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Last update 11.11.2012






Colombo University VC honoured in Washington

(so) Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama was honoured by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) as one among 100 women world over, by presenting the World of Difference 100 Awards at the '2012 Global Forum and World of Difference Awards Ceremony' held recently in Washington, DC, USA.

Every year, TIAW recognises 100 women all over the world whose actions, efforts and inspiration have truly made a significant difference in the world for the economic empowerment of women. The TIAW connects leading women's organisations worldwide to leverage their reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women.

This prestigious award was presented by considering the pioneering efforts and contribution made by Prof. Hirimburegama in empowering the rural women in Sri Lanka.



Japan honours Dr Ariyaratne with The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon

(dn) The Japanese government conferred Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement founder and president Dr A T Ariyaratne with one of its distinguished honours ('The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon') in recognition for his outstanding contributions in enhancing relationship by people-to-people exchange between Japan and Sri Lanka on November 3.

Dr A T Ariyaratne

* Born on November 5, 1931

* Alma mater Mahinda College, Galle

*Founder of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

* Received honorary doctorate of humanities from Emilio Aguinaldo Colege in the Philippines

* Received Ramon Magsaysay Award fo Community Leadership in 1969

* Gandhi Peace Prize from the Indian government in 1996

* Niwano Peace Prize in 1992

* King Beaudoin Award

* Received Acharya Sushil Kumar Inter national Peace Award 

His yearly visits to Japan to meet people as well as deliver lectures have inspired many Japanese people. The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, one of the decorations of Japan, are awarded by the Emperor of Japan to foreign nationals who have made notable contributions to enhance bilateral relations with Japan. The ceremony to confer the official decoration on Dr Ariyaratne will be held in December.


... Veera Keppetipola's mother was Monarawila Kumarihamy. He had two sisters. One of the sisters married Ehelapola Nilame. Delwala Etanahamy was the wife of the Keppetipola. Veera Keppetipola acted first as a Government Representative of the Britishers to squash the Rebellion mooted by the Sinhalese  ...



Five sri lankan artists honoured with BUNKA AWARDS

(ognp) The 19th Bunka (Cultural) Awards ceremony organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held on Saturday 20th October 2012 at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Colombo.

The following five Sri Lankan artists received the prestigious Bunka (Cultural) Awards. Sudath Mahaadivulwewa ( Film & Theatre), Mrs. Upuli Panibharatha (Dancing), Athula Ransirilal Perera (Animation & Dubbing), Mrs. Mary Josita Peter (Dancing), Priyantha Sirikumara (Theatre).

Addressing the gathering, Nobuhito Hobo, Ambassador of Japan recalled the historic occasion of the San Francisco Peace Conference where Sri Lanka extended a hand of friendship to Japan in the aftermath of the Word War II, and said that the Bunka Awards ceremony this year was special as it coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Sri Lanka and that this Fund is a symbol of goodwill on the part of Japanese residents living in this country towards the Sri Lankan people.



A Wave-less boat invented in Sri Lanka

(ognp) Indresri Karunathilaka has invented a wave-less boat, which prevents a wave occurring as a boat travels. The new invention has been made by changing the standard hull of a boat from a ‘V’ shape by including non-symmetric twin hulls fixed in inverse, allowing the water to travel though the hollow mid section of the hull, thereby preventing the formation of waves to the sides of the boat.

The Ray’ award, a lifetime award for innovation given in memory of the late Ray Wijewardene was won by Indresri Karunathilaka yesterday. The award was presented by the Ray Wijewardene Charitable Trust (RWCT) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission and support of the Commercial Bank. Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitarana was the Chief Guest.

In addition, the propeller set in the middle of the boat further cuts the wave, minimising even the ripples cause while the boat is moving at high speeds. Industry sources said that what makes Indresri Karunathilaka’s invention truly stand out is that it is not only made purely from recyclable steel and aluminium, but its unique shape combined with its weight of 4,000 kg contributes to the stability of the gravity point, making it unsinkable.



Radhika Coomaraswamy named Laureate of the Fondation Chirac Special Jury Prize 2012

(ognp) Radhika Coomaraswamy, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations/Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, was chosen for the Special Jury Prize 2012 by the Fondation Chirac (Chirac Foundation).

The Fondation Chirac was created in 2008 by former President of France, Jacques Chirac, at the term of his presidential mandate. The foundation will also award Father Francisco De Roux the Prize for Conflict Prevention for his action in favor of development and democracy in the Magdalena Medio area, in Colombia.

Radhika Coomaraswamy was chosen for her actions aimed at the protection of children in armed conflict. During her mandate as Special Representative she put in place 17 action plans for the eradication of the use of child soldiers around the world. She also contributed to the recognition, at the International Criminal Court, of individual criminal responsibility of those recruiting or using child soldiers.

The Award for Conflict Prevention aims to improve awareness and support for those who dedicate a part of their lives and resources to prevent conflicts.



Rupika Damayanthi bags top UNDP N Peace Award 2012

(island) A prominent Sri Lankan community service leader, Mrs. Rupika Damayanthi De Silva, has been awarded the prestigious N Peace Award — 2012 by the United Nations Development Programme for Asia Pacific.

She will receive her award from the President of Philippines, Benigno S. Aquino, at the New World Hotel, Manila, on October 9 at 10.30 am (Sri Lankan time). Representatives of the United Nations Development Programme and Ambassadors of various countries will also attend the ceremony.

