MCA Cricket: 21 teams in fray at Over-40 6s

A record number of entries have attracted the Annual MCA Over-40 'Sixes' 2018 to be held Sunday (24) simultaneously at the MCA, Thurstan College and Wesley College Grounds, commencing 8.30 am at all three venues. 

This time the number of teams have increased from last year’s 18 to 21, which is an all time high. 

Teams playing at MCA (Nine teams) 

Group 'A': John Keells Group (2017 winner) , Sampath Bank 'B' and Colombo Dockyard. 

Group 'B': Singer SL, Laughs Holdings, NDB Bank. 

Group 'C': Fair First Insurance, SL Telecom, AMW Group. 

Teams playing at Thurstan (Six teams) 

Group 'D': Sampath Bank 'A', Commercial Bank, Alliance Insurance. 

Group 'E': HNB 'A', Hayleys Group, Power-Tech Cement 

Teams playing at Wesley (Six teams) 

Group 'F': HNB “B”, Regnis Lanka, Airport and Aviation Services. 

Group 'G': Sri Lankan Airlines (2017 runners-up), The Finance Co., Deutsche Bank AG.

The tournament played in the lines of the International HK 'Sixes' will be conducted in two stages-the 'league' and the 'Knock-out' consisting 28 matches including the Final. 

The Finalist from Thurstan College Grounds will travel to the MCA Grounds to play the Final. 

The Ceylon Cold Stores PLC 'Elephant House Lemonade' Trophy is up for grabs once again for the winning team, together with five special awards, namely, Best Batsman, Best Bowler, Batsman hitting the most number of sixes in the tournament, Most Senior Player that takes the field and the Man of the Final. 

All players born on or before 1978 May are eligible to participate.

Football: 21 teams vie for TTSC 7s title

A total of 21 teams have confirmed participation for the first Classic Travel sponsored, Travel Trade Sports Club Football 'Sevens' 2018 (revived after one year) scheduled to be held on Sunday (24) at the Janaka Ranawaka Football Stadium, Rajagiriya, commencing 8.30am. 

Teams battle for supremacy will be: Sri Lankan Airlines 'B' (2016 'Cup' winner), Cinnamon Red (2016 'Cup' runners up), Walkers Tours (2016 'Plate' winner ), Paradise Beach Hotel, Negombo (2016 'Bowl' winner), Sri Lankan Airlines 'A', Herittance, Ahungalla, Cinnamon Grand Colombo 'A' and 'B', Mermaid Hotel & Club, Waskaduwa, Classic Travel, Emirates, Cinnamon Lakeside, Viluxur Holidays, United Ventures, Anantara Hotel, Kalutara, Hotel J, Negombo, Ceylon Roots 'A' and 'B', Galadari Hotel, Shums Travels and Metro Travels.

U-19 Rugby: Can Wesley subdue the Petes dominance in KO semi-final

Wesley College, who oppose St. Peter's College in the second semi-final of the Milo Schools Knockout Tournament on Sunday (24) at the Sugathadasa Stadium, have been through it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Starting off with the good, their near-defeat of Royal (17-18) was, funnily enough, the high-point of their fortunes. 

Topping a school team that has endured two seasons sans a single defeat proved to be beyond them – but only just. 

Then again, last weekend's win over Isipathana showed that the past does not haunt them and that they can indeed come back from the dead. 

The Green Shirts beat them 22-17 in the first round. 

The Peterites also beat Wesley 33-17 in their season-opener. So it is up to the lads from Campbell Park to show that they can come back.   

Number 8, Daiyan Sabar has led the team by example and the players have responded well. 

Full back Mursheed Zubair is, probably, the most inspirational and dynamic player they possess. 

A good fullback, who can turn defense into attack in the space of a minute or two.

Zubair is a place-kicker who can be depended on. 

A very experienced player, he has it in him to evade his markers. 

Out on the wings, Wesley has two regular try-scores in Kavindana Perera and Paramitharan Mohanandas. 

Both were among the try-scores in the Pathana game and they are running hot at the moment. 

This is especially so in the case of Perera. Centre Sahan Hansaja is a good runner and ball carrier. 

He will have to contend with the likes of the Madushankas – Rukshan and Dilshan. 

Lock Aaquib Thahir has proved his try-scoring ability time and time again. 

