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A stroll through the Forbidden City (Pics)



The most majestic palace in the People’s Republic of China is located in the center of its capital, Beijing.

This palace is also known as the ‘Palace Museum’.

However, this place, which is now known as the Palace Museum, was referred to as the ‘Forbidden City’ in the past.

The Forbidden City’s history dates back to more than 600 years.

The palace was built between the period of the Ming Dynasty which was in power from 1368 to 1644 BC and the Qing Dynasty which was in power from 1644 to 1911.

The Forbidden City was the home to 24 emperors of China.

The construction of the palace began by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Yongle, in 1406 and was completed in 1420.

Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty ruled the empire from the palace until it was taken over by the Manchus in 1644.

Chinese history says the Manchus moved the capital to Shenyang for a few months after they conquered the palace.

The Forbidden City later fell to the hands of the Qing Dynasty and has been home to 10 emperors of the Qing Dynasty ever since.

The city was the seat of the Qing dynasty until the last emperor abdicated in 1912 following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Considered to be the world’s largest imperial palace, it is said to be three times larger than the Louvre Palace in France.

The Forbidden City which is 7,750,000 square feet in size has been completed with the contribution of a million laborers.

It consists of more than 90 palace quarters and courtyards, 980 buildings and over 8,728 rooms.

The architects have designed it in a way that birds are unable to roost on the roofs of the Forbidden City.

The spaces between the tiles on the high roofs have been widened in order to retain the cleanliness and splendor of the city.

It is said that the colors of the Forbidden City are based on Feng Shui, and therefore, yellow and red colors can be seen often.

Buildings of European and Arabian architecture are also located within the premises. 

It was said that part of the old collection at the museum is still in Taiwan as a result of removing some national treasures from the Forbidden City during the Japanese invasion in 1933.

Following the end of World War II, part of the collection was returned from Taiwan, but some of the artefacts are kept in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Many people here believe that a visit to the Forbidden City is incomplete without a visit to Jingshan Park.

If you wish to see just how enormous and majestic the Forbidden City is, you must visit the nearby Jingshan Park where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire complex from top of a hill.

(Kelum Shivantha reporting from Beijing, China)

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President inaugurates 10th National Scout Jamboree (Pics)




As the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the 10th National Scout Jamboree in Trincomalee today (Feb. 21).

 The National Scout Jamboree is being held in Trincomalee with the participation of 11,500 scouts, from SL & 28 other countries.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Jamboree, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized Sri Lanka’s potential for rapid development and security enhancement through unified action. 

He stressed the event’s inclusive nature, transcending caste and religious barriers, and highlighted the significance of national unity in achieving common goals. 

The President pledged support for expanding the Scout Association, recognizing its role in fostering responsible citizens. 

Additionally, he announced plans for collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology to harness cross-sector interactions for national progress.

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Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Province (Pics)




High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr. Santosh Jha undertook his first official visit to the Northern Province from Feb. 15-17, 2024. 

Diverse engagements during the visit attest to the deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India’s firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province, a media release by the Indian High Commission notes. With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India’s multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India’s unwavering commitment to the people of the region, it adds.
The High Commissioner paid special emphasis to furthering connectivity initiatives, the central theme of the bilateral economic partnership vision document issued in July 2023. He visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. He expressed confidence regarding earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram. During his visit to Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport.

Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India. He prayed for well-being and prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka as he paid respects at the Nagapooshani Amman Temple and Nagavihara in Nainativu island; revered Madhu Church in Mannar; and Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Further, he attended Thyagaraja Aradhana at the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, a gift from the people of India. 

Reaffirming India’s commitment to diverse sections of the society, the High Commissioner distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar towards enhancing their livelihood opportunities. He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with special focus on those headed by women. 

In India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early roll out of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. It may be recalled that this project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India. 

The High Commissioner paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial. 

The High Commissioner had engaging discussions with a wide cross section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development. 

(Pics : Indian High Commission in Colombo)

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Mace handed over to new Serjeant-at-Arms (Pics)




Outgoing Serjeant-at-Arms of Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando traditionally handed over the Mace and the Sword of the Serjeant-at-Arms to his successor Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne this morning (Jan. 30) near the Chamber Door of the Parliament.

As the Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando is going to retire today (30) after serving in the Parliament for over 42 years, the Mace and his Sword were traditionally handed over to the successive Serjeant-at-Arms. 

Mr. Narendra Fernando, the 6th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament, took over the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms from the year 2018.

Accordingly, Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne is scheduled to take over duties as the 7th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament tomorrow (Jan. 31).

(Pics : Department of Communication, Parliament)

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