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Latest update 06.02.2013
(ognp) A multi-sector US trade mission - the first since the end of the Sri Lankan conflict - will travel to Colombo on Feb 7-8. This visit called 3C is after their visit to Chennai and Cochchi in India.
The 3C Trade Mission includes companies in the education sector, design consulting services and engineering, food industries, healthcare, airline support, and infrastructure development.
A US embassy statement said the delegation earlier visited Chennai and Cochi in India. The US is the largest single country market for Sri Lankan exports, and the US embassy is seeking increased bilateral trade.
(ognp) Two Sri Lankan elephants in Higashiyama zoo in Nagoya, Japan delivered a female baby elephant last Tuesday (29) being the first Asian elephant to be born at the Higashiyama zoo and the 6th Asian elephant to be born in Japan.
Anula (11 years) and Kosala (8 years) were brought to the Higashiyama zoo in 2007 from the Pinnawela Orphanage in Sri Lanka.
The Higashiyama Zoo & Botanical Gardens are convinced that the birth and growth of the new baby elephant at the beginning of the new year is symbolic of the growth of the longstanding friendship between Sri Lanka and Japan.
(dn) Germany's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Dr. Juergen Morhard, spent two days in Mannar visiting German funded projects costing Rs. 30 million.
Ambassador Morhard on his visit to Mannar, first met the beneficiaries of a project implemented by Caritas, Valvuthayam, the Socio Economic and Community Development Centre run by the Catholic Diocese of Mannar. The organization constructed permanent latrines costing over Rs. 3 million for the recently resettled persons in Palaiyadiputhiukulum and Palaiperumalkattu. He also visited a livelihood project implemented by the Women's Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC).
The German government also provided assistance to flood victims in the Batticaloa district. The German NGO Humedica, assisted 2,750 families in Valachchenai, Paddipalai, Kaaththankudi, Kiraan and Vavunativu, distributing food items and non-food items worth Rs. 14 million. The German Ambassador was deeply touched by the resilience of a people affected by a 30 year conflict and now recovering from the effects of a natural disaster. "The micro project initiative is an effective tool for reaching the most vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka.
(so) An agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation (DTA) between Sri Lanka and Luxembourg was signed recently in Luxembourg. Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the Head of Mission to the European Union, P.M. Amza, signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka while Luc Frienden,Minister of Finance of Luxembourg signed it on behalf of the Government of Luxembourg.
Speaking at the event, Finance Minister Luc Frienden stated that the business community from both countries should make use of the benefits generated by signing this Agreement.Ambassador Amza reciprocating similar sentiments and recalling that in 1982, the two countries agreed and signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, said that the businesses in both countries could use both these legal instruments on trade to enhance the flow of trade and business activities.
Given that both Luxembourg and Sri Lanka are being designated as major tourist destinations, investment projects in areas of tourism, has the potential for mutual cooperation and knowledge sharing. Similarly, it is possible for Sri Lanka to closely work on BPO arrangements for financial services sector in Luxembourg.
(sl) Canada has warned the government of Sri Lanka saying if it does not address issues raised on human rights and accountability there could be a revival of radicalization by the Tamil Diaspora.
The Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, who visited Sri Lanka early last month, told a group of Tamil journalists in Ontario last week that he had conveyed this message to the Sri Lankan government during his visit.
Kenney said that during his discussions in Sri Lanka he found that the political situation was deteriorating rather than improving. He said he had reported his views to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as to Foreign Minister John Baird and the Canadian Premier will now make a decision on the level of Canada’s engagement at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November.
(so) Turkish Airlines, a pioneer in commercial aviation entered the Sri Lankan market, offering many novel services in the world.
The airline operate flights directly from Colombo to Istanbul for the first time. One of the first carriers to introduce an in-flight chef, Turkish Airlines is also currently ranked number two for best economy class catering. Pership Holidays is the appointed GSA for Turkish Airlines in Sri Lanka and initially the route will see five flights a week.
Turkish Airlines plans to operate from Colombo on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, arriving at 1510 local time (LT) and departure; the same day at 2140 LT; arrival in Istanbul the next day at 0545 LT.
(st) After a world record of having two Chief Justices, Sri Lanka set another last Monday. For almost every Member of Parliament who supported the UPFA government, the other is now a Minister, be it cabinet or otherwise.
Most of them will be in the north-eastern port city of Trincomalee tomorrow for ceremonies to mark Sri Lanka’s 65th National Day. The event will be relatively low key with no fly past. There will only be a march past where 1,900 soldiers, 1,000 from the Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence Force, 325 cadet corps members and 300 cadres from the Yovun Sena (Youth Force) will take part.
The focus is on the address to the nation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. UPFA insiders say he is likely to refer to the recent impeachment of the Chief Justice and what the Government believes is an international conspiracy against Sri Lanka. They are alluding to the announcement this week that the United States will move another resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council sessions which begin on February 25 in Geneva. The other, they say, are moves to derail the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Hambantota in November this year.
(sl) The European Union (EU) is yet to decide if it will present a resolution on Sri Lanka or back the US sponsored resolution when the UN Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva later this month.
Head of Delegation of the EU in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Bernard Savage told The Sunday Leader that the issue will be discussed among EU member states before a decision is taken.“There are several member states in the EU. They have not decided on a resolution. However it will be discussed,” the Ambassador said.
The US had said last week that it will submit a procedural resolution on Sri Lanka at the February – March UNHRC session.
(island) John Kerry assumed duties as US Secretary of State on last Friday. It was also last week that three officials of the US State Department visited Sri Lanka and declared that the US will be sponsoring a procedural resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council, plunging US-Sri Lanka relations to a new low.
Kerry has been a critic of the manner in which his predecessor Hillary Clinton handled Sri Lanka. In December 2009, he signed along with his colleague Senator Richard G.Lugar a US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report titled, "Sri Lanka: Re-charting US Strategy after the War".
"President Rajapaksa was forced to reach out to other countries because the West refused to help Sri Lanka finish the war against the LTTE. These calculations— if left unchecked—threaten long-term U.S. strategic interests in the Indian Ocean...
(ognp) Sri Lankan government said it has achieved considerable progress in implementing the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and ready to defend its record in response to a new resolution to be brought by the United States at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the next session in Geneva.
"The US is entitled to its views but Sri Lanka is ready to respond to the resolution. We have made substantial progress on the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report and we have briefed the diplomatic community and media about this," Amunugama has told Xinhua news agency.
The UNHRC last March adopted a contested resolution sponsored by the United States to pressure the Sri Lankan government to take prompt measures to implement the LLRC recommendations.
(ognp) The three member US government delegation in Sri Lanka has observed that there has been steady progress in many areas in the country on its path to reconciliation and establishment of durable peace with the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations and National Action Plan.
They stated that they observed progress in areas such as de-mining, infrastructure development, rehabilitation, release of former LTTE combatants etc.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman who arrived in the country on Saturday made these observations Monday (28) at a Press Conference at the American Centre, Embassy of the United States of America in Sri Lanka. They said after 30 years of conflict, Sri Lanka is on a journey of building durable peace and in Jaffna they saw how peace has helped to increase investment, spurs development, build infrastructure, and freedom of free movement etc.
(ognp) Sri Lanka and Afghanistan yesterday held discussions to further promote and expand the political and economic relations between the two countries. Visiting Afghanistan Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul met Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Foreign Ministry today (19).
An agreement on a wide range of cooperation that covers economic, education and scientific technology was signed following bilateral talks between the two ministers. A Memorandum of understanding on cultural cooperation was also signed by the Minister of Culture and Arts, T. B. Ekanayake and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul.
The Afghanistan Foreign Affairs Minister congratulated the Government on the defeat of terrorism and said there were excellent relations between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in various spheres of common interest. Dr. Zalmai Rassoul is the first Afghanistan Foreign Affairs Minister to visit Sri Lanka .
(ognp) The Chief of Indian Army General Bikram Singh arrived in Sri Lanka Wednesday to hold discussions on further strengthening the bilateral defence ties between the two countries. General Singh met Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya for formal talks last evening.
The discussions between the two military leaders centered on the expansion of the newly-established Diyatalawa Army Training Command (ARTRAC), which is assigned to closely monitor, supervise, assess and coordinate all Army training institutes and their training programs, with Indian support at different levels.
Discussions also have explored possibilities of launching one-to-one correspondence between service regiments of the respective armies as measures to further broaden the spectrum of military interests, benefiting both sides.
(ognp) Sri Lanka and the Republic of Haiti established formal diplomatic relations on Friday (14). Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Jean Wesley Cazeau, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Haiti to the United Nations, signed on behalf of Haiti.
Dr. Kohona noted that Sri Lanka and Haiti have shared common goals as developing nations, internationally and at home, since joining the United Nations. Haiti was among one of the first nations to gain independence from its colonial rulers, the French, over 200 years ago.
Both Permanent Representatives expressed their expectation that this Memorandum of Understanding will significantly contribute to the consolidation of bilateral relations, particularly, the promotion of commerce, trade, cultural relations, and people to people friendship between the two countries. They also agreed to work alongside each other on international issues and crisis.
(ognp) External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Senator Bob Carr, on Sunday evening (16) at the Ministry of External Affairs prior to the inauguration of the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on People Smuggling and Transnational Crime on Monday (17) at the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia was on an official visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of Prof. Peiris from 14th to 17th December 2012.
The highlight of the talks were the keen support extended by Australia to make a success of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in 2013. Prof. Peiris gave an update on the comprehensive work programme being prepared for hosting the meeting and Senator Carr extended further assistance in sharing their knowledge of the Perth Meeting as the previous chair. Australia also committed to send their top entrepreneurs to participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum.
During his brief stay in Sri Lanka the Australian Foreign Minister visited Galle and inspected the AusAID projects being carried in the South to advance the living standards of the people and both Ministers had a Joint Press Conference on 17th afternoon in affirming their interests to work towards a very progressive and vibrant relationship for the benefit of the people encompassing issues of contemporary relevance.
(ognp) At the invitation of Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof. G.L. Peiris, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul will undertake a visit to Sri Lanka from 18th to 21st December 2012. He will be accompanied by senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.
The two Foreign Ministers will discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest. In strengthening bilateral relations, an Agreement in the fields of Economic, Educational, Scientific and Technical Cooperation will also be signed.
The visiting Minister will deliver a Public Lecture on “Afghanistan today and beyond 2014” on Wednesday 19th December 2012, at 1700hrs at the Main Conference Hall of the Ministry of External Affairs.
(ognp) The Tiger Terrorist spokesman in Australia Dr. Brian Senewiratne has been deported to Australia by the Singapore government.
The 81-year-old Australian doctor has arrived in Singapore planning to travel to Malaysia and Indonesia to speak at forums organized by the tiger terrorist activists in those countries.
Reports said that he was scheduled to travel from Singapore by road to Johor Bahru in Malaysia to deliver two talks about the political situation in Sri Lanka, and the factors influencing Sri Lankans to seek asylum. Tamil Tiger Terrorists have used this doctor’s Sinhalese birth identity for many of their propaganda activities and he is one of the highly paid tiger terrorist propaganda groups. He is also one of the nine Senators appointed by the pro-LTTE group Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) in its so called “Senate”.
(ognp) Indian actress Anjali Patil who played the lead role in Prasanna Vithanage's seventh feature film “Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka” (With You, Without You) won the Best Actress Award at the 43rd International Film Festival held in Goa, India recently.
This is the first time that a foreign actress had won an award at an international pageant for a performance in a Sri Lankan production.
“Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka” competed under the competitive section, being among 172 films from 72 selected for the event. The film was previously screened at the 36th Montreal World Film Festival and 56th London Film Festival.
(dn) A sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was planted at the Dhammasara - the Nuns' Monastery in Western Australia under the direction of Chief Incumbent of Atamastana Pallegama Sirinivasa Thera and under the supervision of Royal Botanical Gardens Director General Dr Siril Wijsundara on November 26.
This Monastery is situated in Gidgegannup in Perth, Western Australia. Donors generously offered funds to the society to purchase 583 acres of land in this area. This programme was held with the support of Ajahan Brahmavamso, the spiritual director of the Monastery.
