5th April 1998
Prime Ministers remembered
March 22 was D S Senanayake Day - the day the first Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known), Rt Hon Don Stephen Senanayake died 46 years ago after falling off his horse. A pioneer in temperance and social work, he entered politics in 1915 as Elected Member of the Legislative Council and was Minister of Agriculture & Lands for 15 years under the Donoughmore Constitution. In February 1948 he became the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence & External Affairs in the new Dominion of Ceylon.
His contribution to the struggle for Independence was recognised with the issue of two stamps (5 cts - green & 25 cts - blue) bearing his portrait to mark the first anniversary of Independence - 4 February 1949. On 22 March 1966, a I0 cent stamp was released to mark his 14th death anniversary.
Senanayake was responsible for the successful transformation of the entire agricultural policy of the country during his tenure of office as Minister of Agriculture & Lands and he is also credited with the establishment of many colonisation schemes in the dry zone. A set of four stamps issued on 20 October 1984 to mark his birth centenary highlighted his pioneering role in the field of agricultural development. The stamps were of the denominations of 35 cts, 60 cts, Rs 4.60) Rs. 6.
A commemorative stamp of the denomination of Rs 1.25 was issued in honour of the second Prime Minister, Dudley Shelton Senanayake, elder son of D S Senanayake, on 19 June 1979. on his 68th birthday. He was Prime Minister on three occasions. First he became Prime Minister on the death of his father in March 1952. At the time he was Minister of Agriculture & Lands. He had a short stint until 12 October 1953 when he resigned due to ill-health. After the 1960 March General Election, he became Prime Minister for the second time but could last only three months when the Government was defeated in Parliament. He had a full term of five years as Prime Minister when the United Niational Party (UNP) won the 1965 General Election.
Following Dudley Senanayake's resignation in October I953. Sir John Lionel Kotelawela Minister of Transport & Works became Prime Minister. His term ended in April 1956 when the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) won the General Election reducing the UNP to a mere eight seats in Parliament. Just prior to the Election, on 26 March 1956 a 10 cent stamp was issued to commemorate 25 years of his national service. The stamp featured the Parliament building with an inset of Sir John. (This stamp was withdrawn on 30 November 1956).
When the World War II broke out, Sir John was selected to command the Ceylon Light lnfantry. He was given the rank of Honorary General just before his death in October 1980. A 50 cts stamp was issued in his honour on his second death anniversary on 2 October 1982.
1956 saw the SLFP forming the Government after a landslide victory with Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike as Prime Minister. His term of office lasted from April 1956 to September 1959 when he was assassinated. On 8 January 1961 (his 60th birthday) a 10 cent stamp was issued featuring his portrait. A significant feature was the use of a Sinhala date stamp for the first time to indicate the date of issue.
On 18 December 1965 the denomination of the stamp was changed from 10 cts to 5 cts. An overprint was used. Earlier, the 10 cent stamp was re-issued twice on 26 September 1963 (day he died) and I July 1964.
Bandaranaike was featured in several stamps in later years - on 25 September 1970 (10 cts - to mark the establishment of the United Front Government), 17 May 1973 ( 15 cts - to commemorate the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall) and 25 September 1974 ( I5 cts - Portrait) The last stamp was re-issued later with a 25 cent over-print.
Contd. Next Week
The computer is an electronic machine. It does not need water, food or happiness. The father of the computer is Charles Barbage. The computer is operated by a user. Computers can do lot of work. We can play games on a computer. We can do Maths and use it for our home work.The computer has three main parts. Computer works by electricity. The most popular computer is made in America. We can send letters through the computer to different countries. We can get information also from a computer. We also can study with the help of a computer.
Kingston College International
It is always good to go outdoors. Fresh air is always welcome. Often one feels choked inside our houses and cities. It is good to get away in to the open air for a day when one has the time. Picnics were common for families in the olden days. But now, even picnics are becoming a rare sight. Families just do not have the time or else money to go away and have fun. This indeed is one of the greatest ills of modern life.
Last April we went on a trip when my aunt came down from Paris, France. We had a chance of travelling with her. First we went to Kandy. We travelled by car. My Aunt Kristeen wanted to know the history of Kandy. Dalada Maligawa is a place with a proud history. Sri Lankans are proud of Dalada Maligawa because it is a very historical place. Near the Maligawa is a beautiful lake called Bogambara. The Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the best Peraheras in Sri Lanka. We also visited the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.
