19 September 2021

Cuba becomes first country to vaccinate young kids against Covid-19.

Cuba started vaccinating children as young as two years old against covid-19 this week, becoming the first country in the world to inoculate toddlers. At least 12 young kids have died from covid-19 in Cuba this year, while there were no infant deaths from the disease in that country during 2020, according to the Miami Herald.

Cuba developed its own covid-19 vaccine, a two-shot regimen known as Soberana 2 that has an efficacy of 91.2% after a booster called Soberana Plus, according to studies in the country which haven’t yet been peer-reviewed. Cuba developed its own vaccine, a point of pride for Cubans, due to harsh sanctions still imposed by the U.S., an antiquated holdover from the first Cold War.

Cuba, which is averaging roughly 8,000 new covid-19 cases every day, reported 3,727 new covid-19 cases in children on Monday and Tuesday alone, according to the Miami Herald, including 236 infants and 16 newborns.

Getting children vaccinated will be vital to stopping the global pandemic, largely because kids now make up an increasingly large share of the cases. There were at least 243,000 cases of covid-19 in children from Sept 2. to Sept. 9 in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing roughly 29% of all cases in the country. Compared to the percentage of cases in children since the start of the pandemic last year, 15%, the virus is clearly making its way through unvaccinated children at an alarming speed.

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European Union unveils Indo-Pacific strategy, tries to allay China fears.

The European Union on Thursday (16th) unveiled a new strategy for boosting economic, political and defense ties in the Indo-Pacific, just hours after the United States, Britain and Australia announced a new security alliance likely to reshape their relations with the vast region.

The EU believes the region, which stretches from India and China through Japan to Southeast Asia and eastward past New Zealand to the Pacific, is growing in importance given its rising population and political weight, its role in global trade and security and its impact on climate change.

It says the aim of the strategy is to strengthen and expand economic relations while reinforcing the respect of international trade rules, help partners fight and adapt to climate change and biodiversity loss, and boost cooperation on health care so least-developed countries can better prepare for crises like the coronavirus pandemic.

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Ozone hole over the South Pole is now bigger than Antarctica.

The hole in the ozone that forms every year over the South Pole is now larger than Antarctica, scientists from the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said.

The ozone depletes and forms a hole over the Antarctic in the Southern Hemisphere's spring, which is from August to October. It typically reaches its largest size between mid-September and mid-October, according to Copernicus.

After growing "considerably" in the past week, the hole is now larger than 75% of previous years' ozone holes at the same stage of the season since 1979 and is now bigger that the continent it looms over.

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French military kills ISIS leader.

The French military reportedly killed ISIS leader Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, who claimed responsibility for masterminding the ambush-style murder of four U.S. special forces soldiers during a 2017 attack in North Africa.

Those killed in the 2017 attack included Army Sgt. David Johnson and Staff Sgts. Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson, and Dustin Wright. Four Nigerian troops were also killed in the attack, and at least two American soldiers and eight Nigerian soldiers were severely wounded as a result of the siege.

Al-Sahraoui, who previously had a $5 million bounty on his head, is said to have ordered the ambush.

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CBSL to unveil new short-term economic roadmap for Sri Lanka.

New Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Ajith Nivard Cabraal says that a new economic roadmap has been prepared for the upcoming six months.

Posting on Twitter, he said that the CBSL is currently getting ready to unveil this 6-month plan on October 01.

The plan covering all key aspects of Sri Lanka’s economy will be in the form of a ‘to-do-list’, Cabraal said.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal assumed the position of the 16th Governor of CBSL on September 15 after stepping down from his post as the State Minister of Finance and a parliamentarian.

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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Port City Colombo marks 7th anniversary with vertical development set to commence.

Port City Colombo, the largest and most ambitious development project ever undertaken in Sri Lanka, proudly marks its 7th anniversary since the initial land reclamation work commenced in 2014.  

During this period, the project has committed USD 1.4 billion of foreign direct investment to Sri Lanka for initial reclamation and internal infrastructure development. The project is expected to attract USD 15 billion in the 25 years of its development phase.

Last year, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and Browns Investments PLC announced their joint venture of the first vertical development at Port City Colombo - the Colombo International Financial Center (CIFC). CHEC, as the leading partner, recently entered into a Cooperation Term Sheet to begin development work on the CIFC Mixed Development Project. This will be the first of many landmark development projects planned for Port City Colombo. China Harbour Engineering Company and its partners will further enter into an investment agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka shortly with the aim of commencing development work before the end of 2021.

The passing of Port City Economic Commission Act in Parliament and the appointment of the Commission is a significant milestone for Port City as it marks seven years of existence. Over the past seven years, Port City has undertaken an unprecedented transformation of the very topography of Colombo. In the years to come, Port City Colombo looks forward to leading the transformation of the face of the city, helping Colombo take its place among the great cities of the world. Further, Port City awaits for Covid restrictions to relax to open the Marina and beach areas to the public upon government approval.

