SRILANKA TODAY

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Sri Lankan Dengue Eradication Expert Team honoured at Reception hosted by High Commission of Pakistan

Sri Lankan Dengue Eradication Expert Team honoured  at Reception
hosted by High Commission of Pakistan

The High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo hosted a reception for the Sri Lankan Expert Medical team which returned from Pakistan after rendering most invaluable services to combat spread of Dengue menace in Pakistan.

The reception was attended by the Senior Minister Hon. A.H.M. Fowzi, Secretary Health Mr. Rubaro, Director General Dr. P.Pakhewadne, Senior Sri Lankan Government officials, the Expert Team members and the officers from the Pakistan High Commission Colombo.

            Looking at the growing rate of dengue patients in the Punjab province of Pakistan, the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo requested the Sri Lankan Government to provide trained personnel to visit Pakistan for immediate assistance and training of Pakistani medical and paramedical staff to help combat and control the spread of disease.

            Resultantly, in a kind gesture of friendship, H.E the President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakhsa personally assured the High Commissioner of Pakistan HE Seema Illahi Baloch of his government’s commitment to assist the government and people of Pakistan to overcome the disease outbreak.

           During the reception the Charge d’ Affair of Pakistan High Commission said in her welcome remarks, that the people and Government of Pakistan are really grateful to the Sri Lankan Team of Medical Personnel who have performed one of the most onerous duties which cannot be described in words. She thanked His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha and the Government of Srilanka, who warmly responded to the request by immediately sending the team to Pakistan with the fullest cooperation of Hon Minister Maithreepala Sirisena and Hon A.H.M Fowzi. She also thanked all the officials of the Ministry of Health, SriLanka who rallied behind their minister to fulfill this task successfully.

Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan enjoy a deep bond of cordial friendship and understanding which is mirrored in various walks of life. Apart from their deep mutual supportive relationship and sharing many common values, the populations in both the countries are also locked in a deep rooted friendship. Both the nations firmly believes this friendship and mutual understanding between the two brotherly countries will serve as a strong component which can be a harbinger for promoting peace and harmony in the region but also a great catalyst for bringing the people more closer.
           

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A monument of Eternal Friendship Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum Kandy


A monument of Eternal Friendship

Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum Kandy

In response to the proposed plans for establishment of an International Buddhist Museum, the Government and people of Pakistan established the historic Pakistan Pavilion at the Sri Dalada International Museum of World Buddhism Kandy.

The Pakistan Pavilion was opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksha in May this year. This pavilion offers an excellent opportunity for the visitors to access religious information about the Buddhist sacred places in Pakistan.

Despite being a predominantly Muslim country the people and the government of Pakistan have preserved the heritage sites and the places of worship belonging to other religious communities.Normally with Pakistan the only faith that comes to mind is Islam. But the white portion of the Pakistani flag signifies that other religions are equally rich and gifted. Birth and final resting place of Baba Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, a land where Buddhism flourished, home of Shiva and Kali and a mesmerizing gallery of Islamic sites make Pakistan a dream come true for any soul in search of peace.

Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries, the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art. Much of this legacy is visible even today in Pakistan.

Today the Gandhara sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan, together with many private collections world over, as well as a vast collection in the museums of Pakistan.
With this background and the eternal bond of friendship between the two brotherly countries of Pakistan and Srilanka, the Pakistan Pavilion at the International Buddhist Museum was established. It aims to showcase the historic legacy of Gandhara region of Pakistan, which is preserved in a highly respectable manner in Pakistan.
The Pakistan pavilion is composed of two chambers namely Gandhara and Taxilla, and it contains replica of historic Buddhist monuments from these respective regions. Following is the description of some of the famous replicas at the Pakistan pavilion:

The Fasting Siddhartha- Fasting for Salvation

The statue of Fasting Buddha has become an icon of the rich Gandhara heritage of Pakistan. It has unique characteristics, depicting the hardships that Siddharata endured to attain the enlightenment. This statue ranks not only as the finest specimen of Gandhara Art, but also as one of the rarest antiquities of the world. The original statue from 2nd century AD is available in Lahore Museum, Pakistan. It is 84 cm high and is made out of gray schist. It depicts Siddharata in “dhyana mudra” or the meditation gesture.

Visit of Buddha to a Brahman’s Hermitage

Siddhartha was facing some problems in attaining the enlightenment. He, therefore, decided to take advice of the Brahmans. He consulted the first one, but was not satisfied. He then consulted the second one who also could not solve his problem. He realized that the best way to find the solution was in his own way, without getting into consultation with anyone.

The Miracle of Sarasvati

The Lord Buddha displayed his miraculous powers at Sarasvati before king Prasenajit in a specially built pavilion to convert six heretical teachers of Rajgir. The Lord Buddha was challenged by them, who themselves had the claim to having miraculous powers. According to the Buddhist texts, the Buddha walked into the air while emitting, alternately, flames and streams of water from the upper and lower parts of his body. Then he showed himself also transforming into many images, which floated in the air into many directions which reached up to the Heaven while he preached Law. In still another, two naga kings – Nanda and Upananda – created a beautiful lotus before the king. The Buddha made himself seated over it and preached the Law. In Sanskrit, this attitude of the hands is known as the “Dharmachakramudra”.
Death of the Buddha (Mahaparinirvana)

The Buddha was traveling with his followers and Ananda, the foremost of his disciples, to teach law to the people. He fell ill and became weaker day by day. After crossing the Hirannavati River, he came to Kusinara Bend in Kusinagara, now in Uttar Pradesh, India. When he came to the Sal-tree Grove, he asked Ananda to prepare a platform for him as he was tired and would lie down. He then attained the first trance. Emerging from it, he went into the perpetual ones, till after the fourth trance, the Blessed One died. In Sanskrit, this is called “Mahaparinirvana”.
Pyre of Buddha- The Cremation

