When a relative approached Mohamed Nafeek in 2005 to explore the possibility of sending his eldest daughter, Rizana, to the Middle East as a domestic worker, the family thought its luck had finally turned for the better.
Having to take care of eight teenage children is not an easy task for 70-year-old Yamunadevi (not her real name).
Ramaih Sathdiyapillai has had enough of life on the run. A native of Kilinochchi district – which was until not too long ago the stronghold of the separatist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka's north – she bore the brunt of the war along with tens of thousands of others.
Traffic now flows around the U.N. compound here in the Sri Lankan capital, and the dozens of policemen visible last week are no longer there. It is business as usual, a far cry from a week back when an angry minister's death fast just outside the main U.N. office made the area the focus of international attention.
For a country that has had quite a few run-ins with global giants in the diplomatic arena, the last fortnight has witnessed somewhat of a turnaround for Sri Lanka.
In the yard of the Javiz Arulanandam's church here lies the top portion of a statue of Jesus Christ. Only the head remains of the statue, which would have been at least 20 feet tall.
Elephant Pass conjures up images of the deadliest battles in Sri Lanka's conflict with the Tamil Tigers. But today, tens of thousands of local visitors have been to visit the former war zone.
Anger against the popular rap and hip-hop singer Akon, whose music video has footage of bikini-clad women dancing near a Buddha statue, may have been just a ruse used in this week's attack on a private media house in Sri Lanka, media advocates fear.
Sri Lanka's bruising presidential election ended less than a month ago on Jan. 26, but the island nation is now caught up in protests that threaten to spiral into public agitation across the country.
Sri Lankans witnessed one of the country's most contentious elections ever when President Mahinda Rajapaksa staved off the challenge posed by his former Army commander, Sarath Fonseka, and clinched more than 1.8 million majority votes during the Jan. 26 poll.
The string of events involving the Sri Lankan press over the past week has once again brought the embattled Fourth Estate into the limelight. This comes into sharp focus as the country eagerly awaits the upcoming presidential elections.
Despite the recent accelerated return of tens of thousands of war-displaced civilians to their former villages in northern Sri Lanka and the impending relaxation of further restrictions, aid agencies say far more efforts are needed to help the civilian population regain normalcy lost to decades of conflict.
The two double-decker buses were a rarity on the Avissawella-Colombo road. One usually does not see slow-moving old English buses on the highway about 50 kilometres out of the capital Colombo.