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Tourist Police PR Clip (Thai, not Arugambay!)

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Arugam Bay is situated 320km due East of the Capital, Colombo.
Across the Indian Ocean, the next piece of land you come to is Thailand.
Exactly 2,000km due East, on the other side A?of the growing Tourist Resort of Arugam Bay. A VERY popular Tourist destination.
Not directly related to AbaY, but interesting to see how our Thai “Competitors” deal with public relations of their highly disciplined, multilingual Tourist Police Force.
Take one look at one of their Video clips and decide how much Sri Lanka might have to catch up with modern approaches.

We feel, that it’s always good to look around. In this case just ‘Across’ A?to see if we can learn anything from our Co-Players in the Tourist field….., right?

Surfing Worlda??s super stars in Arugam Bay

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The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world tour is currently on at Arugam Bay point break on the east coast, under the banner a??SriLankan Airlines Pro 2010a??. Arugam Bay which was recently voted as Asiaa??s top most surf destination by Floating Asia, has attracted some of the worlda??s best surfers, from premium surfing destinations: the United States, Australia, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Britain, Germany and Japan, to the a??Sri Lankan Airlines Pro 2010a??A? ASP Tour.

Among those riding the swell is Julian Wilson from Australia, who is considered to be among the a??worlda??s most progressive, fast emerging, new-age surfers capable of outstanding performances in all conditions.a?? Continue reading ‘Surfing Worlda??s super stars in Arugam Bay’

PottuVille Post Election

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PottuVille/Arugam Bay
A Dialog is needed

PottuVille is Very relaxed. Residents are more ‘laid back’ than ever.

Business is 'brisk' in PottuVille (Only sleeping)

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Busy Market town of PottuVille

All is quiet in the East.
Residents ponder what the future may bring.


Arugam Bay – Haputale


beginning of 2005 and 2006 I travelled between Haputale and Arugam Bay to see what changed.

With some volunteers from Haputale and a truck full of vegetables we drove January 2005 to Pottuvil. Cause the refugees in the camps cooked all for themselve we packed them vegetables in family parcels, gave them to a camp near 3-mile-police-camp, took the rest with a canadian Navy boat to Arugam Bay and gave them to tent families. Some way with a soldier on our side.

I know by some internet forums about the worries of many people who got no contacts and were most interested to know whatA?A?s going on there. So I hope my informations will be a little help. Meanwhile most guesthouses and restaurants are re-opened, fishermen have hundreds of boots and life is going on better than before. But there are still many families sitting on ruins. People who have no rich friends and got no donations, or they do so to get more help? Difficult to understand whoA?A?s telling a story and who needs real help.

The eastcoast of Sri Lanka was hardly effected by Tsunami and help came only to places where locals have international or political friends or good contact to the radio, TV and newspapers. This was the time of us backpackers who know to accept simple comfort. No toilets. No drinking water. Polluted wells. No electricity. Not enough beds. But all of them, friends of Arugam Bay, came to help. Eye whitnesses reported me from 10 m high waves which swapped in the Bay from the left to the right like boiling water. Especially the south of Arugam Bay, the old fisher village Ulla with the first known surfer cabanas had lot of losts. And further down south to Yala Nationalpark I saw trees lying down, mangroves hanging like balls in the fields and broken fisher boats all around.

The partly destroyed brigde connecting Arugam Bay with Pottuvil town got reopened allready. The sandy road at the south of the bridge was wash away. The indian army attached there a new oneway bridge. All material they took from an old bridge somewhere inside the jungle. So long there were privat floods and the canadian Navy transporting people, goods and vehicles from one to the other side.

Cheap ampicillin drug Close to this bridge was the wellknown danish hotel A?a??A?StardustA?a??A?. The owner Per Godman died with some of his workers in the waves. His wife Merete reopened the hotel now in a smaller size. The beautifull open terrace, which looked like a big tent, was totally destroyed, also the kitchen, well and all cabanas. Only a closeby new house with some rooms is in use.

Email: + Homepage
Tel / Fax: +0094 (0) 632 248 191 + Tel: Buy zyprexa from canada +0094 (0) 77 90 67 841

Another guesthouse most famous to all surfers since many years was the A?a??A?SiripalaA?a??A? of Ramini which got totally destroyed. Everything was under water (same situation in 2006). Where there was before the family-house, three cabanas, a terrace, kitchen and another house with some guestrooms, there is now a lagune only. RaminiA?A?s family survid all this. I had many good days there and will always remember this special place. In 2006 I went to visit Ramini but she was out. Living now in a simple house somewhere in the dunes behind the school.

But the water did not stop behind this guesthouse. It ran a half kilometer inside against the school and wash it away. Nothing left. Good luck it was a holiday. All children were home and less fishermen on the sea. Some Italians tried to rebuild the school but came in conflict with authorities. A provisional school built by long open tents were given to the students. Also the german city Hamburg gave 18,750 Euro to rebuild the school.

RaminiA?A?s brother belongs the guesthouse A?a??A?ChutiA?A?s PlaceA?a??A? which got also effected but less cause itA?A?s closer to the the road. Chuti lost his wooden and stone Cabanas, fishing boat and equipment. His truck got damaged. Also his family survived. The family house is still there. In 2006 I saw him building new cabanas and his top restaurant looks quiet good with chairs, tables and fence made by wood. A highlight there is a rescue boat in the top of the restaurant.

The SVH A?a??A?Siam View HotelA?a??A? od Fred (red telefon cabines on the road) got wellknown to many people for uncomplicated help to all who asked for. They lost all their cabanas and the mainhouse stood little bit to the side now. The xmas opening of A?a??A?Bank of CeylonA?a??A? office will be later than exspected, the internet cafA?A? is already open.

