New Zealand reposition Brendon McCullum for Sri Lanka test series

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New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is set to return to his customary middle-order slot for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting in Christchurch on Boxing Day.


McCullum opened with Tom Latham in all three Tests during the recent series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, scoring a double-century in the final match at Sharjah.


However, in naming a 13-man squad to play Sri Lanka, New Zealand's chief selector Bruce Edgar said Sunday that McCullum will not continue in the opening role.


"This is another series, in different conditions and against a completely different opponent," Edgar said.
"In these circumstances, we feel Brendon's better suited to, and offers more value, down the order."


McCullum's move means Hamish Rutherford is likely to return to the opening duties in partnership with Latham.
The newly named squad also includes off-spinner Mark Craig ahead of Ish Sodhi as the sole specialist tweaker.


The pair played together in the spin-friendly conditions in the UAE but the New Zealand wickets will favour a seam attack.


The squad also features a recall for batsman Dean Brownlie while all-rounder Corey Anderson was not available after suffering a groin strain while playing against Pakistan.


Veteran Dan Vettori was not mentioned in the announcement, indicting his appearance in the third Test against Pakistan was a one-off.


New Zealand squad: Brendon McCullum (captain), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Dean Brownlie, Mark Craig, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson (AFP)

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India to export two warships to Lanka

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India will now export two warships to Sri Lanka after delivering a warship to Mauritius for the first time, Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh said on Saturday.



"From Sri Lanka, we have received an order to build two off-shore patrol vehicles (OPV) and they are under construction in Goa Shipyard," the minister said on the sidelines of the ceremonial delivery of warship CGS Barracuda to the Mauritian Coast Guard.



He said the ships are entirely indigenously built and there hasn't been any technology cooperation with any foreign partners.



"This is the first time the export barrier has been breached... This will be the first in the long line of ships that we hope to export from our country... I think the country can feel proud that the ship-building industry has come of age," the minister said.



CGS Barracuda is an OPV built by government-owned 'mini ratna' Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and is priced at $58.5 million. The warship completed sea trials last month after which the official hand over process was started.



The 83 crew capacity warship will be used by the Mauritian Coast Guard for anti-piracy and anti-poaching operations.

Besides, it is also capable of search and rescue missions, transportation of small detachment of troops and helicopter operations and can handle external firefighting. The warship can also be used for cargo handling.



"The ship is provided with improved habitability and hosts all modern facilities (for the crew) with fully air-conditioned modular accommodation," chairman and managing director of GRSE, Rear Admiral (retd) AK Verma, said. (Indo-Asian News Service)

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SL plan to free fishermen, not boats isn’t right: Panneerselvam

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Expressing deep disappointment over Sri Lanka's decision not to release the 81 boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen while setting free the 66 fishermen, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately take up the issue with Colombo.


"The Lankan government's decision not to release the 81 boats confirms the apprehension that Colombo is pursuing a sinister strategy of depriving the fishermen in Tamil Nadu of their source of livelihood," he said in a letter to Modi on Saturday.


In view of the approaching Christmas festival, TN Government had, in a spirit of accommodation and magnanimity and as a humanitarian gesture, already conveyed its readiness to release the 30 Lankan fishermen and 19 boats from December 22, the Chief Minister said. The Centre was urged to ensure that Colombo simultaneously release the 66 fishermen and their 81 boats so that they could also return home in time for the festival.


But the letter dated December 19, received from the Ministry of External Affairs had informed that the Lankan government was agreeable only to release 66 Indian fishermen but not the boats. "However, in a spirit of generosity and magnanimity, the Tamil Nadu government will go ahead with the release of all the 30 Lankan fishermen from December 22," he said expressing hope that the 66 fishermen from Tamil Nadu in Sri Lankan custody will also return home well in time for Christmas.


In this connection, he recalled his predecessor J Jayalalithaa consistently taking up the issue of the release of the fishing boats detained since June, 2014, leading to their deterioration in the South-West and North-East monsoon periods. (TNIE)

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Tamil Nadu to release only 30 Sri Lankan fishermen

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Apparently disappointed with the Sri Lankan government's decision to release 66 Indian fishermen sans their boats, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to set free only 30 Sri Lankan fishermen on Monday.


This was evident from a letter written by Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday wherein there was no mention of the release of 19 boats of the Sri Lankan fishermen.


