Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Friday lifted a ban imposed on drones within the island country, local media reports said.
The CAA in a statement said drones can now be operated in conformity of civil aviation regulations.
The CAA suspended the operation of all pilotless aircraft including drones last May, soon after the Easter Sunday terror attacks in April which killed over 250 people.
The CAA had said the ban had been imposed considering the volatile situation in the country after the blasts.
Sri Lanka's Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to raise the basic daily minimum wage of tea estate workers by 33 percent, local media reported here Friday.
According to the Media Division, the basic daily minimum wage of tea estate workers will be raised from the existing 4.1 dollars U.S. dollars to 5.5 dollars starting from March 1.
President Rajapaksa said that government support to the estate sector through development of infrastructure, tax exemptions and fertilizer subsidies, should also pass on to workers.
Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana was quoted in the Daily FT as saying that a financial relief package provided to Regional Plantation Companies would allow them to provide the daily wage increase.
According to research by the Institute of Policy Studies, a socio-economic research institute, the prevailing wage scheme for tea estate workers was below a living wage standard and in need of reform.
The tea production industry constitutes 10 percent of Sri Lanka's GDP, while tea products make up 12 percent of Sri Lanka's total export value.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday for a state visit to Myanmar.
Two Myanmar fighter jets escorted Xi's plane as it entered the country's airspace.
Myanmar's First Vice President U Myint Swe and several cabinet ministers warmly welcomed Xi upon his arrival at the Nay Pyi Taw International Airport.
Myanmar children presented flowers to the Chinese president, and local youths and artists in national costumes performed traditional dances and songs.
Waving the two countries' national flags, Myanmar children and youths cheered for the China-Myanmar friendship, and wished Xi a good health.
Along Xi's route from the airport to downtown, huge portraits of Xi and banners celebrating the China-Myanmar friendship and cooperation were also put up to welcome the Chinese president.
Upon his arrival, Xi extended sincere greetings and good wishes to the government and the people of Myanmar on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
Calling China and Myanmar friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, Xi stressed that the two peoples enjoy a profound "Paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship.
"Since the establishment of our diplomatic ties 70 years ago, we have championed and acted upon the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and made steady progress in our exchanges and cooperation in various areas," Xi said.
The Chinese president said he looks forward to having in-depth discussions with leaders of Myanmar on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest to carry forward the "Paukphaw" friendship and strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperation.
"I am convinced that the concerted efforts of our two sides will make this visit a success and take the bilateral ties to a new level and into a new era," Xi said.
During his two-day stay, Xi is scheduled to attend a series of state events held by Myanmar President U Win Myint, hold talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, meet with Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing, and exchange views with the leaders of Myanmar's parliament and political parties.
Xi will also join Myanmar leaders in a series of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the launching ceremony of the China-Myanmar Culture and Tourism Year program.
It is Xi's first overseas trip this year, and the first visit to the Asian neighbor by a Chinese president after an interval of 19 years.
The airline Hong Kong Express has apologized for having required some female passengers bound for the U.S. territory of Saipan to take pregnancy tests.
The low-cost carrier said in a statement Friday that it began requiring such tests in February 2019, after concerns were raised by Saipan authorities, to ensure U.S. immigration laws were not "undermined."
"We would like to apologize unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this," it said.
"Under our new management, we recognize the significant concerns this practice has caused. We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it," it said.
The U.S. has been seeking to prevent travelers, especially from China, from heading to Saipan and other American territories to give birth and potentially gain U.S. citizenship for their babies.
The issue surfaced after a Japanese passenger complained late last year that she felt "humiliated" when she was required to undergo such a test while traveling to the island.
Midori Nishida, who lives in Tokyo but grew up in Saipan, said that while preparing to board her flight she was taken to a public restroom and handed a pregnancy test, which came out negative.
"Satisfied that I had no baby in me, the airline staff finally issued me a boarding pass," Nishida said in comments published by the Saipan Tribune.
"I am truly appalled by the entire situation," she said, saying she usually looked forward to visiting Saipan and seeing family and friends. "But after this incident, I can only think of how I will be suspected, investigated, and humiliated before I can return to a place I consider home."
A second person has died from a new coronavirus that has caused an outbreak of pneumonia in central China, health authorities said.
A 69-year-old man surnamed Xiong fell ill with the respiratory condition on Dec. 31, according to a statement late Thursday from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. He died Wednesday.
Xiong exhibited abnormal renal function, severe impairment in multiple organs, inflammation of the heart muscle and other pressing conditions when he was admitted to the hospital. It was not clear from the commission's statement whether these were preexisting issues or consequences of the viral pneumonia.
In total, 41 people in Wuhan have been diagnosed with a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more severe diseases like SARS and MERS. As of late Thursday, 12 patients have been cured and discharged and five were being treated for acute conditions.
Xiong's is the second death associated with the outbreak. Last Saturday, a 61-year-old man who had abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease died.
Authorities have tracked more than 700 people who were in close contact with infected patients. Among them, no related cases have been found. However, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has not ruled out limited human-to-human transmission, revealing a woman may have contracted the virus from her husband.
The Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. The SARS epidemic began in southern China in late 2002, then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people.
Most of the coronavirus patients this time either worked at or visited a particular seafood market in Wuhan. The market has since been shut down for investigation and disinfection.
Two patients in Thailand and another in Japan have been diagnosed with the virus.
A 74-year-old tourist was intercepted at a Thai airport on Jan. 13 with symptoms of lung infection, the country's public health ministry said Friday. She is being treated in the same hospital, east of Bangkok, as a Chinese woman who was diagnosed with the virus after entering the country last week.
The Chinese woman is getting better and will soon be released, said Sukhum Kanchanapimai, Thailand's permanent secretary for public health.
Japan's health ministry said Thursday the virus had been confirmed in a man who had been hospitalized in Japan with pneumonia symptoms after traveling to Wuhan earlier this month. His condition has improved. Kyodo News agency reported the man is Chinese.