Archive | May, 2015


R.B. (Bertie) Wijesinghe 95 not out… Mevan Pieirs (Sunday Times)

Posted on 28 May 2015 by admin

R.B. Wijesinghe, son of former Trinity cricketer Alexander Wijesinghe and of his wife Beatrice Gunasekera, is the oldest living Thomian cricketer whose 95th birthday falls on 24th May 2015.

RBW known to all as Bertie entered the great school by the sea in 1926 when warden MacPherson was about to hand over the reins to Reginald de Saram, and where his elder brother Alex was already studying. At the tender age of fifteen, Bertie was picked to play his first big match against Royal in 1936 under the captaincy of Donald Fairweather. The Thomians who batted first ran into trouble losing six wickets with only 65 runs on the board when the diminutive dark little Bertie walked out to join Norman Siebel the stocky left hander. A record breaking partnership of 136 runs realized for the 7th wicket with Bertie making a polished half century in his debut and Norman making a record breaking century. In the following year Bertie made another half century against Royal, but it was in 1939 that Bertie’s brilliance as a cricketer came to full focus. His batting record in that year was simply fantastic, scoring a half century in every innings and making twin half centuries of 63 and 70 against Royal as well.

The double century of 235 runs he made that year against St. Benedicts at Mt. Lavinia stands to date as the only double century to have been made by a Thomian cricketer in an inter-school match. Bertie was also a good off spin bowler who later became a capable slow medium seam bowler. After leaving school, Bertie served on the staff of his alma mater teaching English and succeeding the late Percy Cook as cricket coach. In 1949 he married Dorothy Wijekoon and in the same year joined the Lake House Group where he ended up as the sports editor of the Observer.

Bertie played all his club cricket at the Singhalese Sports Club among a galaxy of immortals among whom were Sago Jayewickreme, F.C. de Saram, D.S. Jayasundera, Mahesh Rodrigo, Ben Navaratne, Lucien de Zoysa, C.I. Gunasekere and Robert Senanayake. In 1949, Bertie was selected to play against Pakistan at the Colombo Oval and in the first test match Ceylon were routed by the Pakistani fast bowlers Fazal Mahmood and Khan Mohamed. In Ceylon’s scores of 95 and 112, only Berti made a respectable contribution of 29 runs. In the next Test match FC de Saram who returned to the side made a polished 118 runs and CI Gunasekere too made a century. In the second innings Berti made 30 runs.

In the following year, Ceylon made her first ever overseas tour to Pakistan. Although FC de Saram did not make the tour Bertie was in the company of great cricketers like Sargo Jayewickreme, Mahadevan Sathasivam and schoolboys Stanley Jayasinghe and Gamini Goonesena. Ceylon were badly beaten by 10 wickets by a Karachi – Sind team and the highest score of 57 runs was made by Bertie with Stanley Jayasinghe also contributing 33 runs. Ceylon lost both test matches badly, although Stanley Jayasinghe had shone with a brilliant 80 runs. In the final game against the Pakistan Commander in Chief’s Xi, Bertie had top scored again with 44 not out in a modest score of 100 runs for 9 wickets.

In the same year the mighty West Indians also came to Ceylon and played unofficial test matches at the Oval. The fiery pace of Trim and Jones ripped through the Ceylon batting. Of Ceylon’s first innings score of 122 runs Bertie made 22 runs and in the second innings Mahesh Rodrigo made a dogged century. For the second test match FC de Saram was brought into the side and made a superb inning of 94 runs. Sathasivam made a modest 34 runs. Bertie’s contribution to cricket as a coach, sports journalist and commentator has a special place in the hearts of all who know him. Above all a gentleman to his finger tips, a true son of a great school, now playing the innings of his life as always with a straight bat and going well on 95. To him all Thomians young and old sing praises.

May the almighty God grant him comfort in the evening of his life. Esto per petua.