According to Dr Siril Wijesundara the commencing programme will be a great path to nuns and women interested in practicing the Dhamma according to the teachings of the Buddha.
(ognp) Nearlyt 600 asylum seekers have now been returned to Sri Lanka against their will, Australia’s Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says.
A group of 50 Sri Lankan men were sent from Darwin to Colombo on Friday, boosting the number “involuntarily” returned home to 593 since August 13, when the government restored offshore processing.
“The group was made up of single adult men - all recent arrivals from different boats,” Bowen said in a statement. “The Sri Lankans were advised of their status and that they were subject to removal from Australia.They raised no issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations.” Bowen said the government would continue to deport people in the same circumstances.
(ognp) Sri Lankan Students Association of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA organized an awareness event on Sri Lanka's conflict and on post-conflict developments on November 15, 2012.
During the event the student group screened "Freedom Speaks" an independent investigative documentary about Sri Lanka's conflict to an audience of university students, lecturers, Sri Lanka community members and media.
President of the Student Association Kasun Fernando said that the event was organized as a response to the malicious propaganda campaign carried out by the Amnesty International -USA (AI- USA) against Sri Lanka. He said the Sri Lankan students were shocked to learn how Amnesty's campaign has been designed to mislead unsuspecting audiences when they attended a movie screening organized by the INGO.
"Freedom Speaks - The Unspoken Ground Realities of Sri Lanka's Conflict" was produced by a team of young Sri Lankan film enthusiasts in 2011. The documentary was selected for the four best documentaries produced in Sri Lanka at the SIGNIS awards 2012.
(ognp) Sri Lanka first communication satellite, Supreme SAT I will be launched tomorrow from ‘Xi Chang’ launch centre in China. The satellite built by French manufacturer, Thales will be positioned over Sri Lanka.
With tomorrow’s launch Sri Lanka becomes the third country in the SAARC region to possess satellite technology and own a satellite.
It will be a joint launch by the Supreme Group of Sri Lanka and China Satellite Communications Company Limited, a state-owned venture of China.
(ognp) Kazakhstan invited Sri Lanka to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The invitation was made by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev during his meeting with President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, Tengrinews.kz reports.
"We have agreed to cooperate under thr SCO and other organizations. I have asked Sri Lanka to be an acting member of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)," President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
Besides, Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka are planning to sign an agreement on visa-free regime for holders of diplomatic and official passports. Finishing the meeting, Mahinda Rajapaksa invited Nursultan Nazarbayev to visit Sri Lanka.
(dn) World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the multilateral donor was happy with Sri Lanka’s recent progress. “It is very encouraging to see high growth in Sri Lanka, especially following the end of the war. However, the challenge for Sri Lanka is to sustain this impressive performance over the medium to long term and reduce inequality among provinces and income groups,” the WB Managing Director said.
A credible framework is important to make Sri Lanka’s economic potential ‘the pull factor’ given its natural resources, strategic hub location, and quality of its people, Indrawati said.
The World Bank MD said Sri Lanka as a progressive nation could learn from its own historical experiences as to what policies have worked right and what haven’t, as well as of other countries, and choose the best.
(ognp) Upon the Signing of Agreement by Dr Palitha T. B. Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and Henry Leonard Mac-Donald, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Suriname to the United Nations on Friday (Nov.16) in New York, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of Suriname decided to establish Diplomatic Relations between the two countries with effect from 16th November, 2012.
The establishment of diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and Suriname would enhance the existing friendly relations and cooperation in the political, socio-economic and cultural fields for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Sri Lanka and Suriname Share many common goals at the United Nation.
(dn) Over 3,000 Sri Lankan workers work in Seychelles helping to uplift the country's economy. They are a great resource to Seychelles.
Sri Lankan teachers working in Seychelles render a dedicated service to make the future of Seychelles bright, Seychelles Deputy President Danny Faure said.
“I believe that it will be a great support for the development of both countries. I have been informed about the development of the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka and request help from Sri Lanka to develop our fisheries industry, ” Faure said. He said Sri Lanka has a good knowledge on maritime and marine affairs. “Sri Lanka has the ability to train our fishermen while providing knowledge,” Faure said.
(ognp) Two loan agreements to rehabilitate and improve 200 kilometers of 19 roads under the Northern Road Connectivity Project were signed at the Ministry of Finance & Planning, by Dr.P B Jayasundera, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and Ms. Rita O’Sullivan, Country Director of ADB on behalf of the ADB.
Under this Project Rehabilitation and improvement of about 80 km of national highways in the northern and north central provinces, rehabilitation of about 50 km and 70 km of roads in northern and north central provinces respectively and rehabilitation or replacement of selected bridges are expected to be carried out.
The total investment cost of this project is USD 112.8 million (approximately Rs. 14.6 billion) while USD 98 million is provided by the Asian Development Bank. The additional financing includes a loan of USD 30 million from the Ordinary Capital Resources and a loan equivalent to USD 68 million from the Asian Development Fund (ADF) of ADB. The Government contribution to the investment would be USD 14.8 million.
(hindu) During the fortnightly inspection that was conducted in the refugee camp at Boganallur near Kadayanallur in the district on Saturday, the revenue officials found 15 of the 139 Sri Lankan refugee families in the camp were missing.
Based on the complaint filed with the Chokkampatti police in this connection, the police are investigating the case.
Since the Sri Lankan refugees, lured by the touts, are illegally migrating to Australia by sea in search of better living conditions and even citizenship in the island nation, police suspect that the missing inmates of Boganallur refugee camp also might have left the camp to try their luck.
(cp) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday arrived in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana on a three-day state visit at the invitation of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.
President Rajapaksa's visit comes when Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan are celebrating 20 years of diplomatic relations. Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan on June 29, 1992. Celebrating the event the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia has organized a Sri Lankan Culture Day with a dance troupe performance and a photo exhibition as part of the event.
The "Beauties of Sri Lanka" exposition is dedicated to the political and economic transformation that took place in Sri Lanka after the civil war. The expo aiming to promote tourism showcases Sri Lankan culture and beautiful landscapes.
(island) A delegation of parliamentarians and diplomats from the Czech Republic arrives in Colombo on Monday to pay a week-long visit to Sri Lanka. This is the first time such a visit is taking place.
"The aim of the visit is to foster relations between Parliamentarians of both countries and to enhance the political dialogue," New Delhi-based Czech Ambassador to Sri Lanka Miloslav Stašek told The Island here in an interview.
The Czech-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association was established two years ago, and a Sri Lankan MPs’ delegation visited the Czech Republic in March this year. The team’s programme is packed with many high-level political meetings and field trips.
(so) Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion, Reginald Cooray and three other delegates visited Brazil last month on a trade promotion mission for Sri Lankan spices.
The delegation held official meetings with Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development of Brazil Mendes Ribeiro and senior officials in Brasilia. Minister Ribeiro agreed to provide assistance to Sri Lanka on crop management during severe drought with the technology in Brazil.
Subsequently, the ministerial delegation visited EMBRAPA, the headquarters for Agriculture and Livestock Development and Research in Brazil. The President of EMBRAPA, Dr. Mauricio Antonio Lopes agreed to provide assistance in research to Sri Lanka and requested, in return, assistance from Sri Lanka to develop pepper plantations in the Amazon region.
(sl) The United States is pleased and proud of its accomplishments during its first term in the UN Human Rights Council which includes the way it dealt with Sri Lanka.
A statement by the US State Department said that on Sri Lanka the United States led the Council in adopting a resolution, which sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka still needs to address outstanding issues of reconciliation and accountability.
The United States was yesterday reelected to the Council and the State Department said the vote will allow the US to further strengthen the Council and build on what they have already accomplished at the Council by working together with its international partners.
(dm) The European Commission warned eight developing countries including Sri Lanka of sanctions if they did not do more to stop ‘criminal’ illegal fishing, saying it was taking the first step of its kind, the AFP reported.
The Commission said it did not plan to impose penalties as yet on Belize, Cambodia, Fiji, Guinea, Panama, Sri Lanka, Togo and Vanuatu, but stressed they could face a ban on the sale of fishing equipment, for example, failing action.
"This is not a black list but a yellow card," European maritime affairs commissioner Maria Damanaki said in a statement. "We want these countries as partners ... but we also want to signal to the world that the EU will not tolerate (illegal) fishing -- a criminal activity which undermines the livelihood of fishing communities and depletes fish stocks. "It must be eradicated by all means," Damanaki said. The eight nations have been informed and given "a reasonable time" to respond and take action, the statement added.
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(news) THE federal government has sent more Sri Lankan asylum seekers home, bringing the total number of Sri Lankans "involuntarily" returned to 282.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the 50 men were advised of their status and that they were to be removed from Australia. The men were returned to Sri Lanka from Christmas Island on Sunday.
"They raised no issues that engaged Australia's international obligations," Mr Bowen said in a statement on Sunday, implying that they were not considered to be refugees. Without a valid visa, the men had no legal right to remain in the country and had been removed at the earliest opportunity, he said.
(dn) The Sri Lanka and Burkina Faso governments, with the aim of strengthening and developing mutually beneficial relations between the two countries, established formal diplomatic relations yesterday in terms of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi said in a release yesterday.
The release added: "Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were established with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding towards this end in New Delhi by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam on behalf of Sri Lanka and ambassador Idriss Raoua Ouedraogo on behalf of Burkina Faso.
"The formalisation of diplomatic ties will enable the accreditation of ambassadors to the capitals of the two countries and enhance existing relations in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres for the mutual benefit and well being of the peoples of the two countries.
(island) With the looming crisis in the tea sector on bilateral trade with Iran remaining largely unresolved, a meeting was convened by the Central Bank on steps to be taken to circumvent tea sales to Tehran, but no specific decision was arrived at, officials said.
The Tea Brokers Association was also invited for the November 16 meeting, but it had declined to attend the forum. The Tea Board, Bank of Ceylon, and the Tea trade were, however, active participants, The Sunday Island understands.
The objective of the discussion was to examine progress to counter diminishing sales to Iran, which absorbs about 11% of local production, they said. The possibility of a barter agreement on the agenda under a Tea for Oil pact was also explored. Conclusions were that this would not be practicable because of the inflationary value of the Iranian Riyal currently at 30,000 per US dollar. The proposed barter agreement was hardly one for consideration because just about 15% would be the value addition equating tea for oil, they said.
(cp) The Commonwealth has expressed concern over Sri Lanka's move to impeach the country's first female top judge, Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.
In a statement issued Thursday Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma expressed his concern about the recent impeachment motion in the Sri Lankan parliament against the Chief Justice.
"The Commonwealth's principal consideration is that the provisions of Sri Lanka's constitution are upheld with regards to the removal of judges, respecting the independence of the judiciary," Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said. The Secretary-General stressed that the Commonwealth believes the preservation of the rule of law and independence of the judiciary are vital to the healthy functioning of a democracy.
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(dt) Sri Lankan’s delegates visited to National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) under the leadership of K A Baiz and discussed mutual investment opportunities. NBP has leaped a big step to promote the banking sector and trade volume of Pakistan and South Asia especially with Sri Lanka.
As the first step, the NBP is going to open its branch in Colombo, Sri Lanka and in this regard all the documentation work is in the process.
The opening of the NBP branch at Colombo will also assist Pakistanis living in Sri Lanka to remit their finances to their home country at fast track, Hassan added.
(unnc) The United Nations is committed to using an internal review that found that the world body failed to meet its responsibilities during the final months of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 in order to improve how it works and to better serve those in need, a senior official pledged today.
The report by the so-called Internal Review Panel concluded that “events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the UN.
The Panel, set up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, highlighted in particular the roles played by the Secretariat, the agencies and programmes of the UN Country Team, and the members of the Security Council and Human Rights Council in the final months of that conflict. Upon making the report public yesterday, Mr. Ban voiced his resolve for the UN to learn from its findings in order to better serve humanity, especially people caught in conflict.
(ognp) The exhibition included sixty colorful photographs taken by Chandrakant Ghatge, an internationally recognized photographer during his recent visit to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist Temples and Buddhist cultural sites.
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai in association with the Kala Bhavan in Thane, Mumbai inaugurated a photographic exhibition under the theme of “ The Buddhism in Sri Lanka”. The exhibition was opened to the public from 8th to 11th November 2012.