He is a very potent force in the Wesley pack. 

Prop Seshan Jayawardena and locks Dexter Gunathilleke and Sidath de Moore will have their hands full coping with the Peterite advances. 

The Peterites beat the Anthonians comfortably in the quarters. 

It could be said that the Anthonian challenge was not stern enough. 

For all the possession they enjoyed, and the attacking they did, the Peterites should have scored more. 

It could be said that forwards Abdullah Faiz, Julian Charles. 

Nizram and Bilal Hilmy have contributed lavishly towards their success. 

That will-of-the-wisp Jason Karunaratne has been a delight to watch. Ostensibly a scrum half, but in actual fact he is all over. 

Rukshan Madushanka and Dilshan Madushanka have performed well as centres. 

The former, in particular, is incisive. 

Fly half Kenneth Wimaladasa, Sunera Fernando and Sandesh de Mel are three other players who have played imported roles in the lead up to this game. 

The Peterites are tough competitions. 

They have pace and power. 

Wesley cannot be unaware of all this and would have made their own plans.

They will be going in as slight underdogs. 

But one capable of springing a surprise.

Tennis: Spain’s Perez Sanz clinches Sri Lanka F2 Futures double

Top seeded player of the Sri Lanka F2 Futures Tennis tournament David Perez Sanz of Spain bagged a double when he came out victorious in the Singles and Doubles final played at the SLTA tennis courts in Greenpath, on Saturday (23). 

The favourite Perez Sanz who was knockout of contention in the first round the Sri Lanka F1 Futures Tennis tournament a fortnight ago came back with vengeance and kept up to his reputations when he coasted to a convincing two sets to nil win over Alexander Zhurbin of Russia who was the champion of the first tournament in the singles final. 

Later in the day Perez Sanz partnered by Vladyslav Orlov of Ukraine who were the top seeded doubles pair and champion of the first tournament succeeded to defend the title when they overcame the fourth seeded Brazil pair of Diego Matos and Thales Turini by two sets to one in the doubles final for Perez Sanz to end a successful campaign. 

The third and the final series of the tournament is scheduled to be worked off from June 25 to July 1 at the same venue. 

Singles: David Perez Sanz (Spain) beat Alexander Zhurbin (Russia) 2-0 (7/6(5), 6/4). 

Doubles: Vladyslav Orlov (Ukraine)/ David Perez Sanz (Spain) beat Diego Matos/Thales Turini (Brazil) 2-1 (6/4, 5/7, (10-7)

U-19 Cricket: Western Province Central emerge SLC Inter-Provincial title

Western Province Central emerged champions of the Under 19 Inter-Provincial Cricket Championship with a close 15-run win against Western Province North in the final played at the CCC ground on Saturday (23).
Western Province Central taking first lease of the wicket made a modest score of 225 and they succeeded to restrict the Western Province North batting for a score of 209. 

The foundation for the WP Central win was laid by Kamil Mishara who cracked a 98 ball knock of 72 inclusive of five boundaries and two sixes and Pasindu Sooriyabandara who made a 56 with four boundaries and a six. 

The pair shared a valuable 98 runs in 92 balls for the third wicket when the side was in a spot of bother. 

Later WP Central lost five wickets for the addition of 55 runs and from 170 for 5 they were bowled out for 225. 

WP North in their run chase had an inauspicious start losing their first wicket for no score in the first over. Skipper Ashan Fernando and Mohamed Samass who made a top score of 49 took them out of the woods adding 86 runs for the second wicket, 

The duo’s separation saw WP North losing three quick wickets as they slid from 88 for 2 to 110 for 5 in the 34th over. 

Despite the seventh wicket pair of Avishka Tharindu and Ravindu associating in a 53 runs partnership and the last pair Pasindu Ushetti and Chamika Gunasekera was left with the difficult task of making 33 runs in 31 balls but they were able to muster only 209 runs. 