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Jonty Rhodes arrives in Sri Lanka to take up coaching job

Posted on 28 May 2015 by admin

South Africa’s multi-talented cricketer Jonty Rhodes toured our shores on just three occasions, but yet, he is among the top three most favourite overseas cricketers amongst Sri Lankans; others being Mohammad Azharuddin and Wasim Akram.

Earlier this week, Jonty arrived in the island on a coaching stint to help Sri Lanka’s coaches and cricketers to improve fielding, one of the most neglected disciplines in recent times. Jonty is expected to conduct six sessions for the national team, four for the ‘A’ team and three each for the Development Squad and Sri Lanka Under-19. Undoubtedly world’s best fielder in his playing days, Jonty’s input will help Sri Lankans immensely.

Born Jonathan Neil Rhodes in Pietermaritzburg, half hour drive from Durban, Rhodes rose to fame with his diving run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq during the 1992 World Cup. Since then, other cricketers like Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Yuvraj Singh and Francois du Plessis have challenged Jonty for the crown of world’s best fielder, but Jonty, who retired more than a decade ago, has remained the undisputed champion. In 90s, cricket teams started to place more emphasis on fielding as South Africans set the standards with some exceptional fielders with Jonty leading the way. At one point it looked as if Jonty may earn his place in the South African ODI outfit for his fielding alone.

Jonty is remembered in Sri Lanka for a couple of things. During an ODI at R. Premadasa Stadium in 1993, Jonty fielding at extra cover appeared to have pulled off a blinder and the batsman started to walk. The South Africans were jubilant, but Jonty stood up and declared that it wasn’t a clean catch. His honesty was hailed by all who witnessed the incident and suddenly he became an extremely popular man in Sri Lanka. On the same tour, Moratuwa, rather controversially had been chosen to host the first ever Test Match between Sri Lanka and South Africa over some other established venues. Going into the final day, the Sri Lankans were sensing victory. Having set an imposing target of 365, the home team was in the box seat with South Africa 199 for seven and a session left to play. Then Jonty started worrying the Sri Lankans with nimble footwork and pad pay against spinners and guided South Africa to a draw. The eighth wicket stand between him and Clive Eksteen lasted for more than an hour and half as the Sri Lankans lost the plot. Jonty went onto make his maiden Test century and his knock is rated as the finest match saving effort by an overseas player in our shores.

Jonty brought immense pain to Sri Lankans’ hearts once more seven years later. Country’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga had declared that the series against South Africa in 2000 was going to be his last. After a comprehensive win in Galle, the Sri Lankans were set for a series win in Kandy and give Arjuna a fitting farewell in his home ground in the third Test at SSC. Set a target of 177, Sri Lanka limped to 41 for four. But Captain Cool wasn’t going to go down without a fight and brought up his half-century off just 36 deliveries. He had added 109 runs for the fifth wicket with Russel Arnold. With 16 runs needed, Ranatunga’s innings ended on 88 when Jonty snapped up a reflex catch at short leg off the full face of the bat and Sri Lanka collapsed to be bowled out for 169 and lost the Test by eight runs. Jonty had again done it for South Africa.

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ADB & GOSL signs $107 million loan agreement to improve road infrastructure

Posted on 28 May 2015 by admin

ADB Country Director Sri Widowati and Treasury Secretary R.H.S. Samarathunga sign the $ 107 million loan agreement.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government yesterday signed the $ 107-million second tranche loan agreement of an $800 million multi-tranche financing facility to upgrade roads.

“Providing all-weather road access will help link rural communities to socioeconomic centres in Sri Lanka, thereby enabling rural communities to reap and enjoy the fruit of economic growth,” said Sri Widowati, ADB’s Country Director in Sri Lanka.

Widowati signed the loan on behalf of ADB while R.H.S. Samarathunga, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, signed for the Government of Sri Lanka. The $ 107 million second tranche of the Integrated Road Investment Program, or so-called ‘iRoad’ in Sri Lanka is largely earmarked for the first slice of projects in the Sabaragamuwa Province; Kalutara District of the Western Province; Central Province; North Central Province and North Western Province, helping provide 9.3 million people with swifter and safer travel.