The exhibition reflects a cross section of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan culture and the living pattern of its people enlightened by Buddhism.
(dn) Ugandan entrepreneurs of are keen on investing in Sri Lanka, Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said. President Museveni was addressing media yesterday in Colombo.
He said, following his state visit to Sri Lanka several MoUs were signed between the two countries. Ugandan investors will commence business entities in Sri Lanka in future especially in the fields of agriculture processing, energy and information technology.
President Museveni highlighted the cordial ties between the two countries and the necessity to further strengthening the close ties between the two countries.
(dn) The Ramani Arsecularatne Academy headed by Ramani Arsecularatne, received the prestigious B.I.D International Star for Quality Convention in Geneva, making it the only Academy in South East Asia a recipient of this award.
"We are honoured to have received this award in appreciation and recognition of the hard work and dedication we have put in to improve the Vocational Training Industry here and for maintaining high standards and quality in the process," said Ramani Arsecularatne.
Ramani Arsecularatne International Academy (Pvt) Ltd. received the International Star Award for Quality in the Gold Category along with 58 other countries represented at this International event. The award is issued on mere nominations and not through applications or other means. The winner most times, does not come to know who their nominator was. The Ramani Arsecularatne Academy received the Gold award for their commitment to quality, leadership, technology and innovation. B.I.D cited the Academy to "represent success for Sri Lanka in the Business World."
(lbo) World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati will visit Sri Lanka from November 15 to 19, to discuss the climate for private sector investment and seek ways for the to support the country further, the multilateral lender said.
"Sri Lanka has made great strides in overcoming poverty as it transitions from a lower income to a middle income country," Indrawati said in a statement. "Sri Lanka is working hard to consolidate social inclusion, peace, and security and we want to help its people build on that success so that everyone has a chance to reach their potential.
"I am looking forward to visiting Sri Lanka to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership with the government to address national priorities and create opportunities for its people." She is one of three managing directors of the World Bank.
(pti) Amid DMK pitching for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, the ruling AIADMK government today stepped up welfare measures by announcing construction of 2,500 durable houses for them at various camps in Tamil Nadu.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who had announced several measures for them in the past, ordered construction of 2,500 durable houses at the rate of Rs one lakh each and earmarked Rs 25 crore for the purpose.
The houses would come up in camps at 14 districts of Combatore, Dindigul, Kanyakumari, Karur, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Madurai, Pudukkottai, Salem, Sivagangai, Thiruvallur, Tirunelveli, Thiruvanamalai and Villupuram. "This decision of the government will help the Sri Lankan Tamils who live in camps to lead a new life", an official release said.
(dn) Malaysian based Public Bank Beherad plans on expanding further by next year. Accounts Relation Manager, Prabah Joseph said that they are confident that this would be a profitable move. “We plan on having two more banks out of Colombo next year,” he said.
According to Joseph the reason behind the sudden move towards expansion is because the country is a safe place to invest in. “It is known that we operated as a single bank here in Sri Lanka until last year when we opened a new branch in Nawala,” he said.
Commenting on the Nawala branch, Joseph said that it dealt with Small and Medium Enterprises. “ Having such a small market, 1.1 % to be exact we have made quite a bit of profit from september last year up to now,” he said. Public Bank had earned a profit of US $ 2 million last year and is optimistic about the current Sri Lankan economy being on their side in the years to come.
(hindu) Sri Lanka granted India consular access to its prisoners at the Welikada prison, the site of bloody clashes that left 27 dead and over 40 injured on Friday. High Commission officials made a physical verification of the 39 prisoners and said that they were all unharmed.
“Our officials met all the Indian prisoners. One had irritation in the eye. Apart from that all the other 39 prisoners were unharmed during the clashes,” the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K Kantha told The Hindu on Monday.
For the first time, the Indian High Commission is arranging delivery of food packets for them on Diwali day, Tuesday, through prison authorities.
(dn) Ugandan President Youveri Museveni arrived in Sri Lanka on a two day official visit yesterday.
He will call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat where an official welcome ceremony will be held this morning.
An External Affairs Ministry official said the visiting President will reach several bilateral agreements forging closer ties between the two nations.
(cp) In an expansion move Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airways today announced the launch of a new weekly freighter service to Colombo in Sri Lanka commencing 2 December 2012.
The new service will expand Cathay Pacific's cargo presence in the South Asia region and give shippers in Sri Lanka greater choice and flexibility for connecting to the airline's international cargo network through the Hong Kong hub, the airline said in a release today.
"Sri Lanka is home to major garment and footwear manufacturers producing goods for well-known international brands, and also has sizeable exports of perishable products including tuna and lobster. We already carry sizeable quantities of freight in the bellies of our daily passenger flights to and from Colombo, but the new freighter service will enable us to better meet the demand for Sri Lankan products in major markets around the world," Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Nick Rhodes said.
(ognp) Sri Lankan delegationled by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa met the Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie on Sunday (11) in Beijing.
At this meeting China and Sri Lanka strengthened their defence relations by pledging to boost relations between the two countries and their militaries.
Rajapaksa is in China to attned the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition to be held in the southern city of Zhuhai where China is exhibiting its defence equipment including its new attack helicopter and fighter jets.
Liang who visited Sri Lanka in September this year was the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit Sri Lanka.
(st) Spot purchases in the Singapore market are among options the Government is looking at to ensure continued fuel supplies, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday.
He said that with the disruption of supplies from Iran due to problems in opening Letters of Credit through banks, the CPC was also seeking Cabinet approval to make mechanical adjustments at the Sapugaskanda refinery to handle crude oil from other suppliers.
“In addition to stepping up purchases from Saudi Arabia and Oman, we are hoping to get supplies from Singapore, though the cost will be higher,” he said.
(so) Sri Lanka signed the agreement with Olympic Council of Asia on the 8th November in Macao during the General Assembly of Olympic Council of Asia to host the Asian Youth Games in 2017.
Following the submission and acceptance of Hambantota proposal to host the Games in 2017, Sri Lankan delegation led by National Olympic Committee President Hemasiri Fernando together with Hambantota Government Agent R. C. De Soysa signed the Agreement with OCA Chairman Sheikh Al Sabah Al Ahmed who is also the President of Association of National Olympic Councils.
This signing ceremony took place in Macau during the general assembly following the presentation on Sri Lanka and the rising city Hambantota.
(sl) The International Lions club had sought the ban on 51 pornographic local websites, the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said.
An NCPA official said that a letter seeking the ban had been sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa while a copy was sent to the NCPA. The NCPA had, two weeks ago, filed documents in the Juvenile Court in Battaramulla seeking a ban on the 51 pornographic websites.
The Court had then sought the advice of the Attorney General over the ban on the websites which feature mostly young Sri Lankan girls.
(so) A photographic exhibition titled 'Sri Lanka; Facets of Post-Conflict Development' was held in the entrance hall to the Human Rights Council Chamber at the Palais des Nations in Geneva recently.
It portrayed the rapid political, economic and socio-cultural developments that had taken place in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since the ending of the terrorist problem in May 2009.
The exhibition was visited by a large number of diplomats, representatives of non-governmental organisations and journalists from many countries, during the period between the discussion on Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review and the adoption of its report.
(si) Sri Lankan born Noreyana Fernando, a 19-year-old student of Ithaca College, New York, was among the media corps before the White House to cover the United States Presidential Elections last week.
Noreyana’s live broadcasts were relayed over New York’s WICB FM on election night and the morning after. Her confidence talent and capability brought her to the gates of the White House in a short spell in life - in her teenage years.
She is a student of the Medical Sciences at the Ithaca College and at the Park School of Communications in New York.
(cp) An 87-year-old World War II veteran is to make a final trip to Sri Lanka to recall his wartime role there. He is one of several Welsh veterans who have returned to places they served during the war.
His early duties including worker on a fishing trawler converted for mine sweeping duties in the North Sea. But, following VE Day in May 1945, George was discharged and sent to a transit camp in Colombo, Sri Lanka where his focus would be on the war in the Pacific and combating the threat from the Japanese Imperial Navy.
He remained in Sir Lanka until he was sent to Bombay to catch a liner called the Llanstephan Castle back to Britain. However, before he was demobbed, he was drafted on duty aboard another mine sweeper with responsibility for clearing the inshore minefields between Boulogne and Dieppe off the French coast. He will make the trip to Sri Lanka with his wife Barbara.
(ct) A Malaysian parliamentary alliance, comprising members from various regions in the country, has been formed to assist the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the war-ravaged areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka.
The alliance members commenting on their task said they have understood that thousands of people were displaced in the final lap of the war between the security forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, and their priority will be in assisting the IDPs, who still struggle to re-establish themselves in their original places.
Several Malaysian parliamentarians, who are of Sri Lankan origin, visited the country’s North to study the situation soon after the war ended. Renowned human rights activist in Malaysia, K. Arumugam, welcoming the formation of the alliance said it was for the first time such a high profile alliance has been formed to assist IDPs in a foreign land.
(dbs) Nadarajah Matheenthiran ,chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) head in France was shot dead in Paris on Thursday November 8th night by “unkown” assassins on motor cycles. 49 year old Matheenthiran known as “Parithy” was in charge of the LTTE front organization -Tamil Coordinating committee(TCC). Matheenthiran known by the nom de guerre“Regan” when functioning as a tiger cadre in Sri Lanka was killed around 9.20 pm opposite the TCC office at 341, Rue des Pyrénées in Paris.
According to Media reports emanating from France , Matheenthiran alias Parithy aka Regan was leaving the TCC office to go home when two men on a motor cycle drew close and fired at him. Though hit by a bullet the injured Matheenthiran tried to run away but fell down near a bus stop.
The motor cycle assassins wearing helmets and scarves masking their faces turned the two wheeler around, came near him, fired again twice at close quarters and sped away. Matheenthiran had reportedly died on the spot and was clinically pronounced dead upon admittance to hospital. Three bullets had entered his body. French Police investigating the killing are attributing the killing to an internal feud between two factions of the LTTE.
(at) Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations visited Utah State as the guest of the Utah State Government and the Utah Valley University (UVU).
He addressed the UVU international relations class on "Sri Lanka Looks Ahead - Winning the Peace" and fielded a range of questions from a packed auditorium on Sri Lanka's reconstruction and reconciliation process.
Salt Lake City (SLC) is home to a large number of cutting edge industries in the fields of IT, medical and aviation technology, genetics, engineering, electronics, etc. Utah also boasts of a booming tourist industry with world class ski resorts (SLC hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics) and natural attractions such as the Arches National Park.
(ognp) The 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly was held in Quebec City, Canada from October 21-26. The IPU is an International Organization of Parliamentarians of Sovereign States established in 1889 and, is the focal point for Parliamentarians worldwide to discuss current international issues and a forum to work towards peace and cooperation and, for the maintenance of representative democracy.
The theme of this year’s IPU Assembly was “Citizenship, Identity and Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in a Globalised World”. Some of the subjects of interest discussed were, Multiculturalism and the Role of Parliamentary Diplomacy, Building Peace after Conflict, Creating Opportunities for Youth in Today’s Global Economy and Plan of Action for Gender Equality.
The Sri Lanka Delegation also made use of the opportunity to brief other delegations on current political and economic developments in Sri Lanka.
(ians) Seventeen award-winning master craftspersons from Sri Lanka are exhibiting their products here.
The products on display and for sale include jewellery, lace, ceramic ware, rush and reed items, batik, wooden toys, lacquer products, paintings and traditional Sri Lankan masks.
Their participation at the Dilli Haat crafts village was a sign "of the close relations that exist between India and Sri Lanka", a statement from the Sri Lankan high commission said. The exhibition commenced Nov 1 and will end Nov 11. It has been organised by the National Crafts Council of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Office of the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, India.
(cp) Australia has deported another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers today from Christmas Island, a territory of Australia where illegal immigrants to the country are detained.
A group of 30 single adult men who had arrived on a number of boats over the last week from Sri Lanka has been returned involuntarily on a charter flight to Colombo from Christmas Island today, the office of Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Australian government says it will continue to return people where they do not engage Australia's international obligations. Since 13 August, Australia has sent 156 Sri Lankans returned home - both voluntarily and involuntarily.
