Nation 2  



Japan nuke plant ‘in meltdown’; ‘1,000 quake dead’
MINAMI SOMA, Japan (AFP) - Japan warned Saturday that one of its nuclear plants may be in meltdown after a record quake and tsunami wiped out a swathe of the northeast, leaving more than 1,000 people feared dead.
Reactor cooling systems failed at two plants after Friday’s record 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit, unleashing a terrifying 10-metre (33-foot) high wave that tore through coastal towns and cities, destroying all in its path.
Kyodo News agency said radioactive caesium had been detected near the Quake-hit atomic plant Fukushima No. 1, about 250 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of Tokyo, citing the Japanese nuclear safety commission. The plant “may be experiencing nuclear meltdown”, Kyodo and Jiji reported.
The cooling system of the plant was damaged in the massive earthquake that struck the region 24 hours earlier, leaving authorities scrambling to fix the problem and evacuate more than 45,000 residents within a 10-kilometre radius. Thousands were also evacuated from near a second plant, Fukushima No. 2, which also suffered damage to its cooling system.
Parts of the No. 1 reactor’s nuclear fuel rods were briefly exposed to the air Saturday after cooling water levels dropped and a fire engine was pumping water into the reactor, Jiji Press reported.
The water levels were recovering, said operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), according to Jiji. A spokesman told AFP that “we believe the reactor is not melting down or cracking. We are trying to raise the water level.”
The atomic emergency came as the country struggled to assess the full extent of the devastation wreaked by the massive tsunami, which was unleashed by the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan.
The towering wall of water pulverised the northeastern city of Sendai, where police reportedly said 200-300 bodies had been found on the coast.
More than 215,000 people were in emergency shelters, police said.
The full scale of those left homeless was believed to be much higher, with police saying they had not received a tally from Miyagi prefecture, the hard-hit province that is home to Sendai.
“What used to be residential areas were mostly swept away in many coastal areas and fires are still blazing there,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said after surveying the damage by helicopter.
The unstoppable black tide picked up shipping containers, wrecked cars and the debris of shattered homes and crashed through the streets of Sendai and across open fields, forming a mud slick that covered vast tracts of land.
“There are so many people who lost their lives,” an elderly man told TV reporters before breaking down in tears. “I have no words to say.”
An AFP tally compiled from national and provincial police data put the confirmed death toll at at least 703.
“It is believed that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.
“The damage is so enormous that it will take us much time to gather data,” an official at the police agency told AFP.
Authorities said more than 3,000 homes were destroyed or swept away and tens of thousands of people spent the night in emergency shelters.
The tsunami obliterated Rikuzentakata, a coastal city of some 23,000 people, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
Some 50,000 military and other rescue personnel were pushed into action to spearhead the Herculean rescue and recovery effort with hundreds of ships, aircraft and vehicles headed to the Pacific coast area.
Army helicopters airlifted people off the roof of an elementary school in Watari, Miyagi prefecture.
The towering wave set off alerts across the Pacific, sparking evacuations in Hawaii and on the US West Coast.
Chile said it was evacuating coastal areas and Ecuador’s state oil company announced it had suspended crude oil exports due to risks posed by the tsunami.
The Bank of Japan said it would do its “utmost” to ensure the stability of financial markets after the quake brought huge disruption to key industries.
Major manufacturers including Toyota, Nissan and Sony were forced to suspend production at some sites, raising short-term concerns for the nation’s struggling economy.
In quake-hit areas 5.6 million households had no power Saturday and more than one million households were without water. Telecommunications networks were also hit.
Leading international offers of help, President Barack Obama mobilised the US military to provide emergency aid after what he called a “simply heartbreaking” disaster.
The United States, which has nearly 40,000 military personnel in Japan, ordered a flotilla including two aircraft carriers and support ships to the region to provide aid.
The quake, which hit at 2:46 pm (0546 GMT) and lasted about two minutes, rattled buildings in greater Tokyo, the world’s largest urban area and home to some 30 million people.
Millions were left stranded in the evening after the earthquake shut down the city’s vast subway system.
But with small quakes felt every day somewhere in Japan, the country is one of the best prepared to deal with the aftermath of such a calamity.
“If there is any place in the world ready for a disaster of the scale and scope of this historic calamity, it is Japan,” said Stacey White, senior research consultant at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
In a rare piece of good news, a ship that was earlier reported missing was found swept out to sea and all 81 people aboard were airlifted to safety.
But mostly the picture was one of utter devastation.
The tsunami submerged the runway at Sendai airport, while a process known as liquefaction, caused by the intense shaking of the tremor, turned parts of the ground to liquid.
Hours after the quake struck, TV images showed huge orange balls of flame rolling up into the night sky as fires raged around a petrochemical complex in Sendai. A massive blaze also engulfed an oil refinery near Tokyo.
Nearly 24 hours after the first, massive quake struck just under 400 kilometres (250 miles) northeast of Tokyo, aftershocks were still rattling the region, including a strong 6.8 magnitude tremor on Saturday.
The US Geological Survey said more than 100 aftershocks had hit the area.
Japan sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and Tokyo is in one of its most dangerous areas, where three continental plates are slowly grinding against each other, building up enormous seismic pressure.
The government has long warned of the likelihood that a devastating magnitude-eight quake will strike within the next 30 years in the Kanto plains, home to Tokyo’s vast urban sprawl.
Kadhafi troops advance as EU, US condemns Libyan leader
NEAR RAS LANUF, Libya (AFP) - Libyan fighter jets bombed anti-Kadhafi forces Friday as the European Union called on the Libyan leader to go and Barack Obama urged the world to keep up the pressure.
“Colonel Khadafi must relinquish power immediately,” said a European Union statement from Brussels at the end of an emergency summit on the crisis.
“His regime has lost all legitimacy and is no longer an interlocutor for the EU,” it added.
The 27-nation bloc expressed “deep concern about attacks against civilians, including from the air.
But it also stressed the need for “a clear legal basis and support from the region”, reflecting divisions over the advisability of military intervention.
The legal basis sought by EU states would be a UN Security Council resolution authorising action.
The statement also called for a urgent summit between the EU, the African Union and the Arab League to discuss the crisis. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that would take place “in the coming weeks.”
The Arab League is due to meet in Cairo on Saturday. The African Union rejected military intervention in Libya, at a meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Fridy.
There was no mention in the final EU statement of calls from Britain and France for a no-fly zone over Libya -- let alone French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposal for “targeted action” against Kadhafi.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made it clear she was “fundamentally sceptical” on the question of any military intervention.
In Washington, President Barack Obama told reporters Friday: “Across the board, we are slowly tightening the noose on Kadhafi.
“He is more and more isolated internationally both through sanctions as well as an arms embargo,” Obama said.
But he admitted he was worried about the threat Kadhafi still posed given the weapons at his disposal and reports that he had been hiring mercenaries.
“We’re going to have to continue to apply pressure,” Obama said, as the US Treasury Department hit another nine Kadhafi associates with sanctions, including his wife Safia Farkash and his defence minister.
The US has already frozen $32 billion in Libyan assets.
Obama also announced he would appoint envoys to meet the Libyan opposition.
Also in Washington, Libya’s former ambassador to the UN, Abdel Rahman Shalgam, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would meet Mahmoud Jibril, the Libyan opposition National Council’s foreign affairs chief, in Paris on Monday.
In Libya itself however, Kadhafi’s fighter jets bombed rebel forces, as his forces tried to press the iniative won in recent victories.
Rebels said fighting had flared again in the key eastern oil hub and frontline town of Ras Lanuf, after most of them were driven out in a fierce battle on Thursday after holding it for a week.
In the midst of a heavy-weapons duel, a warplane dropped bombs on a rebel checkpoint 10 kilometres (six miles) east of the town and on a nearby oil refinery, but no casualties were reported.
An AFP reporter saw flames and a massive plume of thick black smoke rising from the refinery, the second facility to be hit in the week’s fighting.
A second strike hit rebel positions about 15 kilometres (10 miles) east of town.
Pro-Kadhafi state television reported: “The population of Ras Lanuf is overjoyed after the town was purged of armed gangs backed by Al-Qaeda.”
There was no reliable casualty figure from Friday’s fighting, but an AFP reporter saw at least five bodies, while doctors said 10 people were killed on Thursday.
Earlier, rebels fired a salvo of at least 12 Katyushas from a rocket launcher mounted on the back of a truck, and what rebels said were loyalist army shells and Grad rockets were heard exploding further west.
Volunteer medics in Libya called for international help.
A few kilometres east of Ras Lanuf, Doctor Awad el-Ghweiry feared his makeshift clinic would not be able to cope.
“Where are all the international organisations?” he demanded, as he and his colleagues treated three rebels and three loyalists.
Dalai Lama offers prayers for devastated Japan

DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday voiced ‘sadness’ over a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and said he would pray for the victims.
“The Dalai Lama expressed his shock and sadness on hearing the news of yesterday’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan,” his office said in a statement posted on his official website www.dalailama.com.
The spiritual leader’s reaction came as the Japanese government said it believed more than 1,000 people had been killed by Friday’s 8.9-magnitude temblor and tsunami which devastated swathes of Japan.
The Dalai Lama, who has a huge following among Japan’s Buddhists, in a message to Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan said he was “grateful” for the country’s high preparedness which prevented an even larger loss of life.
“We must all be grateful that the Japanese government’s disaster preparedness measures prevented the death and destruction from being much worse,” the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner said.
“His holiness offered his prayers for those who have lost their lives and offered his sympathy and condolences to their families and others affected by it,” the statement said.
The 75-year-old Dalai Lama, who is a frequent visitor to Japan, fled his homeland in 1959 following a failed anti-Chinese uprising and set up base in the northern Indian hilltop town of Dharamshala.
The statement said Dharamshala was organising a remembrance where a special Buddhist religious chant would be recited for the victims and survivors of the disaster.
“Such a recitation may not only be helpful for those who have lost their precious lives, but may also help prevent further disasters in the future,” the Dalai Lama told his followers in Japan.
The statement came two days after the Dalai Lama announced he would step down as political head of the exiled Tibetan government, but continue to push the Tibetan cause in his key role as its spiritual figurehead.