The program will improve road connectivity to the rural hubs. With most of the rural access roads currently in poor condition, improvements will result in time savings and a decrease in large vehicle operating costs. In addition, all-weather rural access roads will result in significant social benefits and poverty reduction, such as increased agriculture productivity since farmers will be able to get goods to the market faster, enjoy better access to health services and education, and easier access to jobs.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totalled $ 22.9 billion, including co-financing of $ 9.2 billion.

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Caution: Beware of fraudulent Sri Lankan Visa website

Posted on 27 May 2015 by admin

Dear Sri Lankan Expatriates and Foreign Passport Holders,

Please forward this email to all your Sri Lankan friends and tour operators to Sri Lanka in every country. You will be doing our visitors a great favour by sharing this information.

This is to warn you about a fraudulent Sri Lankan visa website. Do not use www .eta-srilanka .com This website comes up on top in google search and deceives to be the official website for Sri Lankan visas. The site charges 200% more offering 24 hrs support and other services. But they cannot be contacted by phone nor is their email address active. This is a money making website that is set up to deceive visitors to Sri Lanka.

The official Sri Lankan visa website is Use this official government website for your visa to Sri Lanka. The online visa fee for Sri Lanka is $30. It is a very simple and convenient process. There is no need to get any additional support. It is a straight forward application.

You can also get your visa on arrival in Sri Lanka at $35. I hope this email will help you save on your visa fee to Sri Lanka.

Enjoy your visit to our beautiful paradise. A caring Sri Lankan

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Sri Lankan Conservative candidate victim of political heckling by opposing UKIP rival

Posted on 06 May 2015 by admin

A Ukip (UK Independence Party) parliamentary candidate has been suspended from the party after he was filmed threatening to shoot his Conservative rival Ranil Jayawardena. Robert Blay, who is standing in North East Hampshire, told undercover reporters from the UK's Daily Mirror that he would "put a bullet between the eyes" of the Conservatives' Ranil Jayawardena.

The video shows Mr Blay saying that Mr Jayawardena "could become our first Asian MP", adding: "If he is I will personally put a bullet between his eyes".

The 55-year-old went on: "If this lad turns up to be our Prime Minister I will personally put a bullet in him. That’s how strong I feel about it.
“I won’t have this f***** as our Prime Minister. I absolutely loathe him.”

The remarks are said to have been made outside a meeting where Nigel Farage was giving a speech to voters in the seaside town of Ramsgate, Kent.

A Ukip spokesman said: “Mr Blay has been suspended with immediate effect".

A former bank accountant, Mr Blay is standing in North East Hampshire, which saw a Conservative majority of 18,500 at the last election.
Questioning Mr Jayawardena's background, he said: "His family have only been here since the 70s. You are not British enough to be in our parliament.

"I've got 400 years of ancestry where I live. He hasn't got that."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Ramsgate

And he told the investigators of the safe seat: "But I've always said in my constituency you could put a monkey out there with a blue rosette on and it would win."

He accused his rival's father of having come to Britain from Sri Lanka and "ponced off us … like all the East Europeans are".
"His name's Jayawardena and I'm told that name is a Tamil name.

"Well the Tamils were Indians which went to Sri Lanka to take it over and they got their asses kicked. So he comes here, ponces off us and then his son's in our political system."

A Ukip spokesman said Mr Blay had been suspended as soon as the remarks came to light and offered an apology to Mr Jayawardena.
The spokesman pointed to the candidate's "long career" as a Conservative as evidence such views were not confined to its ranks.
"The views expressed by Mr Blay are abhorrent," the spokesman said.

"As soon as they were brought to our attention he was suspended from the party. Any comments of this sort have absolutely no place in British politics or public life, and the party would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Jayawardena for any distressed caused.

"Mr Blay has been immediately suspended from the party. Ukip acts immediately in circumstances such as these.