In accordance with the wish of the Buddha, the matter of the way of disposal for his bodily remains was left to the locals. Thus the Malla chiefs made the arrangements. Buddha’s body was placed on the perfumed wood and the four Malla nobles tried to set it on fire, but failed. Then arrived Mahakasyapa, who saluted the feet of the Buddha, walked thrice around it and bowed in reverence. All the monks present there repeated the ritual after him and the funeral pyre itself caught fire. When the body was fully consumed by the fire, streams of water fell from the sky and rose up from the ground to extinguish it. The Malla nobles also did the same with vessels of scented water and kept the bones in the Council Hall for seven days for the people to pay their homage.
Life in the Palace

King Suddhodhana was concerned about his son, Siddharata, for his extraordinary habits. The young prince preferred solitude and pensive moods to the youthful merriment and worldly enjoyment. The king felt alarmed as he had already been warned by the great Rishi Asita about Siddharata’s becoming a Universal Monarch or a Buddha. As such, to turn him to sensual pleasures he arranged sweet and beautiful girls who always surrounded him. After his marriage with Yosadhara, Prince Siddharata was given three palaces to suit each season. Dancing and singing girls entertained him with their soft voices, charming dances, playful intoxication, laughter, and side long glances.

Since its inauguration the Pakistan Pavilion has been visited by a large number of local and foreign visitors from all walks of life.

Donors aim to provide Sri Lanka with a brighter through investment in its children


Donors aim to provide Sri Lanka with a brighter through investment in its children

Vavuniya, Northern Sri Lanka, 10 October 2011- In a region which, until recently, had been mired in conflict, the joyful sound of high-pitched laughter danced in the air, as an audience of rapt children enthusiastically responded to the travelling company, ‘Clowns without Borders’. Charming the gathering of youth with their engaging brand of slapstick and puppetry, the troupe was there to help celebrate the opening of a new school.

The building’s construction – as well as the day’s entertainment- was facilitated by the Cathal Ryan Trust, from Ireland, whose remarkable generosity has already made so much possible in this part of the world. Investing millions of US dollars into education and health facilities in Sri Lanka, the trust team continues to assess future project possibilities in northern Sri Lanka.
Standing like a beacon in an otherwise barren landscape, the school includes 11 classrooms, which can accommodate 200 or more children, aged between 6 and 16. A child-friendly space, the building offers safe water and decent sanitation, as well as a computer unit and library.
More:http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/sri_lanka_60023.html



Joint group to sort out India-Sri Lanka fishing issues


Joint group to sort out India-Sri Lanka fishing issues

The India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries will meet “as soon as possible” to sort out outstanding issues on fishing in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here on Monday. Meetings between fishermen associations from the two sides will also be resumed shortly.
Mr. Mathai met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa ahead of embarking on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, which ended on Monday. A meeting of the joint working group had to be called off for “logistical reasons.”
Mr. Mathai said that the fishermen's issue was a question of livelihood. “The whole issue has to be studied as a livelihood matter…The issue has to examined in terms of what is sustainable in the long run,” he said.
Speaking to representatives of the Indian media stationed here, Mr. Mathai said that he had raised the fishermen's issue in his discussions with Sri Lankan leaders. “We have emphasised the need to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in this area,” he said and added that he had stressed the need for investigating the reports of attacks on Indian fishermen to ensure that these did not recur.
Mr. Mathai said that Sri Lankan government had told him that its Navy was not part of the incidents of attack on Indian fishermen.
In Jaffna, the government agent brought to his notice that fishermen in the district were aggrieved over the fact that they were not able to fish in their own waters because of encroachment from the Indian side. “In the narrow area between India and Sri Lanka, the prospects for fishing are finite. Both of us need to look at ways in which we can encourage deep sea fishing. In the interim, we need to find solutions to the problems of Indian fishermen… In the deeper areas of the Indian Ocean, there are fishing grounds which are, at the moment, largely exploited by fishing fleet of non-littoral countries,” he said.
Mr. Mathai held discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe, representatives of Tamil political parties, and other civil society leaders during his visit.
Two projects
Mr. Mathai, who had come here for a familiarisation visit, said that he was “encouraged” by two of the projects that he saw — the Northern Railway project executed by the Indian public sector company IRCON, and the rehabilitation of the Kankasanthurai harbour. “The restoration of rail links will be a strong confidence-building measure for the restoration of normalcy...Kankasanthurai has the potential to become the point to bring in cargo to the entire north, instead of bringing it all the way from Colombo by road,” he said.
On the housing project, which envisages building/repairing 50,000 units in the war-ravaged northern province, he said that the “progress was somewhat slow than what was originally conceived.” He was of the opinion that some “further refinement” of the project was required and the company had assured that this would be done. “We would like to inaugurate the first wave of occupancy of these houses in the next few months,” he said.

Talk tough to Lanka, Jaya tells Manmohan



Talk tough to Lanka, Jayalalitha  tells indian PM Manmohan




Tamilnadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey the Centre's serious objection to Sri Lanka with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.
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In a letter to Manmohan, a copy of which was released to the press here, she said, 'I would also like to emphasise that the harassment of the fishermen of Tamilnadu should be viewed as an act of provocation and aggression against India by Sri Lanka, similar to acts of firing across the borders of India by neighbours such as Pakistan and China.  The attack on the fishermen belonging to Tamilnadu should be viewed as a national issue and not as an isolated problem of Tamilnadu alone.'
Bringing to the Prime Minister's attention various incidents of attacks and harassment of fishermen of Tamilnadu by the Sri Lankan Navy and Sri Lankan 'miscreants' while fishing in the Palk Bay area, the Chief Minister recalled that the the fishermen of Tamilnadu had, from time immemorial, been fishing in the Palk Bay area in order to earn their livelihood.
'This government accords the highest priority to protecting the fishing rights of its fishermen and ensuring their safety. I wish to inform you with deep anguish that since this government took charge in May 2011, there have been as many as 16 incidents of attacks / harassment and apprehension of Tamilnadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Authorities.'
Jayalalithaa further said: 'When Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai called on me in Chennai on 8 October, I brought the various incidents of attacks and harassment to his notice and requested him to take up the above issues with the government of Sri Lanka.'
'However, it is distressing to note that on the same day, even before the Foreign Secretary reached Colombo, the Sri Lankan Navy again chased away our fishermen in the sea by firing in the air, off Mandapam coast of Ramanathapuram district and this incident has been widely reported in the print and electronic media.'
She added: 'I request your kind intervention in this issue of great concern and request the government of India to convey its serious objection to the Sri Lankan government with regard to the continuous incidents of harassment and attacks on the fishermen of Tamilnadu.'

