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6th December 1998

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Bright,colourful X'mas

'Things and Things for Christmas'; a grand Exhibition and Sale will be held at the lobby of the Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya from 9.00 am to 7.30 p.m. on December 12 and 13.

The X'mas items on display, all creations of Ms. Nelum Munasinghe include a selection from the smallest dainty ornament to the biggest X'mas fig trees beautifully decorated with local and imported trimmings. Topiary trees with red and white poinsettias, holly leaves, yule-log table decors, candle stands with wrought iron and clay, wall plaques, etc., will be on display. Of particular interest will be the variety of cane and fig baskets done into various shapes and sprayed with the most beautiful colour combinations.

Nelum Munasinghe with many years of experience in this field has had many successful exhibition to her credit. Being a hill country planter's wife, Mrs. Munasinghe does have access to most of the material needed for these exquisite Christmas works of art. Says Ms Munasinghe, "Most of all one has to get the right material into one decoration for it to be pleasing to the eye. I need to select the colour schemes carefully. But all this effort is fulfilling when the decoration is completed. When my friends comment positively about them I get the confidence to make more."

Mrs. Munasinghe has gone from taking small orders from friends to being a mass scale supplier of X'mas decorations to leading organizations. However her main aim is to provide every household the chance of picking an item that suits each individual's taste to match their own surroundings.

Regaining the lost spirit

Once again the Archdiocese of Colombo is conducting a crib festival. Last year it was decided to hold in an experimental basis a crib festival so that awareness would be created among different religious communities about the significance of Christmas as a family festival. Traditionally Christmas has a special meaning though today it tends to be highly commercialised. By the festival it was hoped to emphasise the 'family' meaning of Christmas. The response received last year from many parishes in the Archdiocese was encouraging and as such it was decided to hold the festival this year too. A large number of entries have been received and the festival will be held from the 11th to the 13th of December. The festival will be inaugurated by His Grace the Archbishop on the 11th at 5.30 p.m. and the agenda of events thereafter are as follows;

11th 5.30 p.m. Open for viewing

12th 10.30 p.m. Open for viewing

13th 10.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Open for viewing, Awards ceremony followed by carols, Nativity and playlets.

All are welcome to begin the Christmas season by viewing the cribs which will be of various presentations all expressing the theme of the Birth of Christ in the world of today.

Sale of Awrangi's needlework

The annual sale of babywear, nightwear and household linen by Awrangi de Silva will be held on December 12 and 13 this year.

Embroidery and shadow work in pastel shades,light baby shirts and many smocked items will be on display.

Awrangi, a former student of St. Paul's Millagiriya engages in sewing as a hobby. "This is mainly on weekends and after work," she said.

The sale from 8.30 am to 9.30 pm will be on at Awrangi's home, 20/7A, 2nd Lane, off Koswatte Road, Nawala.

Another centre of relief

Sri Lanka Sumithrayo recently opened their 11th counselling centre at Temple Lane, Dehiwala (opposite the Colombo South Hospital).

The centre will be open daily from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. except on Sundays. Co-ordinater, Rural Programmes, Sumithrayo, Ms. Lakshmi Ratnayake said that 1997 statistics have shown that suicide rates in Colombo South were far greater than in Colombo Central or Colombo North.

Ms. Ratnayake said although the number of suicides in the country was declining, on an average, 16-17 people still committed suicide daily.

"If Sumithrayo is to be effective, we need many more centres and volunteers specially in the Nuwara Eliya and Badulla Districts and also the rural areas in the Northern and Southern Districts of the Island," she said.

Other Sumithrayo centres are located in Colombo Central, Kandy, Bandarawela, Panadura, Hettipola, Matale, Kuliyapitiya, Mawanella, Katunayake and Kurunegala.

Lankan journalist honoured

Dharman Wickremaratne, Editorial Director of the Sri Lanka Environmental Journalists (SLEJF) was elected as Chairman of the Bangkok based Asia Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (AFEJ) at the tenth General Meeting and Election of the regional body held recently.

Mr. Wickremaratne a founder member of both SLEJF and AFEJ earlier served as General Secretary of AFEJ from 1995 to 1998.

He is the Deputy Secretary of the Paris based International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ) and is also the founder of the Commonwealth Environmental Journalists Association based in Ghana. He was instrumental in providing the World Environmental Journalists with a Code of Ethics (the first such code in the world) at the 6th World Congress of Environmental Journalists held in Sri Lanka, October 1998. Initially it was accepted by 78 participants representing 43 countries at the World Congress. The Code of Ethics now has been officially accepted by Environmental Media Organizations around the world representing 76 countries.

AFEJ is a professional regional media organization which brings together national forums of environmental journalists in 21 countries of the region viz: China, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji, Bhutan, Thaiwan, Papua New Guinea etc, AFEJ was established in 1988 at a meeting of environmental journalists held in Bangkok, Thailand and received support from the UN-ESCAP and UNEP. AFEJ next annual congresses will be held in Bangladesh (1999), Soloman Islands (2000), Maldives (2001) and China (2002).

Watch out the UFOs are coming!

Sri Lanka's first ever organisation to monitor and carry out scientific research on Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), was launched on November 22, under the auspices of Dr. Chandana Jayaratne, Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Colombo, and Mihindukulasuriya Susantha Fernando, author of the popular book "Alien Mysteries in Sri Lanka and Egypt."

The Sri Lanka Unidentified Flying Objects Research Association (SLUFORA) the new voluntary organization has five young UFO enthusiasts as its founder members - Akila Weerasekera, Amal Samaraweera, Indula Sumithrachchi, Sanjeewa Bandara, and Chinthaka Wijethilake.

SLUFORA has its office at No. 110, Akuregoda Road, Pelawatte Battaramulla. All reports on UFO sightings and also applications for membership can be directed to that address. SLUFORA can also be reached on the Hot Line 867508, or Fax No. 025-35542. All such reports will be acknowledged, examined and verified scientifically by the members of SLUFORA.

The urgency of an organized effort to monitor UFO sighting in Sri Lanka and maintain a proper data base on such sightings has been a long felt need, due to recent increase in baffling UFO appearances all over Sri Lanka. In foreign countries, there are well organized UFO research associations for keeping track of UFO sightings, examining them and recording them. But unfortunately there has been so far no proper investigation done in this country due to lack of coordination and concerted effort.

SLUFORA would be a sister association of UFO research bodies in other countries, such as USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Initially SLUFORA will launch a membership drive in schools and universities, and also educate the newly enrolled members on proper ways of detecting and reporting of UFO appearances in their towns and villages. District branches will be established at a latter stage.

SLUFORA will play an important role in the island wide UFO Watch by encouraging, promoting and conducting unbiased scientific research on Unidentified Flying Object phenomena throughout Sri Lanka, collecting and disseminating evidence and data relating to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), and coordinating UFO research throughout Sri Lanka and cooperating with others engaged in such research throughout the world.

As part of their programme of educating the masses on UFO phenomena, SLUFORA will initially publish a bi-monthly journal, which will cover current developments, research activities, noteworthy investigations and discussions of broader issues.

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