World tightening noose on Kadhafi: Obama

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama warned Friday the world was ‘tightening the noose’ on Moamer Kadhafi, but admitted he was ‘concerned’the Libyan strongman could thwart rebels battling to oust him.
Obama announced he would appoint an envoy to Libyan opposition forces as part of a bid to “change the balance” of the military situation in Libya, and warned the world had an obligation to avoid a Rwanda-style massacre.
The president also defended his efforts to date to oust Kadhafi, amid criticism that he has been too slow or not offered sufficient leadership, adding he was gauging support for a no-fly zone with regional powers.
“Across the board, we are slowly tightening the noose on Kadhafi,” Obama said in a White House news conference scheduled to discuss rising energy prices but dominated by the Libyan revolt and the Japanese tsunami tragedy.
“He is more and more isolated internationally both through sanctions as well as an arms embargo,” Obama said.
The president also gave an insight into evolving US policy on Kadhafi’s crackdown on Libyan opposition forces and his capacity to hang on, edging towards more overt material and political support for opposition forces.
“I am concerned about it. Kadhafi has a stash of weapons, he not only has some troops that remain loyal to him but there are also reports that he’s also been hiring mercenaries.”
“We’re going to have to continue to apply pressure,” Obama said, adding that the world had to try to “change the balance” militarily on the ground in Libya as well as in Kadhafi’s inner circle.
To that end, the US Treasury Department hit another nine top officials and Kadhafi family members with sanctions, including the defense minister and the Libyan leader’s wife Safia Farkash.
Under an earlier set of measures, Washington had frozen $32 billion in Libyan assets.
Obama gave his most comprehensive statement yet on a day when rebels and forces loyal to Kadhafi battled around the frontline town of Ras Lanuf.
The president did not say specifically whether the United States and its allies had yet considered whether to arm opposition forces as some of ideological opponents in Washington have urged.
“We have determined that it is appropriate for us to assign a representative whose specific job is to interact with the opposition and determine ways that we can further help them,” Obama said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Monday in Paris with Mahmoud Jibril, the opposition National Council’s foreign affairs chief, former Libyan ambassador Abdel Rahman Shalgam told reporters on Friday.
Washington has already said it would soon send humanitarian aid teams to rebel-held areas of eastern Libya, but warned the move should not be seen as military intervention.
It has also been seeking to learn about the make-up and capacity of Libya’s various opposition groups before deciding what kind of support to offer.
Despite US reluctance so far to embark on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, Obama did hint that international forces could spring into action in the event of any looming civilian massacre.
“Not only the United States but the international community has an obligation to do what we can to prevent a repeat of something like what happened in the Balkans in the ‘90s, what occurred in Rwanda.”
The president said that a desire to stop civilian killings was one reason the West had started continuous aerial surveillance over Libya.
“We’re going to have to look at what develops on the ground on a case-by-case basis. I don’t want to generalize right now and say that’s what’s happening and we’re prepared to step in.
“But we have sent a clear warning to the Kadhafi government that they will be held accountable, particularly when it comes to assaulting civilians.”
European leaders also ramped up pressure on Kadhafi, agreeing to a dialogue with his opponents and to protect Libyan civilians “by all necessary means” but stopping short of issuing an outright military threat.
Obama made clear it was in the national interests of the United States for Kadhafi, a foe of Washington for most of the last 40 years, to be gone.
“I believe that Kadhafi is on the wrong side of history. I believe that the Libyan people are anxious for freedom and the removal of somebody who has suppressed them for decades now.”
He also took time to assess the wider impact of the changes sweeping the Middle East, urging leaders to seize the “great opportunity” presented by the current turmoil to embrace political and economic reforms.

