Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

‘The Silent Sea’ is Netflix’s most-watched non-English series

Netflix said ‘The Silent Sea’ made the Top 10 in the category in 77 countries over the one-week period and topped the list in six nations, including South Korea and Thailand…reports Asian Lite News

South Korean sci-fi horror series ‘The Silent Sea’ was the most-viewed non-English TV show over the week from December 27 to January 2 on Netflix, the global video streaming service said.

The drama, according to Yonhap News Agency, topped Netflix’s official weekly chart for non-English TV programmes with 47.8 million hours of viewing for the week, vastly outnumbering ‘The Queen of Flow: Season 2’ with 29.5 million hours and ‘Money Heist: Part 5’ with 26.3 million hours.

‘The Silent Sea’ is ranked No. 10, just behind the Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Sooryavanshi’, on Netflix in India. The Raveena Tandon-led series ‘Aranyak’ and the Malayalam superhero movie ‘Minnal Murali’ are in the top two positions.

‘Squid Game’ and ‘Money Heist’ are at No. 6 and 7 in India.

For ‘The Silent Sea’, the week in review marked a remarkable increase in viewership, as it had placed third with 22.2 million hours in the previous week. The eight-part series premiered on December 24.

It is the third Korean-language series to have topped the Netflix chart for non-English TV shows, following the global sensation ‘Squid Game’ released in September and Yeon Sang-ho’s fantasy horror ‘Hellbound’ in November.

Netflix said ‘The Silent Sea’ made the Top 10 in the category in 77 countries over the one-week period and topped the list in six nations, including South Korea and Thailand.

Starring Bae Doo-na and Gong Yoo, the latest Netflix original is set on the moon, where a special team is tasked with finding out the secrets of an abandoned research facility, Balhae Base.

ALSO READ-DQ’s ‘Salute’ release postponed

Australia News World

Australia states allow New Year celebrations despite Covid surge

Australia’s three most populated states, currently battling the country’s largest Covid-19 outbreaks, have allowed New Year celebrations with slightly modified versions of their traditional fireworks displays…reports Asian Lite News

On Thursday, the most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) reported 12,226 new cases, 746 hospitalized patients and one related death, reports Xinhua news agency.

Despite the escalating infections, the NSW government’s overall message is that residents, having endured months of lockdowns this year, must now use more “personal responsibility” as they “learn to live” with Covid-19.

As such, crowds are expected to pack the Sydney Harbour foreshores on Friday to watch fireworks light up the night skies in the capital city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Asked whether people should reconsider going out to celebrate, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said: “No, what I would say is, take personal responsibility, socially distance and follow the rules that are in place.”

However, there will be concessions made to hopefully contain a potential super-spreader event.

Spectators, for example, will need to book a ticket for most of the city’s viewing areas. Previously huge crowds would have freely gathered.

Victoria, the second most populated state, also has the nation’s second-largest Covid-19 outbreak, recording 5,137 new cases, 395 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths on Thursday.

Victoria authorities are urging people to remain cautious as they welcome in 2022.

The state’s capital Melbourne will stage fireworks on Friday across four private “Celebration Zones” in an effort to reduce crowds and keep track of all attendees.

“These Celebration Zones will allow smaller crowds to gather in a controlled setting at different ends of the city, ensuring the safest possible event,” Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp told the national broadcaster ABC.

Queensland recorded 2,222 new cases on Thursday, a jump of 633 over the previous day’s figures of 1,589.

Last year, the capital city of Brisbane cancelled its fireworks due to the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Europe to Tame New Year Parties

The event will return this Friday with authorities saying spectators won’t have to be vaccinated but will need to check in with an app at the main viewing location.

There were a record of more than 21,000 new cases recorded across Australia on Thursday, meaning the country has reported more cases in the last two days than it did for the entirety of 2020.

The new caseload has thus increased to 362,691.

Australia also reported 15 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, the highest figure in recent days, taking the country’s overall toll to 2,225.

Till date, 94.3 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over had received one vaccine dose and 91.3 per cent were fully inoculated, according to the Department of Health.

