Nation 2  



At least 800 dead in Ivory Coast ethnic violence: ICRC

BBC: At least 800 people have been killed in the western Ivory Coast city of Duekoue this week, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said.
They died in inter-communal violence in one district of the city, it added.
The head of the ICRC delegation in the country said the event was particularly shocking in its scale and brutality.
Fighting has continued in Abidjan between forces loyal to the UN-recognised president Alassane Ouattara and the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.
Ouattara was internationally recognised as president last year after the electoral commission declared him the winner of a November run-off vote, but Gbagbo also claimed victory and refused to leave office.
‘Fearing for their lives’
The ICRC said delegates and volunteers from the Ivorian Red Cross had visited Duekoue on Thursday and Friday to gather evidence of the killings, which are believed to have taken place on Tuesday.
“There is no doubt that something on a large scale took place in this city, on which the ICRC is continuing to gather information,” ICRC spokeswoman Dorothea Krimitsas told the AFP News agency.
She said the Red Cross representatives had “themselves seen a very large number of bodies”. They took 28 bodies to the local morgue and more would be removed in the coming days, she added.
“Everything seems to indicate that this was inter-ethnic violence.”
The head of the ICRC delegation, Dominique Liengme, said in a statement: “This incident is particularly shocking in its size and brutality.”
“The ICRC condemns direct attacks on civilians and reminds the parties to the conflict to make sure that people in the territory under their control must be protected under all circumstances,” she added.
The Geneva-based organisation said tens of thousands of women, men and children had fled fighting in Duekoue since Monday.
The city lies on a strategic crossroads in the west of Ivory Coast and has been under the control of forces loyal to Mr Ouattara since Tuesday.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said many Duekoue residents were heading to the nearby town of Guiglo “fearing for their lives”.
The national army has put up almost no resistance since Ouattara’s supporters launched an offensive to oust Gbagbo on Monday, sweeping down from the north to capture the capital, Yamoussoukro, and the key port of San Pedro.
However, they have been unable to defeat those still loyal to the former president in parts of Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan.
There have been fierce clashes outside the presidential palace and the headquarters of state television in the upmarket district of Cocody. Fighting has also been reported in Plateau and Agban areas.
While figures for dead and wounded are unavailable, Doctors Without Borders said it had treated at least 80 people over the past two days, most of them young men suffering from gunshot wounds.
Residents of Abidjan say they are afraid to leave their homes.
The BBC’s John James in Bouake says Gbagbo is holed up inside the fortress-like presidential mansion, with his last remaining allies and the Republican Guard.
“Laurent Gbagbo is going nowhere. He is the elected president of Ivory Coast and he is going to be president for five years to come,” a spokesman for Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) said.
Our correspondent says many wonder whether he has now decided to go down with the ship, a strongman who has brought West Africa’s second biggest economy to its knees in his determination to hang on to the presidency.
But Patrick Achi, a spokesman for Ouattara, said there was no longer an offer on the table for Gbagbo to stand down peacefully.
“He should stand trial in the International Criminal Court. That is the only thing that he deserves,” he added.
The international community stepped up its pressure on Gbagbo with a series of calls for him to stand aside.
The West African bloc, Ecowas, urged Gbagbo to “end the suffering of his country”, while the UN mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) said it was ready to “facilitate his departure if that is his wish”.
Western diplomats say it is impossible now for Gbagbo to escape defeat, but it is unclear if he will come of this alive given the scale of the fighting around the presidential villa, our correspondent adds.
UN forces are patrolling Abidjan’s business district in armoured cars and flying helicopters to conduct surveillance. France has meanwhile announced it is increasing its force in Abidjan from about 900 troops to some 1,100.
A curfew called by Ouattara from 2100 GMT to 0600 GMT in Abidjan remains in place. Land and sea borders remain closed, although on Friday the country’s air space was reopened.

