31 August 2021

International Day for People of African Descent - 31 August.

The International Day for People of African Descent is celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021. The United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

History of the day:

The year 2020 marked the midterm of the International Decade for People of African Descent. While some progress has been made at legislative, policy and institutional levels, people of African descent continue to suffer intersectional and compounded forms of racial discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion. On 19 June 2020, the Human Rights Council adopted the resolution on the “Promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers”.

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International Overdose Awareness Day - 31 August.

International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st focuses on reducing the number of deaths caused by overdose and erasing the stigma associated with it.

Besides death, drug overdoses also cause permanent injuries. Both of these scenarios devastate family members and friends of those who have suffered an overdose. This observance seeks to help people cope with the pain and grief overdoses cause. Another important message on this day is to discuss how overdoses are entirely preventable.

The numbers of overdose-related deaths continue to climb. In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. This number is more than the total number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War. These drugs included both illegal drugs and prescription opioids.

In 2001, Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker established International Overdose Awareness Day. At the time, they commemorated those who lost their lives to an overdose and support those whose lives have been affected by drug abuse. The Penington Institute in Australia took over the organization of the day in 2012. Events are held in countries around the world and in most states in the U.S.

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30 August 2021

Another medal for Sri Lanka at Tokyo Paralympics.

Sri Lanka’s Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku has won the Bronze medal in the Men’s Javelin Throw - F46 – event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. 

Kodithuwakku took third place with a personal best of 65.61 meters while India’s Sumit Antil secured the gold medal with a World Record throw of 68.55m.

Australian Michal Burian picked up silver in the Men’s Javelin Throw (Sport Class F64) with a throw of 66.29m.

This is Sri Lanka’s second medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Earlier today, Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Priyantha Herath set a new world record in the Men’s Javelin Throw F46 event and picked up the gold medal. It was Sri Lanka’s first-ever gold medal in Paralympic Games history.

Kodithuwakku had placed fourth for the men’s javelin throw F64 in the World Para Athletics Championships 2019. 

Source: www.adaderana.lk

 

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Dinesh Priyantha wins first-ever Paralympic gold medal for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Priyantha Herath has set a new world record in the Men’s Javelin Throw - F46 – event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Dinesh Priyantha set the new world record clearing a distance of 67.79 meters to win the gold medal in the Men’s Javelin Throw F46 Final.

He becomes the first ever Sri Lankan to win a gold medal at the Paralympics. 

The 35-year-old stormed to gold when he threw 67.79m in his third attempt which broke a previous world record set by India's Devendra. Meanwhile reigning Rio 2016 champ Devendra claimed silver after making a best throw at 64.35 while India’s Sundar Singh Gurjar bagged bronze with an effort of 64.01 in the Men’s Javelin Throw F46 Final.

Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Priyantha managed to surpass the previous world record of 63.97 meters set by India’s Devendra Jhajharia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. 

The flag bearer and captain of the nine-member Sri Lankan contingent for the 2020 Summer Paralympics, Dinesh Priyantha had placed 3rd in the men’s javelin throw F46 final a the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.

He had won a silver medal in the javelin event in the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships. He is the first Sri Lankan to win a silver medal at a World Para Athletics Championships.

During the 2018 Asian Para Games, he set a new Asian Para Games record in javelin throw of 61.84m to secure gold medal in the men’s F46 javelin throw event. 

He had also claimed silver medal in men’s 46 category at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships by clearing a distance of 60.59 meters.

Source: https://olympics.com

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International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance - 30 August.

On August 30 of each year, the UN observes the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance. This day aims to increase awareness about the numbers of enforced disappearances around the world.

In 2007, activists and family members of victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines declared August 30th as the International Day of the Disappeared. One year later, the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances joined hands for a global campaign. On December 21, 2010, the United Nations expressed its concern over the increasing numbers of involuntary disappearances throughout the world. In 2011 during the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the UN declared August 30th of each year to be International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance.

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International Whale Shark Day - 30 August.

 International Whale Shark Day on August 30th aims to increase awareness about a magnificent sea-dwelling creature. The whale shark’s declining numbers alerts us to their need for protection and conservation. These gentle giants fascinate marine biologists and aquatic enthusiasts alike.

