The only thing stopping Auckland from getting a third elephant is a court case in Sri Lanka, New Zealand media reported.
The only thing stopping Auckland from getting a third elephant is a court case in Sri Lanka, New Zealand media reported.
Financial donations were made to the Buddhist Revival Fund, establish under the Presidential Secretariat under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena for the development of deprived rural temples that are in need of assistance, at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (23rd Oct.).
During this event, financial donations made by several institutions, including venerable monks, State and Non Governmental Organizations were officially handed over to the President.
Speaking at the event, President Sirisena said that these funds will be properly administered for the development of underprivileged Buddhist temples in the rural areas including the North and East.
The significance of the Buddhist Revival Fund is it will nurture with the assistance of various philanthropists, without depending on the Treasury funds.
On the eve before the staging of the first edition of the ‘Rising Star Awards’ to recognize outstanding young talent in the hospitality industry, the head of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) urged the government to take a closer look at the challenges faced by the hotel industry in attracting talent.
“The authorities concerned will need to take this matter as a serious threat to the tourism industry and will have to deep dive to understand the problem and find a lasting solution,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said.
He said that the government will have to get the basic framework right, so that the private sector too can invest in more hospitality training centres.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Hospitality and Management (SLITHM, formerly the Ceylon Hotel School) and its satellite schools have the biggest reach in the country in training workers for the industry. Ukwatte noted that SLITHM should partner with international hospitality training partners, and pay higher salaries to attract better lecturers, in order to give Sri Lankan youth a modern, international standard training.
Sri Lanka is aiming to attract high quality tourists, but in order to place a higher price on Sri Lankan hospitality services, the quality of service has to improve.
THASL is attempting to increase motivation of Sri Lanka’s youth to deliver higher service standards, and attract more youth for the industry, by staging the Rising Star Awards today.
“To overcome these challenges the private sector is trying its very best to be more productive with new initiative and have taken a bold step forward to enhance and invest in training employees,” Ukwatte noted.
Over 500 young applicants in the hospitality industry had applied for the awards, of whom, 27 will receive felicitations.
Ukwatte said that working in Sri Lankan hotels pays just as much as working in the Middle East, and that local hotels are interested in hiring local talent, before looking overseas in markets such as India, Cambodia and Nepal to hire labour.
Delays in delivering transitional justice have led the process to be highly politicised, a United Nations (UN) Rapporteur warned yesterday, urging Sri Lanka to move forward with establishing comprehensive programs to redress grievances, warning accountability will be sought abroad if the Government falls short of its commitments at home.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader and Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake on Sunday challenged the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to a public debate on the new constitution.
Mr. Dissanayake issued this challenge at a JVP propaganda meeting in Tangalle.
“They say the new constitution will divide the country and accuse the JVP of going all out to do so. MP Wimal Weerawansa is challenging me to a public debate. However I challenge his leader, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to come to a public debate with me. Such a debate is appropriate as I am the leader of JVP and Mr. Rajapaksa is Weerawansa’s leader,” he said
Mr. Dissanayake said if Mr. Weerawansa wants to participate in the debate the JVP is ready to send someone who is suitable for such a debate.
“We will expose how these leaders who claim to be defenders of the nation use patriotism and steal public funds and how they get away from court cases,” he said. (Yohan Perera)
State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe who was on a promotional visit to Italy to enhance Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU under GSP+ concessions and to seek the investment potential at large, met the business community in Milan on 16th October.
At a meeting with Ms. Daniela Cavagna, the President of the Association of the Small Industries(CAN) of Milan he explained the vast investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka for their members particularly on transferring technology through exchanging industry and exporters’ delegations in future.
The State Minister also met with Dr. Fabrizio Sala, the Vice President of Lombardy Region, the most important and vital economic Region in Italy, which represents 25% of the total import/export of Italy and 20% of the total GDP of Italy, where he had a lengthy discussion on a plethora of potentials of Sri Lanka both in trade, investment and service sectors, including air travel. At this meeting, he mentioned that Sri Lanka is the gateway to the Asian region and the world as it has the opportunity to supply to the 4.5 billion people in the region by utilizing the tariff concessions available under various FTAs and schemes like GSP plus of which Sri Lanka is a member or the beneficiary. He further mentioned that Sri Lanka is the only country that has the opportunity to enter the markets such as EU, the USA, China and India at the same time on duty concessions-basis.
On the same day the State Minister met with Dr. Pietro Sala, Vice President of Assolombarda, the Association of the large Industries of Lombardy and Dr. Federico Bega, Head of Strategic Areas of Promos, the special Agency of the Milan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, dedicated to the internationalization of the SMEs of Milan. At this meeting, the State Minister explained in detail on the new political culture and the new democratic era being created in Sri Lanka following the establishment of a unity government that focuses on good governance and policy reform. He also shared the details of the industrial parks that are being initiated in Sri Lanka, and invited Italian technology investments in the areas of electrical and electronic sectors and boat building industry. He also explained the vast opportunities available to Italian and European importers under GSP+ concessions mainly in apparel, and fisheries imports. Booming industry of tourism in Sri Lanka and related investment opportunities were also discussed.