Syria unrest: New protests erupt across country

BBC: New anti-government protests have erupted in several Syrian cities after Friday prayers, despite heavy security.
Witnesses said thousands of people took to the streets chanting “freedom”. The state news agency said protesters were calling for reforms to be speeded up.
Reports suggest four protesters died as security forces opened fire in the Damascus suburb of Duma.
Activists had dubbed Friday a Day of Martyrs to honour the dozens of people killed during two weeks of protests.
President Bashar al-Assad said earlier this week that demonstrations were part of a foreign “plot”.
In a speech on Wednesday, Assad did not announce the lifting of emergency legislation as some analysts had predicted.
However, the president later said he had directed a legal committee to look into lifting unpopular emergency laws - in place since 1963.
Backing for Assad’s regime has also been in evidence, with huge crowds joining officially encouraged shows of support for the regime in Damascus on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the US said two Americans detained in Syria for several days had been released. State department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed the news but could add no more details due to “privacy considerations”.
‘Snipers on rooftops’
On Friday, protesters took to the streets in Deraa, Qamishli, Hassakeh and also Latakia, witnesses said.
The marchers reportedly chanted “We want freedom” and “The blood of martyrs is not cheap”.
One eyewitness in Deraa told the BBC that the army had used tear gas to disperse the crowds and several people had been injured.
Four people are said to have died when security forces opened fire on protesters in the Damascus suburb of Duma. Another report suggested as many as 10 people had been killed.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that snipers dressed in civilian clothes shot at people from rooftops.
Unrest was also reported in the central city of Homs.
Syria’s Sana state-run news agency confirmed that protests were held in Deraa and Latakia, but said “there were no clashes”.
The cities of Qamishli and Hassakeh are in the north-east of Syria. The region is the centre for the Kurdish population, who until now distanced themselves from the protests over the past two weeks, the BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus reports.
But in Qamishli and Hassakeh protesters chanted “Neither Arabic, nor Kurdish, we want a national unity” in an attempt to defeat any accusations of trying to make a Kurdish movement, our correspondent says.
She adds that in Damascus there is a heavy security presence around the main mosques - especially the Umayyad mosque where the first anti-government protest began.

Ex-Somali PM Samantar to be questioned in US lawsuit

BBC: A judge in the US state of Virginia has ruled that an ex-Somali prime minister can be questioned under oath over allegations of abuses and war crimes.
Mahamed Ali Samantar, who was Somalia’s defence minister and prime minister in the 1980s, has denied wrongdoing.
He is accused of commanding his troops to detain, torture, and kill members of Somalia’s Isaaq clan.
The court ruling means that the Somalis who have brought the case will for the first time be able to question him.
A lawyer for Samantar argued on Friday that the case against him should be thrown out.
But US District Judge Leonie Brinkema denied the request to dismiss it.
The original lawsuit was filed in 2004 by Somalis living in the US under 1991’s Torture Victim Protection Act.
A federal judge later ruled that Mr Samantar was entitled to diplomatic immunity, but last year the US Supreme Court reinstated the case.
Earlier this year, the US Department of State recommended that Samantar should not receive diplomatic immunity, largely because there was no effective central government in Somalia to request it.
Somalia has not had a functioning national government since warlords overthrew President Siad Barre, under whom Samantar served, in 1991.