Death threats for actress who ‘shamed’ Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) - A well-known Pakistani actress Saturday said she had received death threats from militants after appearing on the Indian equivalent of hit reality television show “Big Brother”.
Veena Malik, 27, incurred the wrath of hardline Islamic clerics for her performance on “Big Boss”, during which she indulged in several intimate scenes with Indian actor Ashmit Patel that included massaging his head and neck.
Clerics accused her of shaming Pakistan in rival India and she also received a letter threatening to “punish” her.
“I am quite shocked after receiving this letter. First I got only verbal threats but now it is in writing,” Malik told AFP by telephone from India, where she is hosting cricket World Cup show “Big Toss”.
“Security is a concern and the Pakistani government is responsible for my and my family’s security.
I hope that the government will provide me that security,” Malik said.
The actress said people with tight security details had been killed in Pakistan, referring to the January assassination of Punjab governor Salman Taseer over his opposition to a draconian blasphemy law.
“What can I say except that I have firm belief in God and life and death is in his hand,” she said.
Malik said she would return to Pakistan despite the threats.
“To live in my country is my right.
I am a daughter of this soil. I guarantee that I will come back to Pakistan and will live in my own country,” she said.

LOCAL events

Relations between Sri Lanka and Germany to be strengthened
Professor G. L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, had discussions with Jan Karan, Senator for Economy and Trade of the City of Hamburg and Juergen Klimke, Member of the German Parliament, on a wide range of issues relating to the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Germany. Jens Plotner, Ambassador of Germany, also participated in the discussion.
Prof. Peiris referred to the very useful interaction between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the German delegation at President’s House in Kandy.
The Minister thanked the German government for assistance, worth approximately Rs. 36,500 million in dry rations and drinking water, which had been made available in the aftermath of the recent floods.
He also noted that the number of German tourists visiting Sri Lanka had increased by more than 70 per cent last year.
Senator Karan indicated his readiness to assist with a variety of collaborative programmes between the countries, taking advantage of the circumstances now prevailing in Sri Lanka after the eradication of terrorism.
Senator Karan and Parliamentarian Klimke, assisted by Ambassador Plotner, discussed with Prof. Peiris appropriate fields for co-operation. Minister Peiris suggested that skills development, with particular reference to vocational training and the German experience of learning and working simultaneously, the services sector and value addition into agricultural products are suitable areas.
Juergen Klimke referred to the productive interaction which had taken place during the recent visit of the German Parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, and said that an invitation had been extended to Sri Lankan Parliamentarians to visit Germany this year.
The two sides agreed that strengthening of relationships between the business communities of the two countries should be a priority for this year. Senator Karan and Klimke met with a cross section of business leaders ahead of his address to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
They said that the East Asiatic Association, based in Hamburg, was a useful institution for strengthening contact with the business sector in Sri Lanka, and that they would associate themselves with appropriate initiatives in this field.