Next day we went to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. They are the ancient cities of Sri Lanka. Many foreigners visit it to learn about our heritage. Then we came to Colombo for the Sinhala Avurudu. It was a very enjoyable day for us. We went to the Zoo. We enjoyed the Elephant dance which was very funny. We also visited Hikkaduwa to see the coral reefs. It is a very valuable environmental place.
At the end of April my Aunt Kristeen left for Paris. That made us feel very sad. But I think the little trip we had was the best thing to take our attention away from day to day life. I'm glad we did . It was the best ever.
Udeni Maheshika Wissundara,
Television has become a part of our lives. But watching television has good points and bad points.
First we will talk about the good points of television. We can gain a lot of general knowledge.
For example we see what is happening in and around the world and also see live telecasts of many sports, educational programmes and news. Small children like cartoons and adults like teledramas and films.
Secondly I like to talk about the bad points of television. Most of the time there are only cricket matches and films. All children watching television spend a lot of time, then our studies are all forgotten. The other bad thing is that there are too many channels or when one programme is over and they keep on changing the channels and when children go to school they talk about the programmes they watched and not about their studies.
So in conclusion my opinion is that television is not a threat to education, but television must not be abused.
My favourite cricket star is Ruwan Kalpage. He is a fine cricketer. He is a product of St. Anthony's College Katugastota Kandy. He has scored many centuries and has taken many wickets in school cricket.
Because of his ability he was chosen to represent our national cricket team. He is an intelligent spinner and brilliant fielder. It is very interesting to watch when Kalpage is playing. And I can't take my eyes away when he is fielding. My hope is that Ruwan Kalpage will be able to secure a place in the national side.
Where have the memories and grim experiences
Mahahaya Girls' College.
While dinosaurs fed and fought on the ground, the skies above them were also full of strange creatures. Though they were not dinosaurs, the flying "pterosaurs" were reptiles which were closely related to them. Their wings were made of a leathery membrane stretched around the body, rather like a bat's. Its front edge was held by the arms and the fourth fingers of the hands, which were very elongated. The membrane was also attached to the hind limbs and the tail. Their bones were hollow so that the body would be as light as possible.
The skeletons of pterosaurs have often been found inside the skeletons of the big reptiles that swam in these prehistoric seas. Their bones are also found in the chalk layers on the bottom of the sea. Pterosaurs had very weak hind legs; another way in which they were similar to bats. So they would not have been able to jump up into the air to get off the ground and fly. Their wings, too, would not fold up neatly like those of a bat or bird. So pterosaurs would have found it very difficult to move on the ground, and they would quickly have been snapped up by any passing dinosaur. To protect themselves, they probably lived on ledges on steep sea cliffs. Then all they had to do was drop off the ledge, spread their wings and glide on air currents.
Some of the pterosaurs were as small as sparrows. Rhamphorhynchus had a wingspan of about one metre. But some of the last pterosaurs, which lived towards the end of the Cretaceous Period, were enormous. Pteranodon had a wingspan of over nine metres. It had a crest on the back of its head. This balanced the force of the wind on its long beak, so that it could turn its head in all directions in search of its prey. The largest pterosaur may have had a wingspan of 16 or 17 metres.
Palaeontologists have recently found that pterosaurs had a covering of hair on their wings and bodies.
Feathers for flight
It was the evolution of feathers that made it possible for birds to become much more skilful at flight than the pterosaurs. Feathers are thin and light, easily replaced if they are damaged and easy to fold over one another. A bird's wings are not attached along the sides of its body, or to its legs, and they can be folded away when not in use. As a result, the hind limbs of birds remain strong and powerful so that they can walk or run, or leap into the air to fly.
The first bird, Archaeopteryx, lived near the end of the Jurassic Period. Its skeleton is very like that of a little dinosaur. In fact, we only know that it was a bird because, all round its skeleton, we can see the impression of the feathers on its wings. It also had feathers down the sides of its long, reptile-like tail.
Archaeopteryx probably could not fly as strongly as birds today. It must have flapped and glided in the Jurassic forests, catching the insects that fluttered there. Its wings also bore three clawed fingers, which helped Archaeopteryx to scramble about in the trees. Its claws and teeth were more like those of a reptile than a bird.
Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to