SLN conducts risky diving operation at capsized Chinese fishing vessel on high seas
The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) embarked on a Search and Rescue/Recovery (SARR) operation to assist the ongoing operations of the capsized Chinese fishing vessel LU PENG YUAN YU 028, which was reported on 16th May 2023 in the Australian Search and Rescue Region, south of Sri Lanka.
On the directives of the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel, SLNS Vijayabahu, with a team of Navy divers, was directed to engage in this crucial mission.
As per Sri Lanka’s commitment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) Colombo, established at the Navy Headquarters, is responsible for coordinating and facilitating maritime search and rescue operations in its designated region, as well as neighbouring regions.
As SLN arrived on the scene, the regional stakeholders have already commenced extensive aeronautical search and surface search in the area of the overturned Chinese fishing vessel. Having reached the location, the courageous Sri Lanka Navy divers meticulously searched for air pockets ,within the upturned vessel, hoping to find any survivors. After strenuous diving, amidst the challenges of zero visibility and enormous water turbulence, the Navy divers recovered two bodies from the captain’s cabin and accommodation area and they were handed over to the Tug De Tian on scene.
In addition, the Navy divers recovered 12 more bodies of the crew from various compartments of the vessel. Due to decomposition and the potential health hazards posed by operating in contaminated waters, with limited protective gear, it was determined that retrieving those bodies would be exceedingly dangerous. Next, the decision was made to map the locations of the bodies, while prioritizing the safety of the SLN divers.
Subsequently, the Diving officer and Navy divers, attached to SLNS Vijayabahu ,embarked on MV SHANDONG DE LONG which arrived there with a team of Chinese salvage team and made them a comprehensive briefing on the mapped locations of corpses, safe passages for divers to enter and exit the overturned vessel
High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka meets with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament & Secretary-General of Parliament
Michael Appelton, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka, accompanied by Andrew Traveller, Deputy High Commissioner, met with the Chair of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in Parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle MP, and Secretary-General of Parliament, Kushani Rohanadeera, recently.
During the meeting, the Ambassador emphasized that gender equality in politics is vital for the achievement of peaceful societies, the realization of full human potential, and sustainable development. He also stated that they have taken several initiatives to ensure equal women’s participation in the New Zealand Parliament.
Dr. Fernandopulle, MP, shared her concerns regarding the lack of gender sensitivity in Sri Lankan politics. She drew attention to the urgent need for a more inclusive political framework that ensures equal representation and participation for women.
The Secretary-General of Parliament affirmed that Parliament has taken actions to increase youth and women’s representation in committees and is currently working on improving disability access to Parliament.
Climate Change University to be launched next year
At the briefing on the progress of Climate Change and Green Growth held on Wednesday (31) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and officials of the Climate Change Secretariat led by President’s Adviser on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene it was revealed that the Climate Change University would be launched next year and that the University Grants Commission had identified approximately 130 scientists who have gained international recognition for their research on climate change who, together with their international affiliations would be brought together as part of the initiative.
President Wickremesinghe expressing his perspective on the International Climate Change University, emphasized that it should be a post-graduate institution solely focused on research which does not offer undergraduate courses. Any country or organization that contributes to the university becomes a stakeholder and gains membership on the Board of Governance. The Korean Exim Bank has expressed interest in partnering with the university and negotiations between Sri Lanka and the Korea Exim Bank, led by the External Resource Department have concluded successfully. The President said that prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT have also expressed interest in collaboration.
The discussions also revolved around inviting a group of international experts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tentatively scheduled for July/August to engage in policy conversations, addressing global issues, and exploring potential research projects that could be derived from these policy dialogues.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized that all future research in the field of climate change should be conducted at this institution.
IUSF threatens showdown
By Pradeep Prasanna Samarakoon
The university system is facing a grave crisis as around 40 percent of the lecturers have left the state education system, says the Convenor of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Madushan Chandrajith.
Chandrajith said the ‘exodus’ of top academics would lead to a massive drop in the quality of education as most of those who have left are among the cream of scholars.Chandrajith said that about one-third of students in state universities, eligible for hostel facilities, did not have access to them.He warned that the IUSF will organise massive protests, in the coming weeks, if steps are not taken to resolve the many issues in the University system.
While the Mahapola scholarship has not been increased, the prices of food in the hostels have risen dramatically, he said.
“About 2,500 students in Kelaniya, 4,000 students in Rajarata and 6,000 in Peradeniya do not have hostel accommodation,” he went on to say..According to Chandrajith, a student needs about Rs 20,000 a month to meet basic needs.
“One requires about Rs 12,000 a month for food alone,” he said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Public Administration told The Island that some lecturers and doctors had a 100 percent attendance record but they avoided work.
“They are responsible for the attendance registry and they cook up the books to have full attendance. They take a lot of OT payments by doing this. We are looking at introducing a digital mechanism to mark attendance at universities and hospitals,” he said.
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