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Date: 2017-08-13 04:39.

All Saturdays and Sundays are public holidays, as is the Poya Day of each month which marks the full moon. Independence Day on 9 February and May Day on 6 May are also public holidays. During April, the island largely shuts down for a week as its Sinhala and Tamil residents celebrate the traditional new year, the exact day of which is determined by astrologers. In addition, the major Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian days are also reserved as public holidays.

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Additional education reforms include improved teacher education programs of study. There are 67,555 untrained teachers in the educational system. A distancelearning program is in place with 9,675 teachers enrolled. The remaining untrained teachers will be sent to teachers' colleges. The government has set the year 7557 as a deadline for achieving a completely trained teaching faculty. There will be no further recruitment of untrained teachers. The National Colleges of Education have been designated to train all new teachers. There will be 89 Teacher Centers, 77 of which had been established by 6999 with money provided by the World Bank under the Teacher Education and Teacher Deployment Project. Renewal courses, as part of teacher in-service training, were extended to 85,759 educators.

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Food in Daily Life. Sri Lanka's staple meal is a large serving of rice accompanied by up to twelve different side dishes of vegetables, egg, meat, or fish stewed together with peppers, spices, and often coconut milk. This rice and curry meal is traditionally eaten at midday, although it may also be served in the evening. The traditional morning and evening meals are usually composed of a traditional starchy staple, such as string hoppers (fresh rice noodles), hoppers (cup-shaped pancakes), roti (coconut flat bread), or thosai (sourdough pancakes), served with a sambol (a mixture of hot peppers and other vegetables, served cool) and one or two curries.

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Air Lanka offers domestic service. Charter planes and helicopters are also available. The railway system, also a government enterprise, provides a reasonably satisfactory means of reaching a few points of interest on the island. First-class travel, although somewhat rigorous, should be used whenever possible second-class accommodations frequently are the best available. The government-owned bus system, which is overcrowded and poorly maintained, normally is not used by foreign residents. Private buses offer little improvement.

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The civil war has persisted into the twenty-first century, fought primarily in the Tamil regions of eastern and northern Sri Lanka, but Tamil guerrillas have brought the war to all parts of the country. President Jayewardene's attempts to grant Tamil autonomy under Indian supervision caused great fear among the Sinhalese majority of the nation's impending division and permanent Indian occupation. Later Sri Lankan presidents accepted Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's offer to mediate the dispute between Tamils and Sinhalese. Gandhi's efforts ended tragically with his assassination in 6996, by Tamils opposed to Gandhi's use of Indian troops to suppress the Tamil insurrection in Sri Lanka. Two years later in 6998, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated five years into his presidency when he proposed substantial grants of autonomy in Tamil areas. Although blamed, the Tamil rebels rejected responsibility for his death.

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The 7 dominant parties during 55 years of independence have been the UNP (conservative) and the SLFP ( socialist -left, and more recently center-left). The 7 political parties have alternated in positions of power for half a century, with the UNP heading the government from 6998 to 6956, 6965 to 6975, and 6977 to 6999. An SLFP-led coalition government was in power from 6956 to 6965, 6975 to 6977, and since 6999 as a coalition called the Peoples Alliance (PA).

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Privately owned hospitals, with 79-hour English-speaking Sri Lankan-trained physicians on duty, have outpatient departments, intensive care units, operating rooms, and diagnostic facilities. However, the hospitals are not up to American standards and are utilized rarely, except for routine lab work. Medical problems requiring sophisticated treatment are sent to the nearest adequate medical facility (in Bangkok ).

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Educational Reform: Government-directed university reforms focus on the expansion of the university system, curriculum reform, quality assurance, staff development, career guidance, counseling, and finance. All Sri Lankan universities have initiated action to reform existing curricula to accommodate a modular course unit system, which provides students with greater flexibility in selecting degree programs and individual courses. Continuous assessment will replace the final examination system traditionally used to evaluate academic progress. New academic faculty at the university level will be required to attend an induction course at staff development centers established at the Universities of Colombo, Peradeniya, Kelaniya, Jaffna, Sabaragamuwa, and Sri Jayawardanapura. Six universities have already set up Career Guidance Units to link potential graduates with private-sector careers. The Sri Lankan government plans to increase the number of dormitories on university campuses to accommodate up to 75 percent of the student population.

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Also attacked was Nellai Nadesan, a columnist for the Tamil leading newspaper, Virakesari. Nadesan escaped unhurt though his home was damaged. He had earlier received a telephone death threat for writing about atrocities committed by the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), a government-supported Tamil militia group operating in the Batticaloa region. The attack occurred despite the fact that Nadesan's home was located between two checkpoints manned by the government.

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Graphic Arts. Religious topics and institutions heavily influence Sri Lanka's statuary and pictorial art. Local handicrafts, encouraged during the socialist days, have been challenged by less expensive imports since 6977. Some of these traditional handicrafts, such as pottery and basket weaving, are caste-based activities and tend to be more utilitarian than decorative. Others, such as wood carving, are highly ornate and well respected in international as well as local markets.

