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Aanya Wipulasena

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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About Aanya
Aanya Wipulasena is a journalist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

You can find out more information on LinkedIn- https://lk.linkedin.com/in/aanya-wipulasena-0b9657170
English Sinhala
Interview (Video / Broadcast) Documentaries News Gathering
Current Affairs Natural Disasters Media Training

Always on call: in Sri Lanka, a community midwife’s work never stops

06 Mar 2024  |  gavi.org
Samanthi Priyangika Dias, a Supervising Public Health Midwife in Sri Lanka, is dedicated to serving underprivileged communities, addressing teen pregnancies, and malnutrition. Despite the challenges, including personal expenses and lack of government support, Dias's efforts have led to a decrease in teen pregnancies in Egodauyana. The Sri Lanka Health Ministry is planning to set up midwifery schools to strengthen the workforce, reflecting a positive policy shift amidst the economic crisis.

Age is no barrier to break records, says 72 year old Akila

02 Jan 2024  |  /
Akila Thirunayagi Sriseyananthapavan, a 72-year-old barefoot runner from Mulliyawalai, Mullativu, achieved remarkable success at the 22nd Asia Masters Athletic Championship in the Philippines, winning a gold medal in the 1500 meters, a silver in the 5000 meters, and a bronze in the 800 meters. Her accomplishments highlight that age is no barrier to breaking records and achieving athletic excellence.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: ousted former president returns to Sri Lanka

02 Sep 2022  |  theguardian.com
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's former president who fled the country amid protests over the economic crisis, has returned after seven weeks. He arrived in Colombo from Bangkok via Singapore and was welcomed by his party members. Rajapaksa, who resigned while in Singapore, will live in an official residence with increased security. Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis, with shortages of essentials and a significant foreign debt. The new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a bailout package. The Rajapaksa family's political dominance has been challenged, and there is fear among citizens regarding further protests due to the government's crackdown.

Sri Lanka hopes to install new government after day of chaos and rage

10 Jul 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka is seeking to establish a new government following a day of protests that led to the storming of the president's residence and the prime minister's house, amidst a severe economic crisis. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have both announced their intentions to resign, with Rajapaksa planning to oversee a peaceful transition of power. The political parties are set to meet to discuss forming an interim government. The economic crisis, attributed to corruption and poor decision-making, has led to a suspension of foreign loan repayments and bailout discussions with the IMF. The future government faces the challenge of stabilizing the country and deciding on debt rescheduling or seeking alternative geopolitical support.

‘I must stay strong’: hardship for workers fleeing Sri Lanka’s broken economy

24 Jun 2022  |  the Guardian
Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence, with severe shortages and inflation reaching 45.3%. Many citizens, like Suvendra Mary, are queuing for passports, hoping to find work abroad to support their families. The crisis has led to widespread protests demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation. The IMF is discussing a bailout, but the immediate solution for many, including tourism industry workers, is to seek employment in countries like Saudi Arabia and the Maldives. The government, recognizing the need for foreign remittances, has lowered the legal age for women to work as housemaids abroad and encourages workers to register for overseas jobs.

Sri Lanka minister asks people not to queue for fuel for two days

18 May 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence, with severe shortages of fuel, cooking gas, and other essentials. The power and energy minister has urged citizens not to queue for fuel due to insufficient stocks. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed the country lacks the foreign currency needed for imports, while protests continue against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family. The World Bank has provided some financial aid, but political and economic stability remains uncertain. The crisis has severely impacted daily life, with citizens struggling to obtain basic necessities.

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Resigns as Protesters Defy Government Curfew

03 Apr 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Sri Lanka's cabinet resigned en masse on Sunday, excluding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, amid widespread protests and a severe economic crisis. The protests, which took place in Colombo, its suburbs, and Kandy, defied a state of emergency. The Rajapaksa family, which has been accused of wartime atrocities, has ruled the country through fear. A meeting was underway to appoint new cabinet members.

