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1st Test: Skipper Rangana Herath spins Sri Lanka to victory

Posted on 11 March 2017 by TSL

Once bitten Sri Lanka, twice shy.

March 10, 2017. Courtesy: Daily News.

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Upul Tharanga (R) is watched by Bangladesh wicketkeeper Liton Das as he plays a shot during the fourth day of the opening Test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on March 10, 2017.LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

Rex Clementine
reporting from Galle

Given what Pakistan did to them two years ago at Pallekele, the Sri Lankans seem to be taking nothing for granted. When Angelo Mathews set Pakistan a record  382 to win the final Test and the series in 2015, he may have thought that he had all grounds covered. But to his disbelief, the tourists chased down the mammoth target, without a fuss, losing only two wickets. As Rangana Herath delayed the declaration yesterday, in the first Test against Bangladesh here in Galