08082020Sat
Last update:Tue, 28 Jul 2020

HCL Technologies with its 1st South Asian delivery center in Sri Lanka

FO4A9842Tech Giant HCL has rapidly expanded their plans to create over 1,500 new local employment opportunities for both freshers and experienced professionals, within the first 18 months of kick-starting its operations from its office in Colombo, having initially signed up with Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment to set up a 500 seat service delivery center in February this year.  This move by a global ICT leader in a COVID impacted global economy highlights Sri Lanka as an emerging destination of choice for the global tech market.

Corporate Vice President of HCL Technologies, Srimathi Shivashankar said: “Amidst all these uncertainties, one thing for certain is that whatever we had committed for growth in Sri Lanka with the BOI’s support will happen as planned.” She went on to compliment the company’s mutual partnership with BOI, Sri Lanka as a showcase of their idea of ‘Relationship Beyond the Contract.'

One of India's original start-ups, founded in 1976, HCL technologies is a next generation global technology company supporting enterprises to reimagine their businesses for the digital age. With a worldwide network of R&D, innovation labs and delivery centers, and 147,000+ ‘Ideapreneurs’ working in 44 countries, HCL serves leading enterprises across key industries, including 250 of the Fortune 500 and 650 of the Global 2000.

One of the key components of HCL’s business and development strategy is to generate local employment and to provide the right skill programs to enhance the knowledge services industry in Sri Lanka. Susantha Rathnayaka, Chairman of the Board of Investment, welcomed this approach as it will create well-paid jobs in the knowledge sector while broadening the horizons of young people with the opportunity to work with world-class processes and settings. Elaborating further, he said: "What is also exciting is the fact that Sri Lanka will be open to the eyes of the Fortune 500 and the Global 2000.”

With this global partnership further strengthening Sri Lanka's reputation for hardworking, dedicated, and talented IT professionals, HCL’s entry will no doubt support the Sri Lankan IT sector’s ambitious development goals which include a revenue target of US 5Bn and an employment target of 200,000.


Voice of the Pearl: "We missed you!" - Information by Sri Lanka Tourism

ScenicPearl of the Indian Ocean

Honored by Lonely Planet as the number one travel destination for 2019, Sri Lanka offers a multitude of sights, from pristine sandy beaches to impressive green mountains, and is known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean that enables “unmissable experiences”. While the whole world is slowly recovering from the global COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka has made intensive and extremely successful efforts to keep the spread of the virus under control, and has also proven that Sri Lanka is not just the number one travel destination in the world, but also has an excellent health system. Sri Lanka Tourism enables international guests to enjoy the highest safety standards by inviting tourists from all over the world to experience our lovely paradise island.

Read more on https://www.srilanka.travel


COVID-19 Current Situation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's efforts to contain the Covid 19 virus have been very successful, and on May 20, 2020, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health declared the transmission of the virus zero for over three weeks. There are still extensive guidelines for public life, including hand hygiene and distance rules. Following an expiring approach, the nationwide ban was lifted on June 28, 2020. In order to ensure a safe travel experience, extensive health and safety guidelines and health protocols were introduced upon intensive consultation. From May, the interior of the country was reopened for tourism under strict guidelines for festivities, hotels and restaurants. This followed the reopening of national parks and a variety of other attractions.

The air and sea borders remain restricted due to the pandemic, and thus also international passenger flights. All international airports in Sri Lanka should reopen from August 2020. Given that a significant number of Sri Lankan compatriots have still requested repatriation to Sri Lanka, the authorities will give priority to them before the arrival of international guests. This is an evolving process that Sri Lanka Tourism is closely monitoring with the government and the COVID-19 Task Force.

With the gradual reopening of schools, cinemas and religious places of worship and the restart of examinations at the state level, Sri Lanka will hold the intended parliamentary elections in early August 2020. In collaboration with everyone involved, the Sri Lankan government and Sri Lanka Tourism have ensured that all travelers can be assured of the highest level of security and a safe experience for everyone.

 

Current situation regarding COVID-19

Official LIVE updates and the latest news from the Sri Lankan government on the outbreak of the Corona Virus and necessary protective measures to combat the new virus can be found at https://hpb.health.gov.lk/covid19-dashboard/

HIGH-LEVEL OPEN DEBATE OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL ON “PEACE OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS”, 7th July 2020 - Written statement by the Sri Lanka delegation

mfaMr. President,

In an era where humanity is threatened with inter-state conflicts, intra-state frictions, asymmetrical threats posed by non-state actors, natural disasters, health related issues and a variety of other challenges, Sri Lanka appreciates Germany’s efforts to initiate discussion on the timely subject of “Peace Operations and Human Rights”. My delegation wishes Germany every success as President of the Security Council for the month of July and is confident that it will be a productive tenure.

Sri Lanka takes this opportunity to honor the thousands of men and women who for decades helped countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace by providing security and peacebuilding support under the Blue Helmet. Sri Lanka is proud to have a long association with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, having served as a member of the 1956 Advisory Committee that led to the establishment of the first “classical” peacekeeping mission – UNEF 1, deployed during the Suez crisis and later deployed UN Peacekeepers to the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) in 1960.