Three-day Jaffna music festival begins on march 25

The Jaffna Music Festival, a Celebration of Traditional Folk Art Forms will unfold in a folk-village setting from March 25 to 27.
Folk music and dancing are wonderful expressions of a country’s rich tradition and diverse culture although very rarely would one pay attention to them. Many folk musicians across the country struggle to keep their traditions alive in the face of falling numbers and due to lack of incentives and recognition from the society, modern day folk musicians have to engage in preserving these arts while struggling for their own survival.
With the objective of bringing these unique Sri Lankan folk and traditional music and dance forms into the limelight, Sewalanka Foundation together with Concerts Norway and Norwegian Embassy will present Jaffna Music Festival, a folk themed event from March 25 to 27, 2011 in the city of Jaffna.
The Festival unfolds in a folk-village camp setting, where different artistes, both local and international, will lead simultaneous performances on 3-4 stages from Friday to Sunday 10am to 3pm followed by a main stage performance 4 pm – 10 pm daily.
The Festival will bring together an assortment of traditional folk music and dance performances from across the island, with groups representing all ethnic groups. With a combination of folk, fusion folk and traditional music, the festival will present an exciting line up of 23 Sri Lankan and five international folk groups from India, Nepal, Palestine, South Africa and Norway. Some of which are:
Nishantha Rampitiye Troupe: Kohomba Kankariya
In Kandy, where Kohomba Kankariya evolved, Nishan Rampitiye family line has been performing this art for generations. Well known for Kohomba Kankariya and Bali, the group has around 50 performing artistes. It takes nearly five years or more to arrange a full Kohomba Kankariya performance - the most difficult point is to scour the professional dancers who know the procedures well and the Kankariya itself.
The Khohomba Kankariya contains a number of episodes around an incident. Kohomba Kankariya ritual is performed to ensure freedom from diseases, invoke blessings and for the people to live in prosperity.
The blessings are expected to manifest only in the location that Kohomba Kankariya is enacted, so that if any others want such blessings, they too are compelled to enact Kohomba Kankariya in their own areas, thereby ensuring more people would make offerings to please the ‘Yakka’ (devil) separately for their well-being!
The academy is very proud to win national and international level awards and the Presidential Award for ‘Skillfull Wes Natum Artiste of 2009 – 2010’.
Tradition and Culture of Muslim Inducing Association (TACOMIA): Kali Kambattam
The members of TACOMIA live in Akkareipattu, in the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The group is well known among the Muslim community for their distinctive style of performing music with sticks. This style is known as ‘Kali Kambattam’, which refers to ‘beat and play’. The knowledge and art of performing the play are handed down in traditional families to the present generation.
The roots of their play style can be traced back to about 300 years ago. This tradition is very popular in every Muslim community. The band over the years has played more than 30 shows to wide and varied audiences around the country.
The group performs a wide variety of folk tales in the form of singing and dancing with sticks. The folk group’s play, singing and dancing style is Saudi Arabian in origin. This scenario forms the base and all surrounding sequences are acted in various manner using diverse symbols, costumes accompanied by rhythmic singing and drumming with sticks.
According to M. H. Musamil, leader of the group, the younger generation in the Eastern coast shows a big interest in joining the group and learning this unique tradition.

Papurabah Koothu-Chulipuram
This is one of the Koothu practiced amongst Tamils in the Chulipuram area. It is now going to be performed again after nearly twenty years. The story of Papurabaha is connected to the legend Mahabharata.
Papravaham goes on to tell the story of the great fight between father and son, Arjuna the great archer in the epic Mahabharath and Papravahan, who captured a horse his father released during a Yaga (offering to the gods). Paravahan wins the battle killing his father, but ultimately due to the intervention of the gods Arjuna is revived back to life.
The men perform to the sound of the thalam ringing with an annaviyar singing, backed by sallari and mathalam. The performance usually takes place in a circular space in the kovil compound. The audience is seated on the three sides of the performing space. The performers do not use modern facilities such as loudspeakers. This koothu is performed only during the temple periods.
Almost a century ago, it was said that real horses and elephants were brought in during the performance to add grandeur to the performance.

Indian Group
The Manganiar Group is known for their traditional Indian folk music, and seen as some of the most sophisticated musicians of the Western Rajasthan. The folk music group come from the district of Barmer in Rajastan, also called the land of kings, and famous for their folk music, and generations of professional musicians.
They are seen as the descendants of the Rajputs – the Kings of Rajasthan, in the way that their songs are passed on from generation to generation, making them effectively keepers of the history of the desert.
Their songs are about all parts of life; love, weddings, birth, or any family festivity. Amongst the instruments they play, is the remarkable bowed instrument the ‘kamayacha’, with its big, circular resonator, giving out an impressive deep, booming sound.
The Manganiar Group is: Nehru Khan (vocal), Gazi Khan (harmonium), Bhugra Kahn (khartal), Bhuta Kahn (dholak) and Deen Mohammad (kamayacha).

Agreement signed to build 150-bed hospital at Dickoya with Indian assistance

An agreement was signed on Wednesday, March 9, in the Ministry of External Affairs, South Block, New Delhi for awarding the work related to construction of 150 bed hospital at Dickoya near Hatton in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Agreement was signed by Shri T. S. Tirumurti, Joint Secretary (BSM) on behalf of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Shri. K. R. Tirumurahan, Managing Director, Green Valley’s Shelters (P) Limited, Chennai.
The hospital will be constructed under grant of Government of India. Government of India has allocated INR 47.27 crores for setting up of the hospital. Hospital Services Consultation Corporation Ltd (HSCC) India is the Project Management Consultant for the project. The project is expected to be completed in 22 months.
Recognising the need for establishment of a well equipped general hospital at Dickoya near Hatton the Government of India agreed to render assistance to Government of Sri Lanka. The establishment of a new hospital in the Central Province in Sri Lanka will augment the facilities in the existing hospital and provide health services to a large number of people of Indian origin living in this area. India has continued to extend extensive assistance to the Indian Origin Tamils living in that area especially in the area of education, health, housing and public transportation.