After Tsunami the SVH owner Fred, his workers, friends and guests came from all around, stood for many days and weeks and gave a lot of help. Many collected donations were given to plenty neighbours to rebuild, buy tools, give food and for basic existence. His kitchen gave some tousand meals, food and water to all people, free telefon and internet for all users. This people have done a realy good job without any official help. This year the restaurant looks bigger and there is a big party hut on the beach. Also a big 7 m high cage for some monkeys of Wolfgang who is offering eco-tours in the jungle.

Email: + Homepage
Tel: 0094-63-2248195 or Mobil Fred: 0094-773200-201 Somlak: -202 Wolfgang: -203

Lot of people survived only cause they found a save roof on A?a??A?ChutiA?A?s PlaceA?a??A? und A?a??A?SVHA?a??A?. I guess a problem of many victims were the all private grounds surrounding fences with barbwire which hold the people under water and they died in the higher and higher waves. ThatA?A?s what I miss from the past early 1991/2. There were no fences all around and easy walk between the houses down to the beach.

Also from A?a??A?RupaA?A?s PlaceA?a??A? and the old house (Upali) at the surfpoint was nothing left but in 2006 I saw them having new but simple cabanas.

Also “Sunrise” of Mohammed is running well and cheap for low budget travellers. Food is good and sweets are his favourite dish. This March I payed 150 Rs. only for single/bath. Only problem there was fungus under the bed. Maybe this why I got headache there?

With timber and metal sheets locals tried to build simple houses to accommodate the foreighn helpers and tourist who had to sleep in this heat and mosquitos somewhere on the roofs or share some of the less houses with lot of people. Arugam Bay had lot of friends this days, who came to help and sent lot of money. Finally Arugam Bay will be more beautifull than before. Except the lost souls. Some A?a??A?victimsA?a??A? there are quite clever and know well how to get help and fishing boats from NGOA?A?s they never owned before. In 2006 I got disappointed to see how many boats with modern hightech sonar equipment and best nets are lying there. Incredible to much for this area and maybe the death of the fishing.

The Temple Sastraweli further south in the jungle behind Elephant Rock looks much better now. The buddhist monks are back and cleaning the jungle. Slowly hided treasures came out. Old ruins, dagobas and up in the hills a giant of a rock with caves and ancient walls. Looks all like more than 2000 years old. To get there follow the beach one hour and pass 2 lagoones. 500 m right behind the big rock is a jungle road going to the temple. Cause tsunami washed away all trees you can see a part of the temple, a white pillar, from the beach side. Beware of Warans, Bears, Elephants and Crocodiles. There can be also rough currents in the lagoones. Safer by car you take the road down south about 5 km, pass a little river/bridge and turn left at the army camp. The road goes left hand around the army camp and makes finally a big turn left around to the temple. About 250 m meters behind the camp is a shortcut on the left hand to walk up to the giant rock and down to the temple.

Totally different was the north of Pottuvil. No camera teams, less help. Some times I drove down the eastcoast between Kalmunai, Akkairapattu (expensive), Tirrukuvil (temple damaged), Komari (ghoast town) and Pottuvil (many tent camps alongside the road). There is nothing of interest for tourists. Komari has nice, wide beaches but less houses and the YMCA looked empty. I think the people have other worries than to think about us. But some places the locals sound more aggressive cause they got disappointed not to get the same help like others. A well organisationed desinformation by some groups who follow their own interests.

My favorite, cause there is a better climate, good location and less mosquitos, is the new B&B guesthouse A?a??A?White Monkey – Dias RestA?a??A? near Haputale. On the Dambetenne Road 3 km east from town in the little village Thotulagala. Walk down the steps at km-post-3. It runs by the friendly tamil owner WSM Dias and his family (5 children and 5 dogs). ItA?A?s about 1500 m above sealevel, has a climate like summer in Europe and good local, spicy and vegetarian food. There is a new house with two big rooms, a 100 mA?A? roof terrace and a nice cottage with a mega-size panorama window. Saddled on a rock infront of a 700 m deep abyss visitors can join the sounds from the deep jungle and see the coastline in 70 km distance. ItA?A?s an excellant place surrounded, by a tea estate, for families or people looking for nature. They have international telefon, solar light and big watertanks (looks more like a swimming pool). Cost whitout breakfast only 500/700/900 for single, double or family. Meals between 1-2 Euro. Much better than others in Haputale town and sure a good adress in the future.

Email: + Homepage
Tel: 0094-(0)57-5681027 Mobil: 071-2591361 or 072-4143534

Another place close by on the way to Haputale is the A?a??A?Kelburne EstateA?a??A?. A luxery place with excelant service, kolonial style, interesting visitors and acceptable prices. Bungalows can be rented only with all rooms and staff from Colombo office but itA?A?s worth to spend some tousand rupees to join this. I used to go there for a ice cooled beer, small-talks and newspaper. A surprise for me were there low prizes for beer.

Much cheaper than the A?a??A?Royal Top Inn RestA?a??A? at the railwail station where visitors have to say all drinks they bought are from outside, cause the owner has no alcohol license. And finally the guests have to pay overrated prices plus tax and service charges! My warning to all is check the menue card and prices before you do any order. Also check the final bill. There is always an additional win for the staff. A big negative for such a beautiful hotel.

Another interesting, colonial hotel is the A?a??A?QueensA?a??A? on the road to Bandarawela. They offer some rooms and a terrace in the top floor. Also a nice high hall decorated with wooden paneels and old furnitures. Worth to go there for a beer.

