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Chủ Nhật, tháng 1 01, 2006

No. 0712

President opens Singapore Maithri Gama
BY SARATH Malalasekera in Hambantota
Monday, 2 January 2006

THE Singapore Red Cross Society with the Singapore Buddhist Research Society selected the Hambantota District to build houses for the tsunami affected people, said Singapore Buddhist Research Society (SBRS) President Wong Weng Fai.

"We were proud to select Hambantota District to assist people who were affected by the tsunami, because Hambantota is the native place of the newly elected Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse," he said.

SBRS President Fai, also the Associate Professor, National University of Singapore, was speaking to the media after the distribution of fifty houses at the "Singapore Maithri Gama" in the Hambantota District to the tsunami affected people in the Hambantota area by President Mahinda Rajapakse recently.

The Hambantota housing project was originated by the Singapore Red Cross Society and assisted by Singapore Buddhist Research Society Advisor Ven. Bellanwila Dhammarathana Nayake Thera.

The visiting Singapore delegates were led by Chief Co-ordinator of the project David EE, Prof. Wong Weng Fai, President Singapore Buddhist Research Society and Ms. Susan Chong, Chief Trustee of the Singapore Buddhist Research Society.

He emphasised that the Singapore Buddhist Research Society will not only assist to build houses for the tsunami affected but also build a school, a community centre and a medical centre for their benefit.

Several Singapore made doors had been imported for the use of newly build houses in the "Singapore Maithri Gama."

"We will distribute school uniforms and toys to the needy people in the Hambantota District," he said.

Each house consist of two bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen and an attached bathroom on a 20-perch block of land costing Rs. 500,000. Donors are planning to complete the project with 150 houses to be handed over to the tsunami affected people in the Hambantota District.

Ven. Dhammarathana Nayake Thera said that the entire project with 150 houses will be completed soon.

No. 0710

BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR: Thousands flock to make merit
Published on January 02, 2006

After colourful countdowns on Saturday night, Thais throughout the country began the first morning of 2006 by making Buddhist-style food offerings, or taak bart, to monks. In many provinces, the religious activity was organised by provincial authorities while elsewhere communities staged their own. The biggest official offering was held at Buddha Monthon in Nakhon Pathom, where deputy Prime Minsiter Suwat Liptapanlop led local residents and visitors to offer food to 1,250 monks.

In Ranong, Trang and Songkhla, dry food items collected by the monks were to be gathered and sent to flood victims around Songkhla Lake. Floodwater continues to linger in Songkhla’s three districts because of the high level of water in the lake.

In Phuket, thousands of people took part in taak bart activities at Saphan Hin. In Tak, the line of people waiting to offer food to monks stretched for more than a kilometre.

End-of-year parties were attended by both locals and foreign tourists in most big towns, except for the three restive provinces on the southern border and some tsunami-affected provinces like Phang Nga.

Hotels in Phuket and Hat Yai reported occupancy rates of 70 per cent last night as tourists flooded into the towns to join the Andaman Fun Park and Entertainment Fair and the Night Paradise Hat Yai Countdown 2006, which were organised to help revive the tourism industry in the Andaman provinces. The two main countdown sites in Phuket were Patong Beach and Saphan Hin.

However, the influx of tourists into Phuket also brought back the water-shortage problem, local hotel owners said.

A highlight of the party in Chiang Mai was the launch of traditional floating lamps. However, the burning lamps caused two small fires in the main town – one near the parking lot of The House restaurant on Moolmuang Road and another one in the Wat Ket area. No one was hurt in the fires, which caused some slight damage to property.

Alcohol-fuelled fights among teenagers were blamed for the deaths of three people in Pattaya, Prachuab Khiri Khan and Nakhon Si Thammarat.

In Chiang Rai, police caught one Burmese and one Taiwanese trying to use the occasion to smuggle 400 grams of heroin across the Mae Sai Pass into Thailand.

In his New Year blessing, respected senior monk Phra Thep Wisutkawee of Bangkok’s Rachathiwaswiharn urged Thais to live their lives carefully and to follow the five Buddhist’s precepts.