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Mendis, Karunaratne headline productive batting day for Sri Lanka

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Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis put on 114 for the second wicket (Cricbuzz)

Six double-digit scores of which three were fifty-plus ones and three fifty-plus partnerships of which two were over 90, including one century stand, put Sri Lanka in a position of strength at the end of Day 1 of the second Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram. The visitors ended the day at 314/4 after opting to bat at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Saturday (March 30).

Sri Lanka’s productive day with the bat was set up initially by a 96-run opening partnership between Nishan Madushka and Dimuth Karunaratne, who batted more than 28 overs to negate whatever little help Bangladesh thought they could get with the new ball. Bangladesh even brought on Shakib Al Hasan as early as the seventh over but he too couldn’t make an impact.

It didn’t help that Bangladesh missed a few opportunities, with a couple of catches going down and a run-out chance missed, as Sri Lanka finished the opening session without losing a wicket.

Bangladesh finally tasted some success in the second over after the break as Madushka was run out for 57. But another period of toil ensued as Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis put on 114 for the second wicket. Karunaratne scored in a brisk fashion while Mendis struck at a fair clip too, with the pair getting regular boundaries apart from a good dose of singles and twos to run Bangladesh ragged.

To Bangladesh’s relief, another wicket came against the run of play as Karunaratne missed out on a hundred, dismissed for 86 after dragging a Hasan Mahmud delivery onto the stumps a few overs before Tea.

Sri Lanka, having already gone past 200 before the second session ended, continued to make good progress with Mendis and Angelo Mathews batting positively. Mendis even struck three fours in an over off Mahmud while Mathews hit Taijul Islam straight down the ground for a six, with the batters going on to bring up a half-century stand.

But Mendis’s outing came to an end on 93 when he pushed at a delivery from Shakib to hand a catch to slip. Mathews was dismissed a few overs later by Mahmud but Dinesh Chandimal’s unbeaten 34 and skipper Dhananjaya de Silva’s 15 not out helped Sri Lanka end the day without any further damage.

Brief scores:
Sri Lanka 314/4 in 90 overs (Nishan Madushka 57, Kusal Mendis 83, Dimuth Karunaratne 86, Angelo Mathews 23, Dinesh Chandimal 34*; Hasan Mahmud 2-64, Shakib Al Hasen 1-20) vs Bangladesh.



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Landslide early warnings issued to Badulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Ratnapura Districts

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The Landslide Early Warning Centre of the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has issued landslide early warnings to the districts of Badulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Ratnapura. The warning will be effective until 12 noon on 21st May 2024.

Accordingly,
Level II landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries divisions and surrounding areas of Seethawaka in the Colombo district and Mathugama in the Kalutara district.

Level I landslide early warnings have been issued to the Divisional Secretaries divisions and surrounding areas of Haldumulla, Haputhale, Badulla, Hali Ela and Ella in the Badulla district, Padukka in the Colombo district, Nagoda and Elpitiya in the Galle district, Attanagalla in the Gampaha district, Dodangoda, Agalawatta, Ingiriya, Bulathsinhala, Walallawita and Palindanuwara in the Kalutara district, Yatinuwara, Ganga Ihala Korale, Kandy four Gravets or Ganagawata Korale,  Pasbage Korale, Udapalatha, Ududumbara and Udunuwara in the Kandy district, Kegalle, Deraniyagala, Yatiyanthota, Bulathkohupitiya, Mawanella, Galigamuwa, Dehiowita, Ruwanwella and Warakapola in the Kegalle district, Alawwa, Narammala and Polgahawela in the Kurunegala district, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Kiriella, Elapatha, Eheliyagoda, Kuruwita, Imbulpe, Ayagama and Kalawana in the Ratnapura district.

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President highlights Global North’s failure in Climate Change Financing at 10th World Water Forum

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the 10th World Water Forum, held in Bali, Indonesia today (20), highlighting the stark contrast between global funding priorities, pointing out the willingness of the Global North to fund death and destruction in Ukraine while showing reluctance to finance measures to combat climate change.