Western Province Central 225 all out (48.4) (Kamil Mishara 72, Pasindu Sooriyabandara 56, Avishka Perera 30, Sithara Hapuhinna 15, Avishka Tharindu 3/39, Ravindu Fernando 2/36, Avishka Tharindu 2/47) 

Western Province North 209 for 9 wickets (50) (Mohamed Samaas 49, Ashan Fernando 34, Avishka Perera 32, Ravindu Fernando 28, Kevin Perera 17, Chamika Gunasekera 16 n.o., Sonal Dinusha 4/22, Dunith Wellalage 2/40)

U-19 Rugby: St. Joseph’s beat Kingswood to reach Milo KO final

St. Joseph's College beat Kingswood College 23-10 in the semi-final match of the Milo Presidents Cup Knockout Championship 2018 played at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo on Saturday (23).

Kingswood were leading the halftime by a whisker 10-9 but failed to progress in the second half.

The Joes collected their points from two converted tries and three penalties.

Kingswood scored from two unconverted tries. 

St. Joseph’s, the defending champions, will meet the winner's of Sunday's (24) semi-final between St. Peter's College and Isipathana College, on June 30. 

New tax incentives for industries-Sri Lanka’s PM

New tax incentives will be provided for newly set up industries by removing VAT and for importing new machinery, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he opened the state-of-the-art biscuit manufacturing factory of Uswatte Confectionery Works at Mileniya in the Bandaragama electorate on Friday.
He said plans are underway to set up an industrial zone in the Mileniya and in the Kalutara district in the near future. New legislation has been brought in to prevent dumping of cheap goods into the country. 
The PM said transformation from an agro based industry to an export led industry will create more employment opportunities in the industrial and in the service sector in future. “My belief is that the new biscuit factory will prosper and provide more jobs for the youths in the area when it enters the export market.”
He said due to the increase in the country’s population people cannot solely depend on an income derived from agriculture. Therefor the Government is looking at improving the services, export and the industrial sectors to provide more employment to the youths. 
He said the manufacture of biscuits was an old business in Sri Lanka that dates back to nearly five decades producing quality biscuits and chocolates in the region and importation of biscuits was not a necessity. The PM further said to embark on an industrialization program the local industries need to be protected while modernizing them simultaneously.
The country’s local industries prospered following the liberalized of the open economy in 1977. Referring to the garment industry, he said although a few foreigners came into the country to set up garment factories initially, the garment industry today is dominated by Sri Lankans. He said the same thing applied to the hotel industry as well when a few hoteliers came into the country to set up hotels. But most hotels today are in joint collaboration with Sri Lankan companies, he said.
The newt factory will focus exclusively on the manufacture of biscuits that signify the entry of Uswatte into Sri Lanka’s biscuit market. In order to provide high quality biscuits the company has imported machinery for the manufacture of biscuits with both local and foreign expertise. State Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ajith P. Perera and State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne were present on the occasion. (JJ)


Six new species of goblin spiders found in Sri Lanka

Fictional characters originally 'described' by famous English children's writer Enid Blyton have given their names to six new species of minute  goblin spiders discovered in the diminishing forests of Sri Lanka.

According to the website, the goblins Bom, Snooky and Tumpy and the brownies Chippy, Snippy and Tiggy made their way from the pages of: "The Goblins Looking-Glass" (1947), "Billy's Little Boats" (1971) and "The Firework Goblins" (1971) to the scientific literature in a quest to shed light on the remarkable biodiversity of the island country of Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean.

As a result of their own adventure, which included sifting through the leaf litter of the local forests, scientists Prof. Suresh P. Benjamin and Sasanka Ranasinghe of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka, described a total of nine goblin spider species in six genera as new to science. Two of these genera are reported for the very first time from outside Australia.

Their paper is published in the open access journal Evolutionary Systematics.

With a total of 45 species in 13 genera, the goblin spider fauna in Sri Lanka—a country taking up merely 65,610 km2—is already remarkably abundant. Moreover, apart from their diversity, these spiders amaze with their extreme endemism. While some of the six-eyed goblins can only be found at a few sites, other species can be seen nowhere outside a single forest patch

"Being short-range endemics with very restricted distributions, these  may prove to be very important when it comes to monitoring the effects of climate change and other threats for the forest habitats in Sri Lanka," explain the researchers.

In European folklore, goblins and brownies are known as closely related small and often mischievous fairy-like creatures, which live in human homes and even do chores while the family is asleep, since they avoid being seen. In exchange, they expect from their 'hosts' to leave food for them.

he newly discovered goblin spider species Xestaspis kandy in its natural habitat. Credit: Suresh P. Benjamin


Justice for war victims remains elusive: US-lawmaker

Justice for most of the victims of Sri Lanka's civil war remains elusive, said US lawmaker Chris Smith.