Friday, August 12, 2011

Much to learn from China on path to economic progress - President


Much to learn from China on path to economic progress - President 

When considering the relationship between economic development and social equality, it is clear that the former should be achieved by seeking better understanding between the cultures and traditions of the people of a country and their future expectations. I believe we can learn much from China in this regard, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa today (August 11), when he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Beijing Foreign Studies University. The citation of the Doctorate stated that it was awarded for fostering peace and reconciliation within the country and the world, creating an environment in which all the communities can live in harmony and strengthening friendship and understanding between Sri Lanka and China. The President acclaimed the contribution made by China as a dominant economic power to the development of many countries including Sri Lanka. “China is also engaged in considerable work on infrastructure development in many parts of the country, that contribute to the rapid economic development that we seek to achieve after the successful defeat of terrorism”, he said.
“I must also record here the deep gratitude of the people of Sri Lanka to China for their commitment to support Sri Lanka in the battle against terrorism that we concluded with success; and for the assistance given for reconstruction and resettlement in the former conflict zone in our country”, the President added.
He elaborated on the long links that have existed between Sri Lanka and China which date back to the 4th Century. Having mentioned the development of the relations between the two countries which were influenced by Buddhism and East-West trade, he noted the significance of the Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952 that resulted in a great boost. “It is worth recalling that Sri Lanka signed this pact despite much opposition from our former colonial rulers and the countries of the West that were opposed to the People’s Republic of China”, he added.
Later, the newly built Sri Lanka Research Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University was declared open by President Rajapaksa.
He was also conferred the honorary lifetime presidency of the Research Centre by Chancellor of the University Prof. Chen Yulu.
The measures taken by President Rajapaksa are instrumental not only in improving the standard of education in China and Sri Lanka, but also creating world peace, Prof. Yulu said.
The President met with the Chinese students studying the Sinhala language at the University. He also planted a tree within the University premises as a token of the friendship between China and Sri Lanka.
The event was attended by Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Higher Education S. B. Dissanayake, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and MP Sachin Vas Gunawardena.
Here is the full text of the speech made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa:
Let me first express my thanks to the Chairman, Mr. Yang Xueyi and the President, Mr. Chen Yulu of the Beijing Foreign Studies University for the invitation extended to me to participate in these memorable events of this important institute of learning.
I am deeply touched and most grateful for the honour conferred on me today, on this historic occasion in the annals of the Beijing Foreign Studies University. I consider this to be a significant recognition of the long and healthy friendship between China and Sri Lanka, as well as a symbol of the commitment between our two countries to foster better understanding among youth, specially through the promotion of educational exchanges.
Seventy years is a commendable record for a university that is committed to the promotion of understanding and better relations among countries and nations through the study of language. Language plays a prime role as a means of communication not only within a country but also between diverse cultures. Our literature reflects our valuable traditions and the legacy of our development practices in the ancient times. It is language that builds a link between our literature and religious culture.
The temple was the centre of the educational practices in our village society. Many of our great writers, poets and ideologists were well read Buddhist monks, nurtured by the valued concepts of Buddhism. Likewise, our folklore was nourished by religion. Unlike today, our ancestors learnt languages through an oral tradition passed on from generation to generation. Those who possessed a vast amount of knowledge and experience were considered called the erudite.
Further, other cultural aspects such as theatre, music and other forms of art were shaped and embellished by elements of language. Knowledge of language is an essential requirement to understand and deeply study the core values of a nation.
The importance that China has given to the study of foreign languages is underlined by this university being established just twenty years after the great Chinese Revolution that marks its 90th anniversary this year.
It is also of much significance that today’s events mark the 50th anniversary or Golden Jubilee of the Sinhala Language Department of this university. My congratulations are extended to the University for its proud record of service in education and to the Sinhala Department to its commitment to the study and spread of the Sinhala language in China.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
This university is the first in China to offer foreign language programmes, and, I am pleased to know that it offers the most number of foreign language programmes than any other university in China.
The Sinhala Language Department established in 1961 has been a great source of understanding of China by the Sri Lankan people, and of Sri Lanka by the Chinese people. It is, therefore, most fitting that this important anniversary is also the occasion when the Sri Lanka Centre will be established in this university. This is a further expression of the importance that China, its academics and its policies on education, place on the study of Sinhala, as part of its wider global reach in understanding the cultures and traditions of other nations.
I think it would be proper to refer here to the very long links that have existed between Sri Lanka and China. These date back to the 4th Century when Roman historians recorded the trade links that China had with Sri Lanka.
Buddhism also contributed to the strengthening of these links with the two visits in the 4th and 5th centuries by Fa Hsien the Chinese Buddhist monk, who traveled to Sri Lanka to acquire knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhist scriptures.
These links continued for many centuries and during the Tang Dynasty several Chinese monks visited Sri Lanka in search of Buddhist teaching.
When talking of this, we cannot ignore the significance of the Silk Route. Sri Lanka was also linked to this Route that traversed from Qian in China to Constantinople in Turkey. Therefore, East-West Trade was at the zenith during that time, and the knowledge of different languages was necessary.
Coming to the more recent past the friendship between our two countries had a great boost with the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952. It is worth recalling that Sri Lanka signed this pact despite much opposition from our former colonial rulers and the countries of the West that were opposed to the People’s Republic of China. This is also the first trade agreement that the People’s Republic of China signed with a country outside the Socialist Bloc.
Our relations have been growing ever since and took a further step ahead when Diplomatic Relations were established between our two countries in 1957.
Today, there are many landmarks in my country that symbolize this great friendship that covers many areas of development and progress. These include the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall – a gift of China that brought Sri Lanka to the conventions market in the world. Our Supreme Court is housed in a building gifted by China and very soon we will be opening the Centre for Performing Arts in Colombo, which is an important gift from China for the development of artistic expression in Sri Lanka.
China is also engaged in considerable work on infrastructure development in many parts of the country, that contribute to the rapid economic development that we seek to achieve after the successful defeat of terrorism.
I must also record here the deep gratitude of the people of Sri Lanka to China for their commitment to support Sri Lanka in the battle against terrorism that we concluded with success; and for the assistance given for reconstruction and resettlement in the former conflict zone in our country.
At this important seat of learning, I wish to state that since peace was restored in Sri Lanka, we have given great importance to the expansion of good education among the people in the North and East of our country. Rehabilitated cadres of the terrorists are now attending schools and some have entered universities, too. We have provided them with the opportunity to follow different language courses, too.
China holds a dominant position in international trade today. The development of China has contributed to many countries including Sri Lanka, moving towards development through economic policies. When considering the relationship between economic development and social equality, it is clear that the former should be achieved by seeking better understanding between the cultures and traditions of the people of a country and their future expectations. I believe we can learn much from China in this regard.
I am glad to know of the presence here of the first Sinhala language student of China in the modern period – Mr. Zheng Yuzhong. I understand that he worked in the Chinese Embassy in Colombo from 1959 to 1972, and was the interpreter to Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai during his first visit to Sri Lanka 1964, with his deep knowledge of the Sinhala language Mr. Zheng was the first Sinhala language lecturer and Associate Professor of Sinhala at this great university. I wish Mr. Zheng Yuzhong good health and many more years service in the cause of good relations though the study of language.
10-Gift_Sinhala_booksThe very existence of the Sinhala Language Department in this university is an important sign of China’s interest in fostering and strengthening friendship between our two countries. I note with great satisfaction that more than 100 Chinese students have mastered the Sinhala language in this Department.
The study of a language brings a natural interest among students in the country from which that language comes and of its people. Having met many a Chinese Diplomat in Sri Lanka, I have been greatly impressed by their knowledge of Sinhala and see in this the success of this Department. I believe the Sri Lanka Centre will also contribute to this deeper understanding of Sri Lanka among the Chinese people.
I must also mention here the important contribution to understanding made by the Chinese International Broadcasting Service, which also celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The Sinhala language service of this station has also done much to build good understanding between Sri Lanka and China. I trust it has also benefited from the Sinhala Language Department of this university.
It is necessary to mention here the student and teacher exchange programmes between China and Sri Lanka that are in operation today. This university has two agreements with the University of Kelaniya and the University of Colombo for productive student - teacher exchange. I believe we could develop these programmes further with more openings in Sri Lankan universities for Chinese students to further their studies, not only in Sinhala but in other disciplines, too. I trust there could be a mutual exchange of such opportunities between our two countries.
In conclusion let me once again extend my thanks to this university, as well as to the Government and to the people of China for the continued support extended to Sri Lanka. I look forward to the friendship between our two countries growing stronger in the years to come.
I wish you all a bright future. 