Accordingly, President Wickremesinghe proposed a 10% levy on the annual profits of global tax evasion assets deposited in tax havens, estimated at $1.4 trillion annually. He suggested that funds raised through this levy could support Blended Finance projects focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The World Water Summit, themed “Water for Common Prosperity,” began on May 18 in Bali, Indonesia, bringing together world leaders, experts, academics, entrepreneurs, and policymakers. The conference aims to unite nations in a collaborative effort to address global water issues.

Since its inception in 1997, the World Water Summit has been held every three years, serving as a premier platform for countries worldwide to share experiences and knowledge on best practices for water management. The summit facilitates dialogues among stakeholders on water, sanitation challenges, and sustainable development goals.

This year’s event sees the participation of key United Nations organizations, including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations International Children’s Fund, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Climate Change Organization.

Following is the speech delivered by President Ranil Wickremesinghe;

At the outset let me thank the President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Joko Widodo for hosting the 10th World Water Forum in Bali. The theme ‘Water for shared prosperity’ focuses on collective responsibility in managing water resources, the life blood of all living beings and ecosystem services. This follows the “Sustainable Management of Lakes” Resolution proposed by Indonesia at the UNEA-5.

During the UNEA -6 held this year, the European Union together with Sri Lanka brought about the resolution “6/13 Effective and inclusive solutions for strengthening water policies to achieve sustainable development in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution”.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Government of Indonesia for taking the initiative during the G20 Presidency to launch the Global Blended Finance Alliance. Sri Lanka expresses its willingness to become a pioneering member.

Climate Change and water stress are two sides of the same coin. The cumulative effects of Climate Change are the main reason for what we see today as the water resource crisis. According to IPCC projected climate scenarios till 2090, Sri Lanka’s dry zone will get drier and the wet zone will get wetter in an unprecedented manner. Sea level rise will cause salt water intrusion in coastal areas resulting in salinization of land. I took this example from Sri Lanka while appreciating the fact that this is what is happening all over the world.

In global terms the solution to water stress revolves around climate mitigation and adaptation. Combating the triple planetary crisis with specific measures aiming at water. In the Nationally Determined Contributions water is classified under the adaptation sectors. On the other hand, mitigation is equally important as emissions are the root cause. Combating the threats to water resources posed by climate change requires colossal amounts of financial resources.

The Global North has failed miserably in adhering to the commitments to provide financial resources for Climate Change. There is a notable lack of political will after the euphoria of the Glasgow COP was over. Climate Change denial is gaining ground in the West.

The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, after a long drag, if effectively implemented can help to bridge the gap. This is a big IF. The Summit for a new Global Financing Pact will hopefully reach a conclusion by September this year. Nevertheless, the final outcome will depend on the results of the US Presidential Elections in November.

The OECD in 2021 projected the investment for global water related infrastructure at US $ 6.7 trillion for 2030 and US$ 22 trillion for 2058. The UNEP Report 2023 “Underfinanced – Underprepared” estimate the under financed gap to combat climate change at US$ 194 – 366 billion per year. The Global North is willing to fund death and destruction in the Ukraine. But there is an unwillingness to fund measures to avoid death and destruction caused by climate change.

Since money is not coming our way in anticipated amounts and at anticipated pace, to overcome the resource gap, Sri Lanka presented to COP 28 the Tropical Belt Initiative. A novel concept of harnessing commercial investments in the natural forests, mangroves, swamps, grassland water bodies and other natural resources in the Tropical Belt towards tackling the triple planetary crisis. The Tropical Belt from the time of its existence has been a ‘shield’ for the whole world. It is a catalytic accelerator of solutions to the ongoing triple planetary crisis. Investment in the tropical belt will bring in transformative changes to combat the triple planetary crisis.