-Top News USA

Vaccines still effective against Omicron: WHO chief scientist

Stressing that hospitalisations and even within hospitalised people the need for ventilation, the need for critical care that does not seem to be going up proportionately, said Swaminathan…reports Asian Lite News

Emphasising that the Omicron variant is infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people worldwide, WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said that it appears that vaccines are still proving to be effective because even though the numbers are going up exponentially in many countries, severity of the disease has not surged to a new level.

“As expected, T cell immunity holding up better against #Omicron. This will protect us against severe disease. Please get vaccinated if you have not,” said Swaminathan in a tweet on Wednesday. Either vaccines or prior infections with COVID-19 trigger human T cell response.

Explaining factors that account for vaccine’s effectiveness against COVID-19, Swaminathan virtually at the WHO press briefing on Wednesday said that vaccine effectiveness varies a little bit between vaccines though the majority of all of the WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines actually have very high rates of protection against severe disease and death at least till the delta variant.

She also said that there are biological factors also that decide a vaccine’s effectiveness. “It includes age, underlying illnesses and we know and proved it with all the variants that the older you are the more the underlying illnesses and co-morbidities the more vulnerable you are to get the disease,” she said.

Referring to the third factor which decides the effectiveness of the vaccine, Swaminathan said, “It is the time since vaccination and the waning of the immunity and we know that there is some amount of meaning but again there is more waning for infection against infectious and that is why we are seeing a lot of breakthrough infections now especially with Omicron because Omicron does have the capacity to overcome pre-existing immunity, and needs higher levels anti-bodies and protection.”

Further, she said that now the evidence on Omicron is just emerging and it would still be premature to conclude definitely but all of the lab studies are pointing towards a reduction in neutralisation capacity and also what it is clinically seen that people who have been vaccinated, people who have had prior infections are still getting breakthrough infections with Omicron.

“That is why the numbers that we are seeing around the world today are extremely high because these infections are occurring in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, it appears that vaccines are proving to be still protective because even though the numbers are going up exponentially in many countries severity of the disease has not surged to a new level,” she added.

Stressing that hospitalisations and even within hospitalised people the need for ventilation, the need for critical care that does not seem to be going up proportionately, said Swaminathan, adding that this is a good sign and it is telling us that previous immunity is either due to vaccines or in some cases due to natural infection by the virus is providing some protection against the severe disease.

“And this is what we had expected because immunity, immune responses are much more than just neutralising antibodies,” she added. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Fauci: Omicron cases likely to peak by end of Jan

ASEAN News Asia News News

Cambodia vows to strengthen ASEAN’s centrality for security

Sokhonn, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, said Cambodia will promote ASEAN’s spirit as a united family…reports Asian Lite News

Cambodia, the incoming chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2022, vowed to strengthen the bloc’s centrality in order to maintain and uphold security, peace, and prosperity, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said.

Speaking during a briefing here, Sokhonn said the country will reinforce multilateralism and multilateral processes through ASEAN-led mechanisms and concerted actions that will remain open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said the kingdom will also foster mutual trust, respect, interest, and understanding in accordance with the principles and objectives laid out in the UN Charter, ASEAN Charter, and Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, among others.

“ASEAN Centrality will be further strengthened in the face of rising anti-globalization sentiments, unilateralism and protectionism, while promoting the ASEAN Way, unity in diversity, caring and sharing community, and the culture of peace,” he said.

Sokhonn, who is also a Deputy Prime Minister, said Cambodia will promote ASEAN’s spirit as a united family.

He added that the kingdom will also do its best to reenergize and expand bloc’s partnerships with external partners in order to maintain regional peace and stability, and to enhance the ASEAN community building efforts.

Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said Cambodia will endeavour to steer ASEAN’s collective efforts to promote an action-oriented approach that is based on openness, honesty, good faith, solidarity, and harmony within the bloc, so as to effectively address the common challenges facing the region.

“Also, a foreseeable priority for us is to ensure more satisfactory outcomes of ASEAN efforts to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic.

ALSO READ: Cambodia to promote ASEAN’s spirit as ‘united family’

“In this regard, Cambodia commits to working closely with ASEAN and development partners to sustain ASEAN as a region of critical importance for global trade, investment and supply chains through, among others, generating maximum benefits from the existing free trade agreements and especially the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which will enter into force on January 1, 2022,” he added.

