President scraps Iran visit, no reasons given

The dispute over a huge unpaid oil bill due to Iran by Sri Lanka remains unresolved.However, President Sirisena’s visit to Russia, the first ever by a Sri Lankan President, will take place as scheduled on March 21. After the four-day visit, President Sirisena will fly from Moscow direct to the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. The Sri Lankan President has been invited to be the chief guest at the Independence Day celebrations of Bangladesh on March 26. President Sirisena also informally explored the possibility of travelling to Washington DC for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. President-elect Trump is to be sworn in as the 45th US President on January 20.

January 16, 2017 08:58 UTC

Rupee edges up on dollar sales; stx down

Business(REUTERS) The Sri Lankan rupee edged higher on Monday as foreign banks sold dollars, but the market expects the currency to weaken after the central bank allowed flexibility in exchange rate, dealers said. Rupee forwards were active, with two-week forwards trading at 150.45/55 per dollar at 0557 GMT, firmer from Friday's close of 150.60/70. Foreign investors sold a net 16.06 billion rupees ($107.28 million) worth government securities in the week ended Jan. 11, latest central bank data showed. The Central bank on Friday adjusted the spot reference rate by 15 cents to a fresh record low of 150.15, dealers said. The spot rupee was hardly traded, dealers said.

January 16, 2017 08:46 UTC

Prime Minister to leave for Davos

NewsPrime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will leave for Switzerland today to attend the World Economic Summit to be held in Davos City from January 17- 21. The Prime Minister attended the World Economic Summit on invitation last year too, and the international ties he forged at the summit had been beneficial for Sri Lanka’s future economic development programs, a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated. Sri Lanka has just two members in this influential body – John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Carsons. The Business Times reliably learns that JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake is attending the summit while there is likely to be some representation from the private sector to attend some of the side events at the meeting. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce which organized a delegation last year is not doing the same this year, it is learnt.

January 16, 2017 08:15 UTC

Nineteen 'No Liquor' days; Liquor shops to close on short notice

NewsExcise Department has announced 19 selected days where the sale of liquor will be banned. Those days included all the Poya days, independence day, day prior to the Sinhala – Hindu New Year, Sinhala – Hindu New Year day, day following Vesak poya, Ramadan Day, World Alcohol Prevention Day, and Christmas day, the government news portal reported. In addition, liquor shops will have to close on any day on short notice issued by the government, the website reported.

January 16, 2017 04:42 UTC

U-19 Cricket: Inter-schools performance indicator out

As at official statistics available on January 13, Pathum Nissanka of Isipathana College and Hareen Buddhila Weerasinghe of St. Aloysius' College Galle lead the batting and bowling rankings respectively. The rankings will set off with batting and bowling and will be developed further with more inclusions in the coming weeks. In batting, Nissanka, the right hand batsman of Isipathana College is in front with a total of 728 runs in seven matches. So far he has made up three hundreds and three fifties and claims a healthy batting average of 72.80. Ameen Miflal, another left-arm spinner, of St. Peter's College sits at third position with 38 wickets from eight matches.

January 16, 2017 04:14 UTC

Hockey: Royal CHC win Colombo District Championship

SportRoyal College Hockey Club beat Old Bens Hockey Club to emerge champions in Colombo district knock out tournament for the Bacon cup in a thrilling final held at the Astro Turf in Torrington, Colombo. They beat formidable Bens by 6-4 after trailed by 0-2 in the first five minutes of the final. RCHC beat Old Anandians HC by 2-0 in the semi-finals and 6-0 in the quarter-finals against Malays SC in the tournament organised by Colombo Hockey Association. RCHC comprised of players ranging from those played for college 1st XI team from 1995 to 2016 including seven college 1st XI captains. The team is coached by former Sri Lankan coach Rohan Dissanayake, who also helped Royal College school team to win Sri Lanka Schools Champions, University of Colombo to win the Inter-University Games, and Commercial Bank to win A- and B- division Mercantile 7s champions last year.

January 16, 2017 02:19 UTC

U-19 Girls' Cricket: Singer Cup Tournament 2016 reaches semi-final stage

SportCampbell Park will come alive on Monday (16) and Tuesday (17) when the semi-finals of the Singer Cup Under-19 Girls Cricket Tournament 2016 will be worked off. Of the four semi-finalists, three are from outstation, namely Devapathiraja College Rathgama, St. Anthony's Girls College Katugastota and Vijayabahu Madya Vidyalaya (MV) Okkampitiya, along with Anula Vidyalaya Nugegoda, the solitary Colombo school. In the first semi-final on Monday (16), last year's runner-up Anula Vidyalaya meets Vijayabahu MV in the morning, while defending champions Devapathiraja College Rathgama take on St. Anthony's Girls School Katugastota in the second semi-finals in the evening. Devapathiraja led by Sathya Sandeepani defeated Holy Angles Kuliyapitiya by 99 runs, while Anula Vidyalaya led by Chamodi Hansika beat Siddhartha College Eppawela by 54 runs. Vijayabahu MV led by Ishanka Madushani and St. Anthony's Katugastota led by W.D.S.

