Victor Melder

SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (DECEMBER 2020)-Compiled by Victor Melder

The national cricket team landed in South Africa Friday night and soon will resume training lead up to the two match Test series against the Proteas. Compared to most places in the world, South Africa’s health guidelines are lot more flexible and  all what  a person needs is two negative PCR reports before being allowed to assume daily activities. For a cricketer, a day’s activities in these times of pandemic means practice, weight training and rest.  They will be restricted to their hotel and the cricket ground and South Africa’s fantastic tourist destinations will be out of bounds. The team will be in a bio-bubble during their three week stay and their contact with the outside world will be limited. Following their stunning series win in South Africa during the last tour, Dimuth Karunaratne’s side can expect green tops this time around. The last series was played in Durban and Port Elizabeth with both coastal towns proving to be to Sri Lankans liking. The wickets at both venues are not the quickest in the country. This time, however,  it’s been a complete contrast. The tourists have been given two of the quickest tracks in the country – Wanderers and Centurion. The technical adjustments the players have to make are too many when they go from the sub-continent and it doesn’t help that the tour doesn’t include any warm-up games. When Sri Lanka won in 2018 they didn’t have any warm-up games as well but on that occasion, they had flown directly from Canberra, Australia having been involved in a Test series. So the technical adjustments aren’t much. This time, however, they are going into Tests after playing a T-20 competition. The health measures that South Africa have been put in place will be under the spotlight as well. Although cricket centers like England, UAE, Australia and even Sri Lanka  conducted events successfully having created bubbles, England’s tour to South Africa was abandoned midway through after positive cases emerged within the bubble. Last week a First Class game in South Africa was called off after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Sri Lanka sent their Head Coach Mickey Arthur and a doctor three days ahead to South Africa to monitor the situation. (Daily Island, 22.12.2020)

South Africa beat the touring Sri Lankans by an Innings and 54 runs to win the first Test played at Super Sport Park, Centurion , South Africa. Scores:

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SRI LANKA NEWS(DECEMBER 2020)-Compiled by Victor Melder

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Victor Meldor

A total of eight inmates of the Mahara Prison have died due to the unrest which had arisen at the Mahara Prison last Sunday. Police Media Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said that another 71 inmates had been injured in the unrest and in addition to that two prison officials are also in critical condition. “All injured persons including two prison officials were admitted to the hospital for the treatments,” he added. A tense situation had arisen at the Mahara Prison due to a clash between the prison guards and remand prisoners. A group of inmates had attempted to escape from the Mahara Prison after another group of the prison had contracted COVID-19.Inmates had also set fire and destroyed the property in a bid to distract prison officials. (Daily News, 1.12.2020)

The government will find out who was behind the clashes and resultant destruction at the Mahara Prison and the CID has been entrusted with conducting investigations to determine if any hidden hand was behind this incident, Primary Health Services, Infectious Diseases and COVID-19 Prevention State Ministry sources said. In addition, the source said that a Committee headed by the Prison Reforms Ministry Secretary had been appointed to conduct a probe into the unrest, and assured that a comprehensive investigation will be conducted into the incident with the support of the police and other law enforcement agencies. “The incident at the Mahara Prison was very unfortunate but this is not the only incident and recently there were many agitations being reported from several prisons. Recently we witnessed a similar incident at the Boossa Prison and when some prisoners attempted to break free from the Old Bogambara Prison where the prison guards had to open fire to prevent it which resulted in one inmate getting killed,” the source explained. Similarly, there were protests at the Welikada, Kalutara, Negombo and Weerawila too and this seems to be a wave of protests at many of the prisons. “Today there are a large number of drug smugglers, underworld elements and even drug users who are imprisoned due to the ongoing operations against the drug menace by the government,” she said, adding that where around 11,000 prisoners should accommodated, today there are around 32,000 being housed creating a major overcrowding issue. No sooner the Minuwangoda COVID cluster emerged, the Prisons Department implemented a special operation within prisons together with the Health Department, the source pointed out. “We barred all visitors from entering the prisons and we prevented food and other items being brought into the prisons. We even stopped them from being taken to courts and conducted these hearings through Skype.” The first COVID positive prisoner was detected on October 27 at the Welikada Prison Hospital. (Daily News, 2.12.2020)

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SRI LANKA NEWS – NOVEMBER 2020-Compiled by Victor Melder. 

