03 May 2022

India approves opening of New Diplomatic Mission in Lithuania.

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to open a new Indian mission in Lithuania in 2022 in a bid to deepen political relations and strategic cooperation and enable growth of bilateral trade with the Baltic country.

The decision to open an embassy in Lithuania is part of the government’s forward-looking step in pursuit of its national priority of growth and development or ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ initiative. Enhancement of India’s diplomatic presence in Lithuania will provide market access for companies and bolster exports of goods and services.

Source: www.news18.com

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China, Russia, India, four others on US property rights 'Priority Watch List'

India, China, Russia, and four other countries were added to the US’s annual ‘Priority Watch List’ for intellectual property protection and enforcement. Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, and Venezuela are among the other countries on the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s list.

All seven countries on this year’s list were also on the previous year’s list.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai indicated in her Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights that these nations will be the focus of particularly intense bilateral engagement in the next year.

Algeria, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam are among the countries on the Watch List, which require bilateral attention to address underlying IP issues.

The Special 301 Report is an annual assessment of the state of intellectual property protection and enforcement around the world.

For this year’s Special 301 Report, USTR looked at over a hundred trading partners.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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Ben Stokes named new Test captain of England.

Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has won the race to replace Joe Root and will become England's next Test captain.

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Stokes as new Test skipper on Thursday, with the 30-year-old taking over the top job from the outgoing Root.

The appointment is the first move by recently-appointed Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Rob Key, who was named in the post earlier this month.

Source: www.icc-cricket.com

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IMF forecasts 2.6% growth for Sri Lanka.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting Sri Lanka’s economy to grow by 2.6% this year down from 3.6% in 2021. 

The projection for 2023 is a growth of 2.7% as per the IMF which this week released its forecasts for Asia and the Pacific countries. 

IMF Asia and Pacific Department’s Acting Director Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf said In Sri Lanka, the rise in food and fuel prices and hit to tourism has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities and debt sustainability pressures, leading to social unrest and policy instability. 

Source: www.ft.lk

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Myanmar's Suu Kyi handed five-year jail term.

A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years in jail on Wednesday after finding her guilty in the first of 11 corruption cases she faces, a source with knowledge of the proceedings said.

The Nobel laureate and figurehead of Myanmar's opposition to military rule is charged with at least 18 offences carrying combined maximum jail terms of nearly 190 years, all but killing off any chance of a political comeback.

The judge in the capital, Naypyitaw, handed down the verdict within moments of the court convening and gave no explanation, said the source, who declined to be identified because the trial is being held behind closed doors, with information restricted.

Suu Kyi, who has attended all of her hearings, was displeased with the outcome and would appeal, the source said.

Source: www.reuters.com

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S&P cuts Sri Lanka to 'selective default' on missed payments.

S&P Global Ratings cut Sri Lanka's rating as an issuer of foreign currency debt to 'selective default' after the South Asian country missed sovereign bond interest payments, S&P said.

The bonds which had missed payments, maturing in 2023 and 2028, were cut to 'default' and the overall rating could be further cut to 'D' on confirmation of the non-payment after a 30-day grace period.

S&P said it does not expect the government to make payments during that period.

Source: www.reuters.com

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Yupun Abeykoon sets new Asian record.

Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon has set a new Asian record in the 150 meters men’s event at an athletic meet held in Italy.

The sprinter clocked a time of 15.16 seconds to finish first place in the race and in the process surpassed the existing Asian record in the event. 

The previous record of 15.35 seconds had been set by Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu in 2017.

Abeykoon set the new record during yesterday’s race in the Perseo Trophy, which was held at the Stadio Raul Guidobaldi in Rieti, Italy.

Italy’s Chituru Ali was second in the race with a performance of 15.17 while another Italian athlete, Mattia Furlani came in third with a timing of 15.76 seconds. 

Sri Lanka’s Vinura Lakmal had also participated in the same event and managed to finish seventh with a timing of 16.83 seconds. 

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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Sri Lanka Purchasing Managers’ Index - March 2022.

Purchasing Managers' Indices for both Manufacturing and Services activities expanded in March 2022.

