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Sushma to have wideranging talks during Lanka visit

The Joint Commission, co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Minister of External Affairs of India will be held on 5 February 2016 in Colombo. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will have wide-ranging talks during her Sri Lanka visit.Swaraj will undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka from 5-6 February 2016 for the Ninth Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission, the Foreign Ministry said today. The India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was established in 1992 as an effective mechanism to address matters pertaining to bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The discussions will include areas such as economic cooperation, trade, power and energy, technical and maritime cooperation, social, cultural and educational matters, science and technology, defence cooperation, health, civil aviation, tourism, and people-to-people contact.The Eighth Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was held in New Delhi on 22 January 2013. Minister Swaraj will arrive in Sri Lanka in the afternoon of 5 February and depart in the evening of 6 February. During her visit, Minister Sushma Swaraj will also call on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Ban welcomes US decision on early release of 6000 prisoners

“In order to address over-incarceration and overcrowding and their human rights implications, some States should develop and implement alternatives to custodial measures, and review penal policies and legislation to ensure proportionate sentencing,” said a statement issued today by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York.“He also welcomes proposals that aim to consider early release of additional prisoners who are serving sentences disproportionate to their crimes, many of which are drug-related,” the statement further noted. The Secretary-General also noted that States should only apply deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort and only after alternatives have been duly considered.“Consideration needs to be given to alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs, with an increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care,” he added in the statement. read more