Diabetes on the rise

Diabetes on the rise 

Latest medical researches have revealed that 15 % of the population of this country is afflicted with diabetes, and another 15% has pre-diabetes condition.  The specialist doctors point out that even children are becoming afflicted with diabetes.
Reports on the subject say that at present nearly 250 million people throughout the world are afflicted with diabetes, and every ten seconds one death occurs due to this disease.  Non-curable wounds cause the limbs of diabetic patients to be removed every 30 seconds.  Six million people get listed annually as diabetic patients.  The reason for this disease is the rise of glucose level in the blood due to non production of insulin hormone in the pancreas.  Such patients should be injected with insulin.  The 2nd reason is the insulin being not conforming to the required level.  The 3rd reason is the diabetic condition of pregnant women.
Doctors point out that consumption of unwanted food, lack of exercise, mental depression and smoking and intake of liquor are the main reasons for causing diabetic condition. About 5% of the patients have inherited the disease  from their parents.
A medical research has found that  about 15 %  of working population in the Colombo District are diabetic patients.  The doctors say that the children becoming affected with the disease is on the increase.  They say that the children mostly take instant food  and  food varieties that contains  high  contents of oil, sugar  and flour several times a day.  The doctors also point out that lack of exercises in the children due to them being confined to studies alone may make them vulnerable to getting affected by diabetes.

 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pakistan two navy ships arrive inColombo port on a goodwill mission

Two Pakistani Naval ships returning from China arrived in  Colombo port today on a three-day visit


Pakistan Navy Task Group comprising PNS Sword Class Frigate PN Ship Shamsheer and Combat Support Fleet Tanker PN Ship Nasr reached Colombo after participating in the Brunei Fleet Review 2011.

In accordance with naval traditions, the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) ceremonially welcomed the ships and the crew on arrival. Various events have been planned for the visitors during their stay in Colombo.
According to SLN, PNS Shamsheer is a guided missile frigate with a displacement of 3143.9 tons. It is 123 meters in length and carries a complement of 28 officers and 215 sailors. The ship has a state of the art weapons and surveillance system and is commanded by Captain Ahmed Farooq.

PNS Nasr is a fleet oil tanker with a displacement of 21850.7 tons. It is 170.45 meters in length and carries a complement of 23 officers and 296 sailors. It is a Combat Support ship which supports extended operations of Pakistan Navy. The ship is commanded by Captain Ovais Hyder.
The visit is a part of a cruise to enhance defense relations and goodwill between the two countries, Pakistan news agency APP said.
Such visits are part of regular exchange Port Calls between the two navies that bolster the cooperation between the two countries.
Pakistan is a close ally of Sri Lanka and Pakistan Navy regards cooperation with Sri Lankan Navy is of paramount importance.
The visit will open new avenues of bilateral cooperation between the two friendly navies and garner the existing strong bonds of friendship between the two countries, a statement said.

