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No funds from govt. for Poson Festival; Dhammarathana Thera

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Ven. Walahangunavewe Dhammarathana Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Mihintale Rajamaha Vihara, yesterday (21) said that no funds have been received for this year’s State Poson festival due to the government’s strict financial management.

The Thera expressed these views at a special discussion held at the Mihintale Sacred Site with officials including Central Province Governor and Acting Governor of North Central Province Lalith U. Gamage regarding this year’s Poson Festival.

Nayaka Thera said that the President’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Cultural and Buddhist Affairs, as well as the higher government officials of the North Central Province have avoided the State Poson Festival, which will be held in about 10 days.

Acting Governor Gamage said that arrangements should be made to celebrate the Poson Festival keeping in line with the financial management programme of the President.

After it was said that no funds were received from the government for the Vesak Festival held in the Central Province, the discussion became quite heated.

Ven. Dhammarathana Thera, who spoke first, said there’s only 10 days left for Poson Poya but no executive officer except the district secretary has attended any meeting in this regard.

“No representative of the Governor’s Office or the Chief Secretary of the North Central Provincial Council visited us so far. About 2 million people will come to Mihintale this year. We have to ensure their hygiene and safety and we need to provide them with water and electricity,”

“I am happy that at least the Governor of the Central Province has visited us today. Those inside the Province have no interest in attending these meetings or looking into preparations,” the Thera said.

Governor of Central Province and Acting Governor of North Central Province Lalith U Gamage said;

“We know that the Buddhist culture that exists today in this country was established after the arrival of Mihindu Maha Rahat Thera and it is the responsibility of all of us to preserve it.”

“I came here today to personally ask about the contribution made by the donors including my daughter in the USA to the Mihintala Rajamaha Vihara and its development.”

“For 20 days, I have been appointed by the President as the Acting Governor of North Central Province. Therefore, it is my duty and responsibility to get an understanding of how the Poson Festival is being conducted.”

“We successfully completed the Vesak Festival in the Central Province but we did not spend even one cent from the government. The entire cost was borne by philanthropists, well-wishers and from all the people from non-religious places of worship. Since there is an economic crisis, the President has advised us to manage state funds.”

“If we fail to salvage the country from this crisis, we will not be able to do any of the other activities. The President also wants to conduct the upcoming Poson Festival properly,”

After the Governor’s remarks, Ven. Dhammarathana Thera said;

“Financial management is good, since it has not been done since 1948. We don’t ask for millions of rupees for this Poson Festival. We need to install at least 200 speakers to cover the entire site. People come to worship these sites with much difficulty. We don’t even collect money from the vehicle parks because we have to think about the people as well.”

“The Governor said the government did not fund the Vesak Festival and it was funded by the people from other religions. Let us also send a message through the media today asking them to help us.”

“You said that money was collected from philanthropists, but there are no such philanthropists here like in Kandy. Had Mihindu Maharahat Thera arrived in Colombo, funds could have been collected from philanthropists in Colombo easily. There are no such well-off people in these areas,” the Thera said.

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Move to sell LSD-infected cattle amid disease outbreak

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With the outbreak of the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) among cattle in the Nuwara Eliya District, there is a growing tendency among dairy farmers to sell off their affected livestock.

Dr. Suresh Kumara, the Government Veterinary Surgeon in charge of the Kotagala-Talawakele division, reported that the district contributes 12 percent of the Central Province’s milk production. 

The outbreak has led to the death of many milch cows, resulting in a sharp decline in milk output.

In response to the outbreak, affected dairy farmers have begun selling their LSD-infected cattle to slaughterhouses. 

Dr. Kumara emphasized the need for vaccination to control the disease but noted that the necessary vaccine is currently unavailable.

(dailymirror.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Puttalam District schools to reopen tomorrow

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Schools in the Puttalam District are scheduled to reopen tomorrow (May 22) for academic activities, according to the Provincial Director of Education of the North-Western Province. 