Victor Meldor

Sri Lanka’s emergency needs in various sectors including agriculture, education, ICT, transport and disaster management brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are to be handled at cost of over Rs.10 billion under the Contingent Emergency Response Components (CERCs) framework, a Finance Ministry report revealed. Following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the ministry has requested the banks to activate several CERCs in the existing portfolio to finance a set of emergency activities for the COVID-19 response. The funds from several project CERCs will be “pooled” into one Designated Account (DA) to finance a common emergency action plan and similar activities, the Treasury document disclosed. A sum of Rs. 3.15 billion has been set aside to assist agriculture and food security during COVID -19 while Rs. 985.28 million was allocated for the establishment of a system for tele-education and e-learning for school and university students. Emergency needs in the establishment of a platform for the government to implement home-based work will see a financial allocation of Rs.1.08 billion. A sum of Rs. 4.55 billion has been set aside as support for public transport to implement sanitation and physical distancing measures and SLTB operating costs and introduce pre-paid cards for buses that operate within the Western Province. Flood response activities and project management during COVID-19 will be done at a cost of Rs. 396.74 million. The safeguards due diligence process will be managed via this Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) which has been developed to cover the CERC financed activities defined in the CERC Emergency Action Plan (EAP). The Presidential Secretariat (PS) will provide overall oversight and monitoring for the implementation of CERC activities as the PS also coordinates the Presidential Task Force for COVID-19 Response. A CERC Steering Committee (CERC SC) will be established under the Presidential Secretariat to provide overall oversight, monitor implementation progress and decide on critical multi-sectoral actions to address implementation challenges. Apart from this, the Finance Ministry is implementing a strategic preparedness plan since March to date to achieve the key objectives of preparedness and response to sporadic cases of COVID-19 at a cost of Rs. 98.billion. With the current transmission scenario of having clusters of cases, the interim plan has been updated to consider the evolving situation and needs and to plan for combating possible community transmission. The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project is supporting the government’s ‘test, track, isolate and treat’ strategy to control the pandemic by providing a steady supply of essential medical necessities, testing kits  (Sunday Times, 1.11.2020)

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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (OCTOBER 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor - eLanka

With England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) not willing to put their players through a two-week quarantine and the sudden spike in COVID-19 positive cases in Sri Lanka, there is uncertainty surrounding the proposed England Test tour to the country. England was in Sri Lanka in March to play the two-match Test series but returned home just days ahead of the first Test following the global outbreak of the virus. Though dates are yet to be confirmed, both Boards agreed to play it in January next year. “We are working to ensure the business of international cricket keeps going,” Tom Harrison, the ECB Chief Executive, was quoted as saying. “(But) the Bangladesh tour to Sri Lanka is an understandable situation for the Bangladeshi team; two weeks of quarantine is not an easy thing to agree to for players and I don’t think we would agree to that either. We will not sign off on plans we’re not comfortable with, in terms of our No. 1 priority: the health and wellbeing of players and staff on these tours.” The tour does not seem possible given the current situation in Sri Lanka. Board sources said, however, that they would hold discussions with health authorities to get quarantine rules relaxed once the current situation is under control. They tried desperately to get the rules changed to host Bangladesh in a three-match Test series but the health authorities stood firm in their decision. The tour was postponed. “Once the situation eases, we will discuss with health authorities to see how best we could go forward,” an SLC official said. “Cricket is being played elsewhere in a bubble secure environments and I think we must follow a similar line to get cricket back on the track. We cannot postpone these series forever.” However, with Sri Lanka recording a unprecedented spike in the virus with over a thousand cases reported during the week, it’s highly unlikely that rules will be bent to accommodate a visiting sports team. A similar fate may await the England series. Sri Lanka cricketers last played a series in February against West Indies. All scheduled tours to the island thereafter were put off due to the pandemic much to the players’ disappointment. England, who hosted four international teams during the recent summer, allowed visiting teams to train while being on a government-approved bio-secure bubble – a similar protocol SLC expects the Government of Sri Lanka to approve in their bid to resume cricket tours. The current situation has also put the proposed Lanka Premier League in danger of cancellation this year. The Board this week further postponed the player draft scheduled for this Friday (9) owing to the health situation. SLC fears, given the strict quarantine procedures, it will face a massive challenge to attract the big names in the game. The first edition of the T20 league is scheduled for mid-November this year and, with four out of the five team owners yet to be announced, it will most probably be a non-starter.(Sunday Times, 11.10.2020)

