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China hosts appreciation reception for SL rescue mission of capsized Chinese vessel (Pics)

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The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka hosted an appreciation reception on Tuesday  (June 06) to appreciate the Sri Lanka Navy divers who participated in the search and rescue operation of the capsized Chinese vessel – Lupeng Yuanyu 028.

Before the reception, a minute of silence for the victims of the tragedy was observed and a special video clip presented by the Sri Lankan Navy to introduce the heroic rescue mission was played.

During the event, 09 divers of the Sri Lanka Navy were felicitated for their bravery. Floral tributes were paid to Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage.

The event was attended by a host of distinguished guests including Chinese ambassador in Colombo – Qi Zhenhong, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake, the Indonesian ambassador to Sri Lanka – Madam Dewi Gustina Tobing, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka – Mr. Paul Stephens, Minister of Transport and Mass Media – Mr. Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister of Defence – Mr. Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, State Minister of Foreign Affairs – Mr. Tharaka Balasuriya,  Chief of Defence Staff – Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army –  Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, the commanding officer and crew of the SLNS Vijayabahu, diplomats and media.

Speaking, the Chinese ambassador – Mr. Qi Zhenhong praised the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and pointed out that the Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives. “The Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship,” he said.

The ambassador also thanked the Sri Lankan President – Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe “for his decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance” and defence officials for their immediate response despite the long distance.

“I would like to thank all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation for their timely help. This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations, but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism,” he added.

Addressing the gathering, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said that this was the first ever diving operation by the Navy so far from Sri Lanka and that it was ‘truly an international effort. The incident had taken place in the Australian Search and Rescue region, the vessel involved was Chinese, the SLNS Vjayabahu was granted by the USA and almost 95% of the diving team had trained in India, he pointed out.

Adding a few words, Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor to Sri Lanka’s President – Mr. Sagala Ratnayake also commended the bravery of the SLNS Vijayabahu crew and also thanked the Chinese embassy not only for the felicitation of the divers, but for inviting the entire crew of the SLNS Vjayabahu vessel for the event.

“As far as our relations go with China, I hope this helps us to strengthen it. You have held us through many tough times, especially during the crisis that we’ve had,” he said.

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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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