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Death of entire tracts of trees; vaccinated amidst confusion



Cass listened thrice to a Facebook video sent toher by a wildlife enthusiast which has Himeshi Weerasiri speaking from her heart; simply, eloquently and transparently sincerely. She addresses the President and continues with ‘you’ but Cass discerns the ‘you’ includes the PM, Ministers and government bureaucrats. Hence if the President listens to what she had to say, (which we hope he will), he must not be angered. Even the highest in the world must listen to the voice of the people and now the young are actively national minded. Proof? The protesting young of Hong Kong, Thailand and Myanmar, and in this land the voices heard on the field, as it were, mostly of those who have no vested interests but are very concerned, nay near outrage, with the degradation that is ongoing, mostly regards the environment and specifically about deforestation.

Himeshi mentions the places that have suffered the worst of the tree fellers onslaught; she explains the importance of eco-systems and says that the present generation is being robbed of a rightful heritage with government distributing forest land so people invade with axe and tractor wild life sanctuaries, even Sinharaja and elephant corridors. She says she may be found on her next visit to SL with a gunshot, laid out in Independence Square bearing a suicide note. However, even consideration of her child cannot stop her appeal for saving the forests of Sri Lanka? “You were elected to protect the land and its people” she boldly reminds the YOU she addresses.

The Island

of Friday 19 February carried this banner headline in eye-grabbing, funereal white against black: “Govt. backed racketeers run riot: 3,000 acres grabbed in Somawathiya National Park within two days.” Horrendous if people just grabbed the land. Here is stated clearly the damning fact that government has backed; i.e. encouraged these peasants in their destruction and will protect them. And what will the grabbed land be used for? Bad enough to grow vegetables and such. Worse if it is for money: sold to resource devouring businessmen. Worst if sold/confiscated to build resorts, hotels or holiday homes for the nouvue rich. The Island Editor’s lead article on Tuesday 23 February was also about this crime of land grabbing.


President speaks

Very surprisingly Cass heard the President voice his opinion on this very subject at a village visit bearing a wonderful Sinhala term which escapes Cass’ bird brain, as reported in MTV news on Saturday 20 February night. He said, (I did not take down notes), that forests are not being cut down or given to villagers. It’s land that was under agriculture that is being given them. Wrong, even then, if trees have grown on such neglected agricultural land. As said earlier, believed strongly by this woman – Cass – who has lived in jungle areas long ago and is of a former generation to whom money is a mere commodity to make living possible and not to be procured at any cost and hoarded, is that forests are being cut down; traditional elephant corridors and their land encroached on. This crime continues unpunished which means government officials do not take note, rather do they facilitate such robbing. So, the young of the country, headed by nature, fauna and flora lovers, will surely raise their voices and be heard.

Vegetables and other consumables, even cereal like kurakkan, maize, can be grown anywhere. Have tress to be cut to clear new land? A helpless biddy like Cass can only curse. But the young are powerful and almost up in arms. So grabbers, promoters and even politicians BEWARE! You cannot rob all the land all the time. Retribution will surely come to you.



Cassandra was right in her tremulously stated fear that the older citizen will be considered expendable and be given the vaccine last of all, totally contrary to what the WHO advocates and Britain and US, among other countries, have stuck to. We oldies are in no great hurry; we will stay locked down; but we cannot bear unfairness. Give vaccination to private hospital workers and tourist hotel servers but do not forget the older citizen. WHO’s maxim in vaccinating is reduction in deaths; ours seems to be ensuring the economy is set going by vaccinating those in service, MPs included. It’s the economy and VIPs first and last, Stupid!

Please read, or re-read if you have already done so, Dr H T Wickramasinghe’s short article in The Island of Monday 2 February: “Success of vaccination drive hinges on inoculation of the elderly“. He is Consultant Paediatrician plus President, Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Forum of SL. What he clearly wrote gave Cass the justification to write the above.


Haywire in spite of Task Force

Telephones are abuzz with questions such as “Did you get the vaccination?” “How does one apply?” Cass was completely flummoxed as to how to get the shot or how to obtain a token. Then manna descended, shed by a concerned niece. She had got a token for three but had already got the vaccination, so she very kindly drove Cass to Chitra Lane. Cass requested an obliging three-wheeler man to stand by and so her domestic and she got into a sort of a queue. Mercifully a few schoolmates were already there so yours truly felt at ease. The number on Cass’ token was 208 so it meant sitting in three wheelers and on steps and leaning against posts and cars. She had already sat on a bucket kindly overturned and given her by a wayside repairer. Cass and others waited in a crowd – no safe distancing at all – from 8 am to 1.30 pm, with a quick three-wheeler drive home. Offers were extended by another niece to stay at her place until the queue got shorter. Not Cass to leave the hot spot and miss her vaccination!

It was all somewhat disorganized, as the entire process of vaccination is. A friend got hers done at the Public Library where vaccinations were for CMC workers! But Cass found that within the premises of the Public Health Maternity Home in Chitra Lane everything was orderly. The crowd gathered queued up dutifully; however, vigilant enough to shout at some being let in through a side gate.

Once you got in, the process went smooth with precision and absolute politeness. After noting details, people were ushered into the vaccination room with about five stations, all manned by nurses. They were extremely kind and gave directions for after care to each and every one individually. After 20 minutes of sitting outside, Cass returned home so very thankful she had got the Oxford vaccine, courtesy of the government, totally free and kindly given.

When bunched outside, fake news floated: only those below 65 will be vaccinated that day being the loudest. But Cass decided to take the chance, since she had heard that once you enter the vaccination room proper, all are given the shot. It was gratitude to the health workers who untiringly went on with their work, showing much patience.


Sad tale

Phoned the very decent three-wheeler driver Cass usually summons to take her on an errand or get a chore done. He says his three-wheeler has been taken by the Police. Reason: he had it painted a different colour. I was shocked when five days later he says the vehicle is still with the police pending its being sent to the RMV.

“They said they can’t believe the wheeler is 30 years old and so suspecting me, they took the vehicle. How am I and my family to live?” he wailed. Asked another driver who said the colour of a vehicle cannot be changed without informing the RMV. OK. But was that a known stricture? And why on earth the delay? The vehicle taken into police custody more than six days previous has still not been sent to the RMV. This innocent man does not know what next to do. He and his family are being slammed in the stomach, while the rich and mighty rape forests and cheat in every possible way – and get off scot free!!

Is this our beloved Sri Lanka –our Matha under whom all of us should be equally treated?k

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To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur



by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!



In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL



The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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