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Sunday, 29 November 2009

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Christmas in peaceful surroundings - Prof. Peiris

Minister of Export Development and International Trade and Acting Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Prof. G.L. Peiris said that this year's X'mas could be celebrated by all segments of the population in a backdrop of a visible resurgence in the spheres of exports, tourism and trade, that has been brought about by the eradication of terrorism from the country.

He was speaking at a gathering held at the premises of St. Anthony's Church, Moneragala on the occasion of the issue of two stamps, a first day cover and a Christmas card on account of the forthcoming Christmas recently.

The stamps are of denominations of Rs. 5 and Rs. 15. Rev. J. Winston S. Fernando, Bishop of Badulla, several Ministers and a large number of the Catholic congregation of Moneragala were in attendance.

Prof. Peiris said that religious leaders of all faiths have come forward to help solve certain social and other problems, the country was facing at the national level. Even at the time when there was some uncertainty with regard to the grant of the GSP+ facility, a group of religious leaders representing all faiths in the country, went in a delegation to meet the Foreign Ministers of Italy, UK, Germany, France and explained to them the need for Sri Lanka to receive such tariff concessions. This delegation was able to meet His Holiness the Pope as well.

The Minister said that this type of action augurs well for the unity and well-being of the country. Sri Lanka, he said, has the unique distinction of been blessed by all the four major faiths in the world. Referring to the 'Love thy neighbour' theme of Christianity, he said that it indicates and leads to a profound concept of social responsibility and social consciousness.He said that while people are normally concerned about their rights, many tend to avoid carrying out their responsibilities.

Prof. Peiris offered the first stamp and the first-day cover along with the Christmas card to the Bishop and other distinguished guests. A special award was made to Isuru Tharanga Miranda, a student of St. Joseph's College, Colombo, who designed the Christmas stamp.

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