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Lanka calls for concerted efforts to face uphill task of economic recovery in aftermath of covid

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Concerted efforts by all members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is vital to face the uphill task of economic recovery and rebuilding the livelihood of their citizens in the aftermath of covid-19, State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Tharaka Balasuriya, who represented Sri Lanka told the Forum on Saturday (12.)

This meeting was held virtually. In his statement Balasuriya commended the role of ARF as a proponent of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. He also called for collective efforts of the ARF member states to address traditional and non-traditional security threats.

“Concerted efforts by all members of the ARF are vital to face the uphill task of economic recovery and rebuilding the livelihood of its citizens in the aftermath of the global pandemic. In that context, achieving prosperity and promoting a people centric economic development plan is key,” Balasuriya said.

Traditional and non-traditional security issues are no longer confined to the geographical boundaries of a respective country. Therefore Sri Lanka believes that regional stability and recovery, practical security cooperation, maritime and cyber security, counter terrorism and transnational crimes and non-proliferation and disarmament can only be addressed through a regional effort, he said.

“Sri Lanka understands that the misuse of information and communication technology (ICT) as a major threat to global security. We need a collective effort to address and mitigate threats such as Cybercrime, cyber – attacks on critical infrastructure. ARF as a regional mechanism, has dealt successfully in countering terrorism and transnational crimes and underscored that in tackling these problems,” he said.

The 27th ARF adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action II (HPOA) which is to be implemented through the years 2020-2025. HPOA I which was the first in a series of plans of action building up to the realisation of the goals of the ASEAN vision 2020 which was adopted in 1997 which covered the period 1999-2004. HPOA II will serve as a sequel to the latter which is intended to build closer regional integration, consolidating and strengthening the economic fundamentals of the Member Countries.

The 27th ASEAN Regional Forum was represented by Malaysia, Canada, Indonesia, United States of America, The Philippines, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Thailand, China, European Union, Bangladesh, Timore Leste, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russia and Viet Nam.

ASEAN Regional Forum was established under the aegis of the ASEAN in 1993 and Sri Lanka has been a member of the ARF since 2007.



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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