Prof. sees big scope for skilled youth
Education and skills development are vital sectors in our country today, to enable youth to benefit fully from the abundant opportunities which have opened up with the dawn of stable peace, External Affairs Minister Professor G L Peiris said yesterday.
He made this observation in the course of his address as chief guest at a ceremony for the induction of the prefects of Harischandra Vidyalaya, Negombo.
Prof Peiris said that, as a university professor and former vice-chancellor and as a teacher of 26 years’ standing, he found it very fulfilling to observe the scope currently available to skilled youth to build a strong economic foundation for the future and to make a success of their lives.
The volumes of international trade and investment are now recording a dramatic increase in keeping with the economic revival, much in evidence in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s interaction with the world at large has become deeper and more intense because of the unprecedented development of infrastructure with a special emphasis on ports and harbours as well as the highways network, the Minister added.
The economy is growing by more than 80%, and the services sector is particularly robust in its performance.
The most visible developments are in the tourism sector, with substantial investment of both local and foreign capital in the expansion and the upgrading of facilities for which there is increased demand as a result of the influx of tourists.
The BPO and KPO sectors are specially promising as a source of new employment opportunities, the Minister said.
One of the striking features of agricultural development is the emphasis on value addition, he added.
The industrial sector is also set to expand significantly, with an increase of almost 16% in the capital available to entrepreneurs.
In view of all these developments, systematic training and skills development to match contemporary requirements are clearly to be identified as priorities.
Recognising this, the government has embarked on changes in the educational system, in harmony with the needs of the time.
Access to computer technology is now available not only in the towns but also in the rural hinterland.
The Minister said particular stress on the value of leadership, motivation and discipline, and underlined the role of the Prefects of the school in achieving these objectives.
Prof Peiris referred to the high standards consistently maintained by Harishchandra Vidyalaya Negombo, not only in the academic sphere but also in sports and a wide range of cultural activities.
He complimented the teachers on their spirit of commitment and dedication, and exhorted the students to redouble their efforts to make the maximum use of the varied opportunities now at their disposal.
Among those attending the function were Deputy Public Enterprises Minister Sarath Kumaragunaratne, Negombo Mayor Herman Cooray, educational zonal director Pushpakumara Kahagalla, and Harischandra Vidyalaya principal Keerthi de Alwis.


New hope for needy children
Chilrdren’s upliftment programme (CUP) recently donated NSB savings accounts to 10 selected girls from Bellantara, Mithsevana Government Children Home for the Specialties.
This donation was sponsored by Mrs R Weerasuria.
This event was represented by Anusha Gokula – director, Department of Social Services (Western province), donor - R Weerasuria. CUP officials, H Gomes – vice-president, Mrs N T A Dissanayake – secretary and A K Hemachandra – superintendent, Mithsevana.
CUP, a non-profit making organisation, was set up by a handful of benevolent volunteers whose sole intent and purpose had been to assist needy children from many parts of the country to improve their education, health standards, motivate to boost up skills, talents and their overall personality development.
Under the concept of inculcating proper reading habits among children for acquisition of wider knowledge, CUP has pioneered in the establishment of children’s libraries aptly coined as ‘Singithy Pothgula’ where children have been encouraged to manage and maintain such by themselves.
These libraries have initially been supplied by CUP with books and other reading materials.
There are seven libraries functioning at present in different parts of the country.
CUP has also ventured into the task of opening a few IT training centres in strategic locations where lesser privileged children could have access to basic training programmes free of charge.
The first IT centre was established by CUP two years ago at the Sri Parama Visuddharama temple premises, Katuwawela and has hitherto been rendering a great service to the children of the area to learn the proper use of computers. The second IT training centre was set by CUP a few days back at the Dhamma School of the Sri Devadhara Temple, Pannipitiya, amidst applauses from parents, social organisations and local residents of the area.
CUP is determined to continue this work in several other areas in the near future.