Since some days Haputale got his own homwpage with lot of photos and interesting informations for tourists and locals at
My basic place to start help was always from Haputale were I felt more comfortable than somewhere on the coast. In my free time I made some tours around and found some interesting places. Opposite of the A?a??A?Dias RestA?a??A? Cottage is a 300-700 m deep falling rock. Very good to make photos at sunrise and sunset. God place for lovers or people who like to hear the wind. ItA?A?s like little WorldA?A?s End (15$) but doesnA?A?t cost a cent.

A one hour walk north up the hill above Thotulagala is a little Hindu “Surangamuni Kovil” (like temple/take off your shoes), from where you can see all of Haputale like a map. At clear nights and days also Adams Peak in the west and the north western highlands. Easy way just follow the top left side arround. Right behind the temple in the man-size bushes is an 80 meter footpath going to a cave. The entrance is a 5 m hole and only possible to get down with a rope or ladder. DonA?A?t worry about some small bates in the cave. But be carefully in case you like to explore the top of the cave. Rocks just lying together with soil and green in the corners. This soil wonA?A?t support you and there are 10 m holes down under.

All around in the hangs there are lot of house-size rocks lying aroung like a child lost his toys. A big adventure for children. Made me to feel young again when I was a scout and we had our tents between ruins of old castles somewhere in south Germany. Save area also for women and no pollution. Unbelievable this place is just some hours from hectic Colombo and offers so much.

9 km east from Haputale is the Dambetenne Tea Estate better known as Lipton. This tea factory was built by Sir Thomas Lipton in the year 1890. Visitors are welcome for a tour against some fees. They will show you all the works and machines from drying to rolling, hackling, sieving and grading.

Some kilometers right above is the highest mountain of this area. The 1950 m high “Lipton Seat”, from where people can have a brilliant view at clear days. Best time is early in the morning. From Dambetenne it takes about 90 minutes for fast walkers. Or 3 hours with children to walk up and down.

Shortly behind the former Lipton fabric, nearby a large yellow building, are some hundred old steps going up to a plattform. Follow the old stonemade way about 100 m to the white house of the tea pluckers, turn left and follow the sandy road to the car turn and further on a small, sleepy footpath to a viewpoint surrounded by a white wall. From here you can see the fabric from the top. Little bit on there are steps going 20 m down to an old, lonesome temple, called “Samimale Rock Temple”. There is bell to sign your visit. Behind the temple are other steps going up to where you started. Go back to the turn but walk down to the left through the tea between the trees. There is a shortcut going down to Pitaratmalie Estate, the only place is this area having a real, origin but privat forest. Romantic walk like Adams Peak.

North from the turn is a more than 100 m high red-white SLTV/Telecom tower you can see also from Bandarawela. ItA?A?s forbidden to make photos there but possible to walk tho the gate, have a tea or some water from a tap. To find it go back from the turn, pass the white house of the tea pluckers, turn next road left and than up the cement road.

Cause weather can change within minutes and shops are rare I recommend all to take enough food, water, rain dresses, a warm shirt and torch with you. Sometimes fog comes in secounds and view can be less than 20 m. Nights can be cool sometimes.

From the A?a??A?Dias RestA?a??A? itA?A?s a 40 minutes (slow) walk to Haputale. There are some good viewpoints and many ways inviting to walk through the tea. Trees growing on rocks and grey-white monkeys jumping around. Haputale is a little town but offers all need. Many shops, restaurants (guesthouses), bars, police station, public library, petrol stations, post office, busstop, railway station, a colonial hospital (no x-ray), internet, comunication, banks and many taxis and wheelers. Thursday most shops are closed. The new Fair is opposite the busstand or downroads after the railway cross.

ItA?A?s a one hour walk from Haputale to the Adisham Monestary. A shortcut from the railway station is to follow the railroad to the steps near Amarasinghe Guesthouse. Adisham is a nice old, colonial building like a little castle with a beautiful flower garden and lot of roses and some statues. Now it runs under monchs. They have a slaughtery there and sell jam, oil and honey to the visitors. Also they have a shop on the road between Haputale and Bandarawela.

Who likes to go for shopping, cheap internet (60 Rs./h) or fast photo service should go by train or bus to the next town Bandarawela. Also a day tour to Ella or Ohiya (WorldA?A?s End, Horton Plains, Baker Falls) is interesting. Or walk to Indulgashinna alongside the railroad and come back by the train. The trains are so loud that you will hear them right in time. Enough time to jump to the side and get some good photos or videos. Somewhere on the way is an old goods train fallen down by accident and a nice funny dog is living in a barrel right from the railroad. Long distances by train have also their charme special down to Kandy but take much more time than busses. For example Colombo: Bus 6 hours, train 9 hours.

You know to deal well and want to go long distance than hire a taxi for 15 rupees a kilometer and make a trip to Nuwara Eliya, Hatton (Adams Peak), Kandy, some beaches or Colombo airport. Daytours to Diyaluma Fall Koslanda, Baker Fall Horton Plains or Dunhinda Fall Badulla cost around 1500-3000 rupees. On the way to Badulla have a stop at Doha temple and find there an old, some meter high stone carving of Buddha.

Warning: I know from some taxis they take double money (8000 Rs/200km) for airport tours. Once a driver told me cause IA?A?m leaving the country they canA?A?t make more money from me so they do it on this last tour. This why and cause of my long legs, good view and toilet I prefer the first class panorama train which cost a quarter of the taxis. In Colombo I would recommend privat cabs you can order by phone. They were always in time, correct, save drivers and cheaper than the airport guys.

So, thatA?A?s it from my side. Hope you got some ideas.
Enjoy your trip to Sri Lanka.


Why Aid Doesn’t Work

By Fredrik Erixon
Chief economist, Timbro

Trading on Singapore's stock exchange - the way forward for Africa?  AP/Ed Wray
Sound economic policies, not aid, have lifted millions of Asians out of poverty
Fredrik Erixon

The aid sector is booming. In the last three years, foreign aid has risen by one third and today stands at US$78.6 bn. In 2010, government spending on aid is projected to be above US$125 bn a year.