Mrs. Rupika Damayanthi De Silva serves as the Chairperson of Saviya Development Foundation and Saviya Women’s Organization. The United Nations Development Programme for Asia Pacific launched the N Peace Award in 2011 for peace and community cooperation. The other stakeholders in this initiative are Search for Common Ground and AusAid.

The N Peace network strives to build women leadership, peace and cooperation within the countries in the region with the aim of creating peace, equality, empowerment and brotherhood amongst people of the world. Mrs. Rupika De Silva, this year’s winner from Sri Lanka, was honored for her community services, inter society programmes and community projects implemented towards women empowerment. Since her childhood, her ambition was to serve the marginalized and the vulnerable sections of the community.



2,100 needles in the head: Markham man breaks his own Guinness record

(thestar) Mohanathas Sivanayagam marked the long weekend by sticking 2,100 acupuncture needles into his head. The 37-year-old is a father of three young boys and works in the trucking industry. He came to Canada from Sri Lanka when he was 23.

He already holds the Guinness world record for “most needles inserted into the head.” It was a joyous celebration on Dec. 3, 2011, when he stuck the last of 2,025 acupuncture needles into his scalp, capturing the title from China’s Wei Shengchu, who stuck 2,009 needles into his head in 2009.

The certificate for the 2011 spectacle arrived last week. He already has it framed but decided to break the record with a 48-hour needle-sticking extravaganza to raise money for cancer treatment.

Sivanayagam has always dreamed of breaking or creating a Guinness world record. In 2005, he glued 12,000 pennies to the walls of a pizza shop at Birchmount Rd. and Lawrence Ave. He was going to call the restaurant “Penny Pizza” — but when he found out Guinness wouldn’t accept that type of record, he decided to abandon the plan without selling a slice.



Sri Lankan American Sumi Kailasapathy Wins Big in Ann Arbor

(dbs) Sumangala Kailasapathy, reports Ann Arbor News, will be one of three new faces soon on the Ann Arbor City Council.

A Certified Public Accountant, Kailasapathy ran for the Democratic Party’s nomination against the Democratic Mayor’s big projects (like a proposed railway station and a countywide expansion of public transit services), in favor of services and citizens’ priorities. She received an astounding 57.7% of the vote.

Ann Arbor is home to University of Michigan, a sound example of how state universities can be as good as the private Ivy League universities. It has a Democratic voter-base and winning the nomination is as good as winning a seat in November. Tuesday night saw all her well-wishers including Sri Lankans at a victory party.

Sumi (as she is known) was a student at University of Jaffna representing the best liberal traditions among Tamils and fled terror to transfer to Wellesley College where she earned a degree in economics & political science and to earn a master’s degree thereafter from The New School for Social Research.



Susantha Sisilchandra receives business champion of the year

(cp) Business and community leaders from throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and beyond gathered August 2nd, 2012 at the Governor's North Texas Business Forum at the prestigious Irving Convention Center to recognize some of the Lone Star state's most successful entrepreneurs.

Among the business leaders recognized for achievements in building productive companies is, Sri Lankan-born entrepreneur Mr. Susantha Shan Sisilchandra.

Founder and CEO of Ceyhinz Link International, Inc, Mr. Susantha received the "Business Champion of the Year" honor in the program established by Texas State Governor Rick Perry to highlight and make the community aware of the great achievements among growing businesses, and the continuing success of the Texas economy among markets in the United States and globally.

Mr. Susantha is the first native Sri Lankan and the youngest Texas based business entrepreneur to receive a Texas Business Champion of the Year award. Mr. Susantha is the President and Co-Founder of Ceyhinz Link International, Inc. headquartered in Irving, Texas, the parent company for RIOCOCO and CEYTIPS.

And in 2010, Mr. Susantha introduced the Ceytips Ceylon tea from his country Sri Lanka. Ceytips teas is single-origin, single-leaf tea with variety of flavors and traditional black Ceylon teas, currently enjoyed by customers and discerning tea fans in Texas and many other cities in the USA.



Bedi Prize 2012 to Sri Lankan doctor

(dn) Dr. Yanushi Dullewe Wijeyeratne was awarded the Bedi Memorial Prize 2012 for her contributions to research in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Department of Cardiovascular medicine, University of Nottingham UK on July 30.

Yanushi had presented her research at several international scientific conferences in Geneva, Austria, Japan and Boston, USA over the past several years. The Bedi Memorial Prize is an annual prize awarded in memory of M.P. Bedi for research in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Dr. Wijeyeratne who previously practised at Nottingham University Hospitals, was recently awarded a fellowship at the Department of Cardiology at St. George's Hospital, London where she is currently specializing. She was a past pupil of Bishop's College, British School in Colombo and Colombo International School.



Lankan ministering angel on flight SQ222

(so) It was a desperate announcement by the Singapore Airlines cabin crew that brought a handful of passengers from fore and aft of the aircraft to the main deck of the Singapore bound flight SQ222 from Sydney last Tuesday. A passenger had fallen ill and all efforts of the cabin crew were unsuccessful in stabilising his condition. It was their call for assistance from among the passengers which drew forth a few people with medical knowledge.

All of them were willing to help, but appeared hesitant. Then she appeared, a small made, confident dusky young woman with short curly hair who pushed herself past the few gathered near the ill passenger.

"I am a doctor. How can I help?" The accent was undeniably Sri Lankan.Apprised of the situation, she knelt beside the sick passenger and checked his pulse and pressure.

The contents of the aircraft's first-aid kit were put to good use. After some time, confirming that the ill passenger's condition has stabilised, with a smile and a confident pat on his shoulder, she left for her seat.