Richard Pieris Securities launched
Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary company of Richard Pieris & Co PLC, launched its stock broking operations recently.
The new company’s modern head office was opened at Hyde Park Corner with a traditional ceremony to coincide with the launch.
This office has ample room for parking and a large trading gallery for retail investors to monitor market movements and execute trades.
The company, which has embraced modern technology, will also provide online trading to its clients from inception.


Buddhist monk from Australia delivers sermon

The 82nd of the series of dharma deshnas at the Temple Trees was held on Duruthu Poya under the patronage of first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. The specialty of the occasion was that the dharma deshana was conducted in English by Ven Ajahn Brahmawanso of Australia


New country director for ILO
Donglin Li has officially taken over as the new country director of the ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives on January 1.
He was previously country director of the ILO Office for Pakistan and has worked in Pakistan for six and half years.
Li is a Chinese national.

Li holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering and Equipment from East China University for Science and Technology and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University, UK.
Prior to joining the ILO in 2002, he was director-general of the International Co-operation Department in China’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
In August 2010, the Pakistan government honoured him with the highest President Award in recognition of his excellent services to the people of Pakistan.


Top trainer at Wellawatte Jaycees meeting
The Wellawatte Jaycees held their annual general meeting at Colombo Hilton recently and J C Ranjika Rajapakse was elected to lead the chapter in 2011, taking over from Imran Isfahani.
The following key officers were also elected: Saajith Mihular (vice-president), Shakeela Nawaz (secretary), Inshira Isfahani (treasurer) and Irosh Perera (director individual and management).
The chief guest was JCI senator Reginald Schaumans, 1991 world president of Jaycees International.
Schaumans is a world renowned trainer and has conducted many international training programmes and has so far conducted the JCI International Leadership Academy in Japan seven times.
He is from Belgium and his chapter is hosting the 2011 JCI World Congress to be held in October in Brussels.
The Wellawatte Jaycees apart from being the only chapter in Sri Lanka which has very strong international links and carrying out many gigantic projects has the distinct honour of producing the first and the only world president from Sri Lanka when Isfahani Sameen was elected as the international president for 1989, was very fortunate to have Schaumans as their chief guest for the annual general meeting thereby having two past world presidents at this very important function to start this year.


Environmental Advocacy Forum in Colombo

Fourteen seniors from Elon University in the US are hosting a national conference in Sri Lanka to facilitate communication among scholars, globally recognised leaders, and the Sri Lankan public on issues of environmental education and stewardship, focusing specifically on how these issues affect and impact the regions and peoples of Sri Lanka.
The summit, called Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum (LEAF), is expected to address a variety of topics crucial to environmental health in Sri Lanka and South Asia, including sustainable development, rainforest and wildlife preservation, water security, renewable energy resources and the benefits of ayurvedic medicine and herbs.
The two-day summit at the University of Colombo, Faculty of Science, ends today.
It is co-hosted by the University of Colombo and the Periclean Scholars of Elon University, in partnership with the US Embassy, Colombo, the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, and Rainforest Rescue International.
Elon’s Periclean Scholars have worked for three years to raise awareness of environmental issues in Sri Lanka.
LEAF has received financial support from the US Embassy, Colombo.


Pakistan military ties praised

Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya shakes hands with visiting Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at the Army headquarters in Colombo on January 20. The Pakistani Army Chief held talks with top Sri Lankan leaders and military top brass during his visit here (AFP)


Sajith opens Rs 1.2m pre-school

Hambantota district MP and Janasuwaya Foundation chairman Sajith Premadasa has initiated many projects to upgrade and enhance infrastructure in the Hambantota district.
The picture shows Sajith Premadasa inaugurating a
pre-school built at a cost of Rs 1.2 million by the Janasuwaya Foundation in Madayamallanda village of Ambalantota division of Hambantota district