What are we to expect from this new wave of aid spending? Will it, once and for all, lift people out of poverty or will it most likely achieve very little – perhaps even be counterproductive?

These are the core issues. Hardly anyone opposes the idea that first-world countries should assist developing countries, if that assistance helps countries to develop. The question is: does it?

I am afraid it does not.

Failure of the big push

The new ‘big push’ of development aid has been tried many times before but always with dismal results. The call for redoubling aid to eradicate poverty has been responded to many times over, but it has never delivered what it promised.

In spite of more than US$1 trillion in aid to Africa over the last 50 years, the big push in development has yet to occur.

Between 1970 and 1995 aid to Africa increased rapidly and aid dependency (measured as the aid-to-GDP ratio) stood at nearly 20% in the early 1990s. Measured differently, the mean value of aid as a share of government expenditures in African countries was well above 50% between 1975 and 1995.

Graph showing inverse relationship between aid and growth in Africa over three decades.

As African aid rose, growth slowed. World Development Indicators Online

During the same period, GDP per capita growth in Africa decreased and was for many years even measured in negative figures. The unfortunate fact is that most African countries are poorer today then they were at the time of their independence from colonial powers.

If the idea of aid had been true – in particular the alleged link between aid, investment, and growth – many of those countries would today have eradicated extreme poverty and have a GDP per capita similar to that of New Zealand, Spain or Portugal.

If nothing else, aid to Africa seems to have lowered rather than increased economic growth.

Corruption and bad decisions

Why has aid failed to deliver higher economic growth for developing countries?

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Who are the biggest donors and who are the biggest recipients?

Partly because aid has not been spent in the way it was intended. Instead of gearing up investments, money was spent on current spending and public consumption – which, in turn, led to a rapidly growing public sector in the economy.

Needless to say, this strengthened other socialist tendencies in the economy and investment became, in many developing countries, mainly a government activity.

In addition, aid boosted fiscal budgets and led to a rapidly growing number of parastatals and state-owned enterprises. Largely supported by the donor community at the time, these soon became arenas of corruption and this corruption spread like wildfire to other parts of the society.

Soldier guards the tomb of ex-President Samora Machel and other liberation-era heroes.  AFP/Getty/Alexander Joe

Mozambique and other African countries adopted Socialist policies

The tragedy of aid, as been shown in numerous evaluations and by World Bank research, is that donors are part of the problem of corruption; aid often underpins corruption, and higher aid levels tend to erode the governance structure of poor countries.

In other words, donors have failed to follow the chief principle of the Hippocratic oath: do no harm!

However, the major reason for the low effect of aid has been policies detrimental to economic growth in the recipient countries.

Closed African doors

It is sound economic policies, not aid, that in the last decades have lifted millions – even billions – of Asians out of extreme poverty, and provided the resources to limit the extent of (or in some countries, eradicate) starvation, diseases, and other visible signs of poverty.

Inversely, it is bad economic policies that still keep millions of Africans in deadly poverty.

When several Asian countries started to open up for trade and foreign direct investment, the policies that created the ‘Asian Tigers’ and the ‘Asian Miracles’, many African countries headed for a model of economic autarky, closed the borders, and regulated the domestic economy to absurd degrees.

It is hardly surprising that this strategy of development has failed bitterly.

What is more, donors supported these policies. And many donors are still pouring money into countries with policies detrimental to growth.

Instead of focusing on the quality of aid and how to raise the output through a more productive use of aid, donor countries and others are solely occupied by increasing the quantity of aid.

Regrettably, caution is therefore warranted. Aid to countries that are not performing well tends to strengthen the factors of under-development, and increased aid to countries that have entered the economic reform route runs the risk of derailing the reform process.

Trade in the aid

Bono and Sir Bob Geldof at July's G8 summit.  Kirsty Wigglesworth PA

Do Bono and Sir Bob know how the extra aid should be spent?

The question then is not if rich countries can afford to give more aid to developing countries. It is obvious that they can.

The question is whether this aid can reduce poverty by promoting economic growth.

Sadly, the history of aid does not show that it can. Nor does it seem that world leaders, not to mention Bob Geldof and other campaigners, have any real idea how the aid given can be made more effective.

So, here is what donor countries should do.

  • do not spend any more money on development aid
  • withdraw all aid to countries that are not pursing sound economic policies and that fail seriously to build institutions for democracy and transparency
  • countries that meet these high standards should, within a limited period of time, be assisted with ‘locking-in’ already accomplished reforms and, in particular, with pursuing additional reforms
  • rich countries should immediately open up their markets for exports from poor countries

Price of clarina anti acne kit Trade has proven to be instrumental to poor countries development. Aid has not.

Fredrik Erixon is the chief economist of Timbro, a Swedish think-tank, and author of Aid and Development: Will it Work this Time? (International Policy Network, 2005)


Magul Maha Viharaya – Lahugala

Sri Lanka : Magul Maha Viharaya – Lahugala

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka – Geneva – Switzerland

04th January 2008

by Florence WickramageA?A?

The day was bright and the sea a glittering turquoise blue with a strong wind sweeping over it. Some people standing on a beach saw an object shining with the rays of the sun being tossed to and fro by the ocean waves. They waited till the object advanced towards the shore and was surprised to see that it was a gold-gilded canoe carrying a beautiful damsel in it.

