme actions or contributing to such actions violating the sovereignty, dignity, and territorial integrity of the Sinhala Nation. This includes the ridiculously false and unfounded claims made by Tamil and Muslim leaders in pursuit of carving out ethnic or religious enclaves within the Sinhala Nation, merely because some of them had lived in some specific places in the country for extended periods of time. Persons with such self-serving objectives and attitudes are traitors of the Nation and should be tolerated under any circumstances. There is no place in the Hela Nation for such traitors, double crossers, renegades, turncoats, collaborators of enemies, criminals and terrorists, conspirators, connivers, schemers and emissaries, spies, secret agents, undercover agents, and double agents of the enemies of the Sinhala Nation. The nation’s patriotic forces, including Buddhist monks who have from historic times been in the forefront in promoting and protecting the Sinhala Buddhist culture of the island will not tolerate any disintegration of the national sovereignty, the cultural integrity, and the long established territorial integrity of the country. 

Genuine and practicing Buddhists of our country, or in general, those who strictly follow the Five Precepts, should be more actively involved in politics either directly or indirectly. Most of the ills of our nation’s political life could be attributed to the absence or withdrawal of genuine Buddhists from the nation’s political arena and the domain of the media where they could be quite influential in bringing about necessary changes in public opinion of issues that are of national importance. Genuine Buddhists have a duty by the nation, which is founded on Buddhist principles, to be fully involved and participating in organizations working for the welfare of the nation. This is particularly relevant today because our nation is severely threatened at present by diverse negative forces both local and foreign. It is the realistic Buddhist perspective to public life and decision-making, that is most needed today, especially in the country’s political domain. We need well educated, upright and patriotic politicians and professionals with unselfish and mindful interest in the welfare of the country to get to the forefront today.

The nation is fortunate to have a leader with such qualities and foresight, in her popularly elected new President of the country, but he needs an equally sound support base to  bring about needed positive changes in public life which at present is increasingly infected with dishonesty, crime, and corruption. The impact and influence of patriotic and dedicated  politicians and professionals can make a big difference. They can help to generate a wholesome political culture, characterized by Buddhist approaches and attitudes and a truly Buddhist atmosphere conducive to the development of a healthy political climate in the nation, so that all nationals will benefit irrespective of their diverse origins and cultural-religious inclinations. It is time that our practicing Buddhists entered the public arena in various influential capacities. Buddhism has always been engaged in various socio-political contexts. The idea of interdependence is widely associated with Buddhism. Engaging in the lives of others through compassion, sacrifice and service is the worthy spiritual path that the contemporary world needs to observe. Buddhists should organize themselves or join legitimate organizations to become more socially engaged. They need to be better able to identify and understand social hardships, misery, and perils in their country, and do something tangible to relieve them.

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane                                                         

US Threatens Families Of Int’l Criminal Court Staff If They Try Americans For War Crimes

March 24th, 2020

by Tyler Durden Courtesy zerohedge.com

Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com,

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened the family members of International Criminal Court staff, vowing that Washington will take punitive action against them if the court tries American soldiers for war crimes.

Pompeo also announced an intensification of unilateral US sanctions on Iran and Syria, which are illegal under international law, and which are undermining the countries’ attempts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2019, the Pompeo State Department threatened to revoke or deny visas to any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel investigating crimes committed by American forces.

A year later, on March 5, 2020, the ICC took a defiant step forward, officially approving an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US military and CIA in Afghanistan.

Pompeo responded by angrily condemning the court and its proceedings. His broadside was an apparent attempt at discrediting the institution, which the US government is not a party to.

In a subsequent State Department press briefing on March 17, Pompeo launched another tirade against the ICC, belittling it as a so-called court,” a nakedly political body,” and an embarrassment.” Pompeo, who previously served as director of the CIAtook the denunciations a step further, threatening the family members of ICC staff.

We want to identify those responsible for this partisan investigation and their family members who may want to travel to the United States or engage in activity that’s inconsistent with making sure we protect Americans,” Pompeo said, according to the US State Department’s official transcript.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the managing director for research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, drew attention to the shocking attack” on Twitter. This isn’t just unlawful collective punishment against family members; it’s not just a disturbing attack on staff of a judiciary — where the US has voted to refer other nations for prosecution; it’s abuse of federal authority to use sanctions against actual wrongdoers,” said Whitson, who previously directed the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch.

Whitson called on Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to condemn this US State Department assault on the staff and FAMILIES of ICC – abuse of sanctions authority in flagrant attack on judicial independence, unlawful collective punishment.”

This blatant US threat against the family members of International Criminal Court prosecutors is part of a longer historical pattern of Washington attacking multilateral institutions.

At the beginning of the George W. Bush administration’s so-called war on terror, in 2002, the US Congress passed a bill called the American Service-Members’ Protection Act — more commonly known as the Hague Invasion Act.”

This unprecedented piece of legislation, which has no precedent anywhere else in the world, declares that the US government unilaterally grants itself the right to militarily invade the Hague if a citizen of the United States or any allied country is tried at the court. Nor are Secretary of State Pompeo’s threats the first time US government officials have targeted the family members of international organizations.

José Bustani, the former director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said hardline neoconservative John Bolton, a former under secretary of state for George W. Bush and national security adviser for Donald Trump, threatened him and his family when Bustani negotiated with the Iraqi government to allow in OPCW weapons inspectors.

You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you,” Bolton reportedly told Bustani, according to his recollection.We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”ICC, image via Reuters

Denigrating the Iranian government as terrorists” in his State Department press briefing, Mike Pompeo declared new sanctions on the social security investment company of Iran’s military, along with five Iranian nuclear scientists.

Moreover, Pompeo announced State Department sanctions on nine more entities, in South Africa, Hong Kong, and China, for doing business with Iran.

He also unveiled new sanctions on Syria’s minister of defense, citing the Syrian army’s battle to retake Idlib, the last remaining insurgent-held territory in the country, which is occupied by a rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate and other extremist Salafi-jihadists, backed by NATO member Turkey.

US sanctions on Iran have devastated the country’s health infrastructure, greatly exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic. A new study by researchers at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran warned that millions of people could die due to Covid-19 — which Pompeo repeatedly referred to as the Wuhan virus” in his press briefing.

An article by German state broadcaster DW concisely explained how US sanctions have set the stage for mass death in Iran: Iran’s government applied for a $5 billion (€4.6 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight the epidemic — the first time it has asked the IMF for assistance in over 50 years. Yet, even if it gets the loan, the administration won’t be able to shop for much-needed medical supplies: US sanctions make the banking transactions required to secure even medical supplies and humanitarian goods virtually impossible.”

Sri Lanka imposes indefinite curfew in 3 districts as COVID-19 cases hit 100

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, March 24 (newsin.asia) — Sri Lankan authorities, on Tuesday declared three districts including capital Colombo as ‘high risk’ areas due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and imposed an indefinite curfew there, a statement from the President’s Office said.

As a result of the curfew, the statement said essential items including medicines will be delivered to people’s doorsteps as the public had been banned from leaving their homes until further notice.

The decision was reached after large crowds gathered at supermarkets and grocery shops earlier Tuesday in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara in the outskirts of the capital and Puttalam in the north central province, when a curfew was lifted for 6 hours for people to re-stock on essential items.

Mandatory rules of maintaining a one meter distance was not maintained which led to Health Officials proposing essential items to be delivered.Large crowds in shops had been observed after curfew was lifted this morning in three districts. Health officials fear that this in turn could lead to a wider and faster spread of the virus,” the statement from the President’s Office said.

Therefore, the government has directed wholesale dealers to deliver essential consumer goods to the doorstep of each household until the situation is brought under control,” the statement added.

The President’s Office said to ensure the smooth operation of delivering essential consumer goods to each household, a special task force had been established. Vehicles used for delivery of these goods will be permitted on the roads during the curfew period.Sri Lanka has so far identified 100 COVID-19 positive patients while over 200 are under observation in the designated hospitals across the country.

Will warm weather really kill off Covid-19?

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Some people hope that outbreaks of the new coronavirus will wane as temperatures rise, but pandemics often don’t behave in the same way as seasonal outbreaks.

March 24 (BBC) – Many infectious diseases wax and wane with the seasons. Flu typically arrives with the colder winter months, as does the norovirus vomiting bug. Others, such as typhoid, tend to peak during the summer. Measles cases drop during the summer in temperate climates, while in tropical regions they peak in the dry season.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many people are now asking whether we can expect similar seasonality with Covid-19. Since it first emerged in China around mid-December, the virus has spread quickly, with the number of cases now rising most sharply in Europe and the US.

Many of the largest outbreaks have been in regions where the weather is cooler, leading to speculation that the disease might begin to tail off with the arrival of summer. Many experts, however, have already cautioned against banking too much on the virus dying down over the summer.

And they are right to be cautious. The virus that causes Covid-19 – which has been officially named SARS-CoV-2 – is too new to have any firm data on how cases will change with the seasons. The closely related Sars virus that spread in 2003 was contained quickly, meaning there is little information about how it was affected by the seasons.

But there are some clues from other coronaviruses that infect humans as to whether Covid-19 might eventually become seasonal.

There is some hope that as temperatures warm up in the Northern Hemisphere, cases of coronavirus will start to fall (Credit: Getty Images)
There is some hope that as temperatures warm up in the Northern Hemisphere, cases of coronavirus will start to fall (Credit: Getty Images)

A study conducted 10 years ago by Kate Templeton, from the Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Edinburgh, UK, found that three coronaviruses – all obtained from patients with respiratory tract infections at hospitals and GP surgeries in Edinburgh – showed marked winter seasonality”. These viruses seemed to cause infections mainly between December and April – a similar pattern to that seen with influenza. A fourth coronavirus, which was mainly found in patients with reduced immune systems, was far more sporadic.

There are some early hints that Covid-19 may also vary with the seasons. The spread of outbreaks of the new disease around the world seems to suggest it has a preference for cool and dry conditions.

An unpublished analysis comparing the weather in 500 locations around the world where there have been Covid-19 cases seems to suggest a link between the spread of the virus and temperature, wind speed and relative humidity. Another unpublished study has also shown higher temperatures are linked to lower incidence of Covid-19, but notes that temperature alone cannot account for the global variation in incidence.

Further as-yet-unpublished research, predicts that temperate warm and cold climates are the most vulnerable to the current Covid-19 outbreak, followed by arid regions. Tropical parts of the world are likely to be least affected, the researchers say.

Pandemics often don’t follow the same seasonal patterns seen in more normal outbreaks

But without real data over a number of seasons, researchers are relying upon computer modelling to predict what might happen over the course of the year.

Extrapolating data about Covid-19’s seasonality based on endemic coronaviruses – meaning they have been circulating in human populations for some time – is challenging, not least because endemic viruses are seasonal for a number of reasons that might not currently apply to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pandemics often don’t follow the same seasonal patterns seen in more normal outbreaks. Spanish flu, for example, peaked during the summer months, while most flu outbreaks occur during the winter. (Read more aboutwhat Spanish flu can teach us about Covid-19.)

Eventually we would expect to see Covid-19 becoming endemic,” says Jan Albert, a professor of infectious disease control who specialises in viruses at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. And it would be really surprising if it didn’t show seasonality then. The big question is whether the sensitivity of this virus to [the seasons] will influence its capacity to spread in a pandemic situation. We don’t know for sure, but it should be in the back of our heads that it is possible.”

We need to be cautious, therefore, when using what we know about the seasonal behaviour of other coronaviruses to make predictions about the current Covid-19 pandemic. But why are related coronaviruses seasonal, and why does that offer hope for this outbreak?

Coronaviruses are a family of so-called enveloped viruses”. This means they are coated in an oily coat, known as a lipid bilayer, studded with proteins that stick out like spikes of a crown, helping to give them their name – corona is ancient Greek for crown.

There are currently few studies that look at the impact the weather has on Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)
There are currently few studies that look at the impact the weather has on Covid-19 (Credit: Getty Images)

Research on other enveloped viruses suggests that this oily coat makes the viruses more susceptible to heat than those that do not have one. In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state, much like fat from cooked meat will harden as it cools, to protect the virus for longer when it is outside the body. Most enveloped viruses tend to show strong seasonality as a result of this.

Research has already shown that Sars-Cov-2 can survive for up to 72 hours on hard surfaces like plastic and stainless steel at temperatures of between 21-23C (70-73F) and in relative humidity of 40%. Exactly how the Covid-19 virus behaves at other temperatures and humidity has still to be tested, but research on other coronaviruses suggests they can survive for more than 28 days at 4C. (Read more abouthow long Covid-19 can survive on surfaces.)

A closely related coronavirus that caused the Sars outbreak in 2003 has also been found to survive best in cooler, drier conditions. For example, dried Sars virus on smooth surfaces remained infectious for over five days at between 22-25C and with a relative humidity of 40–50%. The higher the temperature and humidity, the shorter the virus survived.

Climate comes into play because it affects the stability of the virus outside the human body when expelled by coughing or sneezing, for example,” says Miguel Araújo, who studies the effects of environmental change on biodiversity at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain. The greater the time the virus remains stable in the environment, the greater its capacity to infect other people and become epidemic. While Sars-Cov-2 has quickly spread all over the world, the major outbreaks have mainly occurred in places exposed to cool and dry weather.”

A recent analysis suggests that this pandemic coronavirus will be less sensitive to the weather than many hope

His computer models certainly seem to match the pattern of outbreaks around the world, with the highest number of cases outside of the tropics.

Araújo believes that if Covid-19 shares a similar sensitivity to temperature and humidity, it could mean cases of coronavirus will flare up at different times around the world.

It is reasonable to expect the two viruses will share similar behaviour,” he says. But this is not a one-variable equation. The virus spreads from human to human. The more humans at any given place and the more they get into contact with each other, the more infections there will be. Their behaviour is key to understanding the propagation of the virus.”

A study from the University of Maryland has shown that the virus has spread most in cities and regions of the world where average temperatures have been around 5-11C (41-52F) and relative humidity has been low.

But there have been considerable numbers of cases in tropical regions, too. A recent analysis of the spread of the virus in Asia by researchers at Harvard Medical School suggests that this pandemic coronavirus will be less sensitive to the weather than many hope.

They conclude that the rapid growth of cases in cold and dry provinces of China, such as Jilin and Heilongjiang, alongside the rate of transmission in tropical locations, such as Guangxi and Singapore, suggest increases in temperature and humidity in the spring and summer will not lead to a decline in cases. They say it underlines the need for extensive public health interventions to control the disease.This is because the spread of a virus depends on far more than simply its ability to survive in the environment. And this is where understanding the seasonality of diseases becomes complicated. For a disease like Covid-19, it is people who are now spreading the virus, and so seasonal changes in human behaviour can also lead to shifts in infection rates.

Measles cases in Europe, for example, tend to coincide with school terms and decrease during the holidays when children are not spreading the virus to one another. The enormous migration of people around the Chinese Lunar New Year on 25 January has also been suggested to have played a key role in the spread of Covid-19 out of Wuhan to other cities in China and around the world.

The weather can also mess with our own immune systems to make us more vulnerable to infections, too. There is some evidence to suggest the vitamin D levels in our bodies can have an affect on how vulnerable we are to infectious diseases. In the winter our bodies make less vitamin D from sunlight exposure, mainly because we spend more time indoors and wrap ourselves in clothing against the cold air. But some studies have found this theory is unlikely to account for seasonal variation seen in diseases like flu.

More controversial is whether cold weather weakens our immune systems – some studies suggest it does, but others find the cold can actually boost the number of cells that defend our bodies from infection.

There is stronger evidence, however, that humidity can have a greater impact on our vulnerability to disease. When the air is particularly dry, it is thought to reduce the amount of mucus coating our lungs and airways. This sticky secretion forms a natural defence against infections and with less of it, we are more vulnerable to viruses.

Stopping contact between people should also bring down the infection rates

One intriguing study by scientists in China suggests there is some sort of relationship between how deadly Covid-19 can be and the weather conditions. They looked at nearly 2,300 deaths in Wuhan, China, and compared them to the humidity, temperature and pollution levels on the day they occurred.

Although it has yet to be published in an academic journal, their research suggests mortality rates were lower on days when the humidity levels and temperatures were higher. Their analysis also suggests that on days where the maximum and minimum temperature ranges were greater, there were higher levels of mortality. But this work is largely also based on computer modelling, so the exact nature of this relationship, and whether it will be seen in other parts of the world, is still to be explored.

As the virus causing the Covid-19 pandemic is new, it is unlikely many people, if anyone, will have immunity against it until they have been infected and have recovered. This means the virus will spread, infect and cause disease in a way quite unlike endemic viruses.

Air travel has been the main route by which the virus has spread around the world so rapidly, says Vittoria Colizza, director of research at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. But once it starts spreading within a community, it is close contact between people that drives the transmission. Stopping contact between people should also bring down the infection rates. This is exactly what many governments have been attempting to do with the escalating lockdown of public places around the world.

Even if cases of Covid-19 do fall over the summer months, it is unlikely to disappear entirely and will return later in the year (Credit: Getty Images)

There’s no evidence yet for a seasonal behaviour of Covid-19,” says Colizza. The behavioural component may play a role, too.” But she warns it is too early to know if the measures put in place will be enough to stall the spread of the virus. By itself, it may partially reduce effective contagiousness due to the reduction of contacts along which the disease could be transmitted.”

And if cases of Covid-19 do indeed tail off over the coming months it could be for a number of reasons – prevention measures such as isolation and lockdowns are being successful; there is growing immunity in the population; or it may be an effect of the season, as Albert’s models suggest.

If there is a seasonal effect, it could mask the true impact of the other two,” warns Albert. In countries where a strong lockdown has meant not many people have been exposed, then I wouldn’t be surprised that we will see a second wave come the fall and winter.”

Even if Covid-19 does show some seasonal variability, it is unlikely to disappear entirely over the summer months, as some have suggested. But a dip in cases might bring some benefits.

The steps we are taking to flatten out the curve are expensive in economic terms, but they could help us push this pandemic into the summer,” says Albert. If there is some seasonality, it might buy health systems the time they need to prepare.”

And in a world scrambling to cope with the rapidly rising number of cases, it might just be time we desperately need.

Colombo, Gampaha & Kalutara districts classified Covid-19 high risk zones; curfew until further notice

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

US may become centre of coronavirus pandemic, WHO says

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

US may become centre of coronavirus pandemic, WHO says

The United States could become the new centre of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, which said case numbers were rising quickly there even as Donald Trump talked of re-opening the country for business.

We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential [to become the centre of the pandemic],” the WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said.

So far, 46,450 people in the US have become infected with the virus and there have been 593 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have been 46,369 confirmed cases across the US so far. The true number of cases is likely to be significantly higher.

Trump acknowledged that crucial healthcare supplies to protect frontline staff treating sick patients were becoming difficult to obtain.

In an early morning tweet, Trump said: The world market for face masks and ventilators is crazy. We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy.”

But while more US governors were urging people to stay at home, Trump appeared to play down the crisis on Monday night.

The president said he was considering ways to restart the economy in the coming weeks and wanted to avoid the pandemic becoming a long-lasting financial problem”. It would not last as long as three or four months, he said.

Our country was not built to be shut down,” Trump said. This is not a country that was built for this.”

Trump’s top advisers referred to current government restrictions as a 15-day challenge” and pledged to revisit in a week’s time the need for sweeping measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
In Spain, meanwhile, the numbers infected and tested rose from 33,089 to 39,673 on Tuesday, according to the health ministry, while the death toll rose from 2,182 to 2,696.

Health workers accounted for nearly 14% of Spain’s total reported cases as of Tuesday, up from 12% the previous day, according to data presented by the health emergency chief, Fernando Simon.

An estimated 1.7 billion people around the world have been ordered to remain at home as governments take extreme measures to protect their populations. Britain became the latest country to enter lockdown, after bans on movement came into force at midnight on Monday.

France entered a two-month state of health emergency” on Tuesday that provides a legal framework for existing confinement and restrictive measures and allows the government to order further restrictions, including controlling the price of certain products and requisitioning people and property for the war” effort.

The Dutch government strengthened its containment measures, banning all public gatherings regardless of size until 1 June. Mayors have been empowered to close beaches, parks, campsites and other public spaces if people are not respecting physical distancing rules that are set in the Netherlands at a 1.5 metre gap between people. The prime minister, Mark Rutte, described the boosted measures as an intelligent lockdown”.

Meanwhile tens of millions of people living in Hubei province, the centre of China’s outbreak, were told they would be able to resume travel from midnight (1600 GMT), except in the city of Wuhan.

China claims to have largely brought its outbreak under control, reporting only imported cases of the virus and few or no new domestic cases in recent days. However the claims have been questioned by residents and analysts, who note that some hospitals are reportedly refusing to test for the virus, and that there are allegations of manipulated numbers, and rumours of unreported cases.

Source: The Guardian
-Agencies

311 quarantined persons return home

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Political party reps endorse a national programme to fight Covid-19

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Many political party representatives have expressed their support for a national programme to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), instead of convening a Parliament session, Prime Minister’s Office says.

A meeting to discuss the current situation prevailing in the island, prompted by the Novel Coronavirus outbreak was worked off under the patronage of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temples Trees this morning (24).

Political party reps endorse a national programme to fight Covid-19

Steps taken by the government to curb the spread of the virus were discussed during the meeting.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena, former Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of Samagi Jana Balawegaya Sajith Premadasa, National Organizer of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Basil Rajapaksa, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and several other political party representatives and State officials joined this discussion.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the meeting, said: We need curfew to be in effect for some more time but there are issues regarding rural economy. So, I believe that we will be able to resolve this through discussion. We can give permit leave for all public servants who are not essential to be at work. I say that we should bring as much testing equipment as possible.”

He also lauded the measures put in place by the government in the fight against coronavirus while adding that it should be continued.

PM Rajapaksa appreciated the participants for sharing their views on how to save the country from the virus irrespective of political differences.

Colombo, Gampaha & Kalutara districts classified Covid-19 high-risk zones; curfew until further notice

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts have been identified as high risk areas for Coronavirus (Covid-19) and hence the curfew imposed on those districts will continue until further notice.

Districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kaluthara have been identified as high risk zones in view of the spread of COVID-19, the President’s Media Division said.

Large crowds in shops had been observed after curfew was lifted this morning in three districts. Health officials fear that this in turn could lead to a wider and faster spread of the virus, the PMD said.

Therefore, the Government has directed wholesale dealers to deliver essential consumer goods to the doorstep of each household until the situation is brought under control. 

Sathosa, Keells, Laugfs, Arpico, Food City, Araliya, Nipuna and other wholesale dealers will be involved in this operation, the release said. 

Providing these essential consumer goods such as food, medicine, gas and other services will commence from tomorrow (25).

To ensure the smooth operation of delivering essential consumer goods to each household, a special task force has been established under the leadership of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. 

The task force would be comprised of Secretaries to the Ministries, Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries and other relevant officers.

The curfew in the three districts that have been identified as high risk zones will continue until further notice, the PMD announced.

However, lorries, vans, three-wheelers and motorcycles that would be used for delivery will be permitted on the roads during this curfew period.

India’s 1.3 billion people go into full lockdown from midnight

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

India’s 1.3 billion people will go into full lockdown from midnight Tuesday(24), for 21 days in a bid to slow down the coronavirus pandemic

Lockdown measures were already in place from Monday in many major cities, but will now be extended to “every village, every district” in the nation, according to the prime minister said.

Speaking in a televised national address, PM Modi told Indians to forget what it feels like to leave their homes.

India%27s+1.3+billion+people+go+into+full+lockdown+from+midnight+%2824%29

He further stated that 21 days of lockdown is a long time but this is important for their safety and for the safety of their families.

If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backwards by 21 years said the Indian Premier in his address to the nation.

PM Modi said that some think social distancing is only for patients, and that’s not correct, social distancing is the only way to fight the virus, it is for every citizen, every family, every member, even for the Prime Minister.

2,405 arrested for violating curfew orders

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

Police have arrested 2,405 persons who violated curfew regulations this afternoon.

The Police Media Spokesperson’s office stated that 646 vehicles have been taken into custody during this period

Keep Children Safe from the virus

March 24th, 2020

Courtesy Hiru News

The accepted medical theory is that young children are at greater risk of getting sick

That is why every adult pays greater attention to young children.

How do you protect your children in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This is the medical opinion.

කුන්ඥ ගැලවීමට ගිය වඳුරාට සිදුවූ දේ නොවීමටනම්

March 23rd, 2020

සුදත් ගුණසේකර මහනුවර 

කොරෝනා වසන්ඟතය විසඳීමට මේ රටේ ප්‍රවීන යයි කියාගන්නා දේශපාලන නායකයින් තිදෙනෙකුගේ විසඳුම්

1.වහාම පාර්ලිමෙන්තුව කැඳවන්ට- සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස හිටපු විපක්ශ නායක

2.“වහාම  සර්ව පාක්ෂික රැස්වීමක් කැඳවන්ට” – කරු ජයසූරිය -හිටපු කථානයක

3.“පක්ස නායකයින්ගේ රැස්වීමක් වහාම කැඳවන්ට”- රනිල් වික්‍රමසින්හ”              

ප්‍රවුර්තිකීපයක්

(එකෙක් රැවුළ පත්තුවී එය නිවාගන්ට දඟලන විට තව එකෙක් සුරුට්ටුව පත්තු කරගැනීමට සූදානම් වෙනව සහ  ජරමර අස්සේ බරකරත්ත, කියන ගැමි කතා දෙක මට මතක් උනේ  මේ කථා දකින විටය).

මේ යෝජනා දකින විටම මට ඇතිවූ පලමු ගැටලුව මේ දේශපාලන පක්ශ කියන ඒවා අද කොහේද තියෙන්නෙ යන්නය.දෙවැන්න මේ පක්ශ නායකයෝ කියන අය කොහේද ඉන්නෙ යන්නය. තෙවැන්න ප්‍රවීන යයි කියාගන්න නායකයින් වශයෙන් පෙනී සිටින මේ අයගේ බුද්ධි මහිමය මෙවැනිනම් ඊට පහලින් සිටින දේශපාආලකයින්ගේ බුද්ධිය තියෙන්නේ කොහේද යන්නය.ඊලඟ ගැටළුව රටක් කරවීමට මෙවැනි අය තුළ ඇති ඇති හැකියාව කුමක්ද යන්නය. මෙය වූ කළී මේ රටේ දේශපාලන ක්ශේත්‍රයේ ලොකුම ඛේදවාචකය නොවේද.? මෙවැනි අයට රටක් භාරදීම නරින්ට කුකුල් කොටුවක් භාරදීමක් නොවන්නේද? එසේම මෙවැනි අයගෙන් රටක් පාලනය වේයයි සිතීම ඉබ්බන්ගෙන් පිහාටු බලාපොරුත්තු විමක් වැනි දවල් හීනයක් නොවන්නේද.

ඔබ අප කවුරුත් මැනවින් දන්නා පරිදි මේ රටේ දැන් ශ්‍රි ළන්කා නිදහස් පක්සයක් නැත. එය 2014 නොවැ 10 වනදා පක්ශයේ නිර්මාතෘ බන්ඩාරනයක මහතාගේ අතිජාත දෝනියක් යයි කියන චන්ද්‍රිකා සහ එම පක්සයේ එවකට මහ ලේකම්වු අගමැති රෝගයෙන් දරුණු ලෙස පෙලුණු සිරිසේන විසින් කුමන්ත්‍රණකාරීව එය ඝාතනය කොට මිහිදන් කරන ලදී.

එසේම අද එක්සත් ජාතික පක්සයක්ද නැත.රනිල් වික්‍රමසින්හ සහ සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස යන අඳ බාල මුග්ධයින් දෙදෙනාම එක්ව එයද විනාසකොට මේ වනවිට යළි කිසිදිනක නැගිටීමට නොහැකිවනසේ එයද මිහිදන්කොට හමාරය.

විජෙවීරගේ ජා,වි පෙ මුණද අනුර ප්‍රධානකොටැ ඇති දෙපයින් ලක්පොලවේ සිටියත් මනසින් රුසියාවේ  හෝ වෙනත් පිට සක්වලක මනෝලෝකයක සිටින දේශපාලන ලෝකයේ අතරමන්වූ පිරිසක් විසින් මරාදමා මිහිදන්න්කොට අවසානය.