"Unfortunately, as every party has found over the past few months, internal vetting systems are not perfect, which is reflected in the fact that since January of this year, 300 Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative Party candidates across the country have found themselves suspended, expelled, or even jailed for foul behaviour of all kinds.

"We are also deeply concerned that Mr Blay had a long career in the Conservative Party, including being his local association chairman – which goes to prove that issues with candidates such as these are not limited to Ukip."

Mr Jayawardena said: "I was shocked to hear about these comments and that someone who holds these types of views could have been selected as a Ukip candidate.

"My family believes in hard work. My father came to this country to do just that – never claiming a penny from the state. He's contributed to society as a magistrate and I've done the same as a local councillor.

"I hope to contribute positively to our country by representing my community – the community in which I grew up – in parliament. The only way to stop people like this is to vote Conservative on May 7."

In a separate incident on Tuesday, Ukip candidate John Leathley said he was "appalled and deeply ashamed" of comments he made online about the newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

His Facebook postings, which apparently followed an appearance last year by Ms Alibhai-Brown on BBC's Question Time, included statements that the commentator "needs a good shag" and she "would love a big black thing up her a***".

Mr Leathey, who is standing for Nigel Farage's party in Tony Blair's old constituency of Sedgefield, County Durham, apologised "unreservedly" in a statement.

He said: "I read what I wrote now, I am shocked by them and am appalled and deeply ashamed of my words. The comments were made during a private conversation in the evening and clearly were never meant to be publicly released, and they should never have been said.

"I am very sorry and regret deeply being so coarse, it is out of character but no more excusable for that."
The journalist responded by saying that Mr Leathey's comments were "appalling".(The Telegraph)

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Milan Expo helps SL to bag US$ 1.3m charter from Italy

Posted on 06 May 2015 by admin




Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayake and Alpitour Brands Head Federica Cagliero. Aitken Spence Vice President Niranjan Rodrigo and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Rohantha Athukorala at the Milan Expo 2015.


Sri Lanka's presence at the Expo 2015 took a head start with Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake closing on a charter worth US$ 1.3 million for Sri Lanka Tourism with the market leadership tour operator in Italy Alpitours.

The deal will attract 8000 travellers in a business partnership with Aitken Spence Limited.

"This deal has in fact records the covering of the total costs we incurred on setting up the Sri Lankan pavilion at Expo 2015 in fact now it is profit positive on a ruthless P&L basis," SLTPB Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said.

The partnership between Alpitours and Aitken Spence will be tied to a top end resort in the south of Sri Lanka which was architectured by an Italian designer whilst the overall cuisine will be done by a specially flown chef from Italy which will include customized animators to cater to the all inclusive guests that will be branded on a club med business model, Athukorala said.

The Vice President Aitken Spence Niranjan Rodrogo said the intervention from the minister of tourism is appreciative given that Sri Lankan Airlines flies out of Rome whilst most of the targeted travellers will be sourced out of the North of Italy which is essentially the industrial side of Italy close to the Milano Expo 2015.

The country head for Sri Lankan Airlines for Italy Lalith Peiris said he will do what is required to support the partnership to give a new image to the country and make Sri Lanka become a fashion destination which will lead to many other club med brands entering Sri Lanka.


Courtesy: Daily News – 06 May 2015.








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Salman Khan: Bollywood star jailed for five years in hit-and-run case

Posted on 06 May 2015 by admin





An Indian court has sentenced Bollywood star Salman Khan to five years in jail for killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run driving incident in Mumbai.

The man was among five people who were run over in the incident. The actor wascharged with culpable homicide.

Khan had said his driver was behind the wheel, but the judge said the actor was driving the car and was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Legal experts expect the actor to appeal against the verdict.

He could have been jailed for 10 years.

But correspondents say the guilty verdict is a huge setback for Khan who is one of Bollywood's biggest stars, appearing in more than 80 Hindi-language films.

Several of his films, including Dabangg, Ready, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger, Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun, have been huge commercial hits.

On Wednesday morning, as the actor drove to court with his family and friends, fans prayed for the actor's acquittal.

