Sandra Jackson plucked away in her prime –

Trevine_RodrigoPlucked away in the prime of her life through a cruel twist of fate, the power packed voice of Sandra Jackson will resonate no more.
Lead singer of Melbourne’s top band Replay 6 and leader of the band for many decades, Sandra Jackson left this world suddenly after a short battle with lung issues later compounded by the discovery of blockages to her arteries which left the medical staff at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with no recourse to save her life.

Her sudden passing has sent shockwaves through the music industry in Australia, Sri Lanka and throughout the world of musicians who knew of her fantastic talent and endeared her for it and her ever availability to nurture and promote aspiring artistes.

The overwhelming response of shock and grief expressed at her passing on social media is enough testament to the massive following, love and respect she has generated over the years among music lovers in Australia and many other parts of the world.

The warmth and caring nature she personified is universally acknowledged by the thousands of friends and fans that had the pleasure of getting to know her.

Sandra and husband Esric have been in the forefront of the Melbourne music scene for many decades since migrating to Australia from Sri Lanka where their careers in music began.

Since beginning her career as a singer with a band named the Pioneers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sandra’s exceptional talent and explosive vocals soon had music fans clamoring to watch her perform everywhere the band played in Sri Lanka until she took wing to Australia in 1975. She wed Esric Jackson in 1976 and their partnership in love and their mutual passion for music soon saw them establish themselves in several bands for the past four decades and more gathering thousands of fans along the way.

Mixing their love for music with family life and raising two beautiful daughters was a challenging period for the singing Jackson’s but they carefully negotiated the challenge with great aplomb.

Sandra and Esric have matched it with the best in the music industry during their long stint rubbing shoulders with such wonderful world artistes as Smokey, Dr. Hook, The Village People, Marsha Hines, Ricky May, Jade Hurley and Allison Durban to name a few, most recently sharing the stage with legendary Frank Ifield at Alston Koch’s launch of the movie “According to Matthew”.

Although a star in her own right, Sandra has always acknowledged that she was blessed to share the stage with some of Sri Lanka’s legends of music such as Desmond Kelly, Desmond De Silva, Conrad De Silva, Cliff Foenander, Kamahl, Malcolm De Kauwe, Dalreen Suby, Mignonne Fernando, Noeline Honter, Alston Koch, Arthur Speldewinde and Arden Forster to name a few. Such was her humble disposition.

Esric and Sandra and the band Replay 6 have been featured at some of the best venues in Melbourne, Sydney and even travelled to Sri Lanka for a New Year’s gig in 2012 where they performed at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo alongside Mirage. Their popularity and versatility has seen them perform at most school dances from Sri Lanka and a wide spectrum of other events throughout the years.

What set Sandra Jackson as a standout from the rest was her uncanny ability to perform many genres of music from Rock, to Pop, Raggae, Country and she even gave the Bailas a go. She was indeed the consummate and complete entertainer. Replay 6 will never be the same without both of their well-known frontline singers who have complemented each other over such a long period of time.

Dubbed Sri Lanka’s answer to legendary Tina Turner whose hits she reeled off to near perfection, her rendition of “Simply the best” was so authentic that she was often compared to the great American wonder.

Among the plethora of achievements as a singer/ entertainer was the numerous CD’s she and Esric have recorded and sold with the proceeds mostly going to a worthy charity. They will surely be treasured memories of a fantastic performer taken too soon.

She leaves behind Esric and two devastated daughters Candice, hubby Toufic and Tatum and her husband Richard, and four grandkids she doted on, Mischa, Cruz, Makai and Brooklyn who are in shock at her sudden demise. Incidentally, both Candice and Tatum take after their parents possessing superbly talented voices.

May the stage that she commanded with pride and strode on so majestically lay lightly on her.

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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (JUNE 2018) – Compiled by Victor Melder


Victor Meldor - eLankaThe touring Sri Lankans drew their first match against the West Indies President’s XI, played at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad. Scores:

Sri Lanka, 1st Innings – 428 (Chandimal 108, Dickwella 74, M.D.K.J.Perera 65, Mathews 41,  Warrican 4/81, Cornwall 3/124, Reifer 2/75)

West Indies President’s XI, 1st Innings – 272 (Campbell 62, Powell 60, Cornwall 54no, Brooks 29, Dananjaya 3/46, Kumara 3/47, M.D.K. Perera  3/50)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 135/0 (Mendis 60no, M.D.K.J.Perera 50 retd hurt, Silva 22no)

 Bowling all rounder, Chamika Karunaratne, who was reported for suspected bowling action in the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Super Provincial Tournament 2018, has been cleared to bowl after a scrutinizing process. Karunaratne, 22, a right-arm fast bowler was reported of his suspected action by on field umpires Deepal Gunawardene and Gamini Dissanayake at the SLC Super Provincial match between Kandy and Galle played at Sooriyawewa in April and he was suspended from bowling pending tests.  He was kept out of action in the following SLC Super Provincial Limited Overs Tournament after the report from the umpires.   However, Karunaratne’s bowling action has been confirmed as legal and he could resume bowling after going through an Illegal Bowling Action Test at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on May 16. The national prospect speedster was assisted by fast bowling coach Chamila Gamage in Chennai at the ICC Accredited Centre. According to the assessment, Karunaratne’s bowling action is said to be within the ’15-degree level of tolerance permitted under the ICC Illegal Bowling Regulations’. Karunaratne, a former Royal College and Sri Lanka Under-19 captain turns out for NCC at Premier level and is also a national badminton champion.   (Times online, 6.6.2018)