Following the seasonal pattern in manufacturing activities, the manufacturing PMI increased on a month-on-month basis to an index value of 57.8, yet at a slower rate than the previous years.

Services sector PMI recorded an index value of 51.3 in March 2022 indicating an expansion across the services sector.

Source: www.cbsl.gov.lk

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Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI, 2013=100) based headline inflation continuously increased to 29.8% in April 2022.

Headline inflation, as measured by the year-on-year (Y-o-Y) change in the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI, 2013=100) increased to 29.8% in April 2022 from 18.7% in March 2022. This increase in Y-o-Y inflation was driven by the monthly increases of both Food and Non-Food categories. Subsequently, Food inflation (Y-o-Y) increased to 46.6% in April 2022 from 30.2% in March 2022, while Non-Food inflation (Y-o-Y) increased to 22.0% in April 2022 from 13.4% in March 2022.

Monthly change of CCPI recorded at 9.25% in April 2022 due to price increases observed in items of both Non-Food and Food categories which were 4.95% and 4.31%, respectively. Accordingly, prices of items in the Non-Food category recorded increases mainly due to price increases observed in the Transport (Petrol and Diesel), Education (Tuition fees), Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuel (Housing rent, Maintenance/Reconstruction) and Restaurant and Hotels sub-categories. Further, within the Food category, increases were observed in prices of milk powder, rice, bread, dhal, sugar and dried fish during the month.

Source: www.cbsl.gov.lk

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World Asthma Day - 03 May 2022 (First Tuesday in May)

World Asthma Day is an annual event held on the first Tuesday in May, in collaboration with health care groups and asthma educators throughout the world. The day calls attention to the health issue and the struggles of asthma suffers. The goal is to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people suffer from asthma. It is a chronic disease of the airways that lead to and from the lungs. During an attack, the lining of the bronchial tubes swells, causing airways to become narrow and reducing the flow of air in and out of the lungs. These attacks can cause sleeplessness, fatigue, and reduced activity.

World Asthma Day is annually organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). In 1998, the first World Asthma Day was celebrated in more than 35 countries in conjunction with the first World Asthma Meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Participation has increased with each World Asthma Day held since then, and the day has become one of the world’s most important asthma awareness and education events.

GINA has chosen ‘Closing Gaps in Asthma Care’ as the theme for the 2022 World Asthma Day.

Source: https://ginasthma.org

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World Press Freedom Day - 03 May.

Every year, May 3 is when the world celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom. It’s a day to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. At the core of the date is a reminder that it can be suicide to become a journalist. Publications and the people who work with them are harassed, attacked, murdered. Publications are censored, fined and closed down.

World Press Freedom Committee was established in 1976 by a batch of independent journalists to promote and defend press freedom and cover 44 media organizations from around the world. In 1993, the UN General Assembly officially proclaimed World Press Freedom Day following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.

Source: https://en.unesco.org

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02 May 2022

Explosion at Afghan mosque kills dozens of people.

 

An explosion tore through a mosque near the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Friday 22 April killing at least 33 people and wounding dozens of others.

This bombing is the latest in a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan. Mujahid called the perpetrator’s of the Kunduz attack “seditionists and evil elements”.

Source: www.aljazeera.com

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1,700-year-old sandal found on a remote mountain in Norway.

A team of researchers working on what has been named the "Secrets of the Ice" project has come into possession of a 1,500-year-old shoe that was found in a Norwegian alpine pass—one that resembles an ancient Roman sandal. The group has not yet published their paper describing their work analyzing the shoe but has posted updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Researchers working on the project have been canvassing the high mountain areas in Norway that are believed to be part of ancient passes—where people walked back and forth between valleys in the mountains and coastal areas—for the past 15 years. During that time, they have found a large number of artifacts, from horse bones to dung and horseshoes. But the human shoe is unique due to its age.

In studying the shoe, the researchers found it to be approximately 1,500 years old—and it had been found at an elevation of approximately 2,000 meters above sea level and far from the coast. It represented a mystery due to its construction, since it would not have served very well in an icy realm. Indeed, it very much looked like sandals worn by people in much warmer parts of the Roman Empire. The researchers suspect it was discarded by someone who had found it less than useful in the snow and ice. Still, the researchers insist finding it adds another piece to the puzzle of the mountain passes in the region and the people who used them. They also suggest that the sandal may have only been a part of the footwear, noting that the person who wore it likely covered their foot with some sort of fabric before adding the sandal.

