The Health Ministry said yesterday a total of 7,948 dengue cases with 69 deaths had been reported so far this year.



A large area of the Nilgala forest reserve in Bibile which is considered the only natural forest of medicinal plants in Asia has been ablaze for about two days.

The residents of the area said more than 1000 acres had already been destroyed.

About 3000 litres of furnace oil was released on Tuesday night (7) from a tea factory into the Dickoya river, which feeds the Castlereigh hydropower reservoir, causing extensive environmental damage. Hatton police conducting inquiries into the incident said a leaking oil tank in the oil storage of the Wanajara tea factory at Dickoya resulted in this situation.

The residents of Jaffna and its vicinities could be adversely impacted due to the high volumes of pesticides and fertilisers used by the agricultural sector in the area, the Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS) warned.

IFS Researcher Dr.

Some 905 cases of dengue with eight deaths have been reported in the city since January, the Colombo Municipality said yesterday.

It said these figures were bound to rise further because of the heavy rains in some parts of the country.

Colombo Municipality Chief Medical Officer Pradeep Kariyawasam said 222 cases of dengue with one death were reported this month.

The Castlereigh and Maussakele hydro-power reservoirs are at risk of being heavily silted due to illegal gem mining in the reservoir beds or along the reservoir boundaries. People from the area say that large scale gem mining had caused extensive environmental damage to the two reservoirs feeding the Laxapana, New Laxapana, Canyon, Wimalasurendra and Polpitiya hydropower plants.

Army officials took into custody a businessman and a bulldozer driver and seized a stock of timber felled at Gotukolapitiya in land considered as a part of a forest reservation. The suspects and the stock of illicit timber were handed over to the Lahugala Range Forest Office. The suspects had felled valuable forest trees including kumbuk, helamba, and karavu.

The Colombo City is facing the worst dengue epidemic ever Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said yesterday revealing that there had been 195 cases reported this month.

CMC which dropped a bomb shell, said in and round the National Hospital Colombo, Military Hospital and vicinity of the Colombo Port had been identified as the major mosquito breeding grounds in the city.

There had been 885 repor