දේශපාලන දාදු කෙළියේ සුදුවේ යෙදී සිටින දෙමළ සහ මුසල්මානුවන් වසර 2600 පැරණි ඉතිහාශයක් ඇති මේ ශින්හල බෞද්ධ රට අල්ලා ගැනිමට දිවා රෑ උගුල් අටවමින් නිදිවර්ජිතව සිටින ත්‍රස්ථවාදි කන්ඩායම් මිස කිසිලෙසකිනුත් දේසපාලන පක්ශ නොවේ. සමසමාජ් සහ කොමුනිස්ට් පක්ශද මියපාරලොව ගොස් වසර 70 කටත් වැඩිය.

මේ අනුව දැනට දේශපාලන කන්ඩායමක් ලෙස  ඉතිරිව ඇත්තේ පිපීමට දඟලන නෙලුම් පොහොට්ටුව පමණි. එහි නායකයා දැන් රටේ ජනාධිපති වශයෙන් කටයුතු කරන නිසා අද රටේ දේශපාලන පක්සයක් වශයෙන් සැලකිය හැකි එකම කණ්ඩායම පොහොට්ටුව පමණි. වසර ගනනකට පසුව එනම් 2009 ට පසුව අද ඒ කන්ඩායම රට පාලනය කරන බව පෙනේ. එය රටවැසියන් වන අපට එක්තරා අන්දමක සැනසීමකි

එබැවින් මේ රටේ නැති පක්ස රැස්වීමක් හෝ නැති පක්ස නායකයින්ගේ රැස්විමක් හෝ එසේම වසර 4 1/2 ක් තිස්සේ පිස්සු කෙළිය නීත්යානුකූල නොවන පර්ලිමේන්තුවද කැඳවීමට කෙරෙන ඉල්ලිම පිස්සුවක් නොවේද.

අනෙක් අතට පර්ලිමේන්තුව හෝ පක්ශනායක රැස්විමක් තියලා මෙ ප්‍රස්නෙ විසන්දන්නේ කොහොමද කියන එකයි අපට තියෙන ප්‍රස්නෙ. එහෙම පුලුවන්නම් ඉතින් වයිද්ය වරු අවස්ය නෑ නෙ. එක අයගෙ රාජකරියක් මිස මෙ අසමජ්ජාති දේසපාලකයින්ගේ වැඩක් නොවෙන බව ඔනෑම ගොනෙකුට තේරෙනව. මේ ජාතික ප්‍රස්නය විසදන්ට ජනාධිපති වරයා ඇතුලු අමාත්ය මන්ඩලය අවස්ය දේශපාඅලන නායකත්වය නොඅඩුව දැනටමත් දෙනවා. බෙහෙත් කරන්ට වයිද්ය වරු නිදි නොලබා සේවය කරනව . ත්‍රිවිද හමුදාව සහ පොලීසිය මෙන්ම රටේ පරිපාලන යාන්ත්‍රනය පැය 24 ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. මේ වනතුරු එක් අයකු හෝ තවම මියගොස් නැති එකම රට මේක.

රට පුරා මිනිස්සු සියළුදෙනාම පක්ෂ පාට නොබලා, පිස්සෝ ටික දෙනෙක් හැර, රජයේ වැඩපිලිවෙලට සම්පූර්ණ සහාය දෙනවා. මේ රෝගය පිටින් රටට ඇතුල්වීමට ඇති සියලු මාර්ග ගුවන් හා මුහුදු මාර්ග තහනම් කිරීමත්ට සහ පිටින් දිවයිනට පැමිනෙණ සියලුදෙනාම සති දෙකක් දැඩි නිරෝධායනයට ලක්කිරීමටත්  රජය පියවර අරන් තියෙනව

මෙම වැඩපිළිවෙල සාර්ථකව ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමට අවස්ය සියළු පියවර අරන් තියෙනවා.  නීතිය අකුරටම ක්‍රියාත්මක් කිරීම සඳහා හදිසි නීතිය අවස්ය පරිදි ජනතාවට අවහිරයක් නොවෙන පරිදි යොදා ගෙන තියෙනව.  වගේම රෝගීන්ට ප්‍රතිකාර කිරීම සන්දහා අවස්ය රෝහල්  බෙහෙත් ද්‍රව්ය සහ පිරිස් බලය නොඅඩුව සම්පාදනය කොට තියෙනවා

l එසේම ජනතාවට අවස්ය අහාරපාන ලබා දීම සඳහා  ඒවා ප්‍රවාහනය හා ජනතාවට බෙදාහැරීම සඳහා සතොස, සමුපකාර සමිති හා පුද්ගලික වෙළන්දුන් මගින් කටයුතු යොදා තිබෙණවා. එ වගේම එදිනෙදා කුලිවැඩ කර වේල සොයාගන්නා අයට විශේෂ සහන මල්ලක් ලබා දිම්මටද පියවර අරන් තියෙනවා.

 ඒ අතර නීති කඩන පුද්ගලයින්ට විරුධව ක්‍රියාකිරීමටද පියවර අරන් තිබෙනවා.

වගකිවයුතු රජයක් වශයෙන්  මේ අන්දමින් තත්වය පාලනය කිරිමට අවස්ය සියළු පියවර ගෙන තිබියදී මා මුලින් සඳහන් කළ දේශපාලකයින් විසින් කරණු ලබන අමණ ප්‍රකාශ අපි බැහැර කරමු.

අන්නෙක් අතින් ඔය පාර්ලිමේන්තුව කියන කෙහෙල්මළ රැස්වෙලා ඇති වැඩේ මොකක්ද කියන එක පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ  එදිනෙදා කටයුතු කෙරෙන හැටි මේ රටේ මිනිස්සු දන්නව නෙ. මාසෙතම රැස්වීමට ඇති දින 8 වත් නො එන , ආවත් එකිනෙකාට බැනගනිමින් සණ්ඩුවෙමින් සත්තුමෙන් හැසිරෙන , එක් දවසකට රුපියල් ලක්ශ 45 කට වැඩිය වියදම් වෙන  , මාසික පඩිය සහ පැමිනීමේ ගාස්තුව වන2500 ගැනීමට පමණක් එන, රටේ සන්වර්ධනයට කිසිදු මෙහෙයක් නොකෙරෙන පාර්ලිමේන්තුව හෝ තම තමන්ගේ මඩිය පුරවාගැනීම සහ තමතමන්ගේ දේශපාලන බලය රැකගැනීම එකම අරමුනින්  මෙවැනි විකාර ප්‍රකාශන නිකුත්කරණවා වෙනුවට ඔවුන් කළයුත්තේ දැනටමත් වැඩේ හරියෙට කරන රජයට සහාය දීම නොවේද.

 එදා දඹදිව බුදුන් වහන්සේ බුදු බනින් කෙළ ලක්ශ ගනන් නිවන් දක්වද්දී තමන්ලඟ මිස බුදුන් ලඟ රහත් බැව් නැතයි කියමින් නිර්වස්ත්‍රව වීදි දිගේ පෙළැහැර පාමින්, තමන් හෙලුවෙන් යන බවවත් නොදැන ගිය නිගන්ඨයින්මෙන් නොහැසිරී, විකාර බස් නොදොඩා, දැන්වත් තමතමන්ගේ හෙළුව සහ අමණකම් මුලු ලොවටම නොපා නිවෙස්තුළම සිට පණකෙන්දහෝ බේරාගෙන සිටියේනම් වඩා මැනවයි මම යෝජනා කරමි.

අවසාන වශයෙන් ලනකාවෙබ් නෙව්ස් සයිට් එකේ ලොව දැවැන්තම කොරෝනා ඇන ගැනීම සජිත්ගෙන්යන මැය යටතේ  පලවී ඇති නොදන්නා දේ කිමට ගොස් සජිත් හත්පොලේම ගාගෙන තිබීම ගැන හිරන්ති නැමැත්තෙක්  ලියා ඇති පහත සටහනින් මම මේ සටහන අවසන් කරමි

Sajith replaced Anasley Dias, Berty Gunathilaka and Samuel Rodrigo trio.

Sajith, Ranjan and Sujeewa can bring back that entertainment to the public if they get together and continue this way.

They can get Hirunika to replace Mercy Edirisinghe”

The coronavirus wake-up call

March 23rd, 2020

By ASOKA BANDARAGE courtesy Asia Times

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light the dangers inherent in the dominant military-industrial complex

People wearing face masks attend obligatory Friday prayers at a mosque in Surabaya, East Java, on March 20, 2020. Photo: AFP / Juni Kriswanto

The number of people infected and dying from the Covid-19 pandemic is increasing exponentially. A massive loss of humanity, as occurred during the Spanish” flu of 1918 that killed 50 million to 100 million, is feared. The collapse of financial markets and economic supply chains, border and airport closings, lockdowns of communities, loss of personal incomes and life savings are deepening panic and despair around the world.

The multitudes in overcrowded refugee camps, detention centers and prisons as well as the millions without health insurance and employment benefits in the United States are especially vulnerable.

Controversy over origin and prevention

The origin of the virus and the disease is commonly attributed to an animal-to-human transmission (possibly from a bat) at a seafood market in Wuhan in Hubei province, China, in December. US President Donald Trump and some Western media refer to it as the Chinese virus” or the Wuhan virus.” While the Chinese government initially mishandled the response to the virus outbreak, it claims to have brought the spread of the coronavirus largely under control. 

Chinese officials are now saying that the novel coronavirus originated in the United States and not in China. They claim that American soldiers brought Covid-19 to China and refer to a March 12 US congressional oversight committee hearing during which the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert Redfield, stated that some Americans who seemingly died from influenza were tested positive for novel coronavirus in the posthumous diagnosis.”

There is also speculation the US Army’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) research and testing involving bats and coronaviruses and gene editing bioweapons may have had a role to play in the outbreak of the virus in China. Scripps Research Institute in the US, however, has asserted that the Covid-19 epidemic has a natural origin and that no evidence exists that the virus was made in a laboratory.

At a time when global solidarity is needed to combat the worst pandemic to face humanity in more than a hundred years, the conflict over its origin only aggravates the growing economic and political rivalry between the US and China. 

Reports from China state that a pharmaceutical drug manufactured by Cuba, interferon Alfa 2B, has significantly helped to stop the spread of the virus there. However, this drug seems to be overlooked in the US. Trump has called for cutting red tape to quickly get experimental drugs to people outside of clinical trials although drug safety experts are concerned over long-term effects of such an approach.  

In the race to find a cure in the United States, strategic allies” of the DARPA agency including the two pharmaceutical companies, Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Moderna Inc, are being funded to develop vaccines that controversially involve genetic material and/or gene editing.” Again, there are safety and ethical concerns over possible future mandatory use of such biotechnologies.

In 2015, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warned of a huge threat of a global pandemic and conducted a simulation in late 2019 predicting up to 65 million deaths due to acoronavirus. Controversially, the Gates Foundation also funded the Pirbright Institute, which owns” the patent to the deadly virus and is working on a vaccine against it.

Notwithstanding dire predictions and calls for preparedness, the United States, considered the most advanced country in the world, now finds itself without adequate testing kits, respirators, hospital beds, medical personnel and the like. Policies promoting privatization and slashing state social welfare, introduced to developing countries by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will also make it difficult for them to face the Covid-19 pandemic now. Is the lack of crisis preparedness a reflection of the pursuit of corporate profit over universal health care and human well-being?

Lessons learned?

While the future course of the Covid-19 pandemic is unknown, it has brought to light the dangers inherent in the dominant military-industrial complex. It is said that a crisis is a turning point, an opportunity to change. To understand where and how to turn, it is necessary to question the values and the unsustainability and inequality of this system.

How has prioritizing unbridled economic growth over environmental sustainability and human well-being contributed to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic? Is human expansion into the habitats of other animals a factor in easier transmission of viruses between species? How has the reliance on goods and products, including food and medicines produced mostly in China and transported across the world, resulted in massive shortages at this critical time?

Both the US and China want to return to normalcy” and jump-start their economies as soon as possible. Trump has avowed that in the post-pandemic world, US economic growth will be bigger than ever. China too will move forward with its massive Belt and Road Initiative despite social and environmental concerns associated with it.

The coronavirus crisis in the US has already led to calls for corporate deregulation (vaccine development) and corporate bailouts (airlines and cruise lines), which could further consolidate corporate and elite control over the society. Currently, the three richest billionaires in the US (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) own more wealth than all of the bottom 50% of the people in the country. The further shift of life online due to the coronavirus could widen and deepen surveillance and social control by the large tech companies. The pandemic could make helpless people succumb to experimental mind and gene altering vaccines of pharmaceutical corporations.

It is time to fashion a more balanced, ecological civilization that respect the environment, upholds bioregionalism and local communities as well as ethics and accountability in use of technology and online activity. The unprecedented global crisis brought forth by the Covid- 19 pandemic is making people more sensitive to the fragility and insecurity of life and our physical and emotional interconnectedness to each other and all of nature.

The crisis can teach us to open our hearts and minds, to overcome excessive greed and individualism and see the common suffering across cultural and ideological boundaries. It offers an opportunity to overcome despair and powerlessness and to collectively challenge oppressive social structures shifting the world in a more equitable and ecological direction.

Many faith traditions offer prayers and healing for troubled times, and they are now widely available online. During the Buddha’s time, the city of Vesali was plagued by disease and the townspeople called upon the Buddha for support. The Buddha arranged for the Ratana Sutta (Jewel Discourse) to be recited across the town resulting in the dispersal of the town’s fears and afflictions: May all beings be healthy, happy, strong and safe.”

වගකිවයුතු රජයක් ලෙස මෙම බැරෑරුම් අවස්ථාවේ දී රටේ ජනතාවගේ සෞඛ්‍යාරක්ෂණය මෙන්ම එදිනෙදා පරිභෝජනයට අවශ්‍ය ආහාර ද්‍රව්‍ය හිගයකින් තොරව ලබා දීමට බැඳී සිටිනු ඇත.

March 23rd, 2020

මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය. චමල් රාජපක්ෂ අමාත්‍යතුමාගේ මාධ්‍ය ඒකකය.

වගකිවයුතු රජයක් ලෙස මෙම බැරෑරුම් අවස්ථාවේ දී රටේ ජනතාවගේ සෞඛ්‍යාරක්ෂණය මෙන්ම එදිනෙදා පරිභෝජනයට අවශ්‍ය ආහාර ද්‍රව්‍ය හිගයකින් තොරව ලබා දීමට බැඳී සිටිනු ඇත. ඒ අනුව අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමන්ගේ උපදෙස් මත ගරු අමාත්‍ය චමල් රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමන් කි්‍රයාත්මක වී රජයේ ආහාර ගබඩා වල මෙන්ම සතොස ආහාර ගබඩාවලත් අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය ආහාර ද්‍රව්‍ය සංචිත මාස කිහිපයකට ප්‍රමාණවත්ව ගබඩා කිරීමට අවශ්‍ය වැඩ පිළිවෙල සකසන ලදී. ඇඳිරිනීතිය පැනවුවද එය තාවකාලිකව ඉවත් කරන සෑම අවස්ථාවකදීම සතොස වෙළඳසැල් වලින් සහ අනෙකුත් සුපිරි වෙළඳසැල් වලින් හිගයකින් තොරව භාණ්ඩ ලබා ගැනීමේ අවස්ථාව ජනතාව වෙත සලස්වා ඇත.

එමෙන්ම භාණ්ඩ වර්ග කිහිපයකින් යුත් පාර්සල් රුපියල් 500 සහ 1000 ආදී පැකේජයන් ලෙස නිවාස සංකීර්ණවලට හා ජනතාව වැඩි වශයෙන් පදිංචි වීඵි වලට සිවිල් ආරක්ෂක බලකායේද සහය ඇතිව ඛෙදාහැරීමේ වැඩපිළිවෙලක් සුදානම් කරමින් පවතී.
මීට අමතරව දඹුල්ල, මීගොඩ, නාරාහේන්පිට ඇතුළු දිවයිනේ පිහිටි සියළු ආර්ථික මධ්‍යස්ථානවල සිට එළවළු ලොරි මේ වන විටත් දිවයින පුරා ඛෙදාදීම සදහා පිටත් වී ඇත. එමෙන්ම ජාතික පශ= සම්පත් මණ්ඩලය සතු වතු වල පොල් අස්වැන්න හෙට දිනයේ පටන් ජනතාව වෙත සාධාරණ මුදලකට ලබා දීමට අවශ්‍ය පියවර ගෙන ඇත.
මේ වනවිට නිරෝධායන මධ්‍යස්ථානවල සිටින ජනතාවගේ පරිභෝජනය සඳහා සහාය වන ලෙසට ගරු චමල් රාජපක්ෂ අමාත්‍යතුමන් කරන ලද ඉල්ලීමට ප්‍රතිචාර දක්වමින් පී්‍රමා ලංකා සමාගම විසින් තිරිගු පිටි මෙට්්‍රක් ටොන් 200, කුකුල් මස් ටොන් 20, සොසේජස් ටොන් 2, බිත්තර 100000 සහ යෝගට් 5000ක් ලබාදුන් අතර, ඒවා නිසි කළමනාකාරීත්වයකින් ඛෙදා හැරීම සඳහා ශී්‍ර ලංකා යුධ හමුදාව වෙත භාරදී ඇත.
ඉදිරියේදී අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය ආහාර සදහා කිසිදු අනියත බියක් ඇති කර නොගන්නා ලෙසත්, ඇදිරි නීතිය ඉවත් කරන අවස්ථාවේදී රැස්කමින් කඩ සාප්පු වල රැදි නොසිටින ලෙසත්, අත්‍යාවශ්‍යම භාණ්ඩ පමණක් මිලදී ගැනීමට නිවසකින් එක් අයෙකු පමණක් පැමිණෙන ලෙසටත්, අනෙක් සෑම විටම තම නිවසට වී නිරෝධායන කටයුතු වලට සහයෝගය ලබා දෙන ලෙසට ශී්‍ර ලංකා රජය වෙනුවෙන් ලංකාවාසි ඔබ සැමගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටි.
චමල් රාජපක්ෂ අමාත්‍යතුමාගේ මාධ්‍ය ඒකකය.

Coronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM

March 23rd, 2020

Courtesy BBC

Strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus have been announced by the prime minister.

From this evening people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.

Shops selling non-essential goods are being told to shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together are to be prohibited.

The UK death toll has reached 335.

If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings, Boris Johnson said in a televised statement from Downing Street.

Other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship must also close immediately.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.

Mr Johnson said the country faced a “moment of national emergency” and staying at home was necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.

He said the restrictions would be kept under constant review.

“We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to,” he added.

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said they were “working with the government and other agencies to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced”.

But Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said he was already seeing “large amounts of sickness” among officers across London and enforcing the new restrictions would be “a real, real challenge”.

“We will be dealing with it, but I’m not sure we will have the resources to be able to see it through,” he added.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a tweet: “I know that the coming weeks will be testing for our front-line police officers.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that they have the resources they need to keep themselves and the public safe.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the new restrictions “amount to a lockdown” and are “not done lightly”.

“I am not going to sugarcoat it in any way,” she said. “Coronavirus is the biggest challenge of our lifetime.”

In a tweet, First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster urged people to follow the restrictions “to save lives and protect our hospitals”.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said “these are really big changes for us all”.

“We are making them because of the speed the virus is continuing to spread,” he added.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the measures were “the right response”.

“There now needs to be clear guidance to employers and workers about which workplaces should close – and the government must close the loopholes to give security to all workers, including the self-employed, as well as renters and mortgage holders,” he added.

The prime minister said the measures were necessary to tackle “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.

“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,” he said.

“And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.

“To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.”

Three more COVID-19 positive patients raise total to 97 cases

March 23rd, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The number of COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka edges close to 100 as 3 more patients have been tested positive with the virus.

This raises the total number of COVID-19 positive cases to 97.

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi speaking at 360 program on TV Derana, stated that 10 patients have confirmed of having contracted the virus, today (23) alone.

All patients who were tested positive for the coronavirus are currently receiving treatment at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Angoda.

Meanwhile, the first Sri Lankan to have contracted the virus was discharged from IDH after a complete recovery.

First COVID-19 patient in Sri Lanka discharged after complete recovery

March 23rd, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The first Sri Lankan who tested positive for COVID-19 has completely recovered from the illness, sources told Ada Derana.

Accordingly, he has been discharged from the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), where he had been receiving treatment, this morning (23).

Reportedly, he was kept under observation at the hospital for two more days after his recovery.

The, now completely recovered patient, is a 52-year old tour guide from Mattegoda.

He had worked closely with a group of Italian tourists who had arrived in the country.

Once he was identified as a COVID-19 positive patient, he was admitted for treatment at the IDH in Angoda on March 10.

A dastardly attempt to use legal arguments to block government finances and sabotage the anti-Coronavirus campaign

March 23rd, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE Mahinda Rajapaksa Prime Minister

On the day that a countrywide curfew was declared to prevent the spread of Coronavirus – Friday the 20th March 2020 – UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe issued a media release stating that the previous government led by him had not passed a Budget for 2020 but that they had passed only a Vote on Account which would last till the 30th April 2020. He contends that therefore, after the 30th of April 2020, the present government would not have the legal right to allocate funds for any purpose whatsoever. Former opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has also been repeatedly making the same assertion via the social media.

Under Article 150(3) of the Constitution, the President is vested with the power to allocate funds from the Consolidated Fund to maintain government services after Parliament has been dissolved. Hence the public should not entertain any fears about the availability of funds for the anti-Coronavirus campaign and to maitain other government services. Last month on the 20th February, when we tried to move Parliament to allocate funds to pay the arrears owed by the yahapalana government to the suppliers of essentials such as medicines and fertilizer and to ensure the smooth supply of these goods, the opposition led by Sajith Premadasa which had a majority in Parliament blocked it so as to make it impossible for the new government to ensure the smooth running of the day to day affairs of the country.

We were able to allocate the funds necessary to maintain essential services only due to the powers over government finance that the President assumes under Article 150(3) of the Constitution after the dissolution of Parliament. In a situation where there wasn’t a single Coronavirus infected patient in the country, the President dissolved Parliament on the 2nd March 2020 under Article 70(1) of the Constitution. Ten days later, when Sri Lanka’s first Coronavirus patient was discovered, the opposition led by Sajith Premadasa demanded the postponement of the election. Article 70(5) of our Constitution requires that the Gazette notification dissolving Parliament should also state the date on which the poll would be held and the date on which the newly elected Parliament would meet for the first time. Once such a proclamation has been issued, the President does not have any power to postpone the poll.  Under Section 24(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act No: 1 of 1981, the Elections Commission is vested with the power to postpone the poll due to unforeseen circumstances or an emergency. The Elections Commission has postponed the poll accordingly.

The postponement of the date of the poll does not in any way change the financial powers vested in the President under Article 150(3) of the Constitution after the dissolution of Parliament. It can be seen that the two factions in the UNP are vying with one another to make political capital out of the Coronavirus epidemic. The entire country witnessed the manner in which former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa tried to sabotage the anti-Coronavirus campaign by giving encouragement to the Sri Lankan expatriate workers who made a commotion at the airport refusing to be quarantined. Because they failed to cut off funding for the new government using their majority Parliament, an attempt is now being made to achive that result by concocting legal arguments about the financial powers vested in the President at a time when Parliament has been dissolved.

We unreservedly condemn this attempt to sabotage the work of the government and the anti-Coronavirus campaign in the midst of the most serious epidemic that this country has ever faced. Despite such conspiracies against the nation launched by opportunistic elements, medical professionals, nurses and other hospital staff, members of the armed forces and all those engaged in the provision of essential services have been working day and night to bring the Coronavirus epidemic under control. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation and heartfelt thanks to them all.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Prime Minister

නීති තර්ක වලින් ආණ්ඩුවේ මුදල් හිරකොට කොරෝනා මර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘතිය අඩාල කිරීමේ දුෂ්ඨ උත්සාහය හෙලා දකිමු.

March 23rd, 2020

මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය

කොරෝනා වෛරසය ලංකාවේ තවදුරටත් පැතිරීම වැලැක්වීමට මුලු රට පුරාම ඇඳිරිනීතිය පැනවූ දිනයේම, එනම් 2020 මාර්තු 20 වන සිකුරාදා එ.ජා.ප නායක රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතා විශේෂ නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් පවසා සිටියේ, තමන් නායකත්වය දුන් පසුගිය ආන්ඩුව 2020 වසර වෙනුවෙන් අයවැයක් සම්මත නොකොට 2020 අප්‍රේල් 30 වනදා දක්වා පමණක් බලපවත්වන අතුරු සම්මත ගිණුමක් සම්මත කොට තිබීම හේතුවෙන් අප්‍රේල් 30 වනදායින් පසු, මොනම දෙයකටවත් මුදල් වියදම් කිරීමට ආණ්ඩුවට නෛයිතික බලයක් නැතිවෙන බවයි.  සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස හිටපු විපක්‍ෂ නායකවරයාත්, මුහුණුපොත හරහා මේ තර්කයම ඉදිරිපත් කරමින් සිටි.

පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසිරුවා හැර තිබෙන අවස්ථාවක රජයේ සේවාවන් පවත්වාගෙන යෑම සඳහා අවශ්‍ය කරන මුදල් ඒකාබද්ධ අරමුදලෙන් නිකුත් කිරීමට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ 150(3) වගන්තිය යටතේ ජනාධිපතිවරයාට බලය පැවරේ. මේ නිසා කොරෝනා වෛරසය මර්දන ව්‍යාපෘතිය හා රජයේ සෙසු සේවාවන් පවත්වාගෙන යෑම සඳහා මුදල් ප්‍රතිපාදන තිබේද නැත්ද යන්න ගැන මහජනතාව කිසිඳු බියක් ඇතිකරගත යුතු නැත. පසුගිය පෙබරවාරි 20 වෙනිදා, යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුවේම බෙහෙත් හා පොහොර වැනි අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය භාණ්ඩ සැපයුම්කරුවන්ට හිඟ මුදල් ගෙවා සැපයුම අඛණ්ඩව පවත්වාගෙන යෑම සඳහා අපි යෝජනාවක් ඉදිරිපත් කළද, පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ බහුතරය හිමිව සිටි සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස විපක්‍ෂ නායකවරයා ඇතුලු පාර්ශවය අලුත් ආණ්ඩුව අපහසුතාවයට පත් කොට දේශපාලන වාසි ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා එයට විරුද්ධ විය.     

රටේ අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය සේවාවන් පවත්වාගෙන යෑමට අපිට මුදල් සොයා ගැනීමට හැකිවූයේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසිරුවා හැරීමෙන් පසු, ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ 150(3) වගන්තියෙන් ජනාධිපතිවරයාට ලැබෙන මුදල් බලතල නිසාය. මේ රටේ එකම කොරෝනා ආසාධිතයෙක්වත් නැති අවස්ථාවක 2020 මාර්තු 02 වනදා, ජනාධිපතිවරයා ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ 70(1) වගන්තිය අනුව  පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසුරුවා හැරියේය. ඊට දින දහයකට පසු ලංකාවේ පළමු කොරෝනා රෝගියා සොයා ගැනීමත් සමඟම සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස ප්‍රමුඛ විපක්‍ෂය කලේ පාර්ලිමේන්තු මැතිවරණය කල් දැමිය යුතු යැයි හඩ නැගීමය. අපේ ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ 70(5) (අ) වගන්තියට අනුව පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසිරුවා හරින ගැසට් පත්‍රයේම පාර්ලිමේන්තු මැතිවරණය පවත්වන දිනයත් අලුත් පාර්ලිමේන්තුව මුල් වරට රැස් වන දිනයත් නියම කළ යුතු වේ. එම ප්‍රකාශය නිකුත් කළ පසුව, මොනම තත්වයක් යටතේවත් ඡන්දය පවත්වන දවස කල් දැමීමට ජනාධිපතිවරයාට බලය නැත. 1981 අංක 1 දරණ පාර්ලිමේන්තු මැතිවරණ පනතේ 24(3) වගන්තියට අනුව යම්කිසි අනපේක්‍ෂිත හෝ හදිසි තත්වයක් නිසා ඡන්දය පවත්වන දිනය කල් දැමීමේ බලය ලැබෙන්නේ මැතිවරණ කොමිසමටය. ඒ අනුව මැතිවරණ කොමිසම ඡන්දය පවත්වන දිනය කල්දමා ඇත.

