Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhalese: ශ්රී ලංකාව, Tamil: இலங்கை; known as Ceylon before 1972 and as Taprobane in ancient times) is an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. It is home to around twenty million people.
Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia, and has been a center of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with more than a quarter of the population following faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population, with Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays and the Burghers.
Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts and rubber, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage, make it a world famous tourist destination.
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II, Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948.
Muttiah Muralitharan (Tamil: முத்தையா முரளிதரன், born 17 April 1972 in Kandy, Sri Lanka), often referred to as Murali, is a Sri Lankan cricketer who was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 2002.
Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He took the wicket of Gautham Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo, to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets. Muralitharan became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007 in longer version of the game. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004. But he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne.
Averaging over six wickets per Test, Muralitharan is one of the most successful bowlers in the game and the greatest player for Sri Lanka. He plays domestic cricket for the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, and county cricket for Lancashire as an overseas player.
Muralitharan's career has been beset with controversy; his bowling action called into question on a number of occasions by umpires and sections of the cricket community. After biomechanical analysis in non-match conditions, Muralitharan's action was cleared by the International Cricket Council, first in 1996 and again in 1999. The legality of his doosra was first called into question in 2004. This delivery was found to exceed the ICC elbow extension limit by nine degrees, five degrees being the limit for spinners at that time. Based on official studies into bowling actions, the International Cricket Council revised the elbow flexion limits applying to all bowlers in 2005. Muralitharan's doosra falls within the revised limits.
Muralitharan was left out of the one-day touring squad to West Indies in early 2008, leading to speculation that he may be focusing on Test cricket in the future whilst Sri Lanka built a younger squad for One Day Internationals.Template:/box-footer
Template:/box-header Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (16 December 1917–19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, most famous for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick. This collaboration also produced the film of the same name. Clark also was a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World.
From 1941-1946 Clarke served in the Royal Air Force as a radar instructor and technician and proposed satellite communication systems in 1945 which won him the Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Gold Medal in 1963. From 1947-1950 and again in 1953, he was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. Later, he helped fight for the preservation of lowland gorillas. In 1961 he won the UNESCO-Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science.
Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving, and lived there until his death. He was knighted by the United Kingdom in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994.Template:/box-footer
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