London Violence

Riots spread across Britain as London calms

Britain's worst riots in decades raged into Wednesday as youths ran amok in Manchester and the industrial Midlands but London was quiet with 16,000 police swamping the streets to stem violence.
In Manchester, Britain's third-largest city, youths smashed shop windows and looted shops and chased photographers away from the scene in what police described as the city's worst violence in 30 years.
Elsewhere, hooded rioters set fire to buildings in West Bromwich and Wolverhampton in central England and a police station in nearby Nottingham was firebombed, although there were no reported injuries.
Looters also targeted shops in the second city of Birmingham for another night and 200 rioters pelted police with missiles in the northwest city of Liverpool as the nation faced up to a fourth day of unrest.
But in London there was no repeat of the wave of violence which left parts of the capital in flames on Monday night, as vigilante mobs took to the streets to defend their communities.
Police were bracing for more trouble after what they said was the worst night of disorder in living memory in the British capital, and their numbers were ramped up from 6,000 to 16,000 on Tuesday night as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to do "everything necessary to restore order to the streets".
Shops in many parts of London closed early and put down their shutters on the advice of the police.
Scotland Yard said early Wednesday that 768 people had been arrested in London for violence, disorder and looting.
The focus of Tuesday's violence was Manchester in northwest England, where police were driven back by gangs of hundreds of youths who covered their faces with scarves and ski masks.
Gangs smashed their way into shoe shops and set fire to a girls' clothing store in the city centre.
Two raiders smashed the glass entrance of the Arndale shopping centre, central Manchester's main shopping mall, allowing hundreds of youths to pour into a shop and emerge with armfuls of clothes and shoes.
Looters cleared out an electrical store as powerless police watched on while other gangs squared up to officers and shouted obscenities in their faces, an AFP correspondent reported.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police, who joined the force after moving to the city in 1981, called the scenes "senseless violence and senseless criminality on a scale I have never witnessed before."
There were similar scenes in Birmingham, and in the neighbouring town of Wolverhampton youths clashed with riot police brandishing shields.
West Midlands police, which arrested 109 people over Tuesday's disturbances, said it was investigating reports that a shot had been fired during the disorder.
Despite the unrest, police and cricket officials announced that the Test match between England and India, due to take place at the nearby Edgbaston ground, would begin as planned on Wednesday.
In London, hundreds of Sikhs camped out overnight Wednesday to defend the community of Southall in the capital's west.
The group, some dressed in traditional clothing, organised motorcycle patrols and monitored the train station for troublemakers.
Similar mobs of football supporters congregated in Eltham, south London, in an effort to deter looters.
An AFP reporter witnessed a gang of around 150 men running down a street in Enfield, at the centre of much of the previous trouble, shouting "England, England, England".
In a development which will do nothing to calm tensions, Britain's police watchdog said it found no evidence that Mark Duggan -- whose shooting by police last week was the catalyst for the riots in London -- had fired a gun at officers.
In a pre-planned operation, armed officers stopped the taxi in which Duggan, 29, was travelling in the multi-ethnic district of Tottenham in north London. Shots were fired and Duggan died at the scene.
Duggan's family said they were "completely gutted" by the findings and called for "answers" from the police.
Despite the controversy surrounding the shooting, Cameron warned rioters: "You will feel the full force of the law."
Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said the rampage by hundreds of hooded youths was "unprecedented" and police resources were stretched "to an extent I have never seen before".
He said plastic bullets -- used during sectarian unrest in Northern Ireland but never before in mainland Britain -- have been considered to stem the tide of unrest.
The violence has raised questions about security ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games, and it prompted the cancellation of Wednesday's friendly between England and the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium.
A 26-year-old man found with a gunshot wound to the head in a car in Croydon died in hospital on Tuesday, police said, becoming the first fatality of the riots.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Buddhist archaeological sites in Pakistan