The West Indies beat the touring Sri Lankans by 226 runs to win the first Test played at Queen’s Park Oval, Post of Spain, Trinidad. Scores:

West Indies, 1st Innings –  414/8dec (Powell 38, Chase 38, Roach 39, Hope 44, Bishop 40, Dowrich 125no,  Kumara 4/95, Lakmal 2/55, Herath 1/67)

Sri Lanka, 1s t Innings –  185 (Chandimal 44, Dickwella 31, Cummins 3/39, Roach 2/34, Gabriel 2/48, Holder 1/15, Bishop 1/25)

West Indies, 2nd Innings – 223/7 dec (Powell 88, Holder 39, Kumara 3/40, Herath 2/52, Lakmal 1/32, Perera 1/50)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 226 (Mendis 102, Mathews 31, Chandimal 27, Chase 4/15, Bishop 3/48, Gabriel 2/52, Holder 1/24)

Player of the Match; Shane Dowrich (West Indies)

Sri Lanka suffered a heavy blow ahead of the second Test match against West Indies as the experienced Angelo Mathews was forced to return home due to personal reasons. Fast bowler Lahiru Gamage, who fractured a finger during the first Test also returned home. SLC has flown in Dasun Shanaka and Danushka Gunathilaka as replacements. The two players will not be available for selection for the second Test. They were expected to reach the Caribbean only Wednesday night. The second Test begins on Thursday in St. Lucia. (Daily Island, 14.6.2018)

The second Test between the touring Sri Lankans and the West Indies, played at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia, ended in a draw. Scores:

Sri Lanka, 1st Innings – 253 (Chandimal 119no, Mendis 45, M.D.K.J.Perera 32, Gabriel 5/59, Roach 4/49, Holder 1/56)

West Indies, 1st Innings – 300 (Smith 61, Dowrich 55, Chase 41, Kumra 4/86, Rajitha 3/49, Lakmal 2/50,  Dananjaya 1/81)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 342 (Mendis 87, Dickwella 62, Silva 48, Chandimal 39, Gabriel 8/62, Roach 2/78)

West Indies, 2nd Innings – 147/5 (Brathwaite 59no, Hope 39, Rajitha 2/23, Lakmal 2/48, Dananjaya 1/33)

Player of the Match: Shannon Gabriel (West Indies)

The start of the third day’s play of the second cricket Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies was delayed by over two hours due to a ball-tampering controversy yesterday here at Darren Sammy International Stadium in St Lucia. The delay was caused when the two on-field umpires, Ian Gould and Aleem Dar along with ICC Match Referee Javagal Srinath, decided to change the ball, that was in use at the end of day two, suspecting a ball-tampering attempt by the Lankans. Sri Lanka have protested. Then eventually the match began at 10.50 am, one hour and 20 minutes past the scheduled 9.30 am start, and the two West Indies batsmen were given the choice of a replacement ball. But before Lahiru Kumara delivered the first ball, the Sri Lanka team walked off to the boundary-line near their dressing room, the periphery of the ground, not crossing the line. Their move looked a reaction to two umpires’ decision to award West Indies five penalties, raising their overnight total from 118 to 123 for 2. They were replying to 253 all out, the first-innings total of Sri Lanka. After nearly 40 minutes of discussion on the periphery of the ground, with the officials, Sri Lanka took the field at 11.31 am. Kumara sent in three juicy bouncers to start with and he was given no-ball in the third delivery, according to laws. The repercussion of the match being delayed for over two hours, amid a sparse, improved number of weekend spectators in the stadium, especially on the international TV coverage, and how the ball-tampering complain is handled by the Lankan authorities were not clear by the time we went to press last night. Anyway, the relations between the two teams, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, looked soured at least for the time being as the mood of the players in the middle was of any indication. In a similar ball-tampering controversy in 2006, Pakistan forfeited a Test in the Oval to the home team England after umpire Darrell Hair decided to change the ball, after tea on the fourth day’s play, awarding England five penalty runs. (Sunday Island, 17.6.2018)