Source: https://phys.org

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World Tuna Day - 02 May.

World Tuna Day is an annual celebration on May 2. The day highlights the importance of managing fish stocks to maintain sustainability. With proper management, it’s hoped to ensure the world has systems in place to prevent tuna stocks from crashing.

More than 96 countries are involved in the conservation and management of tuna that has an annual value of almost 10 billion dollars. Approximately 7 million tons of tuna and tuna-like species are landed yearly.

In parts of the world, over-fishing of some tuna species, such as the southern bluefin tuna, has brought the species to near-extinction.

Amazingly, there are more than two dozen varieties of tuna, and they vary greatly in size. Blackfin Tuna can be 3.5 feet long. Albacore tuna, 4.5 feet long. Atlantic bluefin tuna, can be up to about 15 ft. The recorded specimen of tuna was 21 feet long, weighing 1600 pounds. Despite their large size, tunas are swift swimmers. They can reach a speed between 44 and 62 miles per hour.

Like many fish, the tuna is their body color provides excellent camouflage in the water. The dark blue dorsal (back) of a tuna’s body blends with the ocean floor when observed from the air while the belly of a tuna is silver-white and it combines with the surface of the ocean when seen from below.

Industry groups observed May 2, 2011, as World Tuna Day, a special day for all who are involved in tuna fishing, tuna conservation, and management to celebrate the wonders of tuna.

In 2017, the United Nations officially set May 2, as World Tuna Day to focus on conserving the world’s tuna population.

Source: www.un.org

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01 May 2022

International Workers’ Day - 01 May.

Every year on May 1st, International Workers’ Day seeks to honor laborers and the working classes in many countries throughout the world. This day is also commonly referred to as Labour Day or May Day.

In 1760 a major event called the Industrial Revolution began in Britain. This event spread across the globe and lasted through 1840. During this time, agricultural societies became more industrialized. Inventions such as the railroad, cotton gin, and electricity permanently changed society. Millions of workers around the world were needed during the Industrial Revolution.

Unfortunately, during this time, many employers treated their workers unfairly, paid improper wages, provided poor working conditions, and forced laborers to work long hours. Some employees worked 16 hours a day. What the working class needed was someone to stand up for their rights. In 1864, the International Workingmen’s Association started up in London. The organization fought for the right for workers to organize and also the right for an 8-hour working day. In 1871 workers in France followed suit and started their own labor movement.

Pope Leo XIII became involved in the labor movement when he published, “On the Condition of the Working Classes.” Some of the things he advocated for included shorter work hours, fair wages, elimination of child labor, and the ability for the state to regulate labor conditions. Eventually, the labor movement around the world helped to create a 5-day workweek, paid holidays, and an 8-hour workday. Today, many workers around the world enjoy all the benefits that the labor movement fought so hard for.

In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trade and Labour Unions of the U.S. and Canada stated that May 1st, 1886 would mark the start of an 8-hour workday. On May 1, 1886, up to 500,000 workers in the U.S. went on strike. On May 4th, the peaceful protests turned violent. As police attempted to break up the protesters, a bomb was thrown at them. Seven police officers died, along with four civilians. This event is known as the Haymarket Affair. In 1889, an international organization for workers and socialists in Paris declared May 1st as International Workers’ Day. While most countries around the world celebrate on May 1st, the United States and Canada hold their Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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30 April 2022

Russia withdraws from UN World Tourism Organization.

The Russian Federation has been suspended from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), losing with immediate effect its rights and privileges as part of the United Nations specialized agency.

Meeting for a first extraordinary UNWTO General Assembly, Members debated the suspension of Russia from the Organization, as decided by the UNWTO Executive Council at its emergency meeting last month. The Russian delegation declined to step up and defend its position, and instead announced its withdrawal from UNWTO before the debate took place.

The Assembly voted in favor of suspension, far exceeding the two-third majority required. The decision is effective immediately, while voluntary withdrawal is only effective one year after a Member submits an official communication through the appropriate channels.

Source: www.unwto.org

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World Veterinary Day - 30 April

Every year on the last Saturday in April, World Veterinary Day celebrates the veterinary profession. The day also honors the lifesaving work performed by veterinarians around the world.

Veterinarians practice medicine by diagnosing diseases and treating injuries and ailments in all kinds of animals. Some vets specialize in large animals, such as horses and cattle. Others work only with cats, dogs, and other small pets, such as rabbits, ferrets, and hamsters.

There are also veterinarians who specialize in treating zoo animals or animals in the wild. Instead of working directly with animals, some vets work in other areas. These areas include food safety and animal research.

Most countries across the globe employ veterinarians. Some of the highest-paid vets work in Denmark, Germany, Canada, Iceland, and Switzerland. The United States ranks number one on the list for highest-paid veterinarians. Vets in this country earn an average of $88,490.

The World Veterinary Association (WVA) created World Veterinary Day in 2000 to celebrate the veterinary profession. In recent years, the WVA has partnered with Health for Animals and the Global Animal Medicines Association. Together, these organizations sponsor the World Veterinary Day Award. This award, along with $2,500, is given to a member of the WVA whose activities contribute to the annual theme. Past themes for this day have included “Environmental Protection for Improving Animal and Human Health” and the “Value of Vaccination.”

The theme of 30 April 2022, World Veterinary Day is “Strengthening Veterinary Resilience”. 

Source: https://news.abplive.com

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Estonia hosts the world's largest cyber exercise.

The Tallinn, Estonia NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, abbreviated as CCDCOE, is organising the Locked Shields 2022, the largest and most complex annual international live-fire cyber defence exercise in the world. This year’s exercise has particular importance as it takes place amid the rising threat of cyber-attacks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

At the exercise Cyber experts practise the protection of national civilian and military IT systems and critical infrastructure in a large-scale cyber-attack. It is conducted under conditions of intense pressure, with teams countering a series of sophisticated cyberattacks.

The exercise provides an opportunity to practice cooperation in a crisis situation between both civilian and military units, as well as public and private sectors, as in the event of a large-scale cyber-attack these tactical and strategic decision-makers must work together.

The exercise is organised by the CCDCOE in cooperation with NATO, Siemens, Microsoft, Tallinn University of Technology and other partners.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is a NATO-accredited cyber defence hub that supports the alliance’s member nations and the alliance itself with cyber defence expertise.

Source: https://estonianworld.com

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29 April 2022

International Dance Day - April 29

International Dance Day on April 29th is an annual celebration of how dancing positively impacts our lives. The human body’s ability to move, groove, pop, and lock has captivated the way we interact with music and express ourselves artistically.

This day was created to allow the world to recognize dance as a professional art form. Dancing gives us the ability to communicate emotions frequently deeper than our own language. International Dance Day is a tribute to millions of people across generations who have dedicated their lives to this craft of enchantment.

Dancing is an action shared by both professionals and amateurs alike and is enjoyed in all parts of the world. This day is all about celebrating the history of dance and recognizing its monumental place across all cultures.

The Dance Committee of the International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute chose April 29th as International Dance Day to honor Jean-Georges Noverre’s birthday. He is renowned as the creator of modern ballet. The day was officially recognized in 1982.

Each year, a guest speaker is chosen to deliver the message of the International Dance Council to the world. The speaker is involved with the world of dancing in some way, shape or form. Prior speakers have included names like Sasha Waltz, William Forsythe, Maguy Marin, Robin Howard, and Yuri Grigorovitch.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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Robert Golob elected as Prime Minister of Slovenia.

Robert Golob has defeated three-time prime minister Janez Janša in the Slovenia Prime Minister election. 

State election authorities have confirmed that the Freedom Movement won nearly 34% of the votes as compared to around 24% for the governing conservative Slovenian Democratic Party. The New Slovenia party with 7%, followed by the Social Democrats with more than 6%, and the Left party with just 4%.

The 55-year-old former power company manager has promised to restore “normality”, having billed the elections as a “referendum on democracy”.

Source: www.wionews.com

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