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The convoluted LNG–NG story: What do we need? LNG or NG or neither?



By Eng. Parakrama Jayasinghe

I am not a fan of natural gas either in its gaseous state NG or the liquefied state LNG, both of which are very much under discussion now locally and at COP 26 in Glasgow. At the same time, I would like to consider myself a realist with the wellbeing and needs of Sri Lanka receiving the highest priority.

Natural gas, mostly Methane (CH4), is present in deep underground strata in large pockets or closer to the surface in a more dispersed manner, emanating from decaying biomass and also unfortunately emitted by ruminating bovine.

Those who enjoyed this natural but diminishing fossil fuel resource in their own territorial land mass or with access to neighbours in the same land mass could do so in it’s gaseous state, commence exploiting by laying extensive gas pipe lines sometimes running thousands of kilometres

But in recent decades , with larger volumes being discovered (with the USA and Canada exploiting environmentally disastrous tar sands and fracking practices), the lure of this seemingly economical and decidedly less polluting fossil fuel, has attracted even those countries not endowed with any indigenous gas resources on their own or neighbours with such resources accessible by pipelines. This has led to the development of the process of liquefaction of the NG by cooling down to about – 160 degrees under high pressure, purely for the purpose of economically acceptable logistics for transport mainly by sea, creating the LNG concept and market.

However, since NG can be used only in its gaseous form, at the recipient’s end re-gasification facilities are required and were implemented on land close to the point of use or in logistical distribution terminals. The oil and gas industry using their ingenuity came up with a further twist by development of the Floating Storage and Re Gasification Units (FSRU), designed to serve those who could not deploy the land based re-gasification facilities located on land as these could be quite expensive. As the name suggests, these are designed as floating vessels moored close to the point of use, and the LNG is delivered to the FSRUs by bulk NG carriers. The re-gasified NG is delivered in relatively short pipelines to the land based consumption units for example power plants.

This is decidedly a simple explanation for the understanding of laymen. There are extensive and detailed explanations given in several articles by Eng. Nalin Gunasekera, a renowned international expert on the subject, in the Daily News of 3, 4 and 5 November and the Sunday Island of 7 November 2021, for those interested in gaining a more in depth understanding of the issues associated with these systems.

However, my purpose in writing this comment is not to discuss such technical intricacies but to examine how Sri Lanka should evaluate the options and the best approach for our benefit if we are to consider either LNG or NG. As already mentioned, given the choice, I would not like having to use NG in any form. It is a fossil fuel and it is now recognised as a very significant contributor to Global Warming, being 80 times more potent than CO2 in the short term. But it has the advantage of being a cleaner burning fuel, devoid of a plethora of dangerous and toxic pollutants released to the entire exosphere.

What are Sri Lanka’s Options ?

Some important issues must be recognised prior to seeking a reply to this query. Viz:

We have now firmly established the target of 70% renewable energy contribution for power generation by 2030

The current forecasts the 30% contribution by fossil fuels in 2030 is 8997 GWh Vs the current contribution of 9000 GWh ( CEB 2020 statistics), which leaves no room for any additional fossil power plants, except as replacements for any due to be retired shortly. The 350 MW Sobhadhanawi plant can be justified only in this context.

The 900 MW Lak Vijaya coal power plant may have a residual economic life of about 25 years.

The price of coal has sky rocketed, reportedly to over $ 240 per ton at source and no suppliers even at that price to Sri Lanka

The price of crude oil too has shot up to $ 85 per BBL and seems to hold at that level.

As such, using NG to meet the 30% gap appears to be an option and environmentally less damaging at least at point of use, provided the cost of generation is acceptable.

The comparison between the CEB tender for the FSRU only, without considering the LNG supply cost and mechanism, with the NFE proposal, which includes a monopoly on supply of LNG at unknown prices, is most illogical and has no meaning, at all. Talk about comparing one rotten apple with an even more rotten orange.

