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Dutch want to return items looted during colonial rule

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A 1765 canon that belonged to the King of Kandy is at display at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Dutch authorities are intent on tracking down rightful owners of thousands of objects their forefathers had seized during the colonial era, agency reports said yesterday.

Reports from Amsterdam said that at least 4,000 objects in its collections have clear ties to the country’s colonial empire, which spanned some 300 years from the mid-17th century and whose main centres of power were in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

The reports said: A cannon that once saluted a Sinhalese king and a diamond looted from an Indonesian sultan are among thousands of objects seized during the colonial era whose rightful owners Dutch authorities are intent on tracking down.

But establishing who those owners are can be complicated, the national Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam argues.

It says at least 4,000 objects in its collections have clear ties to the country’s colonial empire, which spanned some 300 years from the mid-17th century and whose main centres of power were in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

The Rijksmuseum’s Head of History, Valika Smeulders, welcomed plans by the government to right what an independent commission this month called the “historical wrong” of continuing to keep valued objects taken by force during that era.

“The museum is really bringing in new knowledge, new voices, new expertise, new ways of dealing with the past and looking at these objects… We’re trying to bring down the walls of the museum,” she said.

The Dutch plan to set up an independent research centre as a database for colonial-era art, including where it came from and how it was obtained, and assemble panels to handle restitution requests.

And that, says Smeulders, is where difficulties may arise.

The 36-carat diamond, for instance, was looted in 1875 by Dutch troops from the Sultanate of Bandjamasin, now part of Indonesia on the island of Borneo.

Governments in both countries have changed many times since then.

 

 

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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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