මේ ආකාරයට මැතිවරණය පවත්වන දිනය කල් දමා තිබීමෙන්, ව්‍යවස්ථාවේ 150(3)  වගන්තිය යටතේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුව විසිරුවා හැර තිබෙන කාලය තුළ ජනාධිපතිවරයාට හිමි මුදල් බලතල කිසිවක් වෙනස්වන්නේ නැත. කොරෝනා වෛරස් උවඳුරෙන් දේශපාලන වාසි ලබා ගැනීමට එ.ජා.පයේ පාර්ශව දෙක තරඟයක නියැලී සිටින බව අපට පෙනේ. පසුගියදා පිටරට සිට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට පැමිණ, නිරෝධායනයට යෑමට නොහැකි යැයි කියා ගුවන්තොටුපලේදී කලබල කළ පිරිස් දිරිගන්වමින් සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස විපක්‍ෂ නායකවරයා ආණ්ඩුවේ නිරෝධායන වැඩ පිළිවෙලට අකුල් හෙලූ ආකාරය මුලු රටම දුටුවේය. අලුත් ආණ්ඩුවේ මුදල් සැපයුම කපා හැරීමට යහපාලන පාර්ශවය පසුගිය මාසයේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුව තුළ ගත් උත්සාහය වැරදුනු පසු, දැන් ජනාධිපතිවරයාට ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවෙන්ම ලබා දී ඇති මුදල් බලතල ගැන නීති තර්ක ඉදිරිපත් කොට, දරුණු වසන්ගතයක් මධ්‍යයේ රට අකර්මණ්‍ය කිරීමට ගන්නා මේ උත්සාහය අපි හෙළා දකිමු.

අවස්ථාවාදී පාර්ශව රටට එරෙහිව දියත් කරන මෙවන් කුමන්ත්‍රණ හමුවේ වුවත්, ජනතාව කොරෝනා වෛරස් උවදුරෙන් ගලවා ගැනීමට තම ජීවිතත් පරදුවට තබා දිවා රෑ නොබලා වෙහෙසෙන වෛද්‍යවරුන්, හෙදියන් ඇතුළු සියලුම සෞඛ්‍ය කාර්‍යමණ්ඩල වලටත්, ත්‍රිවිධ හමුදාවේ සියලු සාමාජිකයන්ටත්, අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය සේවා සපයන සෙසු පිරිසටත් මම මේ අවස්ථාවේදී මාගේ ප්‍රණාමය පුද කර සිටිමි. 

මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ

අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය

Why Tamils Do Not Contribute Proportionately as Others to the COVID-19 Battle?

March 22nd, 2020

Dilrook Kannangara

Muslims and Sinhalas have contributed heartily to the battle against COVID-19. Big and small hoteliers have given up their hotels to be used as quarantine centres, etc. Other Sinhala and Muslim businessmen have contributed millions each financially. Yet others have distributed masks in tens of thousands free of charge. It was reported that a smalltime Muslim tailor works around the clock to stitch masks and distribute them at no cost. Mostly Sinhala nurses have taken to make masks in their precious spare time to distribute to patients and caregivers. Buddhist monks stitch masks for the village and mostly Sinhala police officers have donated their well-earned lunch packets to the needy. The almost entirely Sinhala military is doing yeoman service to the nation. This is not their usual duty but they have put their lives on the line to save the nation and people once again.

There is a clear dearth of Tamil participation in comparison. Where are all the Tamil businessmen? Obviously, there are far more Tamil businessmen than Muslim businessmen. Have they gone into hiding?

It is the same and far worse when it comes to Tamil politicians who are hyper-active demanding rights but not to be found when it comes to responsibilities.   

Unfortunately, this is not the first time such dearth of Tamil participation was seen at a time of a national crisis.

Apart from Tamil Christians, other Tamils did not meaningfully help armed forces fight Tamil terrorism. In fact, they did everything possible to disrupt the good work of armed forces. An enormous amount of blood was needed to treat wounded soldiers and civilians. Tamil participation in blood donation was (and still is) extremely low.

2004 tsunami crisis also saw very little Tamil participation. If at all any participated that was to help affected Tamil people. Instead they exploited the situation to make devolution demands. A similar situation was seen following the 4/21 crisis. Despite threat to their lives Sinhala and Muslim blood donors participated but Tamils didn’t contribute their proportionate share.

No one can demand rights without shouldering equal responsibilities. And no one can claim ownership of the island or part of the island if they don’t defend it. The island gains nothing from them.

(A word of advice to those who find this factual revelation offensive – stop shooting the messenger, face ugly tribal facts within your own community and do your proportionate share. Prove me wrong. Hopefully this will change the bahaviour.)

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON EARLY BUDDHISM IN SRI LANKA Part 1

March 22nd, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Gautama Buddha lived and preached in the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regions of north India in the 6th century BC.  The 6th century BC is of great significance in North India. The 6th   century is considered the beginning of the Early Historic Period of India. This period also corresponds to the classical period of ancient Greece.

Significant social changes took place in north India during the Early Historic Period. This period saw the establishment of urban civilization with a literate culture.    There was writing. During this time, a religious and economic reform movement started in the Ganges region. It was an ‘age of amazing religious creativity,’ which saw the rise of as many as 62 religious sects, said, scholars.

Prominent among them was the reclusive, itinerant Sramanas, highly critical of Brahmanism. Different Sramana groups held different views, with no consensus. The region was a beehive of religious activity. The religious sects were actively competing with each other.

From this religious ferment came two new religions, Jainism and Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama’s entry into the fray was well calculated, said Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana.     It is now accepted, that Siddhartha left the palace openly, with the knowledge of his parents. He did not creep away secretly in the night, as romantically depicted.  It is stated in Ariyapariyesana sutta,   that he left home with his parents shedding tears.

The Ganges region had a full-fledged iron age by the sixth century BC. This led to a tremendous expansion in agriculture, which led to the growth of trade and commerce, which, in turn, led to a money economy. The earliest coins discovered in India are dated to the time of Gautama Buddha and beyond. These coins were issued by the merchants and bore punch-marks. The use of coins in this period seems to have become fairly common and even the price of a dead mouse is stated in terms of money.

Trade led to the emergence of towns and cities.  Remains of these urban centers have been found in archaeological excavations. The Vedic literature of the period says nothing about cities. The Buddhist texts, on the other hand, are full of references to and descriptions of cities and towns.  These towns and cities are labeled ‘nagaras’ and ‘puras’, distinct from villages, ‘gramas.’

As many as sixty cities figure in the Pali canonical texts. Six of these  cities stood out, Champa (near Bhagalpur, Bihar), Rajagriha (Rajgir, Bihar), Varanasi (Benares,), Kausambi (Kosam near Allahabad,), Sravasti (Sahet-Mahet, UttarPradesh), and Kusinagara (Kasia in eastern Uttar Pradesh). All these cities were located in the middle Ganges valley.

Some urban centers, such as Ujjayini and Taxila, functioned as political and market centers. Others, notably Varanasi and Sravasti were cultural centers as well as political and commercial centers. Buddhism and Jainism were more popular in these urban centres than in rural areas.

During this period, for the first time in Indian history, there arose political states. They were known as mahajanapada and janapada. The word janapada means a populated territory. Both Buddhist and Jain texts mention sixteen such states.

Many of them were much bigger than Greece and some of them were in existence up to the Maurya Empire. But apart from the Sakyas and Lichchavis, very little is known about the political history of these states

Not all states were kingdoms. Some were governed by councils of nobles . Modern scholars have labeled these as republics”. These were the only republics of the time, outside the Mediterranean.

The merchants, officials and those based in towns found the existing Vedic religion unsatisfactory. They did not like the fact that the Brahmin caste dominated religion.  They also did not like the rigid caste system embedded in the Vedic religion, and the compulsory rituals and sacrifices.

They wanted a religion that would abolish the supremacy of the Brahmin priestly class and do away with ‘Hindu’ caste. They began looking for a new religion, which would suit their needs. There were plenty of sects to choose from. They settled on Buddhism, which spoke against caste and Vedic rituals. Buddha dispatched 60 disciples to propagate Buddhism. They were asked to go in different directions.

Buddhism took off to a fine start, targeting kings, nobles and top traders. The first converts were the three Jatila brothers, Uruvelakassapa, Gayakassapa, and Nadikassapa who ruled Uruvela (Bodhgaya).  Gautama Buddha thereafter concentrated on converting royalty to his beliefs (Bimbisara, Pasenadi) and after that, the rich traders (Anatapindika). The advantages were obvious. Where kings led, subjects followed.  The traders provided money for further expansion of the religion. They also helped to spread it, traveling up and down the trade routes.

Kings, nobles and rich merchants accepted the Buddha when he was alive, and gave him food and other necessities. The Buddha and his disciples often accepted invitations to the houses of the rich men for the midday meal. However, they also accepted food and other requisites given by those who were not rich.

Gautama Buddha discoursed on many lay matters, including the creation of cities. He commented on various aspects of public life and concerns of government. He spoke of the righteous king.  Pali commentaries discussed both the republican government and monarchy.

The traders and merchants wanted a     religion that would specifically support trade. Buddhism obliged. Trade was not held in high esteem in the Vedic tradition. In sharp contrast to the Vedic attitude to trade and merchants, Gautama Buddha said trade (vanijja) was an excellent profession.

The Buddhist texts refer to a   wide range of merchants, from rich setti to caravan traders travelling to distant places. The traders and merchants also wanted religious approval for foreign trade and sea voyages.  The Vedic religion did not approve such voyages for Hindus. Buddhism approved sea-voyages.

Buddhism and trade thus went hand in hand from the very beginning. Trade was the main conduit for the transmission of Buddhism from India . Not only people and goods but ideas and religion also went along the Indian trade routes, said, scholars. The Archaeological Survey of India said that Buddhism was disseminated from India to other countries mainly through trade routes. The expansion of Buddhism can more or less be mapped on the Uttarapath, the Dakshinapath, the Silk Route and the maritime trading lanes. 

The notion that Buddhism first arrived in Sri Lanka in 3rd Century BC, during the rule of Emperor Dharmasoka in India, can no longer be accepted. That date gives the impression that Sri Lanka was so backward that it had to wait for 300 years after the birth of the Buddha,   to receive Buddhism. It was left to   King Dharmasoka to send Buddhism into Sri Lanka.  Until then, it appears, Sri Lanka, despite its close proximity to India, had not heard of Buddhism.  This ridiculous idea was probably developed during British rule when the Sinhala intelligentsia was persuaded that everything in Sri Lanka came to it from India.  Sri Lanka could only imitate, it was not capable of acquiring anything on its own.

The reality is different. Anuradhapura was capable of accepting Buddhism during the lifetime of the Buddha. There was an advanced civilization in Anuradhapura by 900 BC. High-quality pottery, iron tools, and copper artifacts emerged during excavation. Findings indicate that there was the cultivation of rice and the breeding of cattle and horses. The writing was found at the Citadel excavation in Anuradhapura at the level dated to 900BC.    Anuradhapura was therefore   in a position to accept Buddhism as it emerged in north India.

Buddhism would have come into the island in the lifetime of Gautama Buddha itself. There is evidence to suggest this and many scholars have independently put forward this view. Gunapala Malalasekera in his Pali Literature of Ceylon, (1928) said there exists evidence to indicate that Buddhism was known before the arrival of Mahinda. Buddhism would have come in during Buddha’s time. Sri Lanka was a very cultured community during the time of the Buddha, he said.

E.W. Adikaram in his Early History of Buddhism (1946) also said that Buddhism existed in Ceylon before the arrival of Mahinda. Large numbers of persons were arriving from India long before Mahinda, it is difficult to believe that there were no Buddhists among them, he said.   Almost every religious sect from India, such as Jains and Ajivakas were found in Pre Mahindian Ceylon.  Ajivakas were not as numerous in India as Buddhists, so Buddhists probably came too, said Adikaram.

Adikaram said there may have been Buddhists among the early settlers such as Yaksha and Naga, as well. Baddhacachhana who arrived in Ceylon with her retinue was the youngest daughter of Pandu, a cousin of Gautama Buddha. They may have been followers of the Buddha, he added. 

Mahiyangana stupa existed before the arrival of Mahinda. it was set up during the Buddha’s first visit. This could mean that long before Mahinda there were at least a few Buddhist monks in Ceylon and this chetiya was built by them, said Adikaram. There may have been some Buddhist missionaries from India before Mahinda. See how rapidly the conversion took place with Mahinda. After the very first discourse, 40,000  converted, observed Adikaram  and several were ready to take up robes.

Adikaram took the view that Arahat Mahinda came to set up the monastic order, not to introduce Buddhism. Mahinda came to formalize the monastic order and establish the Sasana in the island.  Buddhism became a state religion after that, he said.  Mahinda’s mission to Sri Lanka consisted of five fully ordained monks, a novice, and one male layperson, said Ven.  Wimalaratana.

Historians now agree that the meeting between Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa was pre-arranged. That is obvious and historians should have realized this long ago. Dharmasoka had sent coronation robes to Devanam piyatissa. This shows that diplomatic relations had been established earlier between the two countries.

The Sinhalese had no difficulty in understanding Arahat Mahinda’s preaching. The Magadhi language, which Mahinda spoke, would have been similar to Sinhala. The Asokan inscriptions are similar to Sinhala inscriptions of 3rd century BC, said Adikaram. 

Ven. Walpola Rahula in his History of Buddhism (1956) took the view that Sri Lanka would have known about Buddhism during the time of the Buddha himself since there was regular contact between India and Sri Lanka during that period. S Paranavitana, in his Inscriptions of Ceylon (1970) also thought that Buddhism may have come into Ceylon before Asoka.

When this writer, (Kamalika Pieris), was researching on the ancient period,   she found that the research literature clearly showed extensive contact between the Ganges region of northeast India and Sri Lanka, in the critical   6 century BC period. Early Historic Period deposits of northern black polished ware and rouletted ware were found at Abhayagiri and Jetavana and at monastic sites in the hinterland of Anuradhapura. This indicated links to northern India.

Further, people were migrating freely from Bengal to Sri Lanka during this period.  According to Pliny, it took just twenty days to sail from Sri Lanka to Magadha. C.W. Nicholas (1958) stated that up to 3rd century BC Sri Lankans had shown expert skill and a great tradition of seafaring. Many voyages were made to and from the deltas of the Indus and the Ganges, he said.

There was a direct trade route between Anuradhapura and Tamralipti at the time.  Tamralipti, (today Tamluk, in Kidnaper, West Bengal) was the main port from northeast India to Sri Lanka during this period. North India had two major trans-regional trade routes at this time.  Uttarapath for the north and north-west and Dakshinapath for the center and south. Dakshinapath crossed the Indo-Gangetic plain and ended at the port of Tamralipti in the Bay of Bengal.

Tamralipti was the main port of the kingdom of Magadha.  Tamralipti was connected to the other Buddhist republics adjoining Magadha, as well, since the   Uttarapata, the great Northern road, included towns such as Pataliputra, Kausambi, and Taxila. Therefore Tamralipti was well placed to act as the port of embarkation for Buddhist teachings.

There was so much movement between northeast India and Sri Lanka in the time of the Buddha that it became clear to me that Buddhism would have come into Sri Lanka as soon as it appeared in India.  Buddhism simply HAD to come into Sri Lanka soon after it took root in north India. This could not be avoided. Sri Lanka would probably have had links with the various Buddhist kingdoms in the Ganges area as well.

 In the  1990s, when I was researching this, I did not have any archaeological evidence to support my conclusion. The first material evidence supporting this surfaced in 1984 when the Anuradhapura Citadel excavations   yielded Ganges Valley pottery with dates that ‘matched that of Gautama Buddha.’ Anuradhapura excavations unearthed a pot dated to 600-500 BC carrying Brahmi writing signifying ownership. This has pushed the lower boundary of writing by at least two centuries, to the times of the Buddha, said Siran Deraniyagala.

Speaking on these findings at a talk given to the British Scholars Association in 2007,   Siran Deraniyagala stated that Buddhism may have come into Sri Lanka then. In July 2015 at a talk, held at the Organization of Professional Associations auditorium, Siran Deraniyagala again said that he thought Buddhism had come in during the time of the Buddha, long before Mahinda. That would have been Dhamma in real-time, received while the Buddha was alive and preaching in India. [1] (Continued)

6th Centuary BC
5th centuary BC

[1] Siran Deraniyagala.  Origins of civilization in Sri Lanka”. Talk was given to British Scholars Assoc on 6.11.07.

Corona Virus on Astrological Prospective | Ashish Mehta

March 22nd, 2020

Ashish Mehta

A lot of people ask about the coronavirus these days. Out of curiosity or out of fear Everyone’s question remains, now what next. Let’s talk today about the coronavirus on the astrological perspective.

Any virus is born from the conjunctions of Rahu or Ketu or from the position. And due to the combination of Guru and Ketu, it intensifies. At this time, the coronavirus is attacked all over the world. And that too has been intensified due to the combination of Guru and Ketu.

Two things are mentioned in the scripture about Guru. Guru represents life and The one who intensifies it is the Guru. What makes a local thing to global is a guru.

So the coronavirus, which was a local thing in China, became global due to the Guru and Ketu’s conjunction. Fortunately, on 30th March, the guru is leaving Ketu’s alliance and entering Capricorn. That Means After March 30, we will all be free from the effects of the Coronavirus.

But it will start from 24th March. You will be surprised to know that Chaitra Shukla Prati Prada is said to be the day of origin of the world. Thighs are going to start change after 24th march. And its result will come before us after March 30.

After that the summer season will start from April 19, as soon as the summer season starts, the sun will come in Aries, its medicine will be available and the panic will end.

From March 24th, its panic will end in the whole world, we will start getting treatment from March 30. Just get focus. Don’t get panic, & Do take care of your self.

ශ‍්‍රී ලංකාවේ කොරෝනා මර්දනයට අපි එනවා..- චීන ජනපති ලංකාවට දන්වයි..

March 22nd, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා ඊ නිව්ස්

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව සහ එහි ජනතාව මේ වනවිට මුහුණ දෙමින් සිටින කොරෝනා වෛරස ව්‍යාප්තිය පාලනය කිරීම සඳහා අවශ්‍ය සහාය ලබාදීමට චීන මහජන සමූහාණ්ඩුවේ වෛද්‍ය විශේෂඥයන් පිරිසක් වීම සඳහා ඕනෑම මොහොතක සූදානම් යයි චීන ජනාධිපතිවරයා විසින් ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජයට දන්වා තිබේ.

කොළඹ සිටින චීන තානාපතිවරයා හරහා මෙම විශේෂ දැනුම් දීම කර ඇත.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව ඉල්ලා සිටින ඕනෑම මොහොතකට කොරෝනා මර්දනය සම්බන්ධයෙන් අත්දැකීම් සහිත වෛද්‍යවරුන් ඇතුළු විශේෂ පිරිසක් එවීමට සූදානමින් සිටින බවද සදහන් කර ඇත.

ශ‍්‍රී ලංකාව කොරෝනා මර්දනය සදහා මේ වන විට සිදු කරමින් ඇති වැඩපිලිවෙල අගය කර ඇති චීනය තව දුරටත මහාජන සහාය ලබා දුනහොත් ඉතා ඉක්මනින් කොරෝනා වසංචගතය ශ‍්‍රී ලංකාවෙන් පහව යනු ඇතැයිද පවසා තිබේ.

ලොව දැවැන්තම කොරෝනා ඇන ගැනීම සජිත්ගෙන්… (Video)

March 22nd, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා ඊ නිව්ස්

කොරෝනා රෝගීන්ට හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් නොව ප්ලැකනිල් නම් ඖෂධය ලබා දිය යුතු බව පවසමින් සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස මහතා ඔහුගේ මුහුණු පොතේ වීඩියෝවක් පළ කර ඇත.

මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස මහතා වෙත විද්‍යුත් තැපැල් ලිපියක් යොමු කරන ඖෂධවිද්‍යා මහාචාර්ය වෛද්‍ය චන්න ජයසුමන මහතා පෙන්වා දෙන්නේ ප්ලැකනිල් යනු හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන්ම බවයි. හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් යනු අදාල ඖෂධ නාමයයි. ප්ලැකනිල් යනු එම ඖෂධය නිෂ්පාදනය කරන සමාගමක් ලබා දී ඇති වෙළද නාමයයි.

ජනතාව නොමග නොයවා සාවද්‍ය කරුණු වහාම නිවරද කරන මෙන් මහාචාර්යවරයා සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස මහතාගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටී. එම සම්පුර්ණ ලිපිය පහත දැක්වේ.

විද්‍යුත් තැපෑල ඔස්සේ ය.

ගරු සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාස මැතිතුමනි,

ඔබතුමන්ගේ මුහුණු පොතේ මීට පැය කිහිපයකට පෙර ඔබතුමන්ගේම හඬින් මුදා හැර ඇති වීඩියෝවක් නිසා කොරෝනා රෝගයට ලබා දෙන ඖෂධ පිලිබඳ බරපතල වැරදි පණිවිඩයක් සමාජගතවන හෙයින් එය වහාම නිවැරදි කරන ලෙස ඖෂධ විද්‍යාව පිලිබඳ මහාචාර්යවරයකු ලෙස ඔබතුමන්ගෙන් කාරුණිකව ඉල්ලා සිටිමි.

01. හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් ඖෂධය කිසිසේත් මහජනතාවට හිතුමතේ භාවිතයට අනුබල නොදිය යුතුය. රෝග ලක්ෂණ ඇති අයකු වෛද්‍ය උපදෙස්වලින් තොරව මෙම ඖෂධය භාවිතා කළහොත් රෝගය නිසි පරිදි හඳුනා ගත නොහැකිව බරපතල ප්‍රශනයක් පැන නැගී. තවද මෙම ඖෂධයේ අතුරු ආබාධ රැසකි.

02. ප්ලැකනිල් (Plaquenil) යනු හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන්වලට වඩා උසස් ගණයේ ඖෂධයක් බවත් එය ලබා දිය යුතු බවත් ඔබතුමා යෝජනා කරයි. හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් යනු අදාල ඖෂධ නාමයයි. ප්ලැකනිල් යනු එම ඖෂධය නිෂ්පාදනය කරන සමාගමක් ලබා දී ඇති වෙළද නාමයයි. පැරසිටමෝල් ඖෂධය සඳහා පැනඩෝල් වෙළද නාමය ලබා දී ඇති අයුරිනි. එහෙයින් මෙය මුළුමුනින් සාවද්‍ය ප්‍රකාශයකි.

03. හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් හෝ ප්ලැකනිල්වලින් අතුරු ආබාධයක්/ අගතියක් සිදු වූවහොත් ඇසිත්‍රෝමයිසින් (azithromycin) ලබා දිය හැකි බව ඔබතුමා පවසයි. එයද මුළුමුනින් සාවද්‍ය ප්‍රකාශයකි. ඇසිත්‍රෝමයිසින් යනු ප්‍රතිජීවක ඖෂධයකි. හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන් හෝ ප්ලැකනිල්වලින් නියුමෝනියා තත්වයක් ඇති නොවන අතර ඇසිත්‍රෝමයිසින් මෙකී රෝගීන්ට ලබා දීමට බලාපොරොත්තු වන්නේ හයිඩ්‍රෝක්සික්ලොරෝකුවීන්වල අතුරු ආබාධයකින් වැලකීමට නොවේ.

දීර්ඝ කලක් පාර්ලිමේන්තුව නියෝජනය කළ මන්ත්‍රීවරයකු , ප්‍රබල කැබිනට් අමාත්‍යවරයකු, විපක්ෂනායකවරයකු මෙන්ම ජනාධිපති අපේක්ෂයකු ලෙසද කටයතු කළ ඔබතුමන්ගේ මෙම ප්‍රකාශය නිසා ජනතාව නොමග යා හැකි හෙයින් එය අප්‍රමාදීයව නිවරද කරන මෙන් නැවතත් ඉල්ලා සිටිමි.

මහාචාර්ය වෛද්‍ය චන්න ජයසුමන
MBBS,PhD, FRCP Edin
ඖෂධවිද්‍යාව පිලිබඳ මහාචාර්ය

ලන්ඩනයේ සිට ආ ලොක්කෙක් නිරෝධායනයට පයින් ගසා යන්න යයි..

March 22nd, 2020

උපුටා ගැන්ම ලංකා ඊ නිව්ස්

එංගලන්තයේ ලන්ඩන් නගරයේ සිට පැමිණි ශ්‍රී ලංකන් ගුවන් සමාගමේ ඉහළ නිලධාරියෙක් නිරෝධානය ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කර තම කාර්යාලයට පැමිණ ඇති බව වාර්තා වේ.

ඔහු කාර්යාලයට සෙසු නිලධාරීන් කැඳවා සාකච්ඡා වල නිරත වීම නිසා එම නිලධාරීන් භීතියට පත්ව ඇත.

ලන්ඩනයේ සංචාරයට ගොස් පැමිණි මෙම ප්‍රධානියා එදිනම කාර්යාලයට පැමිණ රාජකාරි පටන් ගෙන ඇත්තේ නිරෝධායන කටයුත්ත තරයේ ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කරමිනි.

Coronavirus | South Asian coordination on pandemic crisis intensifies

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy The Hindu

Bangladesh pledges $1.5 million to SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation intensified anti-COVID-19 steps to secure people from the pandemic. Sri Lanka evacuated a large number of Buddhist pilgrims from India in the early hours of Sunday before India stopped all flights as Kathmandu boosted health inspection on the Indo-Nepal border.

All Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims, who were stranded in India, have now returned to Sri Lanka,” a press release from the High Commission of Sri Lanka informed and said 1,500 Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka were stuck in India but were evacuated over the last few days successfully.

Earlier India had streamlined the movement of goods and people across the border with Nepal in view of the threat of the virus. Kathmandu has boosted health screening on the border and in some places local administrations have placed restrictions. As of now cross-border movement continues,” said an official.

Bangladesh on Sunday became the latest country to support the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pledged $1.5 million to the initiative proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives came forward to support the emergency fund to fight the pandemic.

Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday the crisis fund would be used to fight the emergency needs of the member countries as the cases of COVID-19 increase. On the emergency fund, it is already up and running. We have already received many requests from other SAARC countries for assistance in the form of masks, shoe covers, gloves, disinfectants and other items,” said Mr. Kumar during the official weekly briefing.

In Sri Lanka Departure flights to be operated as usual

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy The Daily News

All departure flights leaving from Sri Lanka would continue to be operated as usual, officials at the Airport and Aviation Services Limited said. The President Media Division also said the departure terminal will continue to be operational. Also flights are allowed into the country to take the departing passengers. All passenger transit operations have been stopped for the moment. All import and export operations are to continue without interruption.

Another confirmed COVID-19 patient brings total to 81 cases

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The number of COVID-19 positive cases has gone up to 81 as another patient has been diagnosed with the virus today (22), stated the Department of Government Information.

Previously, Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated that 3 patients were found positive with the deadly coronavirus.

However, another person has been confirmed to have contracted the virus.

The Epidemiology Unit at the Ministry of Health stated 245 persons suspected of having contracted the coronavirus are currently under medical supervision in 18 hospitals island-wide.

Currently, a total of 3,506 people are subjected to the quarantine process at 45 quarantine centers, stated the National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak.

Among them, 31 foreign nationals are undergoing the quarantine process.

Reportedly, 11,848 persons have been referred to be self-quarantined.

Meanwhile, 30 hospitals across the country have been set up to treat people infected or suspected of having being infected by the coronavirus.

Public urged to strictly adhere to guidelines to win the battle against COVID-19

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The Government has requested the entire nation to strictly adhere to the guidelines issued with the objective of preventing further spread of COVID-19 virus and safeguarding the well-being of the people.

Prevention is the main instrument in combating this global health threat. Maintaining a social distance of at least of 1m when people are at public places such as markets, offices, bus and railway stations has been recognized as the best way to prevent the transmission of the pathogen. Also, health advises given by the experts should be followed.

During the last few days, the Government took several concrete precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus.  The imposition of island-wide curfew from 6.00 pm last Friday (20) to 6.00 am Monday (23) is one of the major decisions. The ongoing curfew has been extended till 6.00 am on Tuesday (24) in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna.  The curfew will be lifted in remaining districts at 6.00 am today (23) and will be re-imposed at 2.00 pm on the same day.

A large gathering of people is expected at shops and supermarkets to purchase their daily needs tomorrow where the curfew will be relaxed. Although the purchase of food and other items is essential, the Government requests the public to follow health tips issued by the relevant authorities. A distance of 1m between each other should always be kept when entering shops and when inside them. The public is being advised to cover their mouths and noses in a proper manner when coughing or sneezing. The prescribed distance should be maintained when plying in public transport. The same procedure has to be followed at fuel stations and gas stands.

The congregation of people could be minimized if only one member from each family go to the market. This will be helpful to maintain social distance as required.