Sorasak said Cambodia will guide the bloc to accelerate and harmonise ASEAN’s objectives in deepening regional and global integration process and building back stronger from the pandemic with inclusiveness, competitiveness, resilience, sustainability and equitability.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Lite Blogs

2022: India Needs Healthcare Reforms By Dr P. Raghu Ram

The NHS model of providing universal primary health care through public-private partnership (PPP) may be appropriate for adaptation in the Indian context…reports P. Raghu Ram.

Most health care in India is presently provided by the private sector, principally funded via out-of-pocket payments. The once upon a time ubiquitous ‘Family doctor’ concept in the country has almost disappeared and has become extinct.

Most ‘worried well’ who are asymptomatic, and equally, those with minor common ailments rush to hospitals. It may be pertinent to point out here that it is all the more important that patients with simple non-urgent ailments are kept away from hospitals, which until recently, were stretched to their limits & overwhelmed with managing Covid suspect/Covid positive patients.

According to a report published by the Medical Council of India in 2020, around 44,000 Postgraduate seats are available for 55,000 doctors who graduate every year. In other words, the vast majority will become Specialists. Although “Family Medicine” DNB Courses conducted by the National Board of Examinations are available, there are very few applicants because the number of centres accredited to train doctors wishing to pursue a career as a Family Physician are few and far between.

The concept of visiting the ‘Family doctor’ before a patient sees a Specialist is the standard practice in the UK. In Britain, the General Practitioner (GP) is the principal treating doctor who is able to manage most minor issues sensibly based on evidence and refer patients to Specialist Centres only when needed.

The NHS model of providing universal primary health care through public-private partnership (PPP) may be appropriate for adaptation in the Indian context. The three primary elements of primary care that have a bearing on improving healthcare outcomes are:

Preventive care (such as vaccination, Screening, measuring blood pressure)

Care of chronic disease (Most of the chronic illnesses can be managed effectively outside the hospital)

Diagnostic triage and control of hospital referral (effective primary care sorts the serious from the non-serious by speedy and accurate diagnosis, directs hospital referrals to the most appropriate speciality and ensures that expensive hospital resources are expended on those who will benefit most).

India has about 8,00,000 medical doctors of which about 6,00,000 are GPs. But more than three-quarters of these are in urban centres which make up only about 20 per cent of India’s population. Access to a doctor in urban India is about the same as it would be on average in the US. However, the ratio of GPs to patients outside these metro areas is about 1 GP for every 7,500 patients on average and as low as 1 for every 25,000 people in more remote areas.

General Practitioners must be “gatekeepers” of our healthcare system. They should be the first point of contact for patients for any sickness or preventive visit.

India must invest in training GPs in addition to popularising and sensitising young impressionable students who have joined MBBS Course about the Family Medicine concept. Furthermore, Primary Healthcare infrastructure in rural India (where more than 70 per cent of our population resides) must be strengthened so that more patients are served locally by GPs, thus obviating the arduous & time-consuming task of travelling long distances for assessment/treatment.

Although India leads the world in digital technologies, that advantage is missing in its clinics, particularly in rural India. It is time we brought technological breakthroughs into primary care.

Africa Covid cases near 10 Million

It is my heartfelt desire that the Government of India and powers that be initiate concrete and implementable measures to ensure that the ‘Family Doctor’ concept is revived. We, as a country, must switch from the doctrine of practising the more aggressive “Americanised Medicine” to “British Medicine”, which is far more conservative and evidence-based. An important component of the Hippocratic oath is to “keep the good of the patient as the highest priority” and this landmark step would pave the path in this direction by ensuring well-controlled uniform effective healthcare to the citizenry.

(The writer is an eminent breast cancer surgeon, Padma Shri awardee and Director, KIMS-Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases, Hyderabad)

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News World World News

BRICS Bank Admits Egypt

The New Development Bank (NDB), established by BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in 2015, has admitted Egypt as a new member…reports Asian Lite News

NDB’s Board of Governors had authorised the bank to conduct formal negotiations with prospective members in late 2020.

