US proud of assistance given to the people in the North

Following ceremonies at Palaly Airport, Ambassador Keshap,  Sampanthan and Wigneswaran visited the Idaikkadu Maha Vidyalayam site where a medical clinic has been established and observed American and Sri Lankan medical professionals working together to provide free care for local residents. “Americans have been coming to Jaffna since 1816 with the establishment of the first missionary schools and medical centers. We’re proud to continue this long tradition of friendship and assistance to the people in the North;” said Ambassador Keshap.Also participating were, Minister of National Coexistence, Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan, State Minister for Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran, Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian E. Saravanabavan, Health Minister of the Northern Province Dr S. Sathiyalingam, Agricultural Minister of the Northern Province P. Aingaranesan, Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala, Air Vice Marshal Sumangala Dias and Security Force Commander of Jaffna, Major General Mahesh Senanayake. (Colombo Gazette) The United States (US) is proud of the assistance given to the people in the North, the US Embassy in Colombo said.On behalf of the American people, U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap, representing the American people, donated medical supplies brought in by U.S. Pacific Command’s Operation Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) to Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan who accepted the items on behalf of the people of Jaffna. Operation PACANGEL is donating medical and dental equipment and providing free medical care, dental care, optometry, and physical therapy to the people of Jaffna.  The supplies include medication to treat acute symptoms, physical therapy equipment, eyeglasses, dental care supplies, and vitamin supplements.  Approximately 60 U.S. military members, along with local non-governmental organizations and members of the Sri Lanka Air Force, will participate in the week-long programs to assist people in Jaffna. read more

UNESCO opens expert meeting on global antidoping treaty for athletes

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) opened a meeting in Paris today of experts gathered to consider preparations for an international instrument against doping in sports. In his opening address, Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura recalled that the agency had been encouraged to consider developing an anti-doping instrument last January, when the ministers and representatives attending a sport and physical education summit in Paris adopted a communiqué stressing that doping “threatens to kill sport as surely as it kills athletes.” They urgently called on the UN take “immediate action” to help draft an international convention. The officials urged the UN system and the Council of Europe, in close collaboration with other concerned bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Intergovernmental Consultative Group on Anti-Doping in Sport (IICGADS), to coordinate the preparation, if possible before the Summer Olympic Games of 2004, and the adoption, if possible before the Winter Olympic Games of 2006, of a universal international instrument for this purpose. At its session last April, the UNESCO Executive Board endorsed this proposal and decided that an item to this effect will be included in the provisional agenda of the 32nd session of the General Conference, set to open in September. Anticipating a positive decision will be taken on the matter by the Conference, which consists of UNESCO Member States and includes the participation of community groups and non-governmental organization (NGOs), Mr. Matsuura decided to arrange this meeting of experts to advise him some time in advance. Today, Mr. Matsuura insisted “we are not starting from scratch – there is a strong foundation of work that has been developed by a number of partners.” He added that “the complexity of the problem means that no one organization can develop an international instrument on its own,” hence the need for close cooperation and partnership among all parties and stakeholders involved. He re-affirmed his personal interest in this task and UNESCO’s strong commitment to seeing it through to its conclusion. More than 15 experts, drawn from countries in different regions and from a range of sports bodies and international organizations, are attending this three-day meeting. There is currently no such legally binding, universal standard-setting instrument. The Council of Europe adopted an Anti-Doping Convention in 1989 that has so far been signed and ratified by 40 countries. The 1999 Lausanne Convention on Doping led to the establishment, in the same year, of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and to the drawing up this year of a world anti-doping code. read more