Captain Dinesh Chandimal will miss Sri Lanka’s third Test against the West Indies after being found guilty of ball tampering by the International Cricket Council on Tuesday. Chandimal was found guilty of changing the condition of the ball during the second day’s play of the second Test, which concluded at Gros Islet on Monday. “It is clear that Dinesh Chandimal applied an artificial substance to the ball, namely saliva containing the residue of something he had in his mouth, an action which is prohibited under the ICC Code of Conduct,” said match referee Javagal Srinath after the judgement. The player was suspected of using saliva and a sweet to tamper with the ball and give it more spin after television images picked it up. The Sri Lanka captain got two suspension points and was fined 100 per cent of his match fee. The points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first for the player, Chandimal will now miss the day/night Barbados Test, starting from Saturday, June 23. 2018.  Explaining the decision Srinath said he had reviewed the images carefully. He commented: “Dinesh took something from his pocket and put it into his mouth. After sucking or chewing whatever he put in his mouth for a few seconds Dinesh then proceeded to spit on his finger and polish the ball with his saliva which would have contained the residue of the artificial substance that he had in his mouth, on two separate occasions. The referee also said that Chandimal had been less than convincing in his defence. “During the hearing, Dinesh admitted to putting something in his mouth but couldn’t remember what it was, which I found unconvincing as a defence,” he said. At the time of the incident Chandimal denied charges when they were filed by on-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, and third umpire Richard Kettleborough. There were concerns that the Test match was in jeopardy on the third morning on Saturday when Chandimal refused to lead his team onto the field for the continuation of the Windies first innings after he was informed of the charge by the umpires and the application of a five-run penalty. Play was delayed for two hours as animated discussions took place involving Srinath and Sri Lankan team officials. With the second Test drawn Windies lead the three Test series 1-0. (Daily Island, 21.6.2018)


Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha have admitted a “serious law breach” after the team delayed play during the drawn second Test against West Indies.

The International Cricket Council said the two-hour delay on day three was “contrary to the spirit of the game”. It was a protest over Chandimal’s ban for ball-tampering on the second day.The 28-year-old lost an appeal against his one-match suspension on Friday. Sri Lanka said they played the remainder of the second Test “under protest”. The third Test begins in Bridgetown on Saturday, with West Indies leading the three-match series 1-0. (BBC Sport, 22.6.2018)


Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff QC has dismissed Dinesh Chandimal’s appeal after he was found guilty of changing the condition of the ball breaching clause 41.3 of the ICC’s Standard Test Match Playing Conditions, during the second day’s play in the second cricket Test against the Windies in St. Lucia on Saturday.  The International Cricket Council (ICC) said Mr. Beloff’s written reasoned decision will be provided on Wednesday 27 June .Accordingly, the original decision of the ICC Match Referee Mr. Javagal Srinath, handing Chandimal the maximum punishment available under the code, i.e. two suspension points and a fine of 100 per cent of his match fee, will stand. Chandimal will therefore miss the day/night Barbados Test, which commences on Saturday. Furthermore, and because two suspension points correspond to four demerit points, these will remain on Chandimal’s disciplinary record. Mr. Beloff QC, who is also the Chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, heard the appeal on Friday in a four-hour hearing in which both parties were represented by legal counsel. In announcing his decision, Mr Beloff QC said: “I express my gratitude to all who, though located in four different places, London, Colombo. Dubai and Barbados, collaborated in enabling me to reach a decision in time for the third test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka.” Meanwhile, Mr Beloff QC also held a preliminary hearing to establish the procedural schedule on the Level 3 charges after Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha admitted to breaching Article 2.3.1, which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”. The preliminary hearing determined that the hearing will take place on 10 July by way of video/telephone conference, with the decision on sanction to follow.Until the hearing takes place and Mr Beloff QC determines the appropriate sanctions for the Level 3 breaches, Mr Hathurusinghe and Mr Gurusinha can continue to perform their professional responsibilities, including in the Barbados Test. (Daily Mirror, 23.6.2018)

Sri Lanka’s troubled West Indies tour took a fresh turn for the worse yesterday with the home board recalling leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay home on disciplinary grounds. The board did not specify the exact nature of the incident which led to the Lankan leg spinner’s expulsion ahead of the third and final Test in Barbados but the Sunday Times can confirm it was related to a late night out by the player concerned. The fact that another player has been drawn into off-field controversy is a huge embarrassment for Sri Lanka and is the last thing they needed following the ball-tampering saga involving national skipper Dinesh Chandimal that has overshadowed the tour. Chandimal remained suspended for the third and final Test and likely to miss the whole or part of the South African series along with team coach and manager for holding up play for two hours. Trio has admitted to the offence and will face hearing on July 10. Sri Lankan players have been subject to a midnight curfew for many years. However the Sunday Times reliably learns that while the rest of the players had returned to the hotel in time, Vandersay has gone missing until next day morning. With Vandersay missing, the team management has lodged a police complaint. Vandersay has later returned to the hotel and had said he could not remember what happened to him. He has also lost his mobile phone sources said. “He is returning on disciplinary grounds,” confirmed Ashley de Silva refusing to divulge any further information to the incident. He will now likely to face a local inquiry and could even face a ban. Vandersay, 28 has been identified as future prospect specially at a time when country’s premier spinner Rangana Herath is nearing the end of his international career and was drafted into the side in order to give him the required exposure and experience. He is yet to make his Test debut even though he has represented Sri Lanka few times in limited over cricket in the recent past. Vandersay has a history of disciplinary issues. He was suspended by his school Wesley College over drink charge few years back and most recently he was pulled out of the India tour for not showing up for domestic matches without a reason.(Sunday Times, 24.6.2018)