Port City Colombo is a brand-new city development built as an extension of the existing Colombo CBD, with an initial investment of USD 1.4 billion and an expected USD 15 billion overall investment when completed. Port City Colombo’s entire reclaimed land of 269 hectares is owned by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). Ninety one hectares of land is dedicated for common amenities such as parks, green shaded roads etc. while 178 Ha are slated for state-of-the-art developments constituting A Grade office, retail destinations, unique residential developments, medical facilities, educational facilities, an integrated resort, a luxury marina, hotels and other lifestyle developments.

Source: bizenglish.adaderana.lk

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Home computer pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair dies aged 81.

The home computing world is mourning the loss of pioneer Sir Clive Sinclair, who has died at the age of 81.

The entrepreneur’s company launched the ZX models in a decade where personal computer use began to boom in the UK, with Sinclair becoming the first company in the world to sell more than a million computers, catapulting Sir Clive into a household name.

A man of diverse interests, Sir Clive’s projects also saw him explore new technology in the worlds of television and cars.

One initiative was the Sinclair C5 vehicle, an electric tricycle heralded as the future of eco-friendly transport, but which turned out to be an expensive flop.

Sir Clive left school at the age of 17, becoming a technical journalist writing specialist manuals.

At 22, he formed Sinclair Radionics, his first company, which made mail order radio kits, including the smallest transistor radio in the world.

It was with another company, Sinclair Research, that he found his home computing successes as he faced off against international competition.

The ZX81 computer launched in 1981 sold half a million and was followed up by more powerful models in later years.

Sir Clive was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours of 1983.

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New Zealand call off Pakistan cricket series after security alert.

New Zealand on Friday (17th) pulled out of their tour of Pakistan just before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi due to a “security alert”. 

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in a statement on Friday said that the team will not continue with the tour following an “escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan”. New Zealand were set to play Pakistan in a three-match ODI series followed by a five-match T20I series.

Tom Latham is the stand-in-captain for New Zealand in the absence of regular captain Kane Williamson, who is in the UAE for the remainder of the IPL 2021 season.

“The BLACKCAPS are abandoning their tour of Pakistan following a New Zealand government security alert. The side was to play Pakistan this evening in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore for a five match T20 series,” New Zealand Cricket said in a release.

“However, following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the BLACKCAPS will not continue with the tour.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board also put out a statement, saying the decision to postpone the series was made “unilaterally”

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Girls excluded as Afghan secondary schools reopen.

The Taliban have excluded girls from Afghan secondary schools, with only boys and male teachers allowed back into classrooms.

Schoolgirls told the BBC they were devastated not to be returning. "Everything looks very dark," one said.

Taliban officials who seized power last month said they were working to reach a decision on the matter.

Many fear a return of the regime of the 1990s when the Taliban severely restricted girls' and women's rights.

Under their new government, Taliban officials have said that women will be allowed to study and work in accordance with the group's interpretation of Islamic religious law.

But working women have been told to stay at home until the security situation improves, and Taliban fighters have beaten women protesting against the all-male interim government.

On Friday (17th), the Islamist group appeared to have shut down the women affairs ministry and replaced it with a department that once enforced strict religious doctrines.

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Sri Lanka surpassed WHO vaccination goals.

Sri Lanka surpassed WHO vaccination goals, with 50% of population fully vaccinated.

Sri Lanka reached an important milestone yesterday (September 18) with 50% of the population fully vaccinated, surpassing vaccination goals set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate has been the chant for the pandemic response.  This is based on the science of vaccines and global evidence that COVID-19 vaccines can protect against severe disease as well as limit the transmission of the virus, the WHO says.

WHO has called for all countries to vaccinate 10% of their population by the end of September and 40% by the end of the year.  

Issuing a press release, WHO says that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘ambitious vaccination effort’ that spearheads Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response has long surpassed WHO’s targets.  It is also likely to surpass its own target of vaccinating 60% of the population by 31 December, the WHO predicts.

Sri Lanka has used six vaccines – AstraZeneca (Japan), Covishield, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinopharm, and Sputnik.  All except Sputnik have WHO Emergency Use License (EUL).  So far, Sri Lanka has received 27 million vaccine doses, of which 12.2% were accessed through COVAX AMC.  

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UNICEF stresses Afghan girls must not be excluded from school.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday (17th) welcomed the news that secondary schools are due to reopen in Afghanistan on Saturday, after months of closure due to COVID-19, but stressed that girls must not be kept from the classroom.

According to news reports, the announcement of school reopening from the Taliban, referred only to the return of boys, making no reference to a return date for girls.  

Acccording to the UNICEF every day that girls miss out on education is a missed opportunity for them, their families and their communities.

UNICEF is urging development partners to support education “for all children” in Afghanistan.