With consistent effort, a wealth of experience and expertise gathered across diverse scenarios, the United Nations Peace Operations (UNPO) have become a vital- credible, dependable and versatile global instrument to ensure human security in conflict situations. The significance of the current Peace Operations are such that, considering the magnitudes of violence and their frequency of manifestation, it would be hard to visualize the destiny of human lives in some of the conflict zones in the absence of assistance by the United Nations.

Human Rights remain an important element for UNPO. Several PKOs such as MONUSCO, MINUSCA, MINUSMA, UNAMID, UNMISS have integrated human rights components, as well as Special Political Missions such as UNAMI, UNSMIL, UNSOM, UNAMA and BINUH, to identify a few. This is crucial across a wide spectrum of missions and strengthens the Missions’ credibility. Sri Lanka remains fully committed to UN Peacekeeping and upholding human rights, and in this context has taken a number of measures to ensure that all Sri Lankan Peacekeepers are suitably trained and fully equipped with theoretical knowledge and practical application of all necessary functions of peacekeeping, including the promotion and protection of human rights. Towards this end, a comprehensive package of education and training on relevant subjects are included in the pre-deployment training courses and continuity is maintained during the deployment by way of in-mission training, conducted in consultation with UN authorities. In addition, human rights has been included as part of the training of security forces and police in Sri Lanka. At the premier degree awarding tertiary institution established for military personnel, the Kotalawala Defence University, where many military cadets pursue degree programmes, human rights is taught as an important component of the academic programme. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the ICRC also conduct a number of training programmes for the Military and the Police on human rights and international humanitarian law.

 

Mr. President,

It is observed that Peace Operations are becoming progressively complex in nature, with diverse socio-political challenges with increased impact on civilians as a result of direct and indirect actions of parties to conflicts. Sri Lanka has endorsed the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians.

Violations of human rights in most conflict affected communities, disproportionately affect women and children. In situations of heightened violence and insecurity, as one of the most vulnerable segments of the population, they may experience such violations from within the family itself, in addition to existing discrimination in society. As such, it is vital to be sensitive to issues of gender in looking at human rights.

In a number of missions, women protection advisers are responsible for monitoring, analyzing and reporting on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Whilst assuring Sri Lanka’s continuous commitment to enhance the participation of women in Peacekeeping operations, it is emphasized that focusing on education and capacity building of women should be considered a priority task to achieve meaningful gender parity as a long-term solution to this issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the human rights situation, particularly in territories affected by conflict. Travel related restrictions and limitations enforced on human interactions have generated negative effects across the spectrum, ranging from difficulties in delivering humanitarian assistance to the provision of protection for vulnerable communities. Diversion of resources from funds allocated for UN field missions for humanitarian assistance to the pandemic mitigation effort would weaken capacities of peacekeeping missions in protecting civilians.

It is pertinent to mention that credibility of institutions that promote the adherence to and protection of human rights can be significantly undermined when they are unduly politicized. There have been instances where unproven allegations of human rights violations were used as instruments to unduly pressurize and manipulate contributions to peacekeeping by governments for undue political gains. Sri Lanka firmly believes that, the United Nations as the largest global body that is committed to ensure the rights of every human being, should always remain impartial whilst fully respecting the principle of sovereign equality in its all interactions with member states.

 

Mr. President,

The ever-changing dynamics of present armed conflicts and their rapid evolution makes the protection of human rights of vulnerable communities as a recurring task which is becoming increasingly challenging. In this context, the UN peacekeeping operations should remain a collective endeavor in ensuring the protection of vulnerable communities, and it is essential that there is engagement and interaction with various stakeholders, including civil society and the wider population. This is also vital to build trust with local communities, where UN´Peacekeeping Missions operate. Protecting civilians and upholding human rights are vital for the success of a UNPKO and shapes how a population will remember the Peacekeepers and reflects the manner in which the United Nations will be evaluated.

Having engaged in a humanitarian struggle with a terrorist organization that used human shields, suicide bombers and child soldiers, Sri Lanka’s armed forces and Police have been sharing expertise in handling difficult and complex terrains of the humanitarian engagement field in difficult areas of the world. Whilst acknowledging and commending the effort by the UN Secretariat and the Department of Peace Operations on their dedicated effort in promoting the human rights of communities undergoing hardships in conflict affected territories, Sri Lanka reiterates its full commitment to this noble cause, to protect and promote human rights and the protection of civilians.

Thank you.

Find the original statement under the following LINK,

Discovery of Oldest Bow and Arrow Technology in Eurasia - New archaeological research demonstrates earliest projectile technology in the tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka

MPIThe origins of human innovation have traditionally been sought in the grasslands and coasts of Africa or the temperate environments of Europe. More extreme environments, such as the tropical rainforests of Asia, have been largely overlooked, despite their deep history of human occupation. A new study provides the earliest evidence for bow-and-arrow use, and perhaps the making of clothes, outside of Africa ~48-45,000 years ago –in the tropics of Sri Lanka.
The island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, just south of the Indian subcontinent, is home to the earliest fossils of our species, Homo sapiens, in South Asia. It also preserves clear evidence for human occupation and the use of tropical rainforest environments outside of Africa from ~48,000 to 3,000 years ago – refuting the idea that these supposedly resource-poor environments acted as barriers for migrating Pleistocene humans. The question as to exactly how humans obtained rainforest resources – including fast-moving food sources like monkeys and squirrels – remains unresolved.