In spite of the grave doubts cast by Eng. Nalin Gunesekera, there is a possibility of attracting investors to develop the Mannar gas resource due to reasons given later on

Where does that leave us? Have we no options at all?

To start with, there can be no justification to continue with this love affair with LNG, given that it will compel Sri Lanka to continue purchase of a fossil fuels with scarce Dollars and at prices on which we have absolutely no control. The attraction of $ 250 Million for the sale of a valuable national asset is no justification, however tight the present foreign exchange situation is, a hollow relief as it will result in draining out several billions of dollars in a few short years.

Next, an FSRU is an inevitable appendage to go with the LNG supplies. Eng. Gunasekera has gone to great lengths to explain the complexities of this system and the high degree of expenditure required for its implementation and operation as well as the great many risks involved in the whole deal. He comes from an expert with decades of experience in this sector, and we will indeed be fool hardy to ignore his warnings and fall into a trap, from which we have no escape.

The whole process of this attempt to get NG as an alternative source of fuel, without anyone competent, establishing the possible means of supply, and compounding the problem by awarding a contract for the construction of a power plant is laughable, if not for the tragic mess that has landed Sri Lanka in. This is even more tragic considering that there has been no in depth re-evaluation on financial and economic feasibility based on current supply and price issues, done before deciding to make an award for a project tendered for in 2016. Sri Lanka having painted itself into a corner, the solution is not to get blackmailed but to dump the LNG and FSRU options even at this late stage. It has been calculated by the SLSEA that even with the most optimistic assumptions on current prices of LNG the cost of generation with LNG will be of the order of Rs 35.00 per kWh. This can only go up with continued depreciation of the rupee and the price trends of the LNG.

Just for comparison, the Siyambaladuwa solar project is expected to generate electricity at Rs 11.00 per kWh and the Mannar Wind Plant is generating at less than Rs 10.00 per kWh. The current cost of adding batteries to make these firm sources of electricity generation is only Rs 8.50 per kWh and is expected to decline sharply in the coming years to Rs. 3.50 per kWh by 2025.

What about Yugadhanawi Power Plant and the supposed share sale of 40% shares to the New Fortress Energy ( NFE)? If this deal is already confirmed and the $ 250 Million is already received, then this share deal on its own would be carried out. But there cannot be any additional conditions such as a monopoly of supply of LNG, attached to this sale. Such conditions are totally illegal and we can only hope that the present litigation will support this point of view.

At present, the Yugadhanawi plant operates at about 30% plant factor. Let it continue to do so using the furnace oil, even though the cost of FO also may have gone up in recent times. The impact on the national economy and the CEB cash flow would be much less worrisome than the proposed misadventure with LNG.

What is the fate of Mannar Oil and Gas Resource?

Although Eng. Gunasekera is of the view that its proven potential is far too little to attract any investors, he has hedged his bets by a surprising comment on the possibility of this resource being supplementary to FSRU and LNG. Given the dire warnings he has sounded against any attempt to implement the FSRU, perhaps he may have an inkling that the Mannar resource may stand on its own.

However, I would like to take a more optimistic view of the possibility and the need for a successful development agreement (taking due notice of warnings given on this count too due to Sri Lanka’s poor record of international negotiations) for two reasons:

It is now becoming impossible to operate the Lak Vijaya coal power plant due to cost of coal.

We don’t seem to have the courage to look beyond the 70% RE target and therefore should look for a least damaging solution, both economically and environmentally.

Both these objectives are served by successful development of the Mannar gas field with the potential of gaining both more economically and financially as the estimated potential of 9 Trillion Cubic Feet of Gas from the currently explored blocks; this is many times our own potential consumption and will yield a substantial surplus.

