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Finally some tangible action to ship back toxic waste dumped here

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By Ifham Nizam

The Sri Lanka government, with the backing of all relevant stakeholders, would use European Rules and Regulations to get compensation from the British company that dumped toxic waste shipments in Colombo three years back, Customs Media Spokesman, Sunil Jayarathne said yesterday.

He told The Island that the government had adopted measures on Saturday to send back 21 containers of toxic waste material to the United Kingdom; they are out of 263 TEUs dumped under the noses of authorities here in 2017/18. Jayaratne said the importation of such freight containers was a violation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal were against the rules and regulations of the European Union as well.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal usually known as the Basel Convention is an international treaty designed to reduce the movement of hazardous waste among nations.

Jayaratne said that measures had been taken after continuous discussion with the Attorney General’s Department, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Central Environmental Authority and the British High Commission.

“On the instructions of AG’s Department, the process of sending back illegally imported 21 containers out of 263 containers commenced on Saturday, in the presence of the Director-General of Customs. Those 263 containers were imported by a private party misusing operation facilities, which fall under the purview of the Board of Investments..”

Under the provisions of a Gazette issued in 2013, a total of 263 freight containers of waste material had been imported to Sri Lanka from the UK, in 2017; with the intention of enhancing the commercial value of the material and re-exporting, an official said. Majority of the freight containers imported under the guise of used mattresses, but they contained plastic and polythene waste, Customs Department investigations has revealed.

Jayaratne said: “Sri Lanka Customs detected this in 2018 and preliminary investigations revealed that most of those containers had been imported to the country in 2017. Subsequently, the matter especially with regard to 242 containers were referred to courts and they were all ordered to be shipped back. Legal proceedings are currently underway in this regard.”

The Director-General of Customs has ordered stringent action against those responsible, under the provisions of the Customs Ordinance.

The environment portfolio was under former President Maithripala Sirisena at the time the hazardous waste was imported

Colombo Metal Industries and ITL Colombo Limited used their licences to import the hazardous waste. The Court of Appeal, on September 20, 2019 further extended its Interim Order directing the authorities to prevent any transport or movement of the consignment of waste within the country.

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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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