India's top court ruled on Monday that women could serve as army commanders, dismissing the government's stance that male soldiers were not ready to accept orders from female officers as "disturbing". The Supreme Court also ordered the government to extend permanent service - which has only been applicable to men so far - to all women officers, signalling a move towards gender parity in the traditionally male bastion. With this women will get the same opportunities and benefits as their male colleagues, including ranks, promotions and pensions and be allowed to serve longer tenures. Currently, women are inducted through a short-service commission that lets them work for up to 14 years and only allowed permanent commission in the army's legal and educational wings. "To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army," judges said in their ruling.
February 18, 2020 10:07 UTC
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China reached at least 1,868 as of the end of Monday, with additional 93 deaths from Hubei and five more in other parts of the country, according to the country's health commission on Tuesday. The government also reported an additional 1,886 new infections across the country, but mostly from Hubei, bringing the nationwide total to at least 72,436. (Source: Al Jazeera)
February 18, 2020 07:07 UTC
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed officials to take measures to uplift local industries and encourage investors by removing obstructions. The representatives and investors expressed their concerns on tax and issues they face at the Custom as well as environmental obligations. Environmental and other issues posed by various parties even at the proper commencement of industries are major hindrance to the development of the country. It is the responsibility of every section to support investment opportunities for the betterment of the country, President said. Minister Wimal Weerawansa, State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara and several other Ministry officials were present at the discussion.
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board stated that a 12-hour water cut has been imposed in several areas in the Athurugiriya municipality including the Millenium city housing scheme and Kaduwela. The water cut commenced at 8.00 am this morning and it will last until 8.00 pm today. The Water Board stated that the water cut is imposed due to the due to essential maintenance work being carried out by the CEB. The NWS&DB requests the public to call hotline 1939 for any information.
The Pali language promotion examination organised by the Buddhist Affairs Department for daham pasal teachers will be held on February 22 from 9.00 am to noon at 15 examination centres, Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs Sunanda Kariyapperuma said. Nearly 1,500 candidates are billed to sit the examination this year and admission cards have already been sent to them. Every year, the Buddhist Affairs Department conducts the Pali language promotion programmes at 15 centres countrywide to develop the knowledge of Pali among daham pasal teachers. The programme is co-ordinated by officials assigned to divisional secretariats by the department.
Tickets will be issued till 2:30pm only to enter the Horton Plains National Wildlife Park, said the person in charge of Horton Plains P. K. M. P. Pradeep Kumara. He said the reason for this decision, is that tourists have to travel distance of 8 kilometers and that it takes a minimum of 4-5 hours to see all the beautiful sights, including World's End, Baker's Falls. Previously, tourists were issued tickets until 6.00 pm. Tourists will not be able to leave the park after 6.00 pm if tickets are issued after 2 pm.
February 17, 2020 10:52 UTC
The contempt of court action filed against Convener of National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Prof.Sarath Wijesuriya was today fixed for April 28 by Court of Appeal. The Court was informed that the respondent, Prof. Wijesuriya is yet to file objections against the contempt of proceedings. Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Kumuduni Wickremasinghe and Justice Priyantha Fernando fixed the contempt of court application to be taken up before a separate bench on April 28.
February 17, 2020 08:48 UTC
As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to batter China, the country's central bank has implemented a new strategy to contain the virus deep cleaning and destroying potentially infected cash. Cash that comes from high-risk infection areas, like hospitals and wet markets, will be "specially treated" and sent back to the central bank instead of being recirculated. Other measures includes suspending physical cash transfers between hard-hit provinces, to limit the possibility of virus transmission during the cash's transit. It's unclear how "infected" cash in China may actually be the virus likely dies after a few hours on surfaces, especially if it's been killed with disinfectant. And most people in urban centers don't use cash anyway mobile payment apps are near-ubiquitous.
February 17, 2020 08:26 UTC
Across the United Kingdom, people are experiencing another weekend of strong winds, heavy rain and potential flooding as Storm Dennis hits the region. The U.K. national meteorological service, known as the Met Office, issued several heavy rain warnings for areas of England and Wales. The Met Office also said that bus and train services are likely to be delayed or canceled. Storm Dennis is now one of the five strongest nontropical cyclones on record in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, according to The Washington Post. The storm intensified rapidly over the ocean after combining with another bomb cyclone that had hit Iceland.