Adequate stocks of food and other essential items are available. Measures have been taken to distribute them throughout the country. Hence, the Government points out that there is no need for panic buying and piling goods. Buying only the most essentials to be used during curfew hours will be helpful to limit the time spent in crowded places. The Task Force on Prevention of Coronavirus reminds people to stay at their homes and engage in domestic activities during curfew hours.

The COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the globe irrespective of racial, political, economic, cultural and economic status differences. At present, around 180 countries have been affected. Countries which were able to early identify the prevention methods and strictly following them are successful in containing the disease. China, the epicentre of the virus is the best example. Despite being a rich country, Italy is still struggling to control the virus due to a lack of adherence to the guidelines.

Following the announcement on the virus by the World Health Organization, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took several effective measures to mitigate the spread in the country.  The Task Force on Prevention of Coronavirus was established on January 26th and that made Sri Lanka become the first country to have such a mechanism.  

President regularly meets members of the Task Force and heads of other relevant entities and makes necessary decisions. All the passengers coming from overseas are being subjected to a mandatory quarantine. At present, there are 17 quarantine centres in the country equipped with all the required facilities. In order to prevent the entry of the virus from foreign countries, all arrival terminals at airports have been closed. Essential services are intact while these operations continue.

Taking advantage of the prevailing health situation, people with vested political interests and anti-social groups are engaged in disseminating false information through social media. Some of them have already been identified. The Government states that stern legal actions will be taken against them.

Curfew extended in Northern Province

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy Adadera

The curfew currently imposed in the districts of Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and Jaffna in the Northern Province has been extended till 6.00 a.m. on Tuesday (24).

However, it will be re-imposed until further notice at 2.00 p.m. on the same day, the government announced. 

Accordingly, the residents of these districts have been prohibited to leave their respective districts.

The travel ban will continue to be in effect until all those who visited and associated with the COVID-19 infected pastor who arrived from Switzerland recently.

The government has called on the people of the five districts to cooperate with these measures as they had been taken to safeguard people in the North from the novel coronavirus.

Qureshi phones Sri Lankan FM; stresses need to revitalise SAARC to tackle common challenges

March 22nd, 2020

Courtesy APP

ISLAMABAD, Mar 22 (APP):Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi Sunday held a telephonic conversation with his Sri Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena and exchanged views on the situation arising from COVID-19 pandemic and ways to enhance cooperation against the threat.

Reaffirming the abiding commitment to the SAARC process, he reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the SAARC Health Ministers’ Conference to enhance cooperation among member countries and development partners in the health sector, with particular focus on COVID-19.

He also proposed that a video conference could be organised first in view of the prevailing global health emergency.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that SAARC provided an important platform for regional cooperation. There was a need to revitalise this key organization to tackle common challenges, he added.

In the context of effective efforts to combat the pandemic, he noted that Pakistan had proposed that sanctions on Iran be lifted so that humanitarian relief could be provided at this time of crisis to save precious human lives.

Foreign Minister Qureshi further noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan had proposed that developed countries might facilitate developing countries to meet the challenge through debt restructuring so that they could use limited resources to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their economies and provide effective relief to poor people.

The two ministers agreed to work closely to promote collaborative endeavours for regional benefit.

What happened in our history

March 21st, 2020

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The pioneering Indo-Aryan settlers, who came to be known as Sinhalese later, never stopped making history from the time they stepped ashore. The mission of making history came naturally to them. It was their innate penchant for making history that gave birth to a new civilization which rose to the heights of any other civilisation of its time. Their achievements entitled them to the foremost place in the history they created and left behind. They sowed the land with their sweat, blood and tears and the history they made in the process belongs exclusively to them. They laboured in the passage of time to enrich the land with their culture. It is a history that shines to this day with the grandeur of the distinguishing Sinhala-Buddhist culture. History belongs to those who made it and not to those who came as invaders, or predators, or destroyers, or those who live off the fat of the land fertilized by the self-sacrificing ancestors. 

Their creative energy left behind a glorious legacy for their descendants to inherit with pride and joy. Each step they took to explore and transform the land into fertile fields of agriculture and culture lifted the Sinhalese above the other migrants who arrived in time to reap the harvests of the foundational ground prepared by the pioneering forefathers. The Sinhalese not only made this new found land their home but also opened it up for others to come in and make it their home as well.

History was made by bonding with the land. The Sinhalese took to the land like duck to water. They had no alternative either because they had taken the critical decision not to go back. They had severed their umbilical cord with India – a momentous decision that made all the difference to the creation of a new civilisation. They did not have one foot in their new land and another in old India like those who came from the Dravidian culture. The essential difference between the two major and minor settlers who came from India is that the Sinhalese set out creatively and energetically to construct a unique civilisation of their own, with a brand-new identity, while the descendants of the Dravidians stagnated as mere imitators recycling mechanically the culture they brought with them from across the Palk Straits. They had nothing new to offer. They were quite content to bask in the glory of the S. Indian culture. 

The role of the Sinhalese has been entirely different. They were out to make a history of their own with a new identity. Each new step was a historical move to pave the way into the future – a future which opened up in all its glorious splendour. They made it their mission to expand the horizons to its limits, always mindful of the good of all”. (MahavamsaIV:7). What happened in Sri Lankan history in the initial stages was to create a unique identity resisting with all their might the alien invasions, colonisations, migrations and even integrations with the Dravidians. Of course, the initial challenges they faced came mainly from the Dravidians. The clash of cultures was inevitable considering the geographical proximity to S. India. Known records indicate that   geographical neighbours globally turn into historical enemies. It was no different with the Dravidian neighbour. The indelible character that distinguished Sri Lankan history has been the triumph of the Sinhala settlers over the repeated incursions of the Dravidian intruders / invaders.

The pro-Tamil school of historians, aiming to tailor facts, records and events to suit their separatist agenda, tend to downgrade the monumental achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhists and exaggerate their role to make it appear as if they were the founders and makers of Sri Lankan history from the dawn of history”. (Vaddukoddai Resolution -May 14, 1976). If this is true the history of Sri Lanka would have been written in Tamil and the whole of Sri Lanka would have been an extension of Jaffna. Separatists are desperately in need of a revised history to make them look great in the eyes of the world. The best they have achieved so far is to compare a few potsherds found here and there with that of Jethawanaramaya, the second largest monument of the ancient world next to Pyramids of Giza. The 33-year-old Vadukoddai War (from May 1976 to May 2009) is the last attempt to reverse and rewrite the history of the nation by the Northern invaders. As on the previous occasions in history they failed at the end of a futile war.

There is no doubt that the clash between these two cultures went a long say to shape the history of the nation. It is the resistance to the Dravidian culture in particular that gave the unmistakeable identity to the history made by the Sinhala-Buddhists. The overall history of the nation was defined by the struggles to save the Sinhala-Buddhist identity from being destroyed by the alien forces.  It began with Sena and Guttika, the Dravidian horse traders, and ended with Mahinda Rajapakse defeating Velupillai Prabhakaran.  Unforgiving history repeats itself relentlessly, maintaining a determined course as it winds its way to its destiny.

The collective task of contemporaries living in their inherited histories has been to renew and defend the legacies left behind by their ancestors. Revisionists will, of course, rewrite history (as seen in the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist Vadukoddai Declaration of War in 1976) to suit their immediate political agendas. But over and over again historical necessities have forced the living generations of Sinhala-Buddhists to reignite and reinforce perpetually their faith in their past that leads them to their future. They rely on their heroic past because the new-fangled alternatives have failed to deliver. They find security and hope only in the legacy left behind by their committed ancestors. Going back to the past is also a dutiful acknowledgement of the validity and the legitimacy of the inherited vision, values and the legacies left behind by the ancestors.

Imbibing and sharing the legacy handed down from the past is the instinctive response of those living in the present. After all, our ancestors, we are told, laboured to create a place mindful of the good of all” while being lawful according to tradition”. (MV – IV:54). With each step the pioneering Sinhalese settlers knew that they were defining and reinforcing their way forward to their destiny in their new land of hope. The bonding power of the history they made each day created a magnetic field to hold them together against all odds. Their collective genius gave them a sense of history that led them all the way to their tryst with destiny.

Their mission was to carve out new paths in an unknown territory with their own creative energies. They arrived on the shores with all the Indo-Aryan skills, tools and experiences to construct a new life of their own. But the primary driving force that lifted them above the others stemmed from the fact that they courageously broke away from their Indian past and set out on an innovative course to create a new civilisation, new culture, new language that had stood the test of time. Naturally, their commitment and affinity to the land grew exponentially with their successes. Their daring endeavours to find their way in unchartered territories guided by their own instincts and ingenuity made them daring architects in the making of their own history. The enlightened vision of the founding fathers is enshrined in the legacy that speaks to the living from the depths of history.

The genius of the Sinhala people is in giving the world a new history. The alternative was to merge with the rival Dravidian culture and disappear into the big belly of S. India. They either had to make this virgin territory their glorious homeland or wither away into the margins of history like the very first settlers, the aboriginals, whom they encountered on their arrival. They also knew that they had to do it themselves. There was no one else to do it for them or guide them. There was no compass to show directions. Of course, like all great civilisations that flourished in the pages of history, they borrowed from other cultures. But their achievement was in transforming and stamping the seal of their genius into the borrowings.

For instance, the Sinhala language was created out of borrowings like English, French or any other great language. But it is the native input that made it the linguistic vehicle for the dissemination of the subtle profundities of Buddhism. The quintessential Sinhaleseness in the language came out of the tongues and the minds of those creating a new culture and a new civilisation. The new civilisation needed a new language to articulate its birth, growth and inheritance. It needed new words to identify and consecrate its experiences, environment, ideologies and adventures, Sinhalese came out of that necessity to describe the new world they were creating.

The legacy they left behind reveals that they were gifted with a colossal capacity to make history on a grand scale. With their creativity they advanced incrementally into one of the great civilisations of the ancient world, defining on their way forward their identity, dignity and destiny with unquestionable certainty.

No other settlers – Tamils, Muslims, Burghers — had the commitment, the inclination, the necessity and the capacity to break away from their past and carve out a new world which they could call their own. The creative contribution of the Sinhala-Buddhists to a new civilisation has not been matched by the other settlers. Only the adventurous Sinhalese took on the overwhelming challenges of their times and transformed the land, opening up every inch of it, for all those who want to call it their home. Their pioneering mission was to make the land blossom with a new culture and civilisation and to preserve both in an open society for all settlers to share it as their homeland based on peaceful coexistence. Tolerant pluralism, embracing diversity, was the secret of their success throughout their journey in history. There were, of course, the inevitable aberrations which branched out briefly into billabongs. But the general tendency was for most divergences to return and merge with the normal flow of the mainstream culture.

The minting of a brand new civilisation, culture and language that could stand shoulder to shoulder with the achievements of other comparable histories is what makes the Sinhalese a cut above the rest. Filled with hope, determination and courage they explored the virgin land and tamed wild nature to make it an island nation with a many-splendored culture. The founding fathers left their footprints on every micro-mini grain of sand in the land they occupied as they inched their way into the unknown future. By the time the Dravidians, the Portuguese, Dutch, Muslims and the British worked their way into Sri Lanka they discovered a flourishing, advanced civilisation and culture well established to combat the challenges that faced them. As expected, it was invariably the Sinhala-Buddhists that led the way to face the challenges that confronted them from time to time, It was their leadership and sacrifices that saved the nation. It is this role that gives the foremost place in the history made by them.

The Sinhala settlers had no reason to look back, either in despair or regret, because they fulfilled their role of making a history second to none. They took to the land as if it had been a gift promised to them by the hidden forces of history to fulfil their destiny. As they dug deep roots into the soil their ties to the land became inseparable and indivisible. Propelled by the fervour of pioneering forefathers the history they made together carried them through tumultuous years. Several rivulets, originating from diverse sources, did flow into the mainstream of history. But it is the power and the glory of the mainstream that that defined the course of history as it flowed down the ages

The original decision of our founding fathers to sever the umbilical cord that tied us to India made all the difference to our history. The decision to go it alone was a courageous one. Eventually it landed as a chapter in Arnold Toynbee’s monumental work which records the triumphant responses of those who succeeded in overcoming the challenges faced by the pioneers of the past.

After abandoning our original home in India, digging new roots in a new land was not an easy task, as any migrant would know. But that is what our ancestors, our founding fathers, had to do. Their pioneering task was to make history and they did it their way in grand style. But it was not without its share of hazards. The passage to the future had to be fought every inch of the way.

The constant threat to the Sinhala settlers came from the overwhelming Dravidian culture. That has been the central drama in their history. The soil was fertilized by the blood shed to resist and rescue the identity of invading forces of the North. Sri Lanka is a nation built out of resistance to the inimical Dravidian forces. To a great extent the history of SL is the history of the power and the glory of the capacity of the Sinhala-Buddhists to defeat, overthrow and survive the massive thrusts of Dravidian incursions. The shadow of the Dravidian Big Brother loomed large over Sri Lanka throughout its history. Despite the overwhelming geographical proximity, military power, invasions, migrations, infiltrations, collaborations with other inimical forces the Sinhala-Buddhist forces triumphed in defeating and/or expelling the alien forces.

The first battle against the Sinhala people was waged by the two brothers, Sena Guttika, The last battle was fought by the two brothers Mahinda and Gota.

History has recorded who had won in the beginning and in the end. All this leads to one single conclusion: the Sinhala-Buddhist history has knocked Marxism, Leninism, Gramscicism, separatism etc., into a cocked hat. Gota’s victory on November 19 is the latest historical event that should convince the theoreticians that despite aberrations history will return again and again to rescue and resuscitate the Sinhala-Buddhist roots from its enemies within and abroad. 

And as they say, history will never cease to repeat itself. 

කොන්ඩෙ බැදපු චීන්නු

March 21st, 2020

LUXMINDRA JAYASEKARA 

PANIC SELLING

In recent days, China broke many records, and earned absolutely everything,
$ 20 billion in the first news and bought about 30% of the shares of companies that belong to the West in China.

President Xi Jinping has surpassed Europeans and intelligent American Democrats.

He played a wonderful game in front of the eyes of the entire world.

Due to the situation in Wuhan, the Chinese currency began to decline, but the Chinese Central Bank took no action to stop this collapse.

There were also many rumours that China didn’t even have enough masks to fight the Corona Virus.

These rumours and Xi Jinping’s statement that he is ready to protect Wuhan residents by blocking borders has led to a sharp decline in share prices (44%) in Chinese technology and the chemical industry.

Financial sharks began selling all Chinese stocks, but no one wanted to buy them and they were completely devalued.

Xi Jinping made a great move at this time, waiting for a whole week and smiling at the press conferences as if nothing special had happened.

ASTUTE BUYING

And when the prices fell below the allowed limit,
he ordered to buy ALL the shares of Europeans and Americans at the same time!

Then, the “financial sharks” realized that they had been cheated and bankrupt.

But it was too late, because all the shares had passed to China, which at this time not only earned
$ 2000 Billion,
but thanks to the simulation,
once again becomes the majority shareholder of companies built by Europeans and Americans.

The shares now belong to their companies and have become owners of the heavy industry on which the EU, America and the entire world depend.

From now on, China will set the price and the income of its companies will not leave the Chinese borders, but remain at home and maintain all the Chinese gold reserves.

Therefore, the American and European “financial sharks” proved stupid and in a few minutes the Chinese collected most of their shares, which now produce billions of dollars in profits!

JUST LIKE A POKER GAME WINNER TAKES ALL

දේශප්‍රේමයෙන් කොරෝනාව පැරැද වූ චීන්නු!

March 21st, 2020

ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති

කොරෝනාවේ අවදානම දැන් අපේ රටටත් ඇවිල්ලා. ජනවාරි මාසයේ ඉඳලා චීනයේ කොරෝනාව පැතිරෙද්දි ඒක හැදිච්ච අය ඒ ගමන් ම මැරිලා වැටෙනවා කියලා කියපු අයත් අපි අතර හිටියා. ඒත් අපේ රටේ අය නම් ලෙඩේ හදාගෙන හතර වටේ රෝන්දේ ගහ ගහා අනිත් අයටත් ලෙඩේ දීලා හරි අපූරුවට කකුල් දෙකෙන් හිටගෙන ඉන්න බව අපිට පේනවා. ඉතින් චීනයේ කොරෝනාව පැතිරෙද්දි කියපු කතාවල ඇත්ත නැත්ත දැන් අපිට හොඳින් තේරුම් ගන්න පුළුවන්.

මේ ලෙඩේට අදාළ රෝග ලක්‍ෂණ විදිහට සැළකෙන්නේ උණ, කැස්ස, හුස්ම ගැනීමේ අපහසුව, ඇඟපත වේදනාව සහ උගුර රිදීම. මේකට තවත් එකක් එකතු කරගන්න ඕන කියලා මට නම් හිතෙනවා. ඒ තමයි අසීමිත බය. පහුගිය දවස්වල අපේ කට්ටිය ඉවරයක් නැතුව පතුරුවපු බොරු ගොඩත් එක්ක තමයි මේ බය ඇති වෙලා තියෙන්නේ. ඉතින් ඒ ලෙඩෙන් ගොඩ එන්න නම් අපිට තව ටික දවසක් ගත වෙයි. සාමාන්‍යයෙන් අපි යමක් ඉගෙන ගන්නේ ඒ දේට මූණ දුන්නාට පස්සෙනේ.

කොහොම වුනත් දැන් ප්‍රශ්නය ඇතිවෙලා ඉවරයි. දැන් අපිට පුළුවන් මේ ප්‍රශ්නයෙන් ගොඩ එන්න චීන්නු කළේ මොනවා ද කියන එක ඉගෙන ගන්න. මේ ලිපිය ලියන්නේ ඒ වැඩේට කරන උදව්වක් විදිහට. ඇත්තෙන්ම චීන්නු කොරෝනාව පාලනය කර ගත්තේ කොහොම ද?

මේ ලෙඩේ ඉස්සරහට එද්දි මුලින් ම ප්‍රසිද්ධ වුනේ මධ්‍යම චීනයේ තියෙන වූ-හන් නගරය. ඊට පස්සේ අපි හූ-පෙයි පළාත ගැනත් දැන ගත්තා. ඉතින් දැන් නම් අපිට පෙයි-චිං, ෂං-හයි නගර දෙකේ නම් වගේ ම වූ-හන් නගරයේ නමත් ඒ නගරය පිහිටලා තියෙන හූ-පෙයි පළාතේ නමත් හොඳට ම හුරුයි. 2020 අවුරුද්දේ උදාවත් එක්ක හෙමින් හෙමින් ඉස්සරහට ආපු කොරෝනාව වේගයෙන් පැතිරෙන්න පුළුවන් බව තහවුරු වුනේ ජනවාරි 23 වෙද්දි. ඊට පහුවදා රෑ වෙද්දි චීනයේ අලුත් අවුරුද්ද උදා වෙනවා. ඉතින් ඒ වෙද්දිත් කෝටි ගණනක් මිනිස්සු අවුරුද්දට ගෙදර යන්න මහ පාරට ඇවිල්ලා ඉවරයි.

ඇතිවෙමින් තිබුණු අනතුරේ තරම චීන ආණ්ඩුව තේරුම් ගත්තා. ඉතින් ජනවාරි 23 වැනි දා උදේ දහය වෙද්දි වූ-හන් නගරය මුළුමනින් ම වහලා දාන්න චීන ආණ්ඩුව කටයුතු කළා. තවත් දවසක් දෙකක් යද්දි හූ-පෙයි පළාතේ තවත් නගරවලින් ලෙඩේ වාර්තා වෙන්න පටන් ගත්තා. ඒ එක්කම ඒ නගරත් වහලා දාන්න චීන ආණ්ඩුව කටයුතු කළා.

ඒකීය රටක් විදිහට පාලනය වෙන චීනයේ පරිපාලනය ඉතාමත් හොඳින් පෙළ ගස්සවපු එකක්. මේ පරිපාලන යාන්ත්‍රණයේ ඉහළින් ම තියෙන්නේ මධ්‍යම ආණ්ඩුව. ඒකට යටින් පළාත්, පළාත් මට්ටමේ නගර, ස්වායත්ත සහ විශේෂ පරිපාලන ප්‍රදේශ තියෙනවා. ඒ දෙවැනි මට්ටමේ පරිපාලන ඒකකවලට යටින් කෝරළ සහ ඒවාට අයිති නගර තියෙනවා. ඒක තමයි තුන්වැනි මට්ටම. ඊටත් යටින් තමයි ගම්මාන තියෙන්නේ.

වූ-හන් වගේ ප්‍රධාන නගර වහන අතර ම ලෙඩේ ඉස්මතු වෙන කුඩා ඒකකත් වෙන වෙන ම වහලා දාන්නත් නියෝග ලැබුණා. කිසියම් මහල් නිවාසයකින් ලෙඩෙක් හොයා ගත්තොත් ඒ මහල් නිවාසය මුළුමනින් ම වහලා දැම්මා. යම් ගමකින් ලෙඩෙක් මුණ ගැහුණොත් ඒ ගම්මානය මුළුමනින් ම වහලා දැම්මා. ඒ විදිහට වහපු තැන්වල අයට කිසිම ආකාරයකින් පිටට යන්න බෑ. ඒ අය තමන්ගේ ගෙවල්වලට ම වෙලා ඉන්න ඕන. ඒ අයට ඕන කරන දේවල් මං-ගත (ඔන්ලයින්) ආකාරයට මිල දී ගන්න පහසුකම් සළස්වලා තිබුණා. ඒ විදිහට මිල දී ගන්න දේවල් ඒ අයගේ ගෙදර දොර ගාවට ගෙනැල්ලා දෙන එක කළේ ඒ වහපු තැන් පාලනයට පත් කරපු අය. ඉතින් මේ මොකක් වැහුවත් මිනිස්සු බඩගින්නේ මැරුණේ නෑ.

චීනයේ ප්‍රචලිත වෙලා තියෙන වී-චැට් සහ අලි-පේ වගේ ගෙවීම් ක්‍රම හින්දා මංගත ක්‍රමයට බඩු ගන්න එක හරිම පහසුයි. ඉතින් නගර, ගම්මාන, මහල් නිවාස වැහුවා කියලා බඩු ගන්න එක නැවතුණේ නෑ. මේ වැඩේ හින්දා මිනිස්සුන්ට නිකම් කන්න දෙන්න ඕන වුනෙත් නෑ. ජංගම දුරකථන, පරිගණක හරහා ගනුදෙනු කරන්නෙත් චීන භාෂාවෙන්නේ. ඉතින් මංගත විදිහට බඩු ගන්න එක ආච්චි අම්මලාට පවා කරන්න පුළුවන් වැඩක්. තොරතුරු තාක්‍ෂණය සහ ඉංග්‍රීසි කියන්නේ දෙකක් කියලා චීන මිනිස්සු දන්නවා.

වූහන් වගේ වහපු නගර ඇතුළේ මගී ප්‍රවාහන කටයුතුත් සම්පූර්ණයෙන් ම නැවැත්තුවා. ජනවාරි 25 වැනි දා අවුරුද්ද උදාවුණු හින්දා රට පුරාම මගී ප්‍රවාහනය පාලනය කරන එක හරිම අමාරු වැඩක්. ඒත් පුළුවන් තරමින් පවතින වාතාවරණය සළකලා මගී ප්‍රවාහන කටයුතු සීමා කරන්න චීන ආණ්ඩුව කටයුතු කළා. ඒ යටතේ බස් සේවා, දුම්රිය සේවා, අභ්‍යන්තර ගුවන් සේවා, අභ්‍යන්තර නාවික සේවා සීමා කෙරුනා.

යම් අනතුරක්, ආපදාවක් වෙච්ච වෙලාවට අදාළ ප්‍රදේශවලට අවශ්‍ය පිරිස් කණ්ඩායම් විදිහට පිටත් කරලා යවන එක චීන ආණ්ඩුව කොහොමත් කරන වැඩක්. මහ ගංවතුරක් ඇති වෙච්ච වෙලාවට, භූමි කම්පාවක් සිද්ද වෙච්ච වෙලාවට මේ වැඩේ කරනවා. මේ වගේ වසංගතයක් ඇති වුනාමත් මේ වැඩේ ඒ විදිහට ම කරන්න වෙනවා. ඉතින් මේ වතාවෙත් ඒ වැඩේ ඉතාමත් පිළිවෙළට සිද්ද වුනා. හැම පළාතකින් ආධාරක වෛද්‍ය කණ්ඩායම් වූහන් නගරයට සහ අදාළ අනෙකුත් ප්‍රදේශවලට පිටත් වෙලා ගියා. ඇත්තෙන්ම මේ විදිහට යවන්නේ වෛද්‍ය කණ්ඩායම් විතරක් නම් නෙවෙයි. ඉංජිනේරුවෝ, විදුලිය සහ ජලය සේවා සැපැයීම්වලට අදාළ කාර්මිකයෝ, අනෙකුත් කම්කරුවෝ, කසල සෝධකයෝ පවා කණ්ඩායම් විදිහට ඒ අවදානම් ප්‍රදේශවලට පිටත් වෙලා යනවා. මේ සඳහා අවශ්‍ය නිවේදන ලැබුණාම කවුරුවත් ඒක මග හරින්නේ නෑ. මේක හරියට යුද්ධයකට හමුදාව පිටත් කරනවා වගේ වැඩක්. මේ වගේ වැඩකට සම්බන්ධ වෙනවා කියන්නේ තමන්ගේ පවුලට ආඩම්බර වෙන්න පුළුවන් දෙයක් කියලා පිළිගැනීමක් චීන සමාජයේ තියෙනවා. ඉතින් මෙහෙම වැඩකට ගිහිල්ලා ජීවිතය නැති වුනත් ඒක කම්පාවට කාරණයක් විදිහට සැළකෙන්නේ නෑ.

මේ වගේ වෙලාවට චීන ආණ්ඩුව කරන ඊ ළඟ මූලික ම වැඩේ තමයි අදාළ අවදානම් ප්‍රදේශවල අවශ්‍ය හැම දෙයක් ම යොමු කරවන වැඩේ. හැම පළාතකින් ම මේක කරන්න ඕන. මේ වැඩෙත් එක්ක වූහන් නගරයට සහ හූ-පෙයි පළාතට විශාල වශයෙන් මුඛ ආවරණ, විටමින් සී වගේ දේවල් අවශ්‍ය වුනා. ඉතින් හැම පළාතකින් මේ තොග ඒ ප්‍රදේශවලට පිටත් කළා. මේ ආපදාව ඇති වුනාට පස්සේ වූහන් නගරයට විටමින් සී ටොන් පනහකට වඩා ලැබුණු බවක් කියනවා. අවදානම් ප්‍රදේශවලට ඕනවාටත් වඩා මුඛ ආවරණ ලැබුණා. ඉතින් දැන් ඒ ප්‍රදේශවල මුඛ ආවරණ අතිරික්කතයකුත් තියෙනවා.

මේ භාණ්ඩ ප්‍රවාහනයට සහ තවත් බොහෝ පහසුකම් සපයන වැඩවලට හමුදාව දායක වෙනවා. අපේ රටේ වුනත් එහෙමනේ. හමුදාව සම්බන්ධ කරගත්තාම මේ වැඩවල කාර්යක්‍ෂම බව ගැන ලොකු සහතිකයක් තියෙනවා. හමුදා භටයෝ කොහොමත් තමන්ගේ ජීවිත අවදානම ගැන හිතන්නේ නෑනේ. ඒ කොහොම වුනත් සාමාන්‍ය වැඩට සම්බන්ධ වෙන්නේ අදාළ අංශවල පුහුණුව තියෙන සිවිල් ජනතාව. හමුදාවෙන් ඒ අයට ලැබෙන්නේ උදව්වක් විතරයි.

චීනයේ හැම බටහිර රෝහලක ම චීන වෛද්‍ය අංශයක් අනිවාර්යයෙන් ම තියෙන්න ඕන. ඒක නීතියෙන් ම නියම කෙරිච්ච දෙයක්. ඉතින් කොරෝනාව හින්දා ඉස්පිරිතාලවලට ඇතුළු කරපු ලෙඩ්ඩුන්ට බටහිර වෛද්‍ය පහසුකම් සහ සේවා වගේ ම චීන වෙදකමේ ප්‍රතිකාරත් අඩුවක් නැතුව ලැබුණා. කොහොම වුනත් කටු ගැහීම, සම්භාහනය කිරීම වගේ ක්‍රම මේ වැඩේට යොදා ගත්තේ නෑ. කට ඇරලා දිව බලන එකත් සිද්ද කළේ නෑ. නාඩි බලද්දි වුනත් අත උඩින් රෙදි කෑල්ලක් තියලා තමයි ඒ වැඩේ කළේ.

