day for refugees
The United Nations' (UN) World Refugee Day was observed yesterday
(June 20 ). This event was introduced to honour the courage, strength
and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee
their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence by the
What do people do? People honour the spirit and courage of millions
of refugees worldwide on World Refugee Day.
It is a day to recognise the contributions of refugees in their
communities. Organisations such as Amnesty International and the
International Rescue Committee (IRC) often get involved in various
activities for the day. They may include:
* Activist protests against using former prisons to detain migrants
and asylum seekers.
* Screenings of films about the lives of asylum seekers living in a
* Organisation members visiting asylum seekers in detention to offer
* Letters or petitions to governments on the treatment of asylum
seekers in detention.
Some communities dedicate an entire week that includes World Refugee
Day to encourage people to think about the lives of refugees and the
human right to a secure place to that one can see as 'home'.
For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own
events similar to World Refugee Day. One of the most widespread events
is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on June 20 in many countries.
As an expression of solidarity with Africa, which hosts the most
refugees, and which traditionally has shown them generosity, the UN
General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/76 on December 4, 2000. In this
resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th
anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees,
and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have
International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on June 20.
The Assembly therefore decided that June 20 would be celebrated as
World Refugee Day from 2001 onwards. This day was designated by the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees to bring attention to the plight of
approximately 14 million refugees around the world.
The UN Refugee Agency's (UNCHR) logo is often associated with the
Birth and death anniversaries from June 21 - June 27
*Prince of Wales, Prince William was born in 1982.
*Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher and writer was born in 1905.
*Georg Von Neumayer, explorer was born in 1826.
*Max Wolf, astronomer was born in 1863.
*Johannes Stark, physicist and winner of the 1919 Nobel Prize in
Physics died in 1957.
*Cyndi Lauper, actress, singer was born in 1953.
*Konrad Zuse, computer pioneer was born in 1910.
*Edmund Hewavitharana was born in 1870.
*King of England, Edward VIII was born in 1894.
*Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the first printing press was born in
*Empress Josephine, wife of Napolean Bonapate was born in 1763.
*Former President R. Premadasa was born in 1924.
*Ambrose Bierce, author was born in 1842.
*William Penney, British nuclear physicist, part of the Manhatten
Project who also led Britain's development of the atomic bomb, was born
*Carly Simon, singer was born in 1945.
*Walther Nerst, chemist and recipient of the 1920 Nobel Prize in
Chemistry was born in 1864.
*Pearl S. Buck famous author was born in 1892.
*Sindney Howard, playwright was born in 1891.
*Alfred Doblin, poet died in 1957.
*Felix Dias Bandaranaike died in 1985.
*Bob 'Captain Kangaroo' Keeshan, TV personality and children's
advocate was born in 1927.
*Eduard Spranger, philosopher was born in 1882.
*Mildred J. Hill, American composer of 'Happy Birthday to you' was
born in 1859.
*Bentota Albert de Silva, Sinhala poet was born in 1866.
Special events which took place in history, from June 21 - June 27
*Construction work on St. Paul's Cathedral in London commenced in
*The American constitution came into force in 1788.
*Start of 'Operation Barbarossa', the German invasion of the Soviet
Union in 1941.
*Jaffna surrendered to the Dutch in 1658.
*Battle of Okinawa ended in 1945.
*Ferguson's Ceylon Directory was first published in 1858.
*Second son of Indira Gandhi, Sanje Gandhi was killed in an air crash
*Henry VIII crowned King of England in 1509.
*Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia in 1812.
*Art of photography introduced to Ceylon in 1856.
*First triangular stamp to mark the centenary of YWCA issued in 1982.
*Ayurvedic Medical Council established in 1975.
*The St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened by US President,
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II in 1959.
*Massacre of British troops invading the Kandyan Kingdom at Levalla
*The electric bulb was introduced in 1882.
*Belgian Congo became independent and was renamed as Congo Republic
*Sepala Ekanayake hijacked an Alitalia Boeing 747 jumbo jet in 1982.
A man visits his aunt in the nursing home. It turns out that she is
taking a nap, so he just sits down in a chair in her room, flips through
a few magazines, and munches on some peanuts in a bowl on the table.
Eventually, the aunt wakes up, and her nephew realizes he has
absentmindedly finished the entire bowl. "I'm so sorry, auntie, I've
eaten all of your peanuts!""That's okay, dearie," the aunt replied.
"After I've sucked the chocolate off, I don't care for them anyway."
A school for street
children, a long felt need
Street children in the Colombo city last week received an invaluable
gift to continue their educational activities in a new school.
Shiranthi Rajapaksa, being received by two street children in
school uniforms, on her arrival at Lakvidu College. IGP Jayantha
Wickramaratne and Anoma Wickramaratne are also in the picture.
child being admitted to the Lakvidu College by First Lady,
Shiranthi Rajapaksa at the auspicious time. IGP Jayantha
Wickramaratne is also in the picture.
The school ‘Lakvidu College’, which is located in Gothamipura,
Borella was ceremonially opened by First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa on an
invitation of the Colombo, Dharmayathanaya, Chief Incumbent’ Ven. Elle
Forty street children, living in the Colombo city were admitted to
the new school on the first day (June 11), while three teachers were
appointed as staff members.
The authorities who run the school also decided to provide the
children with text books, educational equipment, school uniforms and
meals, free of charge.The first child was admitted by First Lady,
Shiranthi Rajapaksa at an auspicious time.According to Ven. Elle
Gunawansa Thera, a majority of street children in our country do not
attend schools and many others have given up their education due to
“As a result these street children get involved in many illegal
activities and ultimately become unwanted persons in the society,” the
Ven. Thera said.He said it is the sole duty of every citizen to look
into this matter and help to mould the street children as good citizens,
as, due to lack of proper education, they may become criminals.The Ven.
Thera highlighted that a school for street children has been a long felt
need and such a school was never established in the country. He further
said he was happy to take the challenge to establish a school for street
children and will expand this concept even to other provinces in the
The war against drug
By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the UN General Assembly
decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse
and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to
strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an
international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended
further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987
International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) leads the
international campaign aimed at raising awareness of the major problem
that illicit drugs represent to society and especially to young people.
The goal of the campaign, which started in 2007 and conclude this year,
is to inspire people and mobilise support for drug control.
The international campaign “Do drugs control your life? Your life and
your community. No place for drugs” communicates that the destructive
effects of illicit drugs concern us all. Their use harms individuals,
families and society at large. Drugs control the body and mind of
individual consumers, the drug crop and drug cartels control farmers,
trafficking and crime control communities.
Teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to using
illicit drugs. The prevalence of drug use among young people is more
than twice as high as that among the general population. At this age,
peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and
self-esteem is often low. Also, those who take drugs tend to be either
misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved.
The UNODC campaign reaches out to young people, who often talk about
the “highs” induced by illicit drugs, but may not be aware of the many
“lows”. Illicit drug use is a concern because it poses a threat to their
health. Negative effects vary, depending on the type of drug consumed,
the doses taken and the frequency of use. All illicit drugs have
immediate physical effects, but they can also severely hinder
psychological and emotional development, especially among young people.
Leading a healthy lifestyle requires making choices that are
respectful of body and mind. To make these choices, young people need
guidance from role models and need to get the facts about drug use. The
international campaign provides young people and others with tools to
educate themselves about the health risks associated with illicit drug
Get the facts about drugs
The UNODC campaign focuses only on drugs under international control.
These are drugs Member States have decided to limit exclusively to
medical and scientific purposes, given the adverse effects, their abuse
and trafficking have on health and society.
A temporary dumping ground for garbage
We know what a huge problem garbage has become these days; apart from
the stench that emanates from it, garbage is a health hazard.
People tend to throw garbage everywhere out of carelessness and also
because they have no proper place to throw garbage, as some live in
places with absolutely no garden space.
Even the areas presently available to dispose of the garbage
collected from the city of Colombo has reached its capacity with some of
the garbage mountains collapsing... But there is good news, A two acre
plot of land called “Pothuvil Kumbura” in Kolonnawa received from the
Urban Development Authority is now being temporarily used by the CMC to
dump garbage collected from Colombo City, according to the Solid Waste
Management Director (Engineering) of the Municipality, P. Thangamyle, He
explained that this plot of land is the only alternative found by the
CMC to dispose garbage after objections raised against the Grandpass
dumping site. Commenting on the tender called by the CMC to select a
prospective tenderer for the CMC garbage disposal process, he said 15
proposals have been received for the tender and the selected who are
interested in a long term plan will be produced for approval according
to guidelines issued to the CMC. It was also pointed out that the CMC is
keen to have a prospective tender proposal with the objective of
collecting garbage free of charge with alternative energy manufacturing
plans from garbage.
According to Thangamyle, the lack of garbage transporting vehicles is
another major problem faced by the CMC.as most of the vehicles donated
from Japan have been undergoing repair for several weeks.
Meanwhile, CMC sources revealed that a three year Focus City project
to address lack of adequate services such as formalised sewer lines and
waste water disposal, solid waste management for congested areas
commenced in 2007.