The Government today insisted that the debt equity transfer on the Chinese loans for Sri Lanka will be implemented in accordance with the discussions Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had in Beijing with the President of the Peoples Republic of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang in April.The Government information department said that in accordance with the discussion, in the first instance the Chinese Government will promote Chinese firms interested in entering to Private-Public Partnership with Sri Lanka Government in regard to the specified project. “Following these discussions, on Friday 29 th July 2016, a meeting was held in Hambantota by the two Ministers with the Chinese Ambassador and interested Chinese firms on the proposals for Mattala Airport, Hambantota Port, Tourism Zone, a Petroleum Refinery, a dockyard, a LNG Power Plant and Industrial Parks. These will come under the Public Private Partnership between Sri Lanka Government Agencies and Chinese Investors. Furthermore, the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade is discussing other investment proposals in regard to Hambantota with foreign investors of other nationalities. This includes a second Petroleum Refinery,” the Government said in a statement. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has instructed Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade and Minister of Special Assignments to discuss the required modalities with the Chinese Ambassador and to report back to the CCEM. The discussions have been finalized and report to be submitted. The Government said that a part of the local media has distorted the facts in regard to these transactions in order to disrupt the economic development of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) read more

VIDEO: Message from Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit World Ranger Day takes place annually on 31 July to recognize the park rangers around the world who have been injured or killed in the line of duty. In the past year, at least 105 rangers were killed doing their job, according to the International Ranger Federation. The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Wild For Life programme added its voice today to celebrate rangers’ work. Praising park rangers for facing an array of challenges, including natural disasters like avalanches and floods, Wild For Life called rangers “hands-on heroes.” “Fighting crime, educating the public, and protecting our heritage… all in a day’s work for the rangers that safeguard the earth’s most treasured locations,” the campaign said. It noted that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least 140 rangers were killed in the past 15 years in the Virunga National Park. “Honest and hardworking park rangers devote their lives to protecting our natural resources and cultural heritage and, in some areas, these brave men and women regularly encounter well-resourced groups of poachers, equipped with high caliber weapons, who do not hesitate to use violence or threats of violence against them,” said John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In recent years, rangers have increasingly been targeted by criminals seeking some of the world’s most iconic animal species, such as elephants and rhinos, and plants, such as rosewood. Mr. Scanlon added that the “illegal trade in wild animals and plants is occurring at a scale that threatens wildlife, people and their livelihoods” and is being driven by transnational organized crime groups and rebel militia groups, as well as rogue elements of regular military forces. “The dedication and commitment shown by these honest hard working park rangers on a daily basis is worthy of much greater public recognition,” Mr. Scanlon said, welcoming World Ranger Day which is marked by the international community but not by the UN specifically. read more