The State Minister also had the opportunity to meet industrial pioneer, Luciano Fantuzzi, President of Fantuzzi Group and his consultant Michael Drewitt to discuss the transfer of heavy machinery technology to Sri Lanka on joint venture basis.
The Minister also addressed the Sri Lanka Business Forum in Milan on the following day. The event was organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Italy, and the EDB, in association with Associazione Italiana Commercio Estero (AICE) in Milan.
Minister Senasinghe was accompanied to the meetings by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Italy, Daya S.J Pelpola, Mrs. Jeevani Siriwardena, DG/EDB and Somasena Mahadilulwewa, Minister (Commercial) of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome.
The ‘Guru Prathiba -2017’ ceremony organised by the Education Ministry was held at the BMICH on Monday to felicitate a number of teachers and principals. The ceremony was held under the patronage of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana
UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, who was in Sri Lanka on a 14-day visit, said today his report would include a series of specific recommendations concerning the judiciary and the Attorney General’s office, both of which are crucial for the success of transitional justice.
“I take it as a positive sign that there is awareness of the impact that the enormous backlog has on both victims and the accused, and acknowledge the efforts planned to increase the numbers of courts and judges,” he said.
Mr. Greiff said the Constitutional reform project was correctly undertaken in part as a non-recurrence initiative.
“It has tremendous preventive and reconciliatory potential. The articulation of a bill of rights for all Sri Lankans is of utmost importance. There are many other issues that are relevant from a transitional justice perspective that could have been a part of the constitutional reform project. They include strengthening provisions on the independence of the judiciary, the powers of the office of the Attorney General, the delimitation of functions of the different parts of the security system and the establishment of multi-layered oversight systems, to mention only a few. As the constitutional reform process moves forward, consideration could be given to some of these issues,” he said.
Mr. Greiff recommended the ‘domestication’ of international human rights standards and after the ratification of the International Convention on Enforced Disappeared, to enact legislation and incorporate it in the domestic legal system. He expressed concern about the use of ‘rhetoric’ such as, ‘war heroes will never be brought to trial.’
Mr. Greiff said this seemed to misrepresent the target of transitional justice accountability measures by suggesting that it is a generally anti-security agenda and also by forgetting that no one who has committed violations of human rights law or of the laws of war deserves to be called a hero.
He said one of the points of transitional justice accountability was shifting precisely between the legitimate and lawful use of force and the contrary, under conditions in which all relevant due process guarantees are meticulously adhered to, and in which not only the rights of victims but also the rights of suspects and the accused are protected.
“I will add that the promise mentioned regarding ‘war heroes’ was a legally unenforceable political statement and therefore cannot offer any real security. In order to make it effective it would ultimately require a violation of the principle of the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary amongst others. Moreover it offers absolutely no warranty internationally. As the recent case presented in Brazil against a former member of the Armed Forces demonstrates, accountability will be sought either here or abroad. In my opinion, this is an additional reason for the country, with the full support of the Armed Forces, who stand a lot to gain from this process, to establish a robust and credible comprehensive transitional justice policy,” Mr. Greiff said.
He said the absence of a comprehensive plan also means that transitional justice, already being present in public debates, generates apprehensions.
“Some of those fears are the result of the political manipulation of the topic. Others stem from a lack of concrete answers that may assuage those apprehensions. And finally, the politicization of the topic in this context has also meant that it has been increasingly ethnicized. As a result, transitional justice is represented as if it were essentially a threat to the majority community, of interest to one of the minorities only and all others left at the margins,” Mr. Greiff said.
He said a comprehensive Transitional Justice Strategy should be adopted and that it should include a clear calendar for the implementation of the different transitional justice mechanisms, including truth, justice, reparations, and guarantees of non-recurrence.
Mr. Greiff made a number of recommendations in the scopes of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of non-recurrence and called for the adoption of legislation promptly to establish a Truth Commission, to strengthen witness and victim protection scheme, repealing of the PTA and also to upgrade facilities at the IDP camps.
He said increasing capacities on investigations, forensics and prosecutorial strategies can only help current and future justice initiatives and the debate about the nationality of judges has led to politicization of the transitional justice discussions.
“The focus of the discussions about accountability should be on the means and preconditions for the establishment of credible procedures that guarantee the rights of victims and of the accused,” Mr. Greiff said.
As an expert who visited Sri Lanka in March 2015, he said he didn’t expect Sri Lanka to show a slow progress after two years.
“Slow progress on pre-conditions for transitional justice erodes trust in the Government’s capacity to move forward with the reforms,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana
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