MR heads to UK

President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for Britain early this morning to take part in Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

A delegation of just over 35 members are accompanying the President to London where he will be hosted to lunch with the Queen.

Human rights activists have paid particular attention to the invitation of president Rajapaksa, whose regime has come under increased scrutiny over alleged war crimes and disappearances.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, exactly 60 years and 118 days ago as of Sunday. In the long history of England and the British Empire, only Queen Victoria has ruled longer, for 63 years and 216 days.

Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, she was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (who would later become King George VI) and his wife, who was also named Elizabeth. Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was 101 years old when she died in 2002.