Archive | April, 2013


Should Expats purchase Condominiums in Sri Lanka

Posted on 29 April 2013 by admin

The thought of short-term stay in Sri Lanka has lured Sri Lankan expatriates living abroad to consider purchasing condominiums in and around Colombo. Ofcourse the rationale is the comfort of knowing there is a 'home, away from home' and to get the feeling of security. However, in the long run is it worth the investment? There are mixed feelings on this matter. The alternative ofcourse is to occupy on monthly rent a dwelling from Crescat Residences or Monarch Residence and similar condominium complexes.

Most condominiums (considered luxury real estate) in the country's business capital of Colombo experience an average pre-construction sale ratio of around 50%, according to a report by the local office of global big four audit firm KPMG, in conjunction with Research Intelligence Unit (RIU).

The cost factor is another consideration that rolls into the decision making process. Is the investment worth it in the long haul. Will the funds have a better return on investment (ROI) if an alternate method of investing is done? These are all questions that have varied opinions.

Appended below is a story from the Sunday Times of April 28th that is rather disconcerting.

Apartment owners spend millions and end up at developers’ mercy

Driven from pillar to post for title deeds, maintenance fees’ statements, access to and use of common areas�

By Chandani Kirinde courtesy of the Sunday Times

Eight years ago, S. de Silva and her husband, a British national, invested almost Rs. 20 million in a luxury apartment along Marine Drive in Wellawatta. Though permanent residents of Britain, they were keen to have a place of their own where they could stay while on holiday in Colombo.

But, despite the hefty sum they invested, after being taken up by the fancy promises made to them by the developers of the condominium housing units, the past eight years has been a struggle for the couple, starting with getting the deed for their property, to getting monthly invoices of the high maintenance fees they pay.

Far from being an isolated incident, theirs is not an uncommon tale of woe. The proliferation of condominiums within the city of Colombo, has led to many a dispute between developers of apartment complexes and buyers with the Condominium Management Authority (CMA), the Government body entrusted with resolving these issues, pressed for resources to ensure a smooth running of these residential complexes.

CMA General Manager G.U. Upawansa said they receive complaints on a regular basis from buyers of condominium properties, that they have been deceived by the developers. “We are empowered to hold inquiries and settle grievances that arise. We do our utmost to bring about a mutually acceptable settlement, while resorting to court action only in extreme cases,” he said.

Many of the disputes that arise involve the failure of developers to hand over deeds to the buyers on time, as well as issues such as parking, maintenance of buildings, as well as the use of areas designated for “common elements use”, such as the lobbies and rooftops etc. There are also issues involving the non-availability of power and water supply connections to individual property units, which has compelled occupants to rely on temporary connections for long periods of time, use of roadways etc. There were also issues concerning safety measures in place, in case of fire, emergency escape systems etc.

Six months ago, Asha Bulathsinhala purchased an apartment in the Kirulapone area, for over Rs 4 million. Since then, she has encountered many problems such as lack of a parking space, as well as issues with the security personnel on duty.

“I started making inquiries to ascertain the accounts of the maintenance fees we pay, as well as how the security firm was chosen, but those running the Management Corporation (MC) in the apartment complex did not provide the information,” she said.

After lodging a complaint with the CMA, an inquiry was conducted and a ruling made in her favour, which asked for a change in the security, but that decision is yet to be implemented.

Under the existing condominium management laws, it is mandatory for each apartment block to have in place an MC which comprises all the unit owners, and operates with a set of elected office bearers who are expected to keep accounts of fees collected, as well as show audited accounts at each annual general meeting. However, in many of the condominiums, the MC is not run satisfactorily, said Attorney-at-Law Ajitha Edirimane, who works extensively in this area.

She said many of her clients have encountered problems in getting the deed to their apartment property, as well as issues relating to maintenance of the buildings. “There is a lack of awareness among many of their rights, as well as their obligations,” Ms Edirimane said.