The World Scene on Natural Gas

I must justify my claim to be a realist in hoping for an acceptable agreement for this development in spite of my opposition to any form of fossil fuels. The fact remains that it is only now that the CEB has accepted the 70% RE goal. So, we need to look for the least damaging means of meeting the balance 30%. In the world scene, in spite of the agreement that NG is a very potent GHG due to leakages at points of extraction, storage and transport, it remains a highly sought after fuel. While there is a widespread agreement to eventually end the use of coal, in some countries even as early as 2025, there is no such agreement in respect of NG.

Even at the current COP 26 summit dubbed as the Green Washing Festival by Greta Thunberg, the commitment is only to reduce the methane emissions by 30% by year 2030, that too with out several major producers and users of NG including India, Russia and China

So, the demand and use of NG shall remain high and even escalate as replacement of coal in the foreseeable future. The largest increase is also expected to be in the Asian region. Coupled with this is the fact that there is a great gap between the quoted prices in different NG markets such as Henri Hub and the Japan Korea Market as shown in the graphs.

As such, developing our own resource is attractive and very much in centre stage of the high demand area.

So, while Sri Lanka has committed to reach Zero Carbon status by 2050, there is no reason why we should not aim at the least environmentally damaging and potential economically attractive option of opening up this resource as the transition solution.

The Worst Case Scenario?

What if we are not successful in getting an acceptable agreement and have to do without any gas?

This may be a reality considering the discussions going on at COP 26 against funding for any new fossil fuels. Many including me would view this as the best option in the long run.

Sri Lanka has enough and more indigenous RE resources and the 100% RE option is not impossible. The issue would be more of a financial problem than technical with the need for capital to import the necessary capital goods. There is hope generated at COP 26 on this count too. The project is already at the planning or implementation stage and such as the 100 MW solar and Wind Projects up to some 177 MW of major hydro projects would help bridge this gap in addition to the projected wind, biomass and solar potential .

The tantalising potential of doubling the generation capacity of the Victoria project on which feasibility studies have already been done needs urgent consideration.


The bottom line is clear. There are more than enough reasons for dumping the FSRU option before any more ill-considered commitments are made.

The possibility of attracting credible investors to develop the Mannar resource is reported to be very real and imminent. Therefore, a short sighted commitment to implement FSRUs and therefore the import of LNG would be most foolhardy.

There is the need for much more proactive measures to harness our own RE resources, not limiting such actions to mere rhetoric. The only ingredient lacking is the confidence as well as foresight of the energy authorities, blind to the world trends, both technically and commercially.

A time-targeted action plan towards the 70% RE is urgently needed with much greater emphasis on the next few years’ goals and activities. These would be invaluable in making adjustments to the plans for the next stage, say up to 2027. It is most likely that much more challenging targets could be set with the technical advances and the learning during the first stage.

Can we adopt this “Can Do” attitude at least now?

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How Hamas built a force to attack Israel on 7 October




Joint military drills were held between Palestinian armed factions from 2020 onwards (pic BBC)

Five armed Palestinian groups joined Hamas in the deadly 7 October attack on Israel after training together in military-style exercises from 2020 onwards, BBC News analysis shows.

The groups carried out joint drills in Gaza which closely resembled the tactics used during the deadly assault – including at a site less than 1km (0.6 miles) from the barrier with Israel – and posted them on social media.

They practised hostage-taking, raiding compounds and breaching Israel’s defences during these exercises, the last of which was held just 25 days before the attack.

BBC Arabic and BBC Verify have collated evidence which shows how Hamas brought together Gaza’s factions to hone their combat methods – and ultimately execute a raid into Israel which has plunged the region into war.

‘A sign of unity’

On 29 December 2020, Hamas’s overall leader Ismail Haniyeh declared the first of four drills codenamed Strong Pillar a “strong message and a sign of unity” between Gaza’s various armed factions.

As the most powerful of Gaza’s armed groups, Hamas was the dominant force in a coalition which brought together 10 other Palestinian factions in a war games-style exercise overseen by a “joint operation room”.

Prior to 2018, Hamas had formally coordinated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Gaza’s second largest armed faction and – like Hamas – a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK and other countries.

