1st February, 2004 Volume 10, Issue 29
worth Rs. 10 million taken into custody
police team led by Director, Colombo Crimes Division (CCD), SSP Sarath
Lugoda raided a warehouse in Mattakkuliya and took into custody 76,000
kilograms of tea worth Rs. 10 million and two men who were found in the
Lugoda said though two persons were arrested, the owner of the warehouse
is evading arrest.
huge consignment was to be exported to Iraq at the time the police on a
tip off raided the warehouse.
Lugoda said similar raids were also conducted last week and several men
involved in the racket had been arrested. He also said as a result of
exporting substandard tea, Pakistan has already cancelled its orders from
Royal Commonwealth Society (UK) has organised the Commonwealth Essay
competition is open to students of all Commonwealth countries and
territories. The competition is conducted in English. It is organised in
four groups namely; Class A - 16 to 18 years, Class B - 14 to 15 years,
Class C - 12 to 13 years and Class D - under 12 years. Ages are calculated
using December 31, 2003 as the cut off point, a statement from the society
signs new agreement with NORAD
International Foundation (WIF), an international NGO with its head office
based in Sri Lanka has recently signed a new agreement with the Norwegian
funding agency, NORAD.
press release states that NORAD is pleased to complete the agreement in a
satisfactory manner. A NORAD delegation is presently in Sri Lanka to
discuss new project fundings with WIF.
the projects under review are TV programmes on peace and development to be
implemented by Young Asia Television.
global internet discussion forum for youth, 'Mandate The Future' and a
large information communication technology training project for teachers
and students are also included in the proposal, in addition to projects in
other countries, the press release stated.
has for the last 25 years been pioneering the use of media and
communication for development, supported by 102 donors.
has implemented more than 650 projects in 24 countries in cooperation with
project partners and a network of 800 community based organisations, the
release further stated.
defence pact draws fire
political parties have severely condemned efforts to sign a defence pact
Secretary Cyril Herath told The Sunday Leader the signing of the agreement
would depend on both sides and there would be no time frame as to when
this agreement would be signed since there are upcoming elections in both
countries which could result in a delay.
he said all documents for this agreement would be prepared by the Sri
Lankan government by end February. He stressed the signing of the defence
pact would not have any effect on the ongoing peace process.
Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) General Secretary and Parliamentarian, Gajan
Ponnambalam said the defence pact between the two countries would have a
negative impact on the peace process.
pointed out that a defence pact would enhance only one force - the Sri
Lanka Army - while the LTTE would be without any assistance from abroad.
This, he said, would be unfair.
also said it is up to the Sri Lankan government to defeat the LTTE by
itself without obtaining assistance from India.
United Liberation Front (TULF) General Secretary R. Sampanthan emphasised
that the proposed Indo-Lanka defence pact is closely related to the
Indo-Lanka agreement signed in 1987.
in today's context with hardly any progress in the peace process, any
effort by the government to establish military agreements with India is
seen by the Tamil people as an effort of the government to restart
military operations again," he said.
LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham stated in the pro-LTTE website
Tamilnet that the defence pact might upset the balance of forces to the
disadvantage of the LTTE, which would lead to the disturbance of the
ceasefire agreement and "seriously damage the bargaining power of the
arms kill large numbers worldwide
United Nations (UN) estimates that small arms still kill about 300,000
people a year in conflict, most of them civilians.
to that the 200,000 more gun deaths from homicides and suicides, and small
arms begin to look like weapons of mass destruction.
the 1990s - a decade of horrendous little wars - 47 of the 49 biggest
conflicts were fought not with high-tech weaponry but with small arms, yet
the casualties were measured in the millions, a UN report says.
to the UN, there are probably 600 million small arms in circulation
worldwide and about half of them have been acquired illegally.
Master Plan shelved
Health Master Plan initiated by the Health Ministry as a cost of some Rs.
300 million is shelved at present, Health Ministry sources said.
say the master plan that was the brainchild of the present government is
not even discussed anymore.
charged that the present Health Ministry is mismanaged and added the
patients are constantly put to face inconvenience. Ministry sources also
attributed the present strike action initiated by the health sector unions
to mismanagement and corruption.
face for the police
far reaching amendments being proposed to the archaic ordinance governing
the country's police service dating back to 1865, fresh initiatives are
being undertaken to revamp the service with new uniforms, salary scales
and generally, a more people friendly image.
newly appointed Inspector General of Police, Indra De Silva has many plans
to ensure that the image of the police force is improved. Speaking to The
Sunday Leader, IGP De Silva said that the Police Department has, during
the past three decades earned a bad name and has alienated the public with
whom they are expected to work very closely.
he emphasised that some of the key issues affecting the service were
identified at a recent workshop. The general opinion was that reforms were
We identified the most crucial areas of concern and realised that
rebuilding public trust is the most important. We also identified areas
needing improvement such as the training aspect and facilities. Facilities
are a long felt need and we require considerable funds for this purpose.
The lack of it retards the service," he explained.
IGP also said that police training programmes have been conducted on crime
investigation and crime busting. Some
of these programmes however have come to a grinding halt due to political
interference. He further says that countries such as USA, UK, France and
Sweden are helping the department in crime investigation through a process
of sharing experiences.
for the proposed salary hike, the IGP emphasised that the department
received its last salary increase in the year 2000 and welcomed the new
one as an "incentive to make the men work better."
calls for legislation to protect Christians
Affairs Minister, John Amaratunga Friday
said legislation outlining ways and means of protecting Christians is the
only answer to the growing attacks on minority Christians.
told The Sunday Leader, a proposal in this regard would be submitted to
the cabinet shortly for necessary action.
to the Minister, five Catholic churches and around 80 other churches have
been attacked or set ablaze in the country since the hate attack on
totally condemn these attacks, and though complaints have been made so
far, very little or hardly any arrests have been made by the police. The
people in charge of the police should make sure that this matter is taken
seriously and the culprits be punished."
another church was attacked on Monday, January 26, at Asiri Uyana in
Mattegoda. The Healing Shrine of the Mother Most Pure was completely
destroyed by a group that had arrived in a van without number plates
armed with poles and petrol bombs.
altar section of the church had been set ablaze by a petrol bomb and the
group had then smashed the church windows and doors.
estimated Rs.250,000 is said to be the cost of the damage. According to
eyewitnesses, the group, which consisted of 20 men, had entered the church
at around 8.45 p.m., and after destroying the altar section of the church,
had smashed the statues and pictures that were hung on the wall.
attack is believed to have been well planned, as at that time the
streetlights had been put off. The police and residents in the area are
yet awaiting the arrival of the government analyst who has failed to show
up so far and until the analyst's arrival,
24-hour security has been given to the church.
to police officials, investigations are being conducted.
centre for peace
National Centre for Peace and Democracy was last week established under
the guidance of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
preliminary discussion with regard to the implementation of the centre
would be held on February 4, government officials said.
principal objectives of the center is to keep the ceasefire going and to
continue to support the peace process.
centre is entrusted with the responsibility to hold seminars, workshops
and peace education programmes to keep up the momentum of peace in the
country, a spokesman for the centre said. The centre would expand its
operation at provincial and pradeshiya sabha level shortly.
braces for bird flu
spillover effect of the raging bird flu is being felt in Sri Lanka as well
with the government quickly stepping into avert a possible catastrophe.
government on Tuesday imposed a complete ban on imported live single day
old chicks and on Wednesday proceeded to ban all imports of eggs, animal
feed and poultry products in an effort to curb the situation. At present,
the region of South Asia remains largely affected by the deadly bird flu.
