Angulana Christian church attacked Pictures updated

A Christian church in Angulana was attacked last night, police sources told the Colombo Gazette.The police said that an unidentified group had attacked the building and then set fire to the holy bread served for communion on Sundays. There are no reports of injuries caused to anyone as a result of the attack. Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Worshipers of the church were seen praying outside the premises this morning following the attack.The attack comes just days after the US State Department released its international religious freedom report for 2012 in which it said that last year U.S. embassy officials conveyed U.S. government concerns about religious freedom in Sri Lanka, particularly attacks on churches, to government leaders and urged them to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators. Police spokesman S.P Budhika Siriwardena confirmed the incident and said that two statues were among the church property damaged in the attack. The report which looks at religious freedom, or the lack of it in all countries for 2012, noted that in certain instances, local authorities in Si Lanka failed to respond effectively to communal attacks, including attacks on members of minority religious groups.The report said that there were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.“Sporadic violent attacks on Christian churches by Buddhists and some societal tension due to ongoing allegations of forced or “unethical” conversions (i.e., the use of bribes to persuade people to convert) continued, although the number and scale of attacks were reportedly fewer than in recent years. Intolerance of, and discrimination against, Muslims by some Buddhists increased during the year,” the report said. (Colombo Gazette) read more

SouthSouth Cooperation accelerates us toward 2030 goals UN Chief says on International

Partnerships among countries of the south has carved a path of progress in the developing world, with more children getting an education, child and maternal mortality rates “cut by nearly half,” and sharp reductions in extreme poverty, he added.Foreign direct investment “outflows from the South,” have accounted for one-third of all such investment, and one quarter of the world trade happening between developing countries.Despite progress, developments are “not fast enough to meet out 2030 goals,” he warned, citing that 2.4 billion people, the majority living in the South, do not have adequate sanitation, while some 840 million are without electricity, and 885 million lack access to clean water.“These are stark reminders that even as countries reap higher economic gains, we must work to ensure that prosperity is more broadly shared,” he urged.The United Nations outlines South-South Cooperation objectives which include fostering self-reliance of developing countries, increasing the quantity and enhance the quality of international development and cooperation, strengthen technological capacities, and enabling developing countries to achieve a greater degree of international participation, among others.In addition, the UN’s office on the issue (UNOSCC) offers a guide for good practices for implementation of SSC, illustrating characteristics of effective cooperation by highlighting the needs and specific SDGs for individual Southern countries.The publication also outlines incorporation of  Triangular Cooperation, which the UN defines as collaboration where traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through provision of funding, training, management and technological systems and other forms of support.The Secretary-General said he was pleased UN entities “are developing a system-wide strategy on South-South and triangular cooperation,” previewing the formal launch of two products targeting each form of partnership.The South-South Galaxy, a global knowledge sharing and partnership platform “is aimed to more effectively support Southern countries in connecting, learning and collaborating with partners digitally,” he explained.The new technology was presented at the Buenos Aires summit in March, but will be the subject of an official launch event in New York on Thursday.The UN Chief’s Special Envoy and Director of the UNOSSC, Jorge Chediek, explained this new database consolidates South-South solutions for Southern partners in the UN system is a “next generation” platform that will make SSC more of a reality.“We feel that Galaxy will become an instrument to make SSC more of a reality than it is by cutting a significant barrier to entry—the lack of reliable information,” and resources, he told UN News.Alongside the new database, Mr. Guterres welcomed Thursday’s release of the new independent report on both SSC and Triangular Cooperation, which he said “reviews the history” of each mechanism.“We have a great task before us,” the UN Chief urged: “With the ambitious BAPA +40 outcome as our shared roadmap, let us demonstrate our solidarity toward poverty eradication.”Where SSC and Triangular cooperation “used to be on the margins,” Mr. Chediek said the BAPA+40 document “ratifies that they are central and essential.”We should draw from the lessons of the South and “share them widely” through upscaled cooperation. This way, we “reaffirm our commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda,” Mr. Guterres maintained, “moving our world forward, leaving no one behind.” This year’s United Nations Day dedicated to the initiative, annually observed on 12 September, is particularly significant, as it follows international commitments made at the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA+40) Second UN High-Level Conference in March, which coincided with the Plan’s 40th anniversary.“The past decades have demonstrated the power of South-South cooperation to advance sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres said in his opening keynote address.“Driven by a spirit of solidarity, respect for national sovereignty and equal partnership, South-South cooperation has offered concrete solutions to shared development challenges,” he encouraged.Welcome Message for the new UNOSSC Web Portal: Jorge Chediek (@JlChediek), UNOSSC Director – Visit the portal: https://t.co/2D1J2xQA03 pic.twitter.com/vE0FB50w95— UNOSSC (@UNOSSC) May 30, 2017 read more