Archive | July, 2015


SriLankan Airlines claims Rs. 114 Mn. from Presidential Secretariat

Posted on 31 July 2015 by admin

What goes around, comes around!
Mahinda's voyages.Early December trip to Tirupati costs SriLankan Rs. 4 million









SriLankan Airlines has written to the Presidential Secretariat claiming nearly 114 million rupees accrued as expenses for Presidential voyages since 2011.

SriLankan Chairman Ajith Dias in a detailed letter has asked the Secretary to the President P.B.Abeykoon to settle a sum of one hundred and thirteen million, four hundred and ninety four thousand and seven hundred and twenty four as expenses incurred for Presidential voyages during the last three years of the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Chairman Dias has given details of the expenses and the taxes levied separately.

The SriLankan invoice to the Presidential Secretariat had also included the charges for the charter flight hired by Rajapaksa to visit Tirupati on December 9 and 10, 2014.

Rajapaksa accompanied by UNP former General Secretary Tissa Attanayake visited the renowned Tirupati temple in South India less than a month before the January 2015 Presidential election.

The expenses incurred for the Tirupati flight which was largely considered as unofficial, amounts to nearly Rupees four million.










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Thomas Cook India buys Sri Lanka travel firm

Posted on 31 July 2015 by admin

Jul 31, 2015.

ECONOMYNEXT – Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said it had bought Luxe Asia, a Sri Lanka-based travel company that with partnerships in the Middle East and East Asia, through its unit in the island.

Luxe Asia was part of Ceylon Hotel Holdings, a leisure group that owns Colombo's Galle Face Hotel.

The acquisition was carried out through Thomas Cook Lanka (Pvt) Ltd at an undisclosed price.

"Our acquisition of Luxe Asia reiterates delivery of our strategic intent of establishing a global destination management presence," Thomas Cook India Managing Director Madhavan Menon said in a statement.

"Luxe Asia will continue to focus on its core domain of inbound tourism across key global source markets."

Sri Lanka has become fast expanding destination for Indian travellers with easy visa and air connections.

Indian tourists to Sri Lanka grew 27 percent to 145,453 in the 6-months to June 2015 and is the largest source destination.

But Luxe Asia also has joint ventures in Dubai and East Asia, expanding its reach beyond the island. (Colombo/July31/2015)


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Rs.16,650 Mn. cost to transform Polonnaruwa into a metropolitan city

Posted on 31 July 2015 by admin


Polonnaruwa bears witness to several civilizations. The city would be developed as a metro city preserving its ancient values.

Sri Lanka's north central heritage city Polonnaruwa would be developed as a metro city at a cost 16,650 million rupees, Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said at a media briefing held yesterday.

The development project will implement a number of projects to develop Polonnaruwa as a Metro City, overcoming the issues of traffic congestion, parking issues and environmental hazards in keeping with the development plan prepared for the entire town. The city currently caters to over 80,000 people daily and this number is likely to increase rapidly, Senaratne said. Polonnaruwa town and its nodal points known as Polonnaruwa, Kaduruwela and New Town would be earmarked as Heritage City, Commercial City and Administrative City respectively.

The proposal made by Rauff Hakeem, the Minister of Urban Development to implement the Grater Polonnaruwa Town Development project comprises many projects aimed at commercial development, heritage conservation and tourism promotion, environmental and landscaping development. The Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal.

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Black market prices for T20 SL V. Pakistan cricket match tickets

Posted on 31 July 2015 by admin

Tickets for yesterday's (30) Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan T20 match were sold at a higher price when the Sri Lanka Cricket Board issued a notice that the tickets for the match had already sold out.



BY Ariyaratne Ganegoda – Courtesy: Ceylon Today

Tickets for yesterday's (30) Sri Lanka vs. Pakistan T20 match were sold at a higher price when the Sri Lanka Cricket Board issued a notice that the tickets for the match had already sold out. Ceylon Today was able to witness this racket in front of the gates of R. Premadasa Stadium where many people travelling in cars and motorcycles bought tickets at a higher price.

