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November 24, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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Sri Lanka hosts Philippine delegation for consultations. Image Credit - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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First Session of Sri Lanka – Philippines Political Consultations concludes

The foreign ministries of Sri Lanka and the Philippines have concluded the first round of the Sri Lanka-Philippines Political Consultations on 21 November. The consultations are in line with decisions to enhance mutual cooperation, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2016.

The discussion dealt with matters of trade and economic cooperation, tourism and cultural cooperation, education, labour migration, mutual legal assistance, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

Cabinet approves amendment of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Minister of Justice, Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, to amend the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No. 25 of 2002. The Act addresses international mutual assistance in combating transnational crimes like money laundering and bribery.

The amendment was proposed to adapt the Act to recent developments in transnational crimes, and with article 16 of the United Nations Convention on Bribery and Corruption.

Sri Lanka votes in favour of proposed UN LGBT mandate

Sri Lanka has voted in favour of a counter-amendment against a draft resolution by African states, which sought to suspend independent UN investigator Vitit Muntarbhorn. The independent investigator received a three year mandate from the UN, to investigate claims of abuse from the international LGBT community.

The counter-amendment was adopted by the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 21 November, with 84 votes in favour, 77 against, and 17 abstentions.


Iraqi-led forces sever ISIL supply line

Iraqi-led forces have cut ISIL’s last remaining supply line from Mosul to Syria. Shia-Muslim paramilitary forces captured the road from Tal Afar to Sinjar, west of Mosul.

The capture follows an airstrike by a US-led coalition, which left the city with a single functioning bridge over the Tigris River and disrupted ISIL supply lines.

UK tightens visa regulations for non-EU migrants

The UK has imposed new visa regulations on non-EU migrant workers. The new regulations include higher salary thresholds for certain types of visas, and English language requirements for family members.

The new regulations are expected to particularly affect Indian companies, who account for 72% of the visas applied through an ‘intra-company transfer’ route. The UK Home Office has expressed concern about the effect of ‘intra-company transfer’ visas on the wages of UK workers.

Former NATO chief advocates for EU-Ukraine visa deal

The former head of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has indicated that not granting Ukrainians visa-free travel to the EU could embolden Russia.

The statement was made prior to the EU-Ukraine summit, held on 24 November. EU member states are expected to implement visa-free travel after the bloc strengthens mechanisms to suspend visa-free travel in an emergency.

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