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Capital - Tehran
Official languages - Persian
Demonym - Iranian
Population 2009 estimate - 74,196,000
Currency - Riyal

Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country in Western Asia. The name Iran has been in use natively since the Achamanid Period and came into international use from 1935, before which the country was known internationally as Persia. Both 'Persia' and 'Iran' are used interchangeably in cultural context; however, Iran is the name used officially in political context. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and means 'Land of the Aryans'.

The 18th largest country in the world in terms of area at 1,648,195 kmy, Iran has a population of over seventy million. It is a country of special geostrategic significance due to its central location in Eurasia. Iran is bordered on the North by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Tehran...a city of all four seasons. Courtesy: Google

As Iran is a littoral state of the Caspian Sea, which is an inland sea and condominium, Kazakhstan and Russia are also Iran's direct neighbours to the North. Iran is bordered on the East by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the South by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, on the West by Iraq and on the northwest by Turkey.

Tehran is the capital, the country's largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a regional power and holds an important position in international energy security and world economy as a result of its large reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. The first Iranian dynasty formed during the Elamite kingdom in 2800 BC.

The Iranian Medes unified Iran into an empire in 625 BC. They were succeeded by three Iranian Empires, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids, which governed Iran for more than 1,000 years. Iranian post-Islamic dynasties and empires expanded the Persian language and culture throughout the Iranian plateau. Early Iranian dynasties which re-asserted Iranian independence included the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids and Buyids.

The blossoming of Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics and art became major elements of Muslim civilization and started with the Saffarids and Samanids. Iran was once again reunified as an independent state in 1501 by the Safavid dynasty who promoted Twelver Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam. 'Persia's Constitutional Revolution' established the nation's first Parliament in 1906, within a Constitutional monarchy. Iran officially became an Islamic republic on April 1, 1979 following the Iranian Revolution.

Iran is a founding member of the UN, NAM, OIC and OPEC. The political system of Iran, based on the 1979 Constitution, comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The highest state authority is the Supreme Leader. Shia Islam is the official religion and Persian is the official language.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Diabetes Day on November 14:

Healthy life through nutritional food and regular excercise

Dear Children,

Its time to discuss about Diabetes as children are not spared from this incurable disease.

Diabetes is one of the most chronic diseases of childhood. Fast food and lack of excercise are the key factors for this disease. Every child has a right to a long and healthy life.

The World Diabetes Day theme for 2009 is 'Awareness and Prevention of Diabetes'.

About two million people suffer from diabetes in Sri Lanka. It has been observed that diabetes patients are on the increase in the urban areas than the rural areas. Therefore it is clear that the disease affects all, irrespective of age, gender, including pregnant women and the younger generation.

Accoding to medical findings this disease is incurable but controllable when proper treatment is taken.

Let us focus how we could tackle diabetes. It is said one could prevent this disease by maintaining the weight of the body in prpportion to one's height, curtailing consumption of sugar and oily food, engaging in proper exercise and avoiding stress. Grain-food, vegetables, fruits and food containing fibre should be essentially included in the meals.

The Statistical report of the Sri Lanka Diabetes Association indicates that about 275 million people suffer from this disease in the world.

Annually 3.8 million people die of this disease in the world and seven million new patents are being diagnosed.

World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide by over 200 member associations of the International Diabetes Federation in more than 160 countries, all Member States of the United Nations, as well as by other associations and organizations, companies, healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes and their families.

World Diabetes Day was introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to the alarming rise in diabetes around the world.

So, children I know you like to eat sweets and you have a Sweet Tooth. But watch your sugar intake as too much of sweet foods can be harmful to you. So stay healthy and be happy.

Students encouraged to reuse books

The trend among schoolchildren to reuse school textbooks has enabled the Education Ministry to save Rs. 1,000 million from the allocation made for printing school textbooks next year.

The Education Ministry has introduced a mechanism to avoid deterioration of school textbooks while getting the best use of school textbooks which are distributed free of charge each year by the Government, spending millions of public funds.

The Government allocates a considerable amount of funds every year from the National Budget for the provision of free school textbooks to students throughout the country including the North and East. Therefore, the attention of educational authorities is being drawn by the Education Ministry towards the importance of making maximum use of textbooks and avoid unwarranted spoilage.

The Education Ministry has issued a circular to all principals and educational officials advising them to take measures to reduce the cost for textbooks by way of reusing them while bringing down the spoilage rate. The mechanism at school level will encourage reuse of textbooks.

As a motivating factor the Ministry would offer gifts and certificates for students who have utilized text books carefully and neatly. So, children keep this in mind when you are using your textbooks next time. Bye for now.

Aunt Anji

A scene from a street drama when the Asapuve Rasikayo performed at the entrance to the Galle District Secretariat.