In 2016, the IUCN reclassified the whale shark from vulnerable to an endangered species. Nobody knows the exact population of the whale shark. According to some estimates, there are only tens of thousands around the world. Primary reasons for the decline in numbers include illegal fishing, getting trapped in fishing gear, and colliding with boats. Since whale sharks move slowly, they’re easily caught. In certain parts of the world, such as Asia, products made from whale sharks are in high demand.

Another threat to whale sharks is plastic. Waste plastics finds its way to the oceans. When a whale shark feeds close to the surface, they easily ingest the plastic. This garbage gets lodged in the digestive tract. When this happens, a whale shark can no longer eat. Eventually, the large fish starves to death.

All of these things combined lead to the endangered status of the whale shark and the need to protect them.

During the International Whale Shark Conference in 2008 in Isla Holbox, over 40 whale experts and ocean activists declared August 30th International Whale Day. Since then the day continues to educate the world about the whale’s declining numbers.

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29 August 2021

Advisory Board appointed in accordance with Prevention of Terrorism Act.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed an Advisory Board as per the Section 13 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, No.48 of 1979, the Director-General of Legal Affairs of the Presidential Secretariat Attorney-at-Law Harigupta Rohanadeera said.

The Chairman of the Advisory Board is retired Chief Justice Asoka de Silva and retired high Court Judge A.A.R.Heiyanthuduwa and retired Solicitor General Suhada Gamalath have been appointed as the other members. The Advisory Board is expected to make recommendations and advise then President on the investigation, release, granting of bail and future action related to the persons imprisoned over terrorist activities and detained under detention orders.

Hitherto, the persons who have been imprisoned had no opportunity to make representations on their rights since an Advisory Board has not been established for a long time. Harigupta Rohanadeera further said that the prisoners will be given the opportunity to submit their issues with the appointment of the Advisory Board.

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'Xi Jinping Thought' introduced into curriculum in China.

China will introduce the political ideology of the Chinese President in its national curriculum. "Xi Jinping thought" will help "teenagers establish Marxist beliefs", said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in new guidelines.

The ideology will be integrated from primary school up to university. This is the latest effort by Mr Xi to consolidate the ruling Chinese Communist Party's role in different areas of society.

In a statement, the MOE said it aimed "to cultivate the builders and successors of socialism with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding".

The guidelines include labour education "to cultivate their hard-working spirit" and education on national security.

In 2018, China's top body enshrined "Xi Jinping Thought" into the constitution. Since then, it's been introduced across some universities and amongst political youth wings holding extra-curricular activities and schools.

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British stamps banned from Chagos Islands in Indian Ocean.

Mauritius has moved a symbolic step closer to wresting control of the Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean, from the UK.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a UN agency in charge of the world's postal policies, voted to block the use of UK stamps from the remote archipelago.

All post from the Chagos Islands must now bear stamps from Mauritius.

The UK says it will not cede control until the islands are no longer needed for security purposes.

The US currently uses the largest of the islands - Diego Garcia - for a military air base on what the UK describes as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Three powerful UN bodies have already ruled that the archipelago, which has a population of about 3,000, is part of Britain's old empire and should be handed to Mauritius immediately.

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Cuba’s central bank now recognizes cryptocurrencies.

Cuba will now recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, citing “reasons of socioeconomic interest.”

Resolution 215, which was published in the state-run Official Gazette, says the central bank will set new rules for how to deal with digital currencies. Commercial providers of related services will now need a license from the central bank to continue operations.

The American embargo on the communist state has turned Cuba into a pariah in the global economy. Cuba’s decision to join El Salvador in embracing decentralized virtual cash could help the country to circumvent the U.S. sanctions regime, which was dialed up under former President Donald Trump and has been extended under President Joe Biden.

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International Day Against Nuclear Tests - 29 August.

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests on August 29th raises awareness and educates about the harmful effects of nuclear testing.

Nuclear weapons testing began in 1945. Since that time, nearly 2,000 nuclear tests have taken place. When nuclear testing first began, scientist knew very little about its harmful effects. Through the years, increasing concern and evidence points to the devastating impact of nuclear testing. From 1951 to 1973, radioactive fallout from nuclear tests is responsible for killing up to 690,000 Americans.

It wasn’t until 1992 that the last U.S. nuclear weapons test took place. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. A total of 183 countries signed the treaty. However, the United States has not yet ratified the convention. As of the 21st century, the only country believed to conduct nuclear testing is North Korea.

