Connect with us

News

Muslim World League fails to honour promise to pay Easter carnage victims USD 5 mn – WJ

Published

on

Wijeyadasa takes it up with Saudi-based outfit

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Government MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, says the Muslim World League owed families of those who had perished or suffered injuries in the Easter Sunday terror attacks USD 5 mn.

One-time Justice Minister and ex-President of the BASL Rajapakse said that Dr. Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Kareem Al-Issa had, on behalf of the Muslim World League, given an assurance in that regard, at a National Peace Conference, at Nelum Pokuna under the patronage of the then President Maithripala Sirisena on June 30, 2019.

Rajapakse told The Island he had taken up the issue with Secretary General of the Muslim World League Dr. Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Kareem Al-Issa recently.

In a letter dated March 22, 2021, MP Rajapakse urged the Muslim World League to carry through its widely reported promise made in the presence of President Sirisena and former Presidents, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Dr. Rajapakse emphasised that there couldn’t be any justification in further delaying the payment. “Let us hope those who organised the Nelum Pokuna event, too, will take up this matter with the Muslims World League and finalise the transfer of funds before the second anniversary of 2019 Easter Sunday carnage.”

 

Responding to another query, Rajapakse said the failure on the part of the Muslim World League to make the payment had been raised at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks.

The MP said that as the families of the victims hadn’t received the promised financial assistance, he had raised the issue with the Office of former President Sisisena and his successor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Dr. P. B. Jayasundera had recently confirmed that funds hadn’t been received yet, the MP said.

Referring to a letter received by the then Western Province Governor A. J. M. Muzammil from Dr. Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Kareem Al-Issa in the wake of accusations relating to the mysterious disappearance of USD 5 mn, Rajapakse questioned the rationale behind the Muslim World League holding up the payment pending Sri Lanka providing information relating to the spate of suicide attacks.

Samira De Silva, Secretary to former President Sirisena yesterday told The Island that the Muslim World League had held up the payment claiming the group was yet to receive response from the Nelum Pokuna event organisers to the following questions (1) the number of dead and wounded (2) their faith (religion) (3) list of the dead and the wounded (4) collateral damage to public property (5) number of widows and orphans (6) other relevant information and (7) account number of the President’s or  Prime Minister’s charitable fund.

 According to a missive received from Dr. Jayasundera, the Muslim World League was to directly get in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office to finalise the matter.

 The former Justice Minister said that those who organised the event had to ensure that compensation was paid as promised. “They had the President and two former Presidents on stage at Nelum Pokuna when the assurance was given to Easter Sunday victims,” MP Rajapakse.

MP Rajapakse took up the issue with the World Muslim League amidst ongoing debate in parliament on PCoI report on the Easter Sunday attack.

 

 



News

U.S. Ambassador to UN Agencies in Rome Cindy McCain to visit Lanka

Published

on

Colombo, September 23, 2022: United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

In addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).  U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.  Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

Continue Reading

News

President urges SL diaspora in the UK to invest in their motherland

Published

on

By Sujeeva Nivunhella
reporting from London

President Ranil Wickremesinghe last week urged the Sri Lanka diaspora in the United Kingdom to invest in Sri Lanka projects to revive the economy. Addressing a gathering at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, he said that he is proud that the British Sri Lankan community for making a mark in every field of the UK economy such as trading, services, business, and requested them to come together as Sri Lankans and people of Sri Lankan origin to help build the motherland.

The President added that Sri Lanka is looking at transforming its economy to a competitive export-oriented one to meet the current challenges and build social systems and modernize the education system.

He remarked on the special affection Queen Elizabeth II had towards Sri Lanka as the Head of the Commonwealth and the longest serving Head of State of Ceylon for 20 years prior to the nation becoming a Republic and stated that her passing is the end of an era.

The president, first lady and party arrived in London on Sept. 17 via Dubai by an Emirates flight to attend the State Funeral Service of Queen Elizabeth II.They were received at the Heathrow airport by High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena and were driven to the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, London where they stayed.

On Sunday (Sept. 18), the President accompanied by the First Lady and High Commissioner attended the Lying-in-State of the late Queen at the Palace of Westminster which was followed by a Reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.The President and the First Lady attended the State Funeral Service held at the Westminster Abbey on Monday (Sept. 19).  On the same day, he signed the Book of Condolence. The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly MP hosted a reception for the visiting world leaders at Church House.

On 20th September, the President met the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland QC. They discussed Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and matters of mutual interest. He also visited the London Buddhist Vihara during which Ven Dr Bogoda Seelawimala, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sanga Nayaka of Great Britain invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka.

Continue Reading

News

Families countrywide facing malnutrition, says Cardinal

Published

on

By Norman Palihawadane

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has warned that the prevailing economic crisis and increasing unemployment and food prices are accelerating malnutrition among hundred thousands of families countrywide.

Addressing a ceremony at the annual get-together of the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Service held at St Peter’s College Auditorium in Colombo, the Archbishop said that it was a shame that responsible local officials keep denying the prevailing status quo when world humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF continue to warn of the increasing malnutrition levels among children.

Many international organizations have pointed out that malnutrition in Sri Lanka was increasing at an alarming rate but the authorities responsible are hiding the truth and go to the extent of rejecting such reports.

“If they reject the reports of international organizations, then it is their paramount duty of conduct proper surveys to understand the situation. It is no secret that large numbers of Lankan families are starving due to the high prices of food. According to the UNICEF more than six million people consume only a single meal a day. It is so unfortunate that Health Ministry officials who spend their times in the air conditioned rooms in Colombo do not know the plight of the poor in rural areas,” the Cardinal said.He said that 225 MPs were concerned only of their well-being while continuing to ignore the actual and pressing issues of people.

“This country is in dire situation today mainly due to inefficient and corrupt political leaders. It is sad that these so-called people’s representatives are not concerned of the situation of people who are experiencing the worst ever economic and political crisis this country has ever faced,” the Cardinal said.

Continue Reading

Trending