However, the Zonal Directors of Education have been authorised to decide otherwise depending on the weather conditions, the Provincial Director adds.

All schools in the Puttalam District remained closed yesterday and today due to adverse weather conditions.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Education Ministry states that news reports claiming that tomorrow is a school holiday, is false.

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Sri Lanka rejects the alleged genocide claims by the Canadian PM

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka has rejected genocide allegations raised by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month.

In a statement, the Ministry says : 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects the false allegation of a so-called “genocide” in Sri Lanka in a message by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on 18 May 2024.

The Government of Sri Lanka in all previous communications has categorically refuted such outrageous allegation of genocide in Sri Lanka. No competent authority in Canada or elsewhere in the world has made any objective determination of genocide having taken place in Sri Lanka.

These unfounded allegations relate to the conclusion of the armed separatist terrorist conflict waged by the LTTE in pursuit of a separate state, contrary to the principles of the UN Charter.  The LTTE is a listed terrorist organization in 33 countries worldwide, including in Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s endorsement of this false narrative of genocide in Sri Lanka is highly disruptive of communal harmony among the Canadians of Sri Lankan origin, a valuable community of Sri Lankan heritage living overseas. Many of these peace-loving citizens have constructively engaged with Sri Lanka and we welcome their support.   

Civilians from all communities – Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Malays, and Burghers – were affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka. In fact, it was the majority Tamil civilians of the North and the East who were disproportionately affected by the daily repression of the LTTE. All communities suffered in brutal terrorist acts of the LTTE. A partisan narrative ignores the complex reality of the Sri Lankan conflict and as such these comments by Prime Minister Trudeau resonates adversely among Sri Lankans and disrupts the Sri Lankan government’s ongoing efforts towards national unity, reconciliation and progress in Sri Lanka.

Canada’s falsification of our history amounts to irresponsible disinformation. It misleads the minds of current and future generations in Canada and elsewhere, encouraging and perpetuating hatred. It empowers extremism on all sides in all parts of the world where such messages are easily and instantaneously transmitted including through social media.

We therefore urge the Canadian Government to assume responsibility in a spirit of mutual respect in promoting peace and harmony.

On a related but separate front, Canada’s disproportionate focus on Sri Lanka is a clear example of double standards.  While Canada has opted to support a false narrative regarding the conflict in Sri Lanka, it has remained intentionally ambiguous relating to the daily dire humanitarian situations we see elsewhere. It is crucial that countries like Canada, who claim to be global advocates of human rights, recognize their self-interested double standards which are resulting in increased polarization in the international community.

Clearly, the repeated statements by the Prime Minister of Canada with regard to Sri Lanka are the outcome of electoral vote bank politics in Canada, funded by a small number of Canadians of Sri Lankan origin with vested and personal interest. 

We categorically reject the allegation of genocide – in fact, throughout the conflict, humanitarian supplies including food and medicines were regularly and systematically delivered to affected areas by the Government in collaboration with local NGOs and international organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies. Food and medicine were provided via land and sea routes to civilians trapped in the conflict and used as human shields by the LTTE. Wounded were evacuated with the assistance of the ICRC, irrespective of whether they were LTTE cadres. Humanitarian needs were regularly evaluated and despatched. Additionally, throughout the conflict, the Government ensured the continuity of civilian administration in the affected areas by addressing the needs for housing, schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure, enabling the continuity of civilian life and livelihoods. Local administration in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces was financed and run by the civil servants of the Government of Sri Lanka. 

In contrast, the LTTE has indiscriminately targeted civilians of all communities in all parts of the country, engaged in ethnically ‘cleansing’ the areas in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces controlled by the force of their trafficked and smuggled arms. The LTTE has targeted and assassinated the moderate Tamil leadership of the country including the former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Since the end of the conflict many steps have been taken by the Government of Sri Lanka towards reconciliation, unity and achieving durable peace and security despite the present economic hardships. The Government is determined to continue these measures.

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