Census sparks tensions across Western Balkans

SARAJEVO (AFP) - Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro have started to count their populations as part of a year of censuses across the ethnically tense Western Balkans to keep up with EU countries doing the same.
The three countries are the first in the volatile region, torn apart by interethnic wars in the 1990s, to launch the census this year.
Because of the painful history organisation of the count sparked debate and controversy throughout the region: from Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians fear that their importance will be reduced, across Montenegro, where there are complaints that Serbs are being “assimilated”, to Bosnia which did not even manage to adopt a census law.
In Kosovo, where the last census was held in 1981, while it was still a province in the Yugoslav federation, Belgrade called on ethnic Serbs not to take part in the count organised by ethnic Albanian authorities in Pristina.
Serbia, which refuses to recognise Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, insists that Pristina’s institutions are not authorised to conduct a census.
Serbia’s top Kosovo official Goran Bogdanovic said recently that Belgrade would support a census only if it was conducted by the United Nations. He warned that Pristina was planning to “steal” the census by trying to lessen the number of Serbs still living there.
According to estimates, Kosovo has a population of 2.1 million of whom 90 percent are ethnic Albanians. Kosovo authorities will be helped during the census by the European statistics bureau Eurostat.
Belgrade, which has the largest number of inhabitants in the region -- almost 7.5 million --- has postponed the start of its own census to October 1 due to lack of funds, and was planning to also hold it in Kosovo, which it still considers part of Serbia.
In Montenegro, where 32 percent of the some 620,000 inhabitants in 2003 declared themselves as Serbs, a campaign was launched recently seemingly pushing people to identify as Montenegrins.
The national television broadcast programmes insisting on the “Montenegrin identity” of the Orthodox population in the tiny mountainous country.
In response pro-Serb political parties and the Serbian Orthodox Church have slammed such attempts at “assimilation”.
In Albania where the census was postponed until November questions about ethnic or religious affiliation sparked debate. There are fears that results will show an important rise in the Greek community as many Albanians in recent years changed their identity and religion to obtain residency and working permits in neighbouring Greece, an EU member.
The vice-president of Albania’s highest legal body the High Council of Justice, Kreshnik Spahiu, has warned that a census based on ethnicity is unconstitutional.
“We are against having to declare ethnic and religious identity, especially since there is no legal and constitutional framework in Albania for a census on such basis, which could create strong tensions in the country,” he told AFP.
In Macedonia which plans to hold its census in October the number of ethnic Albanians, who in 2002 represented around a quarter of the population of two millions, is controversial.
Opposition Albanian parties have voiced fears that the count could be “abused” to reduce their numbers.
In Bosnia the census is so problematic that Sarajevo will probably not even organise one this year.
The first postwar head count based on ethnicity is likely to reveal the full extent of so-called ethnic cleansing and upset the division of political power in many communities.

Hole in cabin forces emergency landing in US

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Arizona on Friday after a hole blew in the top of the aircraft, according to the airline.
Flight 812 declared an emergency “due to loss of pressurisation in the cabin” and landed safely in Yuma, Arizona about 40 minutes after takeoff, Southwest said in a statement.
“Upon safely landing in Yuma, the flight crew discovered a hole in the top of the aircraft,” the Southwest statement said.
None of the 118 passengers were hurt but one flight attendant “received a minor injury upon descent,” the airline’s statement said.
The flight departed from Phoenix, Arizona at about 3:25 pm (1025 GMT) and was bound for Sacramento, California.
The plane landed at Yuma Marine Corps Air Station/International Airport at 4:07 pm (1107 GMT), Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
Yuma is 185 miles west of Phoenix and located near the Mexican border.
“We do not know the cause of the decompression,” Gregor said. “People on the ground in Yuma are reporting there’s a hole in the fuselage.”
An FAA inspector from Phoenix was en route to Yuma, he said. The National Transportation Safety Board also was investigating.

Nigeria votes for parliament as landmark elections begin

LAGOS (AFP) - Nigerians vote for a new parliament on Saturday in the first of a series of landmark elections this month as Africa’s most populous nation seeks to overcome a history of deeply flawed and violent polls.
Violence has occurred in the run-up to the vote, including bomb blasts and politically related clashes, but officials have pledged a free and fair ballot and a massive security deployment was expected on election day.
The head of the electoral commission, a respected academic appointed in mid-2010, delivered an impassioned plea in Africa’s largest oil producer on Friday, saying “we must not fail and we must get it right”.
Attahiru Jega said many expected that Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999 would have by now produced a “stable democratic system in which peaceful, free, fair and credible elections are routine and taken for granted”.
“Unfortunately, this is still not the case and Nigerians are yet to reap the dividends of democracy,” he said.
The election for the 360-member house of representatives and 109-member senate comes ahead of the presidential vote on April 9 and governorship and state assembly ballots on April 16.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party controls a comfortable majority of seats in the parliament, but some analysts say Saturday’s vote could significantly loosen its grip on the legislature.
Seats in the parliament are sought after in part because of the bloated pay and allowance packages members receive in a country where corruption is deeply rooted.
Accurate figures on how much they earn in total are difficult to find because of budgeting methods that hide certain allowances, pressure groups say.
Rights activist Festus Keyamo said they “are collecting full-time salaries and other allowances they illegally and fraudulently allocate to themselves”.
Some 73.5 million people have registered to vote in the country, where the total population has been estimated at some 150 million, divided roughly in half between Christians and Muslims.



