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Modi writes to Dhoni: People grateful for what you have done for Indian cricket!

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN, Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Former Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his retirement on August 15, and wishes since then have continued to pour in for the talisman. Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a heart-warming letter to Dhoni, thanking him for the contribution he made to Indian Cricket.

Sharing the two-page letter from the Prime Minister on Twitter, Dhoni thanked Modi for his kind words and good wishes.

“An Artist, Soldier and Sportsperson what they crave for is appreciation, that their hard work and sacrifice is getting noticed and appreciated by everyone. Thanks PM @narendramodi for your appreciation and good wishes,” Dhoni tweeted.

 Modi said in his letter: “In your trademark unassuming style you shared a video that was enough to become a passionate discussion point for entire nation. 1.30 billion Indians were disappointed but also eternally grateful for all that you have done for Indian cricket.”

“You have been one of the important illustrations of the spirit of new India, where family name does not make young people’s destiny but they make their own names and their own destinies,” wrote the PM.

“Where we come from does not matter as long as we know where we are headed. This is the spirit that you have exuded and inspired many youngsters with,” he said.

Along with highlighting his efforts on the cricket field, Modi also mentioned Dhoni’s legendary love for the armed forces in the letter.

In the lengthy note to the celebrated cricketer, the PM also lauded the calm demeanour with which Dhoni led the Indian team.

“No matter what hairstyle you sported, your calm head remained the same in victory or defeat, which is very important for every youth,” he said. He was referring to different hair cuts that Dhoni made famous after sporting an eye-catching long mane at the beginning of his career.

“Rising from humble beginnings in a small town, you burst onto the national scene, made a name for yourself and most importantly, made India proud,” Modi wrote.

A week ago, the 39-year-old Dhoni brought down the curtain on his almost 16-year-long international career via an Instagram post.

Dhoni retired as India’s most successful limited-overs skipper and remains the only captain to have won all three ICC trophies: 2007 T20 World Cup, 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.

Earlier, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly also termed Dhoni’s retirement as the end of an era.

“It is the end of an era. What a player he has been for the country and world cricket! His leadership qualities have been something which will be hard to match, especially in the shorter format of the game. His batting in one-day cricket in his early stages made the world stand up and notice his flair and sheer natural brilliance.

 “Every good thing comes to an end and this has been an absolutely brilliant one. He has set the standards for the wicketkeepers to come and make a mark for the country. He will finish with no regrets on the field. An outstanding career. I wish him the best in life,” Ganguly, himself a former Indian skipper, said. 

 However Dhoni will still continue to play for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the enormously popular Indian Premier League (IPL).

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Mohan Pieris to be appointed as Ambassador to the UN?

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Extensive orientation course for heads of mission deignate

Former Chief Justice, Mohan Pieris, is mentioned as likely to be appointed as Sri Lanka’s new Permanent Representative (PR) to the United Nations in New York, informed sources said.

Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne, the serving PR, who has been recalled to Colombo is expected to be back by mid-October. A career Foreign Service office, she turned 60-years in June. The Foreign Ministry is retiring career diplomats at age sixty but political appointees beyond that age are being posted.

Eight others to be appointed heads of Sri Lanka diplomatic missions overseas have been summoned to be interviewed by the 18-member High Posts Commitee recently named by the Speaker. This committee is charged with the responsibility of screening uigh appointments including those of ambassador/high commissioner.

The former chief justice is not among them as his name, according to a ighly placed source, came up later.

Those summoned are: Admiral (Retd.) KKVP Harischandra (Afghanistan), Vishramal Sanjiv Gunasekera (Japan), Milinda Moragoda (India), Ravinatha Ariyasinha (USA), Prof. Kshanika Hirumburegama (France) and Palitha Kohona (China).

Meanwhile Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colambage has organized an intensive orientation program for the heads of mission (designate) to be held between Oct. 5 and 15 at the foreign ministry. The innaugural meeting will be addressed by Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardene and Foreign Secretary Colombage who will speak on “National interests and Sri Lanka’s foreign policy perspective.

The other resource persons include Foreign Service veterans holding senior positions in the ministry in Colombo who will speak on subjects ranging from the country’s multilateral relationship, human resource and mission management as well as overseas office management procedures relating to the appointments of heads of mission.

