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Dinesh questions SL Core Group’s reluctance to peruse Lord Naseby’s disclosure

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…absence of reference to Easter Sunday carnage worrisome

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that overall perception of post-war Sri Lanka would change if those who had moved an accountability resolution in Geneva five years ago on unsubstantiated accusations examined Lord Naseby’s disclosure pertaining to 2009 when Sri Lankan military brought the war to a successful end.

Minister Gunawardena told The Island that continuing refusal or reluctance on the part of those reportedly concerned about genuine post-war reconciliation process to review the Geneva resolution after Lord Naseby exposed the truth cleared Sri Lanka of war crimes was puzzling.

On one hand unsubstantiated reports, claims, analysis and accusations had been accepted by a section of the international community but accurate wartime British diplomatic dispatches from Colombo were continued to be hidden and disregarded, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader said.

Responding to questions, Minister Gunawardena pointed out that Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should have never intruded in the constitution making process. The Minister was referring to 2016 Geneva statement on constitution making process undertaken by the previous yahapalana administration. Interested parties exploited unproved war crimes accusations to create an environment conducive to pave the way for a new Constitution tailor made to serve their agenda, Minister Gunawardena alleged. In spite of those propagated lies being exposed by Lord Naseby, an attempt was being made to sustain the despicable strategy.

Commenting on the recent statement issued by the self-appointed Sri Lanka Core Group in Geneva, Minister Gunawardena said that reference to Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah taken into custody over his alleged involvement with those responsible for THE heinous 2019 Easter Sunday attacks was quite disturbing. A concerned Minister said that the Geneva statement made no reference why Hejaaz Hizbullah was taken in nearly a year after suicide bombings claimed the lives of approximately 270 men, women and children. Blasts wounded over 400 persons. “Hejaaz Hizbullah matter is now before the country’s highest court,” Minister Gunawardena said adding that “the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) responsible for Easter Sunday massacre posed quite a threat to Sri Lanka. Members of the Core Group comprising the UK, Canada, Germany, North Macedonia and Montenegro couldn’t be unaware of the NTJ threat.

The Minister pointed out how the Attorney General compared the role played by Hejaaz Hizbullah to that of the late British passport holder Anton Balasingham, the LTTE theoretician.

Balasingham passed away in Dec 2006 in the UK. His Australian born wife, who brazenly promoted LTTE terrorism and went to the extent of handing over cyanide capsules to women LTTE cadres lives in the UK.

Minister Gunawardena said that those who had been routinely critical of the government of Sri Lanka in respect of accountability issues et al conveniently forgot Sri Lanka’s post-war efforts to address grievances of the Tamil community. In spite of knowing that the one-time LTTE mouthpiece TNA was certain to comfortably secure the Northern Provincial Council, the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa conducted the election believing the regional administration would work for the people. Instead, they propagated lies abroad at the expense of genuine post-war reconciliation, the minister said.

Minister Gunawardena said that he recently briefed the cabinet of ministers regarding the UK statement.

Responding to another query, the Foreign Minister alleged that some interested parties were making an effort to sustain pressure on the country on the basis of bogus war crimes accusations.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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