UNICEF will continue to advocate with all actors so that all girls and boys have an equal chance to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive and build a peaceful and productive Afghanistan.

Source: https://news.un.org

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India, El Salvador hold third Foreign Office Consultations.

India and El Salvador held the third Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) on September 17 and reviewed the whole gamut of bilateral relations in all fields including health, trade and investment, the Ministry of External Affairs (EAM) informed on Saturday.

An MEA release stated that the Indian side was led by Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) and the El Salvadoran side was led by Ambassador Adriana Maria Mira, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Integration and Economic Promotion.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest including cooperation in the United Nations and agreed to work closely in the multilateral arena.

An MoU between Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS), Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Specialized Institute of Higher Education for Diplomatic Training (IEESFORD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador was also exchanged during the FOC.

The talks were held in a friendly and warm atmosphere. Both sides agreed to work closely together to expand and further strengthen their bilateral relations. (ANI)

Source: https://sg.news.yahoo.com

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18 September 2021

Sri Lanka-born researcher appointed to U.S. National Cancer Advisory Board.

A leading Johns Hopkins cancer researcher Dr. Ashani Weeraratna, who is of Sri Lankan origin, has been appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden to serve as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.

The White House announced the appointment on Wednesday (15th).

Dr. Weeraeatna, who specializes in melanoma and the effects of aging on cancer, is the E.V. McCollum Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.

She also serves as the co-leader of the Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and a professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She had joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2019.

According to John Hopkins University statement, Dr. Weeraratna’s research focuses on the effects of the tumor microenvironment—the normal cells and structures surrounding a tumor—on metastasis and therapy resistance.

She is one of the first researchers to study how the aging microenvironment influences metastasis and therapy resistance in melanoma.

Her studies encompass biophysical changes that affect the ability of both tumor and immune cells to migrate through tissues. Her research has found age-related differences in responses to both targeted therapy and immunotherapy, findings that may one day inform clinical practice.

Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Lesotho in Africa, Dr. Weeraratna first came to the United States in 1988 to study biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Oncology at the Department of Pharmacology of George Washington University Medical Center.

She is President of the Society for Melanoma Research, and a fierce champion of and a mentor for junior faculty, people of color and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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Jhumpa Lahiri to launch her new book ‘Translating Myself and Others’.

The next book from Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer, will highlight her work as a translator. Princeton University Press announced that Lahiri's 'Translating Myself and Others' will come out next spring. Lahiri has lived off and on in Rome for nearly a decade, and her translation projects include 'The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories' and her novel 'Whereabouts', which she first wrote in Italian.

Her new book will features essays on the meaning of translation, translating her own writing, and her dream of translating a classic from ancient Rome, Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'.

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2 times Olympic Gold Medalist Yuriy Sedykh passes away.

One of track and field’s longest-standing world record holders, Yuri Sedykh, died of a heart attack Tuesday (14th), according to the Russian federation.

Sedykh, who won Olympic hammer throw gold at both the Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 Games and silver at Seoul in 1988, was 66.

Competing for the Soviet Union, Sedykh had a world-record throw of 86.74 meters at the 1986 European Championships. In the 35 years leading up to that mark, the men’s hammer world record had been broken 39 times. No one has legally reached or surpassed it in the 35 years since.

Sedykh’s world record is the second-longest standing men’s outdoor world record in the sport of track and field, as well as the second-longest standing world record in men’s or women’s outdoor field events. Only the men’s discus world record has stood longer, and by a mere 85 days.

Sedykh’s career had an impressive longevity, with 15 years between his first Olympic gold and 1991 World title. He retired two years later and moved on to coaching.

His daughter Oksana Kondratyeva, from his first marriage to 1980 Olympic 100m champion Lyudmila Kondratyeva, also became an elite hammer thrower and was seventh at the 2013 World Championships for Russia.

He later married 1988 Olympic shot put gold medalist Natalya Lisovskaya; their daughter, Alexia Sedykh, won the inaugural Youth Olympic hammer throw gold medal for France in 2010.

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International Equal Pay Day - 18 September.

International Equal Pay Day is celebrated on 18 September. The inaugural edition of the day was observed in the year 2020. The day aims to achieve equal pay for work of equal value and break the walls against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe September 18 as International Equal Pay Day, on November 15, 2019, which was introduced by the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC). The resolution was co-sponsored by a total of 105 member states. As well as recognising the contribution of workers’ and employers’ organizations, and businesses, the resolution also acknowledged the work and contribution of EPIC to achieving equal pay.

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World Bank Group has discontinued "Doing Business Report" 

The World Bank Group has issued the following statement on 16 September 2021 regarding the Doing Business report.

After data irregularities on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 were reported internally in June 2020, World Bank management paused the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms.  

After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. 

The Doing Business Report assesses regulatory environments, ease of business startups, infrastructure, and other business climate measures.

