Migiro travels to Thailand for regional meeting to spur development

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro heads to Thailand this weekend to chair the latest regional coordination meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) as part of her efforts to promote development worldwide.While in Bangkok, Ms. Migiro is also scheduled to meet Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Patama, as well as with representatives of some of ESCAP’s 53 Member States, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters today.The Deputy Secretary-General also plans to meet with UN staff based in Bangkok before she returns to UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday.One of Ms. Migiro’s key responsibilities since assuming her post last year is to strengthen the UN’s role as a centre for development assistance and policy. 15 February 2008Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro heads to Thailand this weekend to chair the latest regional coordination meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) as part of her efforts to promote development worldwide. read more

UN chief presents funds from benefit football match for children in conflict

Last month Ambassadors Heraldo Muñoz of Chile and Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein led out two teams of UN diplomats, who kitted up to raise money and awareness for an organization founded on the basis of Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which stipulates that every child has the right to play.Play31 provides children in countries torn apart by armed conflict with the basic necessity for play – a football – in the belief that the game has the unifying power to create peaceful societies. The Secretary-General commended Jakob Lund, who founded Play31, at an event at UN Headquarters in New York where he handed over the funds raised, noting that there have been many examples where “soccer and sports in general have created a very important atmosphere, politically – conducive to the creation of reconciliation.”He also commented that it was appropriate that he played defence, and sometimes goalie, in the match since, as Secretary-General, one of his main jobs is “to defend defenceless people and speak for the voiceless people.“I sincerely hope the diplomatic community at the United Nations will continue to work together with other leaders for the well-being and benefit of the many many children who need our support.” 13 May 2009Weeks after the final whistle had blown on a United Nations fundraising football match, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today scored the winning goal by passing a cheque for $11,000 to children who have suffered the ravages of war in Sierra Leone. read more

Hungary champions rights of minorities during address to General Assembly

Speaking on the fifth day of the Assembly’s annual high-level segment, Péter Balázs said it was time for the international community to pay special attention to respect for minority rights, particularly at the upcoming meeting in November in Geneva of the second Minority Forum.“The presence of flourishing minority communities does not weaken a State, but rather makes it stronger,” Mr. Balázs said. “Trust between the majority and minority within a country can be built on this basis.”He noted that extreme nationalist, racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic movements and sentiments have re-emerged or become stronger since the global economic crisis began.“We are witnessing alarming tendencies with a detrimental effect on the political participation, cultural life and educational opportunities of minorities… We cannot allow those alarming trends to prevail or roll back the advance of democratic values and human rights.”Mr. Balázs stressed the need to preserve the cultural and linguistic identities of national minorities and the upholding of their human rights in general.In his address the Foreign Minister also discussed the concept of “responsibility to protect,” the principle that requires governments to protect their citizens against genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.“We strongly believe that there is a clear and urgent need for further institution-building in the field of the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.“That is the reason why Hungary prepared this year a feasibility study on the establishment of the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. Such a centre could stimulate worldwide cooperative efforts in the next few years to establish a well-functioning system for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, through a dynamic and systematic approach of early action mechanisms.” 28 September 2009Vibrant minority groups strengthen countries rather than undermine them, Hungary’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today as he warned of “alarming tendencies” to curtail the political, cultural and educational opportunities worldwide in the wake of the financial crisis. read more

UN human rights experts call on States to ratify treaty on enforced

The International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, has been signed by 83 countries and ratified by 18 so far.The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance wrapped up its latest session today, which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by calling on “all other States to ratify the convention and accept the State and individual complaint process under the convention.”The treaty defines an enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or other form of deprivation of liberty by the State followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or the concealment of the whereabouts of the disappeared person.The working group also called on the UN to proclaim 30 August as the International Day of the Disappeared.During its current session, which began on Tuesday, the working group examined 10 cases reported under its urgent action procedure, as well as 170 newly submitted cases of enforced disappearances and information on previously accepted cases.“Enforced disappearances remain a global problem,” said Jeremy Sarkin, the group’s Chairman and Rapporteur. “Cases continue to be reported from all corners of the world. The fact that so many cases are reported under our urgent action procedure, that allows cases to be dealt with swiftly where they have occurred within 90 days of being reported, indicates that more needs to be done by all stakeholders to prevent and eradicate the practice.”Since its creation in 1980, the working group – which aims to assist families in determining the fate and whereabouts of disappeared relatives – has dealt with more than 50,000 cases in 80 countries. By opening channels of communication between the families and governments concerned, it seeks to ensure that individual cases are investigated and to clarify the whereabouts of persons who having disappearedThe working group continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved. Its five expert members serve in their individual capacities, and not as representatives of their governments.This week the experts reviewed cases dealing with Bahrain, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Colombia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, India, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Sudan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yemen.The current members of the working group are: Mr. Sarkin, of South Africa; Santiago Corcuera, of Mexico; Jasminka Dzumhur, of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Olivier de Frouville, of France; and Osman El-Hajjé, of Lebanon. 25 June 2010A United Nations human rights working group today urged Member States to back a global pact aimed at protecting people from enforced disappearances that is just two ratifications shy of the number needed to bring it into force. read more

