https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/116021/eight_col_157771208_l.jpg?1610402753 A surge in donations in the run up to Christmas has seen the mobile payments company, Pushpay, lift its full-year guidance. Pushpay provides mobile donation services to churches and charities in North America (File image). Photo: 123RF The New Zealand-owned, US-based company expected its underlying profit for the year ending March to be between $US56 million and $US60m ($NZ78.4m – $ NZ84m), up from its previous forecast of $US54m and $US58m ($NZ75.6m – $NZ81.2m). Its underlying profit for the year earlier was $US25.1m ($NZ35.15m). Pushpay provides mobile donation services to churches and charities in North America. In an update to the stock exchange, the company said donation volumes over the month of December had exceeded internal forecasts, boosting underlying earnings. “While December donation volumes are usually significantly higher than other months partially driven by tax year-end giving in the US, the level of the increase can vary from year ...

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https://www.elanka.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/The-Galle-International-Stadium-1.jpg The Galle International Stadium that will be a haven for cricket officials and their friends during the England series While parliament has decided to re-establish its media gallery for public coverage of proceedings, Sri Lanka Cricket has been caught on a hypocritical blindside as it prepares to shut out journalists from reporting the all-important ICC Test ranking championship series against England starting on January 14. In contrast officials of Sri Lanka Cricket who think it is their private property along with their favourite photographers will have ready access to the venue in Galle prompting one reporter to ask whether administrators are made of steel compared to flesh and blood found in journalists. The attitude of Sri Lanka Cricket puts them in total conflict with their counterparts in Australia and South Africa where the mainstream media and cricket correspondents have access to the current Test series featuring India and Sri ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/111585/eight_col_Cherries_on_tree.jpg?1603305372 Heavy rain over New Year’s created cherries so juicy that many of them burst. File photo. Photo: summerfruitnz.co.nz Cherry growers believe about half of the crop has been affected, making them no longer fit for export. Summerfruit New Zealand chief executive Richard Palmer said Central Otago was affected by the rain. However, production in the Hawke’s Bay was not affected and the crop “has been very good this season, great for domestic consumers, fantastic tasting fruit on the marketplace”. But the crop that had gone bad came at a huge cost, not just for the growers, but packers and seasonal staff who would not have as much work, he said. He estimated 50 percent of the crop would not be exported, causing about a $50 million loss. Overall, the Central Otago was badly hit, including by the lack of international travellers due to Covid-19, he said. “This is highly ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/14270/eight_col_large_2V9A3402_g.jpg?1470510062 By Grant Miller of Aurora Energy says the power price rises mooted for Otago residents will not be enough and is pleading for some residents to be charged hundreds of dollars more per year. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly The company slated the Commerce Commission after the release of a draft decision about pricing, arguing Aurora’s ability to deliver its programme would be harmed, heightening safety and reliability risks in the medium term. It warned its essential works and reinvestment programme could be significantly compromised and the company might be forced to shed more than 40 staff. In the draft decision residents face power price increases of up to an average of $876 per year by 2025-26 for heavy users in Central Otago. But if the Commerce Commission relents to pressure and agrees to Aurora Energy’s original plan, the worst-hit residents will face even larger increases. The Otago lines ...

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https://www.elanka.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Queens-Honor-List.jpg Source:Ceylontoday Several British-Sri Lankans were among those honored in the 2021 New Year’s Honors List. Dr. Shikandhini Kanagasundrem was recognized for outstanding services in Microbiology and Infection Prevention & Control, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K. Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the Advanced Technology Institute, University of Surrey earned a CBE for his outstanding services and global contributions to Science, Education, and Research over the last 30 years. Prof. Silva has conducted major research activities in China, India, Sri Lanka, and the UK. Professor Mohan Edirisinghe was granted the OBE  and now holds the Bonfield Chair of Biomaterials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London (UCL). He has been in the frontline of advancing new methods to manufacture modern materials, especially in healthcare. His invention for producing micro-bubbles and nanoparticles has established new methods of manufacturing drug delivery systems. Professor Ramani Moonesinghe is a professor of Perioperative ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/116013/eight_col_070520-Phibbs-Terminal1.jpg?1610386700 A former WorkSafe inspector says procedures at airports, ports and MIQ facilities are far too relaxed to prevent one of the new strains of Covid-19 getting into the community. Auckland Airport. Photo: Brett Phibbs / PhibbsVisuals Opposition parties are also accusing the government of drifting into a summer slumber. But officials say they are still at the wheel and will not hesitate to introduce more protections, if required. It comes as the UK and South African Covid variants, now running rampant around the globe, are confirmed in New Zealand’s managed isolation facilities. From Friday, travellers from the US and UK will need to provide a negative test before departing for New Zealand, and the government is investigating whether this should be extended to other Covid hotspots. But with the new strains now inside New Zealand’s isolation facilities, there are calls for more to be done. Allister Rose, a former ...