She is a consultant medical officer at a Sydney hospital, she said, briefly explaining her ability to take stock of the situation.The passenger we saw was not her only impromptu patient in the air that day. There had been another from the front of the main deck.

The grateful airline crew had upgraded her ticket.

Dr. Madhavi,you made us proud to be Sri Lankan that day and we are sure that your family, friends and alma mater, Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Borella would be just as proud.



Dananjaya makes Sri Lanka proud again at Ovation 2012

(dn) Toastmasters International Hall of Fame Inductee Dananjaya Hettiarachchi made Sri Lanka proud, winning the much looked forward to International Speech Contest, held during the recently concluded Ovation 2012 – the Annual Conference of Toastmasters District 82. He was also the only Sri Lankan to have emerged as a winner of the speech contests held during Ovation 2012.

With his achievement Hettiarachchi made history being the only Sri Lankan to have won the District level International Speech Contest twice in a row and will be representing District 82 at the highly celebrated Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking 2012. The contest is a highlight of Toastmasters 81st International Convention, scheduled to be held in August 2012 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Hettiarachchi is a seasoned orator who has made several ground breaking achievements during his Toastmaster journey. Before emerging as the winner of the District level International Speech Contest for the first time in 2011, Hettiarachchi placed second at both 2007 and 2009 competitions. He won the ‘All Island Best Speaker Contest’ in 2007 for his best known speech, Chasing Butterflies. He also holds the prestige of being the only Sri Lankan to have won the International Taped Speech Contest in the year 2006 for his speech ‘Humanity, is there hope?.’In recognition of this outstanding achievement, Hettiarachchi was inducted to the Toastmasters International Hall of Fame.



Seven Sri Lankans at London 2012 Olympic Games

(so) OLYMPICS: Seven Sri Lanka sportsmen and women will be seen in action at the forthcoming Olympic Games in London.

Sri Lanka Seven for London Olympics 2012

Duncan White, Susanthika – only medallists in 116-year-old history.



Dr Mahipala is 'Man of the Year'

(dn) Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr P G Mahipala won the 'Man of the Year 2012' award presented by the American Biographical Institute.

He won this award for the distinctive accomplishments in the medical field beating professionals from 70 countries, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, Dr. Mahipala obtained his MBBS degree from the Peradeniya University in 1983 and Msc. (Community Medicine) from the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine, Colombo University in 1995. He has also obtained many Post Graduate Diplomas in various subjects from various state universities in Sri Lanka. He has held many top posts before being appointed as Health Ministry Additional Secretary.

The American Biographical Institute's International Board of Research decided on his nomination after a careful global evaluation of individuals who have excelled in their professions. The nomination conclusions were not only selected from the institute's biographical archives, but also through correspondence around the world. The prominent businesses, media resources, universities and organizations around the world. The institute has 45 years of experience in collecting and publishing over one million biographies. The award has been granted to Dr. Mahipala after reviewing hundreds of his achievements.



Keppetipola, a great war strategist

Veera Keppetipola of Sri Lanka(dn) Keppetipola's parents were Rajapaksa Wickramasekera Mudiyanse (Ralahamy) a chieftain. He came from Satara Korale and settled at Udugoda Udasiya Pattu, Monarawila, North of Matale. During the reign of Rajadhirajasinghe, he functioned as a Diyawadane Nilame.

Veera Keppetipola's mother was Monarawila Kumarihamy. He had two sisters. One of the sisters married Ehelapola Nilame. Delwala Etanahamy was the wife of the Keppetipola. Veera Keppetipola acted first as a Government Representative of the Britishers to squash the Rebellion mooted by the Sinhalese. Then as a national patriot, he crossed to the Sinhala camp and commenced the Sinhala Independence struggle against the British rule in Sri Lanka.

He led the Rebellion of Uva in the years 1817/1818. The charges were framed against him for treason - attempting to overthrow the British Rule in Sri Lanka. The British Administrators charged Keppetipola for the said offence in a military court. Keppetipola's properties - moveable and immovable and the wealth he possessed was taken over by the British government on May 22, 1819. His wife and two sons were sent to Chilaw. In 1829, part of the properties that belonged to Keppitipola was once again given back or assigned to his wife and children. Another great child hero in the annals of Sri Lankan history was Veera Maddumabandara, son of Keppetipola's elder sister, who married Ehelepola Adikaram. Maddumabandara was also beheaded. Just like his great uncle Keppetipola this brave child also faced the death boldly and gallantly.



US-born Lankan student builds water cleansing system

(dn) US born Sri Lankan student Shayanth Sinnarajah, 18, attended the Rio+20 Summit to display a water cleansing system. Shayanth Sinnarajah, In minutes and with the amount of force it takes to pump air into a bike tyre, Sinnarajah can make 15 gallons of clean drinking water, referred to in some circles as "blue gold."

Sinnarajah and his colleagues pump the dirty, undrinkable water through a machine where it travels through four filters, each one progressively letting in fewer pollutants, until the water reaches a tank inside the 28-inch by 48-inch cart that contains the water-cleansing system called LiTReS.

Sinnarajah, 18, who will be a freshman at UC Berkeley in the fall, siphoned the pristine water into a glass and made a toast with his colleague and friend, Lucia Herrmann, also a recent Gulliver graduate, who is Yale University-bound. The two are part of a team of 18 students at the Coral Gables school who created the water filtration device based on clean energy that could solve the water crisis in under-developed areas where safe drinking water is a luxury for millions.

The Gulliver students were invited to present their story of innovation at the US Department of State's centre on Sunday.