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SRI LANKA NEWS – SEPTEMBER 2020 – By Victor Meldor

INTRODUCTION As of 2010, there were 45,159 Sri Lankans living in the US. Substantial immigration began in the 1990s when many fled the violence of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The majority of Sri Lankan-Americans live in the vicinity of either New York City (where there’s a Little Sri Lanka on Staten Island), central New Jersey, or Los Angeles.

Victor Meldor

Headline inflation as measured by the year-on-year (Y-o-Y) change in the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI, 2013=100)1 decreased to 4.1 per cent in August 2020 from 4.2 per cent in July 2020.
This was mainly driven by the statistical effect of the high base prevailed in August 2019. Food inflation (Y-o-Y) increased to 12.3 per cent in August 2020 from 10.9 per cent in July 2020, whereas Non-food inflation (Y-o-Y) decreased to 0.8 per cent in August 2020 from 1.5 per cent in July 2020, the Central Bank said in an announcement. The change in the CCPI measured on an annual average basis remained unchanged at 4.8 per cent in August 2020. The monthly change of CCPI was recorded at 0.0 per cent in August 2020. This was due to setting-off the price increase of 0.1 per cent in the Food category, with the price decline observed in the Non-food category by the same magnitude. Accordingly, within the Food category prices of coconut, vegetables and turmeric increased in August 2020. However, prices of fresh fish and limes recorded significant declines during the month. Within the Non-food category, prices of items in Health (payments to medical laboratories) sub-category declined during the month. The core inflation (Y-o-Y), which reflects the underlying inflation in the economy, remained unchanged at 3.2 per cent in August 2020. However, annual average core inflation declined further to 3.8 per cent in August 2020 from 4.0 per cent in July 2020. (Times Online, 2.9.2020)




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SRI LANKA NEWS (AUGUST 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

INTRODUCTION As of 2010, there were 45,159 Sri Lankans living in the US. Substantial immigration began in the 1990s when many fled the violence of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The majority of Sri Lankan-Americans live in the vicinity of either New York City (where there’s a Little Sri Lanka on Staten Island), central New Jersey, or Los Angeles.

Victor Meldor

A study on the abnormalities and polymorphisms of amphibians found within and outside the Horton Plains National Park has identified a distinct frog species that does not belong to its generic “hourglass frog” classification. The study was conducted by graduate research assistant Praneeth Silva of Sri Jayewardenepura University’s Department of Zoology under the supervision of Prof. W. A. D. Mahaulpatha, senior lecturer and head, Department of Zoology. “Our study on amphibian abnormalities and causes found that Taruga eques species is faced with bigger threats in both localities in comparison to other amphibian species”, Silva said. Within and outside regions of the Sri Lankan Plains, habitat modifications due to human activities were the main threat on Taruga eques. The study revealed a novel pattern polymorphism of Taruga eques in that a variety of the species without the hourglass was identified within and outside the Plains, indicating that the common name Taruga eques cannot be broadly classified as an “hour-glass frog”. At the end of the study, new six dorsal colour variations and five dorsal pigment patterns of Taruga eques could be newly introduced to the science. Silva said that a total of 694 amphibians belonging to four families and 11 species were recorded in five lentic water bodies which were studied. Five hundred and eleven (511) individuals were examined inside the Plains and 183 outside the region. Of the 511 individuals, only 4.5 percent of the amphibians had abnormalities. Of the 183 individuals examined outside the Plains, 80.87 percent had abnormalities. Of the 511 inspected amphibians within the Plains, 0.59 percent suffered from ectromelia and four percent had cysts. Of the 183 amphibians examined outside the Plains, 80.33 percent had cysts and 0.55 percent had femoral projections. Cysts accounted for most of the abnormalities in both environments. Most of the infections (60 percent) recorded in the amphibians inside the Plains were mild. In contrast 77.55 percent of the infections recorded in the amphibians outside the Plains were moderate. “They are called hourglass tree frogs as they have a colour pattern like an hour glass mark on their dorsum (back). They are highland species, and are very sensitive to temperature and humidity so in addition to habitat loss and forest fragmentation, there will be a future threat to them due to climate change”, he warned. (Sunday Island, 2.8.2020)