The touring Sri Lankans beat the West Indies by four wickets to third and final Test played at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados. Scores:

West Indies, 1st Innings – 204 (Holder 74, Dowrich 71, Kumara 4/58, Rajitha 3/68, Lakmal 2/52, M.D.K.Perera 1/16)

Sri Lanka, 1st Innings – 154 (Dickwella 42, Gunathilaka 29, Mendis 22, Holder 4/19, Gabriel 3/52, Roach 2/30)

West Indies, 2nd Innings – 93 (Roach 23no, Dowrich 16, Holder 15, Cummins 14, Rajitha 3/20, Lakmal 3/25, Kumara 2/3, M.D.K.Perera 1/13)

Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings – 144/6 (M.D.K.J.Perera 28, Mendis 25, M.D.K.Perera 23no, Gunathilaka 21, Holder 5/41, Roach 1/33)

The three match series ended in a draw 1-1.

Player of the match: Jason Holder (West Indies)

Player of the series: Shane Dowrich (West Indies) 


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SRI LANKA NEWS IN BRIEF – JUNE 2018 – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor - eLankaConsultant, Medical Nutritionist, Medical Research Institute Dr. Renuka Jayatissa addressing a forum recently said the serious repercussions of low local milk consumption, compounded by low production resulting in insufficient quantum to meet demand, resulted in alarming health issues. Malnutrition, in pregnant women, as a result of not consuming sufficient milk during pregnancy was the primary cause of stunting. Although breast feeding infants was recommended, because of low milk consumption they depended on milk substitutes, which, she said, was not the alternative to breast feeding. ‘Fresh milk consumption was essential to build energy and sustain healthy growth. Milk consumption per person should be at least one glass per day. Additionally, yoghurt, cheese, butter, were all essential dietary ingredients that were in short supply, she explained. President, All Island Dairy Association Nishantha Jayasooriya said at this seminar titled ‘Challenges in Meeting Emerging Trends in the Dairy Industry’ that milk production and its related value added products faced serious challenges, restricting growth. Dairy farmers throughout the country, apart from being paid Rs. 70 per litre when they supply milk to either the private sector or the Milk Board, continue to live at subsistence levels with no hope of improvement. Cost of production per litre was currently Rs.136 . 60. He said through the Market Oriented Dairy program (MOD), funded by the US government, the dairy industry was expected to improve production. The US government’s Grant Aid package, he said, was 14 .1 million dollars, to implement the project, and 6.1 million dollars to ship the monetized commodity. But he also said such assistance was in the long term. Realization of the end result to meet demand was yet a long way off. To boost growth some 7000 high yielding animals have been imported over the past two years. Management Consultant, Maliban Milk Products ( Pvt ) Ltd., Asoka Bandara, in his presentation, said although milk production improved, whatever quantity that was produced was still insufficient to meet demand. He said 2010 production was recorded at 196 million litres. Comparatively, 2017 results were that production showed improved quantities. Year end results were that recorded production was 326 million litres. Additionally, some 600 million was imported to augment the short fall. Irrespective of production improvement, demand was assessed at one billion litres annually which was far from being produced. ‘The import bill for milk powder was approximately Rs. 50. million. These funds, if released for improvement could undoubtedly be channeled for increased production. The industry would grow exponentially, he added. Per capita milk consumption, Bandara confirmed, was merely 36 litres. On the other hand Finland, for example consumed, per capita 361.19 liters per day Clearly, he said, although demand was high, production was nowhere near its optimum. (Daily Island 2.6.2018)

The Bank of Ceylon rewards all new born babies born from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 by opening a Ran Kekulu children’s savings account with the initial deposit of Rs.250/- as a compliment from the bank. This offer is also made available to BOC Athfal children’s savings account during this time period. A parent or a guardian can respond to this offer by opening the account within three months from the date of birth by visiting any BOC branch to obtain this reward. This initiative is one of the many the Bank conducts to build a financially savvy nation in the long run. With the trust and stability that was built over the years BOC’s children savings account- Ran Kekulu lays the best foundation for your child’s future financial stability. BOC Ran Kekulu offers a wide range of benefits covering many important events of a child’s life till becoming a young adult. The Bank offers an additional 1% interest rate than the normal savings account of the Bank and encourages young savers with seasonal gifts as compliments. One of the most significant events celebrated by Ran Kekulu account holders is the Grade 5 scholarship program that celebrates their success in facing grade 5 scholarship examination. This account is also linked with free life insurance cover for the parent or guardian to a maximum of Rs.500,000/- (minimum balance of Rs.5000/- to be maintained for a period of six months prior to the incident). Any parent or guardian who opens BOC Ran Kekulu accounts for more than one child will be covered up to a maximum of Rs. 1.0 million. The child will also get a free medical insurance cover up to Rs.100,000/- per-annum in case of an accident or specified 10 critical illnesses requiring hospitalization in a Private Hospital for more than one night or 3 nights in a Government hospital, will receive Rs.600/- per day up to a maximum of 30 days only (conditions apply). (Daily Island 3.6.2018)