Buddhist archaeological sites in Pakistan

by Chandana Wijekoon 

Only a few people have a true understanding of Buddhist sites in Pakistan which is acclaimed as a truly Islamic People's Republic. This is because only a small group of people in Pakistan get to read and understand reports on the Buddhist sites in their country.
Therefore, I believe that it is timely to make an analysis of the archaeological sites in Pakistan and the measures which are being taken to safeguard them.
Taxila is the old capital of the State of Gandhar. It is a location with ample sunlight and is situated in an ideal and precious block of land. It is considered that the site was in existence in the 6th century BC and this has been determined by archaeologists who have unveiled a plethora of artefacts ranging from coins, play pots, jewellery and other creations. It is due to these reasons that the UNESCO has declared it as a World heritage site. It is also an open museum.
There are, still the vestiges of ancient Buddhist civilisation along with 12 stupas and a large number of Chinese and Burmese dagobas efforts of the Pakistan archaeological authorities and their attempts to conserve them should not be underestimated even in the light of the impossibility to trace their roots.
The efforts of intellectuals, archaeologists, and tourists who roam the site have enabled the dissemination of various studies, unfolding the Buddhist heritage of Taxila, which is an ancient site sandwiched between the banks of the Indus river. Rawalpindi and Peshawar both belong to this site.
This is indeed an idyllic site which is around 100 kilometres in length from east to west and 70 kilometres from the Northern slope to the south it is enveloped with mountains. On the Northern
range is the Buher, Swat, Dir and Bajaur mountains and the first capital of the area was Pushkalawathi which is known as the Charshada town. It extends to the cities of Taxila, Manik Yala city and the Jhelum city. It was at that time that the art of Ghandhar originated between the first and seventh centuries BC.
It is also considered that the origin of Taxila was during King Darius I between 422 and 586 BC. It was also approximately in 327 BC that King Alexander the Great travelled in the Indus River through the city of Attock to extend his military operations to Central Asia and he arrived in Taxila, Chronicles have unfolded that King Chandragupta who was also considered as the first King of the area and that he extended his reign from Northern to Southern India and also to Hindu Kush in North Afghanistan  .
Emperor Asoka has also ruled the State of Gandhar. It was his unbridled devotion to Buddhism that it also spread to North India as well. But his kingdom could not be extended beyond to what it was till then, following his demise. From the end of the 3rd century BC to first century BC, Gandhar has also been a part of the Kingdom of Bactria as well. The area that was known as Bactria is now the Bolkh region in Northern Afghanistan.
The Thushanese who were known to have been immigrants from China have endorsed their power in Ghandhar from first century BC to third century AD. King Kanishka who was a pious Buddhist was also instrumental in enforcing a series of Buddhist traditions within the Gandhar region. There were a series of monuments which evolved in that time.
According to archaeological evidence, there had been the evolution of the Greeko-Roman culture also which have been embedded into the culture during that time and they have also given priority for Buddhist civilisation as well.
Gandhara is the name of an ancient kingdom (Mahajanapada), located in Northern Pakistan and Eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the valley of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River. Its main cities were Purushapura (modern Peshawar), literally meaning 'City of Man' and Takshashila (Modern Taxila)
The Kingdom of Gandhara lasted from early 1st millennium BC to the 11th century AD. It attained its heigh from the 1st century
to the 5th century under the Buddhist Kushan Kings. The Hindu Shahi, a term used by history writer Al-Biruni to refer to the ruling Hindu dynasty that took over from the Turki Shahi and ruled the region during the period prior to Muslim conquests of the 10th and 11th centuries. After it was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1021 CE, the name Gandhara disappeared. During the Muslim period the area was administered from Lahore or from Kabul. During Mughal times the area was part of Kabul province.






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Coordinated efforts required to combat terrorism in SAARC region:Pak Minister for Interior, Rehman Malik


Coordinated efforts required to combat terrorism in SAARC region:  Pak  Minister for Interior, Rehman Malik

(APP) - The fourth South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Interior Ministers’ Conference was a good platform to discuss regional anti-terrorism strategy and would go a long way in combating this menace due to which entire region is suffering. Minister for Interior, Rehman Malik, who presided over the important meeting as Chairman, remained busy during his stay and met with Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Yoser Thinley and other Ministers on the sidelines of the Conference, held in Thimphu from July 21-23. Home and Interior Ministers, Secretaries and other relevant officials of SAARC including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, and Nepal attended the Conference.

In his address to the conference, Rehman Malik emphasized coordinated and concerted efforts to combat terrorism and money laundering.



He suggested that there is need for constitution of a SAARC Pol on the pattern of Interpol.

He had said there was also need of a SAARC Commission with the objective to promote harmony and at the same time a joint Task Force need to be formed to control incidents of pirates in Indian Ocean.

The Minister said Pakistan, its people and armed forces had offered great services and sacrifices in the war against terrorism and to prevent the terrorists from fanning out to other parts of the country as well as the whole region. The war against terrorism would continue till its elimination, he added.

He said Pakistani people are suffering due to terrorism for the last 10 years and experienced 7,485 bomb explosions out of which 3,800 were suicide bombings. More than 35,000 innocent Pakistanis have lost their precious lives in the war against terror.

Rehman Malik also informed the Conference that Pakistan was following three-D policy to combat terrorism and said Pakistan has further improved rules and regulations regarding border control and immigration in the country.

The Interior Ministers of SAARC region appreciated the address of Rehman Malik, in which he ably highlighted the efforts of Pakistan in the war against terrorism and extremism.

On the sideline of the fourth SARRC Home Ministers’ Conference, Rehman Malik called on Prime Minister of Bhutan and conveyed him the messages of good wishes from President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Malik said he offered Pakistan’s support to Bhutan in the areas of police training, anti-money laundering efforts and for making computerized identity cards and machine readable passports.

Prime Minister Jigme Thinley appreciated and recognized Pakistan’s contribution and sacrifices in the anti-terrorism drive and said Pakistan’s proposals for eliminating the menace of terrorism were useful.

Rehman Malik also met with his Indian counterpart P.Chidambaram and discussed matters relating to mutual interests.

He affirmed that his ministry was working toward an early visit of a Judicial Commission from Pakistan to India which would take place at an early date. Upon his arrival from Bhutan, Rehman Malik told mediapersons that Pakistan had given a suggestion in the Conference to work on proposals regarding money laundering, drug money and other issues which all related to terrorism.

Pakistan’s Minister for Interior, Rehman Malik said that SAARC can play an important role in war against terror as it represents one fourth population of the world.Talking to Pakistan Television (PTV) he said that it is very crucial time as people are suffering especially due to terrorism. The whole region of SAARC is suffering from it. Some are suffering heavily while some comparatively less, he added.Malik said that terrorism is the common problem of all SAARC member states and we should make common strategy to eliminate this menace from the society.

He said that Pakistan, its people and armed forces have offered great services and sacrifices in the war against terrorism to eliminate terrorists from country as well as the whole region. The war against terrorism would continue till its elimination, he added.

Minister said that Pakistan is doing its best to eradicate terrorism but Pakistan cannot alone do it. All SAARC states should come forward to help Pakistan and we should make a common strategy against our common enemy, he added.

Malik said that there is a track financing to the terrorists and the leads go beyond the boundaries of Pakistan. Terrorists are moving with strategy and planning therefore we have all to work together to fight this menace

“I am sure, the decisions taken in SAARC will go all the way with positively, cooperation and working our ways and means in practical terms,” he said.