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SRI LANKA CRICKET NEWS (JULY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has come in for criticism from all corners after the International Cricket Council denied claims that he had lodged a complaint with the game’s governing body in 2011 that the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 was fixed. The ICC issued a statement hours after the Police department announced that they are dropping an ongoing investigations due to lack of evidence. Aluthgamage, who has a history of shooting from the hip, had claimed that he had evidence to prove that the closely contested 2011 final between India and Sri Lanka was fixed. Despite interrogating key members of the national cricket team and officials, the Police dropped the investigations as they did not suspect any foul play. The ICC meanwhile turned up the heat saying that they had nothing to feel suspect about the 2011 final won by India. “There is no record of any letter regarding this matter sent by the then Sri Lanka Sports Minister (Aluthgamage) to the ICC and senior ICC staff at the time have confirmed they have no recollection of receiving any such letter which would have led to an investigation. We have no reason to doubt the integrity of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final 2011,” the ICC said. Aluthgamage was Sports Minister for four more years after the World Cup final but did not initiate an inquiry and his claims nine years after one of cricket’s most successful tournament raised many eyebrows. Former captain Aravinda de Silva was questioned for seven hours while Kumar Sangakkara spent nine hours with the Police earlier this week during investigations. The former was the Chairman of Selectors in 2011 while the latter was captain. Another former captain Upul Tharanga, who opened batting in the 2011 campaign was also questioned. Mahela Jayawardene was slotted in to provide evidence today but by then Police had decided to abandon the investigations. The players were initially surprised by the allegations but supported the investigations and it all came back to square one Thursday night following Sangakkara’s explanations. Aluthgamgae had claimed that the changes made for the final after injury to Angelo Mathews and Muttiah Muralitharan were not approved by him. However, SLC had sought all approvals from the Minister of Sports before going ahead with changes. There was outrage after players were hauled up before Police with both government and opposition politicians condemning the move. (Daily Island, 4.7.2020)




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                                                          SRI LANKA NEWS (JULY 2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder       

Victor Meldor - eLanka        

The Civil Security Department (CSD) has launched a project to mitigate the human-elephant conflict; it has distributed over 100,000 citrus saplings among the staff members living in Handapanagala to be planted along elephant corridors. The project was initiated under the directives of the CSD Director General Rear Admiral (Retd) Ananda Peiris. “The CSD is now nurturing citrus nurseries as a long term solution for the long existing issue and the planting process would commence on a large scale with the onset of the rainy season,” said Rear Admiral Peiris. Rear Admiral Peiris, launching the pilot project said, citrus trees prevented elephants from entering villages as they consciously avoid citrus bushes full of sharp thorns. Lt. Col. Kumara Jagoda, CSD Commanding Officer of Moneragala who is steering the project in Handapanagala, one of the most vulnerable human habitations for elephant raids in the region, said, “We are launching this project as a permanent solution to all the threatened areas in the near future.” According to the Elephant Conservation Unit (ECU) of the Wildlife Conservation Department, between 250 and 300 elephant deaths and 100 to 125 human deaths are reported annually in the country due to the on-going conflict between man and the majestic creature. ECU sources have identified Polonnaruwa, Moneragala and Wellawaya as being the most threatened areas by the wild elephants. (Daily Island, 11,7.2020)

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises rapidly, political parties and the education sector have adopted precautionary measures. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has cancelled its main political rallies attended by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. General Secretary of the SLPP, Sagara Kariyawasam said that the party leadership had also asked its candidates to follow the health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health when smaller meetings were held Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said that all government schools and Pirivenas would be closed till next Friday (17). It said that the ministry was monitoring the situation. “The priority of the Ministry is to ensure the safety of all. An information centre has been established at the Ministry, as per the instructions of the Minister of Education Dullas Alahapperuma,” the media unit of the Ministry said. Meanwhile, 90 new COVID-19 patients had been detected by 3 pm yesterday bringing the active cases to 614. The total number of confirmed cases is 2,605. 76 new cases were reported from Senapura Rehabilitation camp while 14 new cases were reported from Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre. (Daily Island, 13.7.2020)




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                                       SRI LANKA NEWS
                                                          (JUNE  2020)
                                              Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor

INTRODUCTION As of 2010, there were 45,159 Sri Lankans living in the US. Substantial immigration began in the 1990s when many fled the violence of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The majority of Sri Lankan-Americans live in the vicinity of either New York City (where there’s a Little Sri Lanka on Staten Island), central New Jersey, or Los Angeles.