Order fincar They ran towards the palace and informed the King that a golden-canoe was coming ashore with a beautiful princess in it. The King hastened towards the beach but found the boat gone. “Ko Kumari” inquired the King? The boat had been swept away by strong winds towards the village Komarigama (coined with the words Ko kumari) in Arugam Bay. (The canoe had not been able to anchor at Kirinde due to its rocky environment). On inquiries made King Kavantissa was informed that the damsel in the canoe was Princess Devi, daughter of King Kelanitissa of Maya Rata, who was offered as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of the sea-gods as the sea waters threatened to drown villages.

King Kavantissa then hastened to meet the Princess and married her in keeping with traditional customs, and she became Queen Vihara Maha Devi. ” The Magul Poruwa” said to be of the Royal couple could be seen amongst ancient ruins in a temple called “Magul Maha Viharaya” in Lahugala. Princess Devi’s canoe had been washed ashore at Arugam Bay ( coined from the words “ara -gama”) and not Kirinde. This is folklore — as related to us by the Chief Priest of the ancient Lahugala Temple Ven. Hulanduwe Ratanasara Thera.

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Driving along the Wellawaya-Moneragala road after passing Siyambalanduwa for another seven miles one could reach Lahugala where Magul Maha Vihara or Ruhunu Maha Vihara lies.

We visited Magul Maha Viharaya which is in ruins today. Ven. Hulanduwe Ratanasara Thera the 5th generation descendent of the Uva-Wellassa lineage which administered the Magul Maha Vihare is the present Chief Priest. Lahugala belonged to the Ruhunu Kingdom of ancient Lanka. The entire Vihara complex had covered an extent of around 10,000 acres where ruins of a palace, moonstone, monastery, bo-maluwa, stupas, ponds etc. were found scattered all over. A headless white marble Buddha statue was seen lying horizontally in one part of the ruins, which sometimes people step on, Ven. Ratanasara said, taking us round the complex.

The history of this temple goes back to the time of King Dathusena who ruled Anuradhapura from 516 AD to 526 AD. The pillar inscription testifies the founder of the Vihara as King Dathusena. The language and the script can be dated to the 14th century.

There is also a stone wall three to four feet in height. This reminds of a fortress which was erected to protect from outside attack. There is also an entrance to the fortress. The moonstone found on the left side has unique features with a row of elephants and creepers followed by a row of lotus petals. The Chief Priest explained that among other unusual features, the row of elephants in the moonstone with their mahouts was exceptional. In this moonstone with three to four in height and five to six feet wide, the row of elephants has a man following an elephant with his goad clinging on to the animals. This moonstone is said to be the only one of its kind in the country.

There are rock pillars similar to Lovamaha Prasada in Anura-dhapura. There is also ruins of a Dagaba about 30 feet in height. There are three rows of steps leading to the Dagoba on three sides and on the lift side is Bodhighara and also rock inscription protected by an iron railing.

The Ven. Thera showing us round the ruins of the vihara complex observed that there were several villages round the temple and people had fled due to unrest. With the ongoing peace process many were returning to their original places. A perahera has been planned along with other religious ceremonies to be observed during Poson the Ven. Thera said.

We then visited Muhudu Maha Viharaya at Arugam Bay. The wide white beach was endless, stretching for miles and miles. There were excavated ruins and stone pillars which provided evidence of an ancient kingdom which had flourished. The Chief Priest of Muhudu Maha Viharaya, Ven. Kataragama Siriratana Thera supporting Queen Vihara Maha Devi’s story as related to us by the Lahugala Viharaya Chief Priest, showed us partly ruined stone statues two of which were believed to be of King Kavantissa and Viharamahadevi. The moonstone which had been in existence near a ruined “Buduge” had been removed by treasure hunters and the “Mura-gal”had been replaced awkwardly.

Ven. Siriratana Thera showed us ruins and stone pillars of an ancient structure excavated on the vast stretch of the beach, where, he said, a stupa had been erected to mark the spot where Princess Devi had landed. The monk living by himself protecting the ruined temple,is supported by about 12 families living in the vicinity who provide him with the “dana”.

There were sand dunes forming part of the endless beach bordering a tranquil turquoise sea and at one end was the Arugam Bay and the “Ula” with a natural harbour. Several fishing huts were seen dotting the area. Both Chief Priests at Lahugala and Arugam Bay said that the ruins found in these places supported the existence of a royal kingdom of ancient Ruhunu Rata, and believed if chronicled had not sufficiently surfaced. The Ven. Theras said that these places were historically and culturally important and their conservation was of utmost importance to preserve the country’s rich heritage.

(Courtesy: Lanka LibraryA?A?)

Published : Friday, January 04, 2008 12:35:11 PM (Geneva time)

2007 What was

2007 What was

By Madhushala Senaratne and Tahnee Hopman

Looking back on yet another year, there is little to smile about with even the few positive moments being overshadowed by conflict, death and destruction. As 2008 approaches, we can only hope that the New Year brings some joy and solace to a country haunted by increasing violence and burdened by the soaring cost of living.


6: Around 15 people are killed and more than 40 injured in an explosion on a bus at Godagama near Hikkaduwa. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe declares that the Memorandum of Understanding between his party and the ruling SLFP may be annulled in the wake of a Cabinet decision to allow crossovers from the UNP.
12: In the worst landslides in 15 years, around 18 people die, 15 go missing, 1,500 houses are destroyed and more than 100,000 are displaced in the Walapane, Hanguranketa and Maturata areas.
Across the country, heavy rains result in widespread flooding A?a??a?? Hambantota district being badly-hit.
19: After weeks of heavy fighting, security forces secure Vakarai town, a crucial gain, and advance north. More than 300 LTTE fighters and 50 security forces personnel are killed. Thousands of civilians flee to government-controlled areas.
27: The navy thwarts an attack on the Colombo port, when it intercepts and destroys three suspected LTTE suicide boats.