Hamas had also fought alongside other groups in previous conflicts, but the 2020 drill was billed in propaganda as evidence a wider array of groups were being unified.

Hamas’s leader said the first drill reflected the “permanent readiness” of the armed factions.

The 2020 exercise was the first of four joint drills held over three years, each of which was documented in polished videos posted on public social media channels.

The BBC has visually identified 10 groups, including PIJ, by their distinctive headbands and emblems training alongside Hamas during the Strong Pillar drills in footage posted on the messaging app Telegram.

Following the 7 October attack, five of the groups went on to post videos claiming to show them taking part in the assault. Three others issued written statements on Telegram claiming to have participated.

The role of these groups has come into sharp focus as pressure builds on Hamas to find dozens of women and children believed to have been taken as captives from Israel into Gaza by other factions on 7 October. Three groups – PIJ, the Mujahideen Brigades and Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades – claim to have seized Israeli hostages on that day.

Efforts to extend the temporary truce in Gaza were said to be hinging on Hamas locating those hostages. The structure was set up in 2018 to coordinate Gaza’s armed factions under a central command.

Images of Palestinian militants during training

While these groups are drawn from a broad ideological spectrum ranging from hard-line Islamist to relatively secular, all shared a willingness to use violence against Israel.

Hamas statements repeatedly stressed the theme of unity between Gaza’s disparate armed groups. The group suggested they were equal partners in the joint drills, whilst it continued to play a leading role in the plans to attack Israel. Footage from the first drill shows masked commanders in a bunker appearing to conduct the exercise, and begins with a volley of rocket fire.

It cuts to heavily armed fighters overrunning a mocked-up tank marked with an Israeli flag, detaining a crew member and dragging him away as a prisoner, as well as raiding buildings.

We know from videos and harrowing witness statements that both tactics were used to capture soldiers and target civilians on 7 October, when around 1,200 people were killed and an estimated 240 hostages were taken.

Telling the world

The second Strong Pillar drill was held almost exactly one year later.

Ayman Nofal, a commander in the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades – the official name for Hamas’s armed wing – said the aim of the exercise on 26 December 2021 was to “affirm the unity of the resistance factions”.

He said the drills would “tell the enemy that the walls and engineering measures on the borders of Gaza will not protect them”.

Another Hamas statement said the “joint military manoeuvres” were designed to “simulate the liberation of settlements near Gaza” – which is how the group refers to Israeli communities.

The exercise was repeated on 28 December 2022, and propaganda images of fighters practising clearing buildings and overrunning tanks in what appears to be a replica of a military base were published to mark the event.

Images of Hamas capturing tank crew members

The exercises were reported on in Israel, so it’s inconceivable they were not being closely monitored by the country’s extensive intelligence agencies.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have previously carried out air strikes to disrupt Hamas’s training activities. In April 2023, they bombed the site used for the first Strong Pillar drill.

Weeks before the attacks, female surveillance soldiers near the Gaza border reportedly warned of unusually high drone activity and that Hamas was training to take over observation posts with replicas of their positions.

But, according to reports in the Israeli media, they say they were ignored. Brigadier General Amir Avivi, a former IDF deputy commander in Gaza, told the BBC: “There was a lot of intelligence that they were doing this training – after all, the videos are public, and this was happening just hundreds of metres from the fence (with Israel).”

But he said while the military knew about the drills, they “didn’t see what they were training for”.

The IDF said they “eliminated” Nofal on 17 October 2023, the first senior Hamas military leader to be killed during the conflict.

Images of Hamas taking hostages

Hiding in plain sight

Hamas went to great lengths to make sure the drills were realistic.

In 2022, fighters practised storming a mock Israeli military base built just 2.6km (1.6 miles) from the Erez crossing, a route between Gaza and Israel controlled by the IDF.

