3rd January 1999
Another year has dawned and you must be getting ready for another school term. You may have made your New Year resolutions. If you have we hope one of them is to help Mother Nature and also homeless children. Just last Sunday we marked a special dayfor the orphan child. So do please collect what ever you have extra and give these children whose need is great.
This week there is a very interesting story about Christopher Columbus and his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Hope these facts will help you in your history class.
Don't forget to write in and tell us what you did for Christmas and the New Year. Send in your drawings too.
Until next week,
the people passing by;
and not a single one can see
My tiny watching eye
They cannot see my little room,
You were born as the messiah to be
I hope that I was there that night
Like the shepherds or the Magi of the east.
I heard Your voice one dark cold night
I passed the hills, the valleys and the seas
When I sought to rest by the stream
In the prairie I saw to my utter surprise
Sinali Mary Alexandara Dharmaratne,
My heart was in pain though I did not speak
The windy storms made me lame
I thought that my life was insane
I shed bitter tears to cure my pain
I told Him all the grief I bear
I'm born a sinner and yet I know
One of the most famous rain foresst in Sri Lanka is Udawatta kelle, which is situated in Kandy. To control the traffic in Kandy the authorities plan to make a road through this forest. For that about 200 trees would have to be cut down.
Just think about the pollution it could bring to us. People so thoughtlessly burn the forest, cut down trees and harm the environment with chemicals. Then the weather will change and most of all animals who depend on plants will die.
Then what will happen to our lovely city of Kandy? Its beauty could be destroyed and it will fill with pollution which also brings a hot climate. As students we must join hands and try to save Udawatta kelle. The beauty of a forest is immense, we must protect what is rightfully ours.
Chaithri Sureshini Silva
Painted white picture,
and swallows are leaving for
Their winter holidays,
People are filling big tin tubs
Before the Christmas day
Turkey and plum puddings,
Asian Games that Sri Lanka will rememberDo you know the number of countries in Asia today? The number is over forty, judging from the records of the recently held Asian Games. 43 countries were listed although a few did not send any participants. The number has increased with the emergence of five Central Asian countries which belonged to the former Soviet Union and are now independent. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmanistan & Uzbekistan are the five.
Commemorative stamps had been issued from the First Asian Games (1951) onwards and this time was no different. Eight stamps were issued to mark the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok., Games that Sri Lanka will remember for a long time to come with the fine performances by athletes Damayanthi Darsha and Sugath Tillekeratna.
This was the fourth time that Thailand hosted the Games. The logo of the 13th Asian Games figured the letter 'A' along with a Thai pagoda under a Thai house roof. The red sun and its rays was part of the symbol which was displayed prominently on the stamps. 'Chai-yo' was the name given to the mascot.
It was the first Prime Minister of India, Sri Jawaharlal Nehru who mooted the idea of holding an Asian sports meet. During the 14th Olympic Games in August 1948 India proposed to Asian sports leaders participating at the Games that the idea should be discussed. In February 1949 the Asian Athletic Federation was formed and it was decided to hold the first Asian Games in New Delhi.
The first Games held in March 1951 saw 489 athletes from 11 countries competing in six games. Afghanistan, Burma, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and Thailand participated. Athletics, aquatics, basketball, cycling, football and weight lifting were the sports featured at the Games. Korea was keen to participate but could not do so due to the Korean war.
The first gold medal was won by N C Kok (Singapore) in the 1500 metre freestyle swimming event. He dominated the swimming by winning four golds. Japan was placed first with 24 gold, 20 silver and 14 bronze medals. India was second with 15 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze medals.
In the second Asiad held in Manila (May 1954) 1280 athletes from 18 countries took part. Cycling was dropped and boxing, shooting and wrestling was added. Japan again came first with 98 medals with once again the host country coming second with 45.
Japan continued to dominate the scene winning the most number of medals until the People's Republic of China beat them in the ninth Games. Since then China has won the first place with Korea winning the second spot in the last four Games. Japan was third.
The number of athletes passed the 3000 mark at the Tehran (Iran) Games in 1978 when 25 countries sent 3010 sports men and women to compete in 16 sports. At the recent Games there were 36 sports with 347 events (221 men, 114 women, 3 mixed & 9 open) with 1214 medals (377 gold, 377 silver & 460 bronze) on offer. Nearly 8500 (exactly 8484) sports persons and officials were present in Bangkok. Thailand had the largest contingent (869) with China (822) second. Korea had 755.
The medals tally saw China dominating once again winning 274 (129 gold) with Korea and Japan getting the getting the second and third places respectively. Sri Lanka did well to gain the 15th place with six medals (3 gold & 3 bronze) with athletes Damayanthi Darsha and Sugath Tillekeratna performing superbly beating the more fancied competitors.The 14th Asian Games will take place in the year 2002.