ඒ එක්කම විවිධාකාර චීන වෙද වට්ටෝරුත් මිනිස්සු අතර ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙන්න පටන් ගත්තා. ඇමෙරිකානු ජනපද සංගමයේ සියැටල්වල ඉන්න චීන වෛද්‍යතුමියක් නියම කරපු වට්ටෝරුවක් පෙයි-චිං නගරයේ පවා ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙලා තියෙනවා. ඒක බොන බෙහෙතක් නෙවෙයි. බෙහෙත් වර්ග සෑහෙන ප්‍රමාණයක් එකතු කරලා හදන පුංචි පොට්ටනියක් තමන් ළඟ තියාගන්න එක තමයි ඒ වැඩේ. ඉතින් සමහරු ඒ පොට්ටනිය හදාගෙන තමන්ගේ සාක්කුවේ තියාගෙන ඉන්නවා. මේ විදිහේ සාම්ප්‍රදායික ක්‍රම සෑහෙන ප්‍රමාණයක් කොරෝනා ලෙඩෙත් එක්ක මිනිස්සු අතරට ආවා. මේ ක්‍රමවලට ගරහන සිරිතක් චීනයේ නෑ. චීනයේ ඉන්න බටහිර වෛද්‍යවරු පවා මේ ක්‍රම අගය කරනවා. ඉතින් මේකත් චීනයේ කොරෝනාව පාලනය කර ගන්න උදව් වෙච්ච කාරණයක් බවට සැකයක් නෑ.

ලෙඩේ පැතිරෙන එක වළක්වන්න ඕන කරන වැඩ මහ විශාල ප්‍රමාණයකුත් විවිධ මට්ටම්වලින් ක්‍රියාත්මක වුනා. ලෙඩේ පටන් ගත්ත කාලේ ම වූහන් නගරය තියෙන හූ-පෙයි පළාතේ ඉඳලා අනෙක් ප්‍රදේශවලට ආපු අය ඉන්න ගෙවල් හඳුනාගෙන ලකුණු කරන වැඩේ තමයි මුලින් ම කළේ. ඒ අයගේ ගෙවල්වල දොරේ රතු පාට දැන්වීමක් ඇලෙව්වා. ඒ ගෙවල්වල අයට අනිත් අයත් එක්ක ගනුදෙනු කරන එක තහනම් කළා. ඉතින් ඒ ගෙවල්වල අය ඒ තැන්වල ම නිරෝධායනය වෙන්න පටන් ගත්තා. පහුගිය දවස්වල ඉතාලියේ ඉඳලා අපේ රටට ආපු අයව හඳුනා ගන්න වැඩේ එක්ක මේක සන්සන්දනය කරන්න පුළුවන්.

හැම මහල් නිවාසයක ම සහ ගම්මානයක ම ඉන්න අයට ඇතුළුවීමේ පිටවීමේ බලපත්‍ර ලබා දුන්නා. ඒ ජනාවාසවලට ඇතුළුවෙන අය පරීක්‍ෂා කරන්න නිලධාරින් දෙන්නා බැගින් පත් කරලා තිබුණා. මේ අය ඇත්තෙන්ම ස්ථීර රස්සා කරන මිනිස්සු නෙවෙයි. මේකත් හරියට කොටි ප්‍රශ්නය තියෙන කාලේ අපේ රටේ පිහිටුවපු සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂක කමිටු වගේ තමයි. ඒ සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂකයෝ තමයි හැම ජනාවාසයක් ම මුර කරන්නේ. ඒ අයට මේ රාජකාරි පවරලා තිබුණේ වගකීම් විදිහට. ඉතින් මේවා පැහැර හරින්න කවුරුවත් උත්සාහ කරන්නේ නෑ.

මංගත විදිහට මිල දී ගන්න බඩු ඉස්සර වගේ ගෙයක් ගානේ බෙදුවේ නෑ. ඒ බඩු තියන්න තැනක් සිවිල් ආරක්‍ෂකයෝ රැඳිලා ඉන්න තැන්වල ම හදලා තිබුණා. බඩු බෙදන අය ඇවිල්ලා දුරකථන ඇමතුමක් දුන්නාම ගෙදර කෙනෙක් එතෙන්ට එනවා. බඩු බෙදන්නා දුර ඉඳලාම ඒ කෙනාගේ අනන්‍යතාව තහවුරු කරගෙන භාණ්ඩය අදාළ තැනින් තියලා යන්න යනවා. අදාළ කෙනා තමන්ගේ භාණ්ඩ ඇරගෙන ‍යනවා. ඉතින් එළවළුවක් ගන්නවත් වෙළෙඳපොළට යන්න ඕන නෑ.

ලෙඩේ එච්චර තදින් පැතිරිච්ච නැති තැන්වල වෙළෙඳසල් විවෘත කරලා තිබුණා. ඒත් මිල දී ගැනීම් සිද්දවුනේ මංගත විදිහටමයි. මංගත විදිහට ඇණවුම් කරපු බඩු ගෙනියන්න වෙලාවක් දෙනවා. බඩු ගන්න කෙනාට පුළුවන් ඒ වෙලාවට වෙළෙඳසලේ ඉස්සරහ දොර ළඟට ගිහිල්ලා තමන්ගේ බඩු ඇරගෙන එන්න. ලැබිච්ච ඇණවුමේ හැටියට බඩු මල්ල සූදානම් කරලා තියෙනවා. මිනිස්සුන්ට වෙළෙඳසලට ඇතුළු වෙන්න ඉඩක් ලැබෙන්නේ නෑ.

බැංකුවලට පවා මිනිස්සු ඇතුළත් කර ගත්තේ දහ දෙනාගේ උපරිමයකට යටත් කරලා. ඒ කියන්නේ උදේ බැංකුව ඇරියාම දහ දෙනෙක්ට ඇතුළු වෙන්න පුළුවන්. ඒ අය එළියට එන විදිහට තමයි අනිත් අය බැංකුවට ඇතුළත් කරන්නේ. ඇතුළේ ඉන්න ප්‍රමාණය මොන වෙලාවකවත් දහය ඉක්මවන්න බෑ.

හැම තැනකට ම ඇතුළු වෙද්දි උණ බැලුවා. තමන් පදිංචි මහල් නිවාසයට, ගම්මානයට ඇතුළු වෙද්දිත් ඒක සිද්ද වුනා. අත් දෙක හෝද ගන්නත් සිද්දවුනා. පිටස්තරයෙක් නම් තමන්ගේ නම, දුරකථන අංකය සහ ලිපිනය ලියන්න ඕන.

හැම පොදු ස්ථානයක් ම නිතර ම විෂබීජහරණයට ලක් කළා. මේ වඩේ මහා මාර්ග, කාර්යාල, පොදු මගී ප්‍රවාහන සේවාවලට අමතරව මහල් නිවාස ඇතුළේ තියෙන පොදු තැන් පවා සිද්ද වුනා. මහල් නිවාසවල ඇතුළුවන විදුලි සෝපාන පැයෙන් පැයට පිරිසුද කළා. ඒවාට අදාළ වාර්තා සටහන් පත්‍රිකා ඒ තැන්වල එල්ලලා තිබුණා. පිරිසිදු කරන්නෝ තමන්ට පවරපු වැඩේ කරලා ඒ බව සටහන් කරන්න ඕන. අධීක්‍ෂකයෝ ඒවා පරීක්‍ෂා කළා.

මේ විදුලි සෝපානවල කඩදාසි රෝල් රඳවලා තිබුණා. සෝපානය පාවිච්චි කරන අය ඒකෙන් කඩදාසියක් කඩලා ඇරගෙන ඒක තියලා තමයි අදාළ මහල් අංකය ඔබන්න ඕන. ඒ කඩදාසිය දාන්න කුණු කූඩයකුත් විදුලි සෝපානය ඇතුළේ ම තියලා තිබුණා.

ලෙඩේ තදින් පැතිරිච්ච නැති තැන්වල ආපන ශාලා විවෘත කරලා තිබුණත් ඒවාට එක එක විදිහේ සීමා පැනෙව්වා. එක මේසයක වාඩි කරවන්න පුළුවන් වුනේ උපරිම වශයෙන් තුන් දෙනෙක් විතරයි. මේස වෙන් වෙන විදිහට රෙදිවලින් හරි වෙනත් පුවරුවලින් හරි ඒවා වෙන් කරලාත් තිබුණා. කොහොම වුනත් මේ වාතාවරණය ඇතුළේ ඒ තැන්වලින් කෑම කන එක අඩු වෙන බව අමුතුවෙන් කියන්න ඕන නෑ.

වසංගත රෝග වැළඳිලා පරලොව යන මිනිස්සුන්ගේ මළ සිරුරු නෑදැයන්ට භාර දෙන සිරිතක් ලෝකයේ මොන රටකවත් නෑ. මේ කාරණය ගැන චීන මිනිස්සුන්ට හොඳ අවබෝධයක් තියෙනවා. ඉතින් අදාළ සිරුරු පුරුදු විදිහට ගෙවල්වල කෙරෙන අවමංගල චාරිත්‍රවලට භාර දෙන්නේ නැතුව ආදාහනය කරන වැඩේට කවුරුවත් විරුද්ධ වුනේ නෑ.

මුඛ ආවරණ පළඳින්නේ නැතුව ගෙදරින් එළියට ඒම මුළුමනින්ම තහනම් කරලා තිබුණා. මොන රටක වුනත් නීතිවලට අවනත නැති, නාහෙට අහන්නේ නැති මිනිස්සු ඉන්නවා. ඒක චීනයටත් අදාළ දෙයක්. බොරු පතුරුවන්නොත් මේකට ඇතුළත්. මෙහෙම අයට නම් චීනයේ ලැබෙන්නේ හිර දඬුවම්.

කොහොම වුනත් ඒ තරම් බරපතල වැරැදි කරන්නේ නැති අයගෙන් හිර ගෙවල් පුරවන සිරිතක් චීනයේ නෑ. සුළු වැරැදිවලට යොමු වෙන අය ඒකෙන් වළක්වන්නේ ඒ අයගේ නම් අසාදු ලේඛනයකට ඇතුළත් කරලා. අසාදු ලේඛනයකට නම ඇතුළත් වුනොත් චීනයේ ජීවත් වෙන එක ලේසි නෑ. එහෙම අයට බැංකුවක් එක්ක ගනුදෙනු කරන්න බෑ. ඉස්කෝලෙකට, විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයකට ළමයෙක් දාගන්න ගියත් ප්‍රශ්න. ඒ විතරක් නෙවෙයි. දුම්රිය ටිකට් පතක්, ගුවන් ටිකට් පතක්වත් මිල දී ගන්න බෑ. ඉතින් ඒ වගේ දඬුවමකට ලක්වෙනවා කියන්නේ සමාජ තහංචියක් පැනෙව්වා වගේ තමයි. මේ ක්‍රමය හරහා නාහෙට අහන්නේ නැති මිනිස්සු මේච්චල් කරගන්න චීනයට පුළුවන් වෙලා තියෙනවා.

හදිසි අවශ්‍යතා සඳහා ගොඩනැගිලි පවරා ගැනීමේ බලය ඕනෑම ආණ්ඩුවකට තියෙනවා. කොටි ප්‍රශ්නය තියෙද්දි අපේ හමුදාවත් සෑහෙන බිම් ප්‍රමාණයක් සහ ගොඩනැගිලි ප්‍රමාණයක් පවරාගෙන හිටියා. මේ කොරෝනා සටනේ දී චීන ආණ්ඩුවත් අවශ්‍යතාවේ විදිහට මේ වැඩේ කළා. ලෙඩේ තදින් පැතිරිච්ච තැන්වල වෛද්‍ය පරීක්‍ෂණ මධ්‍යස්ථාන පවත්වා ගෙන යන්න හෝටල් ගොඩනැගිලි පවා පවරා ගත්තා. පිටස්තර පළාත්වලින් ගිය වෛද්‍ය කණ්ඩායම් මේ වගේ තැන්වල රැඳිලා සැක සහිත අයව පරීක්‍ෂා කළා. ඒ පරික්‍ෂාවෙන් ලෙඩේ තියෙනවා කියලා හඳුනා ගත්තොත් ඒ අයව අදාළ රෝහල්වලට යොමු කළා.

කොරෝනා අනතුර මහා පරිමාණයෙන් පැතිරිච්ච වූහන් නගරයේ හුඕ-ෂන්-ෂන් (අග්නිදේව කන්ද) කියලා කාමර දාහක රෝහලක් දවස් දහයක් ඇතුළතත් ලෙයි-ෂන්-ෂන් (අකුණුදේව කන්ද) කියලා කාමර එක්දාස් හයසීයක් තියෙන රෝහලක් දවස් දොළහක් ඇතුළතත් හදපු බව අපිට අහන්න ලැබුණා. මේ ඉදිකිරීමේ මුල ඉඳලා ම ඉතාමත් හොඳින් සැලසුම් කරලා සංවිධානාත්මක විදිහට කරන්න අදාළ වගකීම් පැවරිච්ච පිරිස්වලට පුළුවන් වුනා. මේ වැඩබිම්වල සවිකරපු ශබ්ද විකාශන යන්ත්‍රවලින් දේශාභිමාන ගී ප්‍රචාරය කෙරුනා. ඉතින් තමන් වැඩ කරන්නේ රට වෙනුවෙන් කියන හැඟීම හැමෝගේම හිත්වල පිරිලා තිබුණා.

මේ හැම වැඩකට ම ඕන කරන මුදල් ලැබුණේ ආණ්ඩුවෙන් විතරක් නෙවෙයි. අලිබාබා වගේ මහ සමාගම් වගේ ම පුංචි මිනිස්සුත් තමන්ට පුළුවන් තරමින් මුදල් සහ ද්‍රව්‍ය ආධාර අවශ්‍ය තැන්වලට ලබා දුන්නා. තාඕ ආගමික සම්මේලනයත් චීන බෞද්ධ සම්මේලනයත් මේ වැඩවලට විශාල වශයෙන් දායක වුනා. විදේශගත චීන ජාතිකයන්ගෙන් ලැබිච්ච දායකත්වයත් අති විශාලයි.

මේ හැම දෙයක් ම මෙහෙයවපු පොදු කාරණයක් තියෙනවා. ඒ තමයි චීන මිනිස්සු තළ තියෙන දේශප්‍රේමය. මාඕවාදයේ ඉස්සරහින් ම තියෙන්නේ දේශප්‍රේමය මිසක් කොමියුනිස්ට් අදහස් නෙවෙයි. බොරුවට අටවා ගෙන තිබුණු කොමියුනිස්ට් ජාත්‍යන්තරය බිඳ වැටුණෙත් චීනයේ සමාජවාදීන් තමන්ගේ රටට මුල් තැනක් දීලා කටයුතු කරපු හින්දා. අපේ සමාජවාදීන්ට තියෙන ජාතිකත්ව අජීර්ණය චීනයේ සමාජවාදීන්ට නෑ. ඉතින් මුළු ලෝකයට ම ආදර්ශයක් සපයමින් කොරෝනාව පරද්දන්න චීන මිනිස්සුන්ට පුළුවන් වුනා.

ආචාර්ය වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති

පිරිත් සජ්ජායනයේ බලයට පශ්චාත් භාගයේ අමාරුව සැදුණු අසුර බලවේග හඳුනා ගනිමු !

March 21st, 2020

සුර්ය වංශ රත්න විභූෂණ පාලිත ආරියරත්න සෙන්කඩගල සිංහ ද්වාරයේ සිට

මේ දිනවල පිරිත් සජ්ජායනය කිරීම විහිළුවක් හා හිතළුවක් කරගත් දේව වාදී අදහසකින් පෙළෙන ඔබ ලෝකයේ ඕනෑම ලෙඩක් හොඳ කිරීමට සමත් යැයි කියන දෙවියන් හොඳින් දන්නා බව අප හොඳින් දනී.

අද මේ කොරෝනා  වසංගතය හමුවේ  තිබෙන මහත් ව්‍යාසනය දැක නිශ්ශබ්ද සැඟවී සිටින නමුත් බුදුදහමේ සඳහන් අනිත්‍ය දුක්ඛ අනාත්ම යන සංකල්පය මනාව වටහා ගත් සියලුම ආගමිකයන් මෙන්ම සියළුම රටවල බුද්ධිමතුන් රහසේ ලොවේ අස්ථිර බව වටහාගෙන ඇතැයි ද සිතමි.

මුහුණු පොතේ මේ දිනවල ආගමික හා අනාගමික කාරයන් විසින් සිදුකරණ  බුදුදහමට හා පිරිත් සජ්ජායනය එරෙහි බලවේග  සඳහා කෙටියෙන් පිළිතුරක් ලියා තබන අරමුණුනේන් මෙම කෙටී ලිපය ඉදිරිපත් කරමි.

පිරිත් සජ්ජායනය  සියලු ජීවීන්ට සුහදතාවය හා ආශිර්වාදය ලබා දෙන්නක් බව බැලු බැල්මටම පෙනේ. පිරිත් සජ්ජායනය කිරීමෙන් ආරක්ෂාව සහ සුවය ගෙන එනු ලබන අතර පිරිතේ ගැබ්බ්ව ඇති  වචන හා ශබ්ද හා  ඒවායේ  විවිධ ආශීර්වාදාත්මක බලයන් හා පිරිතේන් සජ්ජායනය කරණ ,දේශනා හා  කරන වචනවල ඇති සත්‍යතාව හා එම සත්‍යකක් ක්‍රියාව සිදුකරන්නා අති උතුම් පැවිදි භික්කුෂුවකද වුවහොත් එයින් සුවයක්, මානසික බලයක්, ආශීර්වාදයක් එම  පිරිත් ශ්‍රවනය කරන්නාට සහතිකවම  ලැබේ .පිරිතේ ඇති ධුවනි ගුණය  විශාල ලෙස පරීක්ෂණයට භාජනයට නොයෙකුත් විවධ ආගමික  විසින් කර ඇති අතර පිරිතට විරුද්ධ ඔබහට හට කුඩා හෝ මොලයක් ඇත්නම් මෙම තොරතුරු අන්තර් ජාලය හෝ පත් පොත මඟින් සොයා ගත හැක.

අද වෙනවිට අඩුම ගානේ ලෝකය දින ගණනකින් මැවූ ඒ මහා එකාධිපති දෙවියන් (ඔබ සිතන හා විශ්වාශ කරන ආකාරයට ) පවා කොරෝනා හමුවේ සැඟවී සිටින ස්වභාවයක් දිස්වේ. අද  මිනිසාගේ ආරක්ෂාවට මිනිසාම ඉදිරපත් වී තිබේ. සියලුම යාච්ඤා කරන මධ්‍යස්ථානය වසා ඔවුන් ඔවුන්ගේ පවුල් රකිමින් සිටි. කොරියාවේ දැනට ලොව වැඩිම පාස්ටර්වරු ප්‍රමාණයක් (ලෝකය තුල) ඉඳින නමුත් අද වනවිට ඔවුන් එකෙකු මිනිසාගේ ආරක්ෂාවට ඉදිරිපත් වී නැතිබව මේ ලඟදි කතෘ වන මා දැනගත්තේ මේ මෑතකදී මිෂනාරි ආගමට හැරුණු එක් පුද්ගලයෙකුගෙන්ය. අපි ඒ ගැන හිස් මුදුණින් කනගාටු වෙමු ! අප්‍රිකානු දේශයේද වසර කිහිපයකට පෙර ඒඩ්ස් රෝගය පැතිරෙනවිට ගල් පැලෙන බොරු කියා කියා සිටි මුන්ගෙන් බාගෙට බාගයක් ලංකාවට පැමිණ අපේ අසරණ මිනිසුන් ඒ ආගමට බිලි බා ගත්තේය. මේ ලඟදි නැගෙන හිර ප්‍රදේශයේ ද විශාල ආගමික තර්ජනයක් නිර්මාණය කල ඒ මිෂනාරියගේ ”චක්” ගෝලයන්ගේ  බෞද්ධ වපසරිය රකින අපහට කිවේ ” ඔය හාමුදුරුවන්ට වඩා මාගේ ලෙඩ සුවකළ සැබවින් දුටු දෙවියන් හොඳ බවත් දෙවියන් දුටු දිනේ පටන්ම ඔහුට කිසිම ලෙඩක් නොසැදුනු බවත්. කතෘ වන මම කවදා හෝ එය දැනගනීවි කියාය. ඔහුගේ නම කෙටියෙන් ‘අජිත් පෙරේරා යැයි කිව හැක’ යුටියුබ් කොමෙන්ට්  ආශ්‍රයෙන් අන්‍යාගමිකරණ උපක්‍රම ගන්නා අතර කෙටි ඇදුම් විලාසිතා අඳින මෙලෝ ලෙඩක් හැදෙන්නේ නැහැ කියා කියා සපත කරණ කාන්තාවන් දෙදෙනෙක්ද මොහුට උදවු කරයි. ‘එක් දිනක් ඇය මාහට කියා සිටියේ (කොමෙන්ට් තීරුවේ ) ” ඉස්සර මමත් හිතාගෙන හිටියේ මේ සහෝදරයවගේ (සහෝදරය කිවේ කතෘ වන මා හටය ) තාම නමුත් පස්සේ දෙවියන් දුටු විට අද වෙනකම් ලෙඩ හැදුණේ නැති බවය. අහෝ කරුමයකි මා සිතාගතේ අපේ තවත් එකියක් ” රතු ලණුව ගිල ඇති බවය ”. ඇයට මම පෞද්ගලිකව අනුකම්පා කරමි. ඒ ඇයි කිවහොත් අද වනවිට ඉහතකී පිරිමි ආත්මයද පසු කි ගැහැණු ආත්මයද තමන් හා දෙවියන්ටද අවසානයක් ඇති බව කොරෝනා වසංගතය හමුවේ වටහාගෙන ඇති බව සත්‍යක් වන බැවිනි.

ඔවුන් තුන්දෙනාගෙන්  මම අසා සිටියේ :

චීනයේ මියයන සහ දුක් විඳින මිනිසුන් කොරෝනා  වයිරසයෙන් බේරා ගැනීම සඳහා,  බොදු අපි සොයන්නේ ලෙඩ සුවකරන බව තම ආගමික බිලි බෑමට උපයෝගී කරගන්න ඔබ වැනි  පාස්ටර් වරයෙකි. දෙවියන් තමා දුටු මොහොතේ පටන් තමාට නැවත කිසි දිනෙක අසනීප නොවූ බව පැවසු කපටියන්ද අපි මේ මොහු පිටිපස්සේ (කොම්මෙන්ට් ඔස්සේද ) දුටුවේය. අසරණ බොදු පිරිස් බිලිබන්නේ නැතිව යමුද අපි චීන පැත්තේ .ඔබ ඉදිරිපත් උනොත් ඔබ ඉතා මෙය විශිෂ්ට බවට ඉඟියක් දුනිමි තවද මෙම ඔබට අවස්ථා  කදිම අවස්ථාවක් බවද අපේ කතිකාව, සංවාදයට විවෘතයි බවද  සඳහන් කලෙමි.

නමුත් මේ කාලකන්නින් අද වෙනකම් 2020- 02-21 දිනසිට  මාහට පිළිතුරක් නොදී  සිටීමෙන් සිතාහැක්කේ  හැක්කේ මිනිසුන් රවටා තම බඩ ගොස්තර වාදයේ යෙදෙන මුන් තම තමන්ගේ ආගම් ද පවා දී කටයුතු කරන බවයි.

මේ කොරෝනා හමුවේ (අද වනවිට) මුළු මුළු මහත් මිනිස් වර්ගයා වෙනුවෙන් අප අපිම  ආරක්ෂාවට සලකා ගැනීම ඉදරියට ඇවිත් තිබේ. එදා බුදුරජුන් පවා මනුෂ්‍යත්වයට අනුගත වෙමින් ජීවක වේදදුරුගෙන් තමන්  අවශ්‍ය ඖෂධ බෙහෙත් හේත් ලබා ගත්තේය. මෙලොව පහලවුන මනුෂයෙක් වශයෙන් (බුද්ධතත්වයට පත්වී සිටි බුදුහිමියන් ) එදා විශාල මහා නුවර ඇතිවුන තුන්භිය නැතිකිරීමට එම නගරයේ සිටි වැසියන් එම වසංගතයෙන් ඔවුන්ව ගලවා ගැනීමට බුදුන්ගේ උපකාරය පැතුවා. එහිදී තමන් වහන්සේ සිය ශ්‍රාවකයා වන ආනන්ද සමඟ නගරයට පැමිණ ඔහුට රතන සූත්‍රය ඉගැන්වූ අතර, නගරයේ සෑම අස්සක් මුල්ලක් නෑරම සංචාරය කරන ලෙස ආනන්දට උපදෙස් දුන් බව කියනු ලැබේ. එහි ප්‍රතිඑලයක්  ලෙස නියඟයෙන් පීඩා විඳි භූමියට වර්ෂාව ඇද හැලෙන්නට පටන් ගත් අතර දින කිහිපයක් ඇතුළත රෝගය අතුරුදහන් වී ජනතාවගේ සෞඛ්‍ය තත්වය යථා තත්ත්වයට පත් විය.

අද වනවිටත්  රතන  සුත්‍රය හා පිරිත් සජ්ජායනයේ හාමුදුරුවන් වහන්සේලා යෙදෙන්නේ ඉහතකි සිද්ධිය හා කාරණය වස්තු භිජයක් කොටගෙනය. එයින් කුඩා හෝ කුමන හෝ සෙතක් හෝ නොලැබේ යැයි කියන ඔබගේ හඬ හා ඒ ගොරෝසු වචනවලට අප නොරැවටෙන්නෙමි. ඔබගේ ඒ මුසල ,මුඩුම, අසම්භාව්‍ය වචන වල ගැබ්බ්ව ඇත්තේ  දේවවාදී අන්‍යාගමික කරණ ලක්ෂණය, නැතොහොත් තුප්පැහි නිරගමිකයෙකුගේ ලක්ෂණය එසේත් නැත්නම්, මහා බක පණ්ඩිතයෙකු වශයෙන් පෙනී සිටීමට උත්සහා කරන මුහුණු පොතේ අබ්බ ගොබ්බ පුහු වීරයෙකුගේ ලක්ෂණය. ‘ එය ඔබගේ භාෂාවෙන් කියනවනම් – මෙලෝ රහක් නැති එකෙකුගේ වැඩෙකි’.

අද වනවිට පැතිරී තිබෙන වසංගතයට වඩා වසංගතවලට අවරුදු 2500 තිස්සේ අපේ මේ සිංහල ශිෂ්ටාචාරය මුහුණ දී තිබේ. හෙළ වෙදකම ඔස්සේ අප ඒවාට මුහුණ  දුන්නෙමි. අද මේ පැතිරෙන කොරෝනා විෂාණුව කොහි සිට පැමිණි දැයි දෙවියන්ද අපද නොදනිමි. මෙම කොරෝනා විෂාණුව ස්වභාව ධර්මය විසින්ම හුදෙක්ම වෛරසය නිර්මාණය  ආකාරයට  ඇතිවුවක්ද  නොදනෙමි. තවද බලෙන් පැතිරවූ රෝග කාරක වෛරසයක් මගින් ද මෙයම සිදුවිය හැක. හේතුව හෝ රෝගයපැතිරීම  කෙසේ වුවත් පැතිරුණත් රෝගියෙකුගේ ඇතිවන ශාරීරික වේදනාවන් අඩු කරගැනීමටත්  හා පිරිත් සජ්ජායන යට සවන් දීමේන් ලැබෙන , ඇතිවන මානසික සහනය හේතු කොටගෙන රෝගියා හෝ ඕනෑම පුද්ගලයෙකු තුල යම් තාක් දුරට ඔහුගේ හෝ ඇයගේ සෞඛ්‍ය සම්පන්න භාවය වැඩිවීමෙන් ඔහු හෝ ඇය තුල වැඩි ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණයක් ඇතිවීමේ දහසක් හේතු සාධක ඇත. ‘ ගොන් ඔබ මේවා නොදන්වා ඇති ‘  නියමාකාරයෙන් ප්‍රතිශක්තිකරණ ඇති පුද්ගලයන් හට හට මෙම රෝගය බෝවීම 80% වකට වඩා අඩු බව පරීක්ෂණ තුලින් සොයාගෙන තිබේ.

සෙත් පිරිත්, වරු පිරිත්, තිස් පෑ පිරිත් සති පිරිත් ආදී වශයෙන් නොයෙක් ආකාරයට පිරිත සමාජ ගත වී තිබෙන්නේ අප සමාජය පිරිතෙන් ලද අනිශංශ හේතුවෙනි.