Czech trade minister meets GL in Prague

On the second day of his official visit to the Czech Republic, Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G. L. Peiris met with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Martin Kocourek. He also addressed the Czech-Sri Lanka Investment Forum at the International Chamber of Commerce in Prague, along with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vladimir Galuska. Continuing his programme at the Czech Parliament, Minister Peiris met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Ms. Miroslava Nemcova, and the Inter-parliamentary Group of Friends of Sri Lanka.
Minister Kocourek welcomed the visit by Minister Peiris and appreciated the “staggering economic progress” achieved by Sri Lanka in the past months. Against this positive background, the Czech Republic hopes to continue economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, including contributing to the post-conflict development needs of the country.
Minister Kocourek said that the Czech Republic was strong in sectors such as water management, environment management, energy, petroleum, security, as well as transport and tourism infrastructure. Czech investments in these sectors could be backed by the Czech Export Bank and the Czech Export Insurance Guarantee Agency (EGAP).
Minister Peiris agreed that these sectors matched the current needs of Sri Lanka, while cooperation in other sectors, backed by concessionary financing was also welcome. Sri Lanka’s current infrastructure development plans and growth in several other sectors such as tourism and portfolio investment afforded wider opportunities to the Czech side. Bilateral trade could also be greatly enhanced. Minister Peiris welcomed the visit in April by a trade delegation from the Czech Republic, accompanied by the Minister for Environment. He also extended an invitation to Minister Kocourek to visit Sri Lanka with a trade delegation.
Later in the day, Minister Peiris addressed the Czech-Sri Lanka Investor Forum at the International Chamber of Commerce in Prague along with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vladimir Galuska. The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Czech Republic, M. M. Jaffeer, the CEO of the Czech Export Bank, the CEO of the Czech Export Insurance Guarantee Group also addressed the Forum. Approximately forty Czech companies from a wide variety of sectors participated actively in the Forum.
At the Parliament of the Czech Republic, Minister Peiris met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Ms Miroslava Nemcova, and the Inter-parliamentary Group of Friends of Sri Lanka. Both sides exchanged views on the evolution of their respective National Parliaments. Minister Peiris observed that the Czech Parliament had successfully overcome several challenges in its recent history. Sri Lanka too had preserved its democratic parliamentary practices and traditions despite severe challenges including terrorism. Both sides agreed to continue contacts between legislators, including exchanges of visits in the future.

Dr Dayan at Yale University workshop

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, and Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, presented a paper by invitation at a workshop on Global Leadership held at Yale University, USA from March 25 to 27.
The Global Leadership Workshop Programme, conducted by the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale, covered international leadership ranging across a spectrum of different disciplines.
The guest speaker was Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in charge of governmental reform. He was Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel and later ambassador to the United States and played a key role in Middle East Peace negotiations for over two decades. He is the author of ‘The Arab Centre: The Promise of Moderation’.
Other paper presenters were:
• Nigel Bowles, Director of Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute and a Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford.
• Ian Shapiro Sterling, Professor of Political Science at Yale University.
• Allan Stam, Professor in the Political Science Department, University of Michigan and formerly a member of US Army Special Forces.
• Haig Patapan, Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Policy, and Director of the Theory and Practice Programme of the Centre of Governance and Public Policy, at Griffith University, Australia.
• Patrick Weller, founder and Professor of the Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia and Director of Griffith’s Centre of Governance and Public Policy.
• Robyn Eckersley ,Professor and Head of Political Science in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne.
• Vinod Aggarwal, Professor in the Department of Political Science, Affiliated Professor in the Business and Public Policy Group in the Haas School of Business, and Director of the Berkeley Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Centre (BASC) at the University of California at Berkeley.
• David R. Cameron, Professor of Political Science at Yale and the Director of the Yale Programme in European Union Studies.
• Quansheng Zhao, Professor of International Relations and Director of Centre for Asian Studies at American University.
• Bruce Miroff, Professor and Collins Fellow in the Department of Political Science at Albany, NY.
• John Kane, Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Policy, Griffith University, Australia and currently Visiting Professor at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale.
• Yi-chong Xu, Professor in the Centre of Governance and Public Policy, at Griffith University, Australia.
• Alan Renwick, lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Reading.