After a round of successful negotiations, NDB started expanding its membership in September 2021 with the admission of Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Uruguay.

Egypt is the fourth new member admitted into NDB, further expanding the bank’s global outreach, the statement added.

“We are delighted to welcome Egypt into NDB’s family. Egypt is one of the world’s fastest growing countries, a major economy in the African continent and the Middle East region as well as a key player in development finance institutions. We look forward to supporting its investment needs in infrastructure and sustainable development,” Marcos Troyjo, President of NDB, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Egypt is a firm believer and supporter of multilateralism. The NDB has established itself as one of the premier Multilateral Development Banks for Emerging Markets and Developing countries… NDB’s strong financing capabilities and relevant expertise would help Egypt meet its financing needs and enhance its efforts to upgrade its infrastructure base while also meeting its ambitious SDG goals,” said Mohamed Maait, Egypt’s Minister of Finance.

Egypt will have in NDB a new platform to foster cooperation in infrastructure and sustainable development with BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, according the bank’s statement.

ALSO READ: Egypt, Jordan, Palestine discuss ways to revive Mideast peace process

Membership to NDB becomes effective once the admitted country completes its domestic processes and deposits the instrument of accession.

Since its establishment six years ago, NDB has approved about 80 projects in all of its member countries, totaling a portfolio of $30 billion.

Projects in areas such as transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure and urban development are within the scope of the Bank.

-Top News Dubai EXPO 2020

Expo 2020 All Set For Longest New Year Celebration

Billed as the longest New Year celebration in the world, spanning the time zones of all participating countries at the event, the Expo festivities will take place at various locations across the site over a 13-hour period, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Twelve international and Dubai-based DJs are lining up to give 2021 an exceptional send-off at Expo 2020 Dubai on New Year’s Eve tomorrow (31st December).

Headlined by the world-famous Armin van Buuren, the roster also includes DJ Skip, Kanika Kapoor, Anyasa and Dimitri Vegas, who will all be playing at the Jubilee Stage.

Then DJ Tala Samman, DJ Jeff, DJ Khaled Mamdouh and DJ Fat Sam can be found at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, with DJ Hannah Ichiko, DJ Fuzzz and DJ Daxx at the Sports, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub.

Billed as the longest New Year celebration in the world, spanning the time zones of all participating countries at the event, the Expo festivities will take place at various locations across the site over a 13-hour period.

First up at Jubilee Stage is Delhi-born DJ Skip, known for his performance-based sets and innovative scratching technique. He loves being able to express himself to the world through music – a language that everybody understands – and promises to get visitors moving early on.

Expo 2020 Dubai celebrates Christmas (Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai)

Next is Bollywood playback singer Kanika Kapoor, performing hits such as Baby Doll and Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan, followed by Indian producer Anyasa, bringing his acclaimed live set to Dubai, and Dimitri Vegas from Belgium.

Finally, the king of trance, Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, will channel the Jubilee Stage’s late night/early morning energy, rounding off proceedings from 0130-0400 GST with his trademark blend of uplifting, progressive and psychedelic trance, with electro house and dance-pop thrown in for good measure.

At Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, meanwhile, DJ Tala Samman will get the party going with a mash-up of melodic and deep house, along with upbeat pop and hip-hop. Excited to be performing on such a huge platform, the Dubai-based DJ says Expo 2020 is the perfect place to “highlight the talent we have in this city”.

DJ Jeff, who originally hails from India but also calls Dubai home, will take over the reins with a blend of hip-hop and South Asian music. The producer, who commends Expo 2020 for providing opportunities to collaborate with artists from across the globe, said: “There’s no better feeling than performing at the biggest event in the world!”

Deep-house DJ Khaled Mamdouh will continue the good vibes at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre, counting down to midnight, while DJ Fat Sam will usher in the New Year with a bang.

Ain Dubai to mark New Year with stunning year fireworks and drone shows & several performances across Bluewaters Dubai (Photo: Twitter@DXBMediaOffice)

At the Sports, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub, disc-spinners DJ Hannah Ichiko, DJ Fuzzz and DJ Daxx will also be inviting visitors to join in the countdown celebrations, with upbeat sets that strike a positive tone for 2022.

