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U.S. Ambassador opens new school funded by US

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SAMPUR, August 31 –

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz opened the new Khoonethivu Navalar school in Sampur on August 26. The new facilities include a two-story classroom building with eight classrooms, a rainwater harvesting system with a 30,000 liter storage tank, and washrooms with facilities for both male and female students, teachers, and people with disabilities.  The United States and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Education invested 93 million rupees (approximately $500,000) in this project, which was an initiative of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). 

“This new building offers a safe environment for students to explore new concepts and new ideas while also building a future for themselves and their community,” said Ambassador Teplitz at the ceremony.  “All adults share both the privilege and responsibility of supporting and empowering children in their education.”  

In addition to providing much needed classroom space, this building will also serve as an emergency shelter for up to 400 evacuees from the local community which is especially beneficial as the region is vulnerable to natural disasters.  

Also participating in the ceremony were Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath, Secretary of the Ministry of Education (Eastern Province) I.K.G. Muthubanda, Provincial Director of Education M.T.A. Izam, Zonal Director of Education A.L.M. Cassim, and Divisional Secretary M.B.M. Mubarak. 

Over the past nine years, the American people through USINDOPACOM has supported the construction of 14 schools with investments over $5.8 million.  School construction projects represent a long-running partnership between the United States and local communities, directly benefiting underserved communities while also contributing towards educating Sri Lanka’s youth.  



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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