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November 25, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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Sri Lankan Navy to host International Maritime Conference in Colombo. Image Credit - vidumg / depositphotos

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USAID launches democracy project in Sri Lanka

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a three-year project titled ‘Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project’. The project was launched in partnership with the Parliament, and is expected to cost LKR 1.92 billion.

According to the Mission Director of USAID in Sri Lanka, Andrew Sisson, the aims of this initiative include improving strategic planning and communication within the government, enhancing public outreach, and developing more effective policy reform and implementation processes.

Sri Lankan Navy to host Maritime Conference

The Sri Lankan Navy will host its 7th International Maritime Conference, ‘Galle Dialogue 2016 – Sri Lanka’, on 28-29 November in Colombo. Maritime experts from 40 countries and 12 international organisations, including the EU, will attend the conference to discuss matters of interest under the theme ‘Fostering Strategic Maritime Partnerships’.

The conference aims to strengthen regional maritime cooperation during a time of ‘unparalleled maritime insecurity’. President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe will attend as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour, respectively.

Belgian business delegation to arrive next month

A business delegation from Belgium will visit Sri Lanka in December. The 15-member delegation will attend the ‘Sri Lanka-Belgium Business Forum’, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the Sri Lanka-Benelux Business Council, and the Embassy of Belgium in India.

Business-to-business meetings are expected to follow the Forum. The delegation includes representatives from the sectors of confectionery and food, engineering and technology.


UN Secretary-General expresses concerns over Kashmir

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has stated that he is “deeply concerned” about the deterioration of security along the ‘Line of Control’ in Kashmir. His statement followed intensified violence along the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the region.

Pakistan has urged the UN to act before the situation becomes a ‘full-fledged crisis‘.

European Parliament President to step down

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has announced that he is leaving EU politics to seek a seat in the German Bundestag. Mr. Schulz served two terms as President of the European Parliament. He is expected to become the German Foreign Minister and challenge German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the upcoming German election.

Mr. Schultz stated that he will continue ‘fighting for [the EU] from the national level’.

Japan responds to Russian missile deployment

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has stated that the deployment of Russian missiles on the Pacific islands claimed by Russia and Japan is ‘regrettable’.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Japan in mid-December, for bilateral discussions. A Russian spokesman expressed hope that the deployment of missiles would not hamper the upcoming meeting.

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