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Star Wars: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill Reunite!

Original Star Wars actors Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will feature in Star Wars: Episode VII, the latest film in the franchise. Other actors confirmed are Andy Serkis and Max von Sydow, alongside relative newcomers John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, both of whom are British. Episode VII will start shooting at Pinewood Studios, near London, in May.

Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker will also return as C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2 respectively.

Director JJ Abrams said: “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again.

“We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

A picture of the new cast, with R2-D2 in a wooden crate, was posted on the official Star Wars site on Tuesday.

The new recruits include:
Domhnall Gleeson, son of Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, his film credits include About Time, Never Let Me Go and a recurring role as Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Daisy Ridley, a British actress, whose TV career has included bit parts in Casualty, Mr Selfridge and Silent Witness. According to her agent’s website, she was cast in the second Inbetweeners movie last year.

John Boyega, a 22-year-old British actor, who previously starred in the inner-London sci-fi Attack the Block. Along with Gleeson and Ridley, he is expected to be one of the “trio of new young leads” announced by director Abrams earlier this year.

Max von Sydow, an actor equally recognisable as Knight Antonius Block in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and Father Lankester Merrin in The Exorcist. The 85-year-old Swede was Oscar nominated for his 9/11 drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close in 2012 and has previous sci-fi experience as Ming the Merciless in 1980’s Flash Gordon.

Oscar Isaac, who played the lead role in the Coen Brothers’ Oscar-nominated drama Inside Llewyn Davis last year. He is reportedly in line for “a major role” in the franchise.
Adam Driver, best known as Adam, the frequently shirtless love interest in cult comedy drama Girls. He has been widely reported to be playing Star Wars’ main antagonist.

Andy Serkis, a master of motion capture, famously responsible for creating Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Outside of CGI, his acting CV includes a Bafta-nominated turn as Ian Brady in the television film Longford.

Open auditions for two roles in the new films were held in the UK and Ireland last November. They were for a “street smart and strong” orphaned girl in her late teens and a “smart capable” man in his late teens or early 20s.

It has not been confirmed whether the new cast came from the auditions, but none of them are complete unknowns and all have previous experience on screen.

No announcement has been made about the specific parts each of the cast members will play. Episode VII will be the fifth Star Wars movie to to be shot in the UK.

The original trilogy was filmed at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, while prequel The Phantom Menace began shooting on 26 June 1997 at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire.

Ford, Fisher and Hamill became household names thanks to their roles in the originals – with Ford as smuggler and rogue Han Solo, Fisher as Princess Leia and Hamill as farmhand-turned-Jedi Luke Skywalker. The new film is due in cinemas on 18 December 2015.

Sri Lanka’s World Class Boxing Meet!

The first international-scale boxing meet of the country, the Lion’s Cup International Boxing Tournament 2014 organized by the Amateur Boxing Association of Sri Lanka kicked off Monday (28) at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Colombo.

The colourful opening Ceremony of the Tournament was graced by Chief Guest General Jagath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defence Staff, and Guest of Honour, Sports Director General Ranjani Jayakody, with the participation of all eleven boxing teams, namely Australia, Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and host nation Sri Lanka.

Monday was the first day of the 4-day long international tournament, showcasing boxing skills of eleven countries, including host nation Sri Lanka. A total number of 15 adrenaline-packed preliminary bouts were held on Monday, amidst the loud cheer and support from a packed audience, with four Sri Lankans moving forward to the next round.

Four boxers of Sri Lankan Development team made it to the semi-finals Monday night when they beat their opponents in their respective bouts. Malith Prabhashwara (light fly weight – 46kg), N G H Jayaweera (bantam weight – 56kg), R M A D Gunathillake (Light weight – 60kg) and Damith Wijeratne (light welter weight – 64kg) were the pugilists who were through to the semis.

Sri Lanka, Bahrain Launch Business Forum…

Sri Lanka and Bahrain inaugurated the Bahrain-Sri Lanka Business Forum at the headquarters of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in Manama on Tuesday.

A large gathering of prominent business leaders from both Sri Lanka and Bahrain participated in the Forum that consisted of business-to-business meetings and a visit to the Bahrain International Investment Park.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Hassan A. Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen and the Second Vice Chairman of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jawad Alhawaj delivered speeches at the forum.

Two discussion sessions were held during the Forum. While the first discussion has focused on the business opportunities available in Bahrain for the Sri Lankan business community, the second session discussed trade, tourism and investment in Sri Lanka, Bahrain News Agency said.

Chairman of Sri Lanka Export Development Council, Bandula Egodage, Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism, Dr. D. S. Jayaweera, and Director of Investment Board of Sri Lanka, K.D. Lawrence have made presentations at the session.

Addressing the gathering, Industry and Commerce Minister of Bahrain, Dr. Hassan Fakhro, recalled that agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed between the two countries over the years.

The Bahraini Minister noted that the bilateral non-oil trade with Sri Lanka has increased from approximately US$9 million in 2006 to some US$30 million by 2011.

The Minister affirming that the visit of the Sri Lankan President to Bahrain is a great opportunity to invigorate mutual business relations highlighted the promising opportunities available in Bahrain for Sri Lankan investors and areas of potential cooperation, particularly in foodstuffs, building materials, tourism, textiles, garment manufacturing and banking.

There are approximately 20 Sri Lankan companies operating in various fields, Dr. Fakhro has confirmed.

Noting the contributions of Sri Lankan community to Bahrain�s socio-economic development, the Minister has commended the excellent Bahraini-Sri Lankan relations and welcomed foreign investors in a suitable investment environment.

The two countries have signed an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation signed in 2009, an Agreement of Cooperation with the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), an Agreement for the Establishment of a Joint Business Council with the FCCISL, as well as a Cooperation Agreement between BCCI and Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce, which was signed in 2007.

Deputy Minister of Labor and Labor Relations Sarath Weerasekara and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Bahrain Mr. Anura Rajakaruna also participated in the event.

Give Me The Night – George Benson

“Give Me the Night” is a song by American jazz musician George Benson, from his studio album of the same name (1980). It was written and composed by former Heatwave keyboard player Rod Temperton and produced by Quincy Jones. Patti Austin provides the backing and scat vocals that are heard throughout. Lee Ritenour also appears on the track. The song was a commercial success, becoming Benson’s first single to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. It also peaked at number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it his most successful pop entry. It also peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Disco Singles chart. It also peaked at number seven in the Official UK Singles Chart It was one of the last disco singles to become a major success with the steady decline of the genre in the early 1980s.