News in brief

Lightning kills, take precautions

By Mirudhula Thambiah

As it is the inter-monsoonal period during the months of October and November, the Meteorological Department warns the public against lightning and thunder. About 43 fatalities due to lightning were reported in April.

The Met Dept is conducting awareness programmes on lightning and warn the public to take precautions. Accordingly, the Met Dept requests people to avoid open areas and outdoor activities during thunder showers. People are requested to disconnect electrical goods from their power source; the Met Department notably requests the removal of television antennas from their circuits, and to refrain from using land phones, but did not extend it to mobile phones.

A rising number of deaths have occurred due to lightning this year, when compared with previous years, with 33 deaths reported in 2010, 14 in 2009 and 26 in 2008.

Due to climate changes, the intensity of lightning activity is higher this year than in previous years. Mostly in remote areas, farmers working in paddy fields are victims of lightning.

Slain MP’s brother wants C’wealth to ensure good governance here

Kolonnawa shooting

Asela Premachandra, the brother of slain former MP Bharatha Lakshman has written to Kamalesh Sharma, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth about the Kolonnawa shooting incident and calling on the Commonwealth to intervene to ensure good governance.

‘As some of the main goals of the Commonwealth are to promote good governance and advocate human rights, the present government of Sri Lanka has not accomplished or attempted to accomplish those two main goals, and this must be brought to your attention”, the letter said.

Full day sittings for Budget debate

Parliament sittings will revert back to a morning schedule during the month long debate on the Budget for 2012 starting next month.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance will present the Budget to Parliament on November 21, following which seven days have been allocated for the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill while another 17 days have been allocated for the Committee stage debate of the Bill.
The final vote on the Appropriation Bill will be taken on December 21.

The hours of sitting on the days of the Budget debate will be from 09.30 a.m. to 06.30 p.m with an hour and a half for an adjournment motion. There will also be a half an hour break for lunch.

Durdans introduces FFR equipment

The Durdans Hospital Colombo has broken new ground in the field of cardiology through the introduction of Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) equipment as a means of assessing the need for stenting.

Fractional Flow Reserve, or FFR, is a guide wire-based procedure that can accurately measure blood pressure and flow through a specific part of the coronary artery. “The FFR equipment is useful in assessing whether or not to perform angioplasty or stenting on blockages,” said Dr. Deepthi Karunathilake of Durdan’s Hospital.

Angioplasty is a technique used to widen narrowed or blocked blood vessels. During angioplasty, a stent (mesh tube) is often placed in the artery that has been opened. This is performed after an angiogram.

“However as the FFR accurately measures the blood’s pressure it avoids unnecessary stenting,” Dr. Karunathilake said.

Former Minister Manodha Wijeyeratne passes away

Former Minister Nissanka Manodha Wijeyeratne passed away in Singapore yesterday, a family member said. He was 54.

Mr. Wijeyeratne entered politics in 1989, and was made Project Minister for Plantation Industries in 1993 under the United National Party Government. He later joined the UPFA and served as a Non-Cabinet Minister of Enterprise Development. He also served as chairman of the National Council for Road Safety.

Mr. Wijeyeratne’s remains will lie at his residence, 557 Galle Rd, Colombo 6. Cortege leaves tomorrow (Monday) at 4 p.m. for cremation at the General Cemetery Borella.

SL and Venezuela bound by anti imperialist ties: Wimal

Speaking at a ceremony to felicitate President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Minister of Housing and Construction Wimal Weerawansa said the people of Sri Lanka and Venezuela were bound together by the thread of common anti imperialist struggles they had to face.

The Minister said today US and British imperialism were attempting to bring about regime change to the rob countries of their resources. Despite risking their nudity being exposed the imperialists were attempting to impoverish sovereign states by denuding their resources.

Gadaffi has been killed and NATO is now preparing to rob Libya of its oil he said. Saying Sri Lanka had many lessons to learn from Venezuela on how to take the country forward in a progressive manner, Mr. Weerawansa asked whether the people were prepared to let underworld characters decide the future of the country.

As we defeated separatism, shouldn’t we liberate the country from poverty and social injustice?” he thundered. He called on Sri Lankans to take an example from President Chavez and bring about the changes in the social order and stand up for political changes that would benefit the people and the country.

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