State Minister for Defence, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, addressing a Press Briefing held under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country,’ at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) today (24) said that Sri Lanka was losing around US$200 million annually as only 116 of the 122 Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC) which map out Sri Lanka waters were not available. He added that providing ENC’s was a global responsibility of a coastal nation.
The state minister said that as Sri Lanka was located strategically in the Indian Ocean and between 35,000 to 45,000 container vessels, passenger vessels and tankers traversed through its waters annually. He pointed out that it was mandatory for each vessel to purchase at least two ENC’s at a cost of US$ 25 each when traversing through Sri Lanka waters. In as much we lose US$ 50 per vessel we have to pay more for the goods we import as well as for exports because the insurance premiums were higher when vessels navigated through uncharted waters.
The law maker said that the firm which undertook to chart Sri Lankan waters decades ago had failed to complete the task and hence the government has taken a policy decision to entrust the charting to the Sri Lanka Navy.
He said to perform the charting it was required to acquire a deep water multi beam echo sounder and a shallow water multi beam echo sounder as well a replacement for the vessel. ‘Sagarika’. He added that it would take two years to complete the work once the acquisitions were made.
As it was envisaged to establish Sri Lanka as a yacht hub in the future, priority would be given to mapping out the commercially important waters and added that until such time the operation of the proposed yacht hub at the Colombo Port City will be stalled.
He also said that the National Hydrology Act has been presented to parliament.
Agriculture and tourism key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery- President
Addressing the 37th session of the Asia and Pacific Regional Conference (APRC) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Colombo today (20), President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed the government’s dedication to elevating Sri Lanka as a prominent exporter of agricultural produce through rapid agricultural sector transformation. He emphasized the pivotal role agriculture played in navigating Sri Lanka through the previous economic crisis and highlighted agriculture and tourism as key sectors for the nation’s swift recovery.
The conference, which commenced on the 19th of February in Colombo with the participation of diplomats and representatives from 34 countries including the United States, China, and Russia, will conclude tomorrow (21). Sri Lanka’s chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific region of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization will extend from now until 2026.
This year’s conference, themed “Transformation of the Agro-Food System,” will delve into key areas such as promoting nutritious food production, ensuring food security, enhancing food production, safeguarding the environment, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change risks.
Sri Lanka hosted the 2nd Asia and Pacific Regional Conference in 1955.
2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day to be held on 10th March
The Cabinet of Ministers was informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that actions were being taken to hold the 2024 Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Day at the Gall Face, grounds on 10th March with the participation of Diplomatic missions of member countries, partner states and a large number of school students from all provinces of the island.
The theme for 2024 IORA Day is “A Sustainable Indian Ocean for Future Generation”
Mathews, Hasaranga all-round show helps Sri Lanka seal series
Angelo Mathews and Wanindu Hasaranga’s brilliant all-round show, well complimented by a steady half-century from Sadeera Samarawickrama, helped Sri Lanka prolong Afghanistan’s winless streak on in the ongoing multi-format tour and seal the T20I series 2-0 with a game to go. Sri Lanka posted a commanding 187/6 riding on the back of Samarawickrama’s fifty and cameos from the two all-rounders. However, Mathews opened the bowling as well after his unbeaten knock and triggered a top-order collapse that the visitors failed to recover from, eventually collapsing to 115 all out in reply.
Put in to bat first, the Sri Lankan openers got their team off to a flying start with a quickfire 45-run stand in under four overs. The pair launched a flurry of boundaries – they hit nine between them – as the hosts quickly raced away before Azmatulllah got the much needed breakthrough for Afghanistan by trapping Pathum Nissanka LBW. Kusal Mendis fell three balls later, as Afghanistan dented their progress.
Losing both set openers, and then Dhananjaya da Silva, in quick succession set was a setback Sri Lanka needed to quickly recover from and Samarawickrama came to the rescue with a steady half-century and caemos around it gave Sri Lanka firm control of proceedings. First, it was Wanindu Hasaranga who smacked a couple of sixes in his 9-ball stay for 22. And later it was Mathews who hammered four maximums and two more boundaries, chipping in an invaluable 42* in just 22 balls. His knock, that helped Sri Lanka plunder 49 runs in just the last three overs, proved the turning point as the hosts finished with a daunting 187 on the board.
Fresh off his batting heroics, Mathews picked up the new ball and delivered in the very first over by having Hazratullah Zazai caught behind. He accounted for the Afghanistan skipper, Ibrahim Zadran, as well in his following over, finishing his brief powerplay spell with impressive figures of 2-9 as Afghanistan slipped to 19/2. To make matters worse, Binura Fernando struck twice in the fifth over to make it 31/5 and Afghanistan were eventually at the point of no return.
The 39-run stand that ensued between Mohammad Nabi (27) and Karim Janat (28) was probably the only thing to write home about in all of Afghanistan’s chase. Nabi in particular was aggressive during his 17-ball 27, hitting a couple of sixes, but the target in front of them was too tall a mountain to climb. Hasaranga and Pathirana wrapped up the tail fairly quickly once the stubborn sixth-wicket stand was broken by Dasun Shanaka and Afghanistan fell a staggering 72 runs short.
Sri Lanka 187/6 in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 25, Kusal Mendis 23, Sadeera Samarawickrama 51, Wanidu Hasaranga 22, Angelo Mathews 42*; Fazalhaq Farooki 1-31, Azmatullah Omarzai 2-40, Naveen-ul-Haq 1-46, Mohammed Nabi 2-25) beat Afghanistan 115 all out in 17 overs (Karim Janat 28, Mohammad Nabi 27; Angelo Mathews 2-9, Binura Fernando 2-18, Maheesh Theekshana 1-30, Wanindu Hasaranga 2-19, Matheesha Pathirana 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-17 ) by 72 runs
Fair weather will prevail except for evening showers in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Rathnapura districts
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