She said there is also the need to amend the existing laws to give more teeth to the CMA, so that, it can intervene more effectively when unit owners are faced with grievances, and have to confront property developers who are more powerful. Some apartment owners who spoke to the Sunday Times, felt that there was little justice meted out to them by way of the CMA inquiries, with some cases dragging on for long periods of time, while having to pay hefty sums to lawyers.

“The developers usually hire good legal counsel by spending large amounts, and hence, things usually work out to their advantage,” an apartment owner complained.�CMA General Manager Upawansa, however, said that, the Authority does its utmost to settle issues, and has intervened in numerous instances when unit owners have had problems with the developers.

“There are many issues among the unit owners as well, and we have to get involved and solve them as well. Whenever we get a complaint, we send our officers for inspection to verify the facts and take appropriate action,” he said.

Mr Upawansa said, “There have been many instances where the unit owners have failed to pay the maintenance fees and the CMA has had to intervene to get them to pay up the dues. In extreme cases, threats of disconnection of water and electricity supplies too have had to be used,” he said.

Both Ms Edirimane and Mr Upawansa said that the onus is on those planning to invest in condominium properties, to take care and exercise their rights, which allow them to examine the property development permit, the approved building plan and the certificate of confirmation issued by the relevant Local Government Authority.

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Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka up 11.6 percent for February

Posted on 29 April 2013 by admin



Tourist arrivals in the first two months of this year increased by 12.5 percent to 190,643 from 169,423 for the same period last year and arrivals in February increased 11.6 percent to 93,232 from 83,549 recorded in the corresponding month in 2012, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data showed.

Despite the country being named as the best travel destination to visit during this year by a leading travel magazine ‘Lonely Planet’, the growth further slows down after two years of phenomenal performance.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in its road map to achieve 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016 expected the annual growth since 2010 to continue at 30 percent, however after 2010 and 2011 growth at 40 and 31 percent respectively, arrivals growth slowed down to 17.5 percent in 2012 and shows signs of further slowing down with the first two months of this year registering a 12.5 percent increase. With growth slowing down industrialist questioned the achievability of set goals of attracting 2.5 million tourists with an income of $2.75 billion by 2016.

Arrivals for the first two months from North America increased 4.8 percent to 9,789 from 9,343 a year ago, while tourists from Latin America and the Caribbean declined 23 percent to 331 from 430.

Arrivals from Western Europe increased 13.7 percent to 85,119 from 74,861with travellers from UK leading, while arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 17.5 percent to 17,301 from 14,720 with travellers from Russia leading.

Arrivals from Africa declined 13.3 percent to 628 from 724, while arrivals from West Asia increased 4.4 percent to 7,964 from 7,625.

Arrivals from East Asia increased 15.5 percent to 22,628 from 19,590 with travellers from Japan leading, while arrivals from South Asia increased 9.7 percent to 38,088 from 34,713 with travellers from India leading.

Arrivals from Australasia increased 18.6 percent to 8,795 from 7,417 with travellers from Australia leading.

Last year tourist arrivals in the country surpassed one million and the government expects 1.2 million arrivals this year.

Last year, tourism brought in a little more than a billion US dollars, up 25.7 percent from US$ 830.3 million in 2011.


Apr 29, 2013 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 11.6 percent in February 2013 to 93,232 from a year earlier, helped by gains in Europe and East Asia, official data showed.

Arrivals from Western Europe rose 13.7 percent to 43,635 with Britain growing 26.1 percent to 11,031 and Germany up 8.1 percent to 8,276.

Arrivals from France rose 4.0 percent to 6,632, Netherlands was up 1.1 percent to 3,020 and Switzerland was up 27.1 percent to 2,980.

Visitors from Eastern Europe rose 17 percent to 7,218 with Russian arrivals up 9.6 percent to 3,286 and from Ukraine 2,788 up 38.7 percent.

Visitors from the Middle East rose 5.8 percent to 3,887.

East Asian arrivals rose 22.7 percent to 12,589 led by an 89.1 percent increase in Chinese visitors followed by Japan at 2,676 up 14.1 percent.