Sri Lankan student Haresh Selvaskandan will carry Olympic Torch in London on July 2nd

(dbsj) The opening ceremony of the Olympics is always a glittering tableau which hundreds of thousands of people tune in to watch. The idea is to showcase the culture of the host country; but the real highlight is the symbolic lighting of the Olympic torch.

This time, Sri Lankans the world over will be paying attention, for 22 year old medical student Haresh Selvaskandan who has been chosen to be one of the Olympic torch bearers on July 2. This is a huge achievement- to get some perspective; there were some 60,000 people who were nominated. Of these, only 8000 were chosen, and Haresh is one of them. He is also one of just three students who were nominated from his university, the University of Leicester.

The Olympic Games originated in Olympia, Greece, around 776 century BC. The main sports were combat, chariot and racing events. During the games, participating states put aside their differences. There was no infighting, and no bloodshed, until the Games were finished.

From the very beginning, the Games were symbolic of opposing states coming together to celebrate strength and perseverance. Perhaps this is why people continue to be drawn to the Olympics, and it is certainly why athletes strive to get that ever elusive gold. We all cheered on Susanthika Jayasinghe as she received her bronze (and later, silver) medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. This time, however, Sri Lanka has cause to celebrate even before the national team walks into the stadium.



Two athletes to be rewarded

(dn) The Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council has decided to reward the two sportswomen from Sabaragamuwa who excelled at the 15th Asian Junior Athletics Championship held in Colombo recently.

Accordingly, Shivanthi Kumari Ratnayake of Kegalle who won a gold medal in the 400 metres event will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 500,000 and Chamika Jayamini who won a bronze medal in the 3,000 metres hurdles will be awarded a cash prize of Rs 200,000, said Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath.

The awards will be made at a special ceremony organized by the Provincial Council at which sportsmen and women from all provinces who brought honour to the motherland at the championship will be felicitated, he said.



Wins 2012 Apex Award for career contribution

(so) Vice President and Director General of Canadian Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, Dr. P.K. Abeytunga, won the 2012 Apex Award for career contribution presented by the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada recently.

In his 32 years' service to the federal government as the Vice-President and Director General of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), Dr. Abeytunga set up CCOHS as a globally recognised, credible leader in workplace health and safety.

Dr. Abeytunga is responsible for major international projects, co-operative arrangements with leading institutions involved in health and safety around the world, and representing CCOHS at major fora internationally.

He has been a member of the CCOHS staff since its inception in 1980, and has directed the programs and services of CCOHS related to occupational health and safety information, training and customised products, including its electronic services, which are delivered on a cost-recovery basis. Among his many achievements are the initiation and development of CCOHS' electronic information service, distributed worldwide.



Malinga the official Event Ambassador for ICC Twenty20

(ognp) The International Cricket Council (ICC) has chosen Sri Lanka's star bowler Lasith Malinga, as the official Event Ambassador for the ICC World Twenty 20 Sri Lanka 2012.

The cricketing icon is renowned and admired for his unique cricketing style and vibrancy and is one of the world's best Twenty20 players.

Malinga, was selected as the Event Ambassador in recognition of his skills as a role model both on and off the field of play. His 'explosive bowling action' propelled Malinga to global fame and his distinct, stylish and colourful personality is synonymous with the intensity of T20 cricket.

Malinga commenting on his new role has said that he is honoured to play a part in the first ICC World Twenty20 tournament to be hosted in Asia. He has said that as an ambassador, he hopes to take the T20 message to all communities and passionate fans across the world. He has thanked the ICC for giving Sri Lanka the opportunity to host an event of this magnitude and invited all cricket fans to show their support and unite in the spirit of the game.

Sri Lanka’s oldest politicians celebrates his Birth Centenary

(ognp) The oldest parliamentarian in Sri Lanka Daya T. Pasqual celebrates his 100th birthday today. He is the only surviving former Parliamentarian of the 1956 Parliament, and still dearly cherished by the people of the area.

He represented Matugama constituency in Parliament for 21 consecutive years from 1956 to 1977. He got the highest number of votes, in the 1956 election second to Attanagalla, and even now Matugama is known as ‘Punchi Attanagalla. In the 1956 Election, he obtained 71.27% of the votes and won the Matugama electorate with a majority of 25,798 votes.

The Daya T. Pasqual Patriotic Organisation has arranged a felicitation ceremony at his Matugama residence, including an alms-giving for 25 bhikkus today. The alms-giving will be followed by lunch for around 500 guests, including his relatives, friends, and well-wishers. Also a number of leading politicians representing Kalutara district would grace the occasion.

Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama participating in the ceremony held last year said that when Pasqual was offered a ministerial portfolio, he declined to accept it, and it is difficult to find a politician of Pasqual’s caliber. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party felicitated Pasqual at the 59th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party held in 2010 by awarding him the Neela Udara Award.





Tanya’s rising star

(st) Billed to perform at the Kennedy Center on May 31, her originals ‘Labyrinth; Vannam Lent’ and ‘Dhaivaya: Alter(ing) Hue’ will be the first compositions for the piano by a Sri Lankan to be performed at the venue.

When The Sunday Times last met Tanya Ekanayaka, one of Sri Lanka's leading classically trained pianists, also a composer, musicologist and linguist a few months ago, she was brimming with a secret she was not at liberty to share. That “prestigious” opportunity has finally been confirmed as her debut at the Kennedy Center with a solo piano recital on May 31.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC showcases “the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists”, and Tanya’s performance marks not only a milestone in her life but also a proud moment for us Sri Lankans. Not only will Tanya be yet another Sri Lankan on stage at this venue but she will also perform original compositions at her solo recital. ‘Labyrinth; Vannam Lent’ and ‘Dhaivaya.

