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Japan provides new Grant assistance for demining

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The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of US$ 547,443 (approx. Rs. 170 million) to Skavita Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) for humanitarian demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka.

The grant contract was signed on 11th August 2023 at the SHARP’s Base, Kilinochchi district, between Ambassador of Japan – Mr. Mizukoshi Hideaki and Major Gen. (retd) Mr. Sumathi Ranjan Balasuriya, Director / Field Reporting Officer of SHARP.

Ambassador Mizukoshi expressed Japan’s commitment to supporting continuously for the conflict-affected area to achieve reconciliation and promote sustainable development in Sri Lanka.

Since the beginning of Sri Lanka Mine Action programme, the Government of Japan has been continuously supporting mine clearance activities and the total amount of assistance exceeds US$ 43 million. Development of the conflict-affected regions is one of the priority areas in Japan’s official development assistance policy to Sri Lanka.

This Financial Year’s project is expected to enable resettlement of over 400 internally displaced people and enhance their livelihoods of over 2,300 individuals directly or indirectly by clearing contaminated lands in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu districts. 

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Major Gen. (retd) Mr. Sumathi Ranjan Balasuriya stated; 

“SHARP is most grateful to and deeply appreciative of the Japanese Embassy for the trust and confidence placed in SHARP by being the sole donor to SHARP continuously for 6 years, from its inception to initially commencing the demining operations in 2016, and thereafter until 2021. As of July 2023, , in support of grant assistance from the Government of Japan, SHARP has cleared a total of 2,414,199 Sq Mtrs and recovered 11,471 anti-personnel mines, 168 anti-tank mines, 4,166 UXOs and over 19,647 SAA with over 2,596 families or 10,300 individuals directly and indirectly benefitted. This accounts for over 90% of the total cleared lands by SHARP.”

“SHARP will continue to carry out our operations to the best of our ability diligently, efficiently and effectively fully cooperating with the Japanese Embassy and all other agencies to completely justify the funds provided and fulfil the desires of our sponsors.”

“The heartfelt gratitude and thanks of all members of SHARP is conveyed to His Excellency Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki, all GGP staff members of the Japanese Embassy and most of all the people of Japan, for their unstinted support by sponsoring SHARP, and more so ever for the Embassy of Japan being in the forefront of supporting demining activities in Sri Lanka and their continuous commitment, cooperation and assistance for the well-being of the people of our country.” 

BIZ

Apple is the world’s first $1 trillion brand: Kantar

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Kantar BrandZ’s Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2024 has named Apple as the world’s first trillion-dollar brand, holding onto pole position for the third consecutive year. 

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon join Apple atop the rankings, with McDonald’s rounding up the top 5.

Demonstrating how effective AI has become for driving brand value, NVIDIA has lept 18 places to crack the top 10 for the first time, holding sixth position with a 178% year-on-year brand value increase. 

Facebook rejoined the Top 10 after a one-year absence, while Oracle joined the Top 10 for the first time. 

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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University applications open tomorrow 

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that online applications for university admissions for the academic year 2023/2024 will open tomorrow (14 June).

Applications will be available from 6 am tomorrow at www.ugc.ac.lk
The application deadline is 5 July 2024. 

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