In promoting trade, the two countries also agreed to explore the possibility of initiating a Malaysia-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. “The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and to deepen their economic engagement for mutual benefits.” Malaysia and Sri Lanka today have called on all nations to reject terrorism. Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and President Maithripala Sirisena were unanimous in their rejection of violent extremism, the New Straits Times reported.They also expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation. “Both sides agreed to continue sharing information and best practices with a view to address the challenges posed by terrorism and other traditional and non-traditional threats,” they said in a joint statement. Sirisena assured that the Malaysian investors would enjoy a conducive investment climate in Sri Lanka. Earlier, the two leaders witnessed the signing of five memorandum of understanding – on tourism related activities; on cooperation in the field of youth development; on recruitment, employment and repatriation of workers; in the field of culture, arts and heritage, and on agriculture scientific research and technical cooperation.Sirisena is in Malaysia for a three-day work visit and this is his first visit since he took office in January last year. (Colombo Gazette) read more

“If the present trend continues, this month could set a new record for the number of arrivals,” Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a press briefing in Geneva.“These are desperate people – mainly Somalis but also large numbers of Ethiopians – who are fleeing insecurity and poverty. For a fee of $40 each, they are crammed into rickety, open fishing vessels. Many making the hazardous voyage will not survive,” he said.Those arriving on Wednesday reported that two male passengers had drowned when they were forced overboard while still in deep water. Four were reported to have drowned from the first boat to arrive this season in early September, according to UNHCR.The smugglers are operating from the commercial port of Bossasso in Puntland, a self-declared autonomous area of north-east Somalia, over 300 kilometres from Yemen. “UNHCR has worked in the region to inform people about the dangers and has called on the international community to press authorities in Puntland to crack down on smugglers,” said Mr. Redmond, noting that “hundreds die before reaching shore each year.”The agency has also asked donors to back international efforts to help in Puntland, “where living conditions encourage acts like sailing to Yemen,” he added.There are currently more than 88,000 registered refugees in Yemen, of whom 84,000 are Somalis. UNHCR operates a reception centre and camp in Yemen. read more