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Punchihewa concludes Mahi Pancha series, co-authors Jathaka Stories Retold



Retired Civil Servant and writer, PG Punchihewa has concluded his popular “Mahi Pancha” series of children’s stories with the seventh publication, “Mahi Raja Retires” illustrated like its predecessors by the late Sybil Wettasinghe, perhaps her last published sketches.

A winner of the State Literary Award in 2002 for the best Children’s Book, the author, who retired from the Public Service as Secretary to the Ministry of Coconut Industries, and later served as the head of the Jakarta-based Asian Coconut Community (subsequently Asia Pacific Coconut Community) for many years.

Punchihewa is a prolific writer with over two dozen books of chidren’s stories, both in Sinhala and English, works of fiction including a novel in English and memoirs in both languages, a travel book and some research volumes. He has also published some of his work in Indonesia.

Along with the concluding volume of the “Mahi Pancha” series, a new book Jathaka Stories Retold, co-authored by Punchihewa and Mallika Karunaratne has just been released. This book, primarily aimed at children would also be enjoyed by adults who would profit from re-reading them comprise 32 carefully selected naratives from the Jathakapothvahanse.

The authors say in a foreword that their intention was to contribute towards effectively countering or slowing the pace of moral degradation of society. The stories have been selected to make them attractive to the child and adult alike and impress parents and teachers – mentors of the child – to stess “the universal values of love, kindness, honesty, reasonableness, self-control and others” from their childhood.

Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies, Dr. Asanga Tilakaratne of the Colombo University, has warmly commended the book as one authored by “mature, experienced, learned and motivated” writers to bring out the perennial value and ancient wisdom of the Jataka stories.

He says that though the book is particularly aimed at young adolescents and groups the stories would benefit readers of all ages.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history



by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.



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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors



During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra



The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email:

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