The International Monetary Fund announced the release of the latest installment of Sri Lanka’s $1.5 billion bailout, but warned that restructuring the loss-making national airline was essential to sustain economic recovery. The IMF welcomed the island nation’s increase in fuel prices last month — a precondition for it to receive $252 million of the three-year loan approved in June 2016. Sri Lanka’s economy has been on the mend since the IMF bailout, but growth in 2017 was more sluggish than expected and at 3.1 percent was the slowest in 16 years. The release of the latest tranche of the loan had been held up pending the government agreeing to raise fuel prices to recover production costs and do away with subsidies. The IMF said the price hike by state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, in some cases by as much as 130 percent, was a “major achievement” that would reduce fiscal risk. The price of kerosene oil, widely used in rural Sri Lanka for cooking and in lamps, was also more than doubled last month, while gasoline prices increased by just under 15 percent. The IMF said Sri Lanka should also implement a pricing policy for electricity, which is currently subsidised for households and small businesses. “It is essential for the authorities to implement an automatic pricing formula for electricity and a restructuring plan for Sri Lankan Airlines,” IMF’s Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said in a statement. One of the biggest drags on the country’s balance sheet is national carrier Sri Lankan, which has accumulated losses and debts of over $2 billion and is a huge burden on taxpayers. The government has failed to privatise the airline due to a lukewarm response from investors while an attempt to find an international partner to revive it has also failed. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s real estate sector has been expanding rapidly — raising concerns of a bubble — and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has said the sector is under close watch to prevent fallout for banks. “While financial soundness indicators remain stable, continued credit growth in the real estate sector warrants close monitoring,” said Furusawa. (Daily Island, 3.6.2018)

Sri Lanka’s overall exports were up by 6.3 percent to US 1.1 billion dollars with an increase in industrial exports, data from the Central Bank showed. Performance of merchandise exports in March 2018, merchandise export earnings at US 1,108 million dollars, recorded the historically highest monthly value. The year-on-year growth of export earnings in March 2018 moderated as the highest monthly export value for 2017 was recorded in March. Earnings from industrial exports mainly contributed towards the growth in export earnings. Under industrial exports, earnings from garment exports recorded the highest value for a month since November 2013 mainly due to the increase in garment exports to the USA, despite a marginal reduction of exports to the EU. Export earnings from gems, diamonds and jewellery increased significantly in March 2018 mainly owing to higher performance registered in gem exports with. Apparel exports were up 7.4 percent to US 486 million dollars with rubber products up 11.8 percent to 85.8 million dollars. Increase in export of vegetable, fruit and nut preparations resulted in an increase in export earnings from food, beverages and tobacco. However, agricultural exports fell 5.6 percent to US 138.5 million dollars with rubber, coconut and spice shipments also falling. Meanwhile, machinery and mechanical appliances increased during the month led by electronic equipment. However, earnings from transport equipment declined in March 2018 reflecting the base effect as several yachts were exported during March 2017. All sub categories under agricultural exports, except for tea and unmanufactured tobacco, declined in March 2018. Tea export earnings increased due to the combined effect of high prices and volumes exported. Lower volumes of cloves and cinnamon exported resulted in a decline in earnings from spices. Earnings from coconut exports also declined during the month due to the drop in exported volumes of desiccated coconut and coconut oil categorised under kernel products. This decline came from the lower production of coconut due to the lag effect of adverse weather conditions. Leading markets for merchandise exports of Sri Lanka, in March 2018, were the USA, the UK, India, Germany and Italy accounting for about 52 per cent of total exports. “The external sector displayed a mixed performance in March 2018. Even though expenditure on imports continued to increase, exports which peaked to historic high levels in March 2018, contributed to a lower trade deficit vis-a-vis the previous two months of the year,” the CB statement said. Earnings from tourism increased notably in March 2018 continuing the positive trend observed since January 2018. Workers’ remittances rose during the month reversing the decline recorded in February 2018. Meanwhile, the financial account of the Balance of Payments (BOP) experienced some outflows in March, particularly with the withdrawal of foreign investments from the government securities market and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). (Daily Island 3.6.2018)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Sri Lanka and tobacco use is the most preventable cause of heart disease. Overall, tobacco is a lethal substance that kills around 20,000 Sri Lankans each year and causes serious and debilitating illnesses in many more. The result is a massive social and economic cost, which manifests as loss of breadwinners, orphaned children, malnutrition and poverty at family level. It also causes a major strain on the health system, as many diseases caused by tobacco such as cancer are very expensive to treat. Sri Lanka has taken many steps to control tobacco use and currently has many evidence-based laws for tobacco control. Though tobacco use has declined over the years, still there is a sizable number of users who are in imminent danger of being harmed by tobacco. Therefore, measures to reduce demand for this substance and to make users quit, needs further strengthening. This year, the Ministry of Health and the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol aimed to ensure that May 31 became a day free of tobacco in Sri Lanka. This was supported by many organizations such as the Sri Lanka Medical Association, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, Sri Lanka Heart Association, the Government Medical Officers’ Association many specialist professional groups and non-government agencies such as Alcohol and Drug Information Centre. The objective of this initiative was to encourage both smoked and smokeless tobacco users to refrain from using tobacco on May 31 and encourage and support retailers not sell this lethal product, which kills its customers, on that day. (Daily Island, 3.6.2018)