Even though the U.S. no longer conducts nuclear testing, many Americans still suffer. Even those exposed decades ago continue to suffer today. Conditions range may include cancer, acute radiation syndrome, and cardiovascular diseases.

The United Nations General Assembly declared International Day Against Nuclear Tests with the adoption of resolution 64/35 on December 2, 2009. The first observance took place on August 29, 2010. Each year, conferences, exhibits, new initiatives, and media attention focus on the day.

The Republic of Kazakhstan initiated the resolution. Kazakhstan is the home of one of the world’s largest nuclear testing sites. It closed on August 29th, 1991.

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28 August 2021

Kabul Airport Attack Kills 13 U.S. Service Members and at Least 90 Afghans.

More than 100 people were killed, including at least 13 U.S. service members and 90 Afghans, at the Kabul airport Thursday (26) when two blasts ripped through crowds trying to enter the American-controlled facility, disrupting the final push of the U.S.-led evacuation effort.

A suicide bomb attack at the airport’s Abbey Gate was followed by an assault by gunmen, officials said. Another bomb attack took place nearby, at a hotel outside the airport, officials said. Eighteen U.S. service members were injured, the Pentagon said.

The attack marked the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan since 2011, and came just five days before the Biden administration’s deadline for the complete military withdrawal from the country. The military expects more attacks, Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters.

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27 August 2021

Former England and Sussex captain Ted Dexter passes away.

Former England and Sussex captain Ted Dexter has passed away. Dexter, nicknamed “Lord Ted”, was an aggressive batsman and part-time seam bowler who played 62 tests for England after making his debut in 1958 against New Zealand and was captain between 1961-1964.

After retiring, he helped devise a ranking system for Test players and was chairman of selectors for England. Dexter was also a regular on the BBC's TV coverage of England home Test matches and was a newspaper columnist. The ranking system was adopted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and formed the basis of today's system.

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Algeria cuts diplomatic ties with Morocco.

Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said that his country has severed diplomatic relations with Morocco due to “hostile actions”, following months of resurgent tensions between the North African rivals.

The countries have long accused one another of backing opposition movements as proxies, with Algeria’s support for separatists in the Western Sahara a particular bone of contention for Morocco.

Their rivalry took a new twist last year when the outgoing U.S. President, Donald Trump, recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the territory — in exchange for Morocco normalising ties with Israel.

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The Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts died at age 80.

The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died on 24 Auguat 2021 in London at age 80. Watts’ passing was confirmed by a statement from the band.

Charlie Watts was born in London’s Bloomsbury district on June 2, 1941. He was a teenager when his parents gave him a drum set and first performed as part of jazz bands. In 1961, Watts joined Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and one year later met the members of a new band called The Rolling Stones. Charlie replaced original drummer Mick Avory in January of 1963, less than a year after The Rolling Stones were formed.

Watts was behind the kit for all of The Rolling Stones’ gigs from January 12, 1963, forward as well as on all of the band’s recordings. His solid, unflashy style was the backbone of the group’s sound. The Rolling Stones went on to become one of rock’s greatest and top-selling bands thanks to such hits as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Brown Sugar,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Honky Tonk Women.”

The Rolling Stones released 25 studio albums over the years dating back to a self-titled effort in 1964, which was issued in the U.S. as England’s Newest Hit Makers. The band’s output included iconic LPs Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile On Main St. (1972), Emotional Rescue (1980) and Tattoo You (1981). Watts’ last appearance on a Rolling Stones studio album stands for now as Blue & Lonesome, an album released in 2016 featuring blues covers.

While The Rolling Stones didn’t tour for most of the 1980s, the band’s massively successful 1989 – 1990 Steel Wheels tour was the first of many the group embarked on over the past 30 years. The latest was a North American leg of their No Filter tour in 2019. Charlie’s final show took place at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on August 30, 2019.

Source: www.jambase.com

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World’s first autonomous, electric cargo ship to make voyage with zero crew onboard.

A Norwegian company called Yara International claims to have created the world’s first zero-emission ship that can also transport cargo autonomously. The Yara Birkeland electric cargo ship was first conceptualized in 2017 but now looks to make its first voyage with no crew members onboard later this year in Norway.

Yara International is a Norwegian company that was founded in 1905 to combat the rising famine in Europe at the time. The company created the world’s first nitrogen fertilizer, which remains its largest business focus today.