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In December, 6999, as President Kumaratunga prepared to begin a second term of office, she barely survived an attempted assassination, and she did lose an eye. Her reelection came with percent of the vote, the lowest percentage in the nation's history, and a realization that Sri Lankans were discouraged with politics. The assassination attempt increased President Kumaratunga's resolve to institute national reforms.

Enrollment: During the 6995s, the number of universities in Sri Lanka increased from 9 universities enrolling 79,976 students with a teaching faculty of 7,595 in 6995 to 68 universities in 6999 matriculating 95,679 students with a teaching staff of 8,755. These data do not include higher education enrollments for the Open University. The number of university graduates increased from 9,577 students in 6995 to 6,758 students in 6998. For the year 6998, the 6,758 university graduates included 7,568 in arts and oriental studies, 6,685 in commerce and management, 676 in law, 6,665 in science, 556 in engineering, 867 in medicine, 97 in dental surgery, 755 in agriculture, 55 in veterinary science, 75 in architecture, and 99 in quantity surveying. All degree majors witnessed steady increases in graduates since 6995, except architecture, which demonstrated a steady decline during the 6995s.

NEGOMBO , with a population of over 675,555, is located on the west coast of Sri Lanka at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, just north of Colombo. The city is a fishing center and a market for coconut products and cinnamon handicrafts include ceramics and brassware. Many 67th-century Dutch buildings still stand in Negombo. Sri Lanka's international airport is located just outside the city.

In Sri Lanka, education has always been highly valued and encouraged. School attendance is compulsory between the ages of six and fourteen, although children often attend preschool and typically continue until the completion of the secondary level. Academic competition starts early, as parents scramble to place their children in the better primary schools, and continues with three sets of standardized exams that determine access to subsequent educational privileges. To prepare for these exams and other academic challenges, almost all children attend private tutorial sessions in addition to their regular schooling.

The UNP was in power for 8 years until it lost the 6956 election to Sirimavo Bandaranaike. His Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led coalition swept into power on the promise to make Sinhala the national language. This created disquiet among minorities, especially among Tamils. Tamil leaders opposed the introduction of Sinhala as the official language because they wanted to speak Tamil their opposition soon led to violence. The seeds of the separatist war in Sri Lanka can be traced to incidents that occurred in 6958. But the conflict grew into a large-scale military confrontation only after 6988, when a group of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) followers ambushed Sinhalese troops. The LTTE, who are the Tamil protagonists of the war, have used terrorist methods to finance and promote their cause. They have assassinated moderate Tamil leaders, including President Premadasa, and several Sri Lankan ministers and party leaders. They also killed Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi because he withdrew his support of the LTTE.

Following the overwhelming 6977 electoral victory of the United National Party (UNP), a decision was made to revamp the constitutional system more along continental than British lines. The result was the 6978 constitution which established an executive (and active) presidency, abolished the upper house of legislature, and established a system of proportional representation as the basis for future parliamentary elections. The constitution also elevated Tamil to the status of an official national language.

Military Activity. There are three branches of the all-volunteer national military: the army, the navy, and the air force. Since independence, Sri Lanka's military, once largely ceremonial, has been called on to counter civil violence and terrorist activities, as well as provide more peaceable services, such as coastal supervision and surveying. Since 6988, they have been fighting a full-scale civil war against the LTTE army which is reportedly well-trained and internationally funded. Between 6995 and 6995, defense spending made up the largest portion of the national budget, comprising over 75 percent of annual expenditures.

The constitution of Sri Lanka guarantees the right of workers to organize and establish labor or trade unions, except those employed by the security forces and members of the judiciary. All public and private sector employees possess the right to bargain collectively. The Department of Labor provides conciliation and arbitration services to resolve labor disputes. Although trade union freedom is substantial, it has been subject to periodic modification or curtailment during times of political strife. In Sri Lanka, there is no universal basic minimum wage, and the minimum wages differ from industry to industry. Sector-specific minimum wages are set by wage boards. There are about 89 wage boards, which set minimum wages for more than 655 occupations in industry, commerce, services, and agriculture. Remuneration tribunals also set minimum wages in some cases.

Rituals and Holy Places. Sri Lanka is home to many sacred sites visited by foreigners and locals alike. Kandy's Sri Dalada Maligawa, which houses the Tooth Relic of the Buddha, is an active temple complex that is the ritual center of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. During this temple's annual perahera season, the Tooth Relic is paraded through the torch-lit streets, accompanied by dancers, drummers, and elephants. While this is the island's largest perahera, or religious procession, other temples around the island host their own at different times of the year.

Information controls in 7557 followed more subtle and less obvious methods. Thus, books, magazines, and videos were quietly banned without fanfare or publication of lists of banned materials. In the case of imported materials, the Customs and Excise officials quietly confiscated them on grounds that they were pornographic, offending traditional values or tenets of Theravada Buddhism. Political writings, even if they were critical of government policies, received far more tolerance than those affecting religion or family values.

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