On December 16, when Mr. Panneerselvam wrote to Mr. Modi, he stated that the State government was "prepared to release 30 Sri Lankan fishermen and their 19 boats" on December 22.


Referring to the External Affairs Ministry's communication on Thursday, the Chief Minister said that despite being informed of Tamil Nadu's offer, Colombo was "agreeable only" to release 66 Indian fishermen but not their 81 boats.


The Sri Lankan government's move "only confirms what my respected leader [the former Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa] had always maintained that it is pursuing a sinister strategy of depriving fishermen families in Tamil Nadu of their source of livelihood," he contended and urged Mr. Modi to take up again the boats release issue with Sri Lanka.( The Hindu)

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President calls Pakistani PM; condemns terrorist attack, conveys condolences

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President Mahinda Rajapaksa called Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday to express condolences to the families of those who were killed in the terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar. Read the Full Article

President Rajapaksa’s wisdom helped crush LTTE terrorists

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The late LTTE terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had once said that the people in the South would not remember anything after two days and hence it is easy for his terror outfit to explode bombs at regular intervals. Read the Full Article

Up-Country People’s Front pledges support to President

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The Up Country People's Front (UCPF) has pledged their fullest support to the President at the forthcoming Presidential Election. MORE... Read the Full Article

Floods displace over 40,000 across the country

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Over 40,000 people have been displaced after heavy rains triggered floods across the country, the Disaster Management Center said. MORE... Read the Full Article

Armed robbery at jewelry shop in Homagama

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Four armed men stormed a jewelry store in the Homagama area this morning and made off with a large number of gold jewelry believed to be worth millions of rupees. MORE.. Read the Full Article

SLMC in a crisis over the pending decision

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The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) faces a crisis over its pending decision on which candidate to support at the forthcoming Presidential election, it was reported. MORE... Read the Full Article

Thundershowers and fairly rough seas expected

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The Department of Meteorology says that showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Northern, North-central, Eastern, Central and Uva provinces and in the Hambantota district. MORE.. Read the Full Article

Indian gov. keen on solution for Lankan Tamils

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Indian BJP national president Amit Shah said the party could put an end to the family rule in Tamil Nadu politics and secure status and honour for the Tamils living across the globe, including in Sri Lanka. MORE... Read the Full Article

One dead, another missing after 2 fishing boats capsize

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One fisherman has drowned while another has been reported missing following the capsizing of two boats which had left for sea from Eravur and Muttur areas. MORE.. Read the Full Article

Sponsors pay SR400,000 arrears to Lankan housemaids

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Saudi sponsors in the capital last month paid SR400,000 (1.4 million rupees) in money owed to housemaids from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ethiopia and Somalia who were being held at the government's detention centers. MORE... Read the Full Article

Friday Forum demands SB’s resignation

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The Friday Forum, a grouping of Sri Lankan intelligentsia, has asked for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, for the controversial remarks made by him against former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. MORE.. Read the Full Article

Six alleged Sri Lankan sex workers arrested in Malaysia

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The Johor police in Malaysia have conducted 10,300 raids to tackle prostitution in the state from January until now, and arrested have 2,986 including six Sri Lankans. MORE... Read the Full Article

`Govt Still Needs Me Even After My Defection` - Maithripala

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Common Candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirsisena yesterday said Preident Mahinda Rajapaksa a.. Read the Full Article

Nivithigala police OIC suspended

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The service of the Officer in charge (OIC) of the Nivithigala police station has been suspended by the SSP of Sabaragamuwa Province with immediate effect.


The police media unit states that he was suspended for not taking relevant action to stop illegal gemming in the area.

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Australian children’s mother arrested for murder

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The mother of seven of eight children found dead at a house in Cairns, Australia, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police say the 37-year-old is talking to officers. She has not been charged.
She was found at her home with stab wounds, alongside the bodies of the eight children. A coroner is due to conduct post-mortem examinations.


The victims were aged 18 months to 14 years. Police have not said how they died. The eighth child was her niece.
Confirming the arrest, Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said: "The 37-year-old mother of several of the children involved in this incident has been arrested for murder overnight and is currently under police guard at the Cairns Base Hospital."
"At this stage we're not looking for anybody else - we're comfortable that the community at large is safe," he added.


'Unspeakable crime'


Police found a number of weapons at the scene , including knives, which are being examined.
The woman's name has not been released. Her age was first given as 34 but has since been corrected to 37.