But Judge DW Deshpande found him guilty on the charge of culpable homicide.

"You were driving the car; you were under the influence of alcohol," he told the actor as soon as the court proceedings began.

Indian television channels reported the actor broke down inside court as the guilty verdict was announced.

Several of his Bollywood colleagues spoke out in his support and expressed their sympathies. Actress Hema Malini said she was praying for him and hoped he would escape with a light sentence.

If the actor is jailed, it will affect several big-ticket film projects he is involved in at the moment.

Driver's testimony

The case has gripped Bollywood and India for years.

Late on the night of 28 September 2002, Khan's Toyota Land Cruiser hit the American Express bakery in the Bandra area of Mumbai, authorities say.

The vehicle ran over five people sleeping on the street, killing 38-year-old Noor Ullah Khan and seriously injuring three others. Another person received minor injuries.

The prosecution alleged that Khan had been driving the car while drunk, both of which charges the actor denied in court in March.

But many witnesses disagreed.

A constable attached to Khan's security detail said in a statement to the police that the "drunk" actor had lost control of the car. The policeman died in 2007 of tuberculosis.

In April, Khan's driver told the court that he had crashed the car after a tyre burst but the court did not accept that version.

Case timeline

September 2002: Salman Khan's car runs over five people sleeping on a Mumbai street, killing a homeless man and injuring four others

October 2002: Khan charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder – arrested but granted bail

May 2003: Court rejects his plea to drop culpable homicide charge

June 2003: Bombay high court drops culpable homicide charge; actor is then tried for rash and negligent driving

October 2007: Prime witness, a constable who served in his security detail, dies

March 2015: Khan tells the court he was not drunk and his driver was behind the wheel

May 2015: Khan found guilty, sent to jail for five years

BBC News




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Battling Windies win third Test by five wickets against England

Posted on 04 May 2015 by admin




West Indies bowler Jason Holder celebrates dismissing England cricketer Chris Jordan during day three of the final match of a three-match Test series between England and West Indies at the Kensington Oval Stadium in Bridgetown on May 3, 2015. AFP Right West Indies batsman Darren Bravo hits a boundary off Englands bowler James Anderson during day three of the final match of a three-match Test series between England and West Indies at the Kensington Oval Stadium in Bridgetown on May 3, 2015. AFP


West Indies defied the odds and a wearing pitch to complete a series-levelling five-wicket victory over England on the third day of the third and final Test on Sunday.

Set a daunting target of 192 after the tourists were dismissed for 123 in their second innings, a 108-run fifth-wicket partnership between Darren Bravo and Jermaine Blackwood tilted the match decisively the Caribbean side's way.

That allowed them to celebrate their first victory over England since the opening match of the 2009 series in Kingston, Jamaica.

Bravo's controlled knock of 82, his 11th Test half-century, ended when he attempted to make the victory hit off Ben Stokes as Stuart Broad pulled down the catch at mid-off. It was left to Blackwood to finish off the match in the next over, hoisting Moeen Ali's off-spin over long-on to finish unbeaten on 47 and complete a team and personal triumph following his first innings top score of 85 out of a total of 189.

He was named man of the match.

Anderson took the man of the series honours for his 17 wickets in the three matches, lifting his overall Test tally to 397.

Blackwood, who replaced Chanderpaul, capitalised on a significant moment of luck — a missed stumping by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Joe Root when only on four — to stay with his senior partner.

Gradually they wore down the England bowlers before unfurling the attacking shots that sped the West Indies to the target that seemed beyond them at the start of the chase given the state of the pitch and the low-scoring nature of the match.

Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope saw off the early assault from Anderson and Broad, although not without a few anxious moments. But the introduction of Chris Jordan into the attack brought the breakthrough that England craved as the debutant fell leg-before for nine.

In the very next over, Jordan's brilliance at slip throughout the series was again in evidence as he held on to a sharp chance left-handed to remove Brathwaite off Ali's off-spin for 25.