Tourist arrivals during the first five months exceeded one million, reflecting a 14.7% growth, while May saw a 6.2% growth to 129,466 from the comparable period of last year. According to data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), tourist arrivals in May amounted to 129,466, up 6.2% from 121,891 in the corresponding month of 2017.  The cumulative arrivals of tourists in the five months rose 14.7% to 1,017,819 compared to 887,093 in the same period last year, continuing the growth momentum kick-started this year. India continued to be the largest source market in May with 42,073 arrivals, up by 23.1%. 
China came in second with 17,103, but the figure is down 7.5% compared to a year earlier. Arrivals from the UK were the third largest at 9,337, up 9.6%. Other major markets included Germany (up 8.7% to 6,906), Australia (up 28.1% to 4,873), Japan (up 48.5% to 4,229 and the US (up 24% to 4,123). France was down 0.4% to 3,721.Asia-Pacific was the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 65% of the total received in May 2018. Europe accounted for 27%, America 6%, the Middle East 2 % and Africa 0.5%. Earnings from tourism in March were estimated at $ 433 million, with cumulative earnings amounting to $ 1,313 million during the first quarter of 2018, according to data released by the Central Bank last week. Tourist arrivals increased by 24.1% in March as a result of higher numbers of tourists arriving from India, the United Kingdom and Germany in comparison to March 2017. Total tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2018 at 707,924 were a 17% increase over the first quarter of 2017. (Daily Financial Times, 6.6.2018)

The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh record low of 158.90 per dollar yesterday, as importer dollar demand offset the lack of greenback sales by exporters who expect the currency to drop further, dealers said. The spot rupee hit an all-time low of 158.90 per dollar, surpassing its previous low of 158.80 hit in the previous session. The currency ended at 158.85/10 per dollar, weaker from Wednesday’s close of 158.75/90. The currency declined 3.5% so far this year. “Nobody is selling dollars. Importer dollar demand was there. The rupee is trading weaker due to low liquidity,” a currency dealer said. Dealers said the rupee will be under pressure, with exporters staying on the sidelines in anticipation of a fall in the unit, in line with other emerging market currencies. Dealers expect the rupee to trade between the 162-163 level by the end of the year. Foreign investors sold government securities worth a net Rs. 787.24 million ($4.96 million) in the week ended 30 May, bringing the outflow so far this year to Rs. 17 billion, Central Bank data showed. (Daily Financial Times 8.6.2018

Australia has announced fresh funding for de-mining operations in the Vanni region over the next two years. Australian High Commission spokesperson said that Australian 700,000 would be given to two orgnizations, Mine Action Group (MAG) and Sri Lankan organisation Devlon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) engaged in mine clearing operations. The following is the text of statement issued by the Australia HC yesterday: “This new funding will provide vital additional mine clearance capacity in Mannar, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi Districts of the Northern Province. It will allow many families to return to their land, re-establish lives and reconstruct critical assets. “Australia has been one of the largest contributors to demining in Sri Lanka over the years, contributing $A20 million (around LKR 2 billion) since 2009. “Sri Lanka acceded to the international Mine Ban Treaty in December 2017, with the treaty entering into force for Sri Lanka on 1 June this year. Australia welcomes this important step, which builds on the commitment in Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Strategy for the country to be ‘mine impact free’ by 2020. Australia’s renewed support for demining in Sri Lanka was announced in Geneva on 8 June during the Intersessional Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty – the first such meeting attended by Sri Lanka as a State Party.” (Daily Island, 9.6.2018)

About 73.4% per cent of children aged one to fourteen experience corporal punishment at home by parents in Sri Lanka, the UNICEF Sri Lanka said. In a statement, it said only 48.7% of three to five-year old’s in Sri Lanka attend pre-school, which when of good quality helps to foster cognitive and language development, social competency and emotional development. It said an estimate 17% of children under five are at risk of poor development due to stunted growth, resulting from poor nutrition and 15.1% of children under five are suffering from wasting (low weight for height) which if untreated can lead to chronic malnutrition. “Children in Sri Lanka are at risk of entering adulthood at a disadvantage to their peers, because they have not benefited from the good nutrition, stimulation and protection – known as ‘eat, play and love’ – that enable a brain to grow to its full capacity by the age of 5 years,” warned UNICEF. The statement said advances in neuroscience have proved that during the early years of life a child’s brain grows at an astounding rate which is never again repeated. “A child’s brain grows and develops to 85 per cent of its full capacity by the age of 5. In these early years’ brain development depends on good nutrition, play and stimulation in the home environment and in preschools and love and protection from harm including violence, abuse and neglect. These can be provided by parents through simple actions, and can make a lasting, positive difference to a child’s development,” UNICEF said. “This means that if we don’t enable every child to reach their full brain capacity by age five, we are robbing them, and Sri Lanka of its most valuable resource – the brains of its next generation. At present, too many children are at risk of entering adulthood at a disadvantage. Thankfully, parents can make all the difference. Through ‘eat, play and love’ they have the power transform their child’s future,” he said. (Sunday Island 17.6.2018) To ensure that every child under 5, irrespective of their wealth or location can benefit from at least one year of quality pre-school, giving them the best possible chance to succeed in school and life, UNICEF has launched an online petition at, open to all that will be presented to decision makers in the future. We urge all to sign. (Sunday Island 17.6.2018)