Tanya’s performances have increasingly included her own compositions which “marry” indigenous and popular Sri Lankan tunes into motifs inspired by the western classical works of her recital programme. And so her recitals merge genres and eras – classical with popular and folk song, the historical with the contemporary – transgressing and conflating borders.

In July 2010, Tanya became the first Sri Lankan to perform in the 'Pianists of the World' series at the world-renowned international recital venue, St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London. Tanya’s programme included the world première of her own composition 'Adahas: of Wings of Roots' which was the first Sri Lankan composition to be performed at St Martin-in-the-Fields.



Sybil wins Japanese Nikkei Asia Prize

(dn) Renowned artist, author and illustrator of children’s books Sybil Wettasingha has won this year’s prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize for culture from Japan. The prize is sponsored by the publishers of Japan’s leading newspaper, The Nikkei.

The Nikkei Asia prizes are awarded to Asians who have proven excellence in three categories: Regional Growth, Science Technology and Innovation and Culture. This is the first time a Sri Lankan wins a Nikkei Asia Prize; Sybil Wettasingha is the 6th woman to win a Nikkei prize since its establishment by The Nikkei Inc. seventeen years ago.

Sybil’s stories are cherished by generations of children here and abroad. The only woman illustrator in the newspaper industry at one time, her crucial contribution to Sri Lankan culture was to shifting children’s attention from western influenced narratives to stories rooted in local Sinhala culture.

Sybil is expected to receive the Nikkei Asia prize at a special ceremony which will be held in Tokyo on May 23.



Bearing The Torch

(sl) The Story of Haresh, the Sri Lankan student who will be a torchbearer during the London Olympics.

The opening ceremony of the Olympics is always a glittering tableau which hundreds of thousands of people tune in to watch. The idea is to showcase the culture of the host country; but the real highlight is the symbolic lighting of the Olympic torch.

This time, Sri Lankans the world over will be paying attention, for 22 year old medical student Haresh Selvaskandan who has been chosen to be one of the Olympic torch bearers on July 2.

This is a huge achievement- to get some perspective; there were some 60,000 people who were nominated. Of these, only 8000 were chosen, and Haresh is one of them. He is also one of just three students who were nominated from his university, the University of Leicester.

In the eyes of proud father Rajaratnam Selvaskandan: ‘I am happy that he has been chosen, happy that he is the only Sri Lankan nominated to bear the torch in a foreign country,’ Rajaratnam said, adding that he planned to travel to the UK in July to support his son.

Haresh is very involved with Medsin, a charity focusing on sustainable health-related projects in local communities. As Vice- Chancellor of the charity, he collected funds for the Kenyan Orphan Project in Leicester. Together with 20 other students, he then traveled to Kisumu, a port city in Western Kenya, working with underprivileged children there and even helping with the construction of a school in the area.

Even while in Sri Lanka, he volunteered at Red Cross and did his own part to help the less fortunate, his father said. Rajaratnam too has done his share of philanthropic work, having helped to rebuild the Mahajana College in Tellipalai, Jaffna, which had been damaged and relocated several times, in memory of his mother, who taught for 28 years at the same college.





Tilak de Zoysa wins humanitarian award

(so) Tilak de Zoysa, Chairman HelpAge International received the Hilton Humanitarian Prize at the Global Philanthropy Forum in Washington, DC. HelpAge International is the only global organisation with a singular focus on providing assistance to and advocating for disadvantaged older people.

The current Chairman of HelpAge International and HelpAge Sri Lanka is well-known Sri Lankan business leader Tilak de Zoysa, President of Associated Motorways (Pvt) Ltd. and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

At $1.5 million, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize is the world's largest humanitarian award. Inaugurated in 1996, the annual award is presented to a non-orofit organisation judged to have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions in alleviating human suffering. Following initial background and legal review, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize staff conducts an extensive evaluation of the candidates, before submitting to an independent, international jury that makes the final selection.

Some past recipients of this award are Handicap International (2011) Aravind Eye Care System (2010), International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) (2003), SOS Children's Villages/SOS-Kinderdorf International (2002), Doctors Without Borders/Medicines Sans Frontiers (1998) and International Rescue Committee (1997). 



Lankan first Asian to receive King James IV professorship

(dn) Prof Lakshman Perera Samaranayake from the Hong Kong University, Faculty of Dentistry has been named King James IV Professor by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in the UK.

The 63-year-old is also the first Asian to receive the prestigious recognition which is awarded annually to medical and dental professionals who contributed significantly to the field of surgical science through research.

Samarayanake, who has dental degrees from schools in Sri Lanka and the UK, currently holds a chair as professor of oral microbiology at the University in Hong Kong. He has also been serving as dean of the dental school there since 2004 as well as clinical director of the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, a HKU Faculty of Dentistry affiliate.

The King James IV Professorship was established with permission by the Queen of England by the Edinburgh Royal College for Surgeons in partnership with the Faculty of Dental Surgery in 2001. According to college officials, it has been awarded to over 30 individuals including nine dental surgeons from Great Britain and the US over the last decade.



Recognised for her work with refugee and migrant women in Australia

(st) Dr. Chandrika Subrama-niyan, Principal Solicitor, Success Lawyers & Barristers has received the commended award for the 2012 Women of the West Award for her commitment to helping women from refugee and migrant backgrounds settle in Australia.