Entry to all of the New Year’s Eve DJ sets is free for Expo 2020 ticket holders, but visitors are advised to arrive early.

Public transport timings

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Expo 2020 Dubai have updated the timings of public transport services to and from the site on New Year’s Eve, to ensure visitors have an amazing experience ‘Celebrating with the World @ Expo’.

The Metro service on both the Red and Green lines will operate from 0800 on 31st December, 2021 until 0215 on 2nd January, 2022.

The Expo Rider service to Expo will run until 0630 on 1st January 2022, with the following exceptions: Dubai Mall route will be suspended from 1400 due to the closure of roads around Burj Khalifa; AlBraha,

AlGubaibah and DXB T3 routes will follow a diversion to avoid the E11 road closures; All inbound intercity routes will be suspended at 2000 on 31st December, 2021.

Global Village to host eight firework shows. (Photo: Twitter@DXBMediaOffice)

All inbound Dubai routes will also be suspended at 2200 on 31st December, 2021, while all outbound trips will be suspended from 2100 to 0000.

To get ahead of the large demand on Expo Rider services, passengers will be asked to state their preferred return journey time when they arrive, and will then receive a token with this time. Tokens will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Car parks and the Parking Shuttle will run until 0630 on 1st January, 2022. In the event that the demand for Parking Shuttle services exceeds supply, visitors may be required to walk back to their vehicles.

Meanwhile, the People Mover service will run until 0630 on 1st January, 2022.

ALSO READ: Dubai to enhance its status as a leading creative city

-Top News COVID-19 UK News

Boris Celebrates Vaccine Success in New Year Message

Prime Minister will urge people who are celebrating to exercise caution by taking a test, practicing good hygiene, and letting fresh air in, and to follow the COVID-19 guidance if they’re living in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed success of vaccine programme and heroic public response to booster campaign in New Year’s message.

Johnson will deliver his New Year’s message today where he will celebrate the achievements of the vaccination programme over the last year with over 7 in 10 eligible adults in England boosted so far – an increase of 8 million top up jabs (45%) since the target was brought forward on 12 December.

In his New Year’s message, he will announce UK has met the target to offer the chance to get a COVID-19 booster to every eligible adult and urge those who haven’t yet been jabbed to take up the offer of a booster, or their first or second dose.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson, with their daughter Romy, hold video calls from Chequers with Doctor Laura Mount, Director of Central and West Warrington, who leads a vaccination team, followed by Tom Jones, from Rickmansworth who attends RVS Rickmansworth lunch club and cares for his wife with Dementia. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister will also reflect on the achievements of the UK throughout the past year. The UK has had the fastest economic growth in the G7, record employment levels and massive global investments in the British tech sector this year.

The Prime Minister will also urge people who are celebrating to exercise caution by taking a test, practicing good hygiene, and letting fresh air in, and to follow the COVID-19 guidance if they’re living in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

“Happy New Year. 2022 is almost upon us. And whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals…we can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year,” Johnson will say.

“This country has the fastest economic growth in the G7. We have more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. And if you want a sign of future growth – look at the massive global investment in British high tech. Almost £30 billion into the UK tech sector this year – twice as much tech investment as Germany, three times as much as France.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson records a Covid-19 Christmas update statement. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

“And there is one reason – one overriding reason – why the UK has been able to maintain the most open economy and society of any major European economy. And that is because the British people have responded heroically, voluntarily, and in almost incredible numbers to the call to get vaccinated.”

“And as I speak tonight on New Year’s Eve, we’ve met our target, we’ve doubled the speed of the booster roll out. And it’s precisely because of that huge national effort that we can celebrate tonight at all. Though I must of course urge everyone to be cautious and to take a test if you are going out and to remember the importance of ventilation. Follow the rules if you are in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland.”

“And I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. The people who think the disease can’t hurt them – look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you. Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.”

“So, make it your New Year’s resolution – far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary – find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment. Get that jab and do something that will make 2022 a happy New Year for us all,” he added.