Participants included Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science, Yale; Stephen Skowronek, the Pelatiah Perit Professor of Political and Social Science at Yale University; Bertjan Verbeek, Professor of International Relations in the School of Management Research, Raboud University, Nijmegen; Maria Ivanova, Assistant Professor in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance at University of Massachusetts and Director of the Global Environmental Governance Project; and Alexandra Oliver, Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney.

Asgiri Maha Viharaya felicitates media minister

The Asgiriya Maha Viharaya of Kandy, the Supreme Council of the whole Sangha fraternity, which has received the respect and reverence of the whole Sri Lankan society confer today (3.4.2011) the honorary title of “Deshamamaka Janaprasadana Lankaputra” (Patriotic Populist Son of Lanka) on Minister of Mass Media and Information.
The name Keheliya Rambukwella came to be discussed among the people of this country when he joined the government’s programme of eradicating terrorism from this nation and took up the task to shoulder the responsibility as the media spokesman by establishing the Media Centre for National Security.
It is no secret that that the LTTE Terrorist Organisation as an armed outfit were destroying the life of people in this country for a period of 30 years by controlling a part of this country’s territory. This terrorist outfit spent the funds collected by them locally and internationally for two purposes. One was to procure sophisticated weapons and the other was to conduct publicity campaigns to bloat their image.
This brutal organisation spent huge funds with much determination on their media hype locally and internationally for their sustenance. Therefore, the LTTE media was in a very advanced stage with the assistance of sophisticated equipment.
The past leaders of this country although they wanted to defeat the LTTE militarily, they did not have a proper perceptive on the need to destroy the misinformation network that promoted and propagated the terrorist ideals. Sri Lanka never attempted to undermine this propaganda network.
It was through this misinformation and by distorting the gains of the valiant security forces the brutal LTTE created a niche as a liberation outfit in the national and the international arena.
Due to the strength of this fallacious propaganda, this brutal outfit got deep rooted even in the minds of our people as an outfit that “can never be defeated” and “the world’s No. One”.
Keheliya Rambukwella, who realised that if the LTTE is to be defeated militarily that the destruction of its propaganda network is vital, not only established the Media Centre for National Security, giving himself leadership to this organisation functioned as its media spokesman and heroically exercised his talents and capabilities for the liberation of the motherland.
Using his talent of handling the language, the capability of deliberations and the firmness in responding to questions he reined in the local and international media personnel. He gave wide and due publicity to our heroic security forces personnel and pioneered in raising their morale. He proved with facts and figures to the local as well as the international arena, the pragmatism of the humanitarian operation being carried out by the government and its eminent victory.
Rambukwella was a successful businessman owning many business ventures before he entered politics. The experience he gained on navigating his businesses he used in a new mode to safeguard the unitary status of the country. Some persons even ridiculed the national service being done by him with great personal risk as “washing government’s dirty linen” and described him as a person “marketing the war”.
But at all times he worked only for safeguarding the unitary status of the country. War victories were given due publicity for the freedom of the people of the motherland. Keheliya’s brave arguments succeeded in shattering the misinformation network of the terrorists and wash out all their false claims.
People are now happily enjoying the fruits of its results.
The visionary astuteness of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to use the correct person when it is required for the sake of the country should be profusely commended. The great service rendered by Deshamamaka Janaprasadana Lankaputra Keheliya Rambukwella, will never be forgotten by the people.
Sarath Dananjaya Bandara Dambawinna
Former Provincial Council Member - Central Province