UN health agency cautions on drugresistant diseasecausing germs

20 August 2010The ability of illness-causing germs to resist drugs has become a challenge to efforts against infectious diseases, the United Nations health agency said today, urging countries to implement infection control measures to limit the spread of multi-drug resistant strains of micro-organisms. “Some bacteria have developed mechanisms which render them resistant to many of the antibiotics normally used for their treatment, so pose particular difficulties, as there may be few or no alternative options for therapy,” the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said.An article published in the medical journal, The Lancet, earlier this month identified a new gene that enables some types of bacteria to be highly resistant to almost all antibiotics.The article has drawn attention to the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and, in particular, raised awareness of infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria.While multi-drug resistant bacteria are not new and will continue to appear, the latest development requires monitoring and further study to understand the extent and modes of transmission, and to define the most effective measures for control, WHO said.The agency said consumers, prescribers and dispensers, veterinarians, hospitals managers and diagnostic laboratories, patients and visitors to health-care facilities, as well as national governments, the pharmaceutical industry, professional societies, and international agencies, should be aware of the problem.WHO strongly recommended governments focus control and prevention efforts in four areas: surveillance for antimicrobial resistance; rational antibiotic use, including education of health-care workers and the public in the appropriate use of antibiotics; introducing or enforcing laws related to the selling of antibiotics without prescription; and adherence to infection prevention and control measures, including the use of hand-washing measures, particularly in health-care facilities. read more

Urgent solutions needed for Bosnias displaced says UN advocate Angelina Jolie

24 August 2010Hollywood actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie used her recent visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina to call for practical and urgent steps to alleviate the plight of the 113,000 people who remain displaced in the country some 15 years after the end of the war. The conflict that lasted from 1992 to 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina forced more than 2.2 million people to flee their homes, making it the largest displacement of people in Europe since the end of the Second World War, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). To date, more than one million people have returned home across Bosnia, with UNHCR playing a major role in the return, reconstruction and reintegration process. However, there are still 113,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, with some 7,000 still living in collective accommodation centres created more than 15 years ago and intended only as temporary housing. “The consequences of such a tragedy cannot be undone. However, we have a responsibility to do all in our power to reduce the pain by helping those who need assistance,” said Ms. Jolie, whose one-day visit on Saturday followed a similar one undertaken in April along with her partner and fellow actor, Brad Pitt.“In doing so, we contribute to overcoming divides and building a better future for all the people of the country,” she added. The acclaimed actress and activist, who met with the Chair of the Presidency, Haris Silajdžic, and Presidency member Željko Komšic during her visit, called for urgent measures to improve the lives of the displaced, many of whom are elderly or ill and are barely able to look after themselves. She added that she looked forward to returning to the region over the coming months to continue her work. In addition to the IDPs, UNHCR also provides support to some 7,000 refugees from Croatia and those members of the country’s Roma community who are at risk of statelessness. read more

UN reaffirms commitment to supporting Afghanled transition to greater stability

Co-chaired by the UN and the Government, the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) oversees implementation of the Afghanistan Compact – a five-year development blueprint launched in January 2006 by the country and its international partners.Today’s session was the first to be held since the Kabul Conference of July, which set out the commitments for action that form part of what is known as the “Kabul process” that will see a transition to greater Afghan responsibility and ownership, in both security and civilian areas.“The Government has set forth an ambitious agenda,” said Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA). “We applaud the collaborative way in which ministries have worked together to identify the top priorities for their country’s future. We now have a concrete roadmap to deliver practical results. The international community is committed to supporting this Afghan-led process.”Detailed action plans have been put in place for the Government’s 22 National Priority Programmes, which will drive the delivery of stability and prosperity across the country. A major step forward has been the establishment of a reporting system to monitor progress and to demonstrate results to the Afghan people and the international community.International partners welcomed the steps taken by the Government since the Kabul Conference and commended the progress made to establish a framework to support the delivery of governance, security and development in Afghanistan. 15 November 2010The United Nations envoy mission in Afghanistan today reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the country in delivering governance, security and development, as the Government and its international partners met to discuss the progress made in recent months. read more