Chaminda Asela Bandara, one of the spectators who bought tickets at the counter said that several individuals had sold the tickets near the gate to those who were coming to watch the match. Susila Padmini, another witness speaking to us said, "I saw more than 10 individuals selling these tickets at a higher price. A Rs 100 ticket was sold at Rs 200. They were asking around whether anyone wanted tickets and sold them at a doubled price. There weren't any tickets at the stadium entrance but we saw tickets with these racketeers."

Mohammed Salim said that some sold tickets even for Rs 750 and Rs 1,000 each.
The Sri Lanka Cricket Board issuing a communiqué last Wednesday (29) stated that tickets for the match were sold out. However, there are plenty of witnesses to this black market racket.






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Career diplomat U.L.M. Jauhar is Sri Lanka’s new Consul General in Toronto

Posted on 31 July 2015 by admin


Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday announced the appointment of two new ambassadors, one high commissioner and five Consuls General to a number of countries, including Canada, India, Russia, the Philippines, China, Australia and Italy. The envoys had received the concurrence of the respective receiving States and been cleared by the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts as well, Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said at a press briefing. She said Esela Weerakoon had been appointed High Commissioner to India, Aruni Ranaraja as ambassador to the Philippines, and Dr. Saman Weerasinghe ambassador to Russia.

Shanika Dissanayake and Lakshitha Ratnayake had been appointed as Consuls General to Guangzhou and Shanghai in China respectively. U.L.M Jauhar to Toronto in Canada, W. D. G. S Prasanna to Melbourne in Australia and Pradeepa Seram to Milan in Italy, Colonne added.

The respective Heads of Mission-designate are expected to take up their posts shortly.

Last February, the Foreign Ministry recalled over 30 diplomats from its missions overseas, citing that some of them were political appointments and non-career diplomats.

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29-run win for Pakistan in 1st T20 against Sri Lanka

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Pakistan beat a young Sri Lanka team by 29-runs in the 1st T20 game plaed R. Premadaasa Stadium in Colombo. Batting first Pakistan batsmen scored freely against the young bowlers spearheading the Sri Lanka attack.

Umar Akmal smashed 46 off 24 balls to lift Pakistan to 175 for the loss of 5 wickets. Akmal hit three boundaries and as many sixes in an entertaining innings and was associated in a fourth wicket stand of 81 from 45 deliveries with Shoaib Malik, who remained unbeaten on a 31-ball 46. Ahmed Shehzad was the other notable contributor with 46 runs off 38 balls after Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat in the day-night match.

Sri Lanka was led by Lasith Mailnga and had a young team of players who are new to international T20 format. Opening bowler Binura Fernando, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kithiruwan Vithanage, Kusal Perera formed the young group who teamed up with skipper Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathes, T.M. Dilshan, Thisara Perera and Chamara Kapugedera to form the eleven.


Pakistan – 175 for 5 wickets in 20 overs at 8.75 runs per over (Ahmed Shezhad, 46, Shoaib Malik, 46 n.o., Umar Akmal, 46. Bowling: Thisara Perera 2 for 30; Binura Fernando 1 for 38; Angelo Mathews 1 for 33; Lasith Malinga 1 for 46).

Sri Lanka – 146 for 7 wickets in 20 overs at 7.30 runs per over (Dhnanjaya de Silva, 31, Angelo Mathews, 23, Milinda Siriwardana, 35, and Chamara Kapugedera, 31 n.o. Bowling: Anwar Ali 2 for 27; Sohail Tanvir 3 for 29.

Pakistan won by 29-runs.

Player of the Match: Sohail Ranvir

T20 International debuts – Dhananjaya de Silva, Binura Fernando, Milinda Siriwardana and Jeffrey Vandersay.


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National Security – only barrier to land bridge between Indian & Sri Lanka

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

"What is your stand on building a land bridge between India and Sri Lanka?"


The Mahatma Gandhi Centre asks political parties:


A land bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka has been talked about since 1884. For the imperialist power that ruled both countries a land bridge may have administratively made sense. However, for people of Sri Lanka who consider the two countries different in many respects, in spite of closer social contacts, a land bridge constitutes more threats to the national identity and security.

This issue of a land bridge has been resurrected in the past couple of days, and it has prompted a lively discussion. During the short stint of Mr.Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister in 2002 this question came up, and it seems to have surfaced once again while Ranil is in his replay as the Prime Minister of this country. For those who consider increasing trade and dollars and cents as the only development output, investment on a land bridge will be more tempting and they will go to any extent justifying it. Even from an economic point of view, a smaller country with an agriculture base getting linked to a giant industrializing country may be at a tremendous disadvantage.

Even without a land bridge, there appears to be enough flow of human and material traffic between the two countries. Increasingly Tamil Nadu which is separated only by a 30 mile stretch of sea and closest proximity to Sri Lanka has, over the past few decades, become very hostile and claims affinity for union with the Tamil speaking people of this country. A formal land bridge will only open the flood gate for more Indian nationals, particularly from the socially marginalized/ostracized sectors into Sri Lanka thus, potentially threatening the prevailing fairly stable social fabric of this country. Therefore, it will be prudent for Sri Lanka to avoid situations that will potentially become explosive in the future. This is an issue that cannot be left only to few law makers in the parliament, and decision about it should involve the entire people of this country.

Our rapid opinion survey suggests that Sri Lankans are now concerned that the issue of land bridge has come up again in the public domain. Therefore, we at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre (MGC) are directing a question to the various political parties vying to form the next government – "what is your stand on the ‘land bridge’ between India and Sri Lanka?". It should also be mentioned that everyone the MGC questioned agreed that Sri Lanka should always maintain a more cordial relationship with India and a land bridge, according to them, will certainly not be conducive for sustaining friendship between the two countries.


The Mahatma Gandhi Centre,



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Indian investor building 96-floor cricket tower in Rajagiriya as tribute to Arjuna Ranatunga’s World Cup win

Posted on 29 July 2015 by admin

ECONOMYNEXT – India's Shreepati Edifice (Pvt) Ltd, will build a 96-floor tower in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, styled after a cricket bat, which will be the tallest building in the country, the state investment promotion office said.

The tubular structured tower, is a tribute to Sri Lanka's World Cup winning cricket team of 1996, the Board of Investments of Sri Lanka which signed an investment agreement said Wednesday. The BOI gives tax breaks to large investment projects.

It will be built on a 2-acre land in the Colombo suburb of Rajagiriya, which had been leased to Wills Realtors (Pvt) Ltd, by the Urban Development Authority.

Sri Lanka's World Cup winning captain and current ports minister Arjuna Ranatunga is Chairman of Wills Realtors, according to the company website.

The building will be 363 metres high will have 376 residential units, with 92 penthouse apartments.

The tower will take four years to complete.

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News Release: Remaining Citizenship Act reforms in force effective June 5, 2015

Posted on 28 July 2015 by admin

Ottawa, ON.

A final suite of reforms to strengthen and modernize Canada's citizenship laws will be fully in force as of June 11, 2015. The changes – part of a package of measures approved by Parliament last year – ensure new citizens can fully and quickly participate in Canada's economy and Canadian society.

The first set of provisions that came into force last summer to strengthen Canadian citizenship and speed up application processing times are already paying off. New citizenship applications are being finalized in a year or less, and it is expected that the backlog of older files will have been eliminated by the end of this fiscal year. Individuals who submitted a citizenship application before April 1, 2015 will have a decision by March 31, 2016.

Among the many benefits of the government's citizenship reforms, the new provisions will deter citizens of convenience – those who become citizens for the sake of having a Canadian passport to return to Canada to access taxpayer-funded benefits that come with citizenship status, without having any attachment to Canada, or contributing to the economy.