Jaliya brings business delegation from USA

An enthusiastic group of top United States corporations visited Sri Lanka earlier this week accompanied by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the U S Jaliya Wickramasuriya to pursue business opportunities.
The delegation, which included such notable companies as Boeing, John Deere, Coca Cola, AECOM, Transinnova, AGL Partners and Venture Global Partners, was welcomed in Sri Lanka by a number of members of the Government, including ministers and secretaries.
The delegation paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 30, 2011.
During the meeting with President Rajapaksa, the business executives pledged their commitment to share findings on the island’s emerging trade and investment prospects with their fellow entrepreneurs and the law makers in the US.
The delegates commended the President for his sincere dedication to peace and ethnic reconciliation as well as restoring normalcy at a rapid pace following the conflict, which ended in May 2009. They were also highly impressed with the numerous advances Sri Lanka has been making on both the political and economic fronts under his leadership.
The President thanked the delegation for selecting Sri Lanka as a business destination and noted the importance of American companies coming to Sri Lanka. He told the group that the Sri Lankan government will assist these companies to every possible extent.
Sri Lanka’s economy has been thriving in the midst of a world-wide recession, returning an 8 percent gross domestic product in 2010. Growth in 2011 is expected to exceed that amount and foreign investment is set to reach $1 billion, according to forecasts by Sri Lanka’s Central Bank.
The U.S. is a $1.74 billion trade market for Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan government hopes to expand US investment further, including expansion in the tourism, manufacturing, aviation, construction and IT sectors. During the last two years the Office of the US Trade Representative has co-sponsored two investment conferences in Sri Lanka with the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington, D.C., to boost US investment in the island nation.

Ven. Ranjith Canagasabey next Bishop of Colombo

The Venerable Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey was elected as the 15th Bishop of Colombo by the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Colombo of the Anglican Church, on Saturday, March 5, 2011. At a special session of the Diocese of Colombo held at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Ven. Canagasabey was elected without contest, obtaining more than the constitutionally required majority from both the Houses of Clergy as well as Laity.
Bishop-elect Dhiloraj Canagasabey is presently Archdeacon of Nuwara Eliya and resides in Bandarawela, serving as Chaplain of St Thomas’ College, Bandarawela, where he was also the Headmaster for a short period. He is an old boy of St Michael’s College, Batticaloa, and had his education and formation under the Jesuits of the Roman Catholic Church.
Ven. Canagasabey followed his theological training at the Theological College of Lanka, Pilimatalawa, obtaining his Bachelor’s degrees in Theology and later Divinity, from the University of Serampore. He was ordained a Deacon in 1983 and a Priest one year later. He served in several parishes before appointment as Archdeacon of Nuwara Eliya in 1997. Prior to entering the ministry, he was in the hospitality industry and worked at the former Hotel Lanka Oberoi. He is married to Harshini and has a daughter, Dhilukshini, and a son, Dhiranjan.
The role of the Bishop in the Anglican Church is a unique one in that he is the focus of unity, carrying all people together and giving them the spiritual inspiration to live out their baptismal lives, which demands transference from a ‘self-centred’ life to an ‘other-centred’ life. He also plays the role of Under Shepherd to the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, and exercises pastoral care over his clergy.
Bishop-elect Dhiloraj Canagasabey’s episcopal ordination and installation as the next Bishop of Colombo is scheduled to be held on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, Colombo.

Pakistan envoy meets Neomal Perera

The High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Colombo Mrs. Seema Ilahi Baloch paid a courtesy call on the Acting Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera on Friday at the Ministry of External Affairs. The Acting Minister thanked the High Commissioner for the Government of Pakistan’s timely relief measures extended to help the people affected by the floods in Sri Lanka. He also inquired about the progress in the recovery efforts after the floods in Pakistan last year. Further, they discussed matters related to the bilateral cooperation between the countries and multilateral issues. The High Commissioner was accompanied by her Third Secretary Bilal Akram Shah.

People’s Bank Annual Report presented to President

The People’s Bank Annual Report 2010 was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week by the People’s Bank General Manager /CEO N. Vasanthakumar at Temple Trees. The People’s Bank Chairman W. Karunajeewa, Treasury Secretary Dr P. B. Jayasundara, Head of Marketing and Public Affairs Deepal Abeysekera, Deputy General Manager (Human Resources) Lionel Chandrasiri and Head of Finance Yohan Soza were also present

Awareness programme for senior citizens

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa headed an awareness programme for senior citizens and government servants in the Anuradhapura District on Friday under Divi Neguma programme, aimed at uplifting the living standards of one million families in the country. The main meeting was held at the Indoor Stadium in Anuradhapura
(Pic by Sujith Kodithuwakku)