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Bangladesh urges Sri Lanka to sign FTA quickly

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Kamal requested the prime minister to take steps to speed up the preparatory work for finalising the FTA. Kamal raised the issue of the coastal shipping agreement, which has been pending for three years.The maritime shipping connectivity will help Bangladesh’s shipping cargoes to reach their final destinations in the west via Colombo Port.In 2016, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka agreed to sign the FTA. Bangladesh has urged Sri Lanka to sign the free trade agreement and the bilateral coastal shipping deal quickly to enhance trade between the two countries, The Daily Star reported.Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal made the call during a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Hanoi, Vietnam, on the sidelines of the Indian Ocean Conference, according to a statement of the planning ministry. The bilateral trade between the two nations amounts to only $150 million and it will receive a boost if the FTA becomes effective, the planning minister said. Wickremesinghe assured that Sri Lanka will expedite the FTA and maritime agreements.He said a good number of Sri Lankans are working in Bangladesh in a very friendly environment, mostly in technical and managerial positions, supporting the manufacturing and service sectors. In March this year, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh will sign the agreement in October. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Fill your garden with Mediterranean plants to beat future droughts new RHS

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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. Gardeners across the country looked despondently at their brown, parched flowerbeds during the heatwave last year. Now, the Royal Horticultural Society is advising British people plant brightly coloured Mediterranean trees and flowers to drought-proof their gardens.The charity has released a list of ten attractive, colourful  plants which can be put in the ground from April and can survive extremely dry conditions.Included in the list are the bright magenta rock rose, aromatic rosemary and lavender, silvery Russian sage and the bright yellow Spanish broom.This advice comes from the charity’s recently-recruited environmental horticulture team, which is coming up with new ways to protect British gardens from the effects of climate change and extreme weather.Mark Gush, Head of Environmental Horticulture at the RHS, said: “It may seem counter-intuitive that while much of the UK is under snow and ice gardeners should be considering Mediterranean plants for their gardens this summer.However, with the UK expected to experience warmer, drier summers over the coming years, hardy exotic varieties that can cope with periods of drought will enable gardeners to better manage water resources in their gardens.”RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex is situated in one of the driest parts of the country but its Dry Garden survived – even thrived – last summer, and has lasted an astonishing 18 years without being watered, instead capturing only the occasional rains that fall.”Of course, early establishment is imperative so plants have good root structures deep in the soil meaning it’s important gardeners plan ahead.”The new team will research and advise on sustainable resource management, soil health and ecosystem services, including how the UK’s 27 million gardeners can contend with weather extremes, air and noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Findings and advice will be shared with industry and the public. read more

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