Two-metre social distancing rule ‘based on outdated science,’ academics say

The two-metre physical distancing rule to curb the spread of coronavirus is based on “outdated science,” a group of academics have said. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, there should be “graded recommendations” for different distancing rules in different settings, they argued. Writing in The BMJ, the team of researchers said this would provider greater protection for people in high risk settings and greater freedoms for people in lower risk settings. They added that this would “potentially enable a return towards normality in some aspects of social and economic life”. Distancing rules should…

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GTF extends cooperation to newcomers, reiterates commitment to partnership with TNA

The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is ready to extend cooperation to Ahila Illankai Tamil Congress (AITC) and Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and C.V. Wigneswaran, respectively. AITC won two seats, including one National List whereas the TMTK secured one. GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran told The Island that the grouping would continue to work with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as in the past but would very much like to extend cooperation to the new parties as well. Both AITC and TMTK hadn’t been represented in parliament…

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HAKEEM calls for revision of SJB constitution

SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem called for the revision of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) constitution which he said was drafted hurriedly before the parliamentary election on August 5. He said that this has already been taken up with the SJB leadership.“The constitution of the coalition must be fine-tuned to address the multiplicity of policies and programs of all parties that there might be a unified vision for the country, taking into consideration the views of both the majority and the minority,” the SLMC leader told the Sunday Observer. He said…

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The challenges facing Sambanthan and the TNA

by Harim Peiris The recent election results reveal interesting changes in Tamil politics in Sri Lanka. The predominant representative of the Tamil people, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which contest elections under its largest constituent party, the Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), saw its share of the national vote decline, from 4.6%, in 2015 to 2.8% in 2020. Its parliamentary representation correspondingly declined from 16 MPs in 2015 to 10 MPs in the 9th Parliament of Sri Lanka. The good news for the TNA is that its popular support has roughly…

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Colombo’s land value slips on COVID-19

Land Value Indicator sees growth decline from 13.6% in 1H of 2019 to 7.1% y-o-y Decline seen across residential, commercial and industrial categories  Semi-annual percentage changes also show recent declining trend  Virus seen as having impact in medium term  RIU report says tech, telcos and healthcare sectors likely to drive demand  Smaller companies may shift to suburbs, seek rent relief and flexibility from landlords       Land value in the Colombo district has become part of the COVID-19 casualty list, with the annual growth rate declining from 13.6% in the…

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The Past and the Present in the (Re)Constitution of the State

By Asanga Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ascendancy in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an early opportunity for the government to establish an authoritarian governing style, helped by Parliament standing dissolved, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to subject the government to the constitution. In the delayed parliamentary election earlier in August, the government and its allies sought and obtained a two-thirds majority mandate. This mandate describes not merely the…

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