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The Star Online: Metro: Central

UK tourist recounts 'hellish' time in Sri Lanka over Buddha tattoo

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:42 AM PDT

Colombo (AFP) - A 37-year-old British nurse recounted Tuesday her "hellish" experience in Sri Lanka after she was arrested and sent to a deportation centre for sporting a Buddha tattoo deemed offensive by authorities.

Naomi Coleman was arrested at the country's main international airport on Monday shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement.

"It is a terrible, hellish experience," Coleman, a mental health nurse from Coventry in England, told AFP by telephone at the Sri Lankan deportation centre.

"I am a practising Buddhist and meditate. That is why I have the tattoo -- not out of disrespect for Buddhism."

Earlier, pulling up her white t-shirt, Coleman displayed for an AFP photographer the tattoo of a meditating Buddha seated on a pink lotus flower on the upper part of her right arm.

She said the tatoo had never created problems when she visited the country twice before or even in other Buddhist countries like Thailand and Cambodia.

Coleman said that she was never told what charges were brought against her, but was held for six hours and harassed by police for bribes.

She paid 5,000 rupees ($38) for a lawyer, who did not help her, she added.

"I cried. I am very afraid," she told AFP.

Sri Lanka, a majority Buddhist nation, is highly sensitive to perceived insults to the religion.

Sri Lanka barred another British tourist from entering the island in March last year for showing "disrespect" to Buddhism by having a Buddha tattooed on his arm.

In August 2012, three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what the authorities considered a sign of disrespect.

Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting in 2010 over one of his music videos which featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.

It was not immediately clear to which country the detained British woman would be deported or when she would be put on a flight.

Young royals turn DJs in Queen's Australian namesake

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 02:14 AM PDT

Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) - Prince William on Wednesday visited the South Australian town named after his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, where he and wife Kate met disadvantaged youngsters and tried their hands at DJ-ing.

Named after the British monarch in 1955, Elizabeth is a northern satellite suburb of Adelaide which in recent years has been plagued by unemployment.

In a youth-oriented day on their three-week tour Down Under, the British couple visited a community music programme and a skateboard park, where they had a go at spinning some tracks on the DJ decks and watched some breakdancing.

"She was fantastic," Shane Petersen, a workshop facilitator in the hip hop class the couple visited, said of Kate's ability to scratch a beat. "But he can fly a helicopter so it's horses for courses."

William, second in line to the British throne and a trained military helicopter pilot, also spoke of his taste in music, saying: "I like house music, I still like a bit of rock'n'roll and the classics and a bit of R'n'B."

The 31-year-old prince added a blue sky to an aerosol artwork then watched a BMX and scooter display, at which he and the duchess were given a skateboard featuring boxing kangaroos for their baby son George, who is with them on tour.

Catherine, wearing a pale pink Alexander McQueen suit and nude stiletto pumps, also spoke to six-year-old Lauren Stephenson whose cancer has been in remission for two years.

The royals, who flew in from Uluru in Australia's central desert where they had spent the night camping under the stars, then attended a civic reception for young volunteers and community leaders.

Thousands of people flocked to Elizabeth's Playford Civic Centre, with some staking their positions before dawn to catch a glimpse of the glamorous pair.

"I think it is marvellous they are actually recognising part of... Adelaide that has had some difficult times," acting South Australian Premier John Rau told the Adelaide Now website.

After the reception, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met 100-year-old Monica Swarbrick.

"The duke wished me a happy birthday," she said.

William and Kate have been greeted by tens of thousands of well-wishers on their tour of New Zealand and Australia, which ends Friday after a reception hosted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra on Thursday. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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