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October 14, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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The Maldives to leave the Commonwealth. Image Credit - PhotographyTTL / depositphotos

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Sri Lanka represented at the Executive Board session at UNESCO

Minister of Education and Representative of Sri Lanka to the Executive Board of UNESCO, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, and Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Tilak Ranaviraja, represented Sri Lanka at the 200th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board, held in Paris.

At the session, Minister Kariyawasam emphasized Sri Lanka’s advancements in education, culture, science, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, commended Sri Lanka for its progressive development.

Government discusses future of Sri Lanka’s energy

Minister of Power and Energy, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, has met with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, to discuss Sri Lanka’s future power generation plans, which will include renewable energy.

The possibility of sharing power with South Asia in the future was also discussed. Sri Lanka and India have considered laying an undersea power cable between the two countries.

Prime Minister to negotiate for Generalized System of Preference

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has stated that he will visit Brussels, Belgium on 15 October, to attend the negotiations for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)+.

Countries that qualify for GSP+ benefit from the removal of all tariffs on exports to the EU. Sri Lanka hopes to regain its GSP+ status, which was lost in 2010.


Antonio Guterres officially appointed to be next UN Secretary-General

The UN General Assembly has appointed Antonio Guterres as the next UN Secretary-General. The appointment follows a consensus resolution put forward by the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson.

Mr. Guterres will assume duties on 1 January 2017, after the current UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, steps down on 31 December. Antonio Guterres is the first Secretary-General to be appointed through a more transparent process compared to previous appointments.

Maldives to leave Commonwealth

The Maldives has announced that it will leave the Commonwealth over pressure from the organisation. The Commonwealth has been scrutinizing corruption and deteriorating human rights in the Maldives, and has alleged that the country has failed to sufficiently promote democracy.

The Maldives was officially put on notice by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group for the third time on 23 September, and given six months to deal with issues, which included the detention and prosecution of opposition leaders, interference in the judiciary and the undermining of democratic institutions.

Columbia extends FARC ceasefire

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has extended a ceasefire with the FARC rebels until the end of the year to renegotiate a peace deal, following the rejection of the previous accord in a national referendum.

The leader of FARC, Timoleón Jiménez, has stated that he is confident that the deal can be renegotiated.

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