To combat toxic Sulfur Oxides (SOx) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions from diesel engines on ships, the Norwegian company created Yara Marine Technologies. In 2017, the company began conceptualizing the possibility of an autonomous, fully electric ship to rid of toxic emissions altogether.

According to a report from CNN, the Yara Birkeland electric cargo ship will make its first autonomous voyage between two Norwegian towns (Herøya to Brevik) later this year. While there will be no crew onboard the cargo ship, it will still be closely monitored from three control centers onshore.

The electric cargo ship features a 7 MWh battery capacity, powering two 900 kW Azipull pods, as well as two 700 kW tunnel thrusters, delivering a top speed of 13 knots (~15 mph). The current cargo capacity on the Yara Birkeland is 120 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) or sixty 40′ shipping containers.

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26 August 2021

World Bank halts aid after Taliban takeover Afghanistan.

The World Bank has halted funding for projects in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country. It cited concerns over how the Taliban's takeover will affect "the country's development prospects, especially for women".

The move comes just days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended payments to Afghanistan. The Biden administration has also frozen the assets of Afghanistan's central bank that are held in the US.

Since 2002 the Washington-based financial institution has committed more than $5.3bn (£3.9bn) to reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan.

The decision by the World Bank to suspend payments to Afghanistan is the latest financial blow to the country's new government. Last week, the IMF announced that Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the global lender's resources.

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Canada, UAE, PNG qualify for 2022 U-19 men's World Cup.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the Americas, Asia and EAP qualifiers to the ICC U19 men's cricket World Cup have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The apex body of cricket said based on guidelines approved by the ICC Development Committee and the ICC Board, the three events cannot be staged.

Therefore, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Papua New Guinea will all progress to the ICC U19 Men's Cricket World Cup 2022 on the basis of them securing the most wins in the last five U19 qualifying events in each respective region.

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5th India-Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise “KAZIND-21”

As part of military diplomacy and to strengthen the growing strategic relation with Kazakhstan, the 5th edition of Indo- Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise, “KAZIND-21” will be conducted at Training Node, Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan, from 30 August to 11 September 2021. The exercise is a joint training between both the Armies, which will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan.

The Indian Army contingent represented by a battalion of The Bihar Regiment consists of a total of 90 personnel led by a Contingent Commander. The Kazakhstan Army will be represented by a company group.

The Exercise will provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces of India & Kazakhstan to train for Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorism operation in mountainous, rural scenario under UN mandate. The scope of Joint Exercise includes professional exchange, planning & execution of operation in Counter terrorism environment at sub unit level and sharing expertise on skills at arms, combat shooting and experiences in Counter Insurgency/ Counter Terrorism operations. The exercise will culminate after a 48 hours long validation exercise which will involve a scenario of neutralization of terrorists in a semi-rural hideout.

The exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, inter-operability and enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of India and Kazakhstan.

Source: https://orissadiary.com

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Philippines approves GMO 'golden rice' for commercial production.

The Philippines became the world's first country to approve the commercial production of genetically modified "golden rice" that experts hope will combat childhood blindness and save lives in the developing world.

A biosafety permit issued by government regulators paves the way for the rice enriched with the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene to make it more nutritional to be grown by farmers across the country, its developers said.

Golden Rice has received food safety approvals from regulators in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.


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UAE announces the world’s tallest observation wheel ‘Ain Dubai’

The world’s largest and tallest observation wheel is set to be unveiled in Dubai, UAE on October 21, 2021. 

The observation wheel called as ‘Ain Dubai’, is 250 m (820 ft) in height, located at Bluewaters Island. 

The record-breaking wheel is 42.5 m (139 ft) taller than the current world’s tallest observation wheel, High Roller, in Las Vegas, measuring 167.6 m (550 ft).

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Dubai sets up specialised court to combat money laundering.

The Dubai government’s media office announced on Sunday (22) that the Dubai Courts have established a specialized money laundering court to thwart financial crimes. The new court was set up within the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal.

Through this specialized court, the Dubai Courts hope to increase “the UAE’s and Dubai’s global competitiveness by reinforcing the rule of law and upholding the values of justice and transparency.”

This money laundering court ties into a string of initiatives aimed at reducing financial crimes and follows the recent establishment of the Executive Office of the Anti-Money Laundering & Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). The AML/CFT was created by Federal Decree-law No. (20) of 2018, which set forth the criteria for money laundering and terrorism convictions.

