Sources said that a discussion was held today between officials of the Immigration Department and the Foreign Ministry where the decision not to grant visas to Myanmar nationals was discussed. A group of monks from Myanmar have been refused a visa at the Katunayake Airport by immigration officers.Sources said that seven monks had been refused entry at the airport. The Government had earlier decided to suspend issuing visas for tourists from Myanmar following fears that Rohingya Muslims may attempt to enter Sri Lanka to seek refuge. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Rakhine state after the government intensified ‘clearance operations’ following an attack by Rohingya militants on border posts, in which 12 security officials were killed.Report by Indika Sri Aravinda While Sri Lanka will continue to approve visas for diplomats from Myanmar, visas will be granted only to select individuals from Myanmar after a close screening process.More than 1 million Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions in Myanmar‘s Rakhine State, where many in the Buddhist majority consider them interlopers from Bangladesh.
Britain’s toad population has plummeted by nearly 70 per cent over the past 30 years and is now in such peril the species is close to qualifying as endangered.A new report reveals that hundreds and thousands of the amphibians have disappeared from the countryside since the 1980s.The decline thought to have been prompted by a combination of new farming techniques, which have entailed the loss of ponds and the death of prey from pesticides, as well as increasing urbanisation. Heavier traffic has also been blamed for the sharp reduction, despite widespread schemes to help toads safely migrate to their breeding ponds by carrying them across busy roads.The data was collated by the volunteer patrols who perform this task, and is based on data collected from 153 since 1985.Milder winters as a result of climate change is another suspected driver of the population decline because of the disruption this causes to hibernation cycles.The new research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that South East England has suffered the worst decline in Toad, while Wales and the South West of England have remained stable for the past decade, numbers having shrunk over the twenty previous years.Scotland and the north of England have also suffered a significant decline in the past 20 years. Toad declines at this scale over such large areas are really worryingDr Silviu Petrovan, Froglife Mr Toad, in Wind in the Willows, was a sympathetic characterCredit:Telegraph Dr Silviu Petrovan, from Froglife, the charity which conducted the research, said: “Toad declines at this scale over such large areas are really worrying.“Toads are extremely adaptable and can live in many places ranging from farmland and woodland to suburban gardens.“They are also important pest controllers, eating slugs, snails and insects and are food themselves for many of our most likeable mammals such as otters and polecats.”Paul Edgar, the senior amphibian specialist at Natural England, said that recovery of the species depended upon keeping individual toad habitats linked across the country.He said the organisation was attempting to achieve this through ensuring that “green infrastructure” is included in all new planning developments.Despite their squat and warty appearance, toads occupy a fond place in the British imagination.Mr, Toad, one of the main characters in Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 novel The Wind in the Willow, is a selfish and reckless character but is nevertheless portrayed as likeable.A few years later George Orwell devoted one of his most celebrated essays – Some Thoughts on the Common Toad – to discussing the creatures and their “spiritual look” when they come out of hibernation.Every year thousands of volunteers take part in Toads on Roads patrols to help carry more than 800,000 of the amphibians to safety in both the UK and Switzerland, where Froglife has teamed up with groups which carry out the same service.Dr Petrovan said: “Without the efforts of the thousands of volunteers that go out and move amphibians across busy roads we would have no idea that these declines had occurred and the situation could be much worse.“One thing that is clear is that we need to do more to look after our environment in order to protect the species that depend on it.”Last month a separate report complied by 53 organisations found that one in six of all British wild species is now at risk of vanishing from the UK, with 1,999 listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List. 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.