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Maldives to enhance cooperation with Lanka in boat building 

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Virtual meeting between the NBAM and the Representatives of the Sri Lanka Boat and Ship Building Industry in collaboration with the EDB.

A virtual meeting between the National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) and the Representatives of the Sri Lanka Boat and Ship Building Industry was hosted by the Foreign Ministry in collaboration with the Export Development Board (EDB).

An EDB release said that the meeting, held on Monday (11), aimed at enhancing mutual cooperation in the field of Ship and Boat Building industry between Sri Lanka and Maldives.

During the welcome remarks, Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, P. M. Amza, noted this as a landmark event for enhancing collaboration between the two countries to share knowledge and resources which would pave the way for greater physical engagement to conquer the world together.

Additional Secretary Amza further noted that the Export Development Board has identified ship and boatbuilding as a priority area for Sri Lanka whilst emphasising on the strategic location of Sri Lanka. He continued that this first ever engagement would be mutually beneficial to both countries and a priority to further enhancing the economies and strengthen the existing bilateral ties and that it would be good for the sectors if an Agreement between the counterparts could soon be effective.

The Director General of Export Development Board of Sri Lanka (EDB) Chithranjali Dissanayake indicated that the initiative is an important step forward to energise the collaboration towards a more sustainable partnership in the industry and stressed that the focus of EDB is the Boat Show 2021 to be held from October 25-29 virtually and that Sri Lanka has taken steps to enter the nautical tourism as well and that collaboration in this field is certainly vital to meet the partners globally .She also called the Maldives boat Industry to register and participate at the boat show to have more interactions.

President of the National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) Ahmed Afrah presented on the boat building industry in connection to the tourism sector of Maldives ensuring economic and social development aspects.

Afrah further noted that the Marine Exhibitions, Maldives boating awards event and the Stay Safe Afloat as some of the important activities carried out by the association in addition to the magazine publications on environment awareness promotions.

Managing Director of Boat Building Technology Institute of Sri Lanka (BBTI) Gamini Herath underlined that the focus of BBTI is to promote Sri Lanka as a Boat Building Hub in the South Asia region. Further that some of the products include boat accessories, life jackets, boat and ship repairing including repairs of super luxury vessels and yachts, and that their services have expanded to markets in Africa, Europe and some Middle Eastern countries as well as to Indonesia and the Maldives.

During the discussions, the Maldivian side pointed out that around 10,000 to 20,000 movements in the Maldives get around the island nation and raised the concern of Sri Lanka having not much prepared to pitch in the Maldivian market. It was also proposed to have joint ventures in the industry to facilitate better investment and business engagements.

The Sri Lankan side noted the absence of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement which results in the lack of approaching the sector due to tax burden among other obstacles and both sides agreed to work on drafting an Agreement on the industry for closer cooperation and taking the relations to newer heights. The meeting was arranged by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Male. Senior Officials of the Foreign Ministry, Export Development Board and the representatives of Colombo Dock Yard and executives of the Sri Lanka boat and ship building industry and the executive members of the NBAM participated at the event.



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UK funds projects here to prevent conflicts that threaten its interests

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GoSL not among recipients

‘The CSSF is a cross government fund which supports and delivers activity to prevent instability and conflicts that threaten UK interests’

– UK Govt. website

The British High Commission yesterday (25) announced funding for projects worth £3.7m in 2022/23 here to thwart instability and conflicts that threaten British interests.

The announcement came after the conclusion of the visit of British Foreign Minister, Lord Tariq Ahmad, who is also Minister of State for South Asia, the UN, and the Commonwealth and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. The British official visited Jaffna and Trincomalee.

The British HC quoted Lord Ahmad as having said: “Building lasting and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka, based on reconciliation, justice and protecting human rights is key to a stable Sri Lanka, which can attract foreign investment and achieve its economic potential. We are pleased to announce continued support to Sri Lanka through the Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) to address legacies of conflict, promote human rights and build cohesion across all

communities through programme funding of up to £3.7m in 2022/23.”

In response to The Island query whether the Sri Lankan government would be among the recipients of CSSF funding, BHC spokesperson said: “The funding is for programmes and projects implemented with support from BHC. All CSSF programming in Sri Lanka, will be delivered through a combination of civil society, private sector, and international development partners.”