Key changes include (in force June 11, 2015):

*Adult applicants must now be physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four years) during the six years before the date of their application, and they must be physically present in Canada for at least 183 days in each of four calendar years within the qualifying period. This is aimed at ensuring that citizenship applicants develop a strong attachment to Canada.

*Applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet basic knowledge and language requirements. This is aimed at ensuring that more new citizens are better prepared for life in Canada. *Citizenship will be automatically extended to additional “Lost Canadians” on June 11th, who were born before 1947, and did not become citizens on January 1, 1947 when the first Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect. This will also apply to their children born in the first generation outside Canada.

*Adult applicants must declare their intent to reside in Canada once they become citizens and meet their personal income tax obligations in order to be eligible for citizenship.

*To help improve program integrity, there are now stronger penalties for fraud and misrepresentation (to a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison). This is aimed at deterring unscrupulous applicants who are prepared to misrepresent themselves, or advise others to do so.

*The newly-designated Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is the new regulatory body for citizenship consultants. Only members of the ICCRC, lawyers or notaries (including paralegals and students at law) can be paid to provide citizenship applicants with representation or advice.

*New application forms, aligned with the new rules for eligibility, will be available on the CIC website as of June 11, 2015. Any applications received using the old forms and applications received after June 10, 2015 will be returned to the applicant. Quotes “Our reforms ensure new citizens are better prepared for full participation in Canada's economy and Canadian society.

This is a win for newcomers, and a win for Canada in terms of making the most of the opportunities that our fair and generous immigration system provides.” “We are eliminating long backlogs, and streamlining our own processes. At the same time, we are ensuring Canadian citizenship is highly valued and stays that way. Promise made, promise kept when it comes to strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship.”

-Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister

Related products: Backgrounder: Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act: A comparative before and after view of the changes to the Citizenship Act Backgrounder: Extending citizenship to “Lost Canadians” Graphic – Canada's citizenship decision-making process – June 2015 Graphic – Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Reducing Canada's Citizenship Backlog – June 2015 Graphic – How long does it take to process new citizenship applications? Associated links: News Release: Protecting Canadians May 28, 2015 News Release: Government welcomes Royal Assent of Bill C-24 June 19, 2014 Backgrounders from June 19, 2014: Citizenship Improvements Reinforcing the Value of Canadian Citizenship Cracking Down on Citizenship Fraud Protecting and Promoting Canada's Interests and Values Follow us on Twitter:

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Dubbed India’s most popular president, A.P.J. Abdul Kallam no more

Posted on 27 July 2015 by admin

The sudden demise of former president A P J Abdul Kalam was a tremendous loss to the country, Indian space agency chief A S Krishna Kumar said on Monday. Kalam, 84, passed away in Meghalaya capital Shillong on Monday evening. Krishna Kumar said the former president was a great personality and gentleman. “It is extremely sad to know that Kalam is no more. He was such a great personality and gentleman. No words to express,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman said. Terming Kalam’s contribution to the country and humanity as great and immense, Krishna Kumar said that even at the age of 84 years, the missile man was thinking about finding better solutions for the country’s energy requirements. Recalling his last meeting with Kalam at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru a month ago, Krishna Kumar said he met Kalam on many occasions when he was president.“Though I was in Ahmedabad as director of the space applications centre, I had many opportunities to meet and interact with Kalam sir at official functions and public events,” he said.

One of India's most popular presidents, Abdul Kalam, died Monday after he collapsed during a lecture to business management graduate students in the northeastern city of Shillong.

The 83-year-old Kalam, who was president from 2002 to 2007, was affectionately called the “missile man,” “scientist-patriot” and “people’s president” of India. Many Indians credited him with lending relevance to what is largely a ceremonial post.

Kalam suffered a cardiac arrest during the lecture and was declared dead as soon as he was brought to the hospital. He was in Shillong to deliver a lecture titled “Liveable Planet Earth,” according to his last tweet.

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