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Sunday, 27 November 2005    
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The majestic Maligawila Buddha statue

The Maligawila Buddha statue carved out of stone stands in all its majesty in a blessing posture. It is 37 feet and 10 inches tall and is similar to the Avukana Buddha statue.

To reach Maligawila one has to travel along the Wellawaya, Moneragala Main road and turn off at Buttala junction on to the right. Travel along the new Buttala Kataragama road for about 200 meters and then you come to a by-road.

Travel about 16 kilometres on the road known as Weli Ara Para and you can reach Maligawila. Another route is to turn off to the Moneragala Road from the Buttala junction and travel for about six kilometres reach Okkampitiya junction turn to the right and travel on that road until you reach Maligawila.

The statue stands without any support and the surrounding structure is built on stucco and it is said to be the largest statue in Sri Lanka. Therefore the artistic value of the statue is very high. Surrounding this statue are remains of Aramayas.

At one time the statue was on the ground and some pieces were damaged and before it was re-erected all the damaged pieces were repaired. Among the damaged and repaired pieces were the right hand, face and the feet. The statue which was built in the blessing stance the right hand is bent at the elbow and is held up. The pleats in the robe have been carved so delicately resembling the Avukana statue while the opening is held at the left shoulder.

There are remains of the place which housed the statue. On one side the length of the building is about 100 feet and it has been built on single bricks. The thickness of each of these walls is four feet. Therefore archaeologists have come to the conclusion that it is a Gedi ge. The Gedi ge is a building completed of stone or bricks with a roof. It is said that the building would have been about 65 feet tall.

According to the Mahavamsa the statue had been built in the seventh century BC. It says that Prince Aggabodhi built a Buddha statue at the Patma Temple in Kanagamaya. Archaeologists say that it is the same Maligawila Buddha Statue and the previously known Kanagamaya is today known as Okkampitiya. According to history it was known as Patma Temple in a bygone era.

The statue had been lying on the ground for a considerable period of time and in 1948 treasure hunters destroyed the statue further. However, due to the efforts of the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa archaeologists were able to restore the statue to its upright position.



Emirates places $ 9.7 b order for Boeing 777s

Emirates Airline recently placed firm orders for 42 Boeing 777 aircraft, to be powered by GE90 jet engine, in a deal worth Dhs 35.7 billion (US$ 9.7 billion) at list prices.

This is the largest-ever order for the Boeing 777 family of aircraft and consists of 24 Boeing 777-300ERs, 10 777-200LR worldliners and eight 777 Freighters, with the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2007.

In addition, Emirates will have purchase rights for 20 more 777 aircraft, said Emirates' Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum and Jim McNerney, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Boeing company, on the opening day of Dubai 2005 - the ninth International Aerospace Exhibition.

Sheik Ahmed and General Electric's Vice Chairman David L. Calhoun, also signed the agreement to purchase GE90-115B jet engine, the world's most powerful engines, for all the Boeing 777s included in this order by Emirates.

The agreement, valued at US$2 billion, includes a 12-year service agreement with GE maintenance and overhaul.

Sheikh Ahmed said, "We are investing in more new aircraft to meet the escalating demand for Emirates' services from our customers across the globe. This new order will support the airline's growth plans, and enhance our fleet's range and versatility."

Emirates intends to use the 777 to extend and strengthen its routes to key cities in Europe and Asia, and operate to new markets. The 777-200LR, which recently broke the world distance record for a commercial airliner, will allow Emirates to explore new destinations including non-stop flights to cities on the US West Coast.

He said, "Global air travel demand has been resilient, with particularly strong growth in the Middle East region and Asia, where burgeoning economies have led to vigorous trade and tourism exchanges. Having an advanced and efficient fleet of aircraft will allow Emirates to tap into the opportunities presented by this environment, and allow us to continue providing customers with faster air connections and superior travel comfort.

"We have had very positive results from the 777s in our present fleet, and we look forward to receiving these new aircraft. Emirates remains committed to contributing to Dubai's development as the world's aviation hub of choice by providing world-class air travel services via our Dubai base."

Alan Mulally, Boeing Commercial Airlines President and Chief Executive Officer said, "We are very happy that Emirates has decided to use the entire 777 family as a cornerstone for its fleet operations, and we are excited to witness how the airline will benefit from the superior economics of the 777.


Chicken King restaurants in Lanka

Chicken King Restaurant International which operates in Bangladesh, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia, a Malaysian home - grown 'western-themed' fast-food chain has sold the Master Franchise rights for Sri Lanka.

The Managing Director of Chicken King Sri Lanka (Pvt) Ltd Pulinda Fernando said "The market study has been very positive of late and the habit of 'eating out' has got popular in Sri Lanka. The wide range of products and the unique flavour of Chicken King's chicken will impress our customers. It is a 'halal' certified brand. We are thinking of opening more outlets in Colombo and the suburbs".

Fernando said the strategy to gain a foothold in Sri Lanka is by establishing the first flagship outlet in Wellawatte.

"We shall carry out Chicken King's strategy of Customer Focus and Brand Differentiation. We are determined the tagline "More Value. More Variety. Better Taste." will be experienced by all Sri Lankans who enter our restaurant.

Pulinda has worked for international brands such as Pizza Hut and KFC locally and internationally.


SriLankan Cargo rushes relief goods to Pakistan

SriLankan Cargo's freighter services were used after the massive earthquake in Pakistan to rush relief goods to Islamabad from Colombo.

"Twenty-nine metric tonnes consisting of water containers were flown to Islamabad from Colombo for the relief organisation Oxfam, on two flights by SriLankan Cargo's Antonov AN12F freighters said Udeni Perera, Freighter Operations Manager at SriLankan Cargo.

Water containers are an important relief item since many of the two million people rendered homeless live in Pakistan's wild northern regions where drinking water is extremely scarce. The earthquake is estimated to have killed over 55,000 people.

Head of Cargo Nalin Rodrigo said, "We at SriLankan crgo are appalled by the scale of the tragedy in Pakistan, and fully comprehend the impact of this disaster, having gone through a similar experience with the recent tsunami. We are ready to fly out more relief cargo when required."

Vacancies - UNDP

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