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International Dog Day 2021

International Dog Day is observed every year on August 26 to raise awareness about dog adoption and the importance of providing rescue dogs with a safe and loving environment. 

The history of International Dog Day dates back to 2004 when the day was founded by Collen Paige, an animal welfare advocate and pet lifestyle expert. Paige, also a conservationist, dog trainer and an author, decided to celebrate International Dog Day on August 26 as it was the first time when his family adopted a dog named "Sheltie" when she was ten years old.

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Safe Cities Index 2021

The Safe Cities Index 2021 is a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by NEC Corporation. The report is based on the fourth iteration of the index, which ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security.

First launched in 2015, the Safe Cities Index is updated once every two years to reveal which cities are the safest based on new criteria. 2021 Safe Cities Index found that, Copenhagen is the world's safest city, surpassing Toronto and Singapore.

Accordingly, 2021 Safe Cities Index scores are as follows:

Source: https://safecities.economist.com

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Pakistan conducts successful test of 'indigenously developed' Fatah-1 guided MLRS.

Pakistan Army on Tuesday (24) conducted a successful test of indigenously developed “Fatah-1” guided Multi Launch Rocket System (MLRS), according to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The military's media wing, in a statement, said the extended-range rocket system was capable of delivering a conventional warhead. The Fatah-1 weapon system can hit target up to a range of 140 km. 

“The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of precision target engagement deep in enemy territory,” the ISPR added.

The president, prime minister, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and the chief of army staff congratulated the participating troops and scientists on the successful launch.

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Women’s Equality Day - 26 August.

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting the right to vote to women. 

The amendment was first introduced in 1878. In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

Source: https://nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org

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Yahoo shuts down news sites in India over FDI regulations.

Yahoo has shut down its news websites in India due the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules that limit foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India.

This includes Yahoo News, Yahoo Cricket, Finance, Entertainment, and MAKERS India. This, however, will not affect users’’ Yahoo e-mail, and search experiences in India.

“As of August 26th, 2021 Yahoo India will no longer be publishing content. Your Yahoo Account, Mail and Search experiences will not be affected in any way and will operate as usual. We thank you for your support and readership,” a notice on the Yahoo website said.

US tech major Verizon had acquired Yahoo in 2017.

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Online Portal Launched to Obtain Covid-19 Smart Vaccine Certificate.

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) announces the launch of Covid-19 Smart Vaccine  Certificate Portal from 25th August 2021, for the general public who have plans to travel overseas.  ICTA has introduced this initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.  

The public can visit the online portal https://covid-19.health.gov.lk/certificate/ to obtain a soft copy of the vaccine certificate. By accessing the online portal, one needs to enter the requested details such as national identity number, passport number, vaccination card details, proof of travel, and requested personal data. Upon successfully entering the requested particulars and approval, the user will be given a link to generate a soft copy (PDF version) of the vaccine certificate. In addition, a printout of the certificate can be presented to relevant authorities when needed.

The initiative will avoid the inconvenience of physically visiting the nearest MOH office to collect hard copies of the vaccine certificate.  Now you can obtain the vaccine certificate being in the convenience of your own home.

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Kathy Hochul becomes New York’s first female governor.

Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York at the stroke of midnight Tuesday (24), taking control of a state government desperate to get back to business after months of distractions over sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo.

The Democrat from western New York was sworn in as governor in a brief, private ceremony in the New York State Capitol overseen by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore.

Afterward, she told WGRZ, a Buffalo television station, she felt “the weight of responsibility” on her shoulders.

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Colombo Stock Exchange’s ASPI reaches all time high.

The benchmark All share Price Index (ASPI) hit an all-time high of 8,920.71 points today (26), surpassing the previous record of 8,812.01 points on 27 january 2021.

The ASPI surged 164.08 points (or 1.87%) to close at 8,920.71.

The day’s trading recorded a turnover of Rs.10.49 billion. Here, Expolanka (Rs.3.79 billion), Hayleys (Rs. 1.11 billion) and LOLC Holdings (Rs. 652.44 million) made significant contributions to the turnover.

Source: www.cse.lk


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Global Manufacturing Risk Index - 2021.

Cushman & Wakefield’s 2021 Global Manufacturing Risk Index assesses the most advantageous locations for global manufacturing among 47 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific.

