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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

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Sustaining Sri Lanka's greatness

The confirmation of Sri Lanka as the next venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is clinching evidence that Sri Lanka is continuing to command the respect of a substantial proportion of the international community; the barbs being directed at her from some quarters notwithstanding. In the days ahead Sri Lanka would do well to steadily build on this trust and confidence. This would prove her best guarantee against attempts to victimize her in the fora of the world.

The fact that Lanka's critics could not prevail against her at the just concluded CHOGM in Perth, Australia, is resounding evidence that the majority of Commonwealth states are of the conviction that this country is being treated unjustly in the context of the issues growing out of the closing stages of the humanitarian operation of May 2009. It is proof that a great many members of the international community are avoiding being roped into the anti-Sri Lanka mudslinging effort of this country's critics, evidently on the basis of the conviction that Sri Lanka is being sinned against.

However, Sri Lanka has won an abundance of goodwill and this fund of positive emotion in regard to us must be both sustained and steadily consolidated. For instance, Russia is a very good friend of this country and it is perhaps not very widely known that besides further enriching Russia-Sri Lanka relations over the past couple of years or so, the Russian Federation's Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Vladimir P. Mikhaylov, has been playing a dynamic role in voluntarily projecting to the world Sri Lanka's abundant beauty and charm, in terms of its human and natural resources. For instance, on the evening of October 30th the Sri Lanka-Russia Friendship Society held an exhibition in Colombo of photographs taken by the Ambassador during his travels in Sri Lanka, which brought out the many alluring human and natural charms of this country. The pictures bespoke the Ambassador's respect and admiration for this country.

Likewise, there was a US Congressional delegation in Sri Lanka recently, which was full of commendatory comment for this country, both while here and after it returned to the US. For instance, one of the delegates, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) was quoted saying in connection with this country's post-conflict progress: 'Now you have the opportunity to show the rest of the world how vigilant you can be, how great you can be as a nation, that you can succeed because of the great things that this country has stood for.'

These are just some instances of how the true worth of this country has been gauged by impartial minds. And Sri Lanka could be certain that the majority of minds the world over are impartial ones that recognize objective reality. The biggest diplomatic challenge facing this country in these post-conflict years is to build steady bridges with such minds and to progressively consolidate them. The reconfirmation of Sri Lanka as the next venue for the CHOGM is the latest evidence that sinister attempts to undermine Sri Lanka's standing and dignity in the world would not have many backers.

Nevertheless, such attempts to denigrate and undermine Sri Lanka could be expected to continue apace. These efforts must be repulsed through a stout defense of Sri Lanka's credentials and irreproachability, in the Councils of the World and other relevant fora. While the multifarious concoctions against this country must be continuously exposed and shown to be without foundations, the progress made by us in the area of national reconstruction should be amply highlighted internationally.

However, it is through flawless nation-building that this country's greatness could be proved conclusively. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged to bring into being a Sri Lanka where man-made differences would be totally irrelevant and where the only identity which would matter is membership of the Motherland. So be it, is our wish too. Narrow ethnic and other identities which are inherently divisive must cease to matter entirely and it is through a Sri Lanka where the citizenry is equal in every respect that true national rejuvenation could be brought about.

Current phase of global recovery and implications for Sri Lanka

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, there has been a noticeable shift in economic clout, moving from the USA and the debt-plagued countries of the eurozone, to the emerging markets of Asia.

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Asian Americans most bullied in US schools: study

Asian Americans endure far more bullying at US schools than members of other ethnic groups, with teenagers of the community three times as likely to face taunts on the Internet, new data shows.

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Ananda College:

Education Colossus turns 125

Ananda College, Colombo celebrates a very significant milestone today. The premier Buddhist educational institution for boys originally known as the English Buddhist School, turns 125, having opened its doors to just 37 students on November 1, 1886 at 61, Maliban Street, Pettah. C. W. Leadbeater was the first principal. It was named Ananda College in 1895, after Arahat Ananda Thera, the Buddha's most devoted disciple. Today, it has nearly 7,000 students in all grades and over 250 teachers.

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YAKADAYA: from Iron Man to Serene Man

I was there when hundreds of people thronged and stormed the Chilaw Magistrate's Court to catch a glimpse of Yakadaya (the 'Iron Man') who was brought on a stretcher and produced before magistrate L.W.L. Waidiyaratne in connection with three plaints filed against him by the Chilaw Police on March 15, 1978.

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