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https://www.elanka.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/MY-JOURNEY-AFTER-LEAVING-COLLEGE.jpg I would like to begin my personal life experience starting from 1st November 1983, when I set foot on the “Land of the Singing Fish” (Batticaloa).  I was posted to Batticaloa after my initial training in Nuwara-Eliya Territory under Ranjan Palpola. Upon conclusion of the monthly conference at “Wattles Inn” in Nuwara-Eliya which I attended, I took off in my company-maintained car – 11 Sri 9004 – with great pride and happiness.  After the July ’83 riots, which resulted in the national and poltical scenario taking different shapes, it was the time I arrived at my first duty station. My predecessor, Channa Jagoda, was residing in the Batticaloa Buddhist temple. With my proficiency in the Tamil language, it was like “a duck taking to water”. I was able to interact and make friends with my trade colleagues from other companies, as well with the local community.  The territory boundaries were ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news/237956/eight_col_142952317_l.jpg?1596242130 A new coronavirus variant has been detected in four travellers from Brazil’s Amazonas state – the latest new mutation of the virus discovered, Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday local time. Photo: 123rf.com A ministry official said studies were underway into the efficacy of vaccines against the new variant, which differs from highly infectious variants first found in Britain and South Africa that have driven a surge in cases. “At the moment, there is no proof showing the new variant found in those from Brazil is high in infectiousness,” Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, told a health ministry briefing. Still, Brazil’s Health Ministry said it has been notified by Japan’s authorities that the new variant has 12 mutations, and one of them has already been identified also in the variants found in the United Kingdom and in South Africa. “It implies in a potential ...

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https://www.elanka.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Dr-Palitha-Abeykoon.jpg Source:Ceylontoday Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus appointed six Special Envoys on COVID-19, to provide strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement in different parts of the world. The Special Envoys will work in close collaboration with WHO Regional Directors and country offices to coordinate the global response to COVID-19. These envoys include seven Doctors, including Dr Palitha Abeykoon, who is a former Director, Health Systems Development, WHO South-East Asia Regional Office and a Senior Advisor to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health. These Envoys are expected to amplify the messages of the Director-General, Disseminate WHO guidance on COVID-19 readiness and response, Partake in high-level advocacy and political engagement, Provide strategic advice on preparedness, readiness and response to COVID-19 outbreaks, Engage with regional bodies and National Governments and to Report regularly to the Director-General on their work and the situation in countries. Happy to welcome @AbeykoonPalitha as @WHO‘s ...

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https://www.rnz.co.nz/assets/news_crops/115991/eight_col_142630361_l.jpg?1610260289 Nurses working at managed isolation facilities across the country have raised concerns about staff shortages and instability. Photo: 123RF These problems were formally recognised in an audit by the Ministry of Health in October. The ministry said the matters have been addressed – but many health care professionals working at border facilities disagree. The Infection Prevention and Control Audit of Managed Isolation and Quarantine Facilities was released publicly last month. In it, the ministry revealed more facilities have been facing staffing shortages and roster problems. In a statement to RNZ, the ministry confirmed all matters identified in the audit had been followed up and addressed. But that is rejected by two of the country’s largest nursing unions, which have hundreds of members working in MIQ facilities. New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson Kate Weston said a number of its members raised concerns in the lead up to Christmas: “We have ...

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