ban imposed by Sri Lanka so far covers nine countries namely Thailand,
Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, India and
Pakistan. According to authoritative sources, Sri Lanka imports
approximately 600,000 poultry birds and 2,500 metric tonnes of poultry
disease, according to health authorities is caused by a highly contagious
avian influenza infection coupled with influenza - a virus that could have
a drastic effect on the local poultry industry. It is a catastrophe Sri
Lanka is very keen to avoid.
countries where the virus has been contracted, millions of chickens have
been killed, resulting in the crashing of the poultry industry.
to reports, Pakistan has already killed 1.5 million affected chickens
while Thailand has issued strict instructions to shut down all poultry
farms until further notice. So far, the disease has killed eight people
Lanka imports day old chicks from Malaysia, India, Holland, Israel and
United States to meet part of the island's consumption requirement, while
chicken breast and boned meat are imported from Malaysia, India, China and
Thailand. The ban also covers maize, fish and bone meat as well as feed
this backdrop, the government had also appointed a joint committee to make
recommendations on how to prevent the disease from spreading to Sri Lanka.
The committee consists of representatives of the Animal Production and
Health Department and the Health Ministry.
virus could also affect a variety of other animals such as pets and
aviaries. Ducks, pigs, turkeys and horses could also become possible
victims of the deadly flu.
the death of eight persons in the region, authorities have warned that
humans are also susceptible to the same flu. It has been reported that
people could be infected through the inhalation of droplets from infected
animals and transmission of the virus through the air. However,
authorities have rejected the notion that the consumption of infected meat
products would affect people.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern that the virus could
mutate further and link with regular influenza to cause a disease which
could trigger off the next human epidemic. With the flu affecting so many
countries already, an urgent summit was held by affected countries to find
measures to combat its spreading last Wednesday.
special committee appointed to look into the matter in addition to banning
poultry imports has also recommended the strengthening of the disease
diagnostic services, education of poultry breeders on the killer disease
and restricting tourists from affected countries.
the breeders and veterinarians have been asked to report on any likely
cases of a breakout. The airport authorities too have been alerted to
immediately ban meat imports from the countries appearing on the banned
Walpola to sing for peace in India after 43 years
is still the country's foremost female singer, a singing sensation who has
continued to render her voice to the film industry for 58 long years. For
Latha Walpola, a live performance in the South Indian capital, Chennai in
celebration of Sri Lankan independence is a dream come true. And a huge
first in her career spanning five decades.
has travelled the world over, entertaining thousands of fans and been a
'regular' in Chennai recording studios since her career began. But this
performance is one big dream - to sing to the Indian public. "It
inspires a singer to appear before an Indian audience. Indians breathe
music," says Walpola.
the 'Other Latha' of the region, coming only second to Indian singing
sensation Latha Mangeshkar, Walpola humbly offers that comparisons are not
possible. "Mangeshkar's scope, talent, songs, singing quality are all
far superior" adds she, despite being hailed as the 'local Mangeshkar.'
Walpola was once a frequent visitor to Chennai, flitting from one
recording studios to another. Her first recording there was in 1954 for
Ahankara Sthree directed by A.B. Raj and the last, for the film Angulimala
directed by Vijay Bhatt in 1961.
down memory lane, the undisputed queen of popular Sinhala song has many
stories to relate. At 70 years, she is still a much sought after artiste.
It is no mean feat for a self-confessed ' uneducated' singer. "Where
was the time to study music? Since I turned 17, there has been no looking
back. It was singing every day, every month, every year sans a break. When
I paused to reflect upon my career, that was when we began recording songs
here. All the while, I have been flying to Chennai recording dozens of
songs. Back at home, I thought, God! What if I also had some formal
education in music?"
