Connect with us

News

Lanka’s Vedda tribe linked to ethnic Indians: Study

Published

on

A study by Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Colombo University has found that the Vedda tribe was genetically linked to ethnic Indians, said a report published by the Times of India.

It said: In a landmark study published this week in ‘Mitochondrion’ journal, 10 researchers from five institutions spoke about findings on the genetic history of the Vedda population, an indigenous group of Lanka.

It has found that the Vedda share a strong genetic similarity with the Austroasiatic Munda-speaking Santhal and Juang tribes in Odisha and the Dravidian-speaking Irula, Paniya and Pallar found in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Their study has revealed that the Vedda have a greater genetic similarity with these five tribes than with either Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese or Tamil populations with whom they have shared the island for centuries.

“This was a surprise — it shows Sri Lanka as an amazing place where three populations, living side by side, interacted very differently with one another,” Gyaneshwer Chaubey, a population geneticist at the Banaras Hindu University, who supervised the study, said.

“The Sinhala and Tamil are massively mixed — you could call them genetically nearly indistinguishable, but the Vedda have remained largely isolated, they’ve maintained their identity by very low mixing,” Chaubey said.

Archaeological excavations show that modern humans have been occupying Sri Lanka for the past 30,000 years, perhaps longer. The Vedda, originally hunter-gatherers, are the island’s only indigenous population and are believed to be the direct descendants of the island’s earliest inhabitants.

“The Vedda have long intrigued anthropologists, historians and scientists because of their distinct language and culture,” said Kumarasamy Thangaraj, a scientist and study collaborator at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Kumarasamy added: “Our study unravels their genetic origins and affinities with Indian populations.”

The Vedda’s original language is linguistically isolated, unrelated to any known language. Chaubey said it was one of three such linguistically isolated languages on the subcontinent, alongside Nihali, spoken in central India, and Kusunda in Nepal.

For their study, the scientists extracted genetic material from blood samples collected from 37 healthy, maternally unrelated Vedda individuals and compared their genomic segments with those from other populations.

Their maternal ancestry analysis suggests that the Vedda are the descendants of people who arrived from the Indian subcontinent some 55,000 years ago and who were likely an offshoot of a branch of modern humans who moved out of Africa into India and Asia.

The genetic proximity of the Vedda with Indian tribal populations that were among the earliest populations in India shows their deep common genetic roots, Chaubey said.

“The study highlights a distinct demographic history of the Vedda,” said Anjana Welikala, a scientist at Colombo University, and the study’s first author. The findings show that the Vedda largely remained genetically isolated despite the geographic proximity with the Sinhalese and Tamil populations.

Ruwandi Ranasingh, the study’s lead author at Colombo University, said the study had shown that the Vedda had preserved their distinct genetic makeup with limited gene flow from neighbouring Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil populations.

A study by Ranasingh and her Indian collaborators had last year shown that Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese and Tamil populations shared exceptionally high levels of genetic similarities, implying centuries of intermingling despite the differences in their arrival history, ethnicity, and language.

The Sinhalese had arrived in Sri Lanka between 800BC and 600BC while the island’s Tamil population are the descendants of arrivals from Tamil Nadu between 600BC and 300BC.

British husband-wife anthropologists Charles Seligmann and Brenda Seligmann had, in a treatise on the Vedda in 1911, proposed that they were related to the Dravidian jungle tribes in southern India but should be considered more primitive.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Sri Lanka and Indonesia pledge stronger bilateral ties and economic cooperation

Published

on

By

At a  bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of  the 10th World Water Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the longstanding relationship between their nations. The discussions, which covered a wide range of regional and international issues, underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing global challenges.

A major topic of discussion was the critical issue of water management. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of the World Water Summit and expressed Sri Lanka’s willingness to participate in the Global Blended Financial Alliance, an initiative aimed at addressing common financial challenges faced by countries in managing water resources. He commended Indonesia for establishing a Secretariat for the Alliance, recognizing its significance for Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe reiterated the importance of completing the PTA by early 2025, noting Sri Lanka’s existing free trade agreements with India, and Singapore, and ongoing negotiations with Thailand, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. He emphasized the potential benefits of joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), suggesting that Sri Lanka’s inclusion could encourage other South Asian countries to follow suit.

He also mentioned the ongoing removal of import restrictions and assured that Sri Lankan health authorities would address the entry of Indonesian pharmaceuticals into the market.

The discussion also touched upon regional security and economic cooperation in the Indian Ocean. President Wickremesinghe supported ASEAN’s Indo-Pacific outlook and stressed the need for closer bilateral and regional cooperation regarding Indian Ocean affairs. He proposed more frequent meetings between heads of government and a specific bilateral agreement with Indonesia to enhance commercial collaboration in the region.

Continue Reading

Latest News

Landslide early warnings issued to Badulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Ratnapura Districts

Published

on

By

The Landslide Early Warning Centre of the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has issued landslide early warnings to the districts of Badulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Ratnapura. The warning will be effective until 12 noon on 21st May 2024.

Accordingly,
Level II landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries divisions and surrounding areas of Seethawaka in the Colombo district and Mathugama in the Kalutara district.