Photo shows a man walking out of the COVID-19 Vaccination Centre in Westminster Abbey in London, Britain. (Photo by Ray TangXinhua)

On 30 November, the government set out its ambition to offer all eligible adults the chance to get their booster by the end of January. This target was brought forward by the Prime Minister earlier this month in response to the emerging threat of the Omicron variant in order to protect the public as quickly as possible. Some eligible people may not yet have been able to receive their booster yet due to catching COVID-19.

The vaccination programme requires the majority of people infected with COVID-19 to wait 28 days following infection before receiving a vaccine.
After the 28 days have passed, people are encouraged to book their booster as soon as they can. Those eligible for a booster vaccine who have delayed making an appointment because of other acute illnesses are also encouraged to book as soon as they are fully recovered.

ALSO READ: Rishi Sunak not out of running to be PM if Boris is ousted

Bollywood Lite Blogs

Celebrity couples drifted apart in 2021

Actor Aamir Khan and filmmaker Kiran Rao parted ways after 15 years of marriage. The duo has a son together and has plans to co-parent Azad…reports N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Maybe it was the Covid effect or life’s ups and downs, but many celebrity couples drifted apart in 2021. We take a look:

Sushmita Sen and Rohman Shawl

In a recent Instagram post actress Sushmita Sen confirmed her breakup with boyfriend Rohman Shawl stating, “We began as friends, we remain friends!! The relationship was long over…the love remains!!.”

Nusrat Jahan and Nikhil Jain

Actor-turned-Trinamool MP Nusrat Jahan and businessman Nikhil Jain called it quits on their two-year-old marriage. The legal battle came to an end after a Kolkata court declared that the marriage was legally invalid because the duo got married in Turkey and the interfaith marriage was not registered in India.

Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao

Actor Aamir Khan and filmmaker Kiran Rao parted ways after 15 years of marriage. The duo has a son together and have plans to co-parent Azad.

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik, who have a daughter together, parted ways after a fight got ugly and public between Zayn and Gigi’s mother Yolanda Hadid.

Nisha Rawal And Karan Mehra

Television show stars Nisha Rawal and Karan Mehra’s 8 years long marriage hit rock bottom, and the couple is currently going through a divorce after accusing each other of serious allegations.

ALSO READ-Sushmita unveils her journey of ‘Aarya’

China News Sri Lanka

Chinese Firm Threatens Sri Lanka

A Chinese company which had exported a disputed organic fertilizer that was rejected by Sri Lanka is said to be pushing for tough sanctions, including restrictions on tea export from the island nation…reports Asian Lite News

The fertilizer stocks of Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd, was twice rejected by Sri Lanka’s National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) after it found harmful bacteria Erwinia and refused to make payments too. This intensified fight against Sri Lanka and the Chinese company had even proposed tough sanctions to be imposed at a time the country is experiencing an economic crisis, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

Quoting unidentified officials of the company the newspaper reported that the Chinese company is to complain to international institutions against Sri Lanka and even urged to impose restrictions on the import of tea, for which the Sri Lanka is famous for.

The officials for the company also had alleged that some local officials had demanded a commission for selecting Seawin Biotech to import the fertilizer, the newspaper said.

According to the newspaper, in a communication to Sri Lankan contacts Chinese companies have been told not to trust Sri Lanka and even had been advised to obtain advanced payments before dispatching any products to the Indian Ocean island nation which is in dire financial crisis due extensive debts obtained at high interest rates from Beijing among other countries.

China’s iron fist action comes despite Sri Lankan government has already decided to pay $6.7 million for the fertilizer which not obtained but returned due to their failure to meet the standards. The fertilizer fiasco even led a diplomatic spat between Colombo and Beijing after Sri Lanka suspended the importation of organic fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd. after a ship carrying a 20,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer was denied entry in September.

ALSO READ: Taiwan Prez condemns China over HK raid

After the fertilizer stocks were rejected, a Sri Lankan court had ordered the local People’s Bank not to pay the Chinese company.

Subsequently the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo blacklisted the People’s Bank for failing to make the payment according to the Letter of Credit (LOC) and contracts between the two parties.

However the issue has been discussed between two governments and is expected discussed further during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Sri Lanka in January, the Daily Mirror reported.