Walpola has no regrets. She firmly believes that those who have gathered
certificates in music often fail to carry a tune. "It is the voice
that has the magic. That communicates. While education helps, it can't
make one a songstress" she explains.
certainly have changed, though. Latha Walpola still believes the
heartaches of yesteryear were far more beautiful than the advanced song
making that takes place today. Recalling how songs were recorded in
yesteryear, she says, "Songs for the film titled Eda Re were recorded
inside the Sri Murugan Hall, Colombo 13. Sounds were fixed to a van which
was parked elsewhere. The hall was situated on a hillock. If something
went wrong like a lose connection at the studio, somebody had to come
running down the hillock to inform the sound technicians inside the van to
fix it" she laughs.
were the days when music was life itself to those involved in it. Artistes
took their clothes, food flasks and even children to recording studios.
And singing involved many rehearsals and memorising lyrics. And there was
the community feeling, a certain togetherness that bound all parties
involved. "Unlike today, there was no great rush to make more cash.
Every person with sufficient cash and no singing capability could become a
singer today. Today tracks are done in parts and it could take months to
complete a song. But 50 years ago, there was only one take and it had to
be perfect. It was recorded live, not in bits and pieces," she
visits to Chennai afforded great opportunities for Walpola to gather
knowledge in a more practical manner about the music industry.
"Showbiz is so big there," she gushes. With the return ticket to
Chennai costing Rs. 75, there was no hesitation on her part when she had
to be constantly Chennai bound. Performing in India is still a cherished
dream. It is where her career originally took off and where she realised
the enormity of the job she had undertaken.
would not compare the Indian audiences to any other. All these European
tours leave me somewhat cold. It is only the older folk who know our work.
The youngsters who have grown up there don't even know who we are. But get
to the Middle East, and there one finds true fans. You discover true
adulation and genuine affection among them," says Walpola.
for her long sojourn, she believes she came in at a time when a certain
void was being created. Besides Rukmani Devi, there was no powerful female
voice available. The continuous assignments she receives prove that the
industry is still in need of a voice that could be cinematically
expressive. "We are still in need of good voices, voices that could
move hearts, jerk tears, make a filmgoer feel something."
she conserve her work? No, only fans do, and fans she has in good measure.
"I am sometimes amazed. I have sung over 5,000 songs from the age of
17 to 70," Walpola says, adding that she still finds the slow pace of
yesteryear appealing. "Today, song making is a business and those who
win are those with money and marketing strategy. Everything is a commodity
today, including the voice," she opines regretfully. With no hope of
retiring until audiences reject her, Walpola intends continuing her career
for as long as possible, until God decides she has sung enough.
"People still want me to sing. I get a surge of feeling as I hum the
first note. I will not stop until I feel it is time to let go, that I can
sing no more."
the plight of those who scarified much for the fine arts is something that
saddens her. "The true artiste is always poor, suffering and
unsupported. Look at those
who have lived for the sake of arts - they are all in need," says
Walpola, who believes that in addition to the heartbreaking plight they
face, artistes are also not appreciated on home soil.
with the best
hindsight, she believes she has worked with the best. Vincent de Alwis
helped her enter the world of singing while Susil Premaratne made her sing
'with feeling.' "He used to thump on tables and chairs and tell me to
feel the rhythm," she adds. S.M. Nayagam, Hugo Fernando and R.
Muttusamy are affectionately remembered as "those who moulded"
and created the singing phenomenon known as Latha Walpola.
all these, she remains excited about revisiting South India, this time for
her own concert, where she will perform at the Mahabodhi Centre, Chennai
on February 4 and at the Museum Auditorium, Chennai on February 6. "I
never even thought of it, but it's happening. It is the land of culture
where we find our roots and hence, a mother to us. It is to that womb of
culture and arts I shall return after four decades to celebrate Sri
Lanka's 56th anniversary of independence. By going back to our roots, I
think I am carrying a message of peace and ethnic integration to South
India from where we learned the rudiments of singing. It is a rewarding
moment in my life," gushes Walpola.
