Stinging Response

Sri Lankan authorities Monday sought divine intervention to calm a colony of venomous wasps who stung more than 200 tourists at the fifth-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, a World Heritage Site.
Cultural ministry officials said they offered alms and cash to gods at the foot of the 180-metre (600-foot) fortress, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Colombo.rn

rn “We had a ritual this morning to appease the Gods and exorcise any evil spirits and calm the wasps,” an official at Sigiriya said by telephone. “But the rock will remain closed until further notice.”rn

rn The official said initial investigations showed that students had thrown stones and disturbed the colony of wasps nesting at the main steps to the fortress on Saturday.rn

rn More than 200 tourists, including foreigners, were discharged from hospital at the weekend after treatment, officials said.rn

rn Army troops were called in Saturday to smoke out the wasps and rescue dozens of visitors who were marooned on top of the rock.rn<