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Pakistan -India dialogue on Kashmir should Not be for the sake of dialogue: Pakistan Foriegn Minister

Pakistan -India dialogue on Kashmir should
Not be for the sake of dialogue: Pakistan  Foriegn Minister

(APP): Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pak-India dialogue on Kashmir should not be for the sake of dialogue but it should yield constructive results. “Pakistan believes in the resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the Kashmiris in the light of UN resolutions on Kashmir,” she said during her meeting with the JKLF leader, Yasin Malik at the State Guest House here Monday.

The Foreign Minister invited JKLF leaders for a meeting prior to her departure to attend Pak-India ministerial level dialogue to be held on July 27 in New Delhi.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir and JKLF leaders, Muhammad Rafique Dar and Saleem Haroon were also present.
Ms Khar added that genuine Kashmiri leaders should be part of the dialogue process on Kashmir issue, adding that the concerns showed by the Kashmiri leadership would be raised during the meeting with her Indian counterpart S M Krishna.
She, while talking to the Kashmiri leaders, said that Kashmir movement was real movement comprising sections of Kashmiri society and Pakistan fully supports the movement, adding the government was on the same page with the JKLF leadership on Kashmir.
The Minister said that concept of tripartite meeting on Kashmir was based on the suggestions of the Kashmiri leaders that no dialogue could produce results without the inclusion of genuine Kashmiri leaders in the dialogue process.
Earlier, Chairman JKLF, Yasin Malik approved of the dialogue process on Kashmir between Pakistan and India, adding that Kashmiris have concerns on the dialogue due to their non-inclusion in the process.
He said that India must announce time-bound dialogues in order to make the dialogue process credible and acceptable to the Kashmiris.
He demanded time-bound dialogue process, participation of the Kashmiri leadership in the dialogue process and recognition of the independence movement by India after the Kashmiris have unilaterally showed transition from a violent freedom movement to a non-violent movement.
Yasin Malik admired the CBMs initiatives between Pakistan and India, adding that the CBMs have created a healthy atmosphere in the region.
Later, the Foreign Minister had a one-to-one meeting with the Kashmiri leader.



‘Sri Lanka Expo’ in March 2012

‘Sri Lanka Expo’ in March 2012

‘Sri Lanka Expo - 2012’ exhibition is scheduled to be held from 28th to 30th March, 2012 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Center, Colombo, Sri Lanka, under the theme, “Lets join hands with Sri Lanka, the Asian Hub.”
The Export Development Board says that organizing the event after 15 years has been appreciated by many quarters.
This year’s exhibition would ensure a platform to exhibit a large number of high quality goods and services of Sri Lanka, via more than 300 exporters and the participation of about 1000 foreign buyers are expected.
According to the Export Development Board, the principal objective of the event is to introduce and promote Sri Lanka as a commercial hub that enables a promising environment for trade affairs, investment opportunities and tourist industry.

Sri Lanka also looks forward to use this exhibition as a strategic event in achieving the export target of $ 15 billion by 2015.
Products related to the industries of tea, garment, rubber, information technology, gem and jewelry, food and beverages, spices, coconut, electricity, and services of ship building and repairing will be showcased at the exhibition.

Kalubowitiyana export qulity Tea for Sri lankan concumers

Kalubowitiyana export  qulity  Tea Sri lankan concumers
By Suneetha Perera



Mrs.  Malani Peiris , Secretary, MPI  is  opening the Marketing Division and
and Sales Centre.      Also in the picture  is  Mr. Donald Abeysundara,  Chairman  of KTFL.

 Kalubowitiyana Tea Factory Company Ltd.,under Ministry of Plantation Industries, the pioneer for production of CTC tea in Sri Lankan opened the Marketing Division and Sales Centre at Pelawatte, Battaramulla on 6th May 2011.
The vision of President, Mahinda Rajapakse ‘s Mahinda Chintana and the idea of Minster of Plantation Industries Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe, the Kalubowitiyana Tea Factory Ltd. Introduced Export Quality “Single Origin Tea” (unblended) to the Local Market.
There are 7 Labels of “ Kalubowitiyana Tea” according to your taste.

Single OriginTea

CTC 

1. KING ‘S TEA

2 QUEEN ‘S TEA

3  BROWN LABEL 6 RED LABEL

ORTHODOX
4 ORANGE LABEL
5 YELLOW LABEL
6 RED  LABEL

7 WHITE LABEL


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gilani for Due acknowledgment of Pakistan’s Share of Successes in War on Terror Terms Democracy in Pakistan Crucial f or Regional Stability

Gilani  for Due acknowledgment of Pakistan’s Share of  Successes in

War  on Terror Terms Democracy in Pakistan Crucial f or Regional Stability


Pakistan appreciates that UK realizes crucial role of Pakistan’s in the peaceful settlement of Afghanistan along the lines that no negative fall out effects Pakistan or any other country of the region after the scaling down of international forces .Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani acknowledged this support in a meeting with Mark Philip Sedwill the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan who called on him, here, today. Prime Minister asserted Pakistan’s  stance that West should draw  a  clear cut  road map and  framework  for  an Afghan led  solution ... While elaborating upon international cooperation  on war against terrorism  the prime Minister pointed out that despite high level of cooperation from Pakistan including intelligence sharing due recognition has not been accorded to Pakistan for its share in the  victories  in the war on terror but when ever there is any failure the onus is  directed towards Pakistan. 

