LTTE influenced the west

The Defence Secretary said that some countries had even placed restrictions on the sale of weapons to Sri Lanka and these issues had to be overcome through the skillful building up of diplomatic relationships with key regional allies as well as countries such as China and Russia. During the war the LTTE was able to influence the political leadership of many western states to be critical of the Government’s success on the war front Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.Speaking at an event in Galle today, Rajapaksa said that the government had to face the challenge of resisting international pressure to stop the war. “In this regard, ensuring that the problems that led to the conflict in the first place do not arise again is critically important. Keeping some degree of security measures in place is essential. At the same time, the Government was very keen to remove whatever restrictions had to be in place during the war so that the people could feel the benefit of peace as fast as possible,” he said. (Colombo Gazette) “Without doubt, the most important country that had to be managed was India. Because of the political pressures in Tamil Nadu, the Sri Lankan situation has always been a very sensitive one in that country. In 1987, when the LTTE was on the brink of defeat during the Vadamarachchi Operation, India intervened and effectively forced the Government to stop its military campaign. In order to maintain the relationship with India and to prevent any such problem occurring this time around, the President went out of his way to keep New Delhi briefed on developments at all times. In addition, a special bilateral committee was set up at the highest level, including then Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President LalithWeeratunga and myself as Defence Secretary from the Sri Lankan side, and former National Security Advisor M. K. Narayan, then Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and then Defence Secretary Vijay Singh on the Indian side. This troika had continuous discussions and ensured that any sensitive issues were dealt with as soon as they arose,” he said.He also said that in the long term, the primary challenge and responsibility of the Government is to restore stability to Sri Lanka. “I would like to remind the audience of the last minute visits of the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom and France, as well as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to pressurize the Government to stop the Humanitarian Operation. As a result of its vast international network, its extremely effective propaganda machine, and the large number of expatriate Tamils in many powerful foreign capitals, the LTTE was able to influence the political leadership of many western states to be critical of the Government’s success on the warfront,” he said. read more

Plants that dont need soil or water to feature at Chelsea Flower

Courses on how to assemble terrariums are becoming popular Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Plants that require neither soil nor water to grow will make their debut at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show as organisers hope to encourage young novices into gardening.Photos of air plants displayed neatly in glass terrariums are expected to be uploaded all over social media after the country’s top horticulturists said their low maintenance made them a good match for millennials.Houseplants in general are becoming more and more fashionable among young people, who are increasingly strapped for time and space in their homes.They are already a firm Instagram trend, with green-fingered youths contributing over 2.2 million pictures of greenery to the #plantsofinstagram hashtag. This year air plants are expected to lead the way because they require minimal attention, can fit in small spaces and brighten up house shares and flats. They only require occasional misting and sunlight.A whole section at the Chelsea Flower Show will be dedicated to them. Guy Barter, the chief horticulturalist at the RHS, said: “Air plants are compact, exotic and stylish, making them a great addition to rooms of any size.”As relatively low maintenance plants, they are a good match for young novices taking the first steps into the wonderful world of gardening.”These strange and outlandish plants are a great introduction to the wonders of botany and fit very well into any sized space. “People aren’t born to be gardeners. Now space and time are often short, gardening courses fit the bill nicely.”They are often included in glass bowls or terrariums, which are ideal for their warmth and humidity needs as well as being attractive and offering the chance to put your own stamp on how they are displayed.”Last year, the charity provided Andrew Gavin, who specialises in the plant, with a bursary to travel the world and discover new examples of the species.Mr Gavin, who will be showcasing his finds in the Great Pavilion in May, said: “Air Plants are booming in popularity due to the fact that they are so versatile and easy to grow. “You can just hang them from a piece of wire or place them on your windowsill, you can tie them on to drift wood to mimic how they grow in the wild or you can arrange them on an ornament or among semi-precious stones or sea shells. “Mist them with rainwater and place them in a position where they get bright light or half a day of sunlight.”His unusual collection of plants includes those that are easy to grow, have scented flowers and plants that change colour.Popular varieties of air plants include the silvery green tillandsia usneoides, which produces small, fragrant yellow flowers, and the tillandsia xerographica which has colour-changing leaves that go from silvery green to blush-pink in bright light. They are typically found in the West Indies, Mexico and much of Central and South America, and grow well on shells and rocks. Terrarium workshops across the UK have started to spring up in anticipation of the trend, which teaches curious gardeners how to make self-contained ecosystems for air plants from £30 a session. Other websites are also set to take advantage. One such company, Patch Plants, sells house plants including air plants in pretty, fashionable pots. It gives all its varieties human names and delivers them to your door, encouraging customers to post their new “pets” on Instagram. Courses on how to assemble terrariums are becoming popularCredit: Joshua McCullough read more