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The Sunday Times photographer M.A. Pushpa Kumara captured this scene when Colombo’s night sky was set alight by anti-aircraft gunfire when two LTTE light aircraft hovered over the city and suburbs on April 29

9: President Mahinda Rajapaksa sacks three of his senior Ministers — Mangala Samaraweera (Ports and Aviation), Anura Bandaranaike (National Heritage) and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi (Port Development – non-Cabinet rank).

2: Five bullet-riddled bodies with faces disfigured and blindfolded are found in a swamp in Kandana.
10: The bodies of eight people, including the Anuradhapura Area Commander of the Army, Jayantha Suraweera, are recovered at the Wilpattu National Park.

1: Six labourers are killed at Mailambavani, Batticaloa, and hours later, 16 civilians and a soldier fall victim to a bus bomb blast at Kondawatturan, Ampara.
7: Seven including two children are killed when a state-run passenger bus is hit by a powerful claymore mine at Pirimanalankulam in Vavuniya.
10: In a horrific accident which shocked the country, 23 people die and more than 50 suffer injuries when a beer delivery truck crashes into a CTB bus at Kaikawala, close to Bentota.
29: A total blackout is imposed on the city of Colombo shortly after midnight as two Tiger rebel aircraft hover over the area. The craft drop bombs on a fuel dump of the CPC oil installations at Kolonnawa and an LPG gas facility in Muthurajawela. The LTTE air attack comes as Sri Lankans are glued to their TVs watching the World Cup cricket finals in Barbados, with Sri Lanka taking on Australia. Rain dampened the match with Australia winning the World Cup.

6: Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s security is slashed on a Supreme Court ruling.
18: Two small children and three other members of one family are hacked to death in their sleep, over a land dispute, in Meegahawatte, Delgoda. A 12-year-old girl who is critically injured is the sole survivor.
27: The de-merged Northern and Eastern Provinces get new flags. The Eastern Province flag depicts an eagle, a fish and a lion, signifying Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara respectively while the Northern Province flag depicts the sun.
28: A claymore blast in Ratmalana kills eight and injures 30. The mine had been kept on the roof of a video shop at Belekkade junction.

1: A lorry laden with explosives weighing around 1,000 kilograms A?a??a?? is detected at a road block at Kotavehera, Nikaweratiya.
7: More than 300 Tamils are evicted from lodges in Colombo amidst strong protests and condemnation not only by human rights groups but also the international community.
8: Nine bodies of people killed, with their eyes blindfolded and hands tied behind their backs, are found at Wennappuwa.
9: Following a spate of abductions, ransom demands and killings, the Criminal Investigation Department questions a former Air Force Squadron Leader Nishantha Gajanayaka.
16: Sri Lankan Rizana Nafeek (19) is sentenced to death by a Saudi Arabian court after an infant she was bottle-feeding chokes. Rizana who was from Mutur had gone to Saudi Arabia in May 2005 at the age of 17 giving a false age on her passport. The appeal against the death sentence is pending.
29: ‘The Buddhist’, the first Buddhist TV channel in Sri Lanka is launched and goes on the air.

Troops celebrate the fall of Thoppigala, the last eastern stronghold of the LTTE, on July 11

11: The army captures Thoppigala, the last eastern stronghold of the LTTE, bringing the entire Eastern Province under government control in 14 years. The military claims that at least 211 LTTE cadres were killed.

1: The CWC resigns from the government and Leader Arumugam Thondaman gives up his ministerial portfolio.
9: The government expresses concern in Parliament over the statement of UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief John Holmes who in an interview with Reuters described Sri Lanka as one of the most dangerous places for aid workers.
12: Former Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabayson passes away while receiving treatment at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, South India. He is 58.

7: A new system for Grade 1 admissions to state schools is approved by the Supreme Court.
10: Malaka Silva, son of non-cabinet minister Mervyn Silva, who is alleged to have hit an accountant of a private firm with a pistol, is remanded.

5: Several high-rise buildings in Colombo are asked to switch off their exterior lights and key locations including the Colombo Port, the Bandaranaike International Airport and the Shell Gas facility in Kerawalapitiya are put on full alert after the sighting of two suspected LTTE light aircraft in Tantirimale near Anuradhapura.
11: The CWC rejoins the government with Leader Arumugam Thondaman regaining his portfolio.
14: Just as UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour concludes her fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka, four of the 10 civil society members (part of an advisory committee set up to address human rights concerns) resign from the panel citing differences with the government. Earlier, Arbour and Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe differed strongly on the need for UN monitors in Sri Lanka.

The Anuradhapura Air Force base after the Black Tiger attack on October 22

Sri Lanka’s sprint queen Susanthika Jayasinghe is in line for a gold and a silver for her performance at the World Athletic Championships in Athens, Greece, and the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, respectively both in 2000, with Marion Jones due to be stripped of her medals after admitting the usage of steroids.

15: The LTTE launches an attack on an army detachment at Thalgasmankada in Yala, killing six soldiers and injuring three. A massive military search operation is carried out. The National Park is closed to visitors.
18: Malaka Silva, son of non-cabinet minister Mervyn Silva, allegedly involved in an assault case is released on bail.
22: Several aircraft are destroyed or damaged when the LTTE’s Black Tiger unit attacks the Anuradhapura Air Force base.
25: The Manampitiya Peace Bridge, Sri Lanka’s longest bridge built across the Mahaweli linking the Northern and Eastern Provinces is opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
26: The government suspends the licence of the Asia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for allegedly misreporting an incident at Ranminithenna in Tissamaharama.

