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Sri Lanka frees 16 Indian fishermen as goodwill gesture

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Colombo/New Delhi: As a goodwill gesture ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India, Sri Lanka has decided to set free 16 Indian fishermen.

The fishermen were arrested after they allegedly intruded into Sri Lankan waters. Earlier, the fisherman’s associations of Tamil Nadu had urged the Sri Lankan government to release the 16 fishermen.

R_Wickremasinghe (1)
Ranil Wickremesinghe

It was decided to release the fishermen in order to ensure that the strong friendship between India and Sri Lanka is maintained, the Colombo Gazette reported on Sunday citing the statement received from the Sri Lanka Prime Minister’s Office.

Wickremesinghe’s office said the government also took note of the request made by the Indian fisherman’s associations.

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India beginning Monday will be his first official overseas visit since being appointed as prime minister last month. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s office said that Wickremesinghe considers it important to visit India first.

The Sri Lankan government has also said that the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Sri Lanka and India will not be discussed during Wickremesinghe’s visit to India.

Wickremesinghe is to discuss domestic issues as well as regional security with the Indian leaders, the daily said, quoting the Prime Minister’s Office.

Wickremesinghe is to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, among others, during his three-day visit.

Meanwhile, Minister of International Trade and Investment Malik Samarawickreme denied reports that the CEPA agreement will be discussed and signed during the visit.

The signing of the CEPA agreement has remained stalled over the years as both sides had failed to reach a consensus on several issues.

Samarawickreme said that before signing such an agreement there is need to look at Sri Lanka’s requirements today.

The minister said be it an agreement with India or any other country, the new Sri Lankan government will ensure it meets the interests of the Sri Lankan people, the Colombo Gazette reported.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Top 3 Travel Destinations in Asia For Solo Women Travellers

Unique Asian destinations for solo female travellers

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Women travel
While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you're properly prepared. Pixabay

In recent years, the number of women embarking on solo adventures has skyrocketed — a fact corroborated by the data of many travel companies — and in many cases, to less-frequented destinations. Indeed, navigating new cities and learning to handle hustlers without a companion or ‘safety in numbers’ can be incredibly empowering for women. Right off the bat, travelling alone is the ultimate confidence boost and the freedom to plan ones own travel itinerary without having to accommodate anyone else is liberating.

For first-timers, travelling alone can seem like a daunting prospect, but with some research, planning and common sense, it could become a life-changing experience. While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you’re properly prepared. Here are top picks by ONYX Hospitality Group of unique destinations in Asia for women to explore solo.

Women travel
Malaysia is a very safe travel destination for women. Pixabay

Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka

Spend a few days in Colombo, a busy and vibrant port city, to experience the laid-back charm of the historical era combined with the liveliness of a modern city. Those looking for a more peaceful environment can head for Kandy. Once the capital of the ancient kings, Kandy remains the country’s most significant cultural and religious centre. Visit the tea plantations, pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic and go trekking into the misty hills where you can take a deep breath and reconnect with yourself and nature.

Phuket, Thailand

Famously dubbed as the island of contrasts, Phuket is a great destination for solo female travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. From relaxing, feet-in-the-sand detox and laid-back beachside cafes, to adrenaline-fuelled activities and vibrant nightlife, this tropical paradise has it all. Start by exploring the spectacular stretch of gorgeous beaches along the island’s West coast where time goes slow and sunshine seems to last forever, before switching it up with a tuk tuk ride to the east coast for some cafe-hopping and bar-crawling with the local crowds.

Travelling around Phuket is surprisingly easy. You can either hop on a tuk tuk, grab a taxi or even rent a motorbike and helmet and zoom down the hills with the view of the turquoise sea stretching out before you.

Women travel
Phuket is a great destination for solo women travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. Pixabay

Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket, Kata is a paradise waiting for people to visit and fall in love. White sand, blue sea and endless activities are just a few of the things that make Kata beach so special. Meanwhile, a walk through the local area can add a lively touch of Thai culture to any holiday.

Penang, Malaysia

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is a truly fascinating destination with its colourful five-foot-ways, mouth-watering street food, lush hiking trails and sandy beaches. Declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, George Town, the island’s cultural and urban hub, is brimming with architectural marvels from the British colonial period, timeworn shophouses, modern cafes and temples. Feast on local delicacies such as Assam Laksa or Char Kway Teow from hawker stands before walking the guilt off while exploring the world-famous mural trails.

Also Read- 4 Superfoods to Balance Out Your Hormones

Feeling overwhelmed by the paddling trishaws and fuming fragrant? One only needs to take a short bus ride away from town for a stroll along the beaches, a visit to the Tropical Spice Garden or the picturesque Penang Hill. (IANS)