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Dr. Kohona calls for the revival of the Fa Xian spirit

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Sri Lankan ambassador to China – Dr. Palitha Kohona has said that Sri Lanka was ready to welcome Chinese travellers in the same spirit as it had welcomed Fa Xian 1600 years ago.

Dr. Kohona was the chief guest speaker at the 1689th birth anniversary celebration of monk Fa Xian at the city of Linfen in Shanxi.

While marveling at the incredibly arduous journey undertaken by Fa Xian, he welcomed the revival of the spirit of adventure, travel and discovery by today’s inheritors of the Fa Xian tradition.

Dr. Kohona shared the same thoughts at a meeting with the Secretary of the Party Leadership Committee, Hao Zhong Xiang.

Fa Xian was born in Linfen and Linfen hosts an elaborate Fa Xian (Pa Hien) memorial. He started his epic journey in search of the original Vinaya (discipline) texts of the order of Buddhist monks at the age of 65. He learned Sanskrit at 70 in order master the texts available in India. After crossing the scorching Gobi Desert and traversing the daunting Hindu Kush mountains on foot, he reached Taxila. In India, he acquired the texts that he wanted and visited the holy places of Buddhism. Given Lanka’s reputation as a centre of Buddhist learning, he traveled to the “Lion Kingdom” by sea. After spending two years in the Lankan capital, Anuradhapura at the Abhayagiri Monastery, he returned to his homeland at the age of 79 via Java with his precious collection of Buddhist texts. He wrote about his pioneering and daunting journey (Records of Buddhist Kingdoms) and translated the holy texts to Chinese. His influence on Chinese Buddhism is seminal.  Due to the impact Fa Xian’s journey had on opening up trade and travel routes, he could be described as an early pioneer of the BRI concept and globalisation.

Today, Linfen is priding itself as the birthplace of Fa Xian and may even be considering setting up an adventure travel option along the route taken by the indomitable Fa Xian.

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Fire breaks out in workers’ living quarters near Colombo Port

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A fire has reportedly broken out in the living quarters of highway access road workers near the Colombo Port.

The Colombo Fire Brigade said it has dispatched four fire trucks to assist in extinguishing the flames.

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President Wickremesinghe meets Elon Musk to discuss starlink implementation in Sri Lanka

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has met with billionaire and investor Elon Musk on the sidelines of the 10th World Water Forum High-Level Meeting being held in Indonesia.

During the meeting, Wickremesinghe and Musk discussed the implementation of ‘Starlink’ in Sri Lanka.

It was emphasized that Sri Lanka is committed to expediting the application process to connect the country to the global Starlink network, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

Minister Jeevan Thondaman, accompanying the President on his two-day visit to Indonesia, tweeted: “President and Elon discussed Sri Lanka’s recovery, economic potential, and new opportunities for investment. Great to have two visionary leaders come together for Sri Lanka.”

Elon Musk arrived in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on Sunday to launch Starlink satellite internet service in the world’s largest archipelago nation.

The billionaire head of Tesla and SpaceX, and owner of social platform X, arrived by private jet on the idyllic “island of the gods,” renowned for its tropical beaches, terraced rice paddies, mystical temples, and colorful spiritual offerings.

Musk is slated to launch the service alongside Indonesian President Joko Widodo in a ceremony later Sunday at a public health clinic in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali. 

Musk will also sign an agreement to enhance connectivity in the country’s health and education sectors.

During his first in-person visit to Bali, Musk is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Water Forum, which seeks to address global water and sanitation challenges.

–With agencies inputs

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Senior diplomat to oversee Sri Lankan embassy in Russia

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It is reported that the government has planned to send a senior officer of the foreign service to the Sri Lankan embassy in Russia until a new ambassador is appointed due to the lack of an ambassador.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Taraka Balasuriya has told the media that the absence of an ambassador is just a gap in the work procedure, and based on the current situation in Russia, a senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be directed to supervise its affairs.

He emphasized that a retired foreign service senior is being sent and the lack of an ambassador is not a major problem.

The Minister further stated that there is already a senior Foreign Service officer there, and given the urgent need, a very senior Foreign Service officer is being sent not because the officer currently in Russia is inadequate.

Mr. Balasuriya has stressed that this is being done to strengthen the operation and that the work will be done according to the normal protocol.

However, even though an ambassador has been appointed to Russia, Mr. Balasuriya has made arrangements not to reveal who it is to the media.

The former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, Prof. Janitha A. Liyanage, was given three extensions, and she ended her service at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Moscow on April 29.

At present, Counsellor Ruvini K. Munidasa serves as the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy.

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