Down in the deep south of Sri Lanka, where life usually moves at a leisurely pace, there is one small town that is less tranquil. Hambantota – population 20,000 – is expanding fast. There is a vast new deep-water port, built with $360m of borrowed Chinese cash; a new 35,000-seater cricket stadium; a huge convention centre; and a $200m international airport. A broad-gauge railway is under construction. Powerful people have ambitions for Hambantota. None is more powerful or more ambitious than President Mahinda Rajapaksa, born nearby in 1945.
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