News in brief
SL ends forced cremations
COLOMBO, Feb 26: Sri Lanka on Friday ended forced cremations of people who have died of coronavirus, after visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan urged Colombo to respect the funeral rites of the island's minority Muslims.
The government first banned burials in April over concerns -- which experts said were baseless -- by influential Buddhist monks that the practice could contaminate groundwater and spread the virus.
The policy was decried by members of the South Asian nation's Muslim community who constitute 10 percent of the 21 million population.
While health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi did not give a reason in her announcement reversing the ban, official sources said Khan had raised the subject with both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during his trip earlier this week. -AFP