Bilateral cooperation has steadily improved over the years has spread into new areas of cooperation in recent years he said further in an interview with the President’s Media Division. High Commissioner Skandakumar stated further: “the fact that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull invited our President for a state visit proves the new high in our longstanding friendship. President Maithripala Sirisena left for Australia today on an official visit, the President’s Media Division said.Sri Lanka and Australia enjoy strong bilateral relations, and the current state visit of President Maithripala Sirisena will give them quantum jump, says Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Australia Somasundaram Skandakumar. The last state visit took place six decades ago when Prime Minister Sir John Kothalawala visited Australia, following the setting up of Colombo Plan. Australia is a leading member of the Colombo Plan under which several programmes have been launched for the development of the education sector“.In the new areas of corporation, Australia is looking forward to invest in various sectors including mining, hospitality, dairy and agriculture. The High Commissioner said that the President, who also holds the Cabinet portfolio of Environment, will be visiting the National Arboretum in Canberra, where he will plant a sapling of Mahogany (Toona ciliata). The President is also scheduled to visit the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Genomics, Metabolomics and Bioinformatics where excellent research has been done on development of food crops. “Sri Lanka can learn a lot from these two centres about preserving environment, increasing forest density and agriculture and food crop research,” Skandakumar said. Indicating that there is a huge potential for expansion of bilateral corporation in the mining and education sectors, the High Commissioner emphasized, that Australian investors look forward to mine exploration on the western coastal areas. The recent years has seen a boost in bilateral security corporation, especially in maritime security, between the two countries. Realizing the imperative need for security in the Indian Ocean region, Australia has donated two modern patrolling vessels to Sri Lankan coast guards. The two countries are actively cooperating to curb human smuggling and to prevent maritime piracy.Revealing the details of President’s Sirisena’s state visit, Skandakumar expected many positive outcomes Australian Prime from the President’s meetings with the Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Defence Minister Marise Payne, Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton, where a number of Memoranda of Understanding will also be signed strengthening bilateral collaboration. (Colombo Gazette) read more

$13 a pack? NYC mayor wants highest cigarette prices in US FILE – In this April 7, 2017, file photo, cigarette butts are discarded in an ashtray outside a New York office building. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan on April 19, 2017, to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13 in the city. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) by The Associated Press Posted Apr 20, 2017 9:49 am MDT Last Updated Apr 20, 2017 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for the nation’s biggest city to also be the country’s priciest spot to buy a pack of smokes.De Blasio is backing an effort to raise the price of a pack of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, which he says would be the nation’s highest.The Democrat announced his support Wednesday for a series of legislative proposals designed to drastically cut tobacco use in the city by the year 2020. De Blasio says his goal is to reduce the number of smokers by 160,000. An estimated 900,000 New York City residents currently smoke.“What we’re here today talking about is saving lives,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, who appeared with the mayor at offices of the American Heart Association. “We want to make it easier to quit and harder to smoke.”The proposals are set for hearings later this month.The city council also will consider legislation to gradually reduce by half the number of licenses issued to retailers to sell tobacco products. Philadelphia and San Francisco have similar licensing restrictions.An American Cancer Society study found that 8,992 retail outlets were licensed to sell tobacco in New York as of October, and about a third of those were within 500 feet of a school.Other proposals would set minimum prices and create taxes on smokeless tobacco and small cigars, and require sellers of electronic cigarettes to obtain licenses. read more