(ognp) In the wake of different rumours spread by interested parties on security and day-to-day life in Jaffna, a delegation from German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation, during their visit to Jaffna, met senior officers of Security Forces Jaffna (SF-J) to get an update on the present situation in Jaffna on Monday, November 5th evening.
The delegation headed by Head of Division from South-Asia Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation Dr. Thomas Helfen comprised Head of Division from South-Asia Federal Foreign Office Guenter Josef Rauer, Head of Division from South-Asia GIZ Mrs. Sandra Sehenke and Director South Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan KfW Bank (development Bank) Mrs. Claudia Aroe. They arrived in Jaffna to review the progress of bilateral development projects implemented by GIZ and KfW in Jaffna.
The delegation commended Army’s welfare projects and expressed their thanks for updating them on Jaffna’s present situation. General Officer Commanding 55 Division Brigadier B.H.M.A Wijesinghe and a few officers were present on the occasion.
(dn) The Japanese government conferred Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement founder and president Dr A T Ariyaratne with one of its distinguished honours ('The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon') in recognition for his outstanding contributions in enhancing relationship by people-to-people exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka on November 3.
Commenting on the award, Japanese ambassador Nobuhito Hobo said Dr Ariyaratne has established exceptionally cordial relations with Japan while helping Japan's cooperation for social and economic development in Sri Lanka and also enhancing exchanges between the peoples of our two countries.
One of the largest contributions of Dr Ariyaratne is his effort to establish and develop the activities of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s to 1990s. Due to Dr Ariyaratne's efforts, over 870 volunteers have been dispatched and working all over the country, and contributing to further strengthen relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.
(dn) Book publishers in Sri Lanka would receive valuable exposure to their international counterparts later this month, when the Asia Pacific Publishers’ Association (APPA) holds its Annual General Meeting and Publishing Forum in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Twenty seven senior executives representing publishing companies and publishers’ associations in 14 countries besides Sri Lanka, have confirmed attendance at the 17th November event, to be hosted by the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association (SLBPA).
“This event is a milestone for Sri Lanka’s book publishing industry,” SLBPA President Ranjith Samaranayake said. “Many of the delegates were business leaders in their respective countries and this was an opportunity for Sri Lanka to give them an insight into the country’s publishing and printing capabilities.” He said the SLBPA was hopeful that the event would lead to enhanced trading among member countries.
(ftlk) World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of the travel and tourism trade, is scheduled to kick off today (5 November 2012) at Excel Exhibition Hall, London. Having foreseen the unique opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a renowned destination in world travel, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has taken steps to participate in the event, along with 53 partners of the industry.
During the period of the event, a number of exclusive media interviews will take place with the view of promoting Sri Lanka under the main theme of ‘Wonder of Asia,’ whilst enhancing the two sub themes of promoting Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for weddings and honeymoons and cricket.
In addition, a program to promote Ceylon Tea will be held at the time of the exhibition, providing a rare chance for the visitors to enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
(dn) All development work in the area coming within the Akkaraipattu Municipal Council are to be funded by the Korean government. A proposal to allocate sufficient funds from the financial aid of Korean government has drawn the attention of the authorities.
Preliminary works have commenced to effect those projects designed and to be implemented by the Asia Foundation.
The Finance and Administration of all local bodies such as Batticaloa, Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu Municipal Councils, Ampara, Trincomalee Urban Councils have been included and these local bodies will get the maximum benefits from this programme.
(hindu) The ways and means to promote an environment of peace, security, mutual cooperation and coordination of the SAARC region through the India - Sri Lanka canvas will be discussed at the two-day international conference being held by the Centre for Indian Ocean Studies (CIOS), Osmania University on November 8 and 9.
The conference on ‘India-Sri Lanka Relations: Strengthening SAARC’ will review the role of SAARC in the economic betterment of the region in promoting India - Sri Lanka relations and also strengthening future relations, promoting multilateral relations for development in critical areas, the OU Vice-Chancellor, S. Satyanarayana said at a press conference here on Sunday.
The NALSAR Law University visiting professor, P.V. Rao, will deliver the keynote address. N.Sathiyamoorthy, Director, Observer Research Foundation, Chennai chapter and Col. Hariharan, former Military Intelligence officer, Chennai will also present their views. Representatives and scholars from Sri Lanka including Rajiva Wijesinha, Major General Perera, Prathiba Mahanamahewa, N.Chandasiri Niriella, and H.D.Karunaratne from Colombo University will participate and present papers.
(dn) Seychelles is ready to assist Sri Lanka develop its fisheries industry, Seychelles President James A Michel told Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne. Michel met Dr Senaratne who was on an official tour to Seychelles recently.
"Seychelles and Sri Lanka are islands. Tourism is one of our main industries. We can reap more benefits working jointly. The fisheries industry is also important for both countries. A good fish harvest will support the economic development of our countries," he said.
The minister said since Sri Lanka and Seychelles share the same ocean, others should not be allowed to exploit its resources in a manner disadvantageous to both countries. He suggested the pooling of experience and knowledge on Indian Ocean affairs by forming an alliance between countries sharing the Indian Ocean.
(island) Norway has advised Sri Lanka to increase the representation of women in national, provincial and local government in line with National Human Rights Action Plan.
The one-time controversial peace facilitator in Sri Lanka said that Oslo was concerned about the low number of elected women in politics. The Scandinavian country called for all Sri Lankan political parties to allocate 30 per cent of nominations at all levels to women.
Norway reiterated its long standing call to strengthen the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Police Commission and Elections Commission.
(it) NEW DELHI: Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh will travel to Sri Lanka next month to discuss ways to further strengthen military ties between the two countries at a time when political parties in Tamil Nadu are up in arms against any kind of defence cooperation with Colombo.
Gen Bikram Singh is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in the third week of December and dates are being finalised by the officials of the two sides, Army sources said here.
During the visit, the Army Chief is expected to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the two armies in terms of training, military hardware and joint exercises. He is also likely to discuss the Sri Lankan experience in controlling one of the world's deadliest insurgencies and terrorist organisation LTTE.
(hindu) India should prevail upon the United Nations to have a referendum under its supervision to enable Tamils residing in Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka to determine their future, DMK president M. Karunanidhi said on Saturday.
Elaborating on the memorandum submitted by the DMK to the United Nations, based on the resolution adopted recently in the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO) conference, he said that the Centre would have understood the importance of the resolution.
DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin and Parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu met the Deputy General Secretary of the UN Jan Eliasson who promised to look into the issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils. Mr. Karunanidhi reiterated that India should not provide training to Sri Lankan Army.
(ognp) Sri Lanka presenting its action plan for reconciliation said, the UPR process provides the best opportunity to raise questions and seek clarifications about the evolving situation in the country.
Delivering the opening statement at UPR President’s Special Envoy for Human Rights Minister Samarasinghe said it is Sri Lanka’s consistent stand that the UPR provides the best opportunity to raise questions and seek clarifications about the present situation in the country.
“We are ready, prepared and equipped to brief the Working Group and to engage in a cordial and productive dialogue, in a spirit of candour and openness, as to the promotion and protection of human rights in Sri Lanka. We will also engage with the Working Group on our plans and expectations to achieve incremental improvements in the human rights situation in the context of post-conflict peace-building, reconciliation and the achievement of normality for all our people,” he said, addressing the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka in Geneva on Thursday.
(at) The United States, through its State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, in a statement referring to the impending impeachment of Sri Lanka's Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake on Friday, was in fact expressing its concern that this South Asian nation's administration is on its way of making the nation's judiciary a captive branch.
In saying "We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to avoid any action that would impede the efficacy and independence of Sri Lanka’s judiciary", the State Department is concerned that the measures taken by the Sri Lanka government erodes or removes the effectiveness of the nation's judiciary.
The Sri Lanka government is yet to use the basics of public diplomacy and strategic communications to negate the overseas view, especially the United States, that its intention was not to impede the independence of the judiciary or, as the State Department spokesperson interpreted not an attempt to "impede the efficacy of Sri Lanka's judiciary."
(ognp) The Australian government has returned a group of 26 failed asylum seekers to Sri Lanka on a charter flight that left from Christmas Island on Wednesday (31) night.
Immigration Minister of Australia Chris Bowen said by sending these people back home the Australian government was sending a message that it would not accept ''economic refugees.'' ''We will not have people that do not have genuine claims to make going through our system,'' he told reporters in Sydney.
The Sri Lankans had been returned without any support or reintegration assistance. He said such returns were costly but the costs were worth paying to break the business model of people smugglers, the Minister said. Bowen said the government had also returned the final member of a group of Sri Lankans who arrived on a fishing trawler which was allegedly hijacked in Sri Lankan waters.
(ognp) Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs yesterday called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple. They held cordial discussions and emementos were exchanged.
The Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs signed a memorandum of understanding with Professor G L Peiris, Minister of External Affairs related to political talks between the Sultanate and Sri Lanka, at the premises of the Sri Lankan foreign ministry. Both sides also held talks in the presence of the delegation accompanying Alawi and top officials at the Sri Lankan foreign ministry.
They discussed ways of promoting the Omani-Sri Lankan relations in various aspects, exchange of visits between officials and businessmen with the aim of exploring investment opportunities in both countries.
(dn) UNESCO General Conference President Dr. Katalin Bogyay and about 25 UNESCO ambassadors will arrive in Sri Lanka today to participate in an Inter-religious and Cultural International Conference on world peace.
The Conference is to be held from November 3 to 10 with the participation of about 600 foreign delegates including Venerable Master Chin Kung, the Australian Pure Land Buddhist Association President.
The aim of the conference is to promote world peace through religious teachings and cultural unity. The Chief prelates, representatives of all religions, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ministers and MPs are to take part in this conference.
(dn) The Vietnamese cargo ship Saigon Queen, with a crew of 22 on board, sank off Sri Lanka yesterday.
Eighteen crew members have been rescued while four others, including the captain, remain missing, the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC) reported.
At 12:12 pm on October 30, the MRCC received emergency signals indicating a potentially hazardous situation from the Saigon Queen while it was transporting wood products from Myanmar to India. The ship had rolled from side to side, causing the cargo on board to shift, forcing sailors to re-fasten the goods, the ship reported.
However, soon thereafter the MRCC lost all contact with the ship because of weather conditions in the area. The MRCC then coordinated with the Vietnam Shipping Communications and Electronics Company in releasing urgent messages calling for rescue efforts from the Sri Lankan search and rescue force, the US Coast Guard, India's Chennai MRCC and other ships that were operating nearby.
(dt) THE government has enacted a virtual "turn-back" provision for asylum seekers for the first time, in a crackdown on boat arrivals who fail to make credible claims for entry.
The Daily Telegraph has learned that 26 Sri Lankans were put aboard a charter flight from Christmas Island back to their home country last night after being refused entry on the basis their claims for asylum were not credible.
The crackdown on refusing to even process asylum seekers and return them to their place of origin - if they fail to make a proper claim for assessment - is the first use of what are considered broad, but rarely used, powers under federal laws. While 14 Sri Lankans were returned at the weekend using similar provisions, the primary reason for their return was to face possible charges of piracy after they allegedly hijacked a fishing vessel to seek passage to Australia.
(ognp) Sri Lanka marked its presence at the annual SIAL trade fair -The Global Food Marketplace 2012- which was held in Paris from October 21st to October 25th, 2012. With over 100 000 visitors every two years, SIAL is considered to be the largest Food Marketplace in the world.
Several companies were represented under Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) and Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB): BPL Teas, Renuka Teas, Stassen Exports, Tea Trends Exports, Adamexpo, Asia Teas, Ceylon Biscuit Limited/CBL Natural Foods, CIC Agri Businesses, Consolidated Business Systems, Ellawala Horticulture, Expolanka, Food & Nature, Maliban Biscuit Manufactories, NMK Agro Industries, and Renuka Agri Foods.