BBC Verify has pinpointed the site in the far north of Gaza, just 800m (0.5 miles) from the barrier, by matching geographic features seen in the training footage to aerial images of the area. As of November 2023, the site was still visible on Bing Maps.

The training camp was within 1.6km (1 mile) of an Israeli observation tower and an elevated observation box, elements in a security barrier Israel has spent hundreds of millions of dollars constructing.

Map showing the location of a Hamas training site

The mock base is on land dug several metres below ground level, so it may not have been immediately visible to any nearby Israeli patrols – but the smoke rising from the explosions surely would have been, and the IDF is known to use aerial surveillance.

Hamas used this site to practise storming buildings, taking hostages at gunpoint and destroying security barriers.

BBC Verify has used publicly available information – including satellite imagery – to locate 14 training sites at nine different locations across Gaza.

They even trained twice at a site less than 1.6 km (1 mile) from the United Nations’ aid agency distribution centre, and which was visible in the background of an official video published by the agency in December 2022.

Map showing 14 training sites in Gaza

Land, sea and air

On 10 September 2023, the so-called joint committee room published images on its dedicated Telegram channel of men in military uniforms carrying out surveillance of military installations along the Gaza barrier.

Two days later, the fourth Strong Pillar military exercise was staged, and by 7 October, all the tactics that would be deployed in the unprecedented attack had been rehearsed.

Fighters were filmed riding in the same type of white Toyota pickup trucks which were seen roaming through southern Israel the following month.

The propaganda video shows gunmen raiding mock buildings and firing at dummy targets inside, as well as training to storm a beach using a boat and underwater divers. Israel has said it repelled attempted Hamas boat landings on its shores on 7 October.

Palestinian fighters training
The fourth and final Strong Pillar drill saw fighters training on raiding buildings (pic BBC)

However, Hamas did not publicise its training with motorcycles and paragliders as part of the Strong Pillar propaganda.

A training video posted by Hamas three days after 7 October shows fences and barriers being demolished to allow motorcycles to pass through, a tactic they used to reach communities in southern Israel. We have not identified similar earlier videos.

Footage of fighters using paragliding equipment was also not published until the 7 October attack was under way.

In a training video shared on the day of the attack, gunmen are seen landing in a mock kibbutz at an airstrip we have located to a site north of Rafah in southern Gaza.

BBC Verify established it was recorded some time before 25 August 2022, and was stored in a computer file titled Eagle Squadron, the name Hamas uses for its aerial division – suggesting the paragliders plan was in the works for over a year.

Images of Hamas using motorcycles

The element of surprise

Before 7 October, Hamas was thought to have about 30,000 fighters in the Gaza Strip, according to reports quoting IDF commanders. It was also thought that Hamas could draw on several thousands of fighters from smaller groups.

Hamas is by far the most powerful of the Palestinian armed groups, even without the support of other factions – suggesting its interest in galvanising the factions was driven by an attempt to secure broad support within Gaza at least as much as bolstering its own numbers.

The IDF has previously estimated 1,500 fighters joined the 7 October raids. The Times of Israel reported earlier this month the IDF now believes the number was closer to 3,000.

Whatever the true number, it means only a relatively small fraction of the total number of armed operatives in Gaza took part. It is not possible to verify precise numbers for how many fighters from smaller groups took part in the attack or the Strong Pillar drills.

While Hamas was building cross-faction support in the build-up to the attack, Hisham Jaber, a former Brigadier General in the Lebanese army who is now a security analyst at the Middle East Centre for Studies and Research, said he believed only Hamas was aware of the ultimate plan, and it was “probable they]asked other factions to join on the day”.

Andreas Krieg, a senior lecturer in security studies at Kings College London, told the BBC: “While there was centralised planning, execution was de-centralised, with each squad operationalising the plan as they saw fit.”

He said he had spoken to people inside Hamas who were surprised by the weakness of Israel’s defences, and assessed militants likely bypassed Israel’s surveillance technology by communicating offline.