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World Water Monitoring Day - 18 September.

The World Water Monitoring Day is observed every year on September 18 since 2003 to increase public awareness and involvement in water monitoring and protecting water resources around the world. This day is celebrated to increase public awareness and involvement in water monitoring and protecting water resources around the world. World Water Monitoring Day engages people of all ages in monitoring the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies.

America’s Clean Water Foundation (ACWF) established World Water Monitoring Day in 2003. The initial date of October 18th coincided with the anniversary of the US Clean Water Act. In 2006, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) adopted World Water Monitoring Day. The following year, the date was changed to September 18th to facilitate participation in other parts of the world.

The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water.

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International Red Panda Day - 18 September.

During the third Saturday in September, International Red Panda Day dedicates a day to learning about about red pandas. Join the campaign to raise awareness about saving their habitats.

Red pandas are much smaller than the more familiar black and white pandas. In fact, red pandas are not related to giant pandas at all. Red pandas weigh between 12 to 20 pounds, which is about the size of a housecat. These adorable mammals live in the trees of the Himalaya Mountains. The Red panda’s popularity in Asia features them in cartoons and as team mascots. However, only about 10,000 red pandas live in the wild. Because of deforestation, poaching, and the illegal pet trade, red pandas are endangered.

The Red Panda Network launched International Red Panda Day in 2010. At that time, 16 schools and a few zoos participated in red panda activities. Currently, more than 60 zoos around the world participate, with over 100,000 visitors on Red Panda Day.

In 2021, the International Red Panda Day is being observed on 18 September 2021.

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World Bamboo Day - 18 September.

Every year on September 18th, World Bamboo Day raises awareness about this fast-growing plant. The day also recognizes the importance of bamboo on a global scale.

Bamboos are used for various purposes mainly in East and Southeast Asia. Bamboo is a tall, tree-like grass of the family Poaceae. It comprises more than 115 genera and 1,400 species. It is also the fastest growing land plant in the world. Certain species of bamboo grow 36 inches within 24 hours. This means that it grows about one inch every 40 minutes. The only thing that grows faster is giant sea kelp.

Most people are aware that bamboo is the panda bear’s favorite food. In fact, 99 percent of the panda’s diet is bamboo.

Kamesh Salam founded World Bamboo Day. Salam served as president of the World Bamboo Organization from 2007 to 2010. In 2009, he organized the 8th World Bamboo Congress in Bangkok. During this meeting, he and delegates from over 100 countries declared September 18th as World Bamboo Day. They chose this date as it coincides with Royal Thai Forestry Day.

Source: https://worldbamboo.net

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International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2021 - 18 September.

The International Coastal Cleanup Day is traditionally held on the third Saturday in September. In 2021, the day is being held on 18 September. Coastal Cleanup Day was established by the Ocean Conservancy, an organization that works to help protect the ocean from the challenges it faces every year.

International Coastal Cleanup Day got its start in 1986 when Linda Maraniss met Kathy O’Hara while working for Ocean Conservancy. Maraniss had just moved to Texas from Washington, D.C. O’Hara had just completed a report called Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem. The two of them reached out to other ocean-lovers and organized a Cleanup for Ocean Conservancy. The first Cleanup consisted of 2,800 volunteers. Since that time, the Cleanup has grown into an international event in more than 100 countries.

The Theme of International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2021: “Keep trash in the bin and not in the ocean”. 


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17 September 2021

Ford will cease manufacturing in India.

Ford Motor Co. will shut its car factories in India and record roughly US$2 billion in restructuring charges, scaling back significantly in a country that past management saw becoming one of its three biggest markets.

Manufacturing of vehicles for sale in India will stop immediately, and about 4,000 employees will be affected, the carmaker said in a statement Thursday. Ford will wind down an assembly plant in the western state of Gujarat by the fourth quarter, as well as vehicle and engine manufacturing plants in the southern city of Chennai by the second quarter of next year.

Ford’s moves come months after it dropped a plan to cede most of its Indian operations to local sport utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Ford India racked up more than US$2 billion in losses during the past decade and wrote down the value of its business by about US$800 million in 2019. 

Foreign automakers have found it difficult to gain a foothold in the value-conscious Indian market dominated by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.’s cheap cars. The government’s high tax regime, which imposes levies as high as 28 per cent on gasoline vehicles, has also been a major roadblock. Toyota Motor Corp. last year said it won’t expand further in India due to high tariffs, while Harley-Davidson Inc. has exited the market. General Motors Co. pulled out in 2017.

Ford India had a market share of just 1.42 per cent in August, compared with 1.9 per cent a year ago, data from Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations showed. The local units of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. together control more than 60 per cent of the market.

Ford was one of the first global car companies to enter India when the economy opened up in the early 1990s.

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New species of Jurassic-age Hybodont Shark discovered from Rajasthan's Jaisalmer.