පිරිතක අරමුණ කුමක්ද? ඒ ඒ පිරිත්වලින් අපට ලැබෙන සෙත ශාන්තිය කිමෙක්ද? පිරිතට සොබා දහම පවා වෙනස් කල හැකිද? පිරිත මනුෂ්‍යයන්ට සේම අමනුෂ්‍යයන් කෙරේ බලපාන්නේ කවරාකාරයටද? හරියට පිරිතක් කරගන්නේ කෙසේද? ආදී පරතෙරට යන කරුණු රාශියක් අද නවීන ලෝකය ඔස්සේ ජාති ආගම් බේද නොසලකා  සාකච්ඡා කළ යුත්තකි. එවැනි සාකච්ඡාවන් වලට යොමුවීමට ලෝක නායකයන් හා අද දිනද  අප රකින වේද දුරන් හට ආරාධනය කරන්නෙමු. පිරිතට කොරෝනා හොඳ කල හැකිදැයි හැකිදැයි තප්පුලන ඔබ හටද මෙය කල හැකිය. ගොනු ගැසීම්,  විනෝද චාරිකා , සමාජ ඒකතුවීම් වීමට විරුද්ධ වීම ඔබ හා මම  අනුමත කරන්නේනෙමි. ඔබගේ එම මතය හිස් මුදුණින් පිළිගන්නෙමි.

නමුත් වසංගත රෝහලට ගොස් පිරිත් කියලා කොරෝනා හොඳ කරපියවූ ! කියන ඔබගේ වෛරබුද්ධිය ඔස්සේ  එන මුග්ධ ප්‍රකාශ පිටු දකින්නෙමු !

 ස්වර්ගයේ සුවසේ සිටින  නිර්මාණ දෙවියන්ට වඩා මනුෂ්‍යින් මනුෂ්‍යින් වෙත කරණ උපකාර  බලවත් වී තිබේ.වතිකානුවේ පාප් වහන්සේ අද අසරණව සිටි, ඉතාලියේ පල්ලියෙන් ඇසෙන සැම සීනු නාදයකටම සැරයක්ම මළ මිනිසෙකු වෙනුවෙන් තවත් සීනුවක් මර ලතොනියෙන් නාද වෙමින් පවතී. ලෙඩ දුක් ගොඩකින් ඒ  මිනිසුන් වේලි තිබේ. ඒ  අතර ලෝක නායකයන් දනින් වැටි සිටි, මක්කාව නිශ්ශබ්දය .ලංකාවේද සිටින හැමදෙයකටම උඩ පනින එන්.ජි.ඕ නඩ දොර ගුල් ලාගෙන උන්ගේම හැතිකරේ එක්ක අන්තර් ජාලය තුල බොදු කටයුතු ගැන විමර්ශනයයෙති  යෙදෙති. බුදුදහමට විරුද්ධ මත සඳහා ” කැමැත්ත අකමැත්ත ” දමති. ඒ කාලකන්නි අර එදා අප්‍රේල් 21 බෝම්බය බෝම් බයට පසුද මෙසේ කලයේය.බෝම්බ පිපිරුණු පසු අසරණයන් මැරී වැටුන පසු සිනාසුනු දේශපාලකයෝ අද චන්ඩින් වී ”කොරෝනා වත් තම බඩගෝස්තර දේශපාලනයට ආලෝකයක් කරමින් සිටි. ජාතියේ වාසනාවට රණවිරුවන් හා වෛද්‍යවරුන්  හා අනෙකුත් හෙද හා වේද සේවකයන් හා කවදත් අපේ සරණට සිටි. පින්වත් ස්වාමින් වහන්සේලා නිසා අපියම් තාක් දුරට තවමත් ආරක්ෂාවී තිබේ.

ඒ අපේ ජාතියේ වාසනාවක්ය. අසරණයන්ට සරණ වීමට විශේෂයෙන් බෞද්ධ අපිට අතිගරු ස්වාමින් වහන්සේලා පිරිත් සජ්ජායනය කරණ විට පශ්චාත් භාගයේ අමාරුව සැදුණු හැමදාම අවලං කතා මුහුණු පොතේ ලියා තබන සිංහල බෞද්ධ වේශයෙන් ද  පෙනී සිටින බෞද්ධ නොවන මානසික රෝගීන් හට කියා  සිටින්නේ කරුණාකර බුදුදහමට අපහාස කිරීමක් සිදුවහොත් නිතිය  ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමට අප පසු නොබසින බවය. ඒ ඇයි කිවහොත් ධර්මය තුල දෙකේ දෙකේ පොලු නැති බැවින් නීතියේ පොලු ඔබ වෙත ක්‍රියාමත්ක කිරීමටය.

පිරිතේ ආනිශංශ : ‘අන්තරාය වළක්වන හෙයින්ද, සියලු අන්දමේ ආපදාවලින්, ව්‍යසනවලින් ආරක්ෂාව සලසන හෙයින්ද, එහි ඇත්තා වූ මහානුභාවය කරණකොට හාත්පසින් එන ව්‍යසන හා ආපදාවලින් සත්වයා ආරක්ෂා කරන හෙයින් පිරිත නම් වේ. පිරිතක් තුළින් පුද්ගලයාට අවශ්‍ය කායික, මානසික ශාන්තිය ආරක්ෂාව උදාකරනවා වගේම රෝගවලින් සුවපත් කිරීමේ පසුබිමද නිර්මාණය කරන්නේය.

ඔබ සැමට සම්මා සම්බුදුසරණයි !

සුර්ය වංශ රත්න විභූෂණ පාලිත ආරියරත්න

සෙන්කඩගල සිංහ ද්වාරයේ සිට

Tomorrow (march 21) is International day of Forests: Sinharaja: Mother Nature’s precious gift

March 21st, 2020

H.P. Gunawardena and H.M.P.R Wijebandara Courtesy The Daily News

Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people—including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures—depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.

The fact that Sinharaja forest reserve is a precious gift to us from the nature is nothing new. It is an evergreen tropical forest located in the Wet Zone of the country, stretching across the Districts of Galle, Matara and Ratnapura with an extent of approximately 1,185 hectares.

Considering its importance as a catchment area, its biodiversity, socio economic importance and the immense contribution made to the environmental system of the country, as per the recommendations of the Department of Forest Conservation, it was declared as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978 and subsequently, considering its significance to the nation and its importance as a scarce natural resource, it was proclaimed as a National Heritage in 1988. It was also declared as a Forest Reserve.

Taking all of the aforesaid factors into account, a special management staff has been appointed for its proper management and safety. However, during the recent past, an incident which led to controversy was the circulation of a news item revealing the construction of a roadway dividing the Sinharaja forest reserve.

What really transpired was the reconstruction of a roadway which was in existence for over 50 years. How did it happen, what is its history? When probing the history of Sinharaja forest reserve, it is revealed that an entrance has been built only in 1963. This entrance is from Waddagala to Kudawa. Thereafter, the potential of the reserve to manufacture wood was examined and according to the information gathered from such study and through the recommendations made by UNDP/FAO in 1968, the capacity for selective felling was recognized and wood cutting was permitted by the Government at the time.

සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයින් රවටන පිරිත් නූල් පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලනය

March 21st, 2020

චන්ද්‍රසිරි විජයවික්‍රම, LL.B., P.hD.

හැඳින්‌වීම

හාමුදුරුවනේ, ආණ්ඩුව සරණං ගච්චාමි කියා ශික්‍ෂා පදයක් නෑ නොවැයි-
-අගමැති ඩී. ඇස්. සේනානායක
හාමුදුරුවනේ, ආණ්ඩුවේ රෙගුලාසි අනුව මේ පොලිස් නිලධාරියාව මාරු නොකරම බැහැ-
-ඩොනමෝර් ස්වදේශ කටයුතු ඇමති ඩී. බී. ජයතිලක

මෙහි ඉහතින් දැක්‌වෙන්නේ, පිළිවෙලින්, හේන්පිටගෙදර ඥානසීහ හිමියන්ව හා කළුකොඳයාවේ ප්‍රඥාශෙඛර හිමියන්ව, සිංහල දේශපාලකයින් දෙදෙනෙකු විසින් රැවටූ අවස්ථා දෙකකි.

හාමුදුරුවරුන් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට යවන්න එපා යයි අස්ගිරි-මල්වතු මහනාහිමි වරුන් විසින් ප්‍රකාශ කිරීම හාස්‍යයට කරුණක් වන්නේ, සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ යයි කියා ගන්නා දේශපාලකයින් විසින් වැඩියෙන්ම රවට්ටන්නේ, රවටා ඇත්තේ, සුද්දන් විසින් ඔවුන්ගේ ඊනියා සාමය හා මනාපාලනය උදෙසා මෙවලම් දෙකක් ලෙස යොදා ගත් මේ සංස්ථා දෙක වීම නිසාය. පහත රටදී ඔවුන් අල්ලා ගත්තේ විද්‍යෝදය පිරිවෙනය. එංගලන්ත රජුගේ උපන් දිනයට ස්තෝත්‍ර ගැයීම එහි සම්ප්‍රදාය විය. ඒ කාලයේ මහනුවර මහානායක හිමිවරු කොළඹ ආණ්ඩුකාරයාගේ හා නුවර ඉංග්‍රීසි ඒජන්තගේ අල්ලේ සිටි බෝනික්කන් දෙන්නෙක් වගේ වෙන්නට ඇතැයි මට සිතේ. දැන් කාලයේ එංගලන්තයේ මහරැජිණ මෙනි. මනාපාලන ජරමරය සඳහා ගිහියන් වශයෙන් යොදාගත් කළුසුදු පඹයින්‌වූයේ දකුණේ, ඔබේසේකර-ද සේරම්-බණ්ඩාරනායක මුදලිලාත්, උතුරේ, මුතුපර කැඩූ කුමාරසූරියර් මුදලිලාත්‌ය.

ලොභ-ද්‌වේෂ-මෝහයෙන් පිරි පංචස්කන්‌ධවල නොයෙක් අඩුපාඩු ඇත. මාක්ස්වාදයේ පියා, පිලිප්, අන්තිමේදී ඩඩ්ලිගේ සුවච කීකරු ඇමතියෙක් විය. එහෙත් ජාතික හෙළ උරුමය අසාර්‍ථක‌වූයේ කුමණ වර්‌ගයේ වංක කුහකයින්, විදේශ ඔත්තුකරුවන් ඊට රිංගා ගත් නිසාද යන්න චම්පික රණවකගේ යහපාලන භූමිකාවෙන් එලිවිය. කෙසේ වෙතත්, වෙන කවුරුන් නැතත්, නුවර මහනාහිමිවරුන් දෙනම විසින් අමතක නොකල යුතු ඓතිහාසික කරුණක් නම් 2004 දී මිසිස් චන්ද්‍රිකාගේ මාක්ස්වාදී ඩිව් ගුණසේකර වෙනුවට වි. ජ. මු. ලොකුබණ්ඩාර කතානායක කර රට බෙදීමේ චන්ද්‍රිකා ප්ලෑනෙන් රට බේරාගත්තේ හෙළ උරුමයේ හාමුදුරුවරුන්ගේ එක වැඩි චන්දයෙන් බවය.

රතන, ඥානසාර, ඇල්ලේ ගුණවංශ වැනි හාමුදුරුවරුන් ආවාසයේ සිටිනවා වෙනුවට යුද පිටියට යාම නිසා රට බේරාගෙන, රටට දළදා මාළිගාවද රැකගැනීමට හැකිවූවා නොවේද? මහානායක හිමිවරු දෙනම හා මැකෝ දේශප්‍රිය වැනි අය ඇසිය යුතු වඩා සාධාරණ හා නිවැරදි ප්‍රශ්ණය නම්, මෑතකාලයේදී ගංගොඩවිල සෝම හිමියන් (සැක සහිත හදිසි වියෝව, 2003 දෙසැම්බර් 12), පීටොම් ජරමරකාලයේ ඊට විරුද්‌ධව තනියම පත්‍රිකා බෙදූ රතන හිමියන් හා 2012 මැයි සිට බොදු බල සේනාව බිහිවීම යන සංසිද්‌ධීන්ට හේතුව කුමක්ද යන්නය. හමස් පෙට්ටියට දමන ලද බුද්‌ධ ශාසන කොමිෂන් වාර්තා ක්‍රියාවට නොයෙදීම ගැන කතා නොකිරීමට මහානායක හිමිවරු තීරණය කළේ මොන බුද්‌ධ ශාසන ප්‍රතිපත්තිය උඩද?

එකැස් කණා- වැලිවිට ශ්‍රී සරණංකර සංඝරාජ හිමිඳුන්

කොසොල් රජතුමාගේ සීන දාසැයේද පැහැදිලිවම සඳහන් කර ඇති සංඝ සමාජයේ පිරිහීම හා හාමුදුරුවරු දේශය-පාලනයට ඒම පටලවා ගෙන ඇත්තේ ලංකාවේ මාක්ස්වාදීන් හා කළු සුද්දන් විසින්‌ය. හාමුදුරුවරු රැග් කිරීම, පෙලපාලි ගොස් කදුළු ගෑස් කෑම වැනි දේවත්, රහතුන් පහලවී සිටීම, බුදුහාමුදුරුවෝ ලංකාවේ උපන් බව කීම, මංගල සමරවීර ත්‍රිවිධ රත්නයක් නැතැයි කීම යනාදියත් ඉදිරියේ අසරණවූ මහානායක දෙනම, ඇමෙරිකන් තානාපතිනියට අටපිරිකර ගෙනගොස් මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත හිමියන් රවටා ගන්නට ඉඩදී අන්ද මන්දව සිටියෝය. දුටුගැමුණු රජතුමාගේ නම නොදන්නා, තමන් සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයයි කීමට බියගුළු වූ කාලයක ගංගොඩවිල සෝම හාමුදුරුවන් කල සේවයට මහානායක හිමි දෙනම දුන් සහයෝගය කුමක්ද? බුද්‌ධ ශාසනය බේරා ගැනීම පමණක් නොව, රජුන් තැනීමේ හා රජුන් ඉවත්කිරීමේ කාර්යයද වැලිවිට සරණංකර හිමිඳුන් ඉටුකලේය. කෝපාවිෂ්ටවූ රජු මේ එකැස් කණා අල්ලා ගැනීමට කලින් හිමිඳුන් සිය පණ බේරාගෙන පලා ගියේය. ඒ අතර උන්වහන්සේගේ ඝාතනය සඳහා දෙතුන් වරක්ම කොළඹින් ක්‍රිස්තියානී දූතයින්ද උඩරටට ගියේය.

පන්සලේ විප්ලවය

මාවිල් ආරු සටනේදී රතන හිමියන් මෙන් හෝ යුද පෙරමුණේදී ඇල්ලේ ගුණවංශ හිමියන් මෙන් හෝ දෙයක් නොව පන්සල් දෙකට එකතුවන අදායම හා දළදා මාළිගාවේ ආදායම දුප්පත් පන්සල් වලට හෝ මායිම් ගම්මානවල පන්සල් වලට අස්ගිරි-මල්වතු පන්සල් වලින් බෙදා දෙනවාද යන්න මම නොදනිමි. රාවයේ වික්ටර් අයිවන් විසින් හුදෙක් සෝම හාමුදුරුවන්ට මඩ ගැසීම සඳහා කුලියට ලියූවක් ලෙස මා සළකන පන්සලේ විප්ලවය (2009) නම් පොතේ ඇති ඇතැම් නරුම අදහස් කියවූ පසු, ලංකාවේ මෑත දේශපාලන ඉතිහාසය (1798-2019), පන්සල හා පාලක සුද්දන්-කළුසුද්දන් අතර ඇතිවූ නිරන්තර අරගලයක කතාවක් නොවේද යන ප්‍රශ්ණය මගේ සිතට නැඟුණි. මීට අදාලව මා විසින් කල අධ්‍යයනයකින් මෙම ඉතිහාසයේ අවධි රැසක් වෙන්කර හඳුනා ගැනීමට හැකිවිය. ඒ හැම අවධියකම වාගේ ඊට සම්බන්‌ධව ඉදිරියෙන් සිටි හාමුදුරුවරු එක නමක් හෝ කිහිප නමක් සිටියේය. මෙහිදී පෙනී යන කරුණක් නම් මෙම පහත රට/මුහුදුබඩ හාමුදුරුවරු නිසා නොවන්නට ථේරවාද බුද්‌ධාගම ලංකාවෙන් තුරන්‌වී යාමට හොඳටම ඉඩකඩ තිබූ බවය. තවද, මෙම අවධි වැටකින් වෙන් කලා මෙන් නොව, එකිනෙක මත වැටේ.

පන්සල (සිවුර) හා සුදු-කළුසුදු පාලකයින් අතරවූ නොනවතින අරගලයේ අවධි

1 – බුද්ධාගම කියන්නේ බොරුවක් යයි පැවසුණු අවධිය, 1798-1873 (වාරියපොළ සුමංගල/මිගෙට්ටුවත්තේ ගුණානන්ද)
2 – බුද්ධාගම පණ අදිමින් සිටි අවධිය, 1840–> (වලානේ සිරි සිද්‌ධාර්‌‌ථ)
3 -ඕල්කොට්-අනාගාරික ධර්‍මපාල අවධිය, 1880-1915–> (හික්කඩුවේ ශ්‍රී සුමංගල)
4 -ඩොනමෝර් අවධිය 1931-48, විද්‍යෝදය සමාජ සේවය (කළුකොඳයාවේ පඤ්ඤාශෙඛර, සිකිම් (ටිබැට්) ජාතික එස් මහින්ද හිමි)
5 – විද්‍යාලංකාර සේවය 1946–>විද්‍යාලංකාර ප්‍රකාශණය/භික්‍ෂුවගේ උරුමය
(යක්කඩුවේ ප්‍රඥාරාම/ වල්පොල රාහුල)
6 – පංච මහා බලවේගය 1956-59 (හේන්පිටගෙදර ඥානසීහ/බද්දේගම විමලවංශ/කොටගම වාචිස්සර/කලල්‌ඇල්ලේ ආනන්දසාගර)
7 – අඳුරු යුගය- 1960-1978 පෙඩරල්කාරයින් බලවත්‌වීම හා නිල් කොල රතු පක්‍ෂ මාරුවෙන් මාරුවට රට විනාශ කිරීම
8 – අධර්මිෂ්ඨ සමාජය 1978–2005 (මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත, ගැටඹේ පන්සලේ හාමුදුරුවෝ)
9 – සෝම හාමුදුරුවන්ගේ භූමිකාව 2000-2003
10 – පිරිත් නූල් කඹ යුගය 2004-2010 (ඇල්ලේ ගුණවංශ/අතුරැලියේ රතන)
ජාතික හෙල උරුමය
11 – බොදු බල සේනාව 2012 මැයි (ගලබොඩ‌අත්තේ ඥානසාර)
12 – 2015- 2019 නොවැම්බර් (යහපාලන සිවුරු දඩයම, රංජන් රාමනායක, මිසිස් චන්ද්‍රිකා, මංගල සමරවීර යන අය බුද්‌ධ ශාසනයට නිග්‍රහ කිරීම නොහොත් නිර්‍වස්ත්‍රම් පරමං සුඛං අවධිය)

  1. අස්ගිරි ප්‍රකාශණය 2017 ජූනි 20 හා ජූලි 4 නිවේදනය (මේ මඟින් බලාපොරොත්තුවුන අස්ගිරි විප්ලවය සිදුවූයේ නැත)
    14 – 2019 නොවැම්බර් 16 (ආරණ්‍යවාසී හාමුදුරුවරුන් පවා අවුරුදු 40 කට පසු චන්ද පොලට පැමිණ, මුස්ලිම් හා දෙමළ පක්‍ෂ නායකයින්ට තිබෙනවාය කියන තීරක චන්ද බලය පිළිඹඳ කළුසුද්දන්ගේ මිථ්‍යාව, රටේ සිවුරුවල මැදිහත් වීම මඟින් විසින් ශුන්‍ය කර දැමීම)

මෙම අවධි සම්බන්‌ධවත්, පන්සලේ විප්ලවය, අස්ගිරි විප්ලවය යනුවෙනුත් මා ලියූ දීර්‌ග ලිපි ලංකාවෙබ් වෙබි අඩවියේ පලවිය. මෙහි දැක්‌වෙන්නේ ඉන් උපුටාගත් යම් කාරණා ස්වල්පයක් පමණය. උඩරට ගැමි පුනරුථාපන කොමිෂම (1951), බෞද්‌ධ ශාසන තොරතුරු කොමිෂන් සභා වාර්‌තාව (1956 පෙබරවාරි), බුද්‌ධ ශාසන කොමිෂන් වාර්‌තාව (1957), පුවත් පත් කොමිෂම (1964), සිංහල කොමිෂන් වාර්‌‌තාව (1997), බුද්‌ධ ශාසන කොමිෂන් වාර්‌තාව (2002), අයුතු ලෙස අන්‍යාගමීකරණය පිළිඹඳ වාර්‌තාව (2009), බෞද්‌ධ හිමිකම් කොමිෂන් සභාව (2019), යනාදි වශයෙන් ප්‍රසිද්‌ධවූ සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයාගේ දුක්ගැනවිලි වල ප්‍රතිපල ලෙස අද ඉතිරිව ඇත්තේ විද්‍යෝදය-විද්‍යාලංකාර පිරිවෙන් දෙක බෞද්‌ධයින්ට අහිමිවීම හා අන්තිමේදී බුද්‌ධ ශාසන අමත්‍යංශයක් හා ඇමති කෙනෙක් අටවා කල විනාශයය. නිලධාරීන්ගේ ලැයිස්තුවලින්, අන්‍යාගමික සංවිධාන වලට පන්සල් වල අභ්‍යන්තර තොරතුරු ලබා ගැනීමට ඉඩ පාදාදීම හැර මේවායින් වුනේ අගතියක්මය. මිසිස් චන්ද්‍රිකා පත්කල කොමිෂමේ 2002 වාර්‌තාව, 2019 පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරය ගැන කල අනාවැකියක් වැනිය. 2012 බොදු බල සේනාව බිහිවූයේ, එම 2002 වාර්‌තාවේ නිර්දේශ සළකා බලන ලෙස කල ආයාචනා මුස්ලිම් චන්ද පෙරේත කමට ආණ්ඩු විසින් නොසළකා හැරීම නිසාය.

1815 දී බ්‍රවුන්‍රිග් විසින් දුන් බුද්ධාගම ආරක්‍ෂාකිරීමේ පොරොන්‌දුව හිට්ලර් විසින් දුන් පොරොන්‌දු වැනි විය. අල්ලාගත් දෙමළ රජ බිසවලාගේ හැට්ට, ආභරණ හා මෙවලම් පවා ලන්ඩන් වෙන්දේසිවල විකුණුනේ ඒ නිසාය. ක්‍රිස්තියානී ආණ්ඩුවක් ඊට පටහැනි ආගම ධර්‍මයක් රැකදීමට බොරුවට හෝ එකඟවූ තවත් අවස්ථා ලෝක ඉතිහාසයේ තිබෙනවාද? කෙසේ වෙතත් 1840 ස් ගණන් වනවිට ලංකාවේ හා ලන්ඩනයේ ක්‍රිස්තියානීන්ගේ විරුද්ධත්වය නිසා මේ බොරු ප්‍රතිපත්තියත් වෙනස්විය. 1818 හා 1848 කැරළි වලදී පන්සල් විදේශිකයාගේ පැත්ත ගත්තේ නැතිබව පමණක් නිසැකය.

ප්‍රසිද්‌ධියේ බෞද්ධ විරෝධී බවක් එළි නොකලත් බෞද්ධයින්ට පල්ලියෙන් සිදුවූ හතුරුකම් වැලැක්‌වීමට සුද්දන් ඉදිරිපත්‌වූයේ නැත. වැසියන් ක්‍රිස්තියානිකරණයවීම යටත් විජිත පාලන ක්‍රමයට හිතකර වන බව අද වුවද ලංකාවේ සිටින කළු සුද්දන්ගේ ක්‍රියාවලින් සක් සුදක්සේ පැහැදිලිවේ. ආගමික චින්තන නිදහස නැතිකල විට බිහිවන්නේ දක්කා ගෙන යාහැකි බටළුවන් රැළවල්‌‌ය. එහෙත් අද මෙන් නොව ඒ කාලයේ මෙය කරගෙන ගියේ ක්‍රිස්තියානි මිෂන් පාසැල් ක්‍රමය හරහාය. ඒ සඳහා රීති මඟින් උදව් කිරීමත් (උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් හැතැම්මේ දුර නීතිය), ගම් වල පන්සල් අධ්‍යාපනය අඩපණ කිරීමත් යන දෙකම එකවර හෙමින් සීරුවේම සිදුවිය. බුද්ධාගම බොරුවක් කියමින් නොනැවතී ඒ ගැන වාදයකට එන ලෙස කළු සුදු පූජකයින් නිතර නිතර හාමුදුරුවරුන්ට අභියෝග කලේය.

බුද්ධාගම බොරුවක් යයි ඇතිවූ ක්‍රිස්තියානි තර්‍ජනය නිසාම ඊට විරුද්ධව ප්‍රතික්‍රියාවක් මතුවිය. පසු කලෙක සිංහල භාෂාව රැක ගැනීමේලා පඬිවරයෙකුවූ ඔබේසේකර-බණ්ඩාරනායක-ද සේරම් ක්‍රිස්තියානි පවුල්වලට අයත් ජේම්ස් ද අල්විස් 1840 ස් ගණන්වල කියා සිටියේ දශක දෙකකදී පමණ බුද්ධාගම ලංකාවෙන් නැතිවී යන බවය. අන්ත අසරණ භාවයට පත්‌වු සිංහල ජනයා තමන් ගලවා ගැනීමට දියසේන කුමාරයෙක් එනතෙක් හූල්ලමින් සිටියේය. කාලිංග මාඝ හෝ චෝල ආක්‍රමණ හෝ පෘතුගීසි සංහාර ආදියෙන් සමූලඝාතනය කල නොහැකිවූ ගහට පොත්ත වැනි බැඳීමක් තිබූ ගම හා පන්සල විසින් රැකගත් ත්‍රිපිටකය-ජාතක කතා ඇතුළු සිංහල බෞද්ධ සාරධර්‍ම පද්ධතියක් දිවයිනේ ඉතිරිව තිබුණේය. යුදෙව් හා අයිරිස් යන ජාතීන් දෙක ලෝක ශිෂ්ටාචාරයට කල සේවය මෙන් සිංහල බෞද්ධ ශිෂ්ටාචාරයද අඛණ්ඩව පැවතියේය. පුන්න තෙරුන් බුදුන් දවස අරාබිකරයට බුදු දහම ගෙන ගියා මෙන් ටොලමිගේ සිතියමේ ටැප්‍රොබේන් නමින් හඳුන්වන ලද ලංකාව, බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය දූපත් සමඟ සසඳනවිට විශාල කේන්ද්‍රීය දූපතක් විය.

ගමේ පිරිවෙන්වල අධ්‍යාපනය ලද හාමුදුරුවරු සතුරාගේ උපක්‍රම ඉගෙනගෙන ඒවායින් පෙරලා සතුරාට පහරදීමේ ක්‍රියාවලියද ලෝක යටත් විජිත ඉතිහාසයේ වැදගත් සිදුවීමකි. උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් කලින් බෞද්ධාගමට අපහාස කරණ පත්‍රිකා මුද්‍රණය කල කෝට්ටේ තිබූ මිෂනාරී ප්‍රින්ටින් ප්‍රෙස් එකක් මිලට ගෙන ඒවාට ප්‍රතිුත්තර මුද්‍රණය කිරීමට හාමුදුරුවරු ක්‍රියාකළේය. ඊට අමතරව සියම් රජුගේ ආධාරයෙන් ලංකෝපකාරය නමින් මුද්‍රණාලයක් ගාල්ලේ ආරම්භ විය. මේවා සිදුවූයේ 1862 දීය. මෙම ක්‍රියාදාමය, යුරෝපයේ මාටින් ලූතර්ගේ (1483-1546) යුරෝපයේ කතෝලික පූජක බලයට විරුද්ධව ගෙනගිය ප්‍රොටෙස්ටන්ට් ව්‍යාපාරයට සමාන කරමින් ක්‍රිස්තියානී ස්ටැන්ලි තම්බයියා හා ඔහුගේ ගෝලයින්වන ගණනාත් ඔබේසේකර හා එච් එල් සෙනෙවිරත්න, ඇමෙරිකාවේ සිට ඇන්ත්‍රොපොලොජි පොත් ලියුවේය. ඉංග්‍රීසි කතාකරණ ලෝකය නොමඟ යැවූ ඔවුන්, ලංකාවේ ප්‍රොටෙස්ටන්ට් බුඩිසම් ගැන ලියා ප්‍රසිද්ධියට පත් විය. මෙය පිටරට සිට පැමිණ නුවර ක්වීන්ස් හෝටලයේ නැවතී සිට, ගැමියන්ගේ කතරගම දෙවියන් ඇදහීම ගැන පොත් ලියුවා වගේමය. විදුලි ඉංජිනේරු රක්‍ෂාවෙන් සමාජ විද්‍යාවට මාරුවුන සුසන්තා ගුණතිලක විසින් පසු කාලයක ලොවට හෙළිකරනතුරු මෙය මහාචාර්ය රහසක් ලෙස පැවතියේය.