Hugh Lovatt, a Middle East analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said Israel would have been aware of the joint training drills but “reached the wrong conclusion”, assessing they amounted to the “standard” activity of paramilitary groups in the Palestinian territories, rather than being “indicative of a looming large-scale attack”.

Asked about the issues raised in this article, the Israel Defense Forces said it was “currently focused on eliminating the threat from the terrorist organisation Hamas” and questions about any potential failures “will be looked into in a later stage”.

It could be several years until Israel formally reckons with whether it missed opportunities to prevent the 7 October massacre. The ramifications for its military, intelligence services and government could be seismic.


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Rebuild trust with people to revive economy



by Jehan Perera

The government is facing an uphill task to rebuild the country which continues to be in a state of economic and moral decline which was evident in parliamentary proceedings last week. The initial hopes of a quick transition from the economic and moral decline that accompanied the pre-Aragalaya period ended with the accession of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the presidency. The President made skillful use of the security forces, in the first instance, and the parliamentary majority thereafter, to restore the old order, government rule and stabilise the economy, albeit at a much lower level of economic wellbeing. But this won for him and the government the support of those sections of the population who could still live their regular lives and the international community who did not want Sri Lanka to fall prey to rival powers.

The Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe has expressed confidence that Sri Lanka will receive the second tranche of the IMF loan before the end of the year. He has made this prediction despite the failure of the government to meet the basic IMF conditions, which include reducing the gap between revenues and expenditures. The ability to access IMF funds despite not conforming with its conditions is indicative of favoured status. The budget prepared by the government shows a widening of the chasm that are mitigated by optimistic predictions of increased tax revenues. The government has signally failed to deliver on the IMF’s “governance diagnostic” which highlighted the need for much greater efforts to tackle corruption and to be transparent in the signing of new contracts.

If social media reports and personal anecdotes are to be believed, corruption is thriving at all levels. Agreements with international companies continue to be entered into with little being known of the terms and conditions, and even the debt restructuring agreement with China continues to be a secret.

But there continues to be a belief amongst sections of the Sri Lankan population and international community alike that the present unsatisfactory governance needs to be tolerated until the country makes the transition to self-sustaining economic growth. There is concern that any change of government at the present time would jeopardise the economic stability that the country has achieved despite the unconvincing evidence to the contrary. The general population is expressing its lack of confidence in the future by fleeing abroad and giving votes of no-confidence in every public opinion poll they can.


Despite the government’s continued hold on undisputed power, and skillful use of its parliamentary majority and security forces to enforce governmental rule, it is not able to show that it has the backing of the majority of the general population. The government’s policies seem to have the support of the business and upper social classes whose position is that there is no better alternative at present, a view that is echoed in diplomatic circles. But this sentiment is not reflected in public opinion polls that equally consistently reveal that the government and its leadership get less than 20 percent of the support and even much less. This accounts for why the government has resolutely defied calls for the holding of local government and provincial council elections, the latter which are long overdue.

The President’s announcement that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held next year may be a recognition that the government has come to the realization that it cannot continue to justify holding on to power without obtaining a fresh people’s mandate. The proposed budget is an indication of the government’s preparation for those elections. There are efforts in it to provide benefits for different sections of the people, though whether these promises will materialize is another question due to paucity of resources. President Wickremesinghe has pledged to provide tens of thousands of farmer families with free hold title to the land they currently cultivate under state leases. The motivation to obtain the vote of people by providing them with economic benefits is one of the key features of the democratic process not only in Sri Lanka but worldwide.

However, the skillful use of state power to provide economic benefits, utilizing the parliamentary majority to come up with news laws and use of the security forces to enforce those laws are not the only ingredient for success in governance. The general population need to trust those who are in power. This trust comes from consistency in word and deed. One of the features of the present government is that deeds do not follow words. The exemplary anti-corruption legislation is being used to catch those at the lower levels of the hierarchy but those at the higher levels continue to escape. The recent Supreme Court decision that apportions blame for the economic crisis that plunged vast numbers of people into poverty has not been acted upon and there is no indication at the present time that it will be acted upon.