Teeth of new species of Hybodont Shark of Jurassic age have been reported for the first time from Jaisalmer by a team of officers from the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

This discovery marks an important milestone in the study of Jurassic vertebrate fossils in the Jaisalmer region of Rajasthan, and it opens a new window for further research in the domain of vertebrate fossils.

Hybodonts was a dominant group of fishes in both marine and fluvial environments during the Triassic and early Jurassic times.

Hybodonts finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous time 65 million years ago.

The newly discovered crushing teeth from Jaisalmer represent a new species named by the research team as Strophodusjaisalmerensis. 

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Virat Kohli will be stepping down as India's T20I Captain.

Virat Kohli will be stepping down as captain of the Indian cricket team in T20Is after the completion of the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in UAE and Oman from October 17 to November 14. He will continue to lead the team in Test cricket and ODIs.

Kohli took over as captain in the shortest format in 2017 after MS Dhoni stepped down from his position. This will be the first time that Kohli will lead India in the ICC T20 World Cup. He has led the team to the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the semi-final of the 2019 ICC World Cup in the past.

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First-ever Global Buddhist Conference going to be organised in India.

India is set to host the first-ever Global Buddhist Conference on November 19 and 20, 2021, in Nava Nalanda Mahavihara campus, in Nalanda, Bihar. The academic conference, being organised by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), will become an annual feature. Four regional conferences in India (Telangana, Saranath, Gangtok and Dharamshala) and abroad (Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia) will be organised, in the run-up to the conference. The reports of these regional conferences will be presented at the inaugural Global Buddhist Conference.

Global Buddhist Conference focuses on making India the center of Buddhism, by promoting Buddhist activities, like academic, cultural, seminars, people travelling for festivals like Buddha Purnima, Vesak.

As a part of the event, an award for the promotion of Buddhist studies, which will be given on November 21 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, carrying a cash reward of $20,000, a plaque, and a gold-plated medallion.

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UK, US and Australia launch pact to counter China.

The UK, US and Australia have announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what's seen as an effort to counter China.

It will let Australia build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US.

The Aukus pact, which will also cover AI and other technologies, is one of the countries' biggest defence partnerships in decades, analysts say.

China has condemned the agreement as "extremely irresponsible".

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it "seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race".

China's embassy in Washington accused the countries of a "Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice".

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World Patient Safety Day - 17 September.

Every year on September 17th, World Patient Safety Day raises global awareness and spurs global solidarity about the safety of patients. The day also encourages countries around the world to recognize patient safety as a global health priority.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patient safety is a major health concern across the globe. In fact, one in 300 patients is harmed while receiving health care. Additionally, patient harm is the 14th leading cause of global disease burden.

The German Coalition for Patient Safety had been working toward developing the platform for a World Patient Safety Day since 2015. The Swiss Foundation for Patient Safety and the Austrian Platform for Patient Safety joined to make it an international endeavor. In 2019 at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, 194 countries committed to recognizing patient safety as a health priority. As a result, the World Health Assembly declared September 17th as World Patient Safety Day. The World Health Organization was commissioned to organize the annual event.

For World Patient Safety Day, 17 September 2021, WHO urges all stakeholders to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!” with the theme “Safe maternal and newborn care”.

Source: www.who.int

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16 September 2021

SpaceX launches four people to orbit in company's first-ever tourism mission.

A SpaceX rocket soared into orbit Wednesday (15th) evening, carrying four people — none of whom are professional astronauts — and kicking off the first-ever mission to Earth's orbit crewed entirely by tourists.

The launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida was dramatically illuminated with spotlights against the night sky, and when the SpaceX rocket's nine engines fired up just after 8 pm ET it flooded the surrounding wetlands with a blaze of light as it soared into the upper atmosphere and made a dramatic, ghostly light show overhead. After reaching orbital speeds — more than 17,000 miles per hour — the capsule carrying the four passengers detached from the rocket and began to maneuver toward its intended orbit.

The team of amateurs — which include a billionaire who self-funded the mission, a cancer survivor, a community college teacher and a Lockheed Martin employee — strapped into their 13-foot-wide SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Wednesday afternoon before their SpaceX rocket roared to life and blasted the capsule into orbit. The crew will remain aboard their capsule for three days as it flies through orbit before returning for a splashdown landing off the coast of Florida on Saturday (18th).

For the next three days, the passengers will float around the capsule as it circles around the planet once every 90 minutes, traveling at more than 17,500 miles per hour, while the passengers float and take in panoramic views of Earth. To cap off the journey, their spacecraft will dive back into the atmosphere for a fiery re-entry and splash down off the coast of Florida.

Splashdown is currently slated for Saturday, but that could change if weather or other issues prompt an earlier or later return. The capsule is stocked with enough food and supplies for about a week.