Dr. Subramaniyan received her award at a ceremony at UWS Auditorium. She runs her own law firm, Success Lawyers & Barristers and has also recently founded a s





Lankan-born whiz on Big Bang wins RAS prestigious award

(st) Sri Lankan born cosmologist, Dr. Hiranya Peiris has been awarded the 2012 Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) Fowler Prize for Early Achievement in Astronomy. Currently attached to the University College of London, Dr. Peiris received the prize in recognition of her noteworthy contributions to astronomy at an early stage in her research career.

Dr. Peiris has been hailed as one of the best minds of her generation and her field of interest is cosmology and the study of the early universe. “I am working on trying to understand the origin of all the structure in the Universe. This involves testing the physics of the Big Bang, especially with the aid of the cosmic microwave background data from the Planck satellite,” she said, comparing the cosmic microwave background data to a ‘baby picture’ of the universe when it was only 380,000 years old (the universe is now said to be 13.7 billion years old).

The citation on the RAS website praises her ‘very significant contributions to the WMAP Cosmic Microwave Background project, particularly concerning constraints on the inflationary models that describe the rapid expansion of the cosmos shortly after the Big Bang. In addition her contributions to astrophysics more broadly include the analysis of large scale structure data, the development of statistical methods and the field of Galactic structure.’

The award is the most recent in a handful of other honours. Dr. Peiris has previously been awarded many competitive post-doctoral fellowships (Fermi, Hubble, STFC Advanced Fellowship) and became a Philip Leverhulme prize-winner in 2009 and now is on the Faculty of University College London.



Sri Lankan student wins Malvern Poster Prize

(dn) Thakshila Sachini Balasuriya, a Sri Lankan student, studying at the University of Melbourne, Australia has won the Malvern Instruments prize for the best student poster presented at the recent UK Colloids 2011 conference. She described in her work "Dynamic Forces between Bubbles with Switchable Peptide Surfactants".

Thakshila is a third year PhD student in the Dynamic Interracial Forces Group and her thesis work is focused on nanoscale interfactions forces in Biomolecular System in Soft Matter. Thakshila Sachini Balasuriya is the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Charles Balasuriya of Imbulgoda, Sri Lanka and past student of Musaeus College, Colombo and Choueifat College, Abudhabi, UAE.



Hotelier of 45 years standing

(dn) The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality based in the United Kingdom has invited Sri Lankan born pioneer hotelier Prasanna W Jayewardene having 45 years of experience in the Tourism Industry both locally and internationally. Having had his education at Trinity College, Kandy and the very prestigious Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management at Klesshiem Castle, Salzburg, Austria, Jayewardene went on to be trained by Movenpick of Switzerland, Hotel George V in Paris and Trust House Fortes International in the United Kingdom among other places.

The Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality based in the United Kingdom has invited Sri Lankan born pioneer hotelier Prasanna W Jayewardene having 45 years of experience in the Tourism Industry both locally and internationally. Having had his education at Trinity College, Kandy and the very prestigious Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management at Klesshiem Castle, Salzburg, Austria, Jayewardene went on to be trained by Movenpick of Switzerland, Hotel George V in Paris and Trust House Fortes International in the United Kingdom among other places.

He now is developing the seven star ‘Isle of Agnes’ in Weligama belonging to his company the PJ Group.

He has been on over 20 hotel boards as a Director and has at different stages provided consultancy to the largest hotel group in the Maldive Islands and been Director and General Manager of the two largest hotel and tourism groups at the time in Sri Lanka. Jayewardene has been Chairman of three regional Hotel Associations in Sri Lanka as well as Vice President of the National Hotels Association and on a number of committees and Task Forces both in Sri Lanka and Seychelles including the Seychelles Tourism Authority.



Sri Lankan nominated as a Young Global Leader

(ognp) The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has nominated Asanga Abeygoonesekera as an emerging Young Global Leader. He is one of the 192 exceptional individuals around the world to be honoured as Young Global Leaders this year.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders, brings together outstanding leaders, aged 40 years or younger, who have committed to devote part of their knowledge and energy over the next five years to collectively work towards a better future. The Selection Committee, chaired by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, has chosen the candidates after carefully screening the profiles of thousands of young leaders from every region of the world and from a myriad of disciplines and sectors.

Asanga, the only son of the late Sri Lanka Mahajana Party MP Ossie Abeygoonasekera is presently the Executive Director of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations & Strategic Studies the premier national think tank of Sri Lanka. He was the Chairman, Fishery Harbours Corporation from 2005-2010 and Chairman, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency 2010-2011. Prior to the Government sector, he was in the telecommunication sector. Asanga has an MBA and BSc from Australia, executive education from Harvard and he is a Golden Key International Scholar for his outstanding academic excellence. His primary education was at St. Thomas’ Preparatory School and Ananda College.

Asanga was 16 years old when his father was assassinated by the LTTE in the Thotalanga bomb blast which killed the Presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake and several others.





Lakshman Joseph de Saram gets top billing for writing music for Bel Ami

(st) BERLIN is where Lakshman Joseph de Saram should have been on Friday, February 16 – to attend the world premiere of the Hollywood movie “Bel Ami”, for which he wrote the music. This was a red carpet event, at the Berlin International Film Festival, with some of the biggest names in cinema in attendance.

Instead, the Sri Lankan musician and composer spent the day in Colombo, in his usual way – with his family, among fellow musicians and colleagues, including members of The Chamber Music Society of Colombo, of which he is founder and music director. How Joseph de Saram came to be involved in a major Hollywood production is a convoluted tale, in which hard work, a huge artistic talent, and chance determined the outcome.