compelled to kill
is chilling," says Colombo Mayor Prasanna Gunewardena when asked
about the destroying of stray dogs. A few months ago the Colombo Municipal
Council (CMC) completely halted the killing of stray dogs. However
according to Gunewardena due to an increase in the spread of rabies in
2003, the CMC was compelled to recommence the rounding up and along with
it, the killing spree of strays once more.
we don't take necessary steps to control the spread of rabies, the
situation will get out of hand. The CMC officials have an obligation to
the law to protect the citizens from contracting rabies. According to the
Municipal Council Ordinance, CMC officials are supposed to round up and
catch stray dogs in the Colombo city," says Gunewardena.
said that many animal rights activists criticise the CMC for keeping dogs
in the pound under inhumane conditions. "They tell me the dogs are
killed in a cruel way. I want to tell these people that the dog kennels at
the compound can now hold up to 110 dogs at a time," explained
Gunewardena. According to him, the dogs are first drugged and then killed.
"This is the most humane way to kill stray dogs. I can assure you
that killing methods used in the past are not used anymore," says
adds that once caught, the dogs are kept under observation for any signs
of rabies. If the animals do not show alarming signs of ill health, they
are released forthwith. "The sad fact is that we cannot find people
willing to take in these dogs. In such instances, we have no option,"
says Gunewardena. The Mayor also feels that the public should also take
its own share of responsibility for refusing to feed or take them in for
rearing, adding that doing so could reduce the stray dog problem
others' destinies in a palm
claim to be able to read destinies in a palm. They predict future events
just by looking at a nimithi book and rattle off your personality traits
the moment they see you. But strangely enough, soothsayers fail to predict
their own futures.
Theivani, a 55 year old soothsayer explains: "We cannot predict our
own destinies. It does not work. That's the same reason why a doctor does
not treat himself."
seated near the Bambalapitiya beach in the shade of the train station, she
tells the futures of people who walk by, an art she has been practicing
since she was a child.
the hand of The Sunday Leader photographer, she went on to tell him about
his life and some things she said certainly struck a nerve. He, for one,
from Trincomalee, Theivani rarely gets the opportunity to go home. She has
no choice but to stay in Colombo so that she can earn enough to live on,
taking a day at a time.
years of living on the streets has not been easy but for Theivani, there
was no other option. While she claims to be able to predict the future,
she cannot even read or write properly.
has left Theivani illiterate and she has attended school only for about
one year. "I can write a little Tamil, nothing else," she says.
no other choice, she simply followed in the footsteps of her ancestors and
continued the family tradition of reading palms and predicting futures on
the streets of Colombo.
has a small house in Trincomalee but says she cannot earn enough money to
live on there. "There is no money in those places. It is the Wanni
area. Since I was young I used to come to Colombo and read palms to make a
living," she said.
tools of her trade include a nimithi book which has various fortunes
inscribed on its pages. The book belonged to her family for many years and
was passed onto her, says Theivani.
teachers taught us how to use this book and we knew how to read palms
right from the beginning because it was a family practice," she
the future while living on the road is not easy. Few are willing to
consult these palm readers / soothsayers and as a result, there are days
when only one or two people come to her wanting to know what the future
comes to the Bambalapitiya train station by 8:30 or 9 a.m. and stays there
until evening hoping that it will turn out to be a good day, a day in
which at least 10 people will want their futures told.
evening, Theivani goes back to Dehiwala where she lives on the roadside.