Sri Lanka Economy Has ‘Hit Rock Bottom,’ Putting Pressure on President

25 Mar 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Sri Lanka is facing a severe economic crisis, with inflation at a record high, power rationing, and shortages of essential goods. The crisis has been exacerbated by the pandemic and global supply chain disruptions. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government is under pressure, with the country relying heavily on foreign assistance. The Rajapaksa family's past economic decisions and alleged war crimes are also highlighted. The government has turned to the International Monetary Fund for help, hoping for a tourism rebound to stabilize the economy.

Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster

07 Dec 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Sri Lanka's abrupt shift to organic farming has led to a significant drop in crop yields and a surge in food prices, exacerbating the country's economic difficulties and raising concerns about food shortages. The government's policy, which lasted only seven months, was reversed partially to import fertilizers for major agricultural exports. The move was initially driven by health concerns and a bid to conserve foreign currency reserves amid a struggling economy and rising global prices. The ban on chemical fertilizers, imposed just before the Yala planting season, resulted in an immediate impact on agriculture, with many farmers unprepared for the transition to organic methods. The government's emergency measures to regulate prices and prevent hoarding have not fully addressed the crisis, and it remains uncertain whether farmers will receive fertilizers in time for the next planting season or if the government will continue to subsidize fertilizer costs.

Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster

07 Dec 2021  |  cityfarmer.info
Sri Lanka's abrupt shift to organic farming, driven by health concerns, led to a significant drop in crop yields and soaring food prices, exacerbating the country's economic troubles and raising fears of food shortages. Farmers and agriculture experts blame the policy for the crisis, with prices for staples like rice and vegetables skyrocketing. M.D. Somadasa, a local vegetable seller, highlights the severe impact on availability and affordability of produce.

South Asian Countries, Battling Outbreaks, Scramble for Covid Vaccines

17 Jun 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
South Asian countries are urgently seeking Covid-19 vaccines from global sources after India halted exports to manage its own surge in cases. This has left poorer nations with limited options as wealthier countries hoard supplies. Despite pledges from global powers to donate doses, the World Health Organization states that 11 billion doses are needed to end the pandemic. India's neighbors initially relied on vaccines from the Serum Institute of India, but the export block has disrupted these plans, affecting bilateral agreements and the Covax program.

Sri Lanka's Zoo Animals Are Having a Pandemic Baby Boom

02 Jun 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Sri Lanka's zoo animals have experienced a 25% increase in births during the COVID-19 pandemic, with several species breeding for the first time in captivity. The country's zoos, closed since March 2020, have provided a stress-free environment for the animals, contributing to the baby boom. Notable births include three lion cubs and the first-time breeding of a black swan, a white peacock, and a nilgai. While wildlife park officials cannot confirm a breeding increase, animals are noticeably stress-free. The pandemic has also exacerbated Sri Lanka's economic challenges, following a downturn from terrorist attacks in 2019.

As India’s Covid Crisis Rages, Nearby Countries Brace for the Worst

13 May 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are facing severe challenges as India's Covid-19 crisis spills over into neighboring countries. Nepal is experiencing a surge in cases due to returning migrant workers and insufficient health infrastructure. Bangladesh has halted new vaccination sign-ups due to supply cuts from India and is seeking vaccines from China and Russia. Sri Lanka's tourism hopes have been dashed by the crisis in India, affecting its economic recovery. The region shares risk factors such as dense populations and fragile healthcare systems, raising concerns about their ability to manage the pandemic.

Sri Lanka reopens its airports, despite a surge in cases and chaos around a shaman’s tonic.

21 Jan 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Sri Lanka reopened its airports to foreign arrivals after 10 months, coinciding with a rise in COVID-19 cases and public interest in a shaman's tonic claimed to offer protection against the virus. Despite the tonic's popularity, promoted by Dhammika Bandara and supported by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government, several lawmakers fell ill after consumption. The health ministry is investigating the tonic's benefits, while the Government Medical Officers’ Association attributes part of the case surge to gatherings for the tonic. Sri Lanka is welcoming tourists under strict conditions to revive its economy.

