India has also been concerned over Chinese presence at the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.Hambantota, a town on the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka, is being turned into a major port and Colombo had an agreement with Beijing for Chinese companies’ involvement in developing facilities at the port. The port, like Gwadar in Pakistan and Sittwe in Myanmar, is perceived to be part of the “string of pearls,” the strategic assets China has been developing in the Indian Ocean region, purportedly to encircle India.Rajapaksa’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing in the last week of May saw the two countries upgrading the bilateral ties to a “strategic cooperation partnership.” Sources told Deccan Herald that the agreement, to be signed during the NSA’s visit to Sri Lanka, will seek to set up a mechanism for trilateral cooperation in maritime security, information sharing, cooperation on search and rescue in the Indian Ocean region, surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zones, collective response to marine oil pollution and capacity building through training and exercises. New Delhi’s move to sign a trilateral maritime cooperation agreement with Colombo and Male comes in the backdrop of China’s growing influence over Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Negotiation for the MoU started in 2011, but gained momentum only towards the end of 2012 and early this year.China set up its embassy in Maldives in 2011 and has since been lobbying hard to get involved in the development of infrastructure in some of the strategically located islands of the archipelagic nation. New Delhi has of late been finding it a bit difficult to maintain its traditional influence on political and economic affairs of Maldives. New Delhi has been repeatedly asking the Sri Lankan government to ensure equal political, social and economic rights for the Tamils of the island nation. Ever since the Sri Lankan Army defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas in 2009, New Delhi has been prodding Colombo to move towards a national reconciliation and prove alleged human rights violation by its soldiers during the crackdown on rebels.China’s $ 1.05 billion aid commitment to Sri Lanka was the largest in 2012, while India ranked second with $ 700 million. A release by the Sri Lankan government quoted Xi telling Rajapaksa that China was “strongly opposed to foreign countries interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.” India will sign a trilateral maritime cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in a move to counter China’s bid to spread its strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean region, the Deccan Herald reported.National Security Advisor (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon will visit Colombo this week to hold talks with his Sri Lankan and Maldivian counterparts for finalising a framework agreement for maritime cooperation among the three nations. Menon will also call President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his visit to Colombo.
The last English saints to be canonised were the so-called Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, who were executed for treason and related offences between 1535 and 1679. Although the the seventeeth-century martyrs were recognised by Pope Paul VI only in 1970, if Chesterton’s clause is successful he would be the first English saint to have lived for more than 300 years.The process of canonisation must begin at least five years after a person’s death, except for in exceptional circumstances decided by the Pope, such as the canonisation of Mother Theresa. It usually takes at least fifty years, and the Vatican must find evidence that at least two miracles have been performed.Chesterton’s grave is in Beaconsfied, Buckinghamshire, and has become a landmark of local interest, although Canon Udris said that residents “wouldn’t have conceived of him in any sense as a candidate for a sainthood”, and that much of the pressure for his canonisation had come from abroad. Members of the Argentinian Chesterton society and supporters in the United States and Canada were the first to petition the Bishop of Northampton to begin the canonisation process in 2013. After the report is published, the Bishop will decide whether to open a ‘cause’ with the Vatican, which begins the formal investigation into the extent of Chesterton’s holiness and the sanctity of his life. Pope Francis may look favourably on the application, having reportedly been a member of the G.K. Chesterton Society in his home country of Argentina.At a later stage of the canonisation process, the Vatican will look for evidence that he has performed posthumous miracles by answering prayers. The report’s findings show that infertile couples, in particular, are said to have singled out Chesterton, himself childless, to ask for miracle conceptions, said Canon John Udris, who compiled the report.“Very interestingly, I have noticed people saying that they are praying for him,” he said.“Because they didn’t have any children, Frances and Gilbert [Chesterton], so they are finding him as a bit of a go-to person, if for example a couple is infertile and looking to have a child.” “[Miracles] will be, if the cause is opened, down the line, what will people be looking for. And of course, people have already been feeding back,” Canon Udris said.Chesterton was an eminent writer, and produced hundreds of stories, books, essays and plays.His works of Christian apologetics are highly regarded, and he was eventually knighted by Pope Pius XI before his death in 1936.Opponents of G.K. Chesterton’s canonisation point to alleged anti-Semitic views he expressed in his lifetime, including the presentation of Jews as greedy or cowardly in his literary works. Later in his life, Chesterton said that Jews should have to wear distinctive dress so that they could be identified, and opposed the defendant Alfred Dreyfus in a trial widely perceived to be an anti-Semitic miscarriage of justice.Canon Udris told The Daily Telegraph that while presenting the views of “people who have hesitations, reservations, and actually who are dead set against the cause” is crucial to his report, his personal view is that “wasn’t a racist bone in his body”. “I won’t be making any recommendations, although he [Bishop Doyle] knows and I’ve made no bones about my personal hopes that the cause will be opened,” he said. A renowned author may become England’s first saint for 300 years after Catholic couples claimed he answered their prayers for “miracle” children.G.K Chesterton is best known for his short stories featuring the character Father Brown, a crime solving priest loosely based on the man who was involved in his conversion to Catholicism in 1922.But now he could become England’s first Roman Catholic saint since the 17th century, after an official report examining the strength of his case is published next month.The Daily Telegraph understands that the document, commissioned by the Bishop of Northampton, will show that Catholics are praying to Chesterton and asking for intercession – his intervention in their lives.It will also dispute claims that Chesterton held anti-Semitic views and used Jewish character tropes in his work. Many oppose Chesterton’s canonisation, pointing to anti-Semitic views he expressed in his lifetime.Credit:Getty Creative 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.