Ministers, senior officials including the Secretaries for the Treasury and Defence, heads of organizations like the Tea Board, the Tourist Board and Foreign Employment Bureau are among those who will address the ambassadors/high commissioner designate.

Media personalities including Mr. Amal Jayasinghe, head of the Agence France Presse Bureau here, Arjuna Ranawana, senior media practitioner and Shihar Aneez who was a Reuters correspondent will public diplomacy from the perspective of a foreign correspondent.

Retired Foreign Secretaries HMGS Palihakkra and Bernard Goonetillake are among the resource persons who will address the diplomats-designate. The group is due to call on the president and prime minister closer to their departure dates.

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Captain of stricken oil tanker MT New Diamond ordered to appear in court

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A Colombo Magistrate has issued notice on the Captain of the stricken oil tanker MT New Diamond to appear before him on September 28, Court reports said.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Dappula De Livera directed the Director of the CID to name the Captain of the Very Large Crude carrier as a suspect in the case filed over the matter.

State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the AG in an audio press release said the Attorney General is of the view the Captain of MT New Diamond had committed offences punishable under the provisions of the Marine Pollution Prevention Act, No. 35 OF 2008.

The CID was also directed to report facts against the Captain under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the Magistrate’s Court.

MT New Diamond carrying a quarter of a million tonnes of crude oil caught fire on September 3 in Sri Lankan waters as the vessel was travelling from Kuwait to Piradip in India.

Sri Lankan Navy, Coastguard and Air Force, as well as the Indian coastguard, fought the fire over a number of days.

One crew member aboard is missing presumed dead and another injured sailor was brought to shore and is in a hospital in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is claiming Rs. 340 million as compensation from the owners of the tanker for expenses incurred by various government agencies engaged in fire-fighting and rescue operations.

(ECONOMYNEXT)

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Saaraketha modernizing Sri Lankan agriculture through Agri Tech

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When we think of greenhouses, we tend to think of the cold hills of Nuwara Eliya, old fashioned English homes and Victorian botanical gardens full of exotic plants. We don’t tend to think high-tech, modern or organic, and we certainly don’t think of Anuradhapura.

This is where Saaraketha, Sri Lanka’s only certified organic fresh fruit and vegetable retailer, has dreamt big and delivered better than anyone thought was possible. They have harnessed the future of agriculture and brought it to reality today, in the form of a greenhouse project that will see the face of Sri Lankan organic agriculture change overnight.

Not only a first for Sri Lanka, but a first for the entire region, the new Saaraketha Solar-powered Greenhouse project has a production capability of half a million square feet of controlled environment, entirely solar powered and completely carbon neutral. Projected to carry over 60 varieties of vegetables, greens and herbs, the Saaraketha Solar-powered Greenhouse Project will be able to deliver stable crops all year round, ensuring a consistent income for farmers and fixed prices for customers.

With global weather patterns constantly changing and becoming more and more unpredictable and unreliable, it is more important than ever to invest in Sri Lanka’s self-sufficiency and improve food security. And with increased understanding and awareness of the damage that pesticides do to both the environment and health, it is also the time to focus on crops and production that is genuinely good for us and planet earth, with no corners cut and with complete transparency.

Saaraketha has always led the way to ensuring traceability and transparency, launching their plant to plate tracing technology in 2019, and now they want to take it a step further.

With their founder Prasanna Hettiarachchi at the helm, they are taking on the impressive task of transforming Sri Lankan agriculture by exploring ways to harness the power of technology to ensure that farmers’ livelihoods are improved and their ability to feed the nation is stabilized.

From day one, Saaraketha has been committed to the farmers of Sri Lanka. It is their stories, their experiences and their ambitions that have inspired Saaraketha to create the platform that they have over the last nine years. And even now the Saaraketha Solar-powered Greenhouse Project is powered 80% by female farmers, all working with Saaraketha to bring excellence to our families while uplifting their own families’ futures.

To date organic in Sri Lanka was considered the privilege of the few, always the healthy but highly costly option. Normal families would prioritise their children and buy organic only for them, but that need not be the case anymore. With the Saaraketha Greenhouse Project, the prices of vegetables, greens and herbs are reducing by 50%.

Not as a one off, or a sale, but for good. From October onwards, internationally accredited, “Certified Organic” produce will be available online at www.saaraketha.com and all supermarket retailers.

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