In this context, the Initiative on Global Blended Finance will enable the Global South to mobilise the much needed financial resources. The US$ 9.4 billion available to commence this fund is a good example of leveraging concessional finance. The Tropical Belt Initiative will also benefit from this facility. In this context Sri Lanka proposes a 10% levy on the annual profits of global tax evasion assets deposited in tax havens. The annual profits are estimated at US$ 1.4 trillion per annum. The levy can be enforced by imposing sanctions, similar to those imposed on Russian Banks on the Banks and the Financial Institutes which fail to implement the levy. The monies raised by these levies to be made available to be utilised by the Blended Finance projects on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation.

The Global Blended Finance initiative is a supplement to the Loss and damage funds – not an alternative. These two measures must work in tandem. Therefore at this forum, let us express our appreciation for the hard work done by Indonesia in proposing this Initiative at the G20 culminating the establishment of the Alliance Secretariat.

Again, our thanks to President Joko Widodo for his contribution both in respect to the management of water resources and for bringing together the Global Blended Alliance.”

 

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Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s president, dies in helicopter crash aged 63

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Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran's president in 2021, having led the country's judiciary and other top offices

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has died after a helicopter carrying him and other officials crashed in a mountainous and forested area of the country in poor weather.

The 63-year-old, a figure representing conservative and hardline factions in Iranian politics, was president for nearly three years and appeared on track to run for re-election next year.

A former chief justice, Raisi was touted as a potential successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 85-year-old supreme leader of Iran.

Raisi was born in Mashhad in northeastern Iran, a religious hub for Shia Muslims. He underwent religious education and was trained at the seminary in Qom, studying under prominent scholars, including Khamenei.

Also like the supreme leader, he wore a black turban, which signified that he was a sayyid – a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, a status with particular significance among Twelver Shia Muslims.

Raisi racked up experience as a prosecutor in multiple jurisdictions before coming to Tehran in 1985. It was in the capital city that, according to human rights organisations, he was part of a committee of judges who oversaw executions of political prisoners.

The late president was a longtime member of the Assembly of Experts, the body that is tasked with choosing a replacement for the supreme leader in the event of his death.

He became attorney general in 2014 for two years, when he was appointed by Khamenei to lead the Astan Quds Razavi. The colossal bonyad, or charitable trust, has billions of dollars in assets and is the custodian of the shrine of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia imam.

Raisi initially ran for president in 2017, unsuccessfully challenging the re-election of former President Hassan Rouhani, who represented the centrist and moderate camps.

After a short hiatus, Raisi was making headlines as the new head of the Iranian judiciary system, having been appointed by Khamenei in 2019. He presented himself as a defender of justice and a fighter against corruption, and made many provincial travels to garner popular support.

Raisi became president in 2021 amid low voter turnout and wide disqualification of reformist and moderate candidates, and appeared to have secured a firm footing for re-election.

Like other top Iranian officials, his harshest rhetoric was reserved for Israel and the United States, followed by their Western allies.

Raisi made many speeches since the start of the war on Gaza in October to condemn ‘genocide’ and ‘massacres’ committed by Israel against Palestinians, and called on the international community to intervene.

He promised revenge against Israel after it levelled Tehran’s consulate building in Syria and killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two generals.

And he welcomed Iran’s response which was to launch hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel, most of which were shot down by a coalition of Israeli allies – but left Iran claiming an overall success.

Raisi was hawkish on Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has been in limbo after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018.

He was a champion of the strategic policy of “resistance” and “resilience” that Khamenei has adopted in the face of the harshest-ever sanctions that Iran has faced – imposed after the nuclear deal fell through.

A close ally of the IRGC, the late president was also a staunch backer of the “axis of resistance” of political and armed groups that Iran supports across the region, including in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

And he was a strong backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Iran has supported in his government’s war against the Syrian opposition, which has left hundreds of thousands dead.

(Aljazeera)

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