Noted below who was on board:

  • Jared Isaacman, 38, the billionaire founder of payment processing company Shift4, who is also personally financing this entire mission.

  • Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who now works as a physician assistant at St. Jude, the hospital where she was treated, in Memphis, Tennessee. She'll be the first person with a prosthetic body part — she has a partial prothetic femur — to go to space, and she'll serve as the flight's chief medical officer. St. Jude selected Arceneaux for this mission at Isaacman's request, according to a Netflix documentary, and, at the time, she said she was so unfamiliar with space travel that she asked if she would be traveling to the moon, unaware that humans have not set foot on the moon in 50 years.

  • Sian Proctor, 51, a geologist and educator who was selected for a seat on this mission through a post on social media in which she highlights her space-related artwork and entrepreneurial spirit. She'll be only the fourth Black woman from the US to travel to orbit.

  • Chris Sembroski, a 42-year-old Seattle-based Lockheed Martin employee and former camp counselor at Alabama's famed Space Camp. He won his seat through a raffle he entered by donating to St. Jude Children's Hospital, though he wasn't the official winner. His friend snagged the seat and, after deciding not to go, transferred it to him. 

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International Day of Listening - 16 September.



Every year on the third Thursday in September, the International Day of Listening promotes the importance of listening to one another. It’s also a day to practice the art of listening.

Whether in the workplace, at home, or in a social setting, listening well is an important skill. Listening builds trust, reduces misunderstandings, and helps eliminate conflict. Additionally, listening improves relationships and deepens friendships. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is a good listener.

Dr. Ralph G. Nichols, known as “The Father of Listening,” formed the International Listening Association (ILA) in 1979. Dr. Nichols was a professor at the University of Minnesota when he formed the ILA. The ILA promotes the study, development, and teaching of listening. To further this goal, the ILA developed the International Day of Listening in 2016.

2021 International Day of Listening: "Listen to Connect"  

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International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer - 16 September.

September 16 marks the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The UN established this day to spread awareness about the importance of the ozone layer. This layer of the Earth’s stratosphere is located 9 to 18 miles above the Earth’s surface. The ozone layer plays a huge role in protecting our health and the environment.

The ozone layer has a vital job. It’s to absorb most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Too much exposure to UV radiation is detrimental to our health. UV rays cause sunburns, premature aging, a weakened immune system, and eye problems. The biggest concern about UV radiation is cancer. Both humans and animals get cancer from excessive exposure to UV rays.

The depleting ozone layer offers less protection from these harmful UV rays. But, humans and animals are not the only things affected by UV radiation. The environment is impacted, as well. Excessive UV rays inhibit the growth process of plants. When this happens, certain species become extinct reducing the global food supply.

Substances called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are one thing that has caused ozone layer depletion. CFCs are found in aerosol that comes in cans. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs) are also to blame. These are harmful gases found in coolants. While CFCs are no longer widely used, HFCs are still in use.

Since 2005, ozone depletion has declined by 20 percent. There are hopes that the ozone will heal completely in the Northern Hemisphere by the 2030s and the Southern Hemisphere by the 2050s.

On December 19, 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed September 16 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This date in September commemorated the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which took place in 1987. Known as the Montreal Protocol, this important event was monumental for realizing the importance of discontinuing the use of ozone-depleting substances, which included nearly 100 chemicals.

The theme for 2021 World Ozone Day: ‘Montreal Protocol – keeping us, our food and vaccines cool.’

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15 September 2021

Sri Lankan novelist Anuk Arudpragasam shortlisted for Booker Prize 2021.

Sri Lankan novelist Anuk Arudpragasam’s “A Passage North” has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.

The shortlist for the prestigious literary prize awarded each year for the best novel written in English and published in the UK or Ireland was announced on Tuesday (Sep. 14).

Arudpragasam, born in Colombo, is an award-winning author who bagged the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and Shakti Bhatt Prize for his debut novel “The Story of a Brief Marriage”. Published in 2016, this novel also made the shortlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the German Internationaler Literaturpreis.

The 33-year-old’s second novel “A Passage North” explores the lasting effects of the trauma and violence of the island’s civil war, and a past love affair.

Other nominees for this year’s Booker Prize include:

  • Damon Galgut - The Promise. The ninth novel by the South African writer which tells the story of a white family over the decades from the Apartheid era.
  • Patricia Lockwood - No One Is Talking About This. This is the debut novel by the American poet and memoirist.
  • Nadifa Mohamed - The Fortune Men. Somaliland-born British author’s book is set in the docks of post-war Cardiff Bay and follows the story of a real Somali sailor who was wrongly accused of murder.
  • Richard Powers - Bewilderment. The Pulitzer-winning US author depicts the story of a widowed astrobiologist who turns to experimental treatments to help his nine-year-old son with additional needs - and take him to other planets.
  • Maggie Shipstead - Great Circle. This US author’s novel focuses on the stories of a daring post-war female pilot and a 21st century Hollywood actress who is trying to rescue her reputation by making a film about her.