The bodies were reportedly discovered by the mother's 20-year-old son arriving at the home on Friday morning.
Police have dismissed reports the family had been investigated by social services saying it was "not a problem house".
A candlelight vigil and church service were held on Friday evening for the children.


Memorials have sprung up outside the home in the Manoora district of Cairns.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement it was an "unspeakable crime".
These were "trying days for our country", he added.
The deaths come just days after the siege of a cafe in Sydney which ended with the gunman and two hostages dead.(BBC News)

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Tamil Nadu CM disappointed over Sri Lanka’s unwillingness to release boats

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The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday expressed disappointment over the Sri Lankan government's unwillingness to release boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen impounded by the Lankan navy for crossing the international maritime boundary line. MORE.. Read the Full Article

After Mauritius, India to export warships to Sri Lanka

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India will now export two warships to Sri Lanka after delivering a warship to Mauritius for the first time, minister of state for defence production Rao Inderjit Singh said on Saturday. MORE.. Read the Full Article

Rain disrupts train services in Northern railway line

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The train services along the Northern railway line have been disrupted by the heavy rains, the railway control room told Ceylon Today Online.



Train services along the Northern railway line, Thalawa, Thambuththegama and Batticaloa has been halted due to the severe weather conditions.

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Showers and thundershowers during the afternoon and evening

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The Met. Department says that the atmospheric disturbance is still affecting the weather over the island. As such showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Central, North-central, Eastern and Uva provinces.



Showers or thunder showers will occur elsewhere particularly during the afternoon and evening.
Heavy rain falls (more than 100mm) are also expected at some places.



There may be temporary localized strong winds (up to 80 Km/hr) during thundershowers. General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize the damages caused by lightning activities.

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Sri Lanka’s Jayawardene, Dilshan and Malinga for CPL 2015

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Three stars of Sri Lankan cricket, Mahela Jayawardene, Tilakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga, have been added to the pool of international players to feature in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft which is set to take place in early 2015, organisers reported Friday.


The three will join other top class T20 international players including South African all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, for the third staging of the tournament.


Malinga, who played in the first CPL tournament in 2013 when he joined the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the knock out stages, said; "I really enjoyed my time in the CPL in 2013 and I'm thrilled to be involved again for the 2015 edition. Caribbean fans are fantastic and it's a pleasure to play cricket in that kind of atmosphere."


Since its inception in 2013, the CPL has packed stadiums across the region and attracted global TV audiences in excess of 65 million people, the organisers said, adding that the T20 tournament has also brought major economic benefit to Caribbean nations with a recent economic impact study revealing that it injected a massive US$166 million into the region's economy during the 2014 tournament.


"CPL seems to be attracting some of the top names in the game so I am really looking forward to being involved again in 2015 and hope to make my mark on the tournament," said Dilshan who also played in the regional T20 competition.
Meanwhile Jayawardene said; "I've loved playing cricket in the West Indies throughout my career so I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to take part in the CPL in 2015."(

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Sri Lankan stocks end at 2-week high; blue-chips lead

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Sri Lankan stocks ended at their highest in two weeks on Friday led by blue-chips, amid political worries ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll, stockbrokers said.


The main stock index ended 0.31 percent firmer at 7,252.60, a level last touched on Dec. 4. It had hit a near three-week low on Wednesday.


Stockbrokers said the gains were not sustainable because there was no fundamental reason for the market to rise.
The day's turnover stood at 660.8 million rupees ($5.04 million), stock exchange data showed, less than half of this year's daily average of 1.41 billion rupees.


The bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 14.4 million rupees this session, extending net inflows so far this year to 21.7 billion rupees, exchange data showed.


Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings gained 1.74 percent to 251.30 rupees, while top fixed-line phone operator Sri Lanka Telecom rose 2.59 percent to 51.50 rupees.
Trading is expected to be sluggish due to political uncertainty ahead of the presidential polls next month, with the index seen falling through December-end.


Political analysts see a tight race between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former health minister Mithripala Sirisena, the consensus candidate of a united opposition.


Sirisena in his policy announcement on Friday said he would eliminate rampant corruption and reduce prices of essential goods and fuel by cutting taxes.


Eleven legislators from Rajapaksa's United People's Freedom Alliance, including Sirisena, defected after he announced snap elections last month. Two opposition legislators have defected to Rajapaksa's party.
Speculation over more defections also weighed on sentiment, analysts said. (Reuters)

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