January 16, 2017 02:14 UTC

Cycling: Whither Mountain Biking

Few ex officials like Patrick Happuarachchi, Shabir A.I.Jafferjee, Sam Soundravale, Wasantha Kahapolaarchchi, A.M. Sumanaweera, (three times winner of Tour de Lanka) and the writer with few of his business colleagues like Fazlee Ahamad started the National Mountain Biking Association as an alternate body for Cycling Federation and was running national events in mountain biking when the federation could not maintain a national calendar. We were surprised to see the participation of the kids in numbers and thrilled to see the competiveness, and a new sport was born as mountain biking. This was a trend setter for schools who chose mountain biking for their sport meet because most of the kids were having MTB bikes at home. In fact we have already got the blue print and the UDA has identified allotment of land for mountain biking at Waters edge....So over to you minister of sports. Amal Suriyage, President National Mountain Biking Association

January 15, 2017 16:15 UTC

Rugby: Kandy takes on Navy in clash of potential champions

The first round schedule was just perfect, with Kandy, Havelocks and Navy playing each other in the last couple of weeks. Now that the die is cast, rugby followers will be forced to witness a potential top-two clash early in the second round. Thus Nittawela will be agog with excitement, and really tensed up, when Kandy takes on Navy on Sunday (15). Even last weekend, the CR ran them very close after a stirring comeback in the second half. The Navy edged out Kandy at Welisara, but Nittawela is a different place, and this is a different time.

January 15, 2017 03:44 UTC

Rugby: Army looks good, but Havies have to win

SportMuch is at stake when Havelocks SC engage Army SC in an away game. The third row of Shenal Deelaka, Sharo Fernando and Lasindu Ishan is one of their strong points. However, Sharo Fernando, a committed player, sometimes tends to end up on the wrong side of the law. All in all, the Army pack is in good shape. However, the back division has to improve and build on the good work of the forwards.

January 15, 2017 03:39 UTC

Hockey: A tribute to inimitable Roy de Silva

He represented Kandy Whites from the inception of the Hockey National Championship conducted by the Hockey Federation of Sri Lanka and later went on to captain the Kandy District Hockey team for ten years. Roy worked as the president of the local Hockey Federation for 12 years and was also the chairman of the Asian Hockey Federation for 19 uninterrupted years. With no political influence or the sports minister’s direct bungling, Roy was elected to the National Olympic Committee’s all powerful chair (1983). As the Olympic President of Sri Lanka, his journey through the turbulent waters of world sports mafia was a plain sail. “The Olympic Games are pilgrimage to the past and an act of faith in the future’.

January 14, 2017 21:45 UTC

Neyara takes ITF U-14 Singles crown

Neyara takes ITF U-14 Singles crown View(s):Neyara Weerawansa won the Singles final in the Week 1 of the ITF Asia 14 and Under Tennis Championship concluded at the LTAT courts in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. Neyara, who has not lost a single set in the tournament, continued her winning streak and won her finals also in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Leading up to the final, Neyara won her Singles quarter-finals beating Randa Alqudsi of Jordon 7-6 (1), 6-0 and the semi-final beating Prerana Koirala of Nepal 6/7 (2), 6/2. Maria on her way to the final beat the top seed Abhilasha Bista of Nepal 6-4, 6-1 in the quarter-finals and Jana Khatib of Jordon 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals. Playing doubles, Nelaka and Chathurya Nilaweera of Sri Lanka lost to the teamed-up Singles finalists, Taym Alazmeh of Syria and Abedallah Shelbayah of Jordon.

January 14, 2017 20:03 UTC

Lakshina takes the first step forward

Lakshina takes the first step forward Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 View(s): View(s):The first week’s result of the Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 contest, which kicked off last week, comes out this weekend with some of the well-known schoolboy cricketers in fray. The readers have done the correct selection of players for this year’s Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer contest by picking the names of players with good records. The first week of the Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 promises to be a keenly contested one. Readers could vote for their favourite schoolboy cricketer and take them to the winning post during that period. Results:All-Island Schools Name                                   School  Lakshina Rodrigo………………….. St. Peter’s College…………………….. 33 Lasith Croosepulle……………….

January 14, 2017 20:03 UTC

Hitting a classical note with ease

In a week’s time, music lovers can watch Gehan take the stage for “Music from the Heart”. These days, he is wrapping up his first feature film “The Billionaire” which, like “My Fair Lady” is based on a George Bernard Shaw play. “They treat it as an industry,” he adds, talking of learning to take a full on professional approach to his craft. Branching out into filmmaking came from an encounter with another versatile actor/ filmmaker Jon Favreau. “This is my contribution to the world.”‘Music from the Heart’ goes on the boards on January 20, 7.30 p.m. at the Bishop’s College Auditorium.

January 14, 2017 20:03 UTC

Govt seeks international assistance to face prevailing drought

Govt seeks international assistance to face prevailing drought By Chris Kamalendran View(s): View(s):The Government is seeking international assistance to face the prevailing drought situation. Appeals have already been made to the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide relief for distribution among those in badly affected areas, and to the UNICEF and foreign nations to purify seawater to overcome the potable water shortage. Already, water levels in these reservoirs have dropped by more than 60%, officials said. President Maithripala Sirisena this week, also appointed a Presidential Task Force to provide relief to people affected by the drought. The decision to appoint a task force was made during consultations held at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday, to discuss challenges posed by the drought situation.

January 14, 2017 20:03 UTC

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