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DGCA, EASA partner for safety, environment protection standards.

Aviation regulators European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have entered into a working arrangement to achieve common safety and environmental protection standards.

Through the agreement, which recognises mutual interests, the aviation regulators of India and Europe hope to reduce the economic burden imposed on the aviation industry by redundant technical inspections, evaluations and testing.

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Zimbabwe's Brendan Taylor announces retirement from International Cricket.

Former Zimbabwe skipper and wicket-keeper batsman, Brendan Taylor has announced his retirement from international cricket. 

He made the announcement while playing the third final ODI match on September 13, 2021, against Ireland. 

The 34-year batsman made his ODI debut for Zimbabwe in 2004 against Sri Lanka. 

He has scored 6677 runs from 204 ODI matches in his 17-year ODI career.

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SpaceX set to launch first all-civilian crew into orbit.

Four private citizens are set to launch into orbit Wednesday in what will be the first mission to space without any professional astronauts on board.

The all-civilian crew will ride to space aboard a rocket and capsule developed by SpaceX. The mission, dubbed Inspiration4, is just the latest milestone flight in what has been a busy year for private spaceflight companies, following joyrides to suborbital space by billionaire entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos over the summer.

Another billionaire, Jared Isaacman, is set to lead the historic all-civilian mission. Isaacman, the 38-year-old founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, a Pennsylvania-based payment processing company, paid an unspecified amount for the three-day expedition in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

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Lasith Malinga announces retirement from all forms of cricket.

Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga has decided to hang up his boots in T20I cricket, bringing an end to one of the great careers in the sport.

The pacer made this announcement on his social media channels. Malinga played 30 Test matches, 226 ODIs and 84 T20Is for Sri Lanka, picking up 546 wickets. 

Malinga last played a T20I match for Sri Lanka in March 2020 against West Indies in Pallekele.

In a glorious international career, Malinga experienced some incredible highs representing the Sri Lankan national team. Malinga led his side to glory in the 2014 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. 

A fearsome pacer known for his menacing yorkers, Malinga is the leading wicket-taker in T20I cricket with 107 scalps. Malinga also has two T20I hat-tricks to his name.

Malinga also picked up three hat-tricks in ODI cricket, with his performance against South Africa in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies etched in history. Malinga retired from Test cricket in 2011, to work on his fitness and concentrate on the shorter formats of the game. 

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CSE implements a new OTC Platform to conduct REPO Transactions on Debt Securities.

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announces the introduction of a new Over the Counter (OTC) Platform to facilitate the Repurchase (REPO) Transactions on Corporate Debt Securities with effect from tomorrow (16th September 2021). The new OTC Platform is a significant step in the product expansion line-up of the CSE and is projected towards establishing a vibrant REPO market for Debt Securities listed on the CSE.

Considering the large volumes of fixed income securities actively traded by market participants outside the CSE’s platforms, the CSE observed the opportunity to play a role as a facilitator in connecting securities providers with collateral who need to finance their liquidity requirements with cash providers.

Implementation of this mechanism is fronted with the objective of enabling market participants to carry out REPO transactions utilizing the facilities offered by the CSE as an intermediary at a reasonable fee and improving the liquidity of the listed corporate debt market at the CSE. The OTC Platform would be an addition to the trading of corporate debt securities on the ATS. The mechanism will also contribute towards creating a new opportunity for investors, trading members, and other corporates involved in the fixed income securities market in Sri Lanka.

The CSE focuses on several advantages of the newly introduced OTC Platform. The transaction details provided by both trading parties will be matched by the CSE when the REPO transaction is reported. Therefore, the parties can ensure that the transaction is executed with the exact pre-agreed terms, unlike matching it through an automated trading environment. In addition, collateral replacement and rollover REPO transactions are also facilitated on the OTC Platform, which are not available in the ATS.,

The OTC Platform can be utilized by market participants only for REPO transactions on corporate debt securities. Initially, REPO transactions would be permitted only on listed corporate debt securities through the OTC Platform. Any investor who is an "Eligible Investor", as defined in the Rules governing the OTC Platform, can trade on the OTC Platform.

The new OTC Platform has been implemented based on the consultations that CSE had with stakeholders and experts in the fixed income market in order to make the platform feasible.

The amendments to the Trading Rules and the CDS Rules have been approved by the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC). For more information on OTC Platform, the amended Trading Rules and CDS Rules and the Master Repurchase Agreement (MRA) applicable for REPO transactions

Source: https://cdn.cse.lk

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China opposes external interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.

China told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday (Sep. 14) that it opposes the interference of powerful nations in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.

Delivering a statement at the 3rd meeting of the UNHRC General Debate of the 48th regular session, the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ambassador Chen Xu also voiced deep concerns about the human rights issues in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should give sufficient attention to the above-mentioned issues, the Chinese ambassador stressed.