According to the UK government website, the CSSF addressed complex national security challenges and promote international peace and stability. The National Security Council (NSC), which is chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by senior cabinet ministers, sets the CSSF’s strategic direction. It is guided by the priorities set out in the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The BHC stated: “Lord Ahmad met senior members of the government, including President Gotabaya Rajapaska and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. He discussed the importance of the UK Sri Lanka relationship and areas of mutual interest such as climate change and economic recovery from Covid-19. The Minister also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Sri Lanka on Healthcare Cooperation, which will improve knowledge sharing, best practice and expertise on healthcare, and develop an ethical and sustainable recruitment programme for the employment of Sri Lankan nurses and other healthcare professionals in the UK.

During his visit to the North and Eastern Provinces, the Minister met with local politicians and civil society. He discussed key Tamil and Muslim concerns, local governance and inclusive political engagement participation. He emphasised the UK’s support for open, tolerant and inclusive societies as well as freedom of religion or belief.

Throughout his visit to Sri Lanka, Lord Ahmad heard about the essential role civil society play in promoting respect for human rights and their views on how to make progress on reconciliation and accountability.”

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UGC Chief receives ‘The Order of the Rising Sun’ twice

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Senior Prof. Amaratunga poses for a photograph with Amb Sugiyama after receiving the title

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) has received the prestigious Japanese title ‘The Order of the Rising Sun’ twice.

The academic received the title the highest order conferred by the Government of Japan in the name of His Majesty the Emperor, on 14 Oct. 2021 from the then Japanese Ambassador in Colombo Akira Sugiyama at his official residence.

For the second time, the UGC Chief received the same title from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Dharmavijayaloka Vihara in Rukmale in Pannipitiya at an event organised on 22 January, 2022.

The Presidential Media Division said that President Rajapaksa after receiving the award

from W.K.H. Wegapitiya, Chairman of University of Sri Jayewardenepura Alumni Association and Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki presented it to Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga.

Prof. Amaratunga poses for a photograph with President Rajapaksa

Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne delivered the keynote address on the occasion.

‘The Order of the Rising Sun’ is conferred by His Majesty on individuals who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture et al.

The Japanese embassy announced Senior Prof. Amaratunga and Manoj Fernando, Executive Vice President of the Sri Lanka Baseball/Softball Association (SLBSA) received the award.

The Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Most Ven. Ittapana Dhammalankara Thera has presented a memento to Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki.

W.K.H. Wegapitiya and Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, presented a memento to the President. The members of Maha Sangha, MP S.B. Dissanayake, Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of the Universities, and alumni of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura were also present.

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Cardinal insists on taking Easter killings to int’l community

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Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has said they are left with no alternative but to turn to the international community to seek justice for victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, according to a report published by the Union of Catholic Asian News yesterday (25).

“We tried our best to solve the issue within the country and do justice to our people but have failed,” he said during an online forum with an international audience on Jan. 24.

“The legal system under the Attorney General does not consider the recommendations of the presidential commission on the Easter attacks, therefore we have no option but to go international.”

Cardinal Ranjith had hinted in April 2021 of his intentions to not only approach the United Nations but also countries with global influence.

“We can influence those countries as the Church is an international organisation. We have connections all over the world,”he said.

A group of suicide bombers affiliated to local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamaath was suspected to be behind the bombings at three churches and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in 2019. The attacks killed 269 people, including 37 foreign nationals, and left around 500 injured.

Catholics in Sri Lanka have not been happy with the investigations and led by Cardinal Ranjith have vowed to fight for justice until the truth behind the attacks is revealed.

Cardinal Ranjith said he was not satisfied with the investigations underway since the recovery of a live hand grenade at All Saints’ Church in Borella on Jan. 11.

Muni, a church worker, has been arrested as a suspect by police but the local Church alleged he was being falsely implicated.

Cardinal Ranjith said that such a thing will not be allowed to happen. “We trust the judiciary to take steps to rectify the wrongdoing in the court,” he said.

The arrest of a retired doctor in connection with the same case had further raised suspicion, with Father Cyril Gamini questioning the police investigations.

“We understand that this is an attempt at fabricating a story. The whole country knows that this is a drama and we can see it is a very weak script,” he said.

Father Gamini was earlier questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department over his claims regarding the Easter Sunday attacks during an online forum last November.

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