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7th International Day of Yoga 

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Indian HC Bagley participates in the programme 

 

The High Commission of India and the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Colombo joined hands with the Sri Lankan Armed Forces to celebrate the 7th ‘International Yoga Day’ yesterday (21 June) at a special Yoga session, organized in the virtual mode. The Secretary of Defence of Sri Lanka, General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne was the Chief Guest at the event, which was also attended by the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of Army, General Shavendra Silva and around 500 defence services personnel from about 150 defence establishments across Sri Lanka, including the Kotelawala Defence University, Training schools, defence academies, ships, etc. 

 Commencing the event, the Chief Priest and Director of the Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena in Ratmalana Most Venerable Dr Maitipe Wimalasara Thera, invoked the blessings of the Buddha for overall well being of everyone. The messages of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, inspiring everyone to follow the tradition of Yoga due to its numerous benefits, were shared with the participants. In his message, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the relevance of this year’s theme of Yoga Day, ‘Yoga for Wellness’ in the current Covid-19 situation. He underscored that with its inherent power to connect, Yoga is good for community, immunity and unity. In his message, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa mentioned that Yoga is a precious, beautiful gift from the treasures of spiritual traditions and practices of Indian sages over millennia, which has touched the lives of generations of people all over the world.  

The High Commissioner called on everyone to embrace Yoga as a ‘Way of Life’ to improve flexibility and mindfulness and thanked everyone for joining the High Commission for commemorating this day. 

    Due to Covid-19 -related travel restrictions imposed this year, all events to mark the International Day of Yoga are being held in virtual mode. In the run up to the IDY, several free online Yoga sessions were organized by SVCC, in May-June 2021. These sessions focused on wellness and therapeutic Yoga, in line with the theme for this year’s IDY. On June 20, 2021, a special Yoga session was organized at the Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena in Ratmalana, at which a special message from the High Commissioner, in Sinhala language, was shared with the participants. 

     Since 2015, every year, the High Commission of India celebrates the International Day of Yoga in Sri Lanka with great fervour, with the participation of the Sri Lankan leadership and public. Average footfall for the event over the years has been in thousands. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, close to around 7000 participants attended various online events that were organized this year for the 7th International Day of Yoga. 

 

 



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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