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Japan provides more funding for demining

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The Government of Japan provided a total sum of US$ 636,363 (approx. Rs. 120 million) through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) to Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) for humanitarian demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka. The grant contract was signed on 2nd March 2021 at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between Ambassador Sugiyama Akira and Programme Manager of DASH Ananda Chandrasiri. 

A communiqué issued by the Japanese embassy in this regard states: The Government of Sri Lanka aims to achieve “A Mine Impact Free Sri Lanka” within a few years and become the next mine impact free country in the world. Towards this endeavor, Japan has been a major donor in mine clearance in the country since 2002, currently assisting all the four demining operators in Sri Lanka with aid exceeding US$ 39.5 million disbursed for this purpose.

 DASH has cleared more than 14 km2 of mine-contaminated land since 2010, and around 6km2 of this was achieved through the assistance of the Japan’s GGP. The project is expected to contribute to the Government’s efforts of ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling resettlement of more than 2,000 displaced people and enhancing their livelihoods directly or indirectly in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. 

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Mr. Chandrasiri stated:

“All Sri Lankans are in enormous appreciation of the invaluable and numerous assistances extended to Sri Lanka by Japan all along their strong and continuous friendship, which has reached nearly 7 decades by now. Japan has been a major supporter to the Sri Lankan mine action programme from its inception, where DASH has been continuously funded by Japan since 2010.

There still remain areas that are contaminated with mines and explosive remnants of war as a result of the country’s internal conflict that dragged on for three decades. The clearance undertaken by Japan-funded DASH programme has contributed to infrastructure development of relevant areas, and reestablishment of a sustainable economy for the resettled people.

 DASH believes that the most important factor contributing to the Sri Lankan Government-pursued peace building process of the country is assisting the young people, who were directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, for them to have not only a source of income, but most importantly their recognition in society. The funding assistance of Japan has enabled DASH to provide employment to a large number of young and needy people living in the North, strengthening the efforts of the Sri Lankan Government.”

 



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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