By Sasha Ingber
Sri Lanka has banned its citizens from wearing face coverings under an emergency law, after terrorist attacks at prominent churches and upscale hotels left hundreds dead in the small island nation.
President Maithripala Sirisena said the ban was meant to ensure national security, helping authorities to identify people. He did not specifically mention the niqab and burka, types of facial coverings worn by Muslim women across the world, but critics say the new measure violates their rights.
Amid heightened safety concerns, a body of Islamic scholars in Sri Lanka advised last week that Muslim women “should not hinder the security forces in their efforts to maintain national security by wearing the face cover (Niqab).”
The government’s face-covering ban took effectMonday, days after a violent raid that was linked to the investigation of the Easter Sunday bombings.
In the April 21 attack, a string of explosions occurred at three luxury hotels frequented by foreigners and three churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, as well as Negombo, to the north, and Batticaloa, to the east. At least 253 people were killed in the coordinated attacks. Another 15 people, including six children, died Friday in the country’s Eastern province after soldiers raided a house in search of suspects, a military spokesman said.
Authorities blamed the bombings on National Thowfeek Jamaath, a Muslim militant group that previously vandalized Buddhist statues in the majority Buddhist country. Sri Lanka was not seen as a hotbed for radical Islamist activity before the Easter attacks.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings last week, triggering fears of further violence the terrorist group might inspire. Sri Lankan authorities have arrested dozens of suspects and are searching for more militants with suspected links to ISIS.
The terrorist attacks have exacerbated a rivalry between Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister, who belong to different political parties. In 2018, the president ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe because of an alleged assassination attempt before later reappointing him.
But on Sunday, the two leaders attended a mass together in a rare display of unity, while Catholic churches were closed for safety.
Both men denied receiving intelligence warnings in the days before the coordinated bombings, yet both have been blamed for the attacks.
“At one level, if we are to be charitable it was a degree of incompetence and complacency,” Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Center for Policy Alternatives in Colombo, tells NPR’s Michael Sullivan of the government’s response to the warnings.
“At another level, which is more insidious, is a notion that, you know, perhaps there were people who did not want anyone to act upon it and wanted the catastrophe to take place,” Saravanamuttu says, “because they have political or other benefits to be derived from it actually happening.”
Sri Lanka is set to hold presidential elections late this year. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense minister and the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has emerged as a vocal candidate. He pledged to bring peace and “dismantle the networks” of radical Muslim militants in the country.
Wickremesinghe, the prime minister, has promised to enact new legislation to combat terrorism, saying, “Sri Lanka does not have any laws to arrest individuals who join foreign terrorist organizations,” according to the country’s state news agency.
Meanwhile, some top officials have been replaced since the bombings. Former Army Commander General S. H. Shantha Kottegoda was appointed as the new secretary to the Ministry of Defense on Monday, after the president requested former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando resign.
Some Sri Lankans say they’re distrustful of their leaders’ motivations. John Ison Fernando, an events planner who is a member of St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the bombed churches, tells NPR, “The prime minister wants to be the president in the next election. The current president wants to hold his position till next election.”
He added, “In this panicked situation, still they are callous.”
Food for Living: The Power of Persistence
By Henry Ukazu
Dear Destiny Friends,
The difference between success and failure is persistence – Dr. Yomi Garnett
There’s no doubt that there are many components of success. Some of them are courage, sacrifice, hard work, element of luck, role of mentors, destiny helpers, consistency, persistence, networking and grace of God.
But persistence happens to be one critical factor that determines whether one will go far in life or otherwise. All however, are dependent on ability to exhaust all options.
The power of persistence in everyday activity cannot be overemphasized. In reality, it’s usually difficult for one to pursue a task when the odds are against the person, and that’s where persistence becomes pronounced.
Persisting comes in various ways. As a student, it takes persistence for a student to continue reading a particular course or material even if the they find it difficult to comprehend. As a business owner, it takes persistence to continue trading when a loss is recorded. And as a husband or wife, it takes a combination of patience and persistence for to forge ahead in spite of challenges.
What really is persistence? It is ordinarily the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even when the odds are against him. Persistence shows how dedicated and passionate a person can be in the cause of pursuing a project.
Being persistent is a crucial factor in achieving success both in personal living, career, academics and in every walk of life. Being persistent is a key to unlocking the doors of opportunity and progress as well as helps to maintain focus on what really matters.
In the journey of life, it is persistence that shows the distinguishing trait between great leaders and achievers. If we look through every industry and culture across the globe, there’s one consistent trend among successful individuals, and that trend is the ability to persevere. Some of the greatest leaders of the world, who have achieved greatness through persistence include Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Colonel Sanders, Mark Victor Hansen and Steve Jobs. These persons persisted beyond the norm, and reached their goal.
A case study of Abraham Lincoln is very symbolic because he lost several elections, had challenges in marriage, failed in business, but he persisted and became the Presidential of the United States of America.
It’s instructive to note that persistence is about believing in oneself and finding a way to reach the result when the odds are against you. A further analysis of Abraham Lincoln shows that he failed in business at the age of 21, was defeated in a legislative race at age 22, failed again at business at age 24, overcame the death of his lover at age 26, had a nervous breakdown at age 27, lost a congressional race at 34 and 36, lost a senatorial race at 45, failed to become vice president at 47, lost a senatorial race at 49, and then finally was elected president of the United States of America at age 52.