There are two other areas where the government needs to rebuild the trust of the people. First is to convince them that the burden of economic recovery will be apportioned justly and equitably. The restructuring of the EPF and ETF pension funds which affected the poorer sections of the people adversely while the sparing of the banking (and corporate) sector may have been motivated by the fear that the collapse of the banking sector was a real possibility. However, the evidence that is now coming out, as demonstrated in Parliament by the Opposition, that huge amounts of loans taken by companies have been absorbed by the banks is unconscionable. The government needs to promise that it will rectify this and other such inequities as soon as possible, including the tax holidays to favoured companies. The recent parliamentary debates have provided the opportunity for the Opposition to make presentations that highlight the need for consistency.

The second area that needs to be addressed is the ethnic conflict in the country. This is a problem that has receded into the background of the national discourse, due to the overwhelming nature of the economic crisis. However, one of the root causes of the country’s economic crisis is that huge amounts of resources were devoted to fighting a war that need not have taken place if there had been policies that promoted inter-ethnic justice and equity. The security forces continue to extract a large part of the budget. Sri Lanka is not a unique country when it comes to having different ethnic and religious communities. Other countries have them too, but most of those countries, especially those that are economically successful, have found ways to resolve their differences through dialogue and mutual accommodation that benefits the entire society. Provincial council elections have not been held for over five years.

There is a need to convince the ethnic and religious minorities that they are a part and parcel of the polity and treated as equal citizens. The provincial council elections cannot be postponed for another two years. There is no logical basis in the President stating they will be held in the year following the presidential and parliamentary elections. The wrong that was done to the Tamils of recent Indian origin at Independence has still not been rectified. They continue to be the poorest and most neglected community in the country. An issue that is scarring the Tamil and Muslim people at the present time is the takeover of grazing lands in the east by people from outside the area. The residents of those areas have no government to protect them. This is not the way to build trust that will unify the people with the government to uplift the economy.

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Christmas and the New Year in the Seychelles…



Mirage…the Australia lineup with frontline vocalist Manilal (fourth from left)

Although the group Mirage has been relatively quiet, in the local showbiz scene, they will certainly be missed by music lovers, and their fans, during the festive period.

They leave on Sunday, the 3rd of December, for a month long stay in probably the smallest country in Africa – the Seychelles.

The group, comprising Donald Pieries (drums/vocals), Benjy Ranabahu (bass), Thushara Rajarathna (keyboards/vocals), Thilak Perera (guitar/vocals) and Dhanushka Uyanahewa (vocals), will be at the Hilton Seychelles for two major gigs – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

They will also be entertaining guests throughout their stay at the Hilton.

Manilal Perera: Now with Mirage

The group’s male vocalist, the famous Manilal Perera, who is now very much a part of Mirage, is unable to make this trip due to prior commitments, in the local scene, as a solo artiste.

Dhanushka Uyanahewa, who is not a regular member of Mirage, replaces Manilal for this particular assignment.

Since this is their very first trip to the Seychelles, they say they are looking forward, with great excitement, to checking out that part of the world.

The Seychelles is known for its picturesque beaches, ecological diversity, dense tropical forests, and the bright blue ocean that surrounds it, all of which combine to make the archipelago world-famous.

Mirage will be back in early January, 2024, and then, a few weeks later, they will be off to Australia for a Valentine’s Day gig in Melbourne.

The band has been to Australia before but it will be the first time that the present lineup would be operating, Down Under, with Manilal Perera as their frontline vocalist.

Their female vocalist Dhanushka Uyanahewa, who will perform with Mirage in the Seychelles, will not be in the lineup to Australia.

Mirage…the Seychelles lineup with female vocalist
Dhanushka Uyanahewa (centre)

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