1: The Supreme Court dismisses the application filed by ABC challenging the licence cancellation by the government
2: LTTE political head S. P. Thamilselvan is killed in an Air Force raid over Kilinochchi. Five LTTE military wing leaders are also killed in the attack. Thamilselvan was the LTTE’s chief negotiator at peace talks with successive governments.
Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna is arrested in London for travelling under a forged passport.
More than 100 Sri Lankan soldiers serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (Minustah) are accused of sexual exploitation and abuse including the rape of children.
7: The budget offers little relief to the public already affected by the soaring cost of living.
9: The Supreme Court issues a significant directive on noise pollution, banning the use of loudspeakers or any other amplifiers from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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The scene after a beer delivery truck crashed into a CTB bus at Kaikawala on April 10

12: A 22-year-old garment factory worker, Chamila Dissanayake, who had sought treatment at the Negombo Hospital, is found with critical injuries on a pathway close to the hospital. Police investigations indicate she had allegedly been pushed from the sixth floor by a doctor. Chamila dies while being taken to the National Hospital.
15: The United States freezes the US held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), that acts as a front to facilitate fundraising and procurement for the LTTE.
17: Elina Jayewardene, widow of the first Executive President of Sri Lanka, J.R. Jayewardene passes away at the age of 94.
19: After weeks of speculation and tension that the government will not be able to get a majority and also crossovers, the second reading of the 2008 budget is passed in Parliament. The JVP votes against the budget.
21: The printing press of Leader Publications, which publishes the Sunday Leader, the Morning Leader and the Irudina, in Ratmalana comes under an arson attack.
29: Steven Peiris, Coordinating Secretary to Social Services Minister and EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda, is killed in a suicide bomb attack at the ministry office at Isipathana Road, Colombo 5. Two others are injured. For the first time, the attack is captured on CCTV and is possibly the only live pictures of a suicide bomber blowing herself up.
In the evening, like a sequel to a bloody story, 20 people are killed and 43 injured when a bomb left at the parcel counter at the Nugegoda NoLimit explodes.

3: Muttiah Muralitharan breaks the record for the highest number of Test wickets reaching 709, when he dismisses England one-day captain Paul Collingwood during the third day of the first Test match at Asgiriya, Kandy. This match is also the last Test match of veteran cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya who retires from Test cricket.
5: Fifteen civilians are killed and 23 injured when a powerful claymore mine blows up a CTB bus on the Anuradhapura-Janakapura Road close to Kebithigo-llewa.

Spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates with wicket keeper Prasanna Jayawardene as he breaks the record for the highest number of Test wickets reaching 709.

8: In keeping with a Supreme Court ruling, permanent security checkpoints in and around Colombo are abandoned. The ruling that permanent checkpoints are illegal was issued after a motorist filed an application that he was harassed and unlawfully detained by police officers at Kirulapone.
10: On World Human Rights Day, several media organizations, civil society groups and trade unions march to the Media Ministry and hand over a petition demanding immediate action to curb increasing violence against journalists.
12: SLMC politicians including Leader Rauff Hakeem cross over to the opposition.
14: Foiling UNP plans to defeat the government, the third reading of the budget is passed with 114 voting for and 67 against. A while before the crucial vote, National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike crosses over to the opposition but leaves Parliament just before voting. The JVP abstains from voting.
19: A newborn baby boy goes missing from the Kalubowila Hospital and is believed to have been stolen by a woman who had offered to look after him while his mother was having a bath. The baby is found by the Kohuwela Police in a house in Thalapathpitiya on December 24. However, another couple who lost their baby son in November from their home is still searching for him.

SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill’s work permit is cancelled by the Board of Investment on the grounds that he failed to comply with a request from the main shareholder of the national carrier, the government. The request was for 36 seats from London to Colombo for the President and his entourage.
Flash floods and heavy rains in the Eastern, Central and North Central Provincesleave over 200,000 people homeless.
26: As the third anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami comes round, it is revealed that only US$ 1.7 billion of the US$ 3.1 billion pledged by foreign donors has been received and rehabilitation work is delayed.
27: Tension mounts at the state-owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation when Deputy Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment Mervyn Silva and his bodyguards allegedly assault the News Director for not telecasting a speech made by him. When the staff attempts to retaliate, the Deputy Minister takes refuge in the Chairman’s office, until he is taken away under police protection.


Tsunami billions still at sea

Thousands of Victims still stranded 3 years after catastrophe
By Madhushala Senaratne

As Sri Lanka marks the third anniversary of the catastrophic 2004 tsunami, it has come to light that only US$ 1.7 billion of the US$ 3.1 billion pledged by foreign donors has been received. As a result of the shortage of funds and other reasons, thousands are still living in makeshift camps while rehabilitation work has been delayed.

According to Nation Building Ministry figures, there was a shortfall of US dollars 1.4 billion as against the money pledged for tsunami rehabilitation and related projects. Some of the agencies and governments had disbursed almost all the funds they pledged or were on the verge of keeping to their commitments, but others were lagging far behind. The money was pledged from more than 480 organisations.

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An abandoned house at a tsunami housing scheme in the south.

Of its total commitment of US$ 150 million, the World Bank had disbursed US$ 142 million while the UNICEF had dispersed its full commitment of US$ 42. 3 million. The USAID which had committed $ 115 million had disbursed $ 68 million. NORAD which pledged $ 1.2 million had disbursed $ 607,992.

At least 19,791 housing units still remain to be completed for those hit by the tsunami while in some cases there were people who received more than two houses due to uncoordinated distribution. A?a??A?Of the estimated 117,483 houses required, 85% of the work has been completed while the remaining would be completed by end of June next year,A?a??A? the ministryA?a??a??s tsunami housing projects director, Ramesh Selliah said.

