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Lanka launches Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework

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Sri Lanka launched the Submarine Cable Protection and Resilience Framework with the assistance of the Government of Japan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on July15, at a stakeholder meeting chaired by Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundera.

Sri Lanka is the first country in Asia to come up with such a Framework and it would have not been possible, if not for the generous support of the Government of Japan through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Global Maritime Crimes Programme (GMCP), the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

In this new age of lockdowns, remote working and virtual conferences, the reliance on global digital communications has grown dramatically, yet most people incorrectly assume that satellites are responsible for sending data. In reality, more than 99% of all international digital data and communications are transferred via a network of more than 400 cables, which span a distance of more than 1.8 million kilometers across the world’s oceans.

The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) estimates that internet traffic increased between 25% and 50% between November 2019 and the early stages of lockdown in April 2020, and this will likely continue as we adapt to the “new-normal”. Zoom Video Communications revenue for the quarter ending on 31 July, 2020 saw a 355% increase compared to the previous year. This is just one indication of the increased video conferencing occurring as a result of widespread remote work, remote education, and remote personal video communications.

“Given our reliance on this global network, it is critical that it remains as resilient as possible,” the statement said.

Delivering the opening remarks, Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage highlighted that Sri Lanka had been working with international partners such as UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) in order to develop a National Plan on Submarine Cables, to provide Protection and Resilience for Sri Lanka having understood the threats and responsibilities of having several cables running through its jurisdiction.

Programme Coordinator of UNODC – GMCP Kaitlin Meredith made reference to the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/73/124, 31 December, 2018) which highlights the responsibility of States, whose economies and societies are served by these cables, to contribute to the protection of cables, under international law. She further reiterated that “UNODC values the continued leadership of Sri Lanka in the development of its national framework, as well as in the sphere of maritime security more broadly” and that “UNODC is looking forward to the continued partnership with Sri Lanka as we can begin to export some of the good practices and lessons learned to the region.”

In Sri Lanka, developing of the Framework was undertaken jointly by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and the Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change Division of the Foreign Ministry with the technical assistance of ICPC and UNODC-GMCP.

The process began in September 2020, with stakeholder engagement and was followed by a series of virtual consultations. The Framework encompasses international best practices recommended by ICPC.

At the launch of the Framework, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Japanese Embassy in Colombo Kitamura Toshihiro noted that “The National Framework would certainly consolidate Sri Lanka’s aspirations to develop into a Commercial and Financial Hub, as well as a Global Innovation Hub, as envisaged in the “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor”. It was also noted that this initiative, “in close partnership with UNODC-GMCP, to develop the National Framework, would not only be seen as a major breakthrough for Sri Lanka but also for the whole region, to stand as a shining beacon in the Indian Ocean”.

Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Oshada Senanayake reiterated the importance of ensuring a robust and resilient submarine cables ecosystem in Sri Lanka in line with the UNGA resolution, on the need of nations taking proactive measures to secure fiber-optic submarine cables. He reiterated that “the initiative will now provide for the implementation of a progressive national submarine cables protection and resilience framework to further strengthen Sri Lanka’s vision of digital transformation, as well as positioning Sri Lanka as a hub for technology services and innovation”.



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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