Inflation for May rose to 2.1%, up from 1.6% in April, the Census and Statics Department revealed. Inflation reported three consecutive months of decline below 3.0%, starting from March 2018. Contributions to inflation in May 2018 from the food group and non-food group are -0.02% and 2.05% respectively, while the contributions of these two groups to the inflation in May 2017 were 4.6% and 2.5% respectively, resulting in headline inflation of 7.1%. When compared to month-on-month changes, NCPI in May 2018 has increased to 124.3 from the 122.9 reported in April 2018. This shows an increase of 1.4 index points that is 1.1% points in May 2018 as compared to April 2018. This month-on-month change was contributed to by increases of the expenditure value of food items by 0.55% and non-food items by 0.61% respectively. The increases in the expenditure value of food items were reported for vegetables, fresh fish, big onions, limes, potatoes, chicken, eggs, dried fish, green chilies, ginger, infant milk powder and milk powder. However, decreases in the expenditure value of food items were reported for coconuts, banana, papaw, mangoes, garlic, rice and gram. The increases in the expenditure value of non-food items in May 2018 compared to the previous month was due to the expenditure value increases in the groups of ‘Transport’, ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’, ‘Health’, ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’, ‘Recreation and Culture’, ‘Furnishings, Household Equipment and Routing Household Maintenance’ and ‘Clothing and Footwear’. In the ‘Transport’ group expenditure value increase was mainly due to an increase in the prices of fuel (petrol and diesel) with effect from 11 May 2018 and in the ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ group expenditure value increase was mainly due to an increase in the prices of kerosene oil and LP Gas with effect from 11 May 2018 and 28 April 2018 respectively. However, a decrease in expenditure value was reported for the group of ‘Alcoholic beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics’ compared to the preceding month. Meanwhile, the expenditure value of the ‘Communication’, ‘Education’ and ‘Restaurants and Hotels’ groups remained unchanged during the month. (Daily Financial Times, 22.6.2018)

The Government spent about Rs 450 billion annually to maintain public institutions, Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament .He said Janawasama and Elkaduwa Plantations were being operated by the Government incurring heavy losses. He said the Government had come up with 250 project proposals to be carried out in non-utilized state estate lands which were poorly maintained for many years with the aim to turn them around. He stressed that no land coming under the Knuckles forest reserve would be given to the private sector.   Kiriella observed that those project proposals were made by five consultants on the guidance of Minister Kabir Hashim. He vehemently denied charges that those lands were given to Minister Hashim and his close associates.  He pointed out that the EPF of estate workers had not been paid for 20 years and when the Government assumed work in 2015, Rs 1,800 million in EFP arrears needed to be settled. He said the Government spent about Rs 1,500 million annually to maintain the state-owned plantations.     Minister Kiriella also observed that it was during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s period (in 1996) that 500,000 acres from state owned estate lands were given to nine private companies.  He made the observation as a reply to Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardena who pointed out that the residents in the area and environmentalists had been objecting to the moves to give lands adjacent to Knuckles Mountain Range to the private sector.  (Daily Island, 22.6.2018)


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 species 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. The newly discovered goblin spider species Xestaspis kandy in its natural habitat. Credit: Suresh P. Benjamin (Times online, 26.6.2018)

Sri Lanka’s tea output rose 11.04% in May from a year earlier, aided by good agro-climatic conditions and lower production in the previous month, the State-run Tea Board said. Production in the first five months of the year rose 4.76% from the same period last year. Tea output fell 15.3% in April from a year earlier, with industry officials attributing the decline to a high base effect and more public holidays this year. “The May production is high due to several reasons, one is that the production in May is generally high and also this year we had good agro-climatic conditions and also the April production was very low,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena told Reuters.Tea is Sri Lanka’s top agricultural export and one of the main foreign currency earners for the $87 billion economy. Earnings from tea for the first four months totalled $ 478 million, up from $ 458.2 million last year. Sri Lanka’s tea output rose 5% to 307.1 million kg last year, recovering from a seven-year low of 292.6 million kg hit in 2016. Industry officials expect production to reach 320 million kg in 2018 if the weather holds, but a ban on cost-effective weed killers, disruption to regular agricultural practices and the high cost of fertilisers could affect the outlook for production. Tea production in 2017 was affected by severe drought followed by flooding, the poor application of fertilisers, a Government ban on pesticides and restricted labour.(Daily Financial Times, 26.6.2018)