He further stated that China appreciates the Sri Lankan government for actively promoting and protecting the human rights, advancing national reconciliation and combating terrorism.

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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Ajith Nivard Cabraal has officially assumed duties as Governor of Central Bank.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal has officially assumed duties as the 16th Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, a short while ago today (15th). 

Cabraal had received his letter of appointment from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this morning (15).

With the resignation of the previous Governor Professor W. D. Lakshman, Cabraal was named for the position.

Cabraal resigned from his positions as State Minister and parliamentarian to take on the new role.

Accordingly, he received his letter of appointment from the President at the Presidential Secretariat in the presence of Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundara.

Cabraal, a veteran Chartered Accountant, has previously served as the Governor of CBSL from 2006 to 2016.

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Legendary actor, comedian, and former SNL cast member Norm Macdonald has died at the age of 61.

Legendary actor and comedian Norm Macdonald has died at the age of 61. Born in Quebec City in 1959, Macdonald began his comedy career doing stand-up in Canada before landing a writing gig for the TV show Roseanne. 

He then landed a job at Saturday Night Live, where he was a cast member from 1993-1998. Macdonald had the coveted role of Weekend Update anchor during his time at SNL, where he displayed his deadpan style of comedy and became a household name.

Macdonald left SNL in 1998 and started his own comedy show, The Norm Show, which ran from 1999-2001. The comedian continued to show up in late-night appearances, as well as lending his voice in a number of animated films and TV series, including The Orville and Klaus. The comedian also had a recurring role in The Middle and will perhaps be best remembered in live-action for his roles in Billy Madison and Dirty Work.

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World Lymphoma Awareness Day - 15 September.

World Lymphoma Awareness Day on September 15th is dedicated to informing the public about cancers of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a vast network of vessels that make up our lymphatic system. They branch out into every tissue of our body. The vessels contain a colorless, fluid called lymph. This intricate system of fluid and vessels act as a transport system carrying lymphocytes. These specialized white blood cells fight infection.

When lymphoma develops, it attacks the lymphocytes making it difficult for our bodies to fight infection. These cells are found throughout our body, not just our lymph nodes. Lymphocytes live in our bone marrow, spleen, and our blood.

There are over 30 types of lymphoma with two main subtypes – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Symptoms include:

  • lymph node swelling
  • fatigue that persists
  • night sweats
  • fever
  • difficulty catching breath
  • unexplained weight loss

There are different types of lymphoma. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the United States in 2019, an estimated 74,200 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma will be reported. Of all new cancer cases reported, non-Hodgkin lymphoma accounts for 4.2%.

Each year organizations around the world focus on a new theme. Each theme provides education, support, research, and more.

In 2004, the world observed the first World Lymphoma Day. Since then, the observance has grown to include art displays, numerous organizations, campaigns, and fundraisers.

We Can’t Wait: An urgent call for World Lymphoma Awareness Day 2021

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International Day of Democracy - 15 September.

The United Nations has marked September 15th as the International Day of Democracy. On this day the UN urges all governments to promote and uphold the principles of democracy.

Democracy is a form of government in which citizens exercise power by voting. Democracy is built on a foundation of inclusion. Equal treatment and participation are also important components. Democracy is also a building block for peace and human rights. Countries with democracies have a constitution, which helps to create an environment of protection for its citizens. Democratic states also are less likely to breed terrorists. They are also more active in the global economy.

True democracy gives power to the people. It involves dialogue between civil societies and political classes. This dialogue should influence policymaking decisions. In many countries throughout the world human rights defenders and government officials are under attack. Women remain underrepresented.

Because of these threats, it’s more important than ever to embrace democracy and the global freedoms it provides. It’s also of utmost importance to assist in the formation of new democracies.

On November 8, 2007, the UN general assembly made September 15th the International Day of Democracy. The assembly invited individuals and organizations to commemorate the day. It also called on governments to share experiences of promoting democracy. The first International Day of Democracy was celebrated in 2008 by 46 national parliaments. This date marked the 20th anniversary of the first International Conference of New or Restored Democracies.

Every year the UN creates a new theme for the International Day of Democracy. The theme for International Day of Democracy changes every year. "Covid-19: A Spotlight on Democracy" was the theme in 2020. This year, the UN will focus on "strengthening democratic resilience in the face of future crises." While celebrations in 2019 took place under the theme “Participation" and in 2018 the theme was “Democracy under strain: Solutions for a changing world.”

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Australia to support India's Gaganyaan mission.

Australia will support India's Gaganyaan mission by tracking it through Cocos Keeling island.

Speaking at the International Space Conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Deputy Head Australia Space Agency Anthony Murfett said that.

The space agencies of India and Australia have recently updated their Memorandum of Understanding.

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