Meals are mostly bought from wayside boutiques but she occasionally cooks
herself a meal in the open air.
too is an art that is dying out, says she. While it is impossible to make
enough money by reading palms, the soothsayers' children are also ashamed
to practice this art on the streets.
children don't read palms or tell fortunes - I have five sons and while
males used to do this in the past, they don't do it anymore. It's a
practice that only the women continue now. My sons are ashamed of this
work and it's hard to earn money this way so they all sell incense sticks
in Colombo," Theivani said.
only hope is that she will have a place to live in eventually. "I
wish the government will do something for us and give us little houses to
stay in or even a small plot of land where we can erect small huts and
live," she said.
woman who has been through so much living on the streets and taking life a
day at a time with no proper meals let alone a bed to sleep on says that
she will continue predicting futures until she dies, adding, "I hope
I die without sadness in my life." Her gift to predict another's
future does not provide her the assurance that her own future would be a
streamers and flags disrespectful to Soma Thero
outpouring of grief over Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thero's death saw many
streets adorned with saffron-coloured streamers and flags. It is nearly
two months since the Thero passed away but the decorations remain, fading
in the bright sunshine, dusty and pathetic.
most passers by comment, the streamers and flags once put up as a mark of
respect for a monk who reached out to the masses by his unique sermons has
today become an eyesore to the general public and an insult to his memory.
to The Sunday Leader, Colombo Mayor Prasanna Gunewardena said it is a huge
job to remove flags and streamers put up by the grieving public.
"This is an exceptional situation where such a lot of streamers and
flags were put up for the monk's funeral," he explained.
to him, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has no special equipment to
take down decorations erected on high walls and poles. "My staff have
to clean the drains, roads and attend to other matters of public interest.
Therefore it is difficult to remove these decorations within a short
period. The day after the monk's funeral was Christmas. It was also a
public holiday and CMC workers were hence on holiday," Gunewardena
charged that while the public shows great interest in putting up
decorations, they never take the responsibility for the removal of such
decorations. "That duty is left for the CMC," he said.
he admitted that it was not a pleasant sight to have dirty streamers and
banners, adding that the CMC would have them removed soon.
Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Mayor, Dhanasiri Amaratunge said that he did not
remove the streamers and flags soon after the Thero's funeral as a mark of
respect. "The monk's death was a controversial issue at that time. If
I instructed my staff to take all this off, the public would have
revolted. Also, it is their way of expressing grief. Normally, when a monk
passes away the streamers and flags are taken down after seven days.
However, I think now the time is right to have them removed"
also admitted that having worn out and dusty flags and streamers displayed
amounted to disrespecting the late monk. "It creates a negative
impression. It is time to remove them and continue in Ven. Soma's path as
our mark of respect," Amaratunge said.
houses cause administrative problem in Jaffna
ad hoc lodges and guest houses springing up around Jaffna city are causing
a huge administrative problem to the municipality as these businesses do
not pay the due tax to the local authority.
war-torn Jaffna peninsula, struggling to get back on its feet, is facing
an increased need for places of accommodation for the hundreds of visitors
who flood in after years of seclusion.
high demand for lodges and guest houses have turned most Jaffna residents
into business people with them making quick alterations in buildings
around town, transforming them into places that provide accommodation. The
boom in business is a positive factor for these town residents in a place
where income-earning opportunities are scarce.
many places of accommodation that have mushroomed around town are evidence
that many of the residents are grabbing the chance to make use of the
what worries Jaffna Municipal Commissioner, E. Ramalingam is the fact that
none of these new business entrepreneurs are concerned about paying the
due tax for using these premises for commercial purposes. "If a
residential premises has been turned into a business, there is obviously
money that needs to be paid to the municipality. Unless this is done, they
are considered illegal conversions of homes into businesses," he
important aspect overlooked by these newly transformed lodge owners is the
maintenance of standards, says the Commissioner. "There are certain
rules and regulations they need to adhere to and they also have to get
themselves registered at the municipality," said a concerned
while none of this is happening, the absence of a fully functioning
monitoring mechanism too results in the municipality losing out on due
income. An average lodge or guest house provides guests rooms with
attached bath and toilet for around Rs. 900 per night, a high fee for
providing only the bare necessities. They offer no other facilities such
as food or telephone in most cases, but enjoy a massive demand since the
opening of the A9 road that has made southerners rush to the northern
peninsula in a frenzy.
to Ramalingam, there are around 25 homes that have set up business as
lodges and guest houses within Jaffna city limits but he said the number
could be more as there is no registry or proper data of these numbers.
Lankan students excel at international convention
group of Sri Lankan students have managed to bag 10 awards including the
prestigious 'Ishika Trophy,' which was awarded to the students of Holy
Family Convent, for excellence in education.
proud 135-member team of students and teachers returned to Colombo in
early January after their success at the International Convention of
Student's Quality Control Circles (ICSQCC) 2003, held in Lucknow, India.
the convention, the sixth of its kind, the theme was topical - 'Quality
total of 2,700 delegates from 17 countries participated, said the happy
Sri Lankan students who are elated after being adjudged 'some of the
finest.' Sri Lanka also had one of the largest delegations.
to the organisers, the selected students represented Ananda College,
Mahanama College, Isipathana College, Bishop's College, Alethea
International School, Wattegama Central School Kandy, Basilica College
Ragama and Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya.
to The Sunday Leader, Director, World Council for Total Quality and
Excellence in Education (WCTQEE) Sri Lanka Branch, Padmini Rajapakse
stated, "Our students were the talking point of the convention,
impressing other participants with their excellent performance and
discipline. The icing on the cake was when they also won the highest
number of awards. They moved with all the other students and had great
comradeship. The students made an impact on all the delegates by winning
their hearts with smiling faces."
further said that all male students wore the traditional national dress
and the girls wore the traditional Kandyan sarees, irrespective of their
religion or race, which made all Sri Lankans proud.
to Principal, Holy Family Convent, Rev. Sister Canice, "Through these
conventions children learn the spirit and philosophy of life. We are proud
to say that our schools excelled at this convention and all the schools
that took part won awards under various categories."
Canice further stated that the main aim in conducting conventions like
these was to give children the opportunity to "experience and
explore," and although quality control is a commercial concept, it
has now been introduced in schools to improve the quality of education
within the schools.
of Kurunegala on genuine independence
of Kurunegala Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe has said Sri Lankans must have
the space, the opportunity and the ability to live in harmony with people
of different religions and ideologies, languages and ethnicity, respecting
each other and maintaining the highest degree of mutual tolerance.
his Independence Day message the Bishop has said the opportunity to
celebrate the independence of Sri Lanka is always a very welcome and a
thank God for the beauty of the diversity of our country. As much as we
are grateful for the political freedom that we gained in 1948, successive
governments have worked to enhance the degree of freedom with all the
constitutional developments over the past years. However, the struggle for
economic freedom in the country has not borne much fruit due to many
reasons," he said.
he stated that it is unfortunate to observe most of the national resources
being sold out cheaply, adding that it is not right on the part of Sri
Lankans to mortgage access to national resources
saying that genuine independence demands unity and harmony of all people,
he has also said independence and the freedom of people belonging to any
religion should not be allowed to be controlled either by thuggery, arson
or for that matter even by legislation.
the name of independence we appeal to those who are responsible for 'law
and order' in the country to preserve the diversity, harmony and religious
tolerance in the country. We let the observances of the political
independence of our country be meaningful as we continue to struggle as a
nation to emerge out of conflict and strife," he added.
flights to Hyderabad
the Gulf, Singapore and Malaysia, Hyderabadis can now fly directly to Sri
Lanka as SriLankan Airlines is planning to launch a direct flight to
service will begin from February 22 and flights will be operated on every
Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday. The fares and other details will be
decided shortly, a company official said.
is to promote Sri Lanka in Southern India and Hyderabad being a key
destination the service would create more awareness about Sri Lanka in
general and Colombo in particular," he added.
airline offers 60 flights per week to India with daily services to New
Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore.
watchers off to Ampara
People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) has already
despatched poll watchers to Ampara to monitor the forthcoming local
government election scheduled for February 21.
election would be held in one municipal council and six pradeshiya sabaha
areas in Ampara, PAFFREL officials said.
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