Actually, there is no surprise here, if you know anything about the musician and his background. Lakshman Joseph de Saram grew up in a home that breathed Western culture, and breathed it heavily. His parents, the late Sooty and Sita, aggressively promoted Western Literature and Music to their children. Their home in Lauries Road, Bambalapitiya, was a temple dedicated to Western culture. Sita was a music teacher, and all four children played instruments. The house resonated with mostly piano and violin, but also recorder, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone and bassoon. It was Western Music 24/7.

“My biggest challenge was not having an established team of editor, arranger and orchestrator. Especially with a score that big, that includes a full-scale orchestra, your team on the ground is essential. It’s like an architect working on a skyscraper.

You have the plan, the idea, and then you have, surrounding that, the surveyors, the mechanical engineers, your structural engineers. I had initially the composer Stephen Allen, who lives in Sri Lanka, a good friend and a great composer. He helped me bounce off ideas, and then eventually the team assigned to the film in London. ‘Bel Ami’ has three people credited with orchestration and arranging. A film like ‘The Artist’, heavily dependent on its music, had nine orchestrators and arrangers. These people are important.”

The Coco Veranda waitstaff are clearing tables, switching off lights. It is near midnight. We get into Joseph de Saram’s car, and for the next 45 minutes we cruise along the empty streets of Colombo 7, listening to the “Bel Ami” music score on the car’s superior stereo system, while the composer drives and explains the tracks and their place in the film narrative.



Lankan driver aims at ‘World’s Toughest Trucker’

(so) Eight truck drivers from six countries will put their driving skills to the test in a new eight-episode Discovery Channel series,World’s Toughest Trucker, premiering on Monday, February 13, in the United States. The series will be shown in Asia soon.

The new series features eight truck drivers from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Australia and Sri Lanka. All are competing for a $150,000 prize. The Sri Lankan driver is the only driver from a developing country.

The producers said that the show will feature “The world’s most fearless truck drivers in some of the world’s most feared locations.” They are challenged to navigate the most extreme routes across four continents.





A Vazian bags an international medal

(dn) A Vazian bags an international medal Prasan Warnakula, a grade 12 student of Joseph Vaz College, Wennappuwa won the second place at 'Stockholm Junior Water Prize' competition organized y Stockholm International Water Institute of Sweden recently.

'Stockholm Junior Water Prize' competition is organized to mark the World Water Week every year.



Sri Lankan appointed to top IMF post

(st) Sharmini Coorey, a Sri Lankan national who has worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 1986, was this week appointed to a top post as the head of the new IMF Institute.

In a statement the Fund said the new department is focused on helping member states build capacity and develop their key economic and financial institutions. “The new department will be formed by merging the IMF Institute and the Office of Technical Assistance Management, enabling stronger synergies between technical assistance and training to better reflect country priorities, facilitate fund raising, and benefit from economies of scale,” it said.

Sharmini Coorey brings a deep understanding of both the Fund’s strategic priorities and our members’ needs. Sharmini's great analytical and managerial strengths make her ideal to build on the Institute’s crucial role as a training center for officials from our member countries, and to deepen its involvement in the Fund's technical assistance and core operational work,” Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said.

Ms Coorey, who holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University, joined the Fund’s Economist Programme in 1986 and has worked in positions of increasing seniority in the African, Asia and Pacific, European and Western Hemisphere departments, as well as its Strategy, Policy and Review Department.



Sri Lankan gets prize with Chinaman

The legend of a bowler and the sport of cricket lie at the heart of this novel

(hindu) Chinaman, a novel by Singapore-based Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka, on Saturday won the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which carries a cash award of $50,000.

The title of the novel, published by Random House, refers to a left-arm unorthodox spinner in cricket, often described as the chinaman. The legend of a Sri Lankan bowler called Pradeep Sivanathan Mathew and the sport of cricket lie at the heart of this superbly written book. It explores cricket as metaphor to uncover a lost life in a lost history. “Chinaman skilfully uses sport and the notion of fair play to look at Sri Lanka in a fresh and exciting way,” the book's blurb says.

Accepting the prestigious award, Karunatilaka said the fortunes of his novel were very closely linked to the fortunes of his country's cricket team to whom he wished to dedicate this win. “We have performed dismally this past year. The time we lost the World Cup was when my novel was accepted for publication,” he said.



Lankan in American Bar Association

(dn) Nihal Sri Ameresekere, F.C.A., F.C.M.A., C.M.A., C.F.E., who has released nine books globally on cases of fraud, corruption and economic crime, enforcement of the rule of law and good governance, has been invited and enrolled as an Associate Member of the American Bar Association. His books are extensively available globally at leading international book stores and e-retailers.

Ameresekere has successfully appeared in person in the Supreme Court, making submissions with success in the repealing of the Tax Amnesty of 2003, annulling the privatisations of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation and Lanka Marine Services.

He also successfully challenged the Appropriation Bill and Debt Recovery and Parate-Execution laws. He is well-known for his acumen and specialty in providing litigation support services for commercial litigations.

His admission as an Associate Member of the American Bar Association is an honour to Sri Lanka.



Honour for Sir Desmond in Britain

(st) Sri Lankan Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, born in Kandy has been further honoured by being made a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council in Britain. With this honour he is now the Right Honourable Sir Desmond de Silva,PC QC.

Members of the Privy Council are mostly former Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers. The primary role of a Privy Councillor is to be available to give advice to the Sovereign. The last Sri Lankan to be conferred with this honour was the late Sir John Kotelawala in 1954.

