“Sandya represents the dedication and perseverance of women from all ethnicities across Sri Lanka who are seeking information about their missing loved ones,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap. “The American people support their efforts as a step towards a brighter future of truth, reconciliation, and lasting peace for all Sri Lankans.”“Pursuing the truth is not a crime. Protecting the perpetrators is,” said Sandya about her campaign.The 13 honorees were chosen for their advocacy on issues as diverse as combatting early child marriage, gender-based violence, human trafficking, improving interfaith relations, and preserving the environment. They will travel to cities across the United States to discuss the challenges they have faced and inspire others to action. Mrs. Trump applauded the honorees as “true heroes,” saying they’ve “fought on the frontlines against injustice.”The First Lady declared that “we are all ultimately members of one race. The human race.” Ekneligoda’s husband, a well-known political cartoonist and journalist disappeared in January 2010 but she resolved to seek the truth about his fate. She appeared in court more than 80 times in the face of obstructionist judges and authorities. US First Lady Melania Trump, today, honored 13 extraordinary women, including Sandhya Ekneligoda, with the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award.The award recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women’s rights, empowerment, and justice, often at great personal risk. The State Department said that a member of the majority Sinhalese community in Sri Lanka, Sandhya has become a symbol for the many thousands of persons — including from the Tamil minority — who have suffered the loss of disappeared relatives over the course of the 27-year civil war and earlier insurrections. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored nearly 100 women from 60 different countries, including Jansila Majeed of Puttalam in 2010 for her advocacy on behalf of internally displaced persons. (Colombo Gazette)
Licence holders have passionately held, often opposing opinions.Mike Grimes, head of boating, Canal & River Trust Acting coach and director Dominic Kelly with his dog ‘Puck’ on their boat at Lisson Grove, west LondonCredit:Eddie Mulholland/Telegraph Now a number of long-standing boat owners say the influx of young people is causing problems.”It’s great to see a new generation coming up and enjoying the river because it means they will become its new custodians, but from Thursday to Sunday they socialise very loudly,” said one canal dweller of 30 years, who asked not to be named.”I don’t think young people appreciate how far sound travels outdoors at night, which does cause tensions because the rest of us have chosen to be here for the peace, the quiet and the solitude.”At a marina in Tardebigge, Worcestershire, Alastair King, place manager of Anglo Welsh Waterway holidays, which rents boats to groups, said noise was a frequent “point of contention” between canal users.“We make sure they won’t ever be too rowdy,” he said. “We give them a stern talking to before they cast off to take them down a few pegs and make sure there’s no trouble. “We tell them if we get a complaint, they have a warning. If we get another, we order them off the boat and leave them at the side of the canal.”In Stratford-upon-Avon houseboat resident Callum Marshall, 25, a freelance artist, admitted that “sometimes I blast my music out pretty loud”, although he said no one had ever complained. With a top speed of four mph and a backdrop of weeping willows on dappled water, it is generally regarded as a bucolic pastime for the elderly.But canal life is fast becoming dominated by younger boaters, setting up a clash of generations on the water.Growing numbers of young people are choosing to live on houseboats along Britain’s riverbanks and towpaths, leading to tensions between them and more traditional and older canal goers.Arguments over loud parties and rows about a shortage of mooring spaces have become a more common site along the country’s once tranquil waterways.New figures from the Canal & River Trust show that a large majority, 64 per cent, of those who live on houseboats on permanent moorings are aged under 45.The same survey also shows that almost half of those who live on what are classed as continuous cruisers, boats which move from mooring to mooring, are aged 16 to 44.On the once industrial River Lea, near Stratford in east London, which underwent regeneration for the London 2012 Olympics, smartly painted boats can now be hired for events and parties, with groups of friends gathering on boats to drink and listen to music. The Canal & River Trust’s survey confirmed that the profile of the traditional boat owner is someone over 55 who uses their boat for pleasure, while a larger percentage of younger canal goers use their boats as a permanent home and choose boating because it offers an alternative lifestyle. The growing numbers of young people living on canals is particularly visible in urban areas – such as London’s Grand Union Canal and River Lea and the Birmingham Canal Navigation network – where high rents and astronomical property prices have led increasing numbers to seek an alternative to bricks and mortar.But that has created a shortage of mooring spaces, leading to many older canal goers feeling reluctant about taking their boats into urban waterways for fear they may not find anywhere to stop for the night.David, 69, who lives on a barge in the Gas Street Basin, Birmingham, said: “The issues we have are with those who live in a barge because they think it’s cheap and then they don’t want to pay their way. They outstay their fair time on visitor moors and overcrowd city canals. This is a big problem in London.”He added however: “It’s a very good thing that young people are choosing to live on barges. There’s a stereotype that boaters are all retirees and it’s good to have diversity.”Canal & River Trust, which is responsible for maintaining the 2,000 miles of British canals and rivers, said that while the changing demographic of water users had led to some tensions between younger and older boaters, it was also a sign of a welcome revival in canal life.Mike Grimes, head of boating at the trust, said its own survey had revealed “a growing polarisation between boaters’ views”.“Licence holders have passionately held, often opposing opinions, and we will use the results to help us understand our customers’ differing needs,” he said.However, Mr Grimes stressed: “What boaters all have in common is the desire to protect our canals and rivers and preserve the right and ability to navigate them. Canals are enjoying a second golden age and are more popular than ever before. Generally speaking, the sense of community is very much alive and well on the canals: it’s a part of what makes them such special places. “Of course sometimes people are going to have different opinions but the vast majority are considerate. Experienced boaters often show new boaters the ropes and the finer points of boating etiquette, while younger boaters bring a whole new perspective to waterways life.” 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.