Lankans eyeing Gulf jobs warned against con agents

Updated 24 March 2014
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Lankans eyeing Gulf jobs warned against con agents

The Sri Lankan government has warned its citizens against traveling to the Middle East for work on Umrah and tourist visas.
It has said it would not be responsible for those who use their visit visas to seek foreign employment.
Mangala Randeniya, deputy general manager and media spokesman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News from Colombo that seeking work on such visas is a new problem that the bureau is facing recently.
The SLBFE is a statutory body that looks after the interests of Sri Lankans working abroad. Sri Lankan workers who are selected for employment abroad are expected to register with the bureau upon payment of a minor fee.
Randeniya warned citizens to be wary of unscrupulous agents, who promise lucrative employment in countries such as Oman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai and lure the workers to travel on tourist visas, only to leave them in the lurch.
“Since tourist visas are strictly controlled in Saudi Arabia, workers typically find work through Haj or Umrah visas,” he said.
Randeniya said many had fallen victims to fraud and sexual exploitation. Sri Lankans planning to go abroad for employment have been advised to check with the SLBFE on the status of employment visas, job agreements and registration, he said.
There are some one million Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East, 40 percent of whom are in the Kingdom.


South Korea dismantles guard posts with dynamite, excavators

Updated 5 min 23 sec ago
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South Korea dismantles guard posts with dynamite, excavators

  • Last week the two Koreas finished withdrawing troops and firearms from some of the guard posts along their border before dismantling them
  • The Koreas each agreed to dismantle or disarm 11 of their guard posts by the end of this month
CHEORWON, South Korea: South Korea exploded a front-line guard post Thursday, sending plumes of thick, black smoke into the sky above the border with North Korea, in the most dramatic scene to date in the rivals’ efforts to reduce animosities that sparked last year’s fears of war.
Last week the two Koreas finished withdrawing troops and firearms from some of the guard posts along their border before dismantling them. The steps are part of agreements signed in September during a meeting between their leaders in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
On Thursday, South Korea’s military invited a group of journalists to watch the destruction of a guard post with dynamite in the central border area of Cheorwon. The journalists were asked to stay hundreds of meters (yards) away as black smoke enveloped the hilly border area. They later watched soldiers and other workers bulldoze another guard post.
While most of the South Korean guard posts are being destroyed with construction equipment for environmental and safety reasons, dynamite was used for the first structure because of its location on a high hill where it was difficult employ excavators, the Defense Ministry said.
North Korea is demolishing its guard posts with explosives, according to South Korean media.
The guard posts are inside the 248-kilometer (155-mile)-long, 4-kilometer (2.5-mile)-wide border called the Demilitarized Zone. Unlike its name, it’s the world’s most heavily fortified border with an estimated 2 million land mines planted in and near the zone. The area has been the site of violence and bloodshed since the 1945 division of the Korean Peninsula, and civilians need special government approval to enter the zone.
The Koreas each agreed to dismantle or disarm 11 of their guard posts by the end of this month before jointly verifying the destruction next month. South Korea had about 60 posts inside the DMZ guarded by layers of barbed wire and manned by troops with machine guns. North Korea was estimated to have 160 such front-line posts.
Under the September agreements, the Koreas are also disarming the shared border village of Panmunjom and clearing mines from another DMZ area where they plan their first-ever joint searches for Korean War dead. They’ve also halted live-fire exercises along the border.
The deals are among a set of steps they have taken since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reached out to Seoul and Washington early this year with a vague commitment to nuclear disarmament. The fast-improving inter-Korean ties have raised worries among many in South Korea and the United States as global diplomacy on the North’s nuclear weapons program has produced little recent progress.