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be loaning out $ 1.7 billion to fund the proposed light rail transport (LRT) project from Malabe IT Park to Pettah. The Minister was speaking at his Ministry after officially being presented with the feasibility study report of the project by JICA Sri Lanka Chief Representative Fusato Tanaka.“We are grateful to the Japanese Government for giving us a loan of $ 1.7 billion to initiate this project. This will be the next best experience in the transport sector since the introduction of the railway service to the country in 1860,” said Ranawaka. He revealed that plans are being made to establish three more similar LRT systems parallel to this project in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP), and that it would commence within the first half of next year.
The Minister further clarified that this project would not worsen the country’s debt situation. “For a project to be successful, a proper feasibility analysis, environmental analysis, societal analysis and, especially, a financial analysis are crucial. Due to improper financial comprehension and analysis of projects we did in the past, the country got caught in a debt trap,” Ranawaka asserted.
He further said that the feasibility study clarifies that this project is not one that will add to the debt of the country, but one that will uplift the local economy. On a different note, the Minister and JICA Chief also launched the official website of the project.
Acquiring of land related to the commencement of the project has already begun. The strategy is to conclude the comprehensive plan within 2019, begin construction during 2020, and enable public access by 2024. The project will cover a distance of 21 km with a total travel time from Malabe to Pettah of around 40 minutes. (Daily Financial Times, 30.6.2018)





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Prof Ricardo Hausmann: Acessing know-how for growth in Sri Lanka (With Slides)

Economies grow by adding new products and services to their production portfolio , and not by producing more of the same kinds of products argues Prof. Hausmann. The key to such diversification is access to know-how, but know-how often has to come from abroad. This is because it is often easier to move brains to new countries than to move new know-how into brains. In the experience of Singapore, India, Vietnam and most other dynamic economies, three channels of know-how transfer stand out: FDI, immigration and diaspora networks. In this lecture, Prof Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard CID explores the relationship between economic development and the accumulation of know-how. He will in particular discuss how to tackle Sri Lanka’s limited export diversification.


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The first Candle Factory for 2018 focusses on the Gift-A-Meal (GAM) sponsorship programme.

In the attached issue you will find an overview and update about the GAM programme. To date we have assisted a total of 612 families with dry rations on a monthly basis under the GAM programme.


Download the PDF file .





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She was someone I knew as a “toddler”in Diyatalawa, living with her mum, & dad, Rex Rode, who was a member of the Royal Ceylon Air Force, and a good friend of mine.

Like so many others, Sandra & her family migrated to Australia, & because of “work commitments” we “lost touch” until, much later, I heard that Sandra was now involved in “Showbiz” & had formed her own band, “Replay 6”.

Sandra then married Esric Jackson &, not much later, Sandra and Replay 6 became one of the best-known Lankan Bands in Melbourne. 

     To Esric & all the rest of her family, on behalf of eLanka and The Lanka Times, I send our deepest sympathy. 

Goodbye, Sandra Jackson. May the good Lord bless & keep you, All your many friends will miss you, especially “on-stage”. Rest in peace now.

Desmond Kelly.


Sandra Jackson with the band Replay 6 – Melbourne



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“MOVIE MAGIC” by Des Kelly

Remember friends?, do you remember all those old movie theatres in the “Ceylon” in the  30’s, 40’s, 50’s & 60’s?

When Hollywood produced the greatest films, with real Actors & Actresses that would “blow our young minds”.

Do you remember the “unforgettable” films, both in black & white, and, later in technicolour?, The Regal Theatre in the heart of the “Fort” in Colombo, The Majestic Theatre, in the heart of Bambalapitiya, The Savoy Theatre, Wellawatte, that entertained all of us with “pictures” like The Jolson Story, and so many other theatres all around us, where youngsters could somehow scrounge that 50cts to buy a “Gallery” ticket & strain our necks upwards for up to three hours at a time to watch these super-humans do their thing on the silver-screen?, well, I did, and will never regret it. 

     Somehow, at that time, we knew very little about the private lives of these “Film-Stars”. We watched their movies, some of them, more than once. I remember going to see actor Larry Parks take the part of Al Jolson who, in that particular era was supposed to be the Greatest Entertainer in the World, at least 3 times, then “Jolson sings again” twice more. The original  “Romeo & Juliet” in black & white, the magnificent film “Carrie” with Lawrence Olivier, long before he was Knighted, & Jennifer Jones, which brings me to some of the most beautiful women (Actresses) on Planet Earth. Ava Gardner, Esther Williams, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, (there had to be a “Kelly” in there, somewhere), Maureen O’Hara, & who could forget Elizabeth Taylor & dozens of other beautiful females, some of whom were also excellent in their job, but who cared about their “acting ability”?, we, young guys didn’t give a hoot about their “acting”, all we wanted to do was SEE THEM.!!

     Folks, here is something that I saw for the first time, and having really enjoyed seeing the “backgrounds” of these Actors & Actresses, I thought I would share them with you.

The idea behind this is to give all of you readers a few minutes to refresh your memories of the Movie-Stars in a way that you possibly haven’t seen them before. The photos can be “enlarged”, of course, and I feel sure you will enjoy them as much as I did. My thanks go to Max, who sent them to me.  Watch, folks, & reminisce. It is well worthwhile.

Desmond Kelly

   Star of eLanka


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