Sri Lanka's tourist authorities and the industry has been pushing for more tourists from China. In the first two months Chinese arrivals were up 57.9 percent to 6,145 from a year earlier.

Malaysian visitors rose 27.9 percent to 1,973 while tourists from Singapore dropped 23 percent to 1,030 and those from Taiwan fell 67 percent to 262. Korean visitors also dropped 23.7 percent to 492.

South Asian visitors rose only 2.5 percent to 15,897, with India Sri Lanka's largest generating market dropped 1.8 percent to 11,139.

India became Sri Lanka's top tourist market after visas were dropped about decade ago, but they were re-imposed last year.

The Indian economy weakened last year and there has also been unease between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka following nationalist action against Sri Lankans visiting the area. Sri Lanka's state-run national carrier cut flights to India.



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SriLankan Airlines to re-fleet

Posted on 29 April 2013 by admin


State-run SriLankan Airlines will acquire six Airbus A350-900 and seven A330-300 aircraft to upgrade its product and cut costs starting from October 2014, Chief Executive, Kapila Chandrasena said. SriLankan will acquire 10 aircraft from Airbus Industries through a mix of operating and finance leases in a deal which has a ‘present value’ of US$1.2 billion and another three from an aircraft leasing firm, he said.

Cabinet approval has been given to sign a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for 10 purchase options and the first aircraft is expected to arrive starting from October 2014, he said. The aircraft are to be delivered over 7 years. In the first phase six Airbus A340 aircraft which are up to 18 to 16 years old will be replaced by A330-300 aircraft.

Seven A330-200 aircraft which are around 13 to 16 years old will be replaced starting from 2017 with A350-900 aircraft. Three will come from an aviation leasing firm as there were no manufacturing slots available at Airbus in that period. The balance four A350s will be acquired from Airbus Industries starting from 2019. SriLankan was aiming to maintain a fleet with an average age of about five years.

SriLankan has already modernized its A320 narrow body fleet of eight aircraft. With several very old aircraft in the fleet, the airline could not give the same level of service to all passengers and operating costs were also high.

“If you look at our configurations we could not standardize service. With the new aircraft everyone will get the same experience. Fuel is 50 percent of our operating costs. With newer aircraft, fuel is about 40 percent. That is a huge quantum of savings,” Chandrasena acknowledged. He added that even after accounting for acquisition costs, a net gain of 7 to 10 percent could be made with new aircraft.

The aircraft will be financed with a mixture of finance and operating leases. Industry practice was to have about 30 percent on finance leases, Chandrasena said. Airbus will also give US$ 31 million worth tools, equipment and training to set up aircraft maintenance and repair facility (MRO) for the new types.

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Posted on 27 April 2013 by admin

Many have written in appreciation of Priyani Abeyeskera (nee Tennekoon), who passed away recently. We, her "gang" of close friends, are writing to share the impact she had on our individual and collective lives, since we first encountered each other in our earliest years at Ladies’ College. Priyani would probably chide us for doing this. She was humble and self-effacing to a fault, never seeking the lime-light herself, but rejoicing and glowing in the success of others. But our strong, unique friendship with Priyani compels this expression of our love and gratitude.

Priyani was an exceptional human being. We were blessed to have her in our lives for over five decades, encompassing our childhood pranks, our long-suffering parents, our slightly bemused teachers, our teenage uncertainties, our academic lives, our professional careers, our spouses and our children. In school, seriousness about studies and leadership as a house captain did not dampen her sense of mischief, including trying to plunge a classroom into darkness by removing the light bulb, and playing cards illicitly in the Prefects’ Room, which doubled informally as a Sixth Form common room.

When Priyani entered university, she chose to apply her precise and orderly mind to the study of Law, to the delight of her "Appachchi," the late Victor Tennekoon, a renowned jurist himself. Law was a field in which she excelled academically and professionally. She was placed first in order of merit in her final examinations at both the Faculty of Law and the Sri Lanka Law College. After teaching briefly at the Faculty, she obtained a Masters in Law from Monash University. On her return, she chose the challenge of the commercial world over academia. After a short stint with Trans Asia Hotel, she took a legal position at Airlanka (now Sri Lankan Airlines), where she worked until she retired in 2012.