Within the Risk Index Report, countries are assessed based on following four key areas:

  • Bounce Back: Projected ability to restart manufacturing operations as vaccines are rolled out and business begins to return to normal
  • Conditions: Business environment, including the availability of talent/labor and access to markets
  • Costs: Operating costs including labor, electricity and real estate
  • Risks: Political, economic and environmental

According to the report, China has been ranked first. India has been ranked as the second-most sought-after manufacturing destination in the world. 

The US is at third position, followed by Canada, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania, Thailand, Malaysia and Poland.

In the last year’s report, the US was at second position while India ranked third.

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The South African Cricket Team arrive in Sri Lanka for limited-overs series.

The South African Cricket Team arrived in Colombo on Thursday (26) as they are all set to begin their limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka next week.

The matches give both teams some much-needed practice ahead of the T20 World Cup, with the ODI series also of significance with the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.

The series kicks off on Thursday, September 2 with the final game to be played on September 14, just days before IPL 2021 Phase 2.

The team, led by Temba Bavuma underwent mandatory RT-PCR testing on arrival and will be in a secure bio-bubble during the duration of the tournament. All players were seen wearing masks in the latest pictures revealed by the SLC.

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Tokyo Paralympic Games officially begin with vibrant opening ceremony.

President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons told athletes that they were the “the best of humanity” as the Tokyo Paralympics kicked off with a vibrant Opening Ceremony on Tuesday (24).

The delayed 16th Summer Paralympics will take place amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in the country but those inside the stadium were in celebratory mood as the competition officially began in unprecedented circumstances.

Tokyo is the first city to host the Paralympics Games twice and organizers will be hoping for another successful competition following the Olympic Games less than a month ago.

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RCB sign Hasaranga and Chameera for IPL 2021.

Royal Challengers Bangalore have signed Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera and Singapore’s Tim David ahead of the UAE leg of IPL 2021.

The signings have been enforced after New Zealand’s Finn Allen and Scott Kuggeleijn were picked for national team duty for the series against Bangladesh while Adam Zampa, Daniel Sams and Kane Richardson declared themselves unavailable for the second leg of the tournament.

Hasaranga has been one of the brightest sparks in Sri Lanka’s white-ball teams, recently bagging the Player of the Series in the T20Is against India. Chameera, his compatriot, took four wickets in the same series at an impressive economy of 5.25.

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Britain calls G7 meeting to discuss Afghan crisis.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had called a virtual G7 leaders’ meeting to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan and urged governments to find ways to prevent conditions from getting worse.

Taliban militants seized control of Kabul last weekend in an upheaval that sent civilians and Afghan military allies fleeing for safety. Many fear a return to the austere interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the previous Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago.

Britain holds the rotating leadership of the G7, which also includes the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

U.S. President Joe Biden, under fire at home and abroad for his handling of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, will meet virtually with the G7 leaders to coordinate policy, discuss evacuation efforts and humanitarian assistance, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

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Yordenis Ugás beats Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Cuba's Yordenis Ugas sent Manny Pacquiao spinning to a dramatic upset defeat on Saturday (21), outclassing the Filipino boxing icon with a composed unanimous points victory at the T-Mobile Arena. 

In his first fight after a two-year absence from the ring, Pacquiao was made to look every bit of his 42 years as the younger Ugas dominated with a stinging jab and cleaner punching to retain his WBA welterweight belt. 

Ugas, 35, had only been drafted in to face Pacquiao earlier this month after the eight-division world champion's original opponent Errol Spence Jr. suffered an eye injury in training.

But the defending champion seized his opportunity brilliantly to win on all three cards, with one judge scoring it 115-113 and two others 116-112.

Pacquiao is the only man in boxing history to hold world titles in eight different divisions and is one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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The world’s first fossil-free steel.

The first fossil-free steel in the world has been delivered to the customer. The initiative HYBRIT has since 2016 developed its fossil-free steel and the delivery is an important step before the launch to the market in 2026.

Sweden strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and become one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare nations. Steel production accounts for large emissions in the production process; about 8 % of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and about 10 % in Sweden.

HYBRIT, owned by SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall, and miner LKAB, is an initiative to reduce the big carbon footprint from steel production. The steel is produced without using coal, replacing it with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen to cut emissions. The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market by 2026.

On Wednesday, HYBRIT delivered its first fossil-free steel. The delivery was made to truck-maker Volvo AB as a trial run before HYBRIT starts with full commercial production. About 24 tonnes of steel was delivered to Volvo, which will be used for prototype vehicles during this year, according to Volvo.

Source: https://smartcitysweden.com

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25 August 2021

World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2021.

The World Economic Forum’s annual Sustainable Development Impact Summit will take place on September 20-23, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s event will focus strongly on inclusively revitalizing economies. The United Nations General Assembly, the summit convenes under the theme "Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery". It will welcome almost all leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

The meeting will examine four interdependent areas and bring together communities of purpose to advance ongoing project work. Impact sessions and briefings will focus on:

  • Revitalizing economies
  • Advancing an inclusive recovery
  • Scaling up climate action
  • Shaping future food systems

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Azizullah Fazli re-appointed as Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman despite Taliban takeover.

Azizullah Fazli has been re-appointed as ACB chairman despite Taliban takeover in the middle-east country. “Former ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazli has been re-appointed ACB Chairman. He will oversee ACB’s leadership and course of action for the upcoming competitions.

After taking control of Afghanistan, Taliban fighters stormed into the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) headquarters in Kabul last week. According to reports, members of the Taliban regime took over the ACB headquarters and were accompanied by former national cricketer Abdullah Mazari.

The Taliban have said they will not interfere with the Afghan men’s national cricket team, the country’s biggest sporting success of recent years, or stop the expansion of the flagship Twenty20 league, an Afghan cricket official said.


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World's highest expressway opens to traffic in China's Tibet.

The Lhasa-Nagqu expressway connecting Lhasa and Nagqu in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region opened to traffic on August 21, according to Tibet Autonomous Region Transportation Department. 

It is a section of the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway, with a total length of 295km and an average elevation of 4,500 meters, making it the world's highest expressway. 

It's the first expressway linking Lhasa, the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and the northern Tibet grassland.  

The expressway passes through grasslands, snow mountains and wetlands, and connects picturesque scenic spots such as the Yangbajain geothermal hot spring and the Namtso Lake. 

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PayPal Holdings launches crypto transactions in the UK.

PayPal Holdings will allow customers in the UK to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies starting this week.

The roll-out, which marks the first international expansion of PayPal's cryptocurrencies services outside of the United States, could inspire further mainstream adoption of the new asset class.

With over 403 million active accounts globally, the San Jose, California-based company is one of the largest mainstream financial companies to offer consumers access to cryptocurrencies.

PayPal launched cryptocurrency buying and selling in the United States early this year, later enabling customers to use their digital coin holdings to shop at the millions of merchants on its network.

The company hoped its foray into the new asset class would encourage global use of virtual coins and prepare its network for new digital currencies that may be developed by corporations and central banks.

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World Water Week 2021: 23-27 August.

The World Water Week is the leading conference on global water issues and organised by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) since 1991. 

In 2021 it will be held as a digital event 23-27 August. The Week attracts participants from more than 130 countries and with many different professional backgrounds. The theme for World Water Week 2021 is "Building Resilience Faster"

World Water Week is a non-profit event, co-created together with leading organizations. It offers an unusual mix of participants and perspectives, with sessions on a broad array of water-related topics, ranging from food security and health, to agriculture, technology, biodiversity, and the climate crisis.

With a focus on collaboration and shared learning, World Water Week is an important catalyst for change and attracts leading researchers, decision-makers, business representatives, NGOs, students, and international organizations. 

Source: www.worldwaterweek.org

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23 August 2021

Former Afghan national soccer team player dies trying to cling to U.S. Plane.

A player for Afghanistan’s national soccer team reportedly died in a U.S. plane as he desperately tried to escape the country ahead of a Taliban takeover, a report says.

According to Afghan news agency Ariana, athlete Zaki Anwari tried to get into a moving plane Sunday (22) as the Taliban terror army swept into Kabul on the heels of Joe Biden’s precipitous withdrawal from the country.

The Afghan news outlets said Anwari tried to climb inside the wheel well of a USAF Boeing C-17 Sunday. His death was confirmed by the General Directorate for Sport.

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Black Ribbon Day - 23 August.

Every year on August 23rd, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism remembers victims of totalitarian regimes. These include Stalinist, communist, Nazi and fascist regimes. The day is also known as Black Ribbon Day.

