Nation 2  


Pakistan PM seeks stronger ties with Sri Lanka
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are two important countries of South Asia and they look forward to further strengthen their multifaceted relations, said the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani during a call on him at Prime Minister’s House by the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Prof. G. L. Peiris.
The Prime Minister encouraged Sri Lanka to move forward on negotiations with Pakistan on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and welcomed a meeting in this context between the countries in August in Colombo.
Prof. Peiris is on a two-day visit to Pakistan as an envoy of the President of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has greatly suffered due to terrorism and so has Pakistan. The countries of the region should remain committed to get rid of this menace just as Sri Lanka has done, observed the Pakistani premier, while expressing satisfaction at the resolve of both Pakistan and India to continue with their bilateral dialogue, and not get deterred by terrorists’ designs to derail the dialogue once again.
Pakistan has strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai.
The Prime Minister placed great emphasis on peace in the region and said that Pakistan wants to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours including India, Iran and Afghanistan. He stated that stability in Afghanistan is most important. Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation in their country.
Pakistan looks forward to receiving the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa in November this year. Together with President Zardari’s visit to Sri Lank last year, such high level visits would contribute to strengthen bilateral relationship between the countries, the Prime Minister said. He also called for further expansion of trade and commercial relations. He observed that it was important to hold regular meeting of the Joint Economic Commission that met last week after a gap of six years. He emphasized that the two countries should cooperate with each other in the fields of education, particularly training of nurses and teachers. Collaboration between them in such sectors as cement, sugar, pharmaceuticals and gems and jewellery would add a broader dimension to their relationship. Prime Minister Gilani also offered to assist Sri Lanka in the preparations for hosting the Asian Games.
Prof. Pieris, briefed the Prime Minister on his Sri Lanka’s campaign against terrorism during the last 30 years and the current process of reconciliation, revival of leadership, reconstruction of infrastructure as Sri Lanka’s priorities after its success in rooting out terrorism from the country.
He agreed with the Prime Minister on the priority areas for bilateral cooperation. A soft term credit loan from Pakistan would enable Sri Lanka to forge cooperation in these sectors. The Prime Minister advised the Foreign Minister to have in-depth meetings during his stay in Pakistan with Chairman, Board of Investment as well as the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Karachi. The two countries need to forge a strong economic partnership in order to realize their great potential in various areas and sectors, he emphasised.
Training in India under Colombo Plan
The Government of India is offering 40 slots to Sri Lanka during 2011-12 (upto 31st March 2012) for training in India under the Technical Cooperation Scheme (TCS) of Colombo Plan.
The TCS of Colombo Plan was started with a view to providing technical assistance to neighboring Colombo Plan countries. Through this Scheme, Government of India provides a comprehensive and integrated training to participants from member countries of Colombo Plan with the purpose of assisting them to enhance their administrative and technical capabilities through human resource development. The programme covers diverse areas, including IT, management, mass communication, finance, rural development, railways, remote sensing, parliamentary studies, public administration and management, banking, rural development, etc.
This year, 35 institutes in both public and private sectors, which are leading centers of learning in their fields of specialisation, are offering 195 courses, both short term and long term, in the area of relevance and interest to developing countries
Under the scheme, the Government of India provides the entire cost for training including the return airfare, tuition fees, accommodation, emergency medical treatment, living allowance, book allowances and study tour.
Nominations for different courses may be forwarded in the prescribed application form, along with copy of supporting documents to the High Commission of India through Department of External Resources, Ministry of Finance & Planning, The Secretariat, 3rd Floor, Colombo- 1 www.erd.gov.lk. For more information regarding the institutes, courses and downloading application form, log on to www.hcicolombo.org and go to the section India-Sri Lanka Relations - Education Relations.
US embassy programme to support Lankan, Maldivian youth
The U.S. Embassy in Colombo announces the Youth Empowerment Grants Programme to fund projects for Sri Lankan and Maldivian youth. The main objective of the grant program is to support innovative, small-scale, cutting-edge projects developed and implemented by and/or for young people between the ages of 15-25 in the areas of educational development, environment issues, community development, civil society building, human rights, youth enrichment activities, health and human services and employability.
The competition is open to Non-Governmental Organizations registered in Sri Lanka or Maldives. The maximum award amount is one million rupees or 125,000 rufiyaa. The application form and further information can be found on the U.S. Embassy’s website at < ahref=”http://srilanka.usembassy.gov”>http://srilanka.usembassy.gov.
Completed applications must be submitted to the U.S. Embassy by August 15, 2011.


The book documenting the progress achieved under the ‘Mother Sri Lanka’ programme was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by its president Janaki Kuruppu on Friday at the Temple Trees. Mother Sri Lanka’ programme had undertaken a number of projects to build a healthy relationship between the children of the South and the North. The projects, conducted during the last three years with the objective of nurturing a generation that loves the motherland, were launched in 2,600 schools involving three million children



Dehiwala pacyderms to dance again!
The elephants at the Dehiwala Zoo are to to dance again.
According to the Director of the National Zoological Gardens, H. Senanka Gunaratne, the dances will take place every day except on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The elephant dances at the Dehiwala Zoo came to a standstill during the past few days. According to the Director, the dances had to be stopped as one of the pacyderms, Indu, had fallen sick.
Their act is one of the most popular among the visitors to the zoo.


Dinesh attends World Water Week
The Minister of Water Supply and Drainage has said that he had the opportunity of learning and exchanging views about vast technological developments made on water supply and hygiene at the World Water Week held in Singapore.
The conference was held from July 4 to 6 with the participation of world leaders, ministers and business leaders connected with water supply from Malaysia, India, Brunei, Cambodia, Angola, Congo, Mauritius and many other countries under the theme ‘Sustainable Solution to Water Supply in Changing Environment’.
The participants exceeding 15,000 could observe the most modern technological developments on water supply and hygiene at the exhibition held along with the conference.
The minister points out that Singapore is a role model to the world to follow with regard to the conservation of water where 100 per cent of rain water is used for consumption after processing.
The use of recycled rain water, desalination of sea water, signing of agreement to outsource water from Malaysia are some measures taken by Singapore to ensure water supply the minister explained.