UNbacked Cambodia genocide tribunal begins fitness hearing for accused

The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago began its fitness hearing today into the health of two of the ageing defendants currently on trial. Nuon Chea, 84, and Ieng Thirith, 79, are among four most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge facing charges before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), sitting in Phnom Penh. They are accused of genocide, murder, torture, religious persecution and other war crimes and crimes against humanity over their alleged actions when the Khmer Rouge was in power between April 1975 and January 1979. Professor John Campbell, a specialist geriatrician from New Zealand, was in court today at the start of the three-day hearing aimed at determining whether the accused will be well enough to stand trial. In his assessment, Mr. Campbell found Ieng Thirith, a former social affairs minister under the Khmer Rouge, “cognitively impaired” which compromised her rights to a fair trial. He also explained that Nuon Chea was unable to sit for long periods, but that he was otherwise fit to stand trial and did not suffer from cognitive or memory problems. Mr. Nuon, known as “Brother Number Two” under the Khmer Rouge, acted as chief policy architect of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, controlled the country’s internal security apparatus and rendered support for the regime’s policies of forcible relocation, enslavement and other inhumane acts. They are on trial along with Ieng Thirith’s husband, Ieng Sary, an 84-year-old former history professor who served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister under the Khmer Rouge, and Khieu Samphan, 79, who served as head of State of Democratic Kampuchea. He took over from Pol Pot when he retired as the official head of the Khmer Rouge in 1987. Under their alleged leadership, at least 1.7 million people are believed to have died from torture, starvation and execution, the ECCC said in a news release. The Trial Chamber held an initial hearing of the trial in late June and is expected to begin substantial hearing to examine evidence and witnesses by early next year. More than 800 people came to the Court to observe the fitness hearings today, many of them high school and college students. The ECCC was set up in 2006 and the UN provides assistance through the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT) and participates in the operations of the tribunal. 29 August 2011The United Nations-backed tribunal in Cambodia dealing with mass killings and other crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge three decades ago began its fitness hearing today into the health of two of the ageing defendants currently on trial. read more

North American stocks fall sharply as investors worry over December US rate

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed sharply lower as investors south of the border mulled the increased odds of a Federal Reserve rate hike following last week’s strong U.S. jobs data.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX index gave back 70.68 points at 13,482.62.In New York, the Dow Jones average of 30 stocks was down 179.85 points at 17,730.48, the broader S&P 500 index declined 20.62 points to 2,078.58 and the Nasdaq lost 51.82 points to 5,095.30.The Canadian dollar was at 75.33 cents U.S., up 0.12 of a cent from Friday’s close.On the commodity markets, the December gold contract rose $0.40 to US$1,088.10 an ounce, the December crude contract fell by 42 cents at US$43.87 a barrel and the December contract for natural gas was down seven cents at US$2.30.

Montreal startup Element AI nabs US102 million in investments for expansion

TORONTO — A Montreal startup is getting a total of US$102 million from Microsoft, Intel and several other investors that will fund the eight-month-old company’s drive to become a leader in artificial intelligence.Element AI chief executive Jean-Francois Gagne says the new round of funding will pay for 250 jobs and offices in Toronto and Asia that the company aims to have in place by January.Gagne says Element AI’s goal is to create a Canadian publicly listed company that brings AI capabilities to traditional industries, such as manufacturing and financial services.In addition to the prominent technology giants, some of the funding will come from National Bank and Fidelity Investments Canada.Gagne says confidentiality agreements prevent Element AI from saying how much it received from each investor or how much of the total equity was purchased by the new investors.Gagne co-founded Element AI in October with fellow entrepreneur Nicolas Chapados, the Real Ventures fund and Yoshua Bengio, an AI pioneer and professor at the Universite de Montreal. read more

SPTSX highlights

Closing TSX Open 15,104.15 Close 15,055.99 Low 15,055.99 High 15,107.68 Change -20.17 Volume 210,415,223 Value 3,383,294,782