17 other Sri Lankan companies were also present at this year’s edition: Akbar Brothers, Basilur Tea Export, Black Tea Exports, Ceylon Tea Land, Dilmah Fine Teas & Herbs, Empire Teas, English Tea Shop (UK)/Amazon Teas, Gemi Teas, Imperial Tea Exports, Mabroc Teas, Maltras International, McCoy Ceylon Commodities, Millennium Teas, Nature Ceylon Trading, UK Beverages, Venture Tea, and Vintage Teas Ceylon.
(ognp) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fund for Development (SFD) yesterday committed US$ 60 million worth of assistance to Sri Lanka for the development of the road network.
The SFD is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s main development financing fund.
The agreement to this effect was signed by Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Saudi The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) yesterday committed US$ 60 million worth of assistance to Sri Lanka for the development of the road network.
(ognp) Four days of Sri Lankan traditional dancing, music and singing in different venues with presentations on introduction to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tourism promotion videos and a gem show, are among the latest promotional activities organized by the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Shanghai.
The 22 performers are from the Ranaranga Dance Academy in Sri Lanka. Local hospitality is provided by the organizers of the 14th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.
This is the first time that a Sri Lankan performance was organized in collaboration with the China Shanghai International Arts Festival in Shanghai.
(lbo) Sri Lanka will host the annual meeting of an inter-governmental organization of pepper producing countries this week, where production and export issues will be discussed, including a new set of manufacturing guidelines.
The 40th session of the International Pepper Community, to be held during October 30 - November 2, will be attended by 350 delegates of whom 260 are from foreign countries, said Sarada de Silva, chairman of the Spice Council.
Spice traders associations from the United States, Europe and Japan will be among those taking part in the IPC meeting, hosted by Sri Lanka's ministry of minor export crop promotion, he said. The IPC meetings will cover pepper farming methods, production forecasts and quality improvement and export promotion.
(dn) The Lonely Planet’s clientele best suites the ASMET sector and it must be geared to meet the tourist influx in 2013, said Suresh deMel, President ASMET at ASMET’s 6th Annual Genera Meeting held on Thursday in Colombo. Baswara Gunaratne , Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism , Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director Sri Lanka Tourism promotion Bureau, ASMET committee members, media and several guests participated at the event.
The ASMET President said, “The world order is changing like never before. Free trade will be replaced with free and fair trade. Big is beautiful will be replaced by small is beautiful.
“ASMET hopes to organize a series of data gathering conferences. No such conferences have ever been held in Sri Lanka. They can become a first level platform for more detail data gathering and brain storming which can then be formulated into a quality word bank, he said.”
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(dn) Out of a total of 99 countries that will speak on Sri Lanka's progress on human rights development at the United Nations Human Rights Commission's Universal Periodic Review(UPR) sessions, more than 90 countries will speak positively on the county's HR performance and achievements, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama said yesterday.
Meanwhile, most of the members of the Sri Lanka's delegation to the UPR, have already left for Geneva to attend the next month's UPR sessions. Plantation Industries Minister and Sri Lanka's Special Presidential Envoy on Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe,will lead Sri Lanka's UPR delegation.
According to reports from Geneva, Sri Lanka has been given an extended period of time at this year's UPR. He said there will be 90 countries to speak positively on Sri Lanka's achievements in the areas of resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs and clearing of land mines among other things.
(so) Sri Lanka is one of the 10 economies in the world that are improving the most in the ease of doing business, according to a new global survey by the IFC and World Bank comparing 185 countries.
This was revealed at the seminar on 'Sri Lanka's doing business ranking for 2013 and future strategies' at John Exter International Conference Hall of Central Bank on Friday.
According to the Doing Business Ranking Computed by the World Bank Group, Sri Lanka is ranked 81 of 185 countries in 2013. This is a tangible improvement compared to the ranking achieved in 2012, which was 96. The Doing Business Ranking presents quantitative indicators on Business regulations and protection of property rights that can be compared across 185 economies.
(lb) The US State Department two weeks ago, in writing, warned the Sri Lankan government to completely stop all dealings with Iran. The Sapugaskanda oil refinery was closed on Friday with no crude to refine.
The US sanction imposed on Iran has already tipped the government to spend an additional sum of US$ 1.2 billion to import crude and refined oil into the country from other sources. A member of the Board of Directors of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), on grounds of anonymity, revealed that, although they gave a concession to purchase Iranian crude in June, the US two weeks ago sent a strong letter to Sri Lanka to completely stop all transactions with Iran.
“The US is monitoring by satellite if countries are following their order to not deal with Iran. We only need Iran crude but with the US sanctions we are looking at other countries to supply sweet crude and light crude which need to be blended.”
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(sbs) As more asylum-seeker boats arrive in Australian waters, another three groups of Sri Lankans have returned home. Eight more Sri Lankan men have opted to return home from Christmas Island as more asylum seekers are being transferred to the island after being plucked from boats.
The eight men flew back to Colombo on Saturday, taking to 29 the number of Sri Lankans who have returned since Friday, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said in a statement on Sunday. That total includes 14 people who were deported from the Cocos Islands on a charter flight on Saturday.
The group of 14, which included three children, had been on the Chejan, a fishing trawler that was allegedly hijacked on October 13 off the Sri Lankan coast. The allegedly hijacked boat was intercepted on Thursday northwest of the Cocos Islands by ACV Hervey Bay. On Friday, seven men from Christmas Island departed Perth on a commercial flight to Colombo after volunteering to return home, an immigration department spokesman said.
(reuters) Two men were under arrest in New York for allegedly carrying hundreds of fraudulent ATM cards and $55,000 in cash, New York police said on Saturday.
A police officer noticed the two men in a bank lobby on Friday night stuffing cash into backpacks and followed them to another lobby where they repeated the process, police said.
Placed under arrest were Sivarubem Gnanapandithan, 28, and Ragavan Pathmasenan, 24, two Sri Lankan nationals living in Ontario, Canada, who were carrying 257 fraudulent ATM cards, mostly blank, cards similar to hotel pass keys and $55,689 in cash, police said.
(si) An International Symposium of Polymer Science and Technology will be held in Colombo from November 2 to 4 under the auspices of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in collaboration with industries, institutions and universities here, the organisers announced.
The symposium has attracted over 200 participants from Sri Lanka and abroad and Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama will be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony at the Galle Face Hotel on the evening of November 2 with Minister S.B. Dissanayake as the guest of honour.
The organizers said that the symposium is enriched by many excellent research findings by professionals worldwide including the US, Italy, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka and oral presentations will be complemented by a poster session covering all aspects of modern polymer science and technology.
(island) With a view to overcoming American sanctions, Iran has given Sri Lanka the opportunity to purchase its crude oil requirements, without opening Letters of Credit.
Iranian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mohammed Nabi Hassanipour, told The Island yesterday that the arrangement contained in an agreement reached between the two countries recently was meant to assist a friendly country which had been affected by the unfair embargoes imposed by "insensitive global policemen.
When asked about a statement by Petroleum Resources Minister, Susil Premajayanth, that an additional cost of US$ 1.2 billion had been incurred in importing refined oil, due to a shortfall in Iranian crude oil, the ambassador said he was unable to comment, but Sri Lanka had the option of continuing to import Iranian oil without opening LCs.
(dn) Hilton Colombo has been recognized as “Sri Lanka’s Leading Hotel” at the World Travel Awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry. Described as the Oscars of the Travel & Tourism industry by the Wall Street Journal, it is one of the most prominent events in the tourism calendar. The awards were given out at a red carpet gala event held in Singapore.
“We are proud to win this award for the seventh time and it further bears testaments to Hilton Colombo’s position as a leading hotel in Sri Lanka”, General Manager Rudolf Troestler said.
“It comes as a great achievement as we celebrate our 25th anniversary and we remain committed to delivering quality hospitality service to our guests as pioneers in the hospitality industry.”
(bs) "Bon Voyage" ceremony and the official handing over of the Sri Lanka national flag to scout contingent representing Sri Lanka in "Road to Japan 2012" Jamboree from October 26 to November 5 in Yamaguchi, Japan.
The Sri Lanka scouts will be represented by one leader and two scouts at the Jamboree on a sponsorship from the Japanese government.
This will enable the scouts to understand different cultures and traditions of other countries and to blend at the world Scout Jamboree in 2015 and the Asia Pacific Regional Jamboree in 2013. Mohammad Firaz Muheed, Nipuni Randitha Jayamaha, Don Gayal Daksitha Colonne will represent Sri Lanka at the programme.
(dn) The Chinese Government is ready to provide Chinese technology to develop the agriculture industry in the North Central Province (NCP), Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Wu Jianhao said.
He made this pledge when he called on NCP Chief Minister S.M.Ranjith at the NCP office yesterday. A Chinese delegation led by Chinese Ambassador attended a round of discussion to explore the possibilities of helping the NCP to increase agriculture production.
He pointed out how China uses the latest technology for the enhancement of the agriculture sector and expressed the Chinese government's willingness to lend a helping hand to Sri Lanka too. Elaborating the significance of the bond maintained by China and Sri Lanka, the ambassador said the relationship should be preserved in the future too. " China is happy to witness Sri Lanka's rapid development in the economic, social and cultural spheres, he said.
(thaage) Immigration authorities have issued marching orders to a failed Tamil asylum seeker from Australia - only the second to be forcibly deported as boats continue to leave from Sri Lanka.
The decision comes as Britain's High Court has ordered a stop to the deportation of Tamils over fears they could be tortured at home. The Tamil man, held in Melbourne, has been told he will be sent back to Sri Lanka on October 31.
The man - who the National Times has chosen not to name - is in his early 40s and arrived in Australia in February 2010. He claimed his brother was a separatist Tamil Tiger fighter, killed in the bloody decades-long campaign for independence in Sri Lanka. The man had been released into the community but has exhausted legal appeals for protection.
(dn) Sri Lanka was ranked 81 from 89 in 'Ease of Doing Business,' up eight places from the previous year, according to the 2013 edition of the World Bank's "Doing Business" report which was released by the Washington-based World Bank Group and International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by computerizing and expediting the process of obtaining a registration number for the Employees Provident Fund and Employees Trust Fund, registering property faster by introducing an electronic system at the Land Registry in Colombo.
Sri Lanka has also strengthened its secured transactions system by establishing an electronic, searchable collateral registry, issuing regulations for its operation. In addition, Sri Lanka has reduced the time limit to export by implementing the ASYCUDA World electronic data interchange system. "Local entrepreneurs in developing countries are finding it easier to do business than at any time in the last 10 years, highlighting the significant progress that had been made in improving business regulatory practices across the globe," a World Bank and IFC report mentioned.
(ognp) TV personality, Kumar de Silva is to be conferred with the title Chevalier (Knight) in the order of Arts and Letters by the French government for promoting French culture in Sri Lanka.
Kumar promoted France's cultural heritage since 1980's for more than one and half decade through the programme 'Bonsoir'.
Kumar will be confered with the title 'Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres' (Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters) by French Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Christine Robichon, on October 31, 2012.
(guardian) The high court has ordered that the imminent deportation to Sri Lanka of a number of Tamils be halted amid claims they may be tortured on their return.
Three solicitors' firms have confirmed to the Guardian that a number of their clients had been given last-minute reprieves and would no longer be flown out of the country on a specially chartered UK Border Agency (UKBA) flight that was expected to be leave on Tuesday afternoon. It is understood that a further 10 to 12 firms have also lodged last-minute appeals on behalf of their clients.
A UKBA spokesperson said it did not comment on individual cases or on removal flights before departure, but added: "The UK has a proud record of offering sanctuary to those who need it, but people who do not have a genuine need for our protection must return to their home country. "We only undertake returns to Sri Lanka when we are satisfied that the individual has no international protection needs. The European court of human rights has ruled that not all Tamil asylum seekers require protection."
(ognp) World’s most renowned and largest travel guide book and digital media publisher –“The Lonely Planet” has named Sri Lanka as number one destination in the world to visit in year 2013.
The travel experts and the voters have predicted that Sri Lanka will be on the top of the hottest new holiday destinations for the travelers in year 2013. Under the title ‘Serenity returns to Serendib “ the travel guide raves destination Sri Lanka describing the multi-faceted experiences the traveler can look for in this small Island , fused with novelty and indulgence.
