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Sri Lanka’s PM invites protesters for talks amid tensions

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Sri Lankas protesters

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited the organisers of protests over fuel and food shortages to talks in an attempt to defuse growing tensions.

Spokesperson of the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday that the invitation came as a major protest was held for the fifth consecutive day outside the president’s office in Colombo.

The protesters are demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government, led by his brother step down due to the economic crisis that is roiling the country.

The protesters have not yet responded to the invitation.

Sri Lanka is suffering from a major economic crisis, lack of foreign currency necessary to pay for imports.

Several fuel stations have been forced to shut down while gas distribution has come to a standstill due to the absence of supplies.

Hospitals are struggling with shortages of medicines.

Protests are now being held all over the nation.

More crisis rose as the majority Sinhala celebrate the traditional new year on Wednesday and Thursday, events that are hampered by the lack of fuel and gas and the soaring cost of living.

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka said it will suspend the repayment of all foreign loans and would renegotiate future payments.

A government delegation is due to hold talks with the Monetary Fund, IMF, next week to seek relief.

dpa/NAN

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Corps member empowers ex-convicts in Ekiti, warns against stigmatisation

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A serving corps member in Ekiti State, Anuoluwa Elizabeth Balogun, has empowered ex-convicts in the state with tools in various skills, as her Personal Community Development Service (CDS) project in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Balogun, whose passion was borne out as a result of the numerous psychological challenges ex-convicts faced when released from prison, such as stigmatisation, discrimination, isolation, and instability, embarked on the seamless project to make an impact in her immediate environment.

The ex-convicts were presented with the tools at the one-day sensitisation programme tagged “Sensitisation of the Public Against Stigmatisation of the Ex-Convicts,” in Ado-Ekiti, on Wednesday.

Balogun said that the project is to rehabilitate, reform and reintegrate the ex-convicts, while urging the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to map out programmes towards their proper reintegration into the society.

She added that during her pre-release counselling sessions with the ex-convicts, she discovered that the various offenses they committed were as a result of poverty and improper upbringing.

According to her, “This project is set to rehabilitate, reform, and reintegrate a sizeable number of ex-convicts in Ekiti State. It is a smaller version of the big institution I have in mind, which the Federal Government and the State Government should take up, being also ably supported by individuals in the society.

“During the one month pre-release counselling sessions with the inmates, with the professional services, I realised that most of the crimes committed was as a result of poverty, poor upbringing and a bad influence.

“It is on this note that I urge the government to have a well structured rehabilitation centre for them in the custodial centre, so that the psychology of the name is not just being changed but a lot being changed about them by getting them upskilled with also a lot of therapy sessions.”

On her part, the NYSC Ekiti State Coordinator, Mary Chikezie, lauded the efforts of Balogun noting that it is in tandem with the reasons behind the formation of the scheme.

Chikezie enjoined the public to assist corps members who are embarking in their personal CDS projects while urging them to desist from stigmatising ex-convicts.

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ECOWAS Youth Council appoints Osungbade youth ambassador

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The Youth Council of the Economic Community of West African States (EYC), has announced the appointment of Osungbade Akeem as its youth ambassador.

This was made known in a letter released recently by the president of EYC, Ambassador Seun Williams, and seen by Tribune Online.

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The letter stated, “This appointment is not unconnected to his laudable antecedents, hardwork and diligence in the area of service to humanity even in the face of oppression and intimidation.

“As a relentless crusader of promoting entrepreneurship for African youths, we are optimistic of his positive impacts in the region and organisation.”

Ambassador Osungbade Akeem, when reached for comments on his appointment, stated that, “Service to humanity is one that I’ve dedicated my life and this is just a call for more innovative actions that would create values among West African youths. I’m glad to accept this as a challenge.”

Akeem is the founder and CEO of Cyberxox, a remote website, application and logo designing agency. He is also the Head of Marketing of Cudium, a cross-border payment technology company.



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