England had started the day brightly, putting on 51 in the first hour for the loss of just one wicket from a perilous overnight position of 39 for five.

Gary Ballance was that early casualty after England resumed in the perilous overnight position of 39 for five.

He became the first of two wickets for Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner removing the left-hander to a catch at slip and then breaking a 33-run seventh-wicket partnership between Stokes and Buttler via a miscued drive from Stokes (32) that was well held by Chanderpaul at short extra-cover.

Buttler kept on playing positively and was left unbeaten on a top score of 35.

Fast-medium bowler Jason Holder, who dismissed Jordan and Broad off successive deliveries, finished with the best figures of three for 15. AFP




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Mayweather wins biggest fight in boxing history

Posted on 04 May 2015 by admin


Beats Pacquiao by decision



Floyd Mayweather cemented his status as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world with a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao as the “Fight of the Century” failed to live up to the hype here Saturday.

Scattered boos rang out around the crowd of 17,000 in the MGM Grand after Mayweather comfortably outboxed his Filipino rival to frustrate hopes of a full-blooded slugfest.

The 38-year-old Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) retained his WBC and WBA welterweight titles and seized Pacquiao's WBO belt by winning the fight on all three of the judges’ scorecards.

Mayweather received scores of 116-112 from two judges. The third judge scored it 118-110.

But when the results were announced the pro-Pacquiao crowd booed lustily and tried to drown out Mayweather's post-fight comments over the public address system.

Filipino star Pacquiao suffered the sixth loss of his career to go with 57 victories and two draws.

The fight is widely believed to be the most lucrative in boxing history with revenues of $400 million.

Pacquiao was the aggressor, pressing action from the first round and was able to land some big lefts on Mayweather's chin, especially in the final seconds of the early rounds.

But ultimately Pacquiao wasn't able to keep up his frenzied early pace for all 12 rounds and Mayweather, who was the bigger of the two fighters, managed to slip in counterpunches and hard right hands that stopped the Filipino in his tracks.

Mayweather reiterated after Saturday's super fight that he would retire after his next fight in September which will fulfil his six-fight contract to Showtime Sports.

“My last fight is in September. I'll do that and I will hang it up,” said Mayweather, estimated to have earned $200 million.

Pacquiao meanwhile insisted he thought he had won.

“I thought I won the fight. He didn't do nothing,” he said.

The entrance of the fighters to the ring was delayed about 45 minutes because of problems with the heavy demand for pay-per-view telecast and the providers ability to distribute it.

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood, entertainment and sports were in attendance, including director Clint Eastwood, actors Robert De Niro, Jon Voight, Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper, musician Sting, former NBA star Magic Johnson, actress Claire Danes and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who visited Pacquiao in his dressing room before the fight.

Only a lucky few had tickets to the super fight but thousands more milled around the outside of the Grand Garden arena and in the hotel's casino.

Before the fight started, the downstairs lobby of the Grand Garden was crowded with people standing about, taking pictures and hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity coming in or out of one of the VIP rooms.

Mayweather made a grand entrance befitting of his superstar status. He was accompanied by his “The Money Team” which includes his father/trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.

But Pacquiao arrived first to the ring, smiling relentlessly and even taking a selfie with long-time trainer Freddie Roach during his entrace.







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Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge welcome new royal baby girl

Posted on 03 May 2015 by admin

Britain’s Prince William (R) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in central London, on May 2, 2015. The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter weighing 8lbs 3oz, Kensington Palace announced. The newly-born Princess of Cambridge is fourth in line to the British throne. AFP

The Duchess of Cambridge delighted her nation and royal enthusiasts around the world Saturday by delivering one such princess. The royal birth was greeted with cheers and elated cries of “Hip, hip, hooray!” outside St. Mary’s Hospital in central London, where fans and the world’s media have waited for days.

The baby — Prince William and Kate’s second child — was born Saturday morning and weighed eight pounds, three ounces, officials said. She is fourth in line to the throne, and the fifth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, 89.

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