Teck Resources fined 14 million for fisheries act violations at coal operation

CALGARY — Teck Resources Ltd. says it will pay $1.425 million after pleading guilty in a B.C. Provincial Court Thursday to three counts of violating the Fisheries Act.The court ordered the Vancouver-based mining giant to pay the fine to the Environmental Damages Fund, which will be used for fish protection and conservation in the East Kootenay region of B.C.Teck Resources has also been ordered to post information on the conviction to its website, and it will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry where it already appears for three other fishery act violations.Thursday’s conviction relates to the 2014 discovery by federal enforcement officers that Teck was releasing effluent harmful to fish into Line Creek, a waterway designated as having high fisheries value.The investigation found numerous dead fish in the Line Creek watershed, including bull trout which is identified as a species of special concern in the area, as a result of the discharge from Teck’s water treatment facility.Teck said it launched an extensive investigation after the incident, and has implemented numerous measures to prevent a recurrence, including improved monitoring and incident response programs, additional process controls and creation of an effluent buffer pond.The company said it took full responsibility for the fish deaths, which it believes was caused by high levels of nitrite, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and phosphorous unintentionally discharged into the water during commissioning of the facility.Officers were alerted to the issue after reports of dead fish in ponds near Teck’s Line Creek coal operation, which sits 25 kilometres north of Sparwood in southeastern B.C. read more

Home Capitals shares fall as new mortgages drop 85

Shares of Canadian lender Home Capital Group fell more than 7 per cent in early trading, a day after the company posted an 85 per cent drop in mortgage originations in the third-quarter from a year ago.The company said total mortgage originations in the quarter was $385 million, compared with $2.54 billion a year earlier.Shares of the company fell as much as 7.7 per cent to $13.26. The stock was among the biggest losers on the Toronto Stock Exchange.“Challenges growing in the loan book may indicate that broker relationships are proving tough to repair, which would cloud our outlook for regaining share in a competitive non-prime origination environment in 2018,” Raymond James analysts wrote in a note.Home Capital said in June it would sell a portfolio of commercial mortgage assets valued at $1.2 billion to trim outstanding debt on a $2 billion emergency facility it agreed with the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) in April.The expensive bridge financing provided by HOOPP affected the company’s ability to originate new mortgages since it could not afford to lend money at lower rates than its cost of borrowing.Home Capital said in a statement on Tuesday the process of restoring loan growth had been slower than planned and was the management’s top priority.Up to Tuesday’s close, the lender’s stock had fallen about 54 per cent this year.© Thomson Reuters 2017 read more

UN raises disappearances with Lanka

“The Working Group deals with cases of enforced disappearances wherever they occur,” the experts said at the end of the Group’s session, expressing their “deepest concern that after 20 years since the adoption of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, enforced disappearances continue to occur in many countries, often in a persistent manner.” It examined 17 reported cases of enforced disappearance under its urgent action procedure, as well as more than 400 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones. The Working Group also finalized and approved its 2012 annual report, which includes chapters on 97 States and two general comments. It also reports on all new cases and those already under consideration, and the Working Group’s major concerns and observations. The report will be presented at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council, in March 2013. The expert panel held meetings with representatives of the Governments of Guatemala, Japan, Spain, Sri Lanka and Togo to exchange views on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general. It also met with non-governmental organizations and family members of disappeared persons. Members of the Working Group also held informal bilateral meetings with States to exchange information with a view to enhancing cooperation.The Working Group met with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, established in 2006 in accordance with article 26 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to exchange information on their respective activities and discussed about the coordination of common initiatives. Finally, in the context of the session, the Working Group’s official missions to Libya and Spain were confirmed for 2013. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has had discussions with Sri Lankan officials on individual cases and on the issue of enforced disappearance in general.A statement by the working group today said that during its 98th session held in Geneva, from 31 October to 9 November 2012, the independent human rights experts studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kenya, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. read more

Aryasinha briefs the Pope

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, who is concurrently accredited to the Holy See, has briefed His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the developments in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva said today.The briefing took place after the Ambassador presented his credentials to the Pope Benedict at a ceremony held at the ApostolicPalace at the Vatican. He explained the significant developments taking place in Sri Lanka since the restoration of peace in the country, in the areas of resettlement of the displaced, re-integration of ex-combattants, reconciliation between all communities, economic and infrastructure advancements in the former conflict affected areas as well as other parts of the country, and the noteworthy growth in the tourist sector. Ambassador Aryasinha traced the historic relations between the Holy See and Sri Lanka and noted the constructive contribution of the Church towards the areas of education, healthcare, social services and post-conflict development in the country. Ambassador Aryasinha, in his message, said “as Sri Lanka builds on a new era of peace, stability and equality, where the multicultural, multi-religious and multiethnic dimension that the country is renowned takes primacy, the pivotal role that can be played by religious leaders in this regard had been readily recognized”.Noting “the important contribution and dedication of the Roman Catholic Church towards inter-religious dialogue and socio-cultural development in Sri Lanka”, Ambassador Aryasinha made special mention of “the valuable services rendered by His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith”. He also appreciated the “contribution made towards this end by the Holy See through the Apostolic Nuncio in Colombo, and the generous donor assistance by Caritas International and its associated charities”. read more