The travel guide book highlights the emerging new popular places to visit in Sri Lanka including the newly opened up East coast and less travelled paths in the western coast as well : “North of the capital Colombo, on Sri Lanka's west coast, Kalpitiya and the Puttalam lagoon are eco-tourism hotspots with bird watching and kayaking. Near Dondra Head, on the south coast, mighty blue whales are regular visitors from January to April while land-based wildlife thrills include the leopards and elephants of Yala National Park, and the more rugged and remote Wilpattu National Park, open once more after being closed for more than two decades “ Being famous for pristine sandy beaches from the begining, the Lonely Planet remarks that the total experience in Sri Lanka is truly a life changing experience for any traveler.
(dn) A hospital complex funded by the Netherlands government and an International School will soon come up in Hambantota, Hambantota District Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa said.
He was addressing the inaugural meeting of Ruhunu Magampura Janamadya Padanama at Beliatta. He said the bus stand at Hambantota will be rented out and a new fully fledged bus stand will be set up at Siribopura. Rajapaksa said the setting up of a monorail will be delayed since it requires US dollars 40m for construction, instead railway line will be extended upto Kataragama.
The MP said the Greater Hambantota Town Development Plan has been prepared to develop the city area and adjacent PS area for basic commercial needs related to the Maththala Air Port and Siribopura residential area. An administrative building was setup at a cost of Rs 3015 million to bring scattered public offices in several locations under one roof. An international conference hall with a seating capacity of 1,500 seats is coming up at Siribopura, Hambantota at a cost of Rs 1,700 million. The first ever safari park will soon be opened to the public at Suriyawewa. The dry zone botanical gardens is another attraction in the district.
(ognp) Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon, Gamini Wickramasinghe said that the Government of Sri Lanka would extend a credit line to the Seychelles for trade and commercial transactions with Sri Lanka particularly in boat building ventures. Wickremasinghe said so when he met Seychelles President James Mechel at State House in Seychelles. It was also agreed that Seychelles and Sri Lanka will share expertise and experience in the fisheries sector.
The meeting follows the President’s state visit to Sri Lanka in August this year, where discussions were held to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.
In the near future, other senior officials from Sri Lanka is expected to visit Seychelles for further discussions on cooperation in fisheries, business development, and education.
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(dn) The Australian Computer Society (ACS) and the Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL), the peak bodies for Information and Communication Technology professionals in respective countries, today announced a joint commitment to work to improve trade in the region through improved professionalism in ICT.
ACS President Dr Nick Tate and CSSL President Mahesh Perera signed the agreement at the conclusion of the South East Asia Regional Computer Confederation held in conjunction with the ACS's Young IT Professionals Conference in Sydney October 8 to 10.
“Sri Lanka and Australia both recognize the enormous growth potential of ICT for development and the new partnership will further strengthen professionalism and ICT competencies of Members of the respective societies,” said Perera.
(ognp) Sri Lanka won two prestigious awards at the FutureGov Summit 2012 awards ceremony held at the Shangri La hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand, last week.
The two awards bagged by Sri Lanka come respectively under the ‘eGovernment’ category and the ‘Public Sector Organisation of the Year’ category.
The ‘eGovernment’ award was for the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), or Visa Online of the Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration. The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) played a major role in this award-winning project – ‘Visa Online’. This was the third of the ICTA-initiated projects for which FutureGov Summit award was won consecutively. The two previous ICTA-initiated projects which bagged FutureGov Summit awards were ‘Lanka Gate’ in 2010 and ‘ePensions’ in 2011.
(dn) Sri Lanka’s Madusha Mayadunne was selected as the second runner-up at the 52nd Miss International 2012 pageant held in Okinawa, Japan yesterday.
Miss Japan won the title while Finland was the first runner-up and Dominican Republic the third runner-up.
(cp) Sri Lanka's human rights record will come under immense scrutiny when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month begins its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process to review the progress the country made in the promotions and protection of human rights.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy for human rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will lead the government delegation to participate in the 14th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review in Geneva from 22 October - 5 November 2012.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process on Sri Lanka is scheduled for 1st of November, 2012. A troika chaired by India and with Spain and Benin as members will review Sri Lanka's progress in the human rights and prepare a report that will be adopted on the 5th of November.
(sl) New York based Human Rights Watch blamed Russia and China over the failure by the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Sri Lanka during the war to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“While war raged in Sri Lanka, Russia and China’s strong support of the government in Colombo thwarted almost all efforts to even discuss the known horrors committed during the war by both sides,” International Justice Director at HRW Richard Dicker told The Sunday Leader.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Palith Kohona said that countries must be allowed to create their own local mechanisms to consolidate peace, encourage reconciliation and strengthen democratic institutions. He was speaking during a full day debate at the UN on the Security Council on the International Criminal Court (ICC), Kohona’s office said.
(island) Sri Lanka born Dai Liyanage has sought nomination for election as the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent in England. The election for this top position new has been fixed for November 15, 2012.
Liyanage, former Mayor of Medway in Kent, has wide experience as a Project Manager. He was a former Local Authority Chief Officer, Councillor and also served on the Police Authority for Kent.
"I have the background and drive to fulfill those tasks. For the past thirty years, I have dedicated myself to public service both as a senior officer and elected member in local government. I have both the experience and the skills to identify what’s wrong and put it right", he explained. "My nominated Deputy Commissioner, John Dalley, is an accountant of 40 years’ experience. Together, we will seek out areas where precious public cash can be saved and diverted to where it’s needed – the front line of policing", he said.
(cg) The army says over 860,000 mines and booby traps have been removed since the end of the war in 2009. Brigadier Dhananjith Karunaratne , Commander of the Army Engineer Brigade said that over 80% of the initial 5000 square kilometers that had been heavily mined by the LTTE have now been cleared.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in the United States quoted the Brigadier as saying in a statement that over 470,000 antipersonnel mines, 1400 antitank mines, 390,000 booby traps, and other improvised explosive devices have been removed since the end of the conflict in May 2009.
The statement said that the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) of the United States has honored Sri Lanka Army sapper DKN Rohan and Mine Detection Dog Spartacus as the best Mine Detection Dog (MDD) Team for the year 2012. The Sri Lankan team was selected for the prestigious award out of 107 teams representing 11 countries.
(ognp) The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles organized a Sri Lanka Promotional event in collaboration with the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, California, USA on October 15, at the Chamber conference hall.
Scott Hettric, Executive Director of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, in his opening remarks, stated that the Sri Lanka Consulate has been working very closely with their organization, and this was a great event in promoting Sri Lanka among the business community of the Arcadia city. Mr. Scott added that Arcadia is a city of affluent rich community in the Los Angeles County with a population of about 60,000.
The Bloomberg Business Week has named Arcadia as one of the best places in California to live and do business. The Westfield Santa Anita Mall is a major shopping center in the city. Arcadia is popular for the Santa Anita Park Race Course and also for the Arboretum botanical garden. He appreciated the Consulate General of Sri Lanka for the initiatives taken to promote Sri Lanka, and came forward to extend the Chamber’s fullest support and cooperation to further strengthen and enhance trade and economic ties between the USA and Sri Lanka.
(ct) The Saudi Arabian Government has indicated that the Attorney General (AG) of Sri Lanka should come to Saudi Arabia to discuss the legal issues connected with the release of condemned Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek, foreign media reported.
Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is presently the Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, as well as the most senior member of the House of Saud, next to the King of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Government has told the Sri Lankan delegation that met them, to send Sri Lanka’s Attorney General to Saudi Arabia for further talks regarding the legal issues connected with the release of the maid, according to media reports.
(ognp) The Board of Directors of the India-Sri Lanka Foundation headed by the High Commissioners of India and Sri Lanka and two members each nominated by the governments of India and Sri Lanka met recently to consider about 60 new project proposals that were submitted by both individuals and institutions of the two countries, seeking financial assistance for projects/events.
The India - Sri Lanka Foundation is a trust set up and funded by the Governments of Sri Lanka and India to enhance close cooperation between the two countries in various fields including people to people contacts.
The Members of the Board also met with two beneficiaries from India, whose projects have been funded by the Foundation, to learn about the success of their projects supported by the Foundation. The next board meeting of the Foundation will be held in March 2013 in Colombo.
(cp) The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the National Institute of Health Sciences of Sri Lanka as the newest World Health Organization collaborating training center for community health professionals in the South East Asian Region.
Sri Lanka Ministry of Health with the assistance of WHO has upgraded the facilities at the NIHS, located in Nagoda, Kalutara to the international standards.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena designated the upgraded facility as a collaborating training center on October 16 as part of events organized to celebrate the presence of World Health Organization for 60 years in Sri Lanka.
(ognp) Canadian immigration officials are trying to deport an alleged member of the World Tamil Movement, which the RCMP has labeled a “front organization” for LTTE.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said it had asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to issue a terrorism-related deportation order against the Sri Lankan refugee, who has lived in Canada for the past 15 years, National Post reported.
The man’s name has not been publicly released but he has lived in Canada since 1997 and was accepted as a convention refugee in 1998. The case is being heard in Vancouver, where the WTM had an office that was raided by the RCMP counter-terrorism unit in 2005. The police search warrant named seven suspects who were alleged to have financed terrorism, but it is not clear whether the man now facing possible deportation was one of them.
(ft) The Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan was officially declared open on Wednesday by the Ambassador for Kazakhstan in India Doulat Kuanyshev. Kazakhstan, a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, is the ninth largest country in the world and it is geographically the largest of the former Soviet Republic excluding Russia.
Kazakhstan is officially a unitary republic, and the current President is Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has served the country since 1990. Eshana De Silva was appointed the Honorary Consul General for Sri Lanka in August 2011.
Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s National Airline, flies to New Delhi, India, five times a week. According to the World Bank, Kazakhstan’s GDP stood at US$ 186.2 billion, with a per capita income of US$ 11,245 in 2011. Kazakhstan’s biggest trading partner is China, where bilateral trade value stood at US$ 34.2 billion in 2011 (source: WTO). In comparison, bilateral trade with India stood at US$ 300 million in 2011.
(dn) Providing training and instructions for local SME and Micro sector entrepreneurs to improve quality standards will help promote our products in the global market, said the main promoter of the Sri Lanka pavilion at the Global Village in Dubai Dr Jagath Chandrawansa.
“The Dubai Global Village business exhibition to be held from October 21, to March 30, 2013 is an excellent opportunity to promote our products internationally,” Dr Chandrawansa said in Colombo.
He said that Dubai is a country which follows European standards. Therefore, our SME and Micro sector entrepreneurs should enhance their quality standard to attract buyers and visitors at any global/international event. Dr Chandrawansa said that this exhibition covers more than 17,200,000 sq ft and provides an excellent opportunity for Sri Lanka to market its products.
(island) Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that his country desired to further strengthen economic ties between the two countries. The two leaders held a discussion on the sidelines Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit at Bayan Palace Kuwait City.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan desired to further deepen economic ties between the two countries. Pakistan desires to consolidate the cooperation in all spheres including trade, education, health and culture, he added.
Pervez Ashraf expressed the hope that the modalities for utilization of credit line of US$ 200 million will be finalised soon. The President said that his country values Pakistan’s support and hoped that Pakistani private sector would invest in Sri Lanka after the restoration of peace there.
(cp) Beginning a new era in communication Sri Lanka's first communication satellite will take to orbit on November 22 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China and it will be positioned over Sri Lanka.
At a media briefing yesterday, R. M. Manivannan, Chairman of SupremeSAT said the launch will take place around 9:30 p.m. local time and the satellite will be positioned above the country in the Geo-Stationary orbit at 87.5 degrees East in just seven minutes.
Sri Lanka will be the 45th country in the world to own a communication satellite and the third in South Asia. India and Pakistan have their own satellites.
(it) Dish TV, India's largest direct-to-home (DTH) company, is eyeing expansion in neighbourhood countries and is preparing to capitalise its Sri Lanka subsidiary.
Dish TV is planning to invest Rs 700 million in Dish TV Lanka, a joint venture company in which it holds 70 per cent stake while local partner Satnet Private Limited has the other 30 per cent.
Dish TV has not created a broadcasting centre or satellite link facility yet. The company, however, plans to enter into the Sri Lanka DTH market at some stage as the ARPUs (average revenue per user) are much higher.