At Sri Lankan Airlines, a major part of Priyani’s work involved negotiating agreements and contracts, but she also oversaw litigation. Many important cases involving Sri Lankan were decided during her tenure as Manager, and later, Senior Manager, Legal. Her career at Sri Lankan was characterized by integrity and loyalty to the institution, whatever the pressures and wherever they came from. She commanded enormous respect professionally as a person who "always did what she believed was right." She and her husband Harin instilled the principles and values they lived by so well in their son Ishan, her "boy", and her "pride, her joy and her comfort still".

It was not all work and no play. As a young woman, Priyani was a swimmer and played hockey for Ladies’ College, Colombo University and the Ceylonese Ladies Club. She had an abiding interest in all sports; she avidly followed cricket and tennis, and was elated to attend the 2012 Olympics with an equally sports-mad friend. Her eclectic musical taste ranged from classical to rock. She loved to dance, and dragged Harin to Salsa and Latin dancing classes. She had an innate sense of rhythm, and as a school girl would drum on anything she could get hold of, a potential career as a drummer in a band thwarted by her excellent academic results! On the dance floor and in yoga classes, some of us attended together, she demonstrated an elegance of movement none of us could match.

We each brought our strong personalities into our friendship, but Priyani was, as one friend remarked, "the gentlest of us all and gave of herself unconditionally." She made strong and diverse friendships throughout her academic and professional life. She did not flinch going the ‘extra mile’ to help a person in need, whether it was shielding colleagues from violence or making sure an ambulance was at the aircraft to transport the seriously ill mother of a friend. She unstintingly gave of her time and resources to help villagers in the border areas during the period of conflict, travelling in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions.

To the parents of Priyani’s friends, she was another daughter, finding the time to visit when their own children were busy or away. She was just as caring and giving when it came to the younger generation, an "aunt" who followed our children’s journeys in life and shared joyously in their achievements. It was Priyani you turned to, to make hats, blow balloons and help with games at your child’s birthday party, or to help arrange flowers for your daughter’s wedding.

Like her mother, Priyani opened her home to many and was a wonderful hostess. Whether you were invited on the spur of the moment or more formally, she prepared meals with care and style. Priyani organised a trip to Wilpattu last year; and, although not strong enough to go on all the game rounds, she set the menus, did all the shopping and oversaw all the meals. Often, Priyani and Harin, returning from their estate, would appear on our doorsteps with bags of whatever fruit was in season. Even when we visited in the last few days of her life, Priyani was concerned about whether we had been served, and we were each given a bag of mangoes from her tree to take home.

Priyani loved to travel. Observing wild life, visiting historical monuments, hiking amid scenic splendour, whether roughing it in tents or sleeping in comfortable hotels, all she wanted was close friends to share the experience. In May 2010, on a wonderful trip together to Jaffna and Delft, Priyani delighted in the beautiful kovils, palmyrah trees, wild ponies, aged baobab and banyan trees, and in swimming in the calm, still sea. In September 2011, on holiday together in Spain, she revelled in the majesty of the Alhambra, cooking meals together in a little villa in Andalucia, and wandering among olive and fig trees and the beautiful El Torcal with its mountain goats and rock formations.

Priyani lived her life with dignity and composure. It was reflected in her demeanour and in the elegant but understated way she dressed, perfectly groomed whether in the traditional ‘osariya’ in Sri Lanka and superbly cut business suits in Europe for more formal events, or the tomboy shorts and t-shirts she relaxed in at home. Although she held strong opinions, she rarely said a sharp word or ruffled any feathers. She had a great sense of humour and her canny comments would either keep us in stitches, or put us firmly but gently in our place when she felt the need. Her witty rejoinders had no malice and she did not have an envious bone in her body. Our joys and successes were her joys and successes, and she bore our sorrows and failures with us.

