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An example to emulate on the economic front

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s personal diplomacy in the Middle East has proved immensely effective in that besides Sri Lanka entering into a number of mutually-beneficial agreements with Jordan and Kuwait, it has helped generate an abundance of employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Afghanistan.

There is no doubt that President Rajapaksa’s person-to-person contact with the Heads of State and Government of Jordan, Kuwait and Afghanistan would have been a predominant factor in facilitating these varied boons and benefits for Sri Lanka.

This is an object lesson in how a willingness to go the extra mile on the part of local State heads could help greatly in enhancing the international image of the country and strengthen Sri Lanka’s links with the rest of the world, besides forging and sustaining a multiplicity of inter-state links which accrue to the benefit of the states involved.

The Middle East and South and South-West Asia are growth regions with which Sri Lanka would do well to establish close economic links.

The accelerated pace at which the economies of these countries are growing makes them key attractions for migrant labour from countries such as our’s and enhances their standing as potential and real investors in our growth process. Besides, they are brimming with enhanced inter-state trading possibilities on account of their growing and affluent populations.

The tapping of these markets requires a quick response from the Lankan State and the local business sector. President Rajapaksa, through his presence in these countries, has underscored their importance for our economic growth. It is left to the relevant State agencies and the local business community to build on these ties and to consolidate them.

We are reminded through these visits that we need not wander far afield - into our traditional Western markets for instance - for economic and growth opportunities. They are right here at our doorstep, if we would only care to seek them out.

The crucial point here is that we must seek them out. This calls for a great deal of dynamism and operational efficiency on the part of our State agencies and business sector and their representatives. The President is showing the way in this regard and we hope his example would be emulated by the relevant sections.

Such efficiency and proactive involvement in seeking out growth opportunities are crucial at present when a strong “bloc mentality” is spreading its influence among some sections of the world community. These economic blocs are based basically on economic complementarities among the states concerned.

We, in this part of the world, need to do the same although we should continue to integrate closely into the global economy.

Basically, what is needed is a constant state of vigilance on the economic front. We need to break out of old, threadbare growth paradigms and constantly forge newer and newer approaches to economic growth.

Security of military information and media responsibility

Directed by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa the military authorities would have now completed their findings of the Muhamalai debacle and the Habarana devastation. While the contributory causes and possible security lapses would have been determined, one great imponderable is the possible breach of security information.

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Aerial attacks on ground targets - need for international concern

The law pertaining to warfare encompasses two fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law. They pertain to civilian immunity and the principle of distinction. Collectively, they impose a duty, at all times during the conflict, to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and to target only the former.

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Tenth anniversary of a Sinhala newspaper in UK

A decade, in any lingo, is a long period of time in terms of publishing and distributing a newspaper. It becomes even more laborious when one takes on the responsibility of such a yeoman task on one’s own shoulders single handed.

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