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Lanka seeks to strengthen ties with US

Sri Lanka is seeking to further strengthen ties with the United States,  Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya said.The Sri Lankan Embassy in the US, in a statement today, said that Sri Lanka has been making tremendous progress in all aspects of development since the dawn of peace in 2009 which merits positive recognition from its longstanding friends like the United States. Ambassador Wickramasuriya said that with the end of the war there is ample opportunity for both countries to benefit from an enhanced relationship.“Sri Lanka is very keen in enhancing trade relationship with the US. Some of the US corporate giants like Boeing, Caterpillar, Marriott, Starwood, 3M, John Deere, and Coca-Cola have already recognized Sri Lanka’s business potential”, he said. “ If you compare Sri Lanka today with what it was for the three decades before the dawn of peace in 2009, you will realize the country has never been so stable , peaceful and with such strong economic potential as it is today under the visionary leadership of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa”, he said. The Embassy quoted the Ambassador as telling members of the House Chiefs of Staff Association (HCoSA) that there needs to be cooperation by congressional officials to bring Sri Lanka- US ties to the next level through increased understanding of the true situation in Sri Lanka. read more

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Destruction of cultural heritage is an attack on people and their fundamental

“Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali and Syria are all in our minds today, but many more countries are to be added to this list, where acts of intentional destruction harm all, target free thinkers and disproportionately affect people belonging to minorities,” the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, stressed yesterday in her briefing to the Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues (Third Committee).Highlighting challenges and solutions to the problem of deliberate destruction of cultural heritage, and stressing that it must be considered a human rights issue, Ms, Bennoune noted that such ongoing destruction in the war-plagued Yemen is a particular source of concern.According to Special Rapporteur, in order to protect cultural heritage, including precious monuments, sites and sacred places, the first step that has to be taken is protecting human rights and people. “Destruction is often accompanied by other grave assaults on human dignity and human rights. We must care not only about the destruction of heritage, but also about the destruction of the lives of human beings. They are interrelated,” Ms. Bennoune stated. She also emphasized that armed conflict is among the root cause of heritage destruction, as well as indiscriminate attacks which failed to distinguish between military targets and civilian infrastructure, deliberate targeting, and acts based on an inappropriately broad definition of military necessity. “[It] undermines the right to freedom from discrimination and numerous other human rights, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of artistic expression and creativity; and the rights to take part in cultural life, and to access and enjoy cultural heritage”, she added.The Special Rapporteur suggested that holistic strategies which promote human rights and peace-building are solutions to the problem, and they must be integrated into the human rights-based approach to the issue. “It means consulting the people who have particular connections with heritage when seeking to determine whether they wish to rebuild or reconstruct such heritage and if so, how and when,” she said. In Ms. Bennoune’s opinion, it is important for States to fight extremism and fundamentalist ideologies, sectarianism, and discriminatory attitudes, in accordance with international standards, while promoting respect for human rights, tolerance and pluralism.In the end of her report, the Special Rapporteur paid tribute to all those who had sacrificed their lives to preserve world’s cultural heritage. “In many cases we must consider cultural heritage professionals on the frontlines of the struggle against destruction as human rights defenders,” Ms. Bennoune stated, adding that it is vital that we ensure their safety and security, grant them asylum, and create necessary work conditions for them. The door of the Sidi Yahia Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, before and after it was attacked. Photos: UNESCO/Lazare Eloundou Assomo; Ministère de la culture du Mali/DNPC read more

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Provincial 3MT contest being livestreamed Thursday morning

Let’s get behind Carly Cameron, Brock’s 2016 3MT champion, on Thursday, April 14 at the provincial finals of the Three-Minute Thesis Competition in Waterloo. Cameron won Brock’s 3MT finals last week to advance to the provincial finals.The master’s student in Applied Health Sciences is researching ways to make the gym setting a more comfortable and less critical place for women.The Brock community is invited to watch the Ontario contest that will be livestreamed at https://livestream.com/cigionline/events/5142325, beginning at 10 a.m. on April 14. Based on a random draw, Cameron will present fifth out of the field of 20 doctoral and master’s degree students representing Ontario’s universities.The event can also be followed on social media with the hashtag #3MTOnt.   “After years of using language that’s highly specialized in my field, this competition made me think about the big picture impact of my research and how to convey that to the public,” says Cameron. “To be given the opportunity to share this with the broader community is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between research and practice.”Winners of the 3MT Ontario, will receive $2,000 in total prize money. As well, the top five presenters will move onto the national level, an online competition co-ordinated by the Canadian Association of Graduate Schools.Sitting across from the competitors in Waterloo will be a panel of judges with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Invoking images of “American Idol,” the 3MT Ontario judges will score the quality of the presentations and the presenters’ ability to engage the audience. The judges for the 3MT Ontario are: Rob Baker, guitarist for the Tragically HipDavid Meyers, chief executive officer of Iceberg VodkaSusan Anzolin, chief financial officer for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)Ken Steele, chief futurist at EduvationGohar Ashoughian, university librarian, Wilfrid Laurier UniversityThe 3MT is hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University and is open to the public. The event will take place at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI), 10 a.m. to noon, 67 Erb Street West Waterloo.More information can be found at here.The 3MT is a communications competition for graduate students. Developed in Australia by the University of Queensland in 2008, the 3MT challenges students to explain their research in plain language in just three minutes. read more