Five member TNA delegation to head to Geneva

A delegation from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is expected to leave for Geneva this month to hold discussions with UN Human Rights officials and the international community to gather their support for an international war crimes probe, reports said today.The visit will take place ahead of the release of the report on Sri Lanka by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights during the 30th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Last week the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution refusing to back a domestic investigation into the war crimes. (Colombo Gazette) “Before the report is submitted, we will be holding discussions with members from the international community and the UN Human Rights office to make our stand clear. We reject any domestic investigation and want war crimes probed by an independent foreign team,” TNA Northern Provincial Council member M.K. Shivajilingam said. The report is expected to be critical towards the LTTE and the former Government who have been accused of widespread human rights violations in the final stages of the war between the military and the LTTE. The five member TNA delegation will be travelling to Geneva independently and will not be a part of a Government delegation which will also be attending the Council sessions, Shivajilingam added.The UN estimated that at least 40,000 Tamil civilians had been killed in the final months of the battle by both government and rebel shelling and had earlier called for an international independent probe. read more

Relations between Canada and Lanka back on track

The deeply strained relations between Sri Lanka and Canada have been given a fresh start following talks between President Maithripala Sirisena and newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Malta.The Canadian Prime Minister said that delisting of some Diaspora groups was a good sign and it gives the correct signal that the government wants to build a new era based on friendship and goodwill. The two leaders agreed to strengthen and deepen bilateral ties, the President’s office said. During his separate meetings with two Prime Ministers, the President explained in detail the initiatives of the government to bring about reconciliation among the different ethnic communities and said that bringing normalcy to the people of the North and East who have suffered for more than 30 years due to the war was a priority of his administration. The President invited the Sri Lankans who left the country and settled down in Canada and Australia to return to Sri Lanka.Prime Ministers Trudeau and Turnbull conveyed their appreciation to the President on the remarkable changes that he has brought to governance in Sri Lanka. They said that reconciliation and ensuring justice are important elements for recovery after a difficult period of conflict.During his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Turnbull, the President thanked Australia for the assistance extended to Sri Lanka over the years. Premier Turnbull thanked Sri Lanka for the excellent cooperation extended to tackle illegal immigration. President Sirisena assured that Sri Lanka was extremely strict on this issue and people who indulge in people smuggling will be severely dealt with. Both leaders agreed to maintain contact and work together to enhance bilateral ties. (Colombo Gazette) President Maithripala Sirisena met the Prime Minister of Canada and also the Australian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta today. Canada’s relationship with Sri Lanka under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was on rocky ground as a result of human rights concerns in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena congratulated Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull for their electoral victories in Canada and Australia respectively.During his meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, President Sirisena recalled the excellent bilateral relations that the two countries enjoyed during the tenure of Trudeau’s father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and that they should work together to restore the relationship. read more

JVP warns Government may face same fate as former regime

“We believe by staging protests the rights of the people can be won,” he said. Tilvin Silva said that if the current Government also disregards the views of the public then they will also face the same fate as Rajapaksa. (Colombo Gazette) Silva said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa disregarded protests staged by the public and eventually he was sent home at the last Presidential election. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today warned that the current Government will face the same fate as the former regime if it fails to listen to the voice of the people.JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that staging protests or demonstrations is the best way to get a message across to the Government.

President assures solution on missing persons issue

President Sirisena was in Puthukkudiyiruppu today to declare open a new garment factory by the Hirdaramani group. Addressing the gathering at the event, the President said that when he spoke to the employees of the factory they spoke to him about a few concerns they had. President Maithripala Sirisena today assured that he will look to resolve the issue on persons reported missing during the war.The President gave the assurance when he visited Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu, a town which was once under LTTE control. President Sirisena said that the people in the war affected North cannot be kept happy simply by infrastructure development but by winning their hearts. (Colombo Gazette) Among the concerns raised was poor infrastructure facilities in some areas of the North despite the end of the war seven years ago.However some employees had also raised concerns over Tamils reported missing during and soon after the war and over the arrest of several Tamils under anti-terrorism laws. President Sirisena said that he took all the concerns into consideration and assured the Tamils employed at the factory that he will address their concerns.Hundreds have been reported missing, particularly in the North and the Government has already said it will establish a missing persons office to look into the issue.The Government has also said it will repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) under which several Tamils were arrested by the former Government over suspected terrorism links, and replace it with a new law. Audio Playerhttp://colombogazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pudukudueruppu-Garment-Opening-HE-speech-FM.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. read more