Namal meets Libyan official

MP Namal Rajapaksa meets Eng Abdul Majid Al Mabrouk Al Kud, secretary of General People’s Committee for Agriculture, Livestock and Marine at Gasar Ben Ghsheer, near Tripoli, recently. MPs R Duminda Silva, Lohan Ratwatte, Tharanath Basnayaka and Indika Karunajeewa were also present (Pic by Udesh Gunarathne)


Support for Negombo families

The US NGO Habitat for Humanity recently launched a project to build eight houses for families residing in Negombo. The first two completed houses were handed over to the new owners recently. US Ambassador Patricia Butenis and Bob Well, Team Leader of the Volunteer Group from the US, ceremonially opened the new houses. Habitat for Humanity volunteers have built 12,000 homes across Sri Lanka since 1995


Thai Pongal cultural show

More than 2,000 civilians including religious and community leaders, civil administrative officials, scholars and school children gathered at the Jaffna Hindu College, main hall recently to witness a grand cultural show organised by the Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) to mark the Thai Pongal 2011.
The show began after Commander SF-(J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, the chief guest, and a few distinguished guests lit the traditional oil lamp. Playing of Nadaswaram and melam or Mangala Isai (auspicious melody) lined up the other cultural events presented by students of Jaffna Ramanathan College, Jaffna Methodist Girls’ High School, Kaithady Muthukumaraswami College, Inuvil Central College, Velanai Central College, Jaffna Hindu College, Thirumarai Kala Manram, Sai Samurdhi dancing schools and Army Cultural Troupe.
During this exhilarating show, winners of the Essay Competition held by Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office under the topic of “Paradigm Shift” and Art Competition on Anti Dengue Campaign were awarded with cash prizes and valuable gifts. Commander SF-(J) Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Jaffna GA, Mrs Emelda Sukumar, Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, Prof N Shanmugalingam and Mayoress Jaffna, Mrs Y Pathgunarasa joined to give away prizes.
Winners of competitions:
Art Competition
1. Nagendran Sabesan, Jaffna, Sandilippay - Hindu College
2. V Nirojan - Velanai Central College
3. A L Fasna - Osmania College

Essay Competition-School (Tamil Medium)
1. Sophia Paralogaraj - Jaffna Hindu Ladies’ College
2. Balasubramanium Krizza -Meesalai Weerasinghasm MV
3. Sakyathasan Kristin -
St Patrick’s College

Essay Competition-Open (Tamil Medium)
1. J B A Ranjith Kumar
2. Vetharayakam Thapendiram
3. Maladevi Mathivathanan
Essay Competition-Schools (English Medium)
1. Ghopika Ravindran - Vembady Girls’ College
2. Mathangi Novakumaran - Vembady Girls’ College
3. Vallipura Ratnan Sujeewan - PPD Hartley College

In addition, four consolation prizes were given to winners of each category.
The book Paradigm Shift in the North compiled with selected essays and comments by scholars was launched coincidently. Commander SF-J presented the first copies to distinguished guests present at the occasion.


Laki exhibits at Barefoot Galle

Until January 30
Laki Senanayake: an artist who works in many fields and has become one of the focal figures of Sri Lankan creative art. The son of well-to-do planters, the seventh of eight children, he grew up first in Colombo and then in rural Sri Lanka where his father was the leader of a resistance movement to British imperialism. After his father’s sudden death, Laki Senanayake’s mother was elected the first woman Member in Sri Lanka’s first independent parliament. In his youth he worked with the important artists and designers of the time, such as Ena de Silva and Barbara Sansoni, the leading architects, like Valentine Gunasekara, Geoffrey Bawa and Ulrik Plesner, landscape designer Bevis Bawa, and thinkers and writers as Reggie Siriwardena and Karu Gunawardena. His work represents the richness of Sri Lankan life and experience in a matching diversity and richness of expression. His art ranges from abstract to natural, from Surrealist to Cubist, in media that range from silkscreen to batik and digital art.
His spontaneous approach to drawing, subjects and techniques have outraged convention many times, and repeatedly served as a liberating influence on the younger generation. Single-minded, witty and musical, the outrageous frankness of some of his nudes and his delight in the animal in nature has caused scandal for years. In 1978-9 he designed a complete set of Sri Lankan currency notes which achieved world-wide recognition for their distinctive beauty, a fame culminating in their being awarded first prize in the international Exposition of Numismatics at the Paris Bourse held in 1984, and one being used on the cover of an authoritative book on the currencies of the world
This exhibition is a presentation of his work, in the hope that a wide audience may appreciate his extraordinary achievements.
Venue: Barefoot, 41 Pedlar Street, Galle Fort
Time: Monday to Saturday:
10 am to 7 pm, Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm


Book launch

Gardens of Taprobane

Saturday, January 29
This nostalgic and romantic book was originally edited from the diaries of Count de Mauny, a man who found his tropical nirvana on the Island of Taprobane in Weligama. Published in the 1930s, it has been reprinted in a stunning new format and will delight any fan of Ceylon as it once was.
Venue: Lit Fest Cafe
Time: 5:15 pm to 6:16 pm



January 26 to January 30
Script is an exhibition of art work inspired by contemporary poetry and writings. This exhibition, presented by the Saskia Fernando Gallery, will consist of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Sri Lanka’s foremost several contemporary artists. Script, in the visual and the conceptual features of these works, bring them together to provide a summary of the literature and writings that influence the local art scene. The exhibition is open during the Galle Literary Festival.
Venue: Amangalla Hotel


Water colours and alphabets

January 26 to January 30
Exhibition of water colours by Lynda Gill, and the launch of illustrated Sinhala and Tamil alphabets by Lynda Gill and Michael Meyler. Open throughout the Galle Literary Festival.
Venue: Mamas, 76 Leyn Baan Street, Galle



Sunday, January 30
The Drama Club of Leeds International School, Panadura is now ready to present their second theatrical production Rats.
Rats, a musical, is a modern version of the story of Pide Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning. The production comprises 15 songs.
Presented by a cast of 24 students, aged 11 – 15.
Venue: Lionel Wendt Theatre, Colombo 7
Time: 7:30 pm


Book launch and exhibition

Vintage Posters of Ceylon

Saturday, January 29
Anura Saparamadu started collecting vintage posters of Ceylon about five years ago and soon had a collection of about 200. The book he has edited contains about 335 posters, mostly from his collection but also from several museums.
It contains the stories of Sri Lankan artists who have made significant contributions in the field of poster arts in Sri Lanka. It also features work by international artists who have designed posters for various Ceylonese institutions.
Venue: The Fort Gallery, 3, Lighthouse Street, Galle
Time: 6 pm


Sacred Spaces

January 26 to January 30
Photographer, Dominic Sansoni takes viewers to places with history and a sense of mystery.
Places of quiet, places where people might reflect for a moment, and step away from daily chaos. In this exhibition, he also explores his unending fascination with roadside Ganesh shrines, which he has been photographing for many years. Drop in anytime during the Galle Literary Festival.
Venue: The Sun House, Galle


The A-Team

Tuesday, January 25
Year: 2010
Running time: 117 minutes
Actors: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Joe Carnahan
Give it up to the A-Team: they’ve always been good at demolishing things in big, big ways. Freed from the confines of the 1980s TV series, the 2010 blockbuster movie version allows the four members of the paramilitary squad to really amp up the mayhem to newly crazed heights.
Venue: American Centre, 44, Galle Road, Colombo 3
Time: 6 p.m.


The ‘Majestic’ plastic bag

Saturday, January 29
A four minute film narrated by Jeremy Irons captures the journey of a lone plastic bag from its urban origins to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This will be followed by a 10 minute power point presentation on the effect of the ubiquitous plastic bag in Sri Lanka which pollutes beaches, kill animals and spread diseases. Learn how you can, with one simple step, become a part of the solution to preventing this.
Venue: Maritime Museum, downstairs
Time: Throughout the day


Lifting the veil of consciousness

Friday, January 28
Quantum Science and the higher beings agree that consciousness is a far more complete concept than the usual limited human interpretation of consciousness. Laurel Botsford will present her channeled book, with occasional writings by herself, that discusses how this new concept of consciousness can be understood and how it can be used to change human reality as a whole, and your individualised own reality.
Venue: Pedlar’s Inn Café, Galle
Time: 9:30 am to 10:30 am


Removing the Veil

Saturday, January 29
Come and join the exciting launch of Did Einstein Understand E=mc2? ~ Removing the Veil by Laurel Botsford. A fascinating discussion from both sides; touching lightly on scientific ‘facts’ that have guided humanity for a very long time, and presenting spiritual interpretations that stand to change the scope of human consciousness far beyond what many consider to be possible.
Venue: Pedlar’s Inn Café, Galle
Time: 9:30 am.10:30 am.


Cultural evening

Tuesday, January 25
Kathakali performance – Nalacharitham second day, celebrating the 62nd Republic Day of India, by an eight-member troupe led by Shri Chandra Sekharan Padikkal Variath from India organised by the Indian Cultural Centre.
Admission by invitation: Please contact the Indian Cultural Centre on 2684698/2684697 or email: iccrcolombo@gmail.com
Venue: Kularathne Hall, Ananda College, Colombo 10
Time: 6:30 p.m.


Wednesday, January 26
Kathakali lecture cum demonstration organised by the Indian Cultural Centre
Venue: Janakala Kendraya, Battaramulla
Time: 2:30 p.m.


Thursday, January 27
Kathakali performance at the Galle Literary Art Festival
Time: 5: 30 p.m.
Friday, January 28
Kathakali performance
Venue: Noope Cultural Centre, Matara
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 30
Kathakali performance
Venue: University of Jaffna
Time: 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 30
Kathakali workshop
Venue: University of Jaffna
Time: 10 a.m.


Wednesday, January 26
Joint presentation on Myanmar-Sri Lanka Historical Connections:
Sacred Sites of Myanmar: Sri Lanka Connections by Dr Donald M Stadtner
Myanmar Connections in the Context of Sri Lanka-South East Asia Connections by Dr Hema Goonatilake organised by the Royal Asiatic Society, Sri Lanka
All are welcome!
Venue: Royal Asiatic Society, at the Gamini Dissanayake Auditorium of the Mahaweli Centre, No. 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7
Time: 5 p.m.


Bentota Beach Fiesta–Boat Race
Venue: Bentota Beach


Saturday, January 29
A blood donation campaign by the JICA Alumni Association of Sri Lanka under the patronage of Ambassador of Japan, Kunio Takahashi to bestow merits on late Deshamanya Dr P R Anthonis and Mrs Ruby Anthonis.
The blood collected will go to the National Blood Bank for use on needy patients. JICA A.A. appeals to members of the public also to come forward to donate blood.
Venue: National Blood Transfusion Services Centre, Elvitigala Mawatha, Narahenpita, Colombo 5
Time: 9 a.m.

Food promotion

Until January 31
Tarts Galore: Taste five varieties of Tarts: Strawberry tarts, Linzer tarts, an Austrian specialty, Berry Almond tarts and Mixed Fruit tarts.
Venue: Goodies, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo
Time: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Until January 31
Shake it Up! Try the creative new margaritas …
Venue: 7 Degrees North Bar, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.


Saturday, January 29 to Sunday, January 30
The Great India Education Fair is a unique education exhibition showcasing the finest Indian Universities, Colleges and educational institutions from all across India.
This fair would showcase the strengths of the Indian education system and would be the exciting platform for introducing your institution to eager and growing market of larger potential pool of international students.
The fair ensures productive interface between the participating Indian universities and colleges and the local international student-parent community seeking knowledge on various options available in the Indian education arena.
Venue: Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka