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First-ever Miss Sri Lanka New York pageant held on Staten Island

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The first Miss Sri Lanka, New York beauty pageant open to contestants across the tri-state area between the ages of 16 to 26 took place at The Vanderbilt at South Beach Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

Culture, beauty, sparkle had audience mesmerized

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — More than 300 attendees came out to support 14 contestants who dazzled at the first-ever Miss Sri Lanka New York beauty pageant, held Friday night at The Vanderbilt at South Beach.Beyond serving as a celebration of culture, the event had a twofold mission; first, to support Sri Lanka in these trying times.

“At the beginning we thought of a way to help Sri Lanka. We are in a difficult condition,” Miss Sri Lanka New York 2022 Committee member Chandra Muniweera said.

The organizers said funds raised at the event will go to the national cancer hospital of Sri Lanka, which is currently struggling with equipment and medicine.Secondly, the pageant aims to help “young women realize their full potential and become role models for future generations, in line with core Sri Lankan values,” a statement from the pageant’s booklet reads.The committee decided to hold the event on Staten Island, where there is a large, vibrant Sri Lankan community.

Thousands of Staten Islanders originally hail from, or have roots in, the South Asian island nation of 22 million, and census data shows the borough is home to at least 30% of all Sri Lankans in the city.The country has been reeling from an economic collapse this year.

“We have the biggest Sri Lankan community here so we thought we should do something…Sri Lanka is not in a very good situation at the moment. So we were thinking, what should we do?” Miss Sri Lanka New York 2022 Committee member Sujani Fernando said. “We thought, we have to do something for the community and the girls here. To bring their talent, to bring some exposure for them. Meanwhile collect something and send it back to Sri Lanka.”

Sponsors and guests were treated to a delightful display of elegance and class. However, unlike typical pageants, the event had a traditional Sri Lankan flair. As white lights danced across the ballroom, dancers from the Sri Lankan Dance Academy of New York and Kalanikethana New Jersey mesmerized the audience between competition segments.

There were multiple “mini pageants,” including the most photogenic contest, the best national costume segment, the talent competition, the personality pageant, and the congeniality contest. Most had been completed prior to the event, with the exception of national costume.During a candlelit dinner, guests saw the national costume segment in which the contestants donned elaborate outfits that resembled various national symbols of Sri Lanka. Then, the hopefuls switched into Havana dresses, painting the stage with a collage of colors. Finally, the competition wrapped up with a classic evening gown segment.

Of the 14 women that entered the pageant, a vast majority reside on Staten Island: Sawandi Desilva, Staten Island, Mithma Dissanayake, Staten Island, Anuki Fernando, Staten Island, Chamika Goonewardene, Staten Island, Angelia Gunasekara, Queens, Nithuli Hewagama, Queens, Dilmi Kapuge, Staten Island, Daphne Karawita, Staten Island, Tharushi Kapuge, Staten Island, Dakshi Silva, Long Island, Amanda Vipul, Staten Island, Amaya Wanigarathne, Staten Island, Chaamy Yapa, Staten Island and Shalkey Fernando, Staten Island.

The judges included previous Miss Sri Lanka winners such as Sri Lankan film actress Sachini Ayendra and Uschi Perera. Alongside them was 2012 Miss Asia USA, Christine Kahn, Media Attorney Maryse Selit, and IT Manager at Estée Lauder, Imad Hyder.

After the judges deliberated, the winners were revealed: Angelia Gunasekara of Queens was crowned the first ever Miss Sri Lanka New York. The first runner up was Amanda Vipul of Staten Island. The second runner up was Amaya Wanigarathne, also of Staten Island.

The contestant pool was so strong that the judges chose a total of six finalists — more than the originally planned five. The women had received instruction from Los Angeles-based pageant coach Morina Dass in the months leading up to the pageant.

The mini-pageant winners included: Miss Photogenic: Amanda Vipul, Miss Best National Costume: Amaya Wanigarathne, Miss Talent: Tharushi Kapuge, Miss Personality: Anuki Fernando and Miss Congeniality: Dilni Kapuge.After her win, the beaming Gunasekara was crowned with a handcrafted tiara from Ashadi Jewellers. Committee members presented all contestants with gifts. The top three received unique rewards, bouquets and cash prizes. The grand prize was $1,000.

“Honestly, it’s a shocker to me. I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless,” Gunasekara said. “I’m so grateful and thankful for everyone that supported me, that pushed me to do this that helped me within this journey after so many months.”

(silive.com)



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Coordinated assistance program supported by multilateral financial institutions is required for Sri Lanka’s recovery – WB, ADB, IMF, AIIB

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World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) representatives decided that a coordinated assistance program supported by the multilateral financial institutions is required for Sri Lanka to recover from the economic crisis the country is currently facing.

They reached the agreement following a lengthy round table discussion held today (06) with President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo where the latter presented Sri Lanka’s development program associated with the economic recovery and growth along with the vision for long term development. The President presented the program at the round table discussion in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies

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Implementation of the National Environmental Action Plan for the period of 2022 – 2030

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Approval was granted at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 20.06.2022 for the National Environmental Policy. Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment has prepared the National Environmental Action Plan for the period of 2022 – 2030 with the contribution of all relevant parties by paying attention on the environmental challenges in the twenty first century as well as considering the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in order to implement the National Environmental Policy. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the resolution furnished by the Minister of Environment to implement the said action plan, to take policy decisions at national level in that connection and to establish the consolidated environment and development policy committee with the chairing of the Secretary to the President for monitoring the same.

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Cabinet reshuffle, appointment of more ministers on the cards

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President Wickremesinghe

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Ranil Wickremesinghe will appoint 12 new Cabinet ministers soon after the final vote on his maiden budget, according to sources.

The vote is scheduled to be held on 08 Dec.

Sources say that the SLPP has recommended ministerial portfolios for 10 of its members whereas UNP National List MP Wajira Abeywardena and SLFP’s Duminda Dissanayake, too, are expected to receive Cabinet positions. Abeywardena is the only UNPer in the current Parliament.

In terms of the Constitution, the Cabinet of Ministers has been restricted to 30 and State Ministers/Deputy Ministers to 40. However, the possibility of the government seeking to make the remaining appointments on a staggered basis and a Cabinet reshuffle, too, couldn’t be ruled out, sources said.

The SLPP would vote for the final vote on the basis of an agreement with the President regarding Cabinet appointments, sources said. The debate on the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill commenced on Nov 15.

Having comfortably defeated Dullas Alahapperuma at the presidential contest on July 20, President Wickremesinghe appointed an 18-member Cabinet on July 22. The group included new Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. They were sworn in on July 22 in their old portfolios with the only change being the exit for Foreign Minister G.L. Pieris who seconded Dallas Alahapperuma for President in Parliament.

The group consisted of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena – Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government; Douglas Devananda – Fisheries, Susil Premajayantha – Education, Bandula Gunawardena – Transport, Highways, and Media, Keheliya Rambukwella – Health and Water

Supply, Mahinda Amaraweera – Agriculture, Wildlife, and Forest Conservations, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe – Justice, Prisons, and Constitutional Reforms, Harin Fernando – Tourism and Lands, Ramesh Pathirana – Plantations and Industries, Prasanna Ranatunga – Urban Development and Housing, Ali Sabry – External Affairs, Vidura Wickramanayake – Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Kanchana Wijesekera – Power and Energy, Nazeer Ahamed – Environment, Roshan Ranasinghe – Sports, Youth Affairs, and Irrigation, Manusha Nanayakkara – Labour and Foreign Employment, Tiran Alles – Public Security, and Nalin Fernando – Trade, Commerce and Food Security.

Except for Douglas Devananda (EPDP), Mahinda Amaraweera (SLFP), Harin Fernando (SJB), Nazeer Ahamed (SLMC) and Manusha Nanayakkara (SJB), all others are SLPP members.

Sources said that the finalization of cabinet appointments couldn’t be further delayed. Sources acknowledged that the SLPP was determined to finalize the process against the backdrop of the main Opposition SJB declining to join the government. President Wickremesinghe, in addition to holding defence and finance portfolios, serves as minister of Investment Promotion, Technology and Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment.

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