He called upon international community to consider Pakistan as   partner in real sense having share in both successes and failures.  He said that the impact of this attitude was contrary to the support that Pakistan requires to strengthen democracy in Pakistan which was vital in defeating terrorism. Only democracy, he added, can help Pakistan in sustaining political support and stabilize the economy much needed to confront the security challenges which threaten international peace.
Mr. Sedwill assured that the British government is fully cognizant of Pakistan’s concerns in the scenario for settlement of Afghan issue .and would like to work more closely with Pakistan. UK he mentioned clearly understands Pakistan’s point of view as well as its strengths and influence for peaceful settlement of Afghanistan solution.  He further added that call for enhancing Pakistan’s trade with EU and beyond should be seen as a strategic issue rather than a simple economic issue. Prime Minister Gilani further added that cross border incursions were being carried out by the elements who do not want Pakistan and Afghanistan to come  closer and work together  for stability in the region.  He emphasized for checking these incursions to avoid derailment of close brotherly relations between the two countries, While referring to two tier Joint Commission on Reconciliation that has  been set up by  Pakistan and Afghanistan he said that inaugural meeting of the first  tier level of the commission led by the chief executives of two countries was held in Islamabad had helped to establish better understanding on both sides. The first  meeting of the Joint Commission’s  second tier level which was held in Kabul on June 29th this year also showed positive outcome  he added. The Prime Minister congratulated Mr. Sedwill on his appointment to his present position. He expressed confidence that his appointment that would be helpful in promoting peace in the region due to his knowledge and understanding of both the countries acquired through serving in both Afghanistan and Pakistan during his diplomatic career. The Prime Minister called upon the international community to focus on stability and peace in Afghanistan in the post 2014 scenario as  the region can not afford Afghanistan plunge into chaos  again. He said that Pakistan was trying to fight the menace of terrorism despite heavy odds but need international support to sustain its commitment. Dwelling upon parameters of Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan, he said “ our position is very clear ,we want a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan through  a smooth transition. Pakistan he added believes in non –interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. The Prime Minister emphasized that the West needs to have a clear roadmap and hoped that the time  before the  Bonn Conference would be  utilized to the maximum to draw a strategy that ensures peaceful and prosperous  Afghanistan after the  possible wit drawl of ISAF forces in 2014.  

President presenting netball shooter Tharjini Sivalingam with a special cash award

 The President Mahinda Rajapaksha  presenting netball shooter Tharjini Sivalingam with a special cash award of Rs. 500,000 for her excellent performance at the recently concluded World Netball Championship.

Peace Economic Dividend

 Peace Economic Dividend
http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=103344303
Sri Lanka is seeing a peace dividend in the form of lower interest rates, taxes, inflation and higher capital expenditure after a 30-year war ended, Treasury secretary P B Jayasundera said.

He said defence expenditure which was about 5.0 percent of gross domestic product during the war years, has now dropped to 3.0 percent. "We managed the budget under stress, because the country was at war," Jayasundera told members of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry body.
"So we had fairly high defence expenditure, sometimes as high as five percent of GDP. It has now dropped to three."
Spending Trends
In 2010, defence spending fell to 190 billion rupees or 3.4 percent of GDP as the economy expanded compared to from 3.9 percent of GDP in 2009.
"So this number is going to go down, because we no longer spend money on aircraft, buying ammunition or military hardware," Jayasundera said.
"Probably we have to build little bit capital stock to have fairly high tech security. "But since there is no war threatening the existence of the country itself, we can have planned defence expenditure like any other country which will also be conducive for national development."
For 2011 defence spending was originally slated at 214 billion rupees or 3.4 percent of forecasted GDP. But spending was upped last month by another 20 billion rupees to build a new defence headquarters, taking the share up to about 3.7 percent.

However the government is selling land where military facilities were earlier sited, to raise funds.
Sri Lanka's citizens have taken up arms against the state three times since independence from British rule, amid a steady erosion of economic freedoms, civil liberties and rule of law.
Sections of the Sinhalese majority have engaged in armed rebellions twice and the Tamil minority once. However analysts say since 1977, a series of economic freedoms have been restored, leading to higher growth.
Rebuilding
Jayasundera said the government was now investing heavily in infrastructure and re-building the war torn areas.
"Where do these savings go now? It is going for development," Jayasundera said.
The government is investing rapidly, people can see it. All over where you go you can see a bridge and irrigation scheme; Jaffna KKS (a town in the north) or down south."
The government has maintained capital spending to about 6.0 percent of gross domestic product. This year about 1.1 billion rupees would be spent on roads alone.
A finance ministry report said earlier that the military itself was now engaged in reconstruction activities. Health expenditure previously used to treat injured soldiers, were now diverted to the general public.
He said in the last budget the government has abolished a series of 'nuisance' taxes resulting in a 15 billion rupee revenue loss. He said as a result, transaction costs related to a series of taxes were no longer there for businesses, not counting the nuisance value.
"Road barriers are not there," he said. "Interest rates have come down. War risk is not there. Now these nuisance taxes are not there.
"No separate provincial national taxes. So I am sure this saving must be somewhere. This saving is with the economy now. So it has to produce the real activities."
Sri Lanka's inflation is now on the high side of single digits and lending rates in the low double digits.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

THE BOOK LAUNCH- Mass Media & Social ConsciousnessBook

THE BOOK LAUNCH
Mass Media & Social ConsciousnessBook
By Suneetha Perera
(Special Correspondence-
Sri Lanka Today)

The book “Mass Media & Social Consciousness” the written by Journalist, Chandana Wijekoon was launched on 22nd June 2011 at Auditorium in National Library and Documentation Centre, Independence Avenue, Colombo 07 , Sri Lanka.
Chandana Wijekoon is working as senior journalist at Associated News Papers Ceylon Ltd., (Lake House). He has written & published 03 books of Mass Media. He has lot of experience as a journalist.
In attendance at this book launch a number of important representatives of Government, Diplomatic Mission of other Foreign Representatives, Colonel Khurram Hassnain Defence Advisor, Sri Lanka & Maldives (High Commission for Pakistan), Lieutenant Colonel Khorram Lajevardi, Military attaché (Embassy of the Islamic Republic Iran), Mr. Hokuto Kaya. 1st Secretary, (Embassy for Japan) and lot of journalists of Media Organizations.
The Chief Guest was Mr, Dew Gunasekera, Hon. Senior Minister of Human Resource and Chief Secretary of Sri Lanka Communist Party. The Chair person was Professor Sunanda Mahendra and also Dr. Tudor Weerasinghe, Rector, Sri Pali Campus, Colombo University , Senior Jounarlist Mr. Mohan Samaranayake, Chairman, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation addressed this special occasion.