The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) told the Speaker today that they object to a vote being taken on November 14 on who has majority support to form a Government. President Maithripala Sirisena convened Parliament on November 14 after he prorogued the House last month. However all other political parties which are not part of the new Government wanted the vote taken on November 14.The Speaker said that based on the opinion of a majority of Parliament members he has decided to suspend the standing orders of Parliament after the main items on the agenda on November 14 are completed, and take the vote of confidence on the Government. (Colombo Gazette) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today decided that when Parliament convenes on November 14 the vote on who has majority support to form a Government will be taken.The decision was taken when part leaders met the Speaker today to decide the agenda for November 14.

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first_imgChennai: The Madras High Court has declared as “illegal” an amendment made by the Tamil Nadu government to the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act, exempting three state legislations from its purview.It also made it clear that all land acquisitions made by the state government under the three state legislations on or after September 27, 2013, were “illegal.” A division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, which set aside the amendment on Wednesday, however, held that the lands, which had been acquired and already put to use for the purpose for which they had been acquired before September 2013, should not be disturbed.The three legislations providing for acquisition of land by the state government are Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Scheme Act, 1978, Tamil Nadu Acquisition for Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997 and Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001. The matter relates to the amendment made to the Centre’s Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 by inserting a new section, 105 A. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The central act was brought out to ensure more transparency in the process of land acquisition and that the land-losers were suitably resettled. It was introduced to make sure only those acquisitions which were truly necessary took place and that land was not indiscriminately taken over by governments. During the hearing, the Advocate General of the state government brought to the notice of the bench that large extent of lands that have been acquired under the three state enactments after January 1, 2014, have been put to use and it would be impossible to return them. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedTo this the bench said, “In such cases, we can only direct that the compensation and the rehabilitation must be strictly made in accordance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 the New Land Acquisition Act.” For the purpose of continuing the acquisition under three state Acts, it was decided to bring in an amendment by inserting Section 105-A in the Centre’s Land Acquisition Act, 2013 in the same manner as envisaged under Section 105 of the Act, whereby the new Act was not made applicable to 13 central enactments.last_img

NGOs play a key role in shifting and influencing consumer demand, as well as national and international political priorities, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gro Harlem Brundtland, told a roundtable meeting of agency officials and NGO representatives.It was the second such meeting since the WHO and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) launched an experts’ report last month linking a healthy diet low in saturated fats, sugars and salt, and high in vegetables and fruits – coupled with regular exercise – to the battle against chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, several forms of cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and dental disease.Last week, Ms. Brundtland held the first formal Roundtable meeting to enlist the support of senior executives from the food and associated industries. The agency is currently preparing a Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health to address the growing toll of death and disability from chronic diseases for presentation to the World Health Assembly in May 2004.Thanking the NGOs for the strong support they had already shown since WHO began developing the Strategy last year in response to countries’ concerns, Dr. Brundtland said the consultation, including an all-day discussion tomorrow between NGOs and WHO officials, was an important part of the strategy development process.She emphasized that food, in its complexity, was not like tobacco, nor was it similar to infant feeding, other key issues where WHO has worked closely with NGOs.”Our approach to food is different from that to tobacco,” she said. “Shifting the pattern of diet and physical activity behaviour across the global population demands a more nuanced and multifaceted approach. We intend to pursue a constructive dialogue with all parties to develop a strategy that reflects the interests of all stakeholders on this complex issue.”Cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, respiratory disease, obesity and other non-communicable conditions now account for 59 per cent of the 56.5 million global deaths each year, and almost half, or 45.9 per cent, of the global burden of disease. The majority of chronic disease problems now occur in developing countries. Unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use are among the leading causes.

The global forest products industry is slowly recovering from the economic crisis, with the Asia-Pacific region and particularly China taking the lead, according to new data published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).On average, global production of the main forest products grew by one to four per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, FAO stated in a news release. Production of wood-based panels and paper in 2011, for example, was above the pre-crisis levels of 2007 and appears to be growing relatively strong in most regions. Currently FAO’s forest product statistics database contains 1.2 million entries, covering production and trade of 52 products, 21 product groups and 245 countries and territories. The free online database now contains statistics for the last 50 years.“The FAO database provides the world’s most comprehensive and internationally comparable statistics for forest products, a crucial tool for making policy and investment decisions,” said FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Forestry, Eduardo Rojas-Briales.The agency pointed out that China is increasing its importance as a producer of forest products, becoming the world’s second largest producer of sawnwood – which encompasses planks, beams and boards – after the United States, and having overtaken Canada. China has also increased its lead over all other countries as a producer of wood-based panels, paper and paperboard. In 2011, China produced 11 per cent of the world’s sawnwood, 38 per cent of its panels and 26 per cent of its paper. China is also playing a key role in international trade in forest products, being the largest importer of industrial roundwood, sawnwood, pulp and wastepaper and the largest exporter of wood-based panels. The country is also the fifth largest importer of paper and paperboard, despite a huge increase in domestic production since 2007. In 2011, China’s imports of all forest products amounted to $43 billion and account now for 16 per cent of the global total. In Russia, the largest forest country in the world, the structure of production and trade has changed in the last five years, with a decline in industrial roundwood exports by nearly 60 per cent and an increase in sawnwood production by 8 per cent. Over the same period, Russia has increased its sawnwood exports by 13 per cent. FAO noted that a high proportion of Russian industrial roundwood exports previously went to China, but the amount fell from 2007 to 2009 due to log export restrictions in Russia. Chinese imports of industrial roundwood have recovered though and some other major producing countries, including the US, Canada and New Zealand, have expanded exports to China.

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