There’s also the famous story of Thomas Edison trying 9,999 times to perfect the light bulb – and he couldn’t do it. Someone asked him, “Are you going to have 10,000 failures?” And he responded, “I didn’t fail; I just discovered another way not to invent the electric light bulb.”
Time and time again, individuals are stopped along their journey because of a certain failure. Note that just because you failed once doesn’t mean you or your project are defined by the failures. It simply means, as Thomas Edison believed, you found one more way it can’t work. It also implies that you are one step closer to achieving the result.
The major step in overcoming the adversity that comes with persistence is clarifying your why. By identifying the purpose behind your goal, your “why” will push you through challenging times.
It is your persistence that can show passerby how passionate you are about a cause.
Let me share a personal story with you; as an author and prolific creative writer, I have always loved the idea of having a large audience reading my weekly contents. I decided to take the bull by the horns by visiting one of the biggest media houses in Nigeria (Sun Newspaper) to seek an opportunity to showcase my work. After engaging with one of the managerial editors, he advised me to send my weekly articles to him for review. The moral of this story is the importance of being persistent. No one embarks on a journey just to waste time and money on projects one is not passionate about.
Being persistent in life can help you to stand out among your peers, it will help you to secure promotions or job opportunities. It will also help you to grow personally and professionally.
To receive the blessings of persistence, one must set specific and measurable goals; one must have a positive mindset and outlook towards life; one must have a good support system in times of adversaries; one must learn from setbacks, challenges and experiences of life; one must be proactive by being flexible if initial plans don’t work as planned, and finally but not the least, one must endeavor to celebrate small wins.
Below are some reasons persistence is important.
Overcoming Obstacles: Persistence allows you to push through difficulties and obstacles, and also navigate round roadblocks.
Learning from Failures: Persistence helps you learn from your mistakes. When you encounter failures, you don’t see them as permanent defeats. Instead, you view them as experience and opportunities for growth and improvement. Persistence will make one gain valuable insights and refine one’s strategies.
Developing Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Persistent individuals build resilience because they don’t let setbacks crush their spirit.
Inspiring Others: Do you know your persistence can motivate other people? When people see your relentless pursuit of a goal, they may feel inspired to overcome their own challenges. Your example becomes a beacon of hope and determination to others.
Overcome Fear and Self -doubt
One of the biggest challenges one will face when developing persistence is overcoming fear and doubt. Fear can take different forms, such as the fear of poverty, fear of flying, fear of failure, etc.
For persistence to work, it requires dedication, determination, and a willingness to keeping going even when things don’t go as planned. With the right attitude, anyone can learn how to use persistence as a way of leading with failure and overcoming obstacles in their life.
Being persistent is necessary for any progressive being who wants to achieve success in life or their career because it will help the person to stay motivated, overcome obstacles, gain experience, and ultimately reach their goals and vision in life.
In leadership, persistence is determined by adversity, commitment to vision, resilience against criticism, in spirituality, persistence is determined when one’s faith and uncertainty is tested, or exercising patience when waiting for divine timing, as an entrepreneur, persistence is determined by one’s ability to be resilient during setbacks.
In conclusion, it is important to state that persistence is a critical trait for anyone who wants to achieve their goals and turn challenges into opportunities, staying motivated, and having a good support system to overcome any challenges because it requires dedication and commitment.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
APC Declares Monday Okpebholo Winner of Edo Guber Primary Election
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared Monday Okpebholo, the Senator representing Edo Central in the National Assembly, as the winner of its rerun governorship primary election for the September 21 gubernatorial poll in Edo State.
The APC, on Thursday, held a fresh direct primary election across the 192 wards in the 18 local government areas of Edo State, after it declared last Saturday’s shadow election inconclusive.
Nine aspirants contested the election after three aspirants, including Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, and a former Permanent Secretary, Earnest Afolabi Umakhihe, withdrew from the race.
Earlier, the APC had mandated a seven-man Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee chaired by Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, to supervise the direct primary election.
The party, however, replaced Uzodimma with Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu.
Declaring the results of the shadow election on Friday at the collation centre, Lushville Hotel and Suites, Gapiona Avenue, Government Reservation Area (GRA), Benin City, Otu said Okpekholo polled 12,433 votes to defeat his closest rival, the lawmaker representing Ovia constituency in the House of Representatives, Dennis Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.
Born on August 29, 1970, in Udomi-Uwesan, Irrua, Edo Central, Okpebholo, whose name also coincides with his Okpebholo ancestry, was popularly nicknamed Akpakomisa from childhood because of his survival of the tough times occasioned by the numerous water borne disease at the time.
Economic Hardship: Sanwo-Olu Slashes Fares by 25%, Approves 3-Day
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced a 25 per cent slash in transport fares for government-owned transport schemes.
Sanwo-Olu, who made this announcement during a live media chat tagged: ‘Sanwo Speaks,’ on Thursday, said that civil servants from levels 1–14 will begin to work three days a week as part of measures to ease the economic challenges.
He explained that the forum was meant to intimate residents of measures adopted to reduce the economic burden on Lagosians.
The governor noted that workers in the teaching sector will, however, maintain the five-day-a-week work schedule, while the government will ensure additional transportation support for them.