Despite the Southwest monsoon in late May, which triggered flooding and landslides in the country’s southwest provinces, country-wide drought conditions are ongoing with the total affected population reaching over two million people in early September. However, the figures reported by the Disaster Management Centre have reduced due to brief inter-monsoonal rains experienced in mid-September across various districts. The UN however says these rains are unlikely to significantly alleviate the ongoing drought conditions which are predicted to continue in the coming weeks.In March 2017, one-quarter of households were seriously concerned about access to drinking water with levels of water available for general household use declining. According to assessments in August by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Ministry of Disaster Management, 45% of communities have reported that their closest reservoirs are now empty, with overall water levels in reservoirs at 18% in the beginning of August compared to 47% this time last year. Several suicides have been directly attributed to the effects of the drought in Sri Lanka, the Asia Pacific Daily (APD) news quoted the United Nations (UN) office in Sri Lanka as saying.Since late 2016, Sri Lanka has been experiencing a lack of rainfall which has developed into what is believed to be the worst drought in 40 years, with significant impacts on the economic activity, livelihoods and lives of communities. According to the Department of Agriculture, due to the floods in May and ongoing drought impacting the primary and secondary harvests of 2017, the rice production for 2017 is expected to be the lowest paddy production in the last 10 years. The production forecast for 2017 will be sufficient for just over 7 months of household consumption. As a result, over 300,000 households are estimated to be food insecure with many households limiting their food intake and in some cases eating just one meal a day.The inability of farmers to cultivate their land has also caused the availability of agricultural work to decline and consequently in many drought-affected communities, indebtedness is rising. 50% of households surveyed in a recent World Food Programme assessment reported that their debts have almost doubled compared to 2016 due to a lack of agriculture based income.The UN says this is having serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of communities, with several suicides being directly attributed to the effects of the drought. (Colombo Gazette) As of Tuesday, a total of 1,927,069 people were estimated to be affected by the drought across 17 districts, according to the Disaster Management Centre in Sri Lanka.
Day three of the 2019 federal election campaign sees the leaders hunkering down in Ontario and Quebec after Thursday’s leaders debate. In this live story, we’ll be tracking the campaign news as it happens.4:00 p.m. — A PPC candidate spat erupts over anti-racist videoA People’s Party of Canada candidate says he was booted from the party for asking leader Maxime Bernier to denounce racism in his ranks, but the party says it’s because Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam candidate Brian Misera broke elections rules.Misera posted a series of social media videos decrying racism in the party and complaining about being confronted about it while campaigning.“I mean, you should understand how hard it is to go out and canvas and talk to people. I don’t want to be berated by people who think I’m an actual Nazi,” said Misera.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The next day, Misera was out of the party, which he attributed to his criticism of the leader. But now the PPC is saying they booted the candidate for violating election rules about candidates acting as their own financial agent.Hmm, @MaximeBernier’s camp is saying former PPC candidate @BrianMisera wasn’t booted for asking Bernier to denounce racism – he was booted for violating Elections Canada rules after admitting to being his own Financial Agent. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/gvwAQGpZm3— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) September 13, 20192:00 p.m. — More social media pitfalls for candidatesThe early days of the campaign are still turning up surprises for the parties about their candidates’ social media history.One Conservative candidate apologized for past comments on social media, while another has stepped aside, writes Tom Blackwell.Arpan Khanna, the candidate for Brampton North, apologized for allegedly homophobic comments he made on Twitter nine years ago, when he said he was a teenager. Cameron Ogilvie, who was the Conservative candidate in Winnipeg North, stepped aside over offensive comments he had made about Muslims.The NDP has had two candidates step aside and, before the campaign kicked off, the Liberals turfed a candidate in Montreal for comments that Jewish advocacy group B’Nai Brith decried as anti-Semitic.10:20 a.m. — Scheer offers up a transit tax creditConservative leader Andrew Scheer thinks his proposed public transit tax credit will save some families up to $1,000 a year.That tax credit is a policy brought in by the Harper government, which was quickly dumped by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. Some economists have thrown cold water on the idea that the tax credit can influence behaviour and push people to take transit who wouldn’t have done so otherwise.10:15 a.m. — Trudeau leaves the door open on Bill 21 interventionAsked again about Quebec’s Bill 21 on religious symbols, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau repeated his line that he personally deplores the law, but thinks any intervention by the federal government would be “counter-productive.” Trudeau did say that he’s not entirely closing the door on a possible intervention, though.Trudeau was in Trois-Rivières to boost a plan to provide start-up money for entrepreneurs.9:45 a.m. — Singh tackles cell phone and internet billsNDP leader Jagmeet Singh thinks his plan to cap cell phone and internet bills will save some Canadians up to $250 a year.“I don’t want to make anyone an enemy but I do want to take on the powerful,” said Singh. That’s been a constant theme of the NDP campaign so far — Singh talks a lot about having the “courage” to take on powerful interests.“We are paying some of the highest bills in the world when we talk about cell phones and internet services,” said Singh.9 a.m. — Where are the leaders today?Conservative leader Andrew Scheer will be in Mississauga, Etobicoke, and Brampton on Friday. He kicks off his day at a GO Transit garage in Mississauga, where he will be taking questions from reporters.NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will be spending his day in Toronto, first bu detailing his party’s plan to lower Canadians’ cellphone and internet bills, followed by a speech to the Canadian Club and then a pizza party at Olivia Chow’s house.Liberal leader Justin Trudeau begins his day in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where he will make a policy announcement at 9:30 a.m. Then it’s on to Saint-Hubert, before finishing the day in Montréal, where he will speak at a campaign rally.Elizabeth May will be staying in Toronto on Friday morning for media interviews, before returning to B.C. in the evening to open a campaign office in Mission, B.C.