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The Lotus Tower, South Asia’s largest tower, was declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena a short while ago.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer was commemorated under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute today (16).

The ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Mahaweli development and Environment on the sideline of the World Ozone Day and the 32nd anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

The keynote address was delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa Prof. K. K. C. K. Perera under the theme of “Kigali Amendments to the Montreal Protocol and its impact on the Climate Change”.

A First Day cover was issued to mark the completion of 30 years after Sri Lanka became a signatory of the Montreal Protocol.

All the countries including Sri Lanka which are parties to the Montreal Protocol celebrate the World Ozone Day on September 16 every year.

Sri Lanka as a developing nation is at the forefront of preserving the Ozone layer and a leading country to eliminate ozone-depleting substances. As per the Montreal Protocol Sri Lanka has pledged to reduce using depleting substances by 35% by 2020, 67.5% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

State Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment AjithMannapperuma, Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and EnvironmentAnuraDissanayake, the Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka Faiza Effendi and several other dignitaries were present at the commemoration ceremony.

The State Literary Awards Ceremony 2019, an occasion to give due accolades to the literati who have enriched the field of literature in Sri Lanka, was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall yesterday (12th) afternoon.

Many authors received awards for their invaluable contribution and excellence for the advancement of the literature in the year 2018.

In addition, the President presented “Sahityaratna” lifetime award to Prof. Walter Marasinghe, Mr. Ayyathurai Santhan and Ms. Kamala Wijeratne for their great service towards the advancement of the local literature field in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages respectively.

The award for the best independent Sinhala novel was received by Author Ms. Virajini Tennakoon for “Makaranandaya” novel.

Mr. Elmo Jayewardene was vested with the award for the best independent English novel for his literary work, “Kakiyan”.

Writer Mr. A.S. Uthayan’s “Aluwarakarei” received the award for the best independent Tamil novel in this ceremony.

In the meantime, Mr. Nandana Weerasinghe has won the State Literary Award for the ”Kshana Niyama” best poetry award of the year.

The awards ceremony is organized annually by the State Literary Advisory Council, the Sri Lanka Arts Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Minister Mr. Sajith Premadasa, the Secretary to the Cultural Affairs Mr. Barnad Wasantha, Director of the Cultural Affairs Department Ms. Anusha Gokula Franando, Prof. Ariyaratne Kaluarachchi, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Arts Council, Prof. Samantha Herath, Chairman of the State Literary Advisory Council and a group of scholars and artists were also present at the awards ceremony.

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