A visiting European Parliament delegation told Sri Lanka it needs to show “tangible progress” in improving human rights conditions to win back the GSP Plus trade deal giving duty free access to the European Union.The four-member delegation, led by Jean Lambert, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, also urged Sri Lanka to “seize the moment” for national reconciliation. Progress included the issuing of circulars to military and police about the need to respect the rights of detainees and suspects, improvements in freedom of media, absence of censorship and the ability of civil society to operate more freely.But they said Sri Lanka needs “deeper and faster progress” in areas such as normalisation of life in the former war zone of the North and East and the replacement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act with legislation in line with Sri Lanka’s international human rights commitments. The Members of the European Parliament said they were “pleased and impressed” with the progress that has been made in Sri Lanka on human rights and national reconciliation. The delegation had discussions with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan and Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, as well as different civil society organisations. (Courtesy Economy Next) They had meetings in the last two days with representatives of the government, parliament and civil society, an EU statement released at a news conference said. “On GSP+, MEPs stressed that the decision on Sri Lanka’s application will also need the approval of the European Parliament, and that the application’s success is dependent on tangible progress by Sri Lanka in areas of concern,” the statement said.This includes ensuring the Code of Criminal Procedure includes the rights of detainees in keeping with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.“This agreement has real opportunities open up for Sri Lanka, therefore we urge the government to do its best to seize this moment and to make sure that they meet the criteria,” the Chair of the delegation, Jean Lambert, stressed during the meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Basketball fans in Hamilton will now be able to take part in a free, local viewing party for Game 2 of the NBA finals.The City of Hamilton, Hamilton Honey Badgers, and Spectra have announced that FirstOntario Centre will open its doors to the public during Game 2 and 3 of the league championship series between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors.The first viewing will be on Sunday, June 2, with doors opening at 7:30 p.m. “Fans are encouraged to experience our downtown restaurants before the game or concessions will be available on site for purchase,” said Core Entertainment in a news release.The City of Hamilton, @HM_HoneyBadgers & Spectra are excited to announce that FirstOntario Centre will open its doors for a FREE public viewing of Games 2 & 3 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors! https://t.co/ANhe9pZthZ #WeTheNorth #HamOnt— City of Hamilton (@cityofhamilton) May 30, 2019Game 3 will take place following the Hamilton Honey Badgers game against the Guelph Nighthawks on Wednesday, June 5. The Honey Badgers game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be free to the public.Tickets are required for the viewing and will be made available free online through Core Entertainment’s website or can be picked up at the venue through the Bay St. entrance once doors open.