Sri Lanka election: Observers report poll day violations

16 Nov 2019  |  Al Jazeera
In Sri Lanka, election observers from the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) reported at least 139 electoral violations, including assaults and intimidation, on the presidential polling day. A convoy of Muslim voters was attacked, but there were no casualties. The election is primarily contested between Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who promises strong leadership, and Sajith Premadasa of the ruling UNP, who advocates pro-poor policies. The campaign has been marked by ethnic tensions, with fears of a return to political violence if Rajapaksa wins, as he was implicated in violence and repression during his previous tenure as defence minister. Author Viraj Lasantha Wijerathna, a critic of the Rajapaksa regime, was assaulted but remains determined to vote. His book criticizes the Rajapaksas' alleged corruption and mismanagement.

Polls close in Sri Lanka’s critical presidential election

16 Nov 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka's presidential election concluded with polls closing at 5:00pm local time on Saturday. The election was largely peaceful with few incidents of violence. The main contenders were Sajith Premadasa of the United National Party, focusing on the economy and welfare programs, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, emphasizing national security following the April bombings. High voter turnout was expected, and results were anticipated by Sunday evening. The election was marked by concerns over economic stagnation, national security, and the rights of minority groups, with the Muslim community facing attacks since the Easter Sunday bombings. The election's outcome is seen as pivotal for the country's future direction regarding rights and security.

Sri Lanka election: Observers report poll day violations

16 Nov 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
In Sri Lanka's presidential election, observers reported 139 electoral violations, including assault and intimidation. A convoy of Muslim voters was attacked, but no casualties were reported. The election is primarily contested between Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who promises strong leadership, and Sajith Premadasa, advocating pro-poor policies. The campaign has been divisive, with Rajapaksa's supporters inciting ethnic tensions. The International Crisis Group expressed concerns about potential political violence if Rajapaksa, accused of past political violence and repression, returns to power. Author Viraj Lasantha Wijerathna, critical of the Rajapaksas, was attacked but remained determined to vote.

Sri Lankans vote to elect new president after divisive campaign

16 Nov 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka held a presidential election with Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa as the top contenders among a record 35 candidates. The election was marked by high voter turnout, sporadic violence, and allegations of electoral violations. The campaign was divisive, with Rajapaksa promising strong leadership and Premadasa focusing on lower-income groups. Rights groups have called for accountability for alleged abuses during the war, which Rajapaksa was involved in as defence secretary. The minority vote was seen as crucial, with fears of repression under a Rajapaksa government. The election's outcome could lead to a reconfiguration of parliamentary forces and a potential standoff, given recent constitutional changes that weaken the presidency's power.

At a Bombed Sri Lankan Shrine, Talk of Miracles Past and Present

28 Apr 2019  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the significance of the Shrine of St. Anthony in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is a site revered by people of various faiths for its perceived miraculous powers. The shrine is a destination for thousands seeking help with various issues, including health, financial, and personal problems. The focus is on Sagaya Devi Edison, a survivor of the Easter Sunday attack at the church, who believes that the shrine protected her and her daughter during the bombing because they were seated at the front while the bomber detonated the explosives at the rear of the church.

Rich Families Ended Up on Opposite Sides of Easter Attacks

27 Apr 2019  |  www.nytimes.com
On Easter Sunday, Anders Holch Povlsen, Denmark's richest man, was at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with his family for breakfast when Ilham Ibrahim, the son of a wealthy Sri Lankan spice trader, approached the same location. The two families, one wealthy from fashion and the other from spices, were about to intersect just before the Easter attacks.

On a Day of Funerals in Sri Lanka, Religious Tension Builds

23 Apr 2019  |  www.nytimes.com
In Sri Lanka, mass burials have begun for the victims of the recent suicide attacks that occurred on Easter Sunday. The attacks, carried out by Islamist extremists according to the government, targeted three churches during Easter Mass and three hotels, resulting in over 350 deaths, including many children. The city of Negombo experienced the deadliest of these attacks. Amidst heavy security, including armored personnel carriers, families gathered to bury their loved ones, with the burial of an 11-year-old boy being one poignant example of the tragedy that has unfolded.

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