Two endangered leopards — including a rare black one — have been killed by snares in Sri Lanka in less than a week, sparking calls for authorities to crack down harder on the cruel traps.
A third was found alive in a snare and released back to the wild after being tranquilised.
In the latest case, the bloated carcass of a leopard was discovered Tuesday strangled by a wire snare on a cashew plantation on the edge of a forest reserve in Neluwa, some 145 kilometres (90 miles) southeast of the capital Colombo. “It is possible that the trap was set for a sambar deer, but the leopard got caught instead,” a wildlife official from the area told AFP. A week earlier, a rare black leopard — also known as melanistic because the colour is a pigment condition rather than the mark of a separate species — was found trapped alive in the Nallathanni highlands but died two days later. The third leopard was found Friday at Yatiyantota, another highland nature area, before being released back into the wild. Although setting snares in national parks and reserves is against the law, they are not illegal elsewhere and farmers often use them to protect crops or catch wild boar. Sri Lankan conservationist Jayantha Jayewardene said the spate of leopard snaring might be villagers driven to desperation because the coronavirus lockdown had deprived them of income.
There are believed to be less than 1,000 leopards in the wild in Sri Lanka, and harming the big cat is punishable by up to five years› jail.. (Daily Financial Times, 4.5.2020)

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SRI LANKA NEWS (MAY  2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

INTRODUCTION As of 2010, there were 45,159 Sri Lankans living in the US. Substantial immigration began in the 1990s when many fled the violence of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The majority of Sri Lankan-Americans live in the vicinity of either New York City (where there’s a Little Sri Lanka on Staten Island), central New Jersey, or Los Angeles.

Victor Meldor

Sri Lanka’s merchandize export earnings fell by 41.9 percent, in March 2020, as the spread of COVID-19, in the country, disrupted the production of merchandise, the Export Development Board said. According to the monthly exports statistics, the year-on-year export earnings fell to US$ 646 million from US$ 1.112 billion, recorded in March 2019. The apparel sector, being the largest contributor, has shown a 41 percent decline during the month of March 2020, compared to the same month, in the previous year. Some of the other sectors that have recorded a significant decline, during the same period, include Tea (-22%), Rubber Products (-15.7%), Coconut products (-14.2%), Spices (-36.5%), fruits and vegetable products (-17.4%), fish and fisheries products (-29%), etc. However, analysis at disaggregate level on Coconut Milk Powder, Defatted Coconut, certain Coconut Kernel Products, Coconut Shell Charcoal, Essential Oils, Oleoresins, Ginger, Lemon, Melon and Papaya, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Processed Food, Rice, Green Gram, Lentils, Organic Chemicals, Electrical Transformers, Boat Building, Petroleum Products etc. show a positive growth, during March 2020, compared to March 2019. Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman, Prabhash Subasinghe, notes that even though there is a decline in exports, during the month of March 2020, such a decline is expected due to the global economic and trading environment. With the release of March 2020 data, the country’s foreign exchange earnings show an overall decline of 19 percent, during January-March 2020, in comparison to the same period, in 2019, reaching US$ 3.382 billion from US$ 4.176 billion respectively, recording a 32 percent achievement, against the annual revised target of US$ 10.750 billion for the year 2020. Merchandise export earnings have recorded US$ 2.577 billion during Jan- March 2020, compared to 3.116 billion last year. Estimates in the services exports of ICT/ BPM, Construction, Financial services, Logistics and Wellness Tourism sectors show overall revenue of US$ 805 million during the period compared to US$ 1.060 billion last year. When looking at the disaggregate level of products, even though some of the major sectors show a decline in earnings, certain other sectors show a positive growth during the period under consideration. The following graph shows some sectors with negative growth, the EDB said. (Daily Island, 1.5.2020)

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