Priyani epitomised the old adage, "In this world of froth and bubble, two things stand like stone, kindness in another’s trouble, courage in one’s own." Would that we could have borne some of the anxiety, pain and discomfort she had to face in the last few years of her life. While we each gained from our friendship, Priyani was and will remain "the jewel in the crown" as one of our spouses described her, the patient listener, the giver of sound advice whenever sought, the bonding force who kept us together. We each learned from her example and from the gift of her friendship. We "thank our God upon every remembrance" of her and each moment that we spent together.

The above appreciation is written by Sharya Scharenguivel/Priyanthi Fernando/Anila Dias Bandaranaike/Dilkusha de Costa/Shanti Conly



Sri Lanka to host CHOGM 2013 as scheduled

Posted on 27 April 2013 by admin

No change of venue sought by members

Courtesy: Sunday Island By Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

The Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said on Friday that Sri Lanka would be hosting the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November, as planned, and that no member government had indicated that it wishes to change the venue. The decision made by leaders in 2009 and confirmed in 2011 still stands. "It is a collective decision that it [CHOGM] will take place in Colombo and the date of it is in November," he said.

He confirmed that Sri Lanka had been discussed at the 39th meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting held on Friday (April 26) at Marlborough House in London under ‘matters of interest’ as part of the Secretary-General’s briefing on his Good Offices work in member states across the Commonwealth. Sharma stressed the Commonwealth’s pivotal role in assisting Sri Lanka in practical ways through his Good Offices engagement. This includes the provision of technical support to enhance the independence of the Human Rights Commission; and the Electoral Commission.

 "As the Commonwealth, we try to be practical in offering our assistance, and have embedded action for beneficial changes as far as the members are concerned," the Secretary-General said."In the spirit of a helping hand, which we give to all members, we have been engaging across a wide front in Sri Lanka with my Good Offices, and this will continue in the months to come. I am sure it will yield very good results in all the areas of human rights, of rule of law, of governance, and institution building and strengthening."

"All member states subscribe to the same principles and values equally. Interacting with them on many fronts – as I have been doing at all levels – I am fully persuaded that they are sincere in subscribing and following those values."

Sharma further highlighted next week’s Commonwealth workshop on reconciliation, in which Sri Lanka will participate. At the workshop, countries will share their own historical experience of reconciliation, which will give further impetus to what the Commonwealth can do in partnership with Sri Lanka, to help them in all the other very deep, ingrained issues, he said.

"We are the one organisation that is working with them [Sri Lanka] on institution-building in the way that I have described. I do not see many other institutions doing such a comprehensive exercise with Sri Lanka. I think the way in which we are acting and the way in which we are trying to make real progress on the ground, is actually a sign of this institution’s relevance to the difficulties which are faced by member states," he said.

Sharma spoke about the road map that the Commonwealth had developed and agreed upon by Sri Lanka. This includes technical support to Sri Lanka in respect of the appointment and dismissal of senior judges, based on examples of good practice across the Commonwealth.

"From this exercise, we will be able to make recommendations as to what needs to be done moving forward in order to have those immediate measures, whether systemic of legislative, so that the kind of constitutional crisis which arose earlier and the polarity and the excuse for confrontation never arises again," he said.

The Secretary-General expressed satisfaction that the progress that he is making will continue. He stressed that he is not working against a deadline, but against success and progress.

The Secretary-General was joined at the press conference by CMAG Chair Dr Dipu Moni, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, and the Vice-Chair of CMAG, Senator Bob Carr, Foreign Minister of Australia.

The CMAG meeting was chaired by Dr Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. It was also attended by Senator the Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada; Hon A J Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Hon Dr Abdul Samad Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Hon Dr Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone; Hon Bernard K Membe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation of Tanzania; Hon Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago; and Hon Nipake Edward Natapei, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Vanuatu.

A few weeks prior to the CMAG meeting, the Canadian Government and several Human Rights Groups tried hard to include Sri Lanka in to the formal CMAG agenda to try and move the venue from Sri Lanka but they could not succeed.