Street dramas for Universal Children's Day

A program of street dramas, on account of the Universal Children's Day had been organized by the Galle District Secretariat under the sponsorship of the National Child Protection Authority commencing on last Monday (November 9). The street dramas based on the theme of child abuse was a presentation of Asapuve Rasikayo, a drama troupe of Elpitiya, Galle. The dramas which were performed at a number of public places in Galle had been produced by the drama teacher of Elpitiya Ananda Maha Vidyalaya, Tennison Jayantha.

Balthazar awakens - Part 62

The story so far...

Pramodaka, Nalaka, Champika and Chinthaka go on a trip to the woods with their parents for their school holidays. In the middle of the night the children are awakened by a strange noise. On following their dog, Scooby, Chinthaka is snared by the age-old spell of the 'luring stones'.

Pramodaka departs with Ruwi, a pixie, to recall a book of spell to cast off the spell while Nalaka, Champika and the dog remain behind with Sachi, a gnome who updates them on the life of mythical creatures.

Shamilka, a friend of the mythical creatures joins in and they begin hunting for Pramodaka and Ruwi as there is no sign of their return. Just as they were coming to terms with the fact that they were lost, six rabbits scamper along the way. The rabbits take pity upon the children and agree to guide them part of the way.

Meanwhile Sulo, the goblin who is always trying to make trouble for the mythical creatures, grabs a basket of goodies from a gnome named Russell and makes off. Scooby scents her and attacks.

Ruwi senses that Russell is in danger but she also gets the strange feeling that there is a mysterious link between Pramodaka. Suddenly a storm breaks out and Pramodaka, Nalaka and Champika are blown away with the wind. As they make their way back to their friends Sulo notices them and comes up with a nasty plan. She rushes off gang up the rest of her pack. There she reveals a secret that could hold the key to all the goblin's troubles.

There is a sudden break of trouble in the pixie camp as one of the pixies, Dina, develops weird symptoms. Emida, a middle-aged gnome goes in search of peace and stumbles upon a discovery. Now the friends have to find each other and the only way for them to get through is by suing the 'Mythic Scope' but first they have to find a way to deal with HE.

Pramodaka grabbed Champika's hand and hurried off from the scene.

"Come on...," he whispered to Nalaka. The boy paused on his track, gave a sideway glance to the strange ship and followed his eldest sibling's lead. In their haste to get away, none of them saw another sharp flint from the space ship till Pramodaka stumbled over it.

"Ow!," he gasped as he looked at his foot. The other two were horrified to notice that he was actually bleeding.

The flint had cut into the heel of his shoe and scraped his skin. Limping, he hastened to make way to a stone nearby and took a seat to examine his foot.

"Everything ok? Are you badly hurt?" Nalaka questioned at last. Champika was looking pale as she tried to avert her eyes from Pramodaka's foot. The sight of blood always made her sick.

Pramodaka looked up at him, his expression grim. "I can manage. Here Champs, lend me your handkerchief. I will have to tie it around the wound and put on my shoe."

All three were so absorbed in the incident that they never noticed a light blinking out in the distance. It came from the opening of the strange object. The lid shuddered and came slightly ajar. A puff of smoke escaped and the light seem to brighten at each passing moment.

If the children had been near at hand they would have heard a strange, eerie laugh escaping from the depths of the object. A laugh which had an evil, hollowly note to it and made your hair stand on end.

A being which had been laid to rest many centuries before even Zelda walked on the earth had awakened. First the storm had disturbed its dwelling but still it would have been safe for it could not be free of the timeless spell that had been formed to keep the evil being trapped in its hideout.

All would have been well if the children would have strolled by. But after many centuries it was thirsting for blood and it was not the blood of any being that could free it from the bonds of time, but the blood of the one is equal in power to Balthazar, the most powerful wizard who had once roamed in woods and had planned to enslave humans.

(To be continued)

Mandil Amarasuriya
2E, Vidura College
Children Feeding the Birds
Savindu Hansak Vithanage,
2E, Richmond College

Ridthmi Shamindi, 6B
Sailan International School
Sandaruvie Kulasekara
4 Years
Holy Angels’ Nursery

The Sri Lanka Festival of Music, Dance and Speech affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals in Music, Dance and Speech annual competitive festival 2009 was held at the Mahaweli Centre, Colombo recently. Students of Sujatha Vidyalaya, Nugegoda who presented Cinderella were the winners. The students who participated were Amashi Thilakachandra, Amra Shafeek, Anuji de Silva, Bihara, Chamodi Sathsarani, Helasika Samarkkodi and Lakshini Wickramasinghe. The students were trained by Carrol Wickramasinghe.


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