Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

Updated 05 February 2016
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Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

RIYADH: Sri Lankan Ambassador Azim Thassim told his countrymen in the Kingdom that his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia.
The envoy was addressing the Sri Lankan community on the occasion of his country’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day on Thursday.
A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, graced the colorful ceremony organized by the mission.
Around one-third of the Sri Lankan population of 1.5 million overseas workers are concentrated in the Kingdom.
Expatriates from all walks of life were present at the morning function to meet and greet one another on this auspicious occasion.
Thassim, who also re-launched the mission’s website with new features, said the website will give an insight into the activities of the mission. “It provides a portal to learn about the facilities and services rendered by the mission for the welfare of workers.”
The envoy called upon his community members to build up the various projects earmarked during the next five years.
“We need professional help in social, cultural, economic and educational fields from our countrymen in the Kingdom,” he said, stressing that the expatriate community can help the country as well as the host country in their march toward national development.
He also announced that in addition to the two community schools in Riyadh and Jeddah, the mission has received a license to operate another school in Dammam. “Arrangements are being made to open this school during the new academic year,” he added.
To begin the day’s event, the ambassador unfurled the national flag amidst the beat of drums (Magul bera). Then community members joined the choir of the Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh to sing the national anthem. It was followed by the recital of Jayamangala Gatha and observance of two-minutes silence in memory of fallen heroes. “This was done as a mark of respect to all those, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation,” the envoy said.
Speaking further, the ambassador noted that the new government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is working hand-in-hand to create a new political culture, economic system and communal harmony in the country.
“Good governance (Yahapalanaya) is the motto of the present government. Following the end of the war, we had massive development drives and projects. Around half a decade later, now the country is led toward the marvelous goals of good governance and social justice where significant paradigm shifts in social, economic and political arenas are at their dawn,” he concluded.
In Jeddah, acting Consul General M.S.M. Ansar, hoisted the national flag at the consulate. More than 100 expatriates in the western province were present at the morning function to meet and greet fellow Sri Lankans.
Typical Sri Lankan dishes were served to guests at both the functions held in Riyadh and Jeddah. They included kiribath with katta sambol, kevum, dodal and kokis.


Saudi Arabia downs Houthi missile fired across border

Updated 23 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia downs Houthi missile fired across border

  • The missile was launched from Saada, the Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen
  • Saudi forces said they intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile targeting the Kingdom’s southern coastal city of Jizan on Friday

RIYADH: Saudi air defenses on Sunday intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militia at the Kingdom’s southern border city of Najran, which set a farm ablaze, state media said.
“Saudi forces were able to intercept (the missile),” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthis.
“But the shrapnel scattered over residential areas and caused a fire at a farm belonging to a citizen, without causing any injuries.”
The missile was launched from Saada, the Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen, the coalition was cited as saying.
The coalition said another missile crashed in a Saudi desert on Sunday, without specifying a location, adding it caused no damage.
Sunday’s strikes are the latest in a series of rebel bombardments on Saudi territory.
Saudi forces said they intercepted a Houthi ballistic missile targeting the Kingdom’s southern coastal city of Jizan on Friday, the second such strike in the area in over a week.
Earlier this month, Saudi forces said they intercepted rebel ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and the south of the Kingdom, where two drones were also shot down.
Saudi Arabia has since March 2015 led a coalition of Arab states fighting to roll back the Houthis in Yemen and restore its neighbor’s internationally recognized government to power.
Nearly 10,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
In March, an Egyptian laborer became the first known fatality in a rebel missile attack on the Saudi capital.
Saudi Arabia accuses its arch-rival Iran of smuggling missiles to the Houthis — a charge Tehran denies.