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Sri Lanka hotel rates 30-40 per cent higher than region

Posted on 27 April 2013 by admin

Sri Lanka costs more to holiday. Tour operators set to tame hard selling destination Sri Lanka

Courtesy of Sunimalee Dias – The Sunday Times

Sri Lanka has become an increasingly expensive destination to sell as room rates are at least 30-40 per cent higher than its competitors in the region.

Tour operators have become increasingly worried that should the current trend of room rates as per the minimum rates in Colombo and those in the resorts continue,it could result in a loss for the sector.

Compared to Malaysia and Indonesia, Sri Lanka is currently 30-40 per cent higher in terms of the latter’s hotel charges, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) President Mahen Kariyawasan said in an interview with the Business Times on Wednesday at his Nawala office.

Other issues that come up when tour operators attempt to market the destination as a package is that in addition to high room rates, the existing entrance fees to tourist sites have increased whereas most of the neighbouring countries charge relatively low fares, he explained.

He noted that while Sigiriya would charge US$30 as entrance fees from visitors, Dambulla costs $25 and likewise for Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. But he pointed out that in comparison entrance to the Taj Mahal would cost only $15.

Moreover, the problem persists in the current minimum room rates for Colombo city hotels that operators complain add to the burden as all year round rates remain unchanged.

Mr. Kariyawasan observed that the minimum rates were a daunting task to deal with when they attempt to attract the required MICE travellers from the Indian market to Colombo.

As observed last year the tour operators note that the 2013 winter was likely to be affected due to the existing room rates as a result of which occupancies had dropped in most of the four star hotels even in the resorts.

He points out that this summer they expect a slump of at least 10 per cent going by the current drawing capacity.
Commenting on a similar observation made two years ago that did not occur, he explained that this was mainly due to the Sri Lankan expatriates that visit the country and were accounted for.

In this respect, he believes the genuine tourists would mostly flock to the three stars and the guest houses.

Tour operators persist that they need to “strike a balance” with hoteliers in a bid to maintain competitiveness in the world market.
Mr. Kariyawasam complained that at least a 15-20 per cent reduction was expected in room rates from the existing ones.
Previously SLAITO had submitted a proposal for the lowering of minimum room rates but they continue to fall on deaf ears with no change in the stance of hoteliers, operators said.

In fact, Mr. Kariyawasan explained that tourists were able to grab superior products and services offered in Malaysia and Indonesia at the same price as Sri Lanka.

“If we don’t take remedial action it could affect occupancies in the future this year,” he said.

Currently, the industry is concentrating on markets like China and Korea to bring in the numbers but even the latter was said to have complained of the high room rates in Sri Lanka.

SLAITO observed that the continuous perception that the war is over and it could bring in the tourists would not hold good anymore.
In fact, Mr. Kariyawasan points out that in the first two years after the war they were able to take up that campaign, but today it was not possible as it is “difficult to maintain the momentum.”

On the other hand, he asserted that an aggressive strategy was required to attract more tourists while at the same time commending the promotional campaigns underway in this regard as well by Sri Lanka Tourism.

However, hoteliers believe that the existing minimum room rates in the Colombo city hotels was holding good for the sector.
In fact, they dismissed the issue of pricing as a constant complaint by tour operators since the day the rates were made effective.
“It (minimum rates) should stay because it’s very beneficial to the staff and other stakeholders,” City Hoteliers Association President K. Shanthikumar said.

Commenting on the rates further he explained that city hotels only catered to 15-20 per cent of the leisure sector whereas the rest was focussed on the airline crews, shipping sector, MICE travellers and corporate clients.

John Keells Vice President Vasantha Leelananda said their organisation was for the minimum prices as they believe it had done much to improve the city hotel rates.

