The main opposition UNP today condemned violence against places of religious worship saying it is deeply wounding the sentiments of entire communities of people in Sri Lanka.UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said that the recent escalation of religious tensions in the country has given rise to a deep sense of foreboding and a profound sadness for him, and others in the United National Party. However he says Sri Lanka is staring once more down the abyss of communal and religious strife and perceived differences are threatening to tear the country apart as religion threatens to become the great divide. He said that for too long, Sri Lanka had been a society divided and people from every community and walk of life, were crying out for healing and reconciliation and in the new Sri Lanka, after the end of the conflict, the only identity that should have mattered was the Sri Lankan one. “Our regret is shared by the vast majority of moderates who reside in our society, to whom the actions of a few misguided, malicious elements have been both distasteful and of very serious concern. Any Buddhist citizen of this country would empathise with this sadness and despair, having lived through the violent desecration of this country’s most sacred Buddhist shrine, the Dalada Maligawa by brutal terrorists in 1998.  I am a Buddhist by birth and upbringing. Throughout my life, I have strived to live the teachings of the Great Master. I find great dissonance in the rhetoric of hate, intolerance and anger that is currently being perpetuated in the name of Buddhism. I cannot comprehend this sense of deep insecurity that causes elements of our society to act out this way, when it was the Buddha himself who taught that the Dhamma is best protected by practicing it,” he said.  (Colombo Gazette) read more

Many antibiotics are no longer effective in fighting infections as those infections have built up resistance to the medication. Deaths due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could surpass annual cancer fatalities, a situation which the UN has called a “global health emergency.” The UN agencies, which include the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme called for the more responsible use of antibiotics in humans, animals and agriculture at the opening of World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) in Asia and the Pacific on Monday, 12 November.The main message of the awareness week this year is “handle antibiotics with care,” focusing on action plans to prevent infections in livestock, aquaculture and crop production while promoting good farming and food safety. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines antimicrobials as drugs which prevent and treat parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal infections. However, overuse by health practitioners and misuse in the agricultural sector means they are no longer effective in fighting many infections. Antibiotics can end up in soil, water and the environment at large, giving microbes further opportunity to build up resistance FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Kundhavi Kadiresan, pointed out. The UN considers AMR as a priority health issue to be tackled with as much urgency as Ebola and HIV. The three UN agencies have partnered with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as the FAO launches a new publication looking at ways to combat the threat of AMR. read more