In this new study, published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) in Germany, Griffith University in Australia and the Department of Archaeology, Government of Sri Lanka, present evidence for the earliest use of bow-and-arrow technologies by humans anywhere outside of Africa. At ~48,000 years old, these tools are earlier than the first similar technology found in Europe. Clear evidence for use on the preserved bone arrowheads shows that they were likely used for hunting difficult-to-catch rainforest prey. Not only that, but the scientists show that other bone tools may have been used for making nets or clothing in tropical settings, dramatically altering traditional assumptions about how certain human innovations were linked with specific environmental requirements.

Hunting in the open and sheltering from the cold?

European cultural products in the form of cave art, amazingly detailed bone carvings, bone tool technologies, and tailored clothing have been frequently held up as the pinnacle of Late Pleistocene human cultural development. There, symbolic and technological innovations have been seen as key survival mechanisms equipping expanding populations to face cold northern climates. Meanwhile, discoveries of older bow-and-arrow technology and artistic or symbolic behaviors in open grassland or coastal settings in Africa have framed ‘savannah’ and marine environments, respectively, as key drivers behind early hunting and cultural experiments by Pleistocene humans in their evolutionary homeland.

As co-author of the new study, Patrick Roberts of the MPI-SHH argues that “this traditional focus has meant that other parts of Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Americas have often been side-lined in discussions of the origins of material culture, such as novel projectile hunting methods or cultural innovations associated with our species.” Nevertheless, the last twenty years have highlighted how Pleistocene humans occupied and adapted to a variety of extreme environments as they migrated beyond Africa, including deserts, high-altitude settings and tropical rainforests such as those of Sri Lanka.

A tropical home

The new study saw scientists turn to the beautifully preserved material culture from the cave of Fa-Hien Lena, deep in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Wet Zone forests. As co-author Oshan Wedage, PhD at MPI-SHH, states, “Fa-Hien Lena has emerged as one of South Asia’s most important archaeological sites since the 1980s, preserving remains of our species, their tools, and their prey in a tropical context.” Some of the main finds from the site include remarkable single and doubled pointed bone tools that scientists had suspected were used in the exploitation of tropical resources. Direct proof had been lacking, however, in the absence of detailed high-powered microscopic analysis.

Michelle Langley of Griffith University, the lead author of the new study, is an expert in the study of microscopic traces of tool use and the creation of symbolic material culture in Pleistocene contexts. Applying cutting edge methods to the Fa-Hien Lena material confirmed the researchers’ hypothesis. As Langley states, “the fractures on the points indicate damage through high-powered impact – something usually seen in the use of bow-and-arrow hunting of animals. This evidence is earlier than similar findings in Southeast Asia 32,000 years ago and is currently the earliest clear evidence for bow-and-arrow use beyond the African continent.”

The evidence for early human innovation did not stop there. Applying the same microscopic approach to other bone tools, the team identified implements which seem to have been associated with freshwater fishing in nearby tropical streams, as well as the working of fiber to make nets or clothing. “We also found clear evidence for the production of colored beads from mineral ochre and the refined making of shell beads traded from the coast, at a similar age to other ‘social signaling’ materials found in Eurasia and Southeast Asia, roughly 45,000 years ago,” says Michelle Langley. Together, this reveals a complex, early human social network in the tropics of South Asia.

The new study highlights that archaeologists can no longer link specific technological, symbolic, or cultural developments in Pleistocene humans to a single region or environment. “The Sri Lankan evidence shows that the invention of bows-and-arrows, clothing, and symbolic signaling occurred multiple times and in multiple different places, including within the tropical rainforests of Asia,” says co-author Michael Petraglia of the MPI-SHH. In addition to insulation in cold environments, clothes may have also helped against tropical mosquitoes, “and instead of just hunting large grassland mammals,” adds zooarchaeologist Noel Amano, another MPI-SHH co-author, “bows and arrows helped humans procure small, tree-dwelling primates and rodents.”

While archaeologists have long focused on the uniqueness of European markers of behavioural modernity, the new study is part of a growing awareness that many regions of the world saw extraordinary and complex new technologies emerge at the end of the Palaeolithic. “Humans at this time show extraordinary resourcefulness and the ability to exploit a range of new environments,” notes Nicole Boivin, Director at the MPI-SHH and study coauthor. “These skills enabled them to colonize nearly all of the planet’s continents by about 10,000 years ago, setting us clearly on the path to being the global species we are today.”

Please find the original press release of the Max-Plack-Institut under https://www.shh.mpg.de/1725622/bow-and-arrrow-roberts