Last year, Sir Desmond was one of three international experts chosen by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate and report on the Gaza flotilla incident. He is the son and grandson of former MPs for Kandy, the late Fred. E. de Silva who was also once Mayor of Kandy and Sri Lankan Ambassador to France and Switzerland. His grandfather was the late George. E de Silva, who was Minister of Health before Independence and Minister of Fisheries and Industries in Sri Lanka's first post Independence government.

His family has been a legal dynasty for over a hundred years. Sir Desmond was educated both at Trinity College, Kandy and at Oxford and was elected a Councillor for the biggest ward in the city of London.

He was also a member of Margaret Thatcher's think tank. He has been both international prosecutor and defence counsel having saved many personalities from execution. He was retained by the current Prime Minister of Kenya for his defence when he faced a capital charge of treason in 1981.

Lankan doc’s winning shots

(st) Sri Lankan wildlife enthusiast Dr. Lalith Ekanayake has won the 3rd and 4th places in the ‘Sanctuary Wildlife Awards 2011’ held in India.

Dr . Ekanayake, who has also been shortlisted for the National Geographic 2011 Photo Competition, is the first Sri Lankan to secure a place on the ‘Sanctuary Wildlife Awards’, it is learnt.

The author of ‘The Untamed Road’, this Surgeon Rear Admiral who held his first wildlife photography exhibition last year, is the Medical Director of the Sri Lanka Navy. He is a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist and Consultant in Diving & Hyperbaric Medicine.





Some Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans Highlights 2011


Lankan sets hair-raising record

A Sri Lankan in Australia has set a new world record in a very unusual way. The Sri Lankan born man dangled more than a metre off the ground for over 23 minutes by his hair.

International recognition for Dr. Ajith Perera

A humanitarian award - a framed accolade of excellence - was presented to Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera by the Open International University for Complementary Medicines (OIUCM) at its 49th World Congress held last week at BMICH in Colombo.

Premchand Fellowship of India for Sri Lankan writer

Poet and author Sumathy Sivamohan has been awarded the prestigious Premchand Fellowship 2011 by the National Academy of letters, India (Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, India).

Five Sri Lankan Artists honoured with Bunka Awards

The 18th Bunka (Cultural) Awards ceremony organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held recently at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Colombo 07. The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan.

Sri Lankan wins the Golden Award for Global Contribution in Architecture

Sri Lankan eminent architect C. Anjalendran was awarded the Golden Award for Global Contribution in Architecture by Architecture+ Design and Spectrum foundation at a ceremony held at the Sri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi in India on October 17.

Lankan elected Vice Chair in UNCTAD

Tamara Kunanayakam, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam was elected Vice Chairperson representing the Asia Group of the Trade and Development Board (TDB) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at its 58th Session held from September 12 - 28 in Geneva.

House for family health worker for bringing honour to Sri Lanka

P.D.Lalitha Padmini, who was awarded the best family health worker of the Asia Pacific, will be awarded with a fully-fledged house under the Janasevana Kepakaru housing scheme of the Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Ministry to honour her achievement.

Sri Lankan kids bag gold, silver and bronze at world wushu

Sri Lanka’s junior wushuites who attended the first World Junior Children’s Games in Ankara, Turkey, made their motherland proud by winning one gold, one silver and one bronze medal. It marked the biggest victory for Sri Lanka in wushu in a world competition.

Biggest donation to enliven patients

The biggest individual donation for a hospital was made by Hemalatha Malini Ariyaratna, a philanthropist at Mahara Kadawatha for the use of the Ragama Teaching Hospital.


There are both positives and negatives of technological advancement. Newsfirst brings a report of a young inventor who has invented a remarkable devise that could be used for the good of mankind. Janith Tharanga Hettiarachchi who is a resident of the Thalala in Dikwela earns his living by repairing radios, televisions and other electronic equipment.

Top Sri Lankan at Microsoft wins prestigious award

Nishan De Silva, Director of Information Management and Corporate Records Compliance at US-based Microsoft and his team, have been adjudged winners of the Law Technology News (LTN) Award for Most Innovative Use of Technology in a legal department.

Five year old girl swims across Kelani Ganga

A five year old girl swam across the Kelani Ganga last morning at a point where it was about 1000 metres wide, to the amazement of a large crowd that had gathered to witness the event.




Some Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans Highlights 2010


YBI awards Fathuma Nisreen

Book honoring the world's first female Prime Minister, Siramavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan scientist wins research award

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith elevated Cardinal

Sri Lankan journalist wins Transparency International Integrity Award

Sri Lankan among 500 most influential Muslims

Sri Lankan Born ‘Container King’ Ian Kiru Karan Becomes German Minister

Airwomen rewrite history in the night sky

Young Lankan invents jet engine

Sri Lanka boxer wins first gold in 72 years at Commonwealth games

Viva breaks Guinness record with largest tea cup

Nisreen wins award in Mexico

Outstanding American award for Lankan scholar

Mithun does Sri Lanka proud at The 63rd Singapore Amateur Open Golf Championships

Royal honour for Lankan working in healthcare

Murali gets 800, Sri Lanka win by ten wickets

The World´s most expensive Sashimi Dish

Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez "Jackie" wins IIFA award

"I'm a Sri Lankan" ...& more ...




Some Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans Highlights 2009


Sri Lankan professor shortlisted for the prestigious BMJ Group Lifetime Achievement Award.

Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism

World International Women´s Boxing Championship

Granada award for "Akasa Kusum" at Granda Film Festival ...& more ...









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