Throughout history, millions of people around the world have died under communist and fascist leaders. Two of the most evil leaders in history have included Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Hitler became the chancellor of Germany in 1933. His evil regime lasted until 1945. Under his leadership, Nazis committed genocide against the Jews. But it wasn’t just Jews who suffered. It was also the disabled, the prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates, and other ethnic groups. Over 1 million of Hitler’s victims were under the age of 18.

Joseph Stalin assumed leadership over the Soviet Union in 1924. He was the country’s political leader until his death in 1953. His policies became known as Stalinism. It was under Stalin’s leadership that the Soviet Red Army captured Berlin in 1945. This act helped to end World War II. But also under his long leadership, millions of people died. Most of these people were victims of ethnic cleansings, executions, famines, and forced deportations.

It is very difficult to think about the many innocent victims who died under these leaders. However, we must remember events like these to help ensure history never repeats itself.

The origins of European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism go back to the 1980s. During this time, European refugees living in Canada organized peaceful protests. These protests raised awareness for the human rights abuses perpetuated by authorities in the Soviet Union. In 1991, Black Ribbon Day demonstrations were held in 56 cities around the world after the Soviet bloc collapsed. In 2008, the European Parliament formally designated August 23rd as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Canada’s parliament followed suit in 2009. Since then, the United States, and other countries recognize August 23rd as Black Ribbon Day.

August 23rd was chosen as it commemorates the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that occurred in 1939. This pact was between the Soviet Union and Germany. Shortly after the pact was signed, WWII began.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org

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International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition - 23 August.

On August 23rd, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition is set aside to pause and remember the tragedy of the slave trade.

The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in a number of countries, in particular in Haiti (23 August 1998) and Goree in Senegal (23 August 1999). Cultural events and debates too were organized. The year 2001 saw the participation of the Mulhouse Textile Museum in France in the form of a workshop for fabrics called "Indiennes de Traite" (a type of calico) which served as currency for the exchange of slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Circular CL/3494 of 29 July 1998 from the Director-General to Ministers of Culture invites all the Member States to organize events to mark 23 August each year.

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Tim David set to become first Singapore international cricketer to play in IPL.

The second phase of the 14th edition of IPL will feature a Singapore cricketer for the first time as Royal Challengers Bangalore have roped in freelance T20 sensation Tim David, who has made a name for himself across leagues in the world.

While he is of Australian descent, the 6 feet 5 inch tall David currently plays international cricket for Singapore and he brings with him a novelty factor in Virat Kohli's team.

Since ICC has accorded T20 International status to all its 106 member nations, David has played 14 T20 Internationals with 558 runs in his kitty at a strike rate of 158 plus.

Overall, he has played 49 T20 games, factoring in his appearances in the BBL and PSL with a tally of 1171 runs at a strike rate of 155 plus.

The remainder of the IPL-14 will begin on September 19 in the UAE.

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OneWeb launches 34 satellites.

OneWeb, a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company has confirmed the launch of 34 satellites by Arianespace from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The launch follows the successful completion of OneWeb’s ‘Five to 50’ mission and highlights the momentum of the business as it prepares to both introduce commercial service and focus on scaling to global service.

This launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 288 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

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22 August 2021

United Arab Emirates to temporarily shelter 5,000 Afghan refugees.

The United Arab Emirates will temporarily host 5,000 Afghan citizens evacuated from thecountry following the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban Islamist movement, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

The ministry added that the evacuees would arrive in the UAE on US aircraft in the upcoming days.

The Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, ending a weeks-long offensive and resulting in the collapse of the US-backed government.

Internationally-Recognized Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country for the UAE. The seizure of power has forced thousands of Afghans to seek escape from the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.

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South Africa to host first ever Africa's Travel and Tourism Summit.

The Department of Tourism and South African Tourism will host Afrca's first ever Travel and Tourism Summit.

The hybrid summit, which coincides with Tourism Month in South Africa, is set to take place from 19 to 21 September 2021.

The summit aims to be a catalyst for engagement on the current state of tourism on the African continent.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Acting SA Tourism CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini said taking into account challenges facing the global tourism industry, Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit will, through various engagement sessions, gather the tourism sector to share insights and ideas to explore collaborative efforts that can lead to recovery.

With an array of issues currently facing the sector, Dlamini said the summit aims to attract African community delegates, African Tourism Ministers, industry associations, tourism boards, destination marketing organisations, as well as various partners across the tourism value chain. 

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