"Human Rights Concerns in Sri Lanka” was the title of a hearing chaired by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

In a statement made at the hearing he accused President Maithripala Sirisena of doing little to mend ties between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils.

"Although observers hoped that Sirisena's government would increase access to justice, focus on human-rights, his administration has been criticized for having an inadequate response."

 Testifying at Smith’s hearing were:  J.S. Tissainayagam, journalist and human rights advocate, Michael Jerryson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, David M. Crane, Principal at Justice Consultancy International, LLC, and John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch.

Highlights of Mr Smith's remarks are given below

The following are excerpts of Chairman Smith's opening remarks at the hearing:
          The Sri Lankan civil war ended almost 10 years ago this May. The 25-year war cost an estimated 100,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The civil war was a brutal ethnic conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils; both sides—the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the rebel “Tamil Tigers”—have been credibly accused of unimaginable war crimes.        

          To this day, justice for many of the victims remains elusive. Although many observers hoped that the reformist government of President Sirisena would increase access to justice, focus on human rights, emphasize transparency and accountability, and improve the rule of law, his administration has been criticized for having an inadequate response. Despite having run on a platform of ethnic reconciliation, President Sirisena has done little to mend the ties between the groups, and the political polarization has increased among both ethnic groups.

          As one of our experts today, J.S. Tissainayagam, will attest, there has been no progress on holding those responsible for war crimes to account. As he will describe, forced disappearances of Tamils and torture were endemic during the war. Much of this was facilitated by the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, or the PTA. The PTA has yet to be repealed, and is still in use by the government and security forces. Whereas most Tamils nowadays simply desire some semblance of self-governance and federalism, their areas in the north and eastern part of the island are increasingly militarized.

 A concerning development in Sri Lanka is the resurgence of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism. As one of our expert witnesses today, Dr. Michael Jerryson, will describe, this particularly virulent strand of nationalism preaches exclusion of other ethnic and religious minorities, with Buddhist fundamentalists in groups such as the BBS saying “This is not a multi-religious country. This is a Sinhalese country.”

          What of the minority groups, such as the predominantly Hindu Tamils, then? Or the Muslims, who constitute a distinct minority, or the Christians, who can be either be Sinhalese or Tamil? If the character of Sri Lanka is solely Buddhist and Sinhala, there is little room for these ethnic and religious minorities to thrive, and reconciliation will remain a far off goal.

          Unfortunately, the trend is heading in the opposite direction—in local elections in February of this year, a newly formed Buddhist nationalist party gained 45 percent of the vote, beating the government coalition combined. Furthermore, in March of this year, Sinhalese mobs engaged in an anti-Muslim pogrom after a local dispute, forcing the President to declare a state of emergency.

           Sri Lanka’s stability is of critical importance to the United States national interests. Strategically located in the sea-lanes linking the Persian Gulf to East Asia, this island-nation has seen a spike in recent activity by the Chinese. China’s strategy globally is one of indebting countries and binding them in servitude so it can extract resources, so it is safe to say that Beijing’s initiatives will not emphasize ethnic reconciliation and/or human rights. This presents the United States with an opportunity to stand up for justice and the rule of law and to oppose China’s malign influence.

After a brutal war that costed an unconscionable loss of life, we must do better to help Sri Lanka get on the right page again. The country has promise and the people deserve better. Once all sides recognize this, this island-nation will finally have some semblance of peace.

Three HC Judges appointed for new corruption court

Chief Justice Priyasath Dep has appointed three High Court judges to hear cases in the country’s first special High Court to try high-profile financial fraud and corruption cases, Government Infomation Department said.

The special Trial-at-Bar will comprise three High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne. The Cabinet had given its approval to establish three anti-corruption High Courts. This is the first special High Court established within the Hulftsdorp Court complex to try high-profile cases. The new cases are to be heard from July 15.

Sources further said authorities are expediting the establishment of two other High Courts as well. The Government presented the Bill on March 6 to set up a permanent High Court-at-Bar to expedite cases of large scale corruption and financial crimes. This special court will hear cases daily involving money laundering, bribery and large financial crimes, dishonest misappropriation of property, and criminal breach of trust by public servants.