ලූතර් විප්ලවයක් කලේ දෙවියන් හා දුප්පත්/නූගත් කතෝලිකයා අතර සිටි අතරමැදියාවූ පූජක පන්තියට විරුද්ධවය. ඒජන්ට් කෙනෙක් නැතිව කෙළින්ම පල්ලියේදී දෙවියන් ලඟට යා හැකි බව ඔහු කියා සිටියේය. ඉන්ඩෙල්ජන්ස් නම් සහතිකය මිලට ගෙන කරන ලද පව් දියකර (වාෂ්පකර) නිරය වෙනුවට දිව්‍යලෝකයට යා හැකිය යන ජාවාරම පෝප් ප්‍රමුඛ පූජකවරුන් විසින් කරගෙන ගියේය. මෙය දැන් කාලයේ ලංකාවේ සෝවාන් හා සකෘදාගාමි සහතික දෙනවා වගේය. තමන් රහත් බව කියන බුදුකෙනෙක්, දෙන්නෙක් ඌරුමස් කමින් උපන් දින පාටිදානවා වගේය. විඳීම වෙනුවට වින්දනය යන ඕමාර් කයියාම් ක්‍රමය අනුගමනය කරමින්‌ය.

ලංකාවේ මුහුදුබඬ තීරයේ හාමුදුරුවරු කලේ මෙවැනි දෙයක් නොවේ. ආගමික නිදහස යන සීමිත කවුළුව ප්‍රයෝජනයට ගෙන, මර්‍ධනකාරී යටත් විජිත ආණ්ඩුව හා ගැටෙන ව්‍යාපාරයක් නොවන ආකාරයට තමන් සතු සීමිත සම්පත් යොදාගෙන පොදු ජාතික සතුරාට පහර දීමය. අරක්කු රේන්ද මඟින් ධනවත්‌වූ, විශේෂයෙන් කරාව කුලයේ දෙමාපියන්ගේ දරුවන් තමන්ට දෙවන නොව තුන්වැනි පන්තියේ පිරිසක් ලෙස සුද්දන් සළකන බව ගැන කළකිරී බෞද්ධ පුනරුදයකට අත දීමට ඉදිරිපත් විය. මෙහිදී අනාදිමත් සේවයක් කලේ පානදුරේ වලානේ සිට සටන් සිදුවන පෙරමුණ ලෙස ඒ කාලයේ සැලකුණ කොළඹට (රත්මලානට) පැමිණ 1842 දී පරම ධම්මචේතිය පිරිවෙන ආරම්භකල ශ්‍රී සිද්ධාර්‍ථ හිමියන් විසිනි. එය 1848 කැරැල්ලට පෙරය.

කළු සුද්දන් බෝකිරීම

1551 දී දොන් ජුවන් ධර්‌මපාල කෝට්ටේ රජු වීමත් සමඟ කතෝලික ආගමට හැරී, ඉන් පසු ලන්දේසි කාලයේදී රෙපරමාදුවී, නැවත ඉංග්‍රීසි කාලයේදී ඇන්ග්ලිකන් වුන පිරිසේ දරුවන්ට ඉංග්‍රීසි කටගස්වා කීකරු සේවකයින් කොටසක් බිහිකරගත හැකි බව නෝත් ආණ්ඩුකාරයාද කියා සිටියත්, එය නිල වශයෙන් ප්‍රකාශ කලේ 1832 කෝල්බ්‍ර‌ැක්-කැමරන් කොමිෂමෙනි. මේ අනුව 1836 දී දැන් රෝයල් කොලේජ් එකත් 1851 දී සැන් තෝමස් එකත් බිහිවිය. ඒ වන විට ඇමෙරිකන් මිෂනාරීන් යාපනේ හා මඩකලපුවේ පාසැල් වැඩ අරඹා බොහෝ කල් ගතවීය. මේ සංකල්පය 1835 දී ඉන්දියාවේ ප්‍රචලිත කලේ තෝමස් මැකෝලි විසිනි. හමේ පාටින් හා ලේ වලින් ඉන්දියානු වුනත් හැසිරීමෙන් හා සිතීමෙන් ඉංග්‍රීසි වන, පාලකයා හා මහජනයා යන දෙකොටස අතර අතරමැදියන් වශයෙන් සිටින දුඹුරුපාට බ්‍රිතාන්‍යයින් කොටසක් බිහිකල යුතුබව ඔහු කියා සිටියේය. අද ලංකාවත්, සෙසු පරණ යටත් විජිතත් විනාශකරන්නේ මෙසේ බෝකල කළු සුද්දන්ගේ පන්තියය. වලානේ සිද්ධාර්‍ථ හිමියන්ගේ සේවය තක්සේරු කලයුතු මෙම පසුබිම යටතේය. මිගෙට්ටුවත්තේ හිමියන්, අද නිසැකවම ලංකාවට අවශ්‍යවන මිලිටන්ට් බුඩිසම් පාරේ යද්දී (උන්වහන්සේගේ පාත්‍රයට ගොම තැම්බක් දැමීම), ශාස්ත්‍රීය-ප්‍රාචීන පණ්ඩිත විනයධර භික්‍ෂු පරපුරක් ගොඩ නැඟීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවය වලානේ හාමුදුරුවන් වටහා ගත්තේය. 1924 ඊළම් විෂබීජය පැලකරන කාලයේ සිට ක්‍රිස්තියානි සිංහල කළු සුද්දන් විකාර නටමින් රට විනාශයකරා ගෙන යද්දී ඊට විරුද්ධ බලවේගයක් වශයෙන් ක්‍රියාකල විද්‍යෝදය (1873) හා විද්‍යාලංකාර (1875) පිරිවෙන් දෙක බිහිකලේ පරම ධම්මවේතිය පිරිවෙනේ සිද්ධාර්‍ථ හිමියන්ගේ ගෝලයින් දෙනමක් වන හික්කඩුවේ සුමංගල හා රත්මලානේ ධම්මාලෝක යන හාමුදුරුවරුන් විසිනි. ගිහි විශ්ව විද්‍යාලකර විනාශ කරණ තුරුම මේ පිරිවෙන් දෙක සිංහල බෞද්ධ ශිෂ්ටාචාරයේ මුදුන් මල්කඩ දෙකක් විය.

බුද්ධාගම පණ ඇද්ද අවධිය බුද්ධාගමේ පුනරුද අවධිය ලෙස හැරවූයේ හාමුදුරුවරුන් විසිනි. කෙසේවෙතත්, 1880 දී ඕල්කොට්-බ්ලැවැස්කි දෙදෙනා ලංකාවට ඒමෙන් සිදුවූයේ හාමුදුරුවරුන් තිරයෙන් පිටුපසට ගොස් ගිහියන් ඉදිරියට ඒමය. 2000 වර්‌ෂයේදී සෝම හාමුදුරුවන් සහ 2004 දී ජාතික හෙළ උරුමය බිහිවන තෙක් හාමුදුරුවරු දේශපාලන වේදිකාවට කෙළින්ම ආවේ නැත. 1956 විප්ලවයේදීද හාමුදුරුවරු සිටියේ පසුබිමේය.ලණුවෙන් බැඳි ගොනා මෙන් කළු සුද්දන්ගේ පාලන ක්‍රම රාමුව තුල කොටුකර ගෙන සිටි හාමුදුරුවරු, ලණුව කඩා ගෙන චිරානුගත බණ මඩුවෙන් පාරට බැස මිලිටන්ට් ලෙස ඉදිරියට ගියේ 2012 මැයි මස බොදු බල සේනාව බිහිවීමත් සමඟය. සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයාට, සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ දේශපාලකයා සළකන්නේ හරියට සමහර පිරිමි හිත හොඳ ගෑණුන්ට සළකනවා වගේ යයි ශුද්‌ධ සිංහලෙන්, ධර්‌මපාලතුමා අතීතයේදී කලා මෙන් පෙන්‌වා දීම නිසා සමස්ථ කළු සුදු දේශපාලන ක්‍රමයම ඥානසාර හිමියන්ගේ හිස ඉල්ලා සිටියේය. අපි දේශපාලකයින්ට කොඩි උස්සාගෙන ගොස් අන්තිමේදී අපිට ඉතුරුවුනේ කොඩ් පොලු පමණයි කියා ඇල්ලේ ගුණවංශ හාමුදුරුවන් සටහන් කරන්නේ බුදු අම්මෝ හා ඕ මයි ගෝඩ් දෙකේ වෙනසය.

ලෝකයේ ප්‍රථම සුදු බෞද්ධයා ලෙස හැඳින්‌වෙන ඕල්කොට්තුමා හාමුදුරුවරුන්ට ලැබුණ, සුද්දන් සමඟ ගණුදෙණුකල හැකි විදේශීය සුද්දෙක් විය. මේ නිසා 1883 කොටහේන ප්‍රහාරයේදී ආණ්ඩුව කතෝලික පැත්ත ගත්‌විට, ලන්ඩන් ගොස් බෞද්ධයින් වෙනුවෙන් කතා කිරීමට, සියම් හා අමරපුර නිකාය වල හාමුදුරුවරුන් හත් නමකගේ අත්සණින් යුත් බලපත්‍රයක් ඕල්කොට්තුමාට දෙන ලදී. බෞද්ධ කොඩිය නිර්‍මාණය කිරීමේදී, වෙසක් පෝය නිවාඩුදිනයක් කිරීමේදී හා සිංහල බෞද්ධයින්ට ඉංග්‍රීසි හා සිංහල පාසැල් පිහිටුවීමේදී ඔහුගේ සංවිධානාත්මක දක්‍ෂතාවය ලබාදෙන ලදී. 1812 වනවිට මිෂනාරීන් උතුරේ ජනයාට පාසැල් ආරම්භකල කලේය. දකුණේ සිංහල බෞද්ධ පාසැල් ඇරඹුණේ 1880 න් පසුවය.

විදේශික ඕල්කොට් නම් ලංකා සිංහල බෞද්ධ මිතුරාගේ භාෂා පරිවර්තක ලෙස මුලින් ඔහුට සම්බන්‌ධවූ ධර්‍මපාල තරුණයා සිංහල බෞද්ධයින්ගේ ආත්ම විශ්වාසය හා ආත්ම ගෞරවය නඟාසිටුවීමටත්, හාමුදුරුවරුන් විසින් සමාජ සේවයට මැදිහත්‌වීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවය පෙන්වාදීමටත් ක්‍රියාකලේය. පඹයෙක් සදා ඊට සුදුහුණුගා ගේ ඉදිරිපස තබා උදේ සවස පර සුද්දා! පර සුද්දා! කියමින් පයින් ගසන්නට යයි කියා සිටියේ සුද්දාට අපහාස කිරීමට නොව මිනිසුන්ගේ යටි සිතේ සැඟවුණ හීනමානය ඉවත්කිරීමේ පරමාර්‍ථයෙනි. සිංහලයින්ගේ උදාසීනකම තුරන්කර ගැනීමේත්, ජපානය, ජර්‌මනිය හා ඇමෙරිකාවේ මෙන් විද්‍යාව හා තාක්‍ෂණය අධ්‍යාපන ක්‍රමයට ඇතුලත් කිරීමේ වැදගත් කමත් එතුමා පෙන්නා දුන්නේය. ඇමෙරිකාව, එංගලන්තය වැනි විදේශවලට බුදු දහම ගෙනයාමේ කාර්යද ඔහු ආරම්භ කලේය. එහෙත් එතුමාගේ භාෂාව හා මතවාදය සුද්දන්ට පමණක් නොව, ඩී. එස්. සේනානායක, ඩී. බී. ජයතිලක වැනි දේශපාලකයින්ට පමණක් නොව 1911 වනවිට නැඟිිෙමින් සිටි පිටරට අධ්‍යාපනය ලබා පැමිණි සිංහල හා දෙමළ කළු සුද්දන්දටද බලවත් තර්‍ජනයක් විය. මෙය හරියටම අදවනවිට ඥානසාර හිමියන්ට සිදුවී ඇති දෙය වැනිමය. 1915 සිංහල-මුස්ලිම් කෝලාහලයට පසුව කල්කටාවේදී හිර අඩස්ස්සියේ තබාගෙන, ලෙඩරෝග වලට ප්‍රතිකාර ගන්නට ලංකාවේ ඥාතීන් ලඟට ඒමටවත් සුද්දෝ අවසර නොදුන්නේය. ලංකාවට ඇවිත් හිරිහැර මධ්‍යයේ ජීවත්‌වනවා වෙනුවට එතුමා ලංකාව හැරදමා ගියේය. මේ කාලයේදී ලංකා ජාතික සංගමය සමඟද සාකච්චා පැවතුනත්, සිංහල-දෙමළ සමඟිය පිළිඹදව ක්‍රිස්තියානි සිංහලයින් පවත්‌වන කෘතිම සම්බන්‌ධය නිෂ්ඵල බව එතුමාට වැටහුණි. 1933 දී හාමුදුරුනමක් වශයෙන් බුද්ධගයාවේදී අපවත් විය.

ඩොනමෝර් අවධිය (1931-48) තුල, කළු සුද්දන් දේශපාලන බලය අල්ලා ගැනීමටත්, මාක්ස්වාදීන් බංගවේවා-මැලේරියා-සූරියමල් දේශපාලනයත්, දමිළ ඊළම්වාදීන් රට කඩා ගැනීමටත් ක්‍රියා කරද්දී, අදද රටට ඉතාමත් යෝග්‍යවන අන්දමේ සමාජසේවා ව්‍යාපාරයක් විද්‍යෝදය පිරිවෙණේ උගත් භික්‍ෂූන් වහන්සේලා කීපනමක් විසින් ආරම්භකරණ ලදී. ධර්‍මපාලතුමාගේ ආභාෂය නිසා කළුකොඳයාවේ පඤ්ඤාශෙඛර හිමියන් විසින් අක්බාර් විනිසුරුගේ හා තරුණ සහකාර පොලිස් අධිකාරී ඔස්මන්ඩ් ද සිල්වා සමඟ දියත් කල ග්‍රාම සංවර්‍ධන හා අපරාධ මර්‍ධන ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරය මෙහිදී කැපී පෙනේ. එයට උපකාර කිරීමට එවකට ස්වදේශ ඇමතිව සිටි ඩී බී ජයතිලක මහතාට නොහැකිවීම, කළු සුද්දන් හා නිලධාරීන් එය කඩාකප්පල් කිරීම, හා මාක්ස්වාදීන් ඊට සහාය නොදීමත් ඒ වගේම කැපී පෙනෙන කරුණුය.

ඩොනමෝර් අවධිය අග වන විට බිහිවූ තවත් භික්‍ෂූ ව්‍යාපරයක් වුයේ විද්‍යාලංකාර පිරිවෙණේ සේවය ය. 1946 විද්‍යාලංකාර ප්‍රකාශණය හා භික්‍ෂුවගේ උරුමය මේ සේවය සංකේතවත් කරයි. ඩී එස් සේනානායක මහතා විසින් ගෙනෙගිය සුද්දන් රවටා හෝ පාලන බලය ලබාගැනීමේ ව්‍යාපාරයට යක්කඩුවේ ප්‍රඥාරාම හා වල්පොල රාහුල යන හිමිවරු බලවත් තර්‍ජනයක් විය. ප්‍රසිද්ධියේ ඩී එස්ට අභියෝග කල යක්කඩුවේ හිමියන් 2014 දී මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාව පරදවන බවට අභියෝගකල අතුරැලියේ රතන හිමියන් හා සමාන කල හැකිය. අවසාන අවස්ථාවේ හෝ ජාතික හෙල උරුමයේ යෝජනාවලට ඇහුංකන් දුන්නා නම් රාජපක්‍ෂ ජනාධිපති අමාරුවේ වැටෙන්නේ නැත.

ඕල්කොට්-ධර්‍මපාල අවධියේදී හාමුදුරුවරුන් පසුබිමට තල්ලුවී ගියේ ඇයි? උතුරේ කුමාරස්වාමි පරම්පරාව හා දකුණේ ඔබේසේකර-ද සේරම්-බණ්ඩාරනායක පරම්පරාව මඟින් සුද්දන් ගෙනගිය පාලන කාලය වෙනස් වෙමින් 1910 වනවිට කරාවේ-දුරාවේ හා සලාගම උගත් තරුණ පරම්පරාව (නෝ බොඩීස් සම්බොඩීස් වීම) ව්‍යවස්ථාදායක සභාවට කල ඉල්ලීම් ඉදිරියට ආවේය. මේ සමඟ 1915 මුස්ලිම් කෝලාහලයට පසුව ඒ නිසා හිරභාරයට ගත් අමධ්‍යප ව්‍යාපාරයට සම්බන්‌ධ සිංහල නායකයින්ට දේශපාලන දෑවැද්දක් හිමිවිය. මෙසේ බිහිවූ අළුත් උගත් මධ්‍යම පන්තිය රටේ පාලන බලය බොහෝදුරට සුද්දන්ගෙන් තමන් අතට ලබාගන්නට 1910 සිට 1931 වැනි සුළුකාලයකදී සමත්‌ විය. 1832 සිට පැවත ආ ජාතීන් අනුව නියෝජනය වෙනුවට භූමි ප්‍රදේශය අනුව නියෝජනය 1931 ඩොනමෝර් ආණ්ඩුක්‍රමයෙන් ආරම්භවිය. මෙසේ මහජනයාට සර්‍වජන චන්දබලය දීමට විරුද්ධ නොවූයේ කම්කරු පක්‍ෂ නායකයාව සිටි ඒ ඊ ගුණසිංහ මහතා පමණය. සිකිම් (ටිබැට්) ජාතික එස් මහින්ද හිමියන් හුදකලාව ජාතිකාණුරාගය නැංවූවා පරිදිමය.

1923 වනවිට මතුවූ අළුත් ප්‍රශ්නයක්‌වූයේ දමිළ ඊළම් අදහසේ සම්භවයය. ක්‍රිස්තියානි සිංහල පිරිස් විසින් දමිළ ඊළම් පිරිස් හා නොයෙක් ඩීල්ස් දමාගත්තේ සිංහල බෞද්ධයින්ගේ, හාමුදුරුවරුන්ගේ අදහස් විමසා නොවේ. දැන් රටේ වෙනදේ වගේමය. ඕල්කොට් අවධියේ සිටම උගත් හාමුදුරුවරුන්, විදේශීය උගතුන්ට බුද්ධාගම අධ්‍යයනය කිරීමට උපකාර කලේය. තම වෙනස් අදහස් නිසා සිවිල් සේවයෙන් නෙරපණ ලද, පසුව ලන්ඩන් පාලි භාෂා සමාගම ආරම්භකල රීස් ඩේවිඩ්ස් මේ පිළිඹද හොඳම උදාහරණයය. ඒ මිසක් අඩුතරමින් උතුරේ හරිජනයා අතරට (මේ පහත් කුලවලට අයත්සේ සලකන ජනයා යාපනේ සිටි සිංහල ජනයා කියා මතයක් ඇත) බුද්ධාගම ගෙනයාමටවත් මේ හමුදුරුවරු ක්‍රියා කලේ නැත්තේ ජී ජී පොන්නම්බලම් විසින් ඇතිකල ජාතිවාදී භේදය නිසා අනවශ්‍ය ප්‍රශ්ණයක් මතුවිය හැකියයි සිතූ නිසා විය යුතුය. අනුරාධපුර පැරණි නගරය සංරක්‍ෂණය කිරීමට අරමුදල් සැපයීම පවා සුළු ජාතියට කල වෙනස්කමකට උදාහරණයක් ලෙස සෝල්බරි කොමිෂමට අවලාද කීමට තරම් පොන්නම්බලම් පහත් මනසක සිටියේය. අම්බෙඩ්කාර් මහතා ඉන්දියාවේ ඩලිත් ජනයා සමඟ දශලක්‍ෂ ගණනින් බුද්ධාගමට ආවේ ලංකාවේ හාමුදුරුවරුන්ගේ මැදිහත් වීමකින් නොවේ.

හාමුදුරුවරුන් දේශපාලන වශයෙන් නිහඬවීමට තවත් හේතුවක් වන්නට ඇත්තේ උන්වහන්සේලා බුරුතු පිටින්ම ඩොනමෝර් බෞද්ධයින්ට රැවටීමය කියා සිතේ. සිංහල නොදන්නා හා බුද්ධාගම ගැන නොදන්නා හෝ අළුතෙන් ආපසු බුද්ධාගමට හැරුණු (මෙසේ හිටපු හැටියේ අතේ පිරිත්නූල් බැඳගෙන ඉන්නා අය කීදෙනෙක් අද ඉන්නවාද?) පරණ රදළ හෝ රේන්ද, මිනිරන්, වතුවගා කරුවන් හෝ ඔවුන්ගේ දරුවන් චන්දය ඉල්ලා මහජනයා ඉදිරියට ගියේ ගමේ හාමුදුරුවරුන් ඉදිරියට දමමින් සිවුරට මුවාවීය. 1931 හා 1936 රාජ්‍ය මන්ත්‍රණ සභාවේ මන්ත්‍රීන් 50 දෙනාගේ නම් පරීක්‍ෂාකරන විට මෙය පැහැදිලිවේ. බලයට ආපසු මොවුන්ට සිංහල බෞද්ධ ප්‍රශ්න ගැන දැනුමක් නොවීය. එසේ නැත්නම් ඒවාට අතගසන්නට ඔවුන් සූදානම්වුනේ නැත. නැත්නම් සුද්දන් ඊට ඉඩක් දුන්නේ නැත. ඩී. එස්. සේනානායක හා කෛරාටික ඔලිවර් ගුණතිලක යන අය පෙරමුණට ආ 1940ස් ගණන් වනවිට තමන් රැවටෙමින් ඉන්නාබව හාමුදුරුවරුන්ට වැටහෙන විට එය මෙම කළු සුද්දන්ට බලවත් තර්‍ජනයක් විය. මේ නිසා කලින් ධර්‍මපාලතුමාට පිංකැට හොරා යයි ලේබල් ගැසුවා මෙන් පොලිටිකල් මන්ක්ස් යනුවෙන් හාමුදුරුවරුන් හංවඩු ගැසීමට පටන් ගත්තේය. 1956 දී කළු සුද්දන් එලිපිට පරාජය වුවත් රාජ්‍ය සංස්ථාමය රාමුවේ බලය ඔවුන්ගෙන් ගිලිහුනේ නැත. අද වනවිට ඉන්නේ හංපඩයින්ගෙන්ද මිශ්‍රවුනු කළු සුද්දන් රැළකි. උඩ සිට පහලටම මන්ත්‍රීන්ලා දෙසත්, නිලධාරීන් හා එන්ජිිෝ කාරයින් දෙසත් බලන්න.

ඊළම් ව්‍යාපාරය මෙන්ම හානිකර වූයේ මාක්ස්වාදීන්ගේ බංගවේවා දේශපාලනයය. දුටුගැමුණු රජතුමා ගඩොල් මෝඩයෙක් යැයි කියා සිටි මොවුන්ට විරුද්ධව හාමුදුරුවරු අනුගමනය කලේ උපේක්‍ෂාවාදී ප්‍රතිපත්තියකි. ඊට තවත් හේතුවක් වූයේ විශේෂයෙන් විද්‍යාලංකාර හාමුදුරුවරු බුද්ධාගමේ ඇති සමාජවාදී ලක්‍ෂණ මාක්ස්වාදය හා ගැලපෙන බව ප්‍රකාශ කිරීමය. මෙහිදීද සිදුවූයේ හාමුදුරුවරු රැවටීමකට අසුවීම මය. දුප්පත් තරුණ හාමුදුරුවරු 1971 වනවිට ජේවීපී කැරළිකාරයින්ගේ පන්ති පහට ගියා වැනිමය. මෙම මාක්ස්වාදීන් ලංකාවට කල විනාශය අදත් එසේම කරගෙන යන්නේ කෙසේ හෝ යම් වලිගයක එල්ලී යම් බලයක් ලබාගැනීමේ ගිජුකම හා අනාථ භාවය නිසාය. නිල් හා කොල දේශපාලන හොරුන්ගේ නොමනා හා අයථා ක්‍රියා නිසා දුප්පත් ජනයා අතර යම් මතවාදයක් ගොඩනඟා ගන්නට මොවුන්ට අවකාශයක් ලැබී ඇත. මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ-මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන යන සරම අඳින දේශපාලකයින්ගේ අකටයුතු ක්‍රියා නිසා දැන් පෙරටුගාමී පක්‍ෂයට ඔක්‍ෂිජන් ලැබෙන පරිදිය.

පංච මහා බලවේගය (1956-59) ලංකාවේ හාමුදුරුවරුන් හා ලංකාවේ කළු සුද්දන් අතර ඇතිවූ ගැටුමේ ඓතිහාසික අවස්ථාවකි. බුද්ධරක්ඛිත-සෝමාරාම යනු පසුව 1962 කුමණ්ත්‍රනයෙන් එලියට පැන්න කළු සුද්දන්ගේ බලය අල්ලා ගැනීමේ සටනේ ඉත්තන් දෙදෙනෙකි. හේන්පිටගෙදර ඥානසීහ/බද්දේගම විමලවංශ/කොටගම වාචිස්සර, කලල්‌ඇල්ලේ ආනන්දසංගාර යන හාමුදුරුවරු මේ අවධියේදී කැපී පෙනේ. පොලිටිකල් මන්ක්ස් කියමින් අපහාස කලාට ඩී එස් විසින් හේන්පිටගෙදර ඥානසීහ හිමියන්ව තම දේශපාලනයට යොදාගත්තේ බොරු පොරොන්‌දු දෙමින්‌ය. මෑත කාලයේ මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත හිමියන් රැවටුනා වගේය. 29 වගන්තිය යටතේ ආණ්ඩුව සරණං ගච්චාමි කියා පදයක් නැතිබව ඩිිෙස් ලැජ්ජාභයක් නැතිව කියා සිටියේ රටේ ඉතිහාසය හෝ භූගෝල විද්‍යව නොදත් නූගත් ඔහු, අයිවෝර් ජෙනින්ස්ගේ පඹයාවූ නිසාය.

සිවිල් සේවයේ එන්. කියු. ඩයස් මහතා කලිසම් කෝට් ගලවා දමා ජාතික ඇඳුම ඇඳගෙන වැඩට යාම 1956 විප්ලවයට පෙර ඔහු කල පුද්ගලික විප්ලවයය. ගුනපාල මලලසේකර මහතා තම ක්‍රිස්තියානි නම වෙනස් කලේය. එසේ වෙතත් මේ අය ප්‍රධාන ගිහි-පැවිදි පිරිස එක්තරා අන්දමේ අතරමංවීමකට පත්‌වූ බව කිංස්ලි ද සිල්වාගේ ජේ ආර් ජයවර්‍ධන චරිත කතා පොත කියවනවිට පෙනී යයි. 1956 ට පෙර තමන්ට නායකයෙක් නැතිකම නිසා ඔවුන් මුලින් ගියේ ඩඩ්ලි සේනානායක ලඟටය. ඔහු ක්‍රිස්තියානි මවකගේ පුතෙකි. ඔහු කියා ඇත්තේ බණ්ඩාරනායක ලඟට යන්නය කියාය. ඔහු ක්‍රිස්තියානි පරම්පාරවකින් ආ අයෙකි. මේ කාලයේ බෞද්ධ බලවේගය ගොඩනැඟූ එල් එච් මෙත්තානන්ද මහතා මාස කීපයක් තුලම බණ්ඩාරනායක ආණ්ඩුව විවේචනය කලේ අගමැතිවරයා නියම බෞද්ධ ප්‍රතිපත්ති නොදන්නා අයෙක්‌වීම නිසාය. උදාහරණයක් වශයෙන් සී සී දිසානයකට (රවි කරුණානායකගේ මවගේ පියා) පොලිස්පතිකම නොදුන්නේ ඔහු කතෝලිකයෙකුවීම නිසාය. මේ හැර ගිහි බෞද්ධ නායකයින් විසින් භාෂා ප්‍රශ්ණයේදී දෙමළ ජනයාට අසාධාරණ ලෙස සැළකුවේය.

