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Sri Lanka


How The Demise Of Traditional Newspapers Looks In Sri Lanka

As newspapers reduce or fold, the elderly find themselves with less connection to their community and at risk of misinformation in an online world that is unfamiliar.

JAFFNA — For the last 30 years, Thambiah Paraparam, a retired tea factory officer, has been spending most of his evenings at a local library in the town of Inuvil in Jaffna district, reading newspapers. Before the economic crisis , there were plenty of newspapers in the library for him to read, publishing a variety of content. At 80, Paraparam thinks about his health often and mostly relied on newspapers for health-related content. But all that has changed now.

“Such information is not being published every day,” he says.

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This Happened—December 26: The Mother Of All Tsunamis

In 2004, a 9.1 earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, triggering a tsunami and series of tidal waves that became one of worst natural disasters in recorded history

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Night Of Shelling Across Ukraine, Lula Leads, Resurrecting Tasmanian Tigers

👋 Laphi!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Ukraine wakes up from a night of sustained shelling, Lula leads the polls as Brazil’s presidential race opens, and researchers are trying to bring Tasmanian tigers back to life. Meanwhile, we look at the dire dairy situation in Cuba, which faces severe milk shortages.

[*Aymara - Bolivia]

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The First Victims Of Sri Lanka's Economic Crisis: Pregnant Women

The country's worst economic crisis in decades has toppled the government and led to soaring prices. Pregnant women struggle to access essential supplies.

INUVIL, SRI LANKA — At sunset, as her young son plays nearby and her husband has yet to return from work, Kirushna Sutharshan forages for edible plants near her home.

She bends carefully over her expanding belly — her second child is due in August — but ignores the discomfort. The prices of milk, eggs, spinach and other foods recommended for healthy pregnancies have tripled since January; the once-free iron supplements are no longer available at prenatal checkups at public hospitals; and she cannot afford vitamins at private pharmacies. Even Thriposha, a corn-based nutritional supplement usually distributed to pregnant women for free, is no longer available.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Attack On Kherson Bridge, Deadly Anti-UN Protests In DR Congo, Moon Jacket

👋 Salü bisàmme !*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Kyiv forces target a key bridge in southern Ukraine, at least 15 die in anti-UN protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the auction price for Buzz Aldrin’s jacket skyrockets. Meanwhile, Johannes Jauhiainen helps us unpack the meaning of Tunisia’s newly-approved Constitution.

[*Alsatian, France ]

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Thayalini Indrakularasa

Sri Lanka: How Protecting The Environment Is Killing Agriculture

When Sri Lanka banned agrochemicals last year, the law’s impact on the island’s ability to feed itself was immediately evident. As political upheaval continues in the capital, here's a related back story in the countryside with global implications.

CHEDDIKULAM, SRI LANKA — Sellan Yogarasa returned to Sri Lanka in 2014, after more than two decades of exile in India . He leased nine acres of agricultural land and began growing rice, a staple food for the island’s 22 million inhabitants. A harvest typically yielded about 288 bags of paddy, each weighing 25 kilograms (55 pounds), enough for a decent livelihood. But overnight this calculus crumbled for Sellan — and for many others in the Sri Lankan labor force, over a third of whom are involved in the paddy sector.

In May 2021, the government banned agrochemicals, with the professed aim of becoming the world’s first country free of chemical fertilizer. A year on, as the country reaps the consequences of that decision — while also grappling with a broader economic crisis that has led to warnings of an impending food shortage and set off the past month of political upheaval .

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Google Blocked In Part Of Ukraine, New Indian Head Of State, Neutron Stars

👋 Ola!*

Welcome to Friday, where Google is blocked by pro-Russian separatists, a Rio favela suffers one of its most deadly police raids, and India has a new president. Meanwhile, El Espectador ’s María Mónica Monsalve reports on the delicate environmental question of mining extraction in Colombia , which aims at joining the minerals boom that will accompany the global energy transition.

[*Aragonese, Spain]

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Syria Cuts Ukraine Ties, 40 °C In The UK, Biggest Lottery Jackpot

👋 Aang!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Syria cuts diplomatic ties with Ukraine, the UK tries to keep cool and carry on and Netflix keeps losing subscribers. Meanwhile, Les Echos falls down the rabbit hole of French treasure hunters and their decades-old quest for a golden owl.

[*Aleut, Alaska]

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Devaka Gunawardena and Ahilan Kadirgamar*

The Dangers Of Ranil Wickremesinghe's Sudden Power Grab In Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka looks to choose a new leader, the country's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe is already behaving like an autocrat. Only by listening to the goals of the people's movement can the country be rescued from ruin.

Sri Lankans rose in unison to oust Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president as the country faces its worst-ever economic crisis and shortages of basics such as food, medicine and fuel. Foreign exchange reserves are empty and the island nation has been forced to hold bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Protests started in the capital, Colombo, in April before spreading across the country.

Despite his destruction of the economy, which led to Sri Lanka’s unprecedented collapse, Rajapaksa proved difficult to dislodge. He clung on to power thanks to the excessive concentration of power in the executive presidency. Nevertheless, the people’s movement brought together protestors from all walks of life to demand his resignation.

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In The News

Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, The UK, Italy… The Many Ways A Government Can Fall

July 16-17

  • Russia’s empty fridges
  • China’s crackdown on livestreamers
  • Time to ground low-cost planes?
  • … and much more.
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In The News
Bertrand Hauger

Russia Strikes More Civilian Targets, Estonia Prime Minister Resigns, Nintendo Pictures

👋 Merhaba!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia keeps shelling non-military targets across Ukraine, Estonia’s prime minister resigns to form a new government and Nintendo eyes the big screen. Meanwhile, Serhiy Haidai (President Zelensky's chief adviser on the Donbas) tells Ukrainian daily Livy Bereg why the Ukrainian military was forced to retreat from key positions.

[* Turkish ]

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In The News
McKenna Johnson, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Joel Silvestri

Retaking Kherson, Sri Lanka President Resigns, Djokovic 007

👋 Goeie!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine plans a counteroffensive in the South, Sri Lanka’s president resigns after protesters stormed the presidential palace on Sunday and there’ll soon be 8 billion of us on Earth. Meanwhile, The Conversation sees Shinzo Abe’s assassination as the continuation of Japan’s history of political violence.

[*Frisian - The Netherlands and Germany]

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