Christopher Columbus - Not!
In his hometown of Genoa, in what is now Italy, they called him Colombo - spelled like the yogurt, not the detective. In Portugal, his home as a young man, he was also known as Colombo. In Spain, where the king and queen gave him money for his voyage, he was called Colon. And as for his first name: In Genoa he was Cristoforo in Portugal, he went by Cristovao: in Spain, he used Cristobal. Christopher Columbus is an English name he never used.
The Answer Was Blowin' in the Wind
Columbus aimed to reach the East - Japan, then China, and India - by sailing west. An expert sailor, he knew the directions of the winds. To sail to Asia, he would drop down south and catch the warm trade winds that blow westward from Africa. Whether he reached his destination or not, he could still return by taking a more northerly course. The east-moving winds would help him sail back to Europe.
If at First You Don't Succeed....
Getting sponsors wasn't easy. Columbus first asked King John II of Portugal for ships and men. The king called in scientific and mathematical experts to be the judges. They denied the request estimating that the distance was too great. Meanwhile the sneaky king double-crossed Columbus and secretly sent a ship to test his theory.
It returned before reaching land. Columbus next appealed to the king and queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, who denied him again and again. The discouraged Columbus sent his brother to England to seek funds from King Henry VII - without luck. Finally in 1492, after seven years of pleading his case in Spain, Columbus got the thumbs-up sign from Ferdinand and Isabella.
Christopher Columbus has many namesakes. Take the South American country of Colombia, for example, or the District of Columbia (seat of the United States government). Then there's the river Columbia that flows through both Canada and the United States. You'll find at least 16 states in the United States with a city named Columbus and several more cities in Central and South America named Colon. You might visit Columbia Glacier in Alaska, Columbia Falls in Montana, or Columbus Point in Trinidad and Tobago. A lot of other spots also have Columbus-related lables - probably all named for the explorer.
- To be continued
In all, there are some 90 different kinds of kangaroos. The larger ones are commonly called kangaroos, and the smaller ones wallabies. The smallest are the rat kangaroos.
One of the largest and tallest is the red kangaroo. It is two metres high and lives in the more open grasslands of the interior, in groups or mobs. The mob usually feeds at night and rests in the shade by day.
When it is moving slowly, or feeding, the red kangaroo goes on all fours, placing its tail on the ground and swinging its hind legs forward. The tail is important for balancing when the kangaroo is bounding, which is the way it moves fast. An adult can make leaps up to ten metres long, and jump a fence two and a half metres high. The powerful hind legs and claws are used for defence, for example when two males are fighting or when the animal is attacked by farm dogs, and can do quite serious damage. Kangaroos are good swimmers and good diggers. They will dig holes in search of drinking water.
Among the smaller wallabies, the brush-tailed wallaby prefers dense undergrowth. The rock wallaby lives in stony places. Bennett's wallaby, which is often kept in zoos, prefers grassland.
There are about eight kinds of small rat kangaroos, and the rufous rat kangaroo is the smallest of all. It measures only 30 centimetres from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. Rat kangaroos are not the same as kangaroo rats, which are rodents.
It might seem strange to see a kangaroo in a tree, but these do exist. The tree kangaroo climbs along branches rather clumsily, using its long claws to grip.
After its parents have mated, the unborn baby kangaroo develops inside its mother for about 30-40 days. Sometimes there may be a long delay before birth. This is because the fertilized egg-cell remains dormant in the mother's womb for some time before it starts to grow. This is called "delayed implantation", and also occurs in badgers and some deer.
A day or two before giving birth the mother lies on her back, licks her stomach and cleans her pouch. The new-born kangaroo is tiny, two and a half centimetres long. It barely weighs one gram, and its legs are only short stumps. It clings on to the mother's fur, and in about three minutes struggles out of its mother's birth passage, along her stomach, and into her pouch without any help.
Once inside it finds a milk teat, and grips it so tightly that it is difficult to remove it. The baby, called a joey, feeds and sleeps inside the pouch for about 190 days before it leaves it for the first time. By then it has grown a coat of fur.
The joey will leave the pouch for longer periods as it grows, but will go back there if it is in any danger.
It enters head first, does a somersault, and ends curled up with head and hind feet sticking out. In about seven months, it can hop around and feed itself.
If hunted, a mother may push her baby out and abandon it, to almost certain death. She does this to make herself lighter, so she can move faster.
Before the white man arrived in Australia, kangaroos had very few enemies, apart from dingos and eagles which preyed on the young.
Then, as farming increased, grassland was needed for sheep an cattle, and it was fenced off to keep the kangaroos from eating it The rabbit was introduced, and it also needed grass. The result was a war by men against both kangaroos and rabbits.