Sri Lanka Says its Artificial Christmas Tree is World’s Tallest
December 24, 2016 11:15 PM Associated Press (source)
Sri Lanka Says its Artificial Christmas Tree is World's Tallest
December 24, 2016 11:15 PM
Sri Lanka unveiled a towering Christmas tree, claiming to have surpassed the world record despite constructions delays and a shorter-than-planned finished product.
The 73-meter (238-foot) artificial tree in capital Colombo is 18 meters (59 feet) taller than the current record holder, organizers said. The tree's steel-and-wire frame is covered with a plastic net decorated with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver, 600,000 LED bulbs and topped by a 6-meter (20-foot) tall shining star.
Church says money misspent
The tree costs ,000 and was criticized by the Catholic Church as a waste of money. The church suggested that the funds better be spent on helping the poor.
Hundreds of port workers and volunteers struggled for four months to put up the tree in time for the holidays. Work was suspended for six days in early December after Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, representing the island nation's 1.5 million Catholics, lambasted the project.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responded to the criticism by saying the tree was not being built with public money, but with donations from individuals and private firms.
The Guinness World Records is yet to confirm if this is the tallest artificial Christmas tree. Currently, the record is held by a Chinese firm that put up a 55-meter (180-foot) treelike tower of lights and synthetic foliage, ornaments and lamps in the city of Guangzhou last year.
A tree for harmony
Sri Lankan organizers said they wanted the tree to help promote ethnic and religious harmony in the Buddhist-majority island nation, where a long civil war ended in 2009 but reconciliation remains a challenge.
"This is just to show the world that we can live as one country, one nation," said Arjuna Ranatunga, a former cricket player and the minister of ports and shipping. He said Sri Lanka is still grappling with issues regarding religion, caste and race.
Minority Christian and Muslim communities complain of state-sponsored discrimination, and there are allegations of widespread abuses against minority ethnic Tamils both during and after the war.
這棵位在斯里蘭卡首都可倫坡(Colombo)的人造樹高達73公尺（238英尺）。主辦單位說，這比目前的紀錄保持者(record holder)還高出了18公尺（59英尺）。這棵樹的鋼筋與鐵絲構造為塑膠網所覆蓋，上面以超過100萬顆漆成紅色、金色、綠色和銀色的天然松果(pine cone)和60萬顆LED燈泡裝飾，最頂端則以一顆6公尺（20英尺）高的閃亮的星星裝飾。
數百名港口工人與志工花了四個月的時間，努力趕在佳節前把樹搭建(put up)好。代表這個島國上150萬名天主教徒的馬爾科姆·蘭吉特樞機主教(Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith)嚴厲批評(lambaste)這個計畫，使得工程曾因此於12月初中斷(suspend)了六天。
這棵世界最高的人造聖誕樹還未受金氏世界紀錄(Guinness World Records)認證。目前的紀錄保持者為去年中國廣州市的一座55公尺(180英尺)高的樹型塔，由小燈、人造合成枝葉(synthetic foliage)、裝飾品(ornament)和燈具所構成。
前板球球員、現職為港口與航運部部長的阿朱那‧拉納頓加(Arjuna Ranatunga)表示：「這棵樹能向世界展示，斯里蘭卡是個團結一致的國家。」他也說，斯里蘭卡仍在努力處理(grapple with)宗教、種性制度(caste)和種族的議題。
unveil (v) 為……揭幕
surpass (v) 超過，優於，勝過
suspend (v) 停止，暫停，中止
lambaste [læm`best] (v) 猛烈抨擊；狠狠批評
synthetic (a) 合成的，人造的
foliage[`foliɪdʒ] (n) 葉子；樹葉；枝葉
reconciliation [rɛkən͵sɪlɪ`eʃən] (n) 和解；和好；修好
*動詞為：reconcile [`rɛkənsaɪl] (v) 使和解，使和好；由字首 "re-"「再一次」和字根 "conciliate"「安撫；調停」組成
grapple with something (v phr) 盡力解決；設法對付
*grapple [`græpḷ] (v) 抓住；掌握。另一動詞片語grapple with someone則是「與某人扭打在一塊」的意思
allegation [͵ælə`geʃən] (n)（未經證實的）指責，指控
*allege [ə`lɛdʒ] (v) 斷言，宣稱
widespread (a) 廣泛的；普遍的；遍佈的
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Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, highlight the blanks to reveal the hidden answers.
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