Level I landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries divisions and surrounding areas of Haldumulla, Haputhale, Badulla, Hali Ela and Ella in the Badulla district, Padukka in the Colombo district, Nagoda and Elpitiya in the Galle district, Attanagalla in the Gampaha district, Dodangoda, Agalawatta, Ingiriya, Bulathsinhala, Walallawita and Palindanuwara in the Kalutara district, Yatinuwara, Ganga Ihala Korale, Kandy four Gravets or Ganagawata Korale,  Pasbage Korale, Udapalatha, Ududumbara and Udunuwara in the Kandy district, Kegalle, Deraniyagala, Yatiyanthota, Bulathkohupitiya, Mawanella, Galigamuwa, Dehiowita, Ruwanwella and Warakapola in the Kegalle district, Alawwa, Narammala and Polgahawela in the Kurunegala district, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Kiriella, Elapatha, Eheliyagoda, Kuruwita, Imbulpe, Ayagama and Kalawana in the Ratnapura district.

Continue Reading

Latest News

President highlights Global North’s failure in Climate Change Financing at 10th World Water Forum

Published

on

By

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the 10th World Water Forum, held in Bali, Indonesia today (20), highlighting the stark contrast between global funding priorities, pointing out the willingness of the Global North to fund death and destruction in Ukraine while showing reluctance to finance measures to combat climate change.

Accordingly, President Wickremesinghe proposed a 10% levy on the annual profits of global tax evasion assets deposited in tax havens, estimated at $1.4 trillion annually. He suggested that funds raised through this levy could support Blended Finance projects focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The World Water Summit, themed “Water for Common Prosperity,” began on May 18 in Bali, Indonesia, bringing together world leaders, experts, academics, entrepreneurs, and policymakers. The conference aims to unite nations in a collaborative effort to address global water issues.

Since its inception in 1997, the World Water Summit has been held every three years, serving as a premier platform for countries worldwide to share experiences and knowledge on best practices for water management. The summit facilitates dialogues among stakeholders on water, sanitation challenges, and sustainable development goals.

This year’s event sees the participation of key United Nations organizations, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations International Children’s Fund, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Climate Change Organization.

Following is the speech delivered by President Ranil Wickremesinghe;

At the outset let me thank the President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Joko Widodo for hosting the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. The theme ‘Water for shared prosperity’ focuses on collective responsibility in managing water resources, the life blood of all living beings and ecosystem services. This follows the “Sustainable Management of Lakes” Resolution proposed by Indonesia at the UNEA-5.

During the UNEA -6 held this year, the European Union together with Sri Lanka brought about the resolution “6/13 Effective and inclusive solutions for strengthening water policies to achieve sustainable development in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution”.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of Indonesia for taking the initiative during the G20 Presidency to launch the Global Blended Finance Alliance. Sri Lanka expresses its willingness to become a pioneering member.

Climate Change and water stress are two sides of the same coin. The cumulative effects of Climate Change are the main reason for what we see today as the water resource crisis. According to IPCC projected climate scenarios till 2090, Sri Lanka’s dry zone will get drier and the wet zone will get wetter in an unprecedented manner. Sea level rise will cause salt water intrusion in coastal areas resulting in salinization of land. I took this example from Sri Lanka while appreciating the fact that this is what is happening all over the world.

In global terms the solution to water stress revolves around climate mitigation and adaptation. Combating the triple planetary crisis with specific measures aiming at water. In the Nationally Determined Contributions water is classified under the adaptation sectors. On the other hand, mitigation is equally important as emissions are the root cause. Combating the threats to water resources posed by climate change requires colossal amounts of financial resources.

The Global North has failed miserably in adhering to the commitments to provide financial resources for Climate Change. There is a notable lack of political will after the euphoria of the Glasgow COP was over. Climate Change denial is gaining ground in the West.

The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, after a long drag, if effectively implemented can help to bridge the gap. This is a big IF. The Summit for a new Global Financing Pact will hopefully reach a conclusion by September this year. Nevertheless, the final outcome will depend on the results of the US Presidential Elections in November.

The OECD in 2021 projected the investment for global water related infrastructure at US $ 6.7 trillion for 2030 and US$ 22 trillion for 2058. The UNEP Report 2023 “Underfinanced – Underprepared” estimate the under financed gap to combat climate change at US$ 194 – 366 billion per year. The Global North is willing to fund death and destruction in the Ukraine. But there is an unwillingness to fund measures to avoid death and destruction caused by climate change.

Since money is not coming our way in anticipated amounts and at anticipated pace, to overcome the resource gap, Sri Lanka presented to COP 28 the Tropical Belt Initiative. A novel concept of harnessing commercial investments in the natural forests, mangroves, swamps, grassland water bodies and other natural resources in the Tropical Belt towards tackling the triple planetary crisis. The Tropical Belt from the time of its existence has been a ‘shield’ for the whole world. It is a catalytic accelerator of solutions to the ongoing triple planetary crisis. Investment in the tropical belt will bring in transformative changes to combat the triple planetary crisis.

In this context, the Initiative on Global Blended Finance will enable the Global South to mobilise the much needed financial resources. The US$ 9.4 billion available to commence this fund is a good example of leveraging concessional finance. The Tropical Belt Initiative will also benefit from this facility. In this context Sri Lanka proposes a 10% levy on the annual profits of global tax evasion assets deposited in tax havens. The annual profits are estimated at US$ 1.4 trillion per annum. The levy can be enforced by imposing sanctions, similar to those imposed on Russian Banks on the Banks and the Financial Institutes which fail to implement the levy. The monies raised by these levies to be made available to be utilised by the Blended Finance projects on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation.

The Global Blended Finance initiative is a supplement to the Loss and damage funds – not an alternative. These two measures must work in tandem. Therefore at this forum, let us express our appreciation for the hard work done by Indonesia in proposing this Initiative at the G20 culminating the establishment of the Alliance Secretariat.

Again, our thanks to President Joko Widodo for his contribution both in respect to the management of water resources and for bringing together the Global Blended Alliance.”

 

Continue Reading

Trending