India will assist Sri Lanka says Chidambaram

Terming a “courtesy call” his meeting with Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna, the former Minister said Wigneswaran was “quite forthcoming and candid” on pluses and drawbacks in the existing arrangement between the Central government and provincial councils. Asked about his stand on a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council early this month on reconciliation and accountability, Mr. Chidambaram replied that “international flavour” could be added to the inquiry by involving “credible individuals.”He recalled that an Indian judge [Radhabinod Pal] had taken part in post-World War II trials held [by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East] in Japan.Pointing out that political parties in Tamil Nadu were for an international inquiry, he said, “I don’t think there is any support [for such a position] in the UNHRC.” Chidambaram, who clarified that he did not discuss the UNHRC resolution with Mr Wigneswaran, said he sought meetings with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan.He will deliver the 20th Annual Tax Oration at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka on Thursday before leaving Colombo on Friday evening. (Colombo Gazette) Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Wigneswaran, the former Indian Minister praised the Northern Province Chief Minister. Congress member and former Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that India will always assist Sri Lanka.Chidambaram said this after meeting Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna yesterday. The former Indian Minister is on a two day visit to Sri Lanka and he was in Jaffna as part of the visit. Meanwhile Chidambaram said a “credible inquiry” [into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka] could be achieved in many ways.Chidambaram, who is the first prominent leader from Tamil Nadu to visit Sri Lanka in recent times, told The Hindu that “at least, there a few ways. You don’t have to have binary approach.” read more

Insecticidetreated nets protect livestock and boost milk yields in UN pilot projects

“The nets are environmentally safe and have drastically cut the number of flies, mosquitoes and other disease-transmitting insect vectors by close to 90 per cent,” the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement, referring to a project in Kisii, Kenya, in the country’s western highlands. The nets have also cut down the cases of mastitis, a bacterial disease that can be spread by flies as well as poor hygiene during milking, according to FAO.In addition, the Rome-based UN agency said that preliminary findings reported a 40 per cent decrease in cases of malaria in the farmers’ homes.In countries like Kenya, where smallholders owning just one or a few cows care for 80 per cent of the dairy animals and produce more than three-quarters of the country’s milk, the loss of an animal can devastate a family economically. “We were treating animals that were already sick, but they kept dying. So we needed to look at the real culprits – the insects that transmit disease in the first place,” said Burkhard Bauer, an independent Senior Scientific Advisor of the Free University of Berlin working on the FAO project. A farmer in the Kisii area, Mary Munyega Nyandeo, told FAO that the nets have improved the quantity of milk she gets, putting more money in her pocket.“I used to milk around 2 litres of milk, but since the nets were brought and the flies disappeared, I now milk around 4 or 5 litres a day, so I make profit,” Ms. Nyandeo said.In Ghana, similar nets are used to protect smallholder pig farms. A third pilot project is getting underway in Burkina Faso. The nets are ecologically safe and efficient since the animals do not have to be coated repeatedly with insecticides. “The insecticide used is made from the same chemicals used in pet flea collars,” said Raffaele Mattioli, Senior Officer with FAO’s Animal Health Service in Rome.The insecticide-treated nets also potentially eliminate ticks, which holds promise for tick-borne diseases such as East Coast Fever in Eastern Africa, Mr. Mattioli added. read more