(cp) The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Sri Lankan government to find a speedy political solution to the underlying factors behind the country's civil war which ended three years ago in May 2009.
The UN Chief, while noting the Sri Lankan government's latest efforts on accountability as well as the steady progress on resettlement issues, has raised the issue of a political solution and emphasized the need for a quick measure when he met with Sri Lanka's Special Presidential Envoy on Human Rights, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York.
Sri Lanka's progress in the human rights front will be under scrutiny when the UNHRC begins the country's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process on November 1.
(ognp) Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka delivered a speech on “Sri Lanka in Relation to China and India” at a conference organized by Asie21 (“Asia21”) on Friday (12).
Ambassador Jayatilleka’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session with the participants.
Created in 1995 as part of the association Futuribles International (Possible International Futures), Asie21 is a grouping for reflection specializing in Asia. Composed of experts from various fields, Asie21’s role is to monitor and evaluate trends -geopolitical, economic, ecological, technological, social, cultural and political- that are to have a significant impact in Asia.
(cp) Sri Lanka has been noted as a top emerging hotel and resort market in Asia at a premier hotel investment conference held recently in Hong Kong.
At a general session on 'Investment Outlook' of the 23rd Annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific held in Hong Kong from October 10-12, panelists have identified Sri Lanka and Myanmar as the top emerging hotel and resort markets in Asia.
According to the panelists Sri Lanka is gaining momentum after the three-decade long civil war kept hotel development at bay for many years.
(ognp) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lankan delegation Monday afternoon left for Kuwait to attend the 1st Asia Cooperation Dialogue Heads of State Summit.
The Summit will be held for three days and Heads of State and officials of 31 Asian countries will participate in this Summit. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to address the Summit today.
The first Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Conference was held in Thailand in the year 2002. It must be recalled that the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Group was held at the BMICH in October 2009 and addressing this meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized that Asia could achieve its lost glory and could be the continent of the future if it focuses on its inherent strengths in a collective and a prudent manner.
(xinhua) Sri Lanka and India have agreed to work on a comprehensive agreement on nuclear cooperation, the Indian High Commission said here on Monday.
The first round of talks between India and Sri Lanka on comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation was held last Friday in New Delhi, the statement said.
During the meeting it was agreed that the two sides would work towards a comprehensive agreement on bilateral civil nuclear cooperation. Discussions included, inter alia, training of officials, nuclear safety and response to nuclear accidents. It was also decided that the next meeting would be held in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2013.
(cp) UNESCO's 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report launched today has recognized Sri Lanka's achievements in youth skills development programs and vocational training.
Coinciding with the global launch of the report at UNESCO in Paris, France, Sri Lanka's Youth Affairs Ministry launched the UNESCO's 2012 EFA Global Monitoring Report in Colombo today.
The report also chose Sri Lanka as an example of providing advantages of clearly defined standards and qualifications. The report, which placed Sri Lanka among the lower middle income countries along with its South Asian neighbors India and Pakistan, has rated Sri Lanka as having the lowest poverty level in the region next to Maldives and the highest youth literacy rate.
(dn) South Korea enhanced the job quota offered to Sri Lankans by six percent under its Employment Permit System for foreign workers and also increased the salaries of the island’s migrant workers, as a reward for good performance.
Foreign Employment and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera who inspected some centres where the 10th Korean Language Proficiency test was held yesterday, told the media that in addition to enhanced job opportunities, Sri Lankan workers in Korea earn salaries of over Rs 140,000 per month.
He said over 25,000 Sri Lankans are employed in South Korea with an annual outflow exceeding 5,000.
(ognp) The construction of Manmunai Bridge in Batticalaoa in the Eastern Province will be ceremonially commenced by the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rakapakse together with His Excellency Nobuhito Hobo - the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka on 16 October 2012.
The bridge will be constructed under a 1,206 million Japanese Yen (close to 2 billion Rupees at current rates) grant assistance from JICA. It will connect the East side of the lagoon where Batticaloa township is located, with the agricultural area in the West side. At present, access between the West and East sides are by a small ferry which can accommodate only 2 passenger cars. The area is affected by floods 2-3 times a year, during which the ferry cannot operate, and people have to detour about 30km to access the other side.
The new 210m long bridge will connect the improved provincial roads on either side of the lagoon, and enable access to markets and services in the East side especially for the farming community in the West side. It will also open an alternative road link to and from Batticaloa town to other areas of the country..
(lbo) A community based program to increase forest cover in Sri Lanka's dry zone and support small farmers has been launched by Australia and the United National Development Program.
"Forests are a critical environmental and economic resource for Sri Lanka," the Australian embassy in Colombo said in a statement. "During the past hundred years Sri Lanka has lost half of its forest cover. Deforestation and forest degradation is a source of poverty for rural households.
Sri Lanka's forestry department with Australian support had done a pilot program from 2003 to 2008 in 55 areas in Anuradapura, Kurunegala, Matale, Monaragala and Puttalam. The pilot had regenerated of 11,000 hectares of forest and increased the monthly income of beneficiaries by almost 100 per cent. The Forestry Department expanded the community forestry model into another 24 communities following the end of the project. Sri Lanka wants to double its forest cover over the next 10 years.
(cp) Sri Lanka and India today held the first round of talks between the two countries on comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation in New Delhi and agreed to strengthen bilateral nuclear cooperation , a joint statement issued by the two countries said.
Both countries have agreed to work towards a comprehensive Agreement on Bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation. The next joint meeting is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2013.
India has earlier assured that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a state-of-the-art plant that is compliant with the highest safety standards available in the nuclear industry and the safety measures instituted at the plant are of the highest order.
(dn) US ambassador Michelle J Sison expressed her appreciation to the Sri Lankan government for its successful completion of the resettlement programme in the North.
The US ambassador expressed these sentiments when she met Resettlement Minister M H Gunaratne Weerakoon and these sentiments when she met Resettlement Minister M H Gunaratne Weerakoon and Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan at the Ministry on Tuesday for a discussion on the future development programmes planned by the Ministry for the benefit of the resettled people.
The US Ambassador said the US government is working forward to assist Sri Lanka in its efforts to improve the economy and living standards of the re-settled people.
(ognp) Sri Lanka Thursday announced that a joint effort is to be taken to double the US$ Five Billion worth trade with India. Sri Lankan Cabinet of Ministers has decided to establish a Joint Task Force representing public and private authorities of both the countries in order to promote mutual trade between the two countries.
The annual value of two way trades between Sri Lanka and India has now reached nearly US$ 5 billion. But Sri Lanka's exports to India stands little over US $500 million, while its imports from India have been closer to us $4.5 billion in 2011.
India has also agreed to set up an Export Oriented Special Economic Zone with facilities for skill development to promote exports to India from Sri Lanka. “This most probably will be set up in the Eastern Port City of Trincomalee” declared Minister Rambukwella.
(ognp) The OPEC Fund for International Development signed a US$40 million loan agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka in support of the country's road development activities.
Director General of OPEC International Development Fund Dr Sulaiman J L Herbeesh signed on behalf of OPEC fund while Finance Ministry Secretary Dr P B Jayasundera signed on behalf of the Sri Lankan government. A better road network will help boost Sri Lanka's economy by reducing transport costs and promoting economic activities.
At the cordial discussion held between the OPEC delegates and the President after the signing of the agreement, Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish congratulated Sri Lanka on the impressive progress made by the country especially with regard to three of the Millennium Development Goals - education, children and health.
(cp) Nepali businessmen engaged in trade with Sri Lanka have net with the officials of Sri Lankan Embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday to discuss ways to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.
A press release issued by Nepal-Sri Lanka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (NSCCI), a business delegation led by the president of NSCCI, Bhakta Bahadur Malla, met Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy D.V. Abeywickrema and the Economic Counselor Dison J Perera on Tuesday to discuss and identify possible ways of increasing volume of trade and connecting the two countries through direct flights.
"Two sides agreed to improve the mechanism of information sharing between the two countries," the release said. According to the trade statistics compiled at Trade and Export promotion Centre (TEPC) exports from Sri Lanka amounted to 11 million rupees and imports by Nepal amounted to 230 million rupees creating a trade deficit of 219 million rupees in 2011.
(ognp) Sri Lanka took part at the T T Warsaw Travel Show, held from 27th- 29th September 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.
On behalf of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Poland took an active role in Sri Lanka’s participation at this annual event which drew large crowds of Polish nationals. Over 70 countries displayed and promoted their respective countries.
The Sri Lanka stall was declared open by D.S De Silva Deputy Head of Mission of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Warsaw. The officials distributed tourist brochures in English and in Polish languages showcasing Sri Lankan heritage, sceneries, wild life and festivities. CD’s from Sri Lanka tourism bureau, maps dockets and books on Sri Lanka.
(ognp) The Ministry of External Affairs announced that it has lifted the travel advisory it earlier issued to Sri Lankan travelers visiting Tamil Nadu.
The Travel Advisory was issued in early September following a series of unfortunate incidents faced by Sri Lankans visiting Tamil Nadu, in particular a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims visiting the Poornimatha Church in Thanjavur.
The announcement said that the Government of Sri Lanka is pleased that the Government of India, in close consultation with the concerned state governments, has taken and will continue to take all measures to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of Sri Lankan dignitaries and visitors to all parts of India including Tamil Nadu.
(ognp) The United Arab Emirates which is the largest foreign direct investor in Sri Lanka among Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the world’s fourth largest oil exporter is planning to undertake large scale investments in Sri Lanka.
The newly-appointed Ambassador for the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka Abdul Hamid Abdul Fattah K. Al Mulla has said that Sri Lanka’s security and stability is attractive for UAE private investors and they are keen to expand their investment profile in Sri Lanka beyond the current levels.
He has said that there are 58 flights a week originating from Dubai to Colombo by UAE-based carriers Air Arabia, Fly Dubai, Emirates, and Etihad, and since it is a sign of the tremendous tourism attraction, the tourist sector has become a priority for the UAE investors. The Ambassador has pointed out that bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $ 1.1 b at the end of 2011, and there is potential for future growth.
(ognp) The Higashiyama zoo in Nagoya organized a special Sri Lanka Festival to mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic ties between Japan and Sri Lanka on Saturday, 6th October in Nagoya, Japan.
The longstanding ties between the Higashiyama zoo and the Dehiwela zoo in Sri Lanka dates back to the time when the first 2 elephants were gifted to the zoo by the Pinnawela elephant orphanage in 2005. At present these elephants are in good health and the female elephant is to give birth to a baby elephant in a few months.
The Higashiyama zoo in commemoration of the 60 years of diplomatic ties, named Ambassador Admiral Karannagoda as a Honorary Director of the Higashiyama zoo, a title only a few privileged foreign dignitaries are awarded; emphasizing the special relationship between the two zoological gardens in Japan and Sri Lanka.
(dn) The Indian Supreme Court refused to order a ban on training personnel of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha earlier asked Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to halt an ongoing training programme for two Sri Lankan defence personnel at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington near Ooty.
The Chief Minister in August opposed a similar training programme for nine Sri Lankan Air Force personnel at the Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai. In view of her stiff opposition and protests from other parties in the state including ally DMK, the Centre had been forced to move them to the Yelahanka Airforce Station in Bengaluru to enable them to complete their training.
(ognp) The Tokyo Bureau of Japan Mint of The Government of Japan minted a 1,000 Rupee Silver Coin to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.
The so-called, the First-Strike of the issuance of 1,000 Rupee Commemorative Silver Coin, Ceremony was held at the Japan Mint of Tokyo Bureau on 4th of October, 2012.
The Japan Mint, the Government entity which issues coins, has received an order to make Commemorative Silver Coins by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to be issued to mark the said 60th year Anniversary. The Ceremony was attended by Senior Ministers, Vice Ministers, Members of Parliament, Diplomatic Corps, Senior Bureaucrats & Technocrats of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Finance, select Financial Institutions.
(ognp) The United Nations Development Assistance Framework for the next five-year period covering 2013-2017 has been finalised jointly by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations (UN) Agencies in consultation with the respective agencies.
This policy framework will provide strategic direction to implement UN supported projects and programs in line with the development policy framework of the Government.