Although 100% of the work has been completed in the Southern province, about 88% has been completed in the East, Mr. Selliah said. He said thousands were still living in temporary camps and were reluctant to move. He said the construction of houses in the northern and eastern areas was slower mainly due to the fighting in the areas.

BatticaloaA?a??a??s Additional District Secretary K. Mahesan, said reconstruction work in areas such as Vakarai was put on hold due to heavy fighting in the region and the subsequent displacement of thousands of civilians worsened the situation. A?a??A?However, over 90% of the required houses in the Batticaloa district have been completedA?a??A?, he said. In addition, much of the work in Ampara has also been completed.

However, maintaining an estimate cost for a house is becoming increasingly difficult with the rise in prices of materials such as cement, according to Sritharan Sylvester, Director of Caritas which handles human and economic development issues in the East. Limited funds, donors moving out of the East and the rainy season were adding to their woes, he said. In President Mahinda RajapaksaA?a??a??s homebase of Hambantota a total of 6,391 houses have been rebuilt and families resettled. This is in excess of the 3193 houses that were directly affected or damaged. A?a??A?The houses built in excess are now occupied by the indirectly affected people such as renters, sub families and extended families,A?a??A? Hambantota District Secretariat tsunami work chief Mahinda Manawadu, said.

But, some of the housing projects have been completed halfway and abandoned. The construction of 200 houses in Ichallampattu in Trincomalee undertaken by World Vision Lanka was stopped due to the conflict in the area. However, its National Director Yu Hwa Li said that they would resume work once stability is restored in the area.Meanwhile, a senior official of the Tsunami Education Rehabilitation Monitor (TERM) said that of the 183 schools identified as directly damaged, 100 have been rebuild so far. Work on the rebuilding of some 40 schools in the Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Batticaloa has been put on hold due to security reasons while the work on the remaining 40 schools is to be finished next year, he said.

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Certain projects implemented by the Japanese government in the East had also been delayed due to the prevailing security conditions. A?a??A?Although much of the work has been completed, including the reconstruction of Japan-Sri Lanka friendship villages in Trincomalee and Ampara, we faced many difficulties especially with regard to transportation of goods and equipment,A?a??A?, the Japanese embassyA?a??a??s second secretary Yasuhiro Watanabe said.

Sinking Ship

Don’t worry! This is nothing political, military or New!
The first part of this story relates to the greatest attraction the East Coast has to offer, to any diver.
HMS Hermes Airphoto by japanese pilot

Just North of Generic diovan hct availability Arugam Bay Is there a generic for lamictal the British aircraft carrier HMS Hermes lies in fairly shallow waters. Sunk by Japanese Aircraft at the end of WW2. The carrier was on its way from Trincomalle harbour to Male, Maldives.
A full dive report has already been published on this site; use the search function if you are interested in details.

HMS Hermes sinking off Sri Lanka Coast

The Hermes was once a fine ship.

Hermes Aircraft Carrier in Action

Very much like some good Hotels and Restaurants on the East Coast once were.

Whatever sealed the fate of HMS Hermes 65 years ago has a certain resemblance to the slow death of the entire Hotel industry. Their boats started to sink when a big wave hit them, in 2004. Plenty of help was promised, from all sides – but nothing substantial ever came along to rescue them.
A combination of civil unrest in other parts of the Nation, incompetence by visiting NGO’s and a total lack of finances have resulted in closure of most establishments which managed to stay afloat.

One leading hotelier describes the situation as such:

Ever since 2004 we feel like sitting in a boat, full of holes.
We kept ourselves busy plugging them by whatever means we have – but scooping out the water to stay afloat has been a hard job, left on our own devices.

….to be continued

Eastern Water

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Lahugala nr. Arugambay

On the northern edge of the Lahugala National Park are the ruins of a substantial ancient temple now called Magul Mahavihara. This temple is worth a visit not only because of its particularly attractive forest setting but also because the image shrine, the Bodhi Tree and the stupa are all in a good state of preservation. Magul Mahavihara is approached by a causeway across a beautiful lotus filled reservoir which surrounds the whole complex. As you enter the main gate through the solidly built wall that surrounds all the buildings you will see on the left the remains of a small shrine with an unusual moonstone at its entrance. The elephants on this moonstone all have riders on their backs, something unseen in all other Sri Lankan moonstones. The stupa is built on a high terrace with three staircases leading up to it. There are impressive lion guardians at the top of the stairs. These and all the other ruins at Lahugala are all surrounded by peaceful forest which makes a visit to the place a most enjoyable experience.

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Lahugala is 2 km off the main Monoragala A?a??a?? Pottuvil road some 5 km from Potuvil.

CopyrightA?A? Ven. S Dhammika


Award for Arugam Bay?

Council in line for tourism award

NEW Forest District Council is on the brink of winning its greatest ever tourism award.

The council and its tourism manager Tony Climpson are the only English entries short-listed for the final of a top international awards scheme.

The New Forest is short-listed alongside Costa Rica and Sri Lanka’s Arugam Bay Metoclopramide how much in the best destination section of the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards scheme.


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Mr Climpson, who has been at the helm of the council’s tourism activities for more than 20 years, is in the final three of the “personal contribution” listings.

Run in conjunction with The Times, World Travel Market (WTM) and Geographical Magazine, the awards will be announced at a special ceremony in London’s Docklands on November 14, which is WTM World Responsible Tourism.

Maureen Holding, the council’s portfolio holder for employment, health and well-being, said: “To be short-listed is excellent. We are the only council to be listed in this country. The work achieved is stunning and, whatever the outcome, the listing is marvellous.”

New Forest District Council is the tourism destination management organisation for the New Forest district, which now contains the New Forest National Park.

The council has been involved in developing a car free visitor network and in creating the New Forest Breakfast and the New Forest Marque brand, which helps local producers sell their goods.