February 17, 2020 08:03 UTC
Several rockets landed near the embassy of the United States in Iraq's capital early on Sunday, US and Iraqi military officials said, in the latest of a series of attacks against US assets in the country. The rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting US troops and other coalition forces in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, an area that is home to foreign embassies and government offices. According to Colonel Myles B Caggins III, a spokesman for the US military operation in Iraq, the attack - which took place just before 3:30am (00:30 GMT) - caused no casualties and only minor damage. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Iraq's military said three Katyusha rockets landed inside the Green Zone, while a fourth hit a different neighbourhood, striking a logistics base operated by the Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation Forces, a military network officially incorporated into the Iraqi state.
February 17, 2020 07:18 UTC
The new figures bring the COVID-19 global death toll to 1,770, with the number of deaths in Hubei province at 1,696. The Hubei health commission said the total number of cases in the province had reached 58,182 by the end of Sunday. The number of new cases rose nearly 5 per cent from the previous day, but the number of deaths fell from 139 on Saturday. Nearly 90 per cent of the new cases were in the provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated. Wuhan has accounted for 71 per cent of the province's total cases and 77 per cent of deaths.
February 17, 2020 06:56 UTC
A 36-year-old man who was injured in a shooting incident was taken to Balapitiya Hospital this morning, Police said. The injured man, identified as Sunil Kumara (36) is employed as a driver in Qatar and had only returned to Sri Lanka on January 18, according to his relatives. According to the Police, The incident had taken place at around 7am today. Two unidentified gunmen, who came to the house has shot the person and had fled the scene. Investigations are currently underway to arrest the suspect.
February 17, 2020 06:49 UTC
Lycuem International School of Wattala continued their dominance on the second day of the International Schools athletic championship as they topped the medals tally at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. The school from Wattala won 27 golds, 18 silver and 20 bronze medals while Gateway College secured second place with 17 gold, 17 silver and 16 bronze. Lyceum Nugegoda was placed third with six gold, ten silver and 9 bronze medals. Meanwhile, Pasindu Gunawardena and Binitha Chandrasena of Gateway College, Colombo, established new meet records in the U-18 200M (21.80Sec) and U-20 High Jump (2.01m) respectively. Sandun Kumara of Lyceum International School, Wattala, also established a New Meet Record (15.44m) in the boys U-20 Triple Jump.
February 15, 2020 20:03 UTC
The short term plans proposed by the four-member Tourism Development Task Force appointed by Minister of Industrial Exports, Investment Promotion Tourism and Aviation, Prasanna Ranatunga, recently, will be included in the 2020 Budget, official sources told Sunday Observer Business on Friday. The Task Force will submit its Interim Report to the Government at the end of February, they said. The four-member Task Force comprises: Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Secretary Marina Mohamed (Head of the Task Force) and Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion M.P. Mapa Pathirana, Chairperson of the four tourism agencies, viz the Tourism Development Authority, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and the Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management Kimarli Fernando, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage, Chairman of Airport and Aviation (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (Retired) General G.A. This follows President Gotabaya Rajapaksa directing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to appoint a task force to formulate a Tourism Development Plan on January 13 for reaching a target of seven million tourist arrivals and a revenue of US $ 10 million per annum by 2025.
February 15, 2020 20:02 UTC
Emirates is offering two nights of free hotel stay in Dubai, with no strings attached, for those travelling via the airline’s home base en route to Europe, the Americas and Africa. The offer is valid on all new bookings made before February 24 on Economy, Business or First Class, for travel with Emirates beyond Dubai between February 20 and March 31. Emirates said that bookings made during this period would also be eligible for a complimentary 96-hour visa, subject to UAE Immigration approval. For Economy passengers, the offer includes two complimentary nights’ stay at a Rove hotel or equivalent on room-only basis, subject to availability. First and Business Class passengers would also be able to avail of Emirates’ chauffeur drive facility for airport transfers for a seamless travel experience in Dubai.
February 15, 2020 20:02 UTC