The overall objective of the new framework for the next five-year period of 2013-2017 is to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth with equitable access to quality social services and strengthen human capabilities.
(dn) Senior Specialist, International Criminal Investigation Division, Japanese Coast Guard Cdr. Naohide Arakawa and a team of officers from Japanese Coast Guard paid a courtesy call on Sri Lanka Coast Guard Director General Rear Admiral Ruwan Dias on October 5 at the CGHQ premises.
The Japanese Coast Guard officers were from the Japanese Naval vessels " Ikasuchi DD 107 " and " Sawagiri DD 157.
The Japanese Coast Guard were on the way back to Japan after completing a six month mission in counter piracy activities in the Arabian Sea. They held a cordial discussion with Admiral Dias on matters relevant to Coast Guard activities and shared their experiences on counter piracy activities in Somalian waters with SLCG Officers.
(sl) A UN delegation, which visited Sri Lanka recently, is currently briefing the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Navi Pillay on their findings, a UN spokesperson told The Sunday Leader.
The delegation from OHCHR visited Sri Lanka last month as a follow up to a resolution adopted on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in March this year. As part of the visit to Sri Lanka, the three-member delegation toured the north and also had discussions in Colombo with top government officials.
Ravina Shamdasani from the Communications Section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations in Geneva said that Pillay is yet to decide on a proposed visit to Sri Lanka.
(cp) An 18-member Sri Lankan delegation is in Karachi to participate in the 7th Edition of Expo Pakistan scheduled to be held from Oct 04 to 07, 2012 at the Karachi Expo Centre.
President of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Forum, Tarek Moinuddin Khan hosted a reception to welcome the Sri Lankan delegation.
Expo Pakistan is the biggest trade fair in Pakistan, showcasing the largest collection of Pakistan's export merchandise and services. The Sri Lankan delegation will showcase food, spices, coconut products besides industrial material and rubber tires.
(dn) Bangladesh law enforcement authorities assured full protection and security to Sri Lankans in Bangladesh after the recent spate of attacks on Buddhist temples, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amungama said.
Bangladesh government officials and police chiefs assured protection to Sri Lankans in Bangladesh during a meeting with Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Bangladesh Sarath Weragama in Dhaka, Bangladesh, said Amunugama. Bangladesh Police arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the attacks on Buddhist temples, he said. The attacks were believed to have been triggered by an extremist group.
“The government of Bangladesh brought the situation under control by intensifying security measures in Buddhist localities in Cox’s Bazaar, where the incidents first erupted and in Chittagong, where a large number of Sri Lankan students engage in their studies,” he said.
(cp) External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris met with Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, Foreign Minister of Malaysia on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, In his meeting with his counterpart Minister Peiris discussed the need to enhance the bilateral relations in trade, investment and other areas of cooperation.
In view of the country’s emergence after decades of protracted terrorist conflict, the high growth rate of the economy and the conducive climate for investment, he invited Malaysian companies to invest further in the country.
He stressed that the country needed time and space to move forward and that external pressure would hinder this process. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia assured his support to Sri Lanka at international fora.
(ognp) An UNDP Human Development report said yesterday the country secured first place in terms of Human Development among SAARC countries.
According to the report, SAARC countries, other than India and the Maldives, have not even reached Sri Lanka’s HDI for 1980 which was 0.539. The report said Sri Lanka has vast potential to further improve the situation compared to Singapore and Malaysia. The report hailed the country’s education sector which has made remarkable achievements as against a number of developing countries.
“With a HDI of 0.691 in 2011, Sri Lanka ranked 97 out of 187 countries. Among countries with a medium level of Human Development, Sri Lanka's GII is high at 0.565 compared to a majority of countries in the medium Human Development category, indicating strong inequalities. In the SAARC region, only Afghanistan, India and Pakistan have higher values. On the indicators considered for the GII, Sri Lanka performs well on maternal mortality and education, but could considerably improve performance on labour force participation and parliamentary representation.
(cp) Sri Lanka has donated two young female Indian elephants to the Prague zoo in Czech Republic as a mark of the International Children's Day.
The elephants, eight-year-old Janita and seven-year-old Tamara have left Sri Lanka today to Czech Republic in a special Sri Lankan Air Force military plane.
The two baby elephants are Sri Lanka's gift to the Prague Zoo and have come from the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala.
(cg) Former Norwegian Minister and special peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, has urged the government to address Tamil issues.
Speaking at the launch of the book ‘Still Counting the Dead’ written by former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison, Solheim said that the Government of Sri Lanka must take immediate steps to reach out to the Tamil community.
He said that if the Government is serious about reaching out to the Tamil community there are four things they can do immediately and that is to release all Tamil political prisoners, stop all disappearances and the so-called “white van incidents”, substantially reduce the military presence in the north and make a formal promise that there will be no state sponsored Sinhalaisation of the north and east.
(dn) A team of 15 Sri Lankan chefs have set off to Germany to take part in the Culinary Olympic Challenge. They are skilled, prepared and are ready to go fork and knife blazing into Germany with the hope of putting the icing on the topping by securing a medal. Food is the name of their game and their mission.
"We are very glad to come forward and support the Chefs and we are in for the long haul. Together we intend to take this event to levels of international importance and support the chefs in realizing their objectives. We wish the team all the success in Germany," Project Director Asia Angus Montgomery said.
"The entire event is based on a Christmas theme since it is getting close to the festive season. We cannot open the contest to all the hotels in Sri Lanka because of restricted space. So we have limited it to the key star class hotels and all the five star hotels in Colombo and hotels identified from the Aitken Spence, John Keels and the Mercantile group like Kandalama and Heritance," said Mendis.
The Food Olympics is like the World Olympics. In the past we wanted to take a team but couldn't because of the high expenses. We have only two Olympic winners in Sri Lanka, that is myself and Chef Dimuthu. Both of us have got gold medals.
(dn) UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appreciated the willingness on the part of the Sri Lankan government to engage with the UN system as demonstrated by the invitation to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the recent visit of the technical team from her office.
He said so during a meeting with External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris in New York on Tuesday and added it would be a positive step for such engagement to continue at a senior working level to be updated on developments in Sri Lanka.
He said mutual understanding and continued cooperation would assist Sri Lanka to benefit from UN expertise. Moon also briefed the minister on the change management reforms of the UN including the mobility of the Organisation’s staff. He said the UN will also seek to strengthen partnership with member states, by forging relations with the business community, philanthropists, religious leaders and civil society through a formalised mechanism.
(island) India has agreed to receive a delegation of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians, The Island understands from authoritative diplomatic sources here. The TNA delegation is likely to visit New Delhi on October 10. India has kept Sri Lanka informed about the impending visit.
The upcoming visit of the TNA MPs to the Indian capital assumes significance because it will take place within three weeks after President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders here on September 20.
The TNA has not been enthusiastic about taking part in the PSC. India has been encouraging the Sri Lankan government and the TNA leadership to resolve the deadlock, and take the dialogue forward. New Delhi wishes to see both sides to work together with all other political parties to covert the progress made in the previous talks into a plan of action.
(ognp) The 2012 Global Food Security Index has ranked Sri Lanka in the 62nd position out of 105 countries.
The Global Food Security Index considers the core issues of affordability, availability, and quality across a set of 105 countries when ranking the countries.
According to the Index, United States of America has been ranked number one while Congo is at the worst position at 105. The index is reportedly a dynamic quantitative and qualitative scoring model, constructed from 25 unique indicators, that measures these drivers of food security across both developing and developed countries.
(cp) Despite the US embargo, the US government has tentatively agreed to allow Sri Lanka continue importing crude oil from Iran because of Sri Lanka´s satisfactory performance in the wake of trade sanctions, a senior Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) official said yesterday.
The US government is glad that Sri Lanka reduced the import of Iranian crude oil from 14 shipments to 10 during the trade embargo. Therefore, the US is ready to allow Sri Lanka to import 10 shipments of Iranian Light for the use of Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery (SOR) as only Iranian crude oil is suitable for the purpose, Mr. Silva said.
He said Sri Lanka was in the process of sorting out these problems with the State Department and a final decision was expected at the end of this month when Miss Alison visited Sri Lanka once again for further discussion on the matter.
(ct) Twenty five Sri Lankan Tamil families in Norway began a death fast on Sunday, demanding the release of their children, who have been forced into foster care by the Norwegian welfare authorities. The families began their fast at the Dom Kirken Cathedral in Oslo.
Several Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Iraqi families, whose children have also been forcibly taken away by the Norwegian authorities, were also present in support of the hunger strike. The Lankan families at the beginning of the death fast said they had decided on the drastic action as the Norwegian Government had refused to release the children back into the care of the parents.
The Norwegian authorities are of the view that children of Asian families are not taught proper habits and are made to eat with bare hands. Allowing the children to sleep in one single room with their parents has also been deemed a form of child abuse.
(dn) The German embassy in Colombo gave Rs 2.9 million as humanitarian assistance to drought affected families in Muttur.
The project is implemented by the Coordinating Centre for Community Development (3CD), a community based organisation that has undertaken safe drinking-water projects to serve displaced communities since 2007. The project focuses on constructing water tanks in schools and villages in Muttur where the wells have either dried up or become saline due to the drought during the past six months.
“The severe drought has also destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of people, had an impact on food security and affected the overall economic growth forecast of this island,” Dr Morhard said. “Germany as a long-standing friend of this country is pleased to be able to assist Sri Lankans in this time of need.”
(ognp) 'World Spice Food Festival ', an annual culinary event organized by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority with the participation of local and foreign signature chefs in Colombo five star hotels and designated restaurants will be held in Colombo this week.
The event will showcase some of the unique culinary expertise of participating master chefs side by side with their Sri Lankan counterparts in the reputed hotels and restaurants in Colombo. Among the hotels and restaurants participating in the event are, Water's Edge, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Galadari Colombo, Taj Samudra, Ramada, Hilton Colombo Residence, Galle Face Hotel, Cinnamon Lakeside, and Cinnamon Grand.
The event will be held from October 05 - 07 at "The Boardwalk" in Battaramulla.
(dn) Poet and novelist Yasmine Gooneratne has been awarded the prestigious Premchand Fellowship 2012 by SahityaAkademi, New Delhi, India.
Sahitya Akademi, India instituted the Fellowship in the name of the Indian writer on the 125th birth anniversary to be annually offered to persons of eminence in the field of culture and literature from SAARC countries. Yasmine Gooneratne The period of Fellowship is three months and the recipient will be the guest of SahityaAkademi during the period.
Born in Colombo, educated at the Universities of Ceylon and Cambridge, Emeritus Professor Gooneratne has taught, researched and published in the fields of English and Commonwealth/Postcolonial Literature for 35 years. On her return from Cambridge with a PhD in English, she taught at the University of Ceylon in Peradeniya for 10 years (1962 - 1972) before accepting a senior position at Macquarie University in Australia, where she taught until her retirement from active teaching in 1999.
(ognp) “Sri Lanka Cultural Days” kicked off on Saturday 29th of September, at the Kuwait National Museum as part of an on-going cultural extravaganza. The event, hosted by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), was a prelude to the upcoming First Asian Cooperation Dialogue Summit to be held in Kuwait in mid October.
The Channa-Upuli dancing troupe under the direction of Channa Wijewardena mesmerized the audience at the Souq Sharq and Al-Kout Mall for two consecutive nights .Local electronic and print media covered the event and it was telecasted live over Kuwait TV and other Arabic TV Channels.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Kuwait, C A H M Wijeratne, thanked the NCCAL for the opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka at this event. He appreciated the initiative of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, to hold such an event depicting the Asian cultural heritage.
(gman) A United Arab Emirates court sentenced a 33-year-old Sri Lankan electrician to three months in jail for threatening via social networking site Facebook that he would kill a Filipina co-worker if she did not marry him.
The Court of First Instance also ordered the Sri Lankan deported once he has served his sentence, UAE-based news site Khaleej Times reported on Monday.
However, the report said the verdict is subject to appeal within 15 days. Jebel Ali police arrested the defendant in April and seized his laptop after he was accused of using Facebook to threaten the Filipina waitress, 24. Investigation showed the electrician allegedly sought help from other Facebook users to help him find a way to kill the Filipina.
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