Sri Lankan born Canadian politico to run for Liberal Party

On March 28, she took to Facebook to thank her supporters and announce that she had taken a vacation, got some much needed rest and spent time with her family.“I am now back home in Scarborough and ready to figure out and work toward the next step,” she wrote. No matter what, I will always love and work for the betterment of our communities, province, country and global society.” She is seeking a seat in an upcoming byelection in Scarborough–Rouge River, vacant since longtime MPP Bas Balkissoon’s surprising resignation last month. The riding has been Liberal since its creation in 1999. Sri Lankan born Canadian politician Rathika Sitsabaiesan is to contest the Canadian elections for the Ontario Liberal Party.Sitsabaiesan, the former NDP MP for the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough–Rouge River submitted her nomination papers to the Ontario Liberal Party this week, The Huffington Post reported. Her page makes no mention of running for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals; it features mostly election-style posts urging people to vote for the federal NDP. (Colombo Gazette) Sitsabaiesan was defeated in the October 19 federal election when the NDP was completely wiped out in Toronto. She came in third with 22 per cent support, 10,000 votes behind her Liberal rival, Shaun Chen, who won 48 per cent of the vote. The Conservative, Ravinder Malhi, came in second with 27 per cent.The 34-year-old was only elected in 2011 under then NDP leader Jack Layton’s wave, winning what had originally been thought of as a safe Liberal seat. Born in Sri Lanka, Sitsabaiesan became the first parliamentarian of Tamil descent. She immigrated to Canada when she was five. read more

UN envoy for AIDS in Africa holds talks with Botswanas President

During their talks, Envoy Stephen Lewis and President Festus Mogae touched on national and African AIDS initiatives and the role of African leaders in combating HIV/AIDS in the region. While in Botswana, Mr. Lewis also met with the head of the national AIDS coordinating committee, as well as the heads of UN agencies in the country. His schedule also includes meetings with representatives of civil society and visits to field projects dealing with HIV/AIDS.In other news on AIDS, musician Salman Ahmad today launched a new push to fight HIV/AIDS in Pakistan as part of the global UN effort to battle the epidemic. “In my capacity as an artist, I will look at all possible means to help raise awareness about AIDS,” Mr. Ahmad told a press conference in Islamabad held in conjunction with the launch. Pledging to focus on helping the younger generation, Mr. Ahmad noted that “AIDS puts a greater challenge on each and every one of us to be more responsible for our personal and public behaviour.” Kristan Schoultz of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stressed that while Pakistan is currently experiencing a low prevalence of the disease, the country’s young people would definitely be at risk unless they received proper information about the epidemic. “If we work together, we can make a difference,” she said. “Now is the time to address the issue.” Pakistan’s campaign is part of a global effort by UNAIDS aimed at involving men, particularly young men, more fully in the fight against the epidemic. read more