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Cricket board sacked; Interim Committee appointed

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by Rex Clementine

Following the national cricket team’s shocking display in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup in India, Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe sacked the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headed by Shammi Silva and appointed a seven-member Interim Committee headed by former Test captain Arjuna Ranatunga.

Other members of the panel are retired Supreme Court Judges S.I. Imam, Rohini Marasinghe, retired High Court judge Irangani Perera, former board chairman Upali Dharmadasa, Attorney-at-Law Rakitha Rajapakshe and businessman Hisam Jamaldeen.

The Minister acted according to the powers vested on him by the Sports Law.

The national cricket team had suffered new lows during Shammi Silva’s tenure as President as they were forced to play three Qualifying Tournaments in three years after failing to earn automatic qualification for ICC events.

Discipline among cricketers too had eroded significantly but on most occasions the players were let off with a slap on the wrist.

There are also allegations of mass scale corruption during Shammi Silva’s tenure and s everal irregularities were pointed out by a forensic audit done last year.

The Minister has been under intense pressure to sack the Executive Committee and there were public protests as well. Ranasinghe had resisted moves to sack the Ex Co but had requested on a few occasions to stay out of trouble.

The board has been accused of lack of planning for mega events like the World Cup, diluting domestic cricket and not having suitable individuals at key positions like for example Selection Committee and support staff for the national team.

Shammi Silva’s Executive Committee also took on the media cancelling accreditation for journalists who were critical of the board while at occasions entire media organizations were denied entry to venues to cover games.

Several activities of SLC will be probed as well as to how much money the board had spent as legal fees and conducting the Lanka Premier League where the board is believed to have not received the money that was due from the organizers.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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