Sajith helps temples with Sasunata Aruna project

Sajith Premadasa, MP for Hambantota district and Chairman of the Janasuwaya Development Foundation, has initiated a project named Sasunata Aruna to assist and support Buddhist temples in commemoration of the 2,600 years Sambudhatwa Jayanthiya celebrations.
Sajith premadasa donating Rs. 50,000 to the chief incumbent of the Kapugampotha Temple, Pallemulane Saranankara Thera in the Weeraketiya Division of Hambantota district.

Lions Club of Mutwal South 306 B1 provides shelter and self-employment

Recently, the Lions Club of Mutwal South 306 B1, celebrated the joy of giving by contributing a newly constructed house and vegetable vending cart. The district governor Lion Jeyavatsalan, MJF, handed them over to the respective families. The house worth Rs. 4,65,000 was given to Mrs. Shanthi Mathiazhaghan and family in Hendala, Wattala, in Kurundhuwathe area and the cart to another needy family by the club. Present in the photograph are past Lion District Governors S. Sivapadha Sunderam and Sivanadhan, vice governor lion Piyantha Fernando, club president Lion Thirukeswaren, club treasurer Lion K. Ganeshamoorthy, Director Lion Ashok Kumar, Secretary Lion Shanmuganathan, and the rest of the club’s fraternity

Emerald releases official SLC shirt collection as we take on the world

Limited edition collection now available in finer outlets
The much awaited specialised shirt worn by the Sri Lanka cricket team as they take on the world, designed and produced by Emerald was released to the market this week.
Emerald, the official formal wear provider to Sri Lanka cricket has been a pioneer in the shirt industry offering some of the best quality shirts to the Sri Lankan and overseas markets.
“The exclusive cricket shirt collections, first introduced by Emerald for the Sri Lanka Australia tour in August 2010, has been an astonishing success and sold out within a few days,” commented the Marketing Manager Emerald International Rimaz Marzook.
He went on to say, “Our goal is to have the Sri Lanka Cricket team looking very professional and fashionable off the field as they take on the world, especially since we are a nation known the world over for the high quality apparels we produce.”
This new world cup collection has been done in symbolising national integrity coupled with the great game of cricket. “We have made a very limited number of shirts from this limited collection available to the general public through our finer dealers island wide in a variety of colours,” he said.
The fabric is a unique Royal Oxford which is known to be lustrous, textured and regal, and originated in England in the late 19th Century, similar to International Cricket. Thus the fabric has also been selected to symbolise the history of the game.
The embroidery on the pocket signifies wicket stumps ordained in the colours of the Sri Lanka flag, namely Yellow, Green Maroon and orange to bring out the patriotism of the sport. The placket of the shirts bears a red leather cricket ball with vertical line embroidery symbolising the game of cricket and classy finish. Each shirt has been customised to serve as a true memorabilia this season.”

U.S. gives $4 million more in Emergency Food Aid

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) , the development agency of the U.S. Government, is to donate $4,200,000 (approximately 462 million Sri Lanka Rupees) of food aid to support the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Northern Sri Lanka. Consisting of wheat flour, lentils, and vegetable oil, USAID’s second shipment of food aid this year will be distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme and will meet the needs of up to 371,000 returnees.
This donation to support the northern IDPs comes in addition to the flood relief assistance of $ 2.9 million (319 million Sri Lanka Rupees) given by the United States Government earlier this year which supported families in areas severely affected by the heavy rains such as Mannar, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
To date, the U.S. has provided nearly $33 million (3.6 billion rupees) in food aid to Sri Lankans during 2010 and the first months of 2011.

Electricity scheme for 48 Estate families in Kalutara

Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka erected the first lamp post recently to inaugurate the Nainna, Hidaraliyawatte electricity scheme in Dodangoda, Kalutara.
The minister has instructed officials to provide these residents electricity within a month.
This scheme was constructed at a cost of Rs.7 million, and would cater to the electricity needs of around 200, from 48 families. This scheme will no doubt be an asset to the daily activities of these residents who have never had the privilege of electricity before.