ඉඩම් හා රට සභා ප්‍රශ්ණය ඉන් වෙන් කිරීමට ඔවුන් අසමත්‌වූවා පමණක් නොව ඉන් රටට හානියක් කිරීමට ජේ ආර්-ඩඩ්ලි දෙන්නාට මඟ පාදා දුන්නේය. ඉඹුල්ගොඩ වීරයාවූ ඩී එස් බණ්ඩාරණායක තරුණ මන්ත්‍රී අගමැතිට යෝජනා කලේ යූ එන් පී එකත් ආණ්ඩුවට හවුල් කරගන්නා ලෙසටත්, සිංහල හා දෙමළ ලිපිකරුවන් විශාල ප්‍රමාණයක් රජයේ සේවයට බඳවා ගන්නා ලෙසත්‌ය. ඒ වනවිට අගමැති සිටියේ මේ අදහස් තේරුම් ගැනීමට නොහැකි තරමට දේශපාලනයෙන් හෙම්බත්‌වීය. සිංහල බෞද්ධයින්ගේ නැතිවීගිය අයිතිවාසිකම් 1956 බුද්ධශාසන කොමිෂම් වාර්තාවේ සඳහන් වුවත්, සංස්කෘතික දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව, ශාසනාරක්‍ෂක සමිති වැනි යම් යම් වෙනස් කම් ඇතිවුවත් කළු සුද්දන්ගේ බලය හා ක්‍රිස්තියානී පෙඩරල් බලය ගැඹුරු මුහුදේ දියවැලක් මෙන් යටින් පැවතියේය. 1959 බණ්ඩාරනායක ඝාතනය හා 1962 පොලිස් කුමණ්ත්‍රනය අප දන්නා උදාහරණ දෙකක් පමණය.

මේ නිසා රටට අඳුරු යුගයක් (1960-1978), පෙඩරල්කාරයින් බලවත්‌වීම හා නිල් කොල රතු පක්‍ෂ මාරුවෙන් මාරුවට රට විනාශ කිරීම දිගටම සිදුවී අන්තිමේදී අධර්මිෂ්ඨ සමාජයක් (1978–2005) බිහිවිය. මාදුළුවාවේ සෝභිත හිමියන් මෙහිදී පෙරමුණ ගත්තේය. මහාචාර්ය සරච්චන්ද්‍රද ගුටි කෑවේය. ඉතිහාසයේ ප්‍රථම වරට බෞද්ධ රාජ්‍යයක් පිහිටුවන්නට පොරොන්‌දුවීම මේ කාලයේදී සිදුවුයේ ඊට කලින් සෙනසුරාදා-ඉරිදා වෙනුවට පෙරපෝය-පෝය සති අන්ත නිවාඩු බොරුවක් අටවාය. ලෝකයේ කුඩා දිළිඳු රටක් වශයෙන් මෙය ප්‍රායෝගික නැත. බාහිර විප්ලවය සිදුවන්නේ සන්තානගත විප්ලවයක්ද සමඟ යයි ජේ. ආර් වෙනුවෙන් රට වටේ ගියේ බෞද්ධ දර්‍ශනය පිළිඹද මහාචාර්ය ඩබ්ලිව් එස් කරුණාරත්නය. ඔහුට ඒ ගැන කළකිරීමට වැඩිකාලයක් ගියේ නැත. ජේ. ආර් සමඟ ඇතිවූයේ අති දූෂ්‍ය, ඉතාමත් කැත සමාජයක් බිහිවීමත් රට තව තවත් ප්‍රපාතයට යෑමත්‌ය. ප්‍රේමදාස මහතාට හාමුදුරුවරුන් බලෙන් රැස්වීම්වලට ගෙනයාමට අවශ්‍යවූයේ ඒ නිසාය. ලංකාවේ කිසිම රජ කෙනෙක් නොසෑදු තරම් විහාර සංඛ්‍යාවක් ඔහු විසින් සැදෙව්වේද මේ නිසාමය.

මෙසේ රට ක්‍රමයෙන් බල්ලාට යන අවධියක සෝම හාමුදුරුවන්ගේ භූමිකාව (2000-2003) ඇතිවී නැතිවී ගියේය. ඒ වනවිට ලෝකයේ ශාරියා මුස්ලිම් ව්‍යාප්තිවාදයත්, ක්‍රිස්තියානි අන්‍යාගමීකරණයත්, ලෝක සමාගම් එන්ජිිෝ හරහා රටවල් සූරා කෑමත්, මෙහිදී රටවල් කැබලිකර සුනු විසුනු කිරීමේ කඩතුරාව ලෙස මානව හිමිකම් හුටපටයක් ඉස්සරහට දැමීමත් දිවයින පුරා පිළිකාවක්සේ පැතිර යමින් තිබිණ. චන්ද්‍රිකා යුගයේ ගෙනා පැකේජ් ඩීල් පැරදවූයේ භික්‍ෂූ බලවේගය විසිනි. මේ බලවේගවලට බොරු උත්තරයක් ලෙස දේශපාලන හොරු විසින් පිරිත් නූල් කඹ යුගයක් 2004 න් පසුව ආරම්භ කරන ලදී. ඇල්ලේ ගුණවංශ, අතුරැලියේ රතන හා ගලබොඩ‌අත්තේ ඥානසාර යන හාමුදුරුවරු ක්‍රියාශීලිවූයේ මේ කාලයේය. සිංහල උරුමය හා ජාතික හෙල උරුමය බිහිවිය. ලංකා ඉතිහාසයේ ප්‍රථම වරට හාමුදුරුවරු රාජ්‍යපාලනයට, පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ගියේ 2004 දීය. එහෙත් 1956 දී මෙන් එය අසාර්‍ථකවූයේ එය තුලට හතුරන් රිංගා ගෙන සිටීම නිසාය. මාක්ස්වාදී පෙඩරල්කාරයෙක් කතානායක වීම නිෂේධ කිරීම හා ආනන්දසංගාරීට මන්ත්‍රීධූරයක් පූජා කිරීම (හා ඒ මඟින් ඔහුගේ ජාතික අවංකභාවය පරීක්‍ෂාවට හසුකිරීම), දෙඟිඩියාවෙන් සිටි ජනාධිපතිට යුද්ධයට යෑමට බලකිරීම යන ක්‍රියා ඒ මඟින් සිදුකලත් අද රට වැටී ඉන්නේ කබලෙන් ලිපටය.

මේ රටේ 1948 න් පසුව ඇතිවිය යුතුව තිබූ සුද්දගෙ නීතියෙන් ගැලවීම සිදුවුනේ නැත. සුද්දගෙ නීතිය අපට එපා කීමෙන් අදහස් වන්නේ මේ රටේ සුළු ජන කොටස්‌ වලට අසාධාරණයක් කිරීම නොවන බව පෙන්වා දීම ආරම්භකලේ බොදු බල සේනාව විසින් 2012 මැයි මාසයේදීය. රට කැබලි කිරීමේ තම ව්‍යාපාරය සඳහා උන්වහන්සේගේ යම් දුර්‍වලතා කළු සුදු පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලකයින් විසින් අල්ලාගත්තේ ධර්‍මපාලතුමාට ඒ කාලයේ නොයෙක් අපහාස කලා මෙන්‌මය. පණිවුඩකාරයා මරා දැමීමට බැලීමය. මෙහිදී ප්‍රමාදවී හෝ ඉදිරියට ආ අස්ගිරි පණිවුඩකරුවාට බැට දීමට යහපාලනකාරයින් තැත් කලේය. මේ මඟින් ඇතිවිය හැකි බලවේගය තුලට රිංගා එයට, 1956-59 හෝ 2000-03 දී සෝම හාමුදුරුවන්ට හෝ 2004 ජාතික හෙල උරුමයට හෝ කලදේම කිරිම පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලකයින්ගේ, එන්. ජී. ඕ. කාරයින්ගේ උපක්‍රමය විය. නිසි ලෙස සිතා නොබලා හදිසියේම, කළු සුද්දන්ගේ රැල්ලට හසුවී හාමුදුරුවරු පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට යනවාට අස්ගිරි-මල්වතු දෙපාර්‌ශය විරුද්‌ධ වන්නේ මෙසේ ඇමකෑම නිසා වියයුතුය. සංඝ කාරක සභා රැස්වීමක්ද නැතිවය.

නාමල් උයනේ වනවාසී රාහුල හිමියන් කියන්නේ මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා විශ්‍රාම ගැනීම ඔහු කලයුතු නම්බුකාර ක්‍රියාවක් බවය. රතන හාමුදුරුවන් කියන්නේද මෙයය. එහෙත් බෙල්ලන්‌විල ධම්මරතන, මැදගොඩ අභයතිස්ස, බෙංගමුවේ නාලක යන හාමුදුරුවරු, රතන-ඥානසාර සුසංයෝගයෙන් බිහිවන බලවේගයට දොස් පවරන්නේ, ඒ දෙනම නඟන මූලික තර්‌කය අමතක කරගෙන හෝ පිටපොට පටලවා ගෙනය. කුරුණෑගලින් චන්දය නොිල්ලා ජාතික ලැයිස්තුවෙන් ඒමට මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා තීරණය කලේ මෙම තර්‌ක වලට ප්‍රසිද්‌ධියේ මුහුණ දීමට ඔහු අසමත් නිසාය. වල්පොල රාහුල හා යක්කඩුවේ හාමුදුරුවන් ලංකාව විනාශකලා යයි ලියන එච්. එල්. සෙනෙවිරත්නත්, උතුරේ ආණ්ඩුකාරයාව සිටි රඝුවානුත් මෑතකදී ලිව්වේ, රටේ තරුණ හාමුදුරුවරු එකතුව විප්ලවයක් කලයුතු බවය.

රතන හාමුදුරුවන්ට නාමයෝජනා නොදීම නිසා උන්වහන්සේ ඥානසාර හිමි සමඟ චන්දයට එනවා යයි මඩගැසීම, කැස්බෑවා හිස වැල්ලේ ඔබාගන්නවා වැනි ක්‍රියාවකි. පසුගිය මාස තුනේදී ගත හැකිව තිබූ ප්‍රතිපත්ති තීරණ (උදාහරණ වශයෙන් ඒක රටක්, එක නීතියක්, වස විසෙන් තොර රටක්, ගල් අඟුරු-තෙල් වලින් ගැලවීම) ගෝඨාභය මහතා විසින් නොගත්තේ තුනෙන් දෙකේ ප්‍රශ්ණයක් නිසා නොව, මුස්ලිම්-දෙමළ චන්ද පෙරේත කමට පරණ දේශපාලක රැල විසින් ඊට ඉඩ නොදීම නිසාය. මේ පරණ කළුසුද්දන්ට තාමත් නොතේරෙන දෙයක් නම් ගෝඨාභය දිණුවේ සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ චන්ද නිසා බවත්, පරණ සෙල්ලමටම ගියොත් සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ චන්ද නොලැබී යාහැකි යාහැකි බවත්‌ය. 13- ඒ අහෝසි කරනවා යයි කෙළින්ම මහජනයාට කියනවා වෙනුවට, අළුත් ව්‍යවස්ථාවක් ගේනවා යයි කීම ජනයා සළකන්නේ උගුරට හොරා බේත් කෑමේ උත්සාහයක් ලෙසය. 13-ඒ ගැන පොහොට්ටු පක්‍ෂය මෙතරම් භය ඇයි? 13-ඒ නිසා ලංකාව පෙඩරල් රටක් යයි සුප්‍රිම් උසාවිය තීරණය කර ඇති නිසා, ඒකීය රටක් කතාව සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ ජනයා රවටන බේගලයක් නොවේද? 2014 පරාජයට හේතුව සිංහල බෞද්‌ධ චන්ද අහිමිවීම මිස සුළු ජාතික චන්ද නැතිවීම නොවේ.

පොහොට්ටු පක්‍ෂය විසින් ජාති මාමක නමක් දෙකක් ජාතික ලැයිස්තුවට දමා ඇතත්, එම පක්‍ෂයේ ඇති කළුසුද්දන්ගේ බලය යටපත් කිරීමට ඔවුන්ට හැකිවේවිද? රට වෙනුවෙන් දිවි කැපකල හාමුදුරුවරු පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට යායුත්තේ මේ නිසාය. ඔවුන්ගේ අරමුණ මේ තාක් සිංහල බෞද්‌ධයින්ගේ අයිතිවාසිකම් ගැන නිහඬව සිටි (1948 සිටම එකම නීතියක් වත් සම්මත කර නැත) පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ තීරක බලයක් ලබා ගෙන ගෝඨාභය මහතාට ශක්තිය ලබා දීමය. 1948 සිට මහානායක හිමිවරු හැම පැත්තෙන්ම අසාර්‌ථක වී නැද්ද? මෙය කළු සූද්දන් 1948 සිට මන්ත්‍රීන් වශයෙන් අසාර්‌ථක වුණා වැනිමය. කොටින්ම කියනවා නම් කොසොල් රජතුමාගේ සීන දාසැය සැබෑවී තිබියදී ඊට මුහුණ දීමට මේ පන්සල් දෙක කලේ කුමක්ද? රටේ අධ්‍යාත්මික නායකත්‌වයක් තමන්ට ඇතැයි සිතනවා නම්, රට මෙතරම් ප්‍රපාතයට යෑම ගැන මේ මහානායක හිමි වරු දෙන්නාද, පක්‍ෂ දේශපාලකයින් මෙන්ම ඊට වගකිව යුතු නොවේද?

මෙතෙක් සිදුවන හැම දෙයකින්ම පෙනෙන්නේ ගෝඨාභයට රට ගලවා ගත හැකි බවත්, මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ හා ඔහුගේ ගෝල බාල කළු සුද්දන් ඊට හරස් නොවිය යුතු බවත්‌ය. ගතානුගතික දේශපාලකයෙක් වන මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතාට, ඒ කාලයේ, එක පැත්තකින් මර්වින් සිල්වා-සජින් වාස් ගුණව‌ර්‌ධනගේ සිට අනිත් පැත්තෙන් දයාන් ජයතිලක වැනි දාර්‌ශනික කළු සුද්දන්ගෙන් හා තමන් වටා ඉන්නා පෙඩරල්හිතවාදී, බහු ජාතික-සර්‌වාගමිකවාදී සිංහල ඇමතිවරුන්ගේ ග්‍රහණයට අසුවී සිටියා මෙන්, දැනුත් පරණ වයින් පරණ බෝතල් වල දමන්නට හදනවාද යන සැකයක් රටේ මතුවෙමින් පවතී. මේ නිසා රෑ වටුන වලේ දවල් නොවැටී, චන්දයෙන් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ගියත් නැතත් රතන-ඥානසාර බලවේගය ජනාධිපති ගෝඨාභය පිටු පසින් සෙවනැල්ලක්සේ සිටිනවා ඇත.

A vaccine against outbreaks: Ban wildlife trade

March 21st, 2020

WRITER: STEVEN R GALSTER Courtesy BangkokPost

As Thailand and its neighbors scramble to contain the pandemic and panic, we urgently need to start building a response to the source of Covid-19, or risk having new outbreaks hit us even harder. There is good reason to believe that we know the source — global wildlife trade — and that there is a solution.

Scant attention is being paid by world leaders to the fact that Covid-19 jumped to people from wild critters on sale. Experts agree that the likely source this time was a bat, either transmitted directly to a person or through a pangolin, the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal. Whichever animal it was in Wuhan, China, that passed Covid-19 to its first victims, it was either smuggled by a trafficker or supplied by captive breeders, many of whom stock their animals from traffickers.

But this virus is not just about China, bats or pangolins. Zoonotic outbreaks have hit us before, and they will hit us again if we keep over-exploiting animals.

In Africa, HIV (initially SIV) and Ebola both jumped from endangered primates to people, most likely through bush-meat trade; domesticated camels in the Middle East passed on deadly Mers; migrating water fowl infected poultry in busy Hong Kong markets, resulting in bird flu; civets offered on Chinese menus gave us Sars. All of these viruses led to sickness, deaths, and economic disruption.

China’s 2003 response to Sars, another coronavirus, was to destroy 846,000 animals. That clearly was not the solution. With Covid-19, they have closed their wet markets and banned wildlife trade. Vietnam appears set to the same. What about Thailand?

How many Thailand residents realise that many of the pangolins, snakes and turtles trafficked into Wuhan and other Chinese markets transited the Kingdom? And that species trafficked from around the world also still end up in Chatuchak market, on secret menus in Bangkok and Pattaya, and for sale on social media?

The world’s top virus experts agree that zoonotic outbreaks like Covid-19 will get worse as wild animal trade increases and wild animal habitats shrink. We need to re-think our relationship with the wild.

Conservationists have long been trying to convince world leaders and legislatures to prioritise laws and budgets that protect wild animals in their natural habitats, and to roll back the multi-billion dollar trade in wildlife that is driving the fastest rate of species loss in history. The usual response: “Wild animals need to take a back seat to national security and humanitarian needs,” even though we have demonstrated that organised crime and insurgencies are linked to wildlife trafficking.

Perhaps one silver lining from Covid-19 is that it demonstrates that wildlife protection is integral to international security and human welfare.

Thailand has a newly improved wildlife law and is helping to draft an Asean plan to reduce wildlife trafficking across Southeast Asia. The Thailand-supported, Asean “Plan of Action” (POA) on Wildlife Trafficking is designed to protect wild animals from commercial poaching so that they are not trafficked across borders onto dodgy markets. It also features campaigns to kill the demand for rare and endangered species so that people don’t get sick and cause extinction. But like Thai law, the Asean plan still allows for legal wildlife trade, and lacks high-level attention, funding and multi-agency implementation.

Thai officials and NGO partners, including our organisation, have been chomping at the bit to tighten and implement the Thai wildlife law and Asean Plan of Action. In letters to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa this week, NGOs expressed their desire to see Thailand shut down wildlife markets and legal loopholes allowing some captive breeders to sell trafficked animals.

Thailand can play a leading roll in Southeast Asia to prevent zoonotic outbreaks from recurring, but it needs to lead by example by banning wildlife trade and including wildlife protection as part of its broader response to Covid-19. Thailand’s lawmakers should further strengthen Thai wildlife law, increase resources for protection of wild animals and habitat, enact the Asean Plan of Action, and close down (not regulate) wildlife markets that remain on Thailand’s streets and websites.

It is time to recognise that secure wildlife and wild habitats are critical investments and insurance policies for human security and economic stability.


Steven R Galster is the Founder of Freeland, an international counter-trafficking organisation (www.freeland.org and www.freeland.org/coronavirus-campaign). He has provided technical support to US, Thailand, and Asean wildlife programmes since 2000.

Why does Russia, population 146 million, have fewer coronavirus cases than Luxembourg?

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy CNN

Moscow (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week his country managed to stop the mass spread of coronavirus– and that the situation was “under control,” thanks to early and aggressive measures to keep more people from getting the disease.Does Russia have coronavirus under control? According to information released by Russian officials, Putin’s strategy seems to have worked. The number of confirmed Russian coronavirus cases is surprisingly low, despite Russia sharing a lengthy border with China and recording its first case back in January.The numbers are picking up, but Russia — a country of 146 million people — has fewer confirmed cases than Luxembourg, with just 253 people infected. Luxembourg, by contrast, has a population of just 628,000, according to the CIA World Factbook, and by Saturday had reported 670 coronavirus cases with eight deaths.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/21/europe/putin-coronavirus-russia-intl/index.html

Cuba can produce 23 drugs to treat coronavirus and is working on a vaccine against it

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy CubaSi

Cuba has full capacity to supply Interferon alpha 2B and other 22 medicines to the national health system in the fight and treatment of COVID-19. It is also s working on a vaccine against that disease.

Biocubafarma Business Group is studying how some existing medications of its production line can contribute to the positive response of patients.

Such drugs include Biomodulin T, an immunostimulant with which clinical studies are already being carried out, and a vaccine to facilitate the systemic response of patients affected by COVID-19.

According to Prensa Latina, Biocubafarma executives confirmed that these drugs are available on the island’s healthcare centers and pharmacies as part of stepped-up efforts to respond to the epidemiological emergency.

Biocubafarma’s Director of Operations and Technology, Rita María García, said that the industry had prepared itself to have the raw materials, supplies and spare parts to take on and satisfy the quantities demanded by the current epidemiological crisis.

The anti-viral recombinant Interferon alpha 2B is a leading product of Cuban biotechnology. 

It is produced at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) and at the mixed Cuban-Chinese plant ChangHeber, located in China, where it is administered to vulnerable health care personnel in a preventive manner and to COVID-19 patients.

Lanka extends curfew to Tuesday, with 77 positive so far

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

130 persons booked for defying the curfew

Lanka extends curfew to Tuesday, with 77 positive so far

Colombo, March 21 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lankan Police on Saturday announced that the island-wide curfew which was imposed over the weekend will be extended till Tuesday, after the total number of positive COVID-19 cases went up to 77.The 77 includes a senior doctor and a child. Over 200 are under observation in hospitals across the country while over 10,000 are under quarantine.In a statement, the police said that in capital Colombo, Gampaha in the outskirts and Puttalam district, in the north western province, the curfew will be lifted on Tuesday morning at 6 am and will be re-imposed again at 2 pm while in other districts, the curfew will be lifted on Monday at 6 am and re-imposed again at 2 pm.The curfew initially was to be lifted islandwide on Monday morning.The police further said that 130 people had been arrested for violating the curfew on Saturday by roaming the streets and transporting goods. They have been detained and will be produced before local courts next week.The police further announced that all the liquor shops in the island will also remain closed at all times indefinitely even when the curfew is lifted during the week.Since there are adequate stocks of food and other essential items, the government advises the public not to engage in panic buying. Facilities for transporting these items have been ensured. Also, measures are in place to supply essential food items to where they are required,” the police said.All reported cases of spreading false and scarry information about COVID-19 in Sri Lanka will be investigated by the CID and then cases will be filed in court for further action.

Citrus offers 150-room resort as a quarantine center

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The Board of Directors of Citrus Waskaduwa (Waskaduwa Beach Resort PLC) took into account the current crisis faced by the Nation and the world at large.

The Board noted that the occupancies of the hotels in the Citrus Group have dropped to a bare minimum and considering the global and local travel restrictions, it would continue to drop further in the near future.

Apart from the devastating impact faced by the Tourism Sector, the Board noted the valiant efforts made by the Government, the Health Sector and the Security Forces to control this situation in the country.

Taking the above into consideration, and in keeping with the Group’s Nation mindedness ethos, the Board decided to offer its 150 roomed resort, Citrus Waskaduwa to be used as a Quarantine Center by the National Operations to Prevent Covid – 19 on a temporary basis, should the need arise. In the event that the Authorities decide to use the resort temporarily, the resort will be completely decontaminated in keeping with international standards before normal resort operations commence.

Due to the time sensitivity and the fact that the Colombo Stock Market is currently closed, the Board decided to immediately communicate the same to the National Operations Center to Prevent Covid – 19 while a market announcement will be made on Monday 23rd March, 2020.

Hemas Holdings offers its hotel in Negombo as quarantine centre

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy The Daily News

Hemas Holdings Plc has offered its Club Hotel Dolphin in Negombo as a quarantine centre to the Government if the need arises, as part of wider public-private sector efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, Mr. Abbas Esufally, Chairman of HEMAS Leisure stated that, we feel that as a Sri Lankan company the private sector must stand up and rise to the occasion. This is a national crisis and we must come together to combat it. We spoke to Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism and Mr. Sanath Ukwatte, President of THASL and decided that we must offer our services and assistance to the Government. Our hotel, Club Hotel Dolphin in Waikkal is at the heart of the outbreak in Puttalam and we felt that the government could make use of our property at this crucial hour,” he said. 

“We conveyed our intention to both the Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and President’s Chief Advisor, Mr. Lalith Weeratunge and they have responded positively and stated that they will take it up the moment the need for it arises. We communicated that we will continue to man the Engineering and Kitchen departments and the Army will help to run and manage the rest of the operations. We will ask our staff to volunteer to continue working at the property and assist the army. Furthermore, our HEMAS factory companies, HEMAS Pharmaceutical and Morrison’s are busy manufacturing critically required pharmaceuticals, soaps, hand sanitizers and other urgently required essential items.” he added.

Club Hotel Dolphin is a 4-star property with 154 rooms situated in Waikkal. It is owned by Serendib Hotels Plc, which is part of Hemas Holdings Plc.

Hotel Association offers selected hotel facilities to prevent COVID-19

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) today said that the Association is willing to work with the membership to offer selected hotel facilities in the battle against preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said the members of the association have been following with deep appreciation the strenuous efforts made by the Government to contain COVID-19 crisis.

“Our members are willing to house those who are subject to two weeks of quarantine at remote locations. In addition, THASL has come forward to house medical staff who are working around the clock who are unable to get home after their work shift.

The number of rooms will depend on demand but it will help to maintain wellbeing of this important staff who is performing an yeoman service to the nation at this crucial time.

THASL stands ready to support the Government’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the wider community, especially our healthcare professionals at a time when they need it most,” Mr. Ukwatte said.

Sri Lanka records 77 positive coronavirus cases

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Another person has tested positive for Covid-19 in Sri Lanka, bringing the total number of infected persons to 77, says Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

Earlier this evening (21), four new positive coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country.

Accordingly, the Covid-19 case tally in the country now stands at 77. The majority of these patients are reportedly males.

As of yesterday (19), Sri Lanka recorded a total number of 72 Covid-19 patients. However, five new patients were reported during the course of today’s observations.

According to the report published by the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry this morning (21), 245 patients are under observation at selected hospitals on suspicion of being infected with the virus.

Two dead in A’pura Prison shooting; no inmates escaped, says Police

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Another inmate injured in the Anuradhapura Prison shooting incident has succumbed to his injuries, stated the Director of Anuradhapura Hospital.

This brings the total number of deaths in the incident to 2, stated the Hospital Director.

A tense situation occurred at the Anuradhapura Prison this evening (21) leading to a shooting incident.

Previously, an inmate suspected with an infection of COVID-19 had been identified and had been hospitalized for treatment.

Reportedly, inmates had staged a protest over the incident today, with several detainees attempting to escape during the commotion.

However, prison officials had opened fire at the inmates attempting to escape and 5 inmates injured in the shooting have been hospitalized.

Subsequently, 2 injured detainees had succumbed to their injuries, stated the Hospital Director.

The tense situation at the prison had resulted in a fire at the prison premises as well.

However, no inmates had been able to escape in the incident, assured the Police.

Anuradhapura Police, Anti-Riot Squad and the Special Task Force (STF) have been called in to control the situation.

Police arrest 180 over curfew violations

March 21st, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

Police Media Division stated that 180 individuals have been arrested over violating the curfew within the time period between 6 pm yesterday (20) and 9 pm today (21).

The government yesterday (20) imposed an island-wide curfew from 6.00 pm until 6.00 am on Monday (23).

The curfew was enforced as a means to minimize public gatherings in order to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus within the country.

All individuals were advised to remain indoors during the time of the curfew and to maintain a minimum distance of each other. Authorities have warned that public congregation can lead to the further spread of the virus.

As a preventive measure, the government also banned all leisure trips, pilgrimages, and tours within the country until further notice.

A total of 130 persons who had violated curfew have been arrested during operations across 31 police divisions, says Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ajith Rohana.

Ten motorcycles and a three-wheeler have been seized during the operations.

Some of these arrests were made in Dambulla, Bandarawela, Haputale, Tangalle, Katunayake, Walasmulla, Nallathanniya and Ampara areas.

Nine persons who had been travelling in two three-wheelers and three motorcycles were taken into custody in Dambulla.

In the meantime, 8 persons were arrested for having a party during curfew hours, while another person was arrested in Haputale for keeping his restaurant open during the night.

Two individuals who were taken into custody in Walasmulla area had been transporting sand in two tipper trucks.

A motorcyclist and the pillion rider were arrested in Nallathanniya area and three others were detained by the police while loitering in Katunayake and Ampara areas.

Meanwhile, another motorcyclist who had been driving under the influence of alcohol was nabbed in Tangalle.

The government yesterday (20) imposed an island-wide curfew from 6.00 pm until 6.00 am on Monday (23).

The curfew was enforced as a means to minimize public gatherings in order to contain the sprea