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School Rugby: Trinity in 35-25 win over Peterites

Posted on 27 April 2013 by admin

Trinity ended the unblemished run of St. Peter's in their under 20 league tournament when they defeated a fancied home team by 35 points ( 3 tries,2 goals and 2 penalties ) to 25 ( Two goals ,one try and two penalties) at Bambalapitiya yesterday. The outcome of the match was clearly decided in the first half when both teams had scored a tally at 45 points in a fast moving affair.

Trinity got the better of the hectic energy draining first half and seemed to be more focused than the Peterites. The Kandy school won a lot of possession through their jumpers and kept the ball moving. On the other hand the Peterites were committed to too many errors. They dropped the ball at crucial moments of the game and were penalised on many occasions which the Trinitians got the maximum and even went on to score.

The Kandy school utilised their back division well for defensive purposes and the Peterites could not make much headway. Trinity hit back with a vengeance after their last week's defeat against S. Thomas' in a traditional match which is not considered in the school rugby 'A' division league as the Thomians play in the lower division. So the Trinitians are now unbeaten and could look forward for a successful season ahead.

Scrum half Naresh Perera opened scoring for the winners when he picked up a ball which went loose and touched down for an unconverted try. Then Trinity extended their lead when fly half Tharinda Ratwatte put over a penalty. Minutes later Peterite centre Dilanka Perera reduced the gap for his side scoring a try off a ruck and Jerome Canute added the extra points.

In the heavy scoring first half Ratwatte and Canute made no mistakes with their penalty kicks while Tharinda Ratwatte dummied himself to deceive several Peterites defenders for Sanka Atulugama to touch down. Narsh Perera failed with the converasion. Naresh Perera struck again for Trinity dashing for an unconverted try after a picking up a ball that went loose taking advantage of the Peterites dismal ball handling. With two more tries scored each by Peterite Senal Abeysekera and Trinitian Anurudha Karunathileka both converted by Canute and Naresh Perera the half time scores read 28/17 in favour of Trinity.

On resumption the Peterites needed a gigantic effort it they were too overcome the Kandy lads, but the terrific effort shown by both sides in the first half saw only a try each by Trinity through Tharinda Ratwatte and for the home team by Praveen de Silva and penalty put over by Peterites Jerome Canute was possible.


Nizam Jamaldeen refereed.

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Sri Lanka tourism veterans meet at ITB Berlin 2013 exhibition

Posted on 27 April 2013 by admin

ITB Berlin is the world's largest travel trade show. It is THE B2B-Platform for trade visitors – an excellent opportunity to meet business partners and to do business. For all other visitors ITB Berlin is a wonderful possibility to discover the whole world within a few hours. The whole variety of travelling is present at ITB Berlin: Destinations, tour operators, booking systems, carriers, hotels and all other suppliers who want to embellish their customers' most beautiful weeks of the year. ITB Berlin brightens your business. In 2013 about 6,000 journalists attended the world's largest trade show for the travel industry, of whom about 1,500 came from abroad. In addition to the industry's leading trade magazines, business and travel journalists from 80 countries reported on the latest travel trends and products.

Veterans in the tourism industry Ravi Dias-Jayasinha, Gateway, of MIlan (left)  with Sam Samaradiwakara former Director of Sri Lanka Tourism in Germany,celebrated their 41 years of participation at the world’s largest travel exhibtion in the world, ITB Berlin 2013 exhibition. Octogenearian Samaradiwakara was a journalist before embarking on a career in tourism. Dias-Jayasinha was in the tourism sector since leaving Thurstan College and immigrated to Germany in the seventies and continued his passion for promoting travel and tourism in Sri Lanka.

Among the five recipients of the "Tourism Legend 2090" awards was Sam Samaradivakara, who has had a long association with tourism even before the Ceylon Tourist Board as established in 1966. He began his career in Tourism with the former Ceylon Government Tourist Bureau in 1962, when he was its first officer in charge of Publicity and Information. He came to the Tourist Board from its inception in 1966 as its first Assistant Director/Publicity heading the Publicity Division with separate Departments for Advertising & PR/ Editorial/ Information/ Distribution, and held the post until 1972. 

