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70th Sanchi Mahabodhi Festival next week

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The annual Sanchi Mahabodhi Festival will be held on November 26 and 27, the President of Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi Society – Most Venerable Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said.

The festival centres around the Chethiyagiri Maha Viharaya, which was built in 1952, enshrining the relics of Lord Buddha’s two chief disciples – Maha Arahat Sariputta and Maha Arahat Moggallana. These relics were discovered by Sir Alexander Cunningham, former Director General of the Department of Archeology of India, during an exploration of the ruins of Sanchi in 1851.

Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera said that the main function of the Mahabodhi festival is to provide an opportunity for the public to worship the relics of these Maha Arahats enshrined inside the temple built on land donated by the Nawab of Bhopal at that time.

Meanwhile, Sanchi Chethiyagiri Vihara Chief Incumbent – Ven.Banagala Vimalatissa Thera said that Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Culture Minister Usha Thakur, Madhya Pradesh Minister for Health Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary and Madhya Pradesh Additional Inspector General of Police Anuradha Shankar Singh will attend this year’s event as the Chief Guests.

Ven. Vimalatissa Thera also said High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi Milinda Moragoda will participate as the Special Guest of Honor at this year’s Sanchi Mahabodhi Festival.

Apart from that, Buddhist devotees from Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Sri Lanka and Buddhist devotees from all states of India are expected to participate in the festival this year, Sanchi Vihara resident monk – Ven. Udugama Tapassi Thera said.

A group of artistes as well as journalists representing the Asian Media and Cultural Association (AMCA) will also participate, AMCA Chairman Upul Janaka Jayasinghe said.

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Cabinet decision to suspend ‘Parate Executions’

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All Parate Executions have been suspended until Dec. 15, as per a Cabinet decision made today (26 Feb.).

The relevant proposal was furnished by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, following a request made by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and Minister of Industries Ramesh Pathirana.

Accordingly, the relevant amendments are due to be presented before the Parliament soon.

State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya had informed Parliament last week that steps will be taken to suspend the powers of the ‘Parate execution’ law for a certain period for the purpose of protecting the small and medium-scale entrepreneurs (SMEs).

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Parate execution law to be suspended: Siyambalapitiya

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Deshabandu Tennakoon appointed as IGP

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Deshabandu Tennakoon has been appointed as 36th Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka.

President’s Secretary, Saman Ekanayake had handed over his appointment letter earlier today afternoon (Feb. 26).

Since Nov. 29, 2023, Tennakoon served as the Acting IGP. Deshabandu Tennakoon joined the police service in 1998 as an Assistant Superintendent of Police.

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Palestinian PM resigns

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced the resignation of his government, which rules parts of the occupied West Bank, due to the escalating violence in the occupied territory and the war on Gaza.

“The decision to resign came in light of the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem and the war, genocide and starvation in the Gaza Strip,” said Shtayyeh, who submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.

“I see that the next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the new reality in Gaza and the need for a Palestinian-Palestinian consensus based on Palestinian unity and the extension of unity of authority over the land of Palestine,” he said.

Shtayyeh’s comments come as US pressure grows on Abbas to shake up the PA and begin work on a political structure that can govern a Palestinian state following the war.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on numerous occasions rejected calls for the PA under Abbas to take control of a Palestinian state and govern Gaza.

Last week, Israeli lawmakers backed Netanyahu’s rejection of any “unilateral” recognition of a Palestinian state.

“The Knesset came together in an overwhelming majority against the attempt to impose on us the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would not only fail to bring peace but would endanger the state of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

(Aljazeera)

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