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August 31, 2016    Reading Time: 2 minutes

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UN-Habitat and The Ministry of Housing and Construction sign an MoU. Image credit -

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Strategic Cities Development Project receives international funding

The French Development Agency (FDA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have pledged their support to the Sri Lanka Strategic Cities Development Project, initially developed and supported by the World Bank through a loan of USD 147 million.

The FDA and the ADB will contribute to parts of the project that focus on the development of Anuradhapura and Trincomalee.

Ministry of Housing and UN-Habitat sign Memorandum of Understanding

The Ministry of Housing and Construction and UN-Habitat Sri Lanka have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 30 August. The MoU was signed by Mrs. W.K.K. Athukorala, Secretary to the Ministry, and Mr. Srinivasa Popuri, Senior Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The MoU was signed in the wake of cooperation between the government and UN-Habitat on revising the National Housing Policy, which includes provisions supported by UN-Habitat.

Delegation from India’s State Bank visits Sri Lanka

A delegation from the State Bank of India, headed by its Chairperson, Arundhati Bhattacharya, has arrived in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Central Bank. The delegation will attend a seminar on state bank reforms, and is scheduled to meet with staff and customers of the State Bank of India branch in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Bhattacharya will also deliver a speech, titled ‘Financial Sector Reforms in India’, in celebration of the Central Bank’s 66th anniversary.


UNSC extends mandate of UN Mission in Lebanon

The United Nations Security Council has adopted Resolution 2305, which unanimously extended the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, until the end of August 2017. The Council also expressed its concern over the limited progress made towards a permanent ceasefire.

In Resolution 2305, the Security Council also asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to conduct a strategic review of the mission by February 2017, to help to ensure that it was appropriately organised to fulfill its mandated tasks.

Gabon’s presidential election leads to rising tensions

Gabon’s incumbent President, Ali Bongo, and his presidential rival, Jean Ping, have both claimed victory in Gabon’s presidential election, held on 27 August. Police and military forces have been deployed in Libreville, in the wake of rising tensions before the release of the election result.

Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, has also expressed concern over the premature claims to victory, and called on President Bongo and Mr. Ping to urge their supporters to show restraint.

Syria accused of using chemical weapons by UN

An independent team formed by the UN has concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in two attacks, and that ISIS used mustard gas in one, in Syria’s ongoing civil war. This has led to calls for sanctions against Syria.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, stated that the data in the UN team’s report is insufficient to levy sanctions against Syria. He said that, while chemical weapons were certainly used, there was no hard evidence to link the use of chemical weapons to the Syrian government.

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