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75 years of US – SL relations celebrated (Pics)

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United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung hosted an event in Colombo on June 22 to mark the 247th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence. 

Ambassador Chung took the opportunity to also highlight the anniversary of 75 years of a strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Sri Lanka.  Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry attended the celebration as the Chief Guest.

American citizens around the world celebrate Independence Day, the day on which the country’s founding fathers gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776 to sign the Declaration of Independence.  With the Declaration, America took its first step toward self-government, based on certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and government powers derived by the consent of the governed.

Ambassador Chung said at the event, “We firmly believe that from freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, spring the dynamism and entrepreneurism that can develop a nation, alongside the political and social stability that will secure it.  That is true in the United States, in Sri Lanka, and everywhere in between.”

Highlighting that the United States is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest partners, Ambassador Chung emphasized that mutual values and close collaboration have demonstrated that both countries can succeed together.  She said, “As we celebrate America’s national independence and our 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations, we are really celebrating a remarkable partnership with all the citizens and the Government of Sri Lanka.  For Americans, our founders stated it clearly, and to this day, we follow the course they laid – we respect and adhere to our Constitution in order to form a more perfect union.  The objective of the United States’ partnership with Sri Lanka is no less profound.”

A statement issued by the US embassy in Sri Lanka further notes :

Our partnership flourishes in government-to-government and people-to-people ties that deliver benefits to both Americans and Sri Lankans alike.  Since 1956, USAID has provided over US $2 billion in assistance across a variety of sectors, including nutrition, health, education, human rights and governance, disaster response, and the environment.  Just in the last year, when Sri Lanka was in the midst of an economic crisis, the United States Government provided over $270 million in new support, from fertilizer for farmers to funding assistance for small businesses.  

Our military-to-military relationship, which has grown steadily over the years, is focused on bilateral training, exercises, and technical exchanges that will ultimately help to build a resilient force that can contribute to ensuring an open, free, and peaceful Indo-Pacific region.  The Peace Corps has helped to form tremendous cross-cultural ties since 1962, with over 500 volunteers having dedicated two or more years of their lives, building capacities in Sri Lankan communities and developing relationships that will last a lifetime.

The United States is Sri Lanka’s largest export market, with $3.3 billion in exports in 2022 alone.  It is also one of the preferred destinations of Sri Lanka’s brightest, with 3,000 students travelling to the U.S. to study in the last year.  The U.S. Embassy directly supports other academic and professional training through exchanges such as the Fulbright and the International Visitor Leadership Programs, with nearly 3,000 Sri Lankans participating in these programs over the past 75 years.

Looking forward, the partnership that we have established will form the foundation of even greater development of people-to-people relationships; economic, political, and social progress; and a region that remains as free and open as it is geographically vital.

America’s friendship, commitment, and support in Sri Lanka have achieved much over the past 75 years, and that is worth celebrating.  That same friendship, commitment, and support will endure, and together we can build a brighter future for Sri Lanka and its people.

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10-day Yoga Mahotsav launched in Sri Lanka (Pics)

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A 10-Day Yoga Mahotsav celebrating the 10th International Day of Yoga (IDY) was launched today (June 13) at Colombo National Museum. 

The event was celebrated under this year’s IDY theme ‘Yoga for Women Empowerment’ with over 200 students participating from different schools in Colombo.
Yoga Mahotsav 2024 is being organised by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of High Commission of India, Colombo in collaboration with about 30 organisations of Sri Lanka from 13th to 22nd of June 2024.

Day-II of the Yoga Mahotsav on the focus area ‘Yoga for Health’ will be organised on 14 June at Mc Heyzer Stadium, Trincomalee in collaboration with the Eastern Province Tourism Bureau. Yoga Mahotsav will proceed under various focus areas, such as Yoga for Family, Yoga with Spirituality, Yoga for Humanity, Yoga for Well-being, Yoga for Ayurveda, Yoga for Peace, Yoga for Harmonyin different iconic locations across the country. The Mahotsav will conclude with a grand event at Galle Face Green in Colombo on 22 June.

As a prelude to IDY, approximately 100 yoga events will be organized across Sri Lanka by the High Commission of India and its posts in Hambantota, Kandy and Jaffna. A series of these will be organized in the backdrop of iconic locations in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Lands, Government of Sri Lanka.

In December 2014, the United Nations declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga through resolution 69/31, recognizing yoga’s holistic approach to well-being and its ability to provide a sanctuary from modern life’s stresses. Since then, millions of yoga practitioners worldwide celebrate IDY on 21 June each year. Yoga is an ancient practice that harmonizes mind, body, and spirit through physical postures, breath control, and meditation. It fosters self-discovery, inner peace, balance, flexibility, strength, mental clarity, emotional stability, and spiritual awakening.

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President Ranil meets Bangladesh Prime Minister

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning (June 10), according to the President’s Media Division.

The Bangladesh PM had assured President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Bangladesh’s support for Sri Lanka’s agricultural modernization program, the PMD adds.

Meanwhile, the President had also met with Dr. S. Jaishankar in New Delhi earlier today.

This was in the backdrop of the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi. The event was also attended by regional leaders such as Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

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“Ravi”, a cinematic self reflection of half a century (Pics)

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The “Ravi – Cinema Half-Century Self-Reflection” ceremony was held yesterday (June 05) at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo to honour veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya for his five decades of service to Sri Lankan cinema.

Randeniya, who began his career with the 1974 film ‘Taranga,’ has appeared in over 100 films and received numerous awards, including the Swarna Sankha O.C.I.C. Best Actor award and the Darshan Suri Award. 

Two biographies of Randeniya, written by Gamini Weragoda and Uditha Devapriya, were launched during the event.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who presided over the event, praised Randeniya’s contributions to cinema and recalled their political collaboration.

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