He later moved as Director/Europe based in Germany, as well covering the rest of Europe and at times New York, too, and was subsequently Deputy Director General Publicity.

The travel trade members remember him for his the pioneering work in bringing charter flights from Europe to Sri Lanka, expanding the European Market, and especially for the role he played in reviving the Sri Lankan tourism industry after the major set back following the Black July riots of 1983. The success of his Crash Programme to revive Tourism after July 1983 was formally commended by former Tourism Minister Dr. Anandatissa de Alwis, who asked the Tourist Board to acknowledge his contribution.

When inquiries were made from the Tourism Authorities and the Award Event organizers as to why he was not present at the Awards Ceremony, their reply was that his contact details were not known.

Travel trade and tourism authorities find this surprising as he had been nominated for the same award the previous year, and his nomination had his postal address, e-mail and telephone numbers in Germany where he has been resident for many years, and has close contacts with leading members of the Sri Lanka travel trade. They state that had the organizers bothered to inquire from the Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin or the Sri Lankan Consulate in Frankfurt they would have found his contact details.


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Foreign owner of bed & breakfast guest house at Unawatuna held for molesting French tourists

Posted on 26 April 2013 by admin

AFP – Friday, Apr 26, 2013.

COLOMBO – A foreign guesthouse operator was arrested in Sri Lanka Friday after two French tourists complained they had been sexually molested at his guest house, police said.




The 44-year-old Olivier Sage, who manages the "French Villa" beach property at Unawatuna, 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Colombo, would be taken before a magistrate later Friday, said senior superintendent Jayantha Wickremasinghe.

"The two French tourists complained that the guest house owner used criminal force on them two days ago," Wickremasinghe said. "We have sufficient grounds to make the arrest."

The guest house website described him as a "Swiss-French" ex-restaurateur managing a "cosy Sri Lankan style villa", which also offers ayurvedic treatments, yoga and meditation.

It was not immediately clear if he had dual Swiss and French citizenship. The guesthouse could not be reached for comment.

Wickremasinghe said the man carried a French passport at the time of his arrest and had first arrived in Sri Lanka nearly three years ago and later started managing the guest house.

He was arrested under a penal code offence that, on conviction, carries a jail term of five years. Sri Lanka tightened laws in 2006 to protect women and children from sexual harassment.

Wickremasinghe said one of the victims had been subjected to medical tests and a forensic report was being prepared.

The latest complaint came as police earlier this month said there had been an increase in attacks against foreign tourists visiting the Indian Ocean island emerging from nearly four decades of ethnic war.


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UK Visa applications from Sri Lanka go on-line

Posted on 25 April 2013 by admin

From Monday 6 May 2013, applicants and their dependants who are applying for a UK visa will need to make their applications online. From this date, manually completed application forms will no longer be accepted, the British High Commission in Colombo said.

Online applications and appointments will be mandated for all applications under the points based system, visitor and settlement routes. This means applicants will need to complete and submit the application form by visiting

Applicants will then need to print off a hard copy of their application form and make an online appointment to attend their nearest visa application centre (VAC). They should bring the application form printout to their appointment at the VAC, along with the necessary supporting documentation. Applicants will need to give their biometrics (finger scans and digital photograph) at the VAC in line with the current practice.

By completing and submitting a visa application online, the customer saves time when attending the visa application centre. This is because information about the application has been received and recorded. It is also possible for the relatives of applicants to assist them to complete their application online.

“We along with our commercial partner, VFS Global, are committed to providing our customers with an efficient visa service, and we introduce changes to our processes with this in mind. In this case, completing and submitting applications online saves time.  We have been introducing the use of online applications gradually so that customers have been able to get used to the process. Customers already need to make online applications for visas under the points based system.  We are now extending the requirement to all categories of UK visa application,” Home Office Regional Director, Thomas Greig, said.

In order to make an online application, customers need to go to:

Applicants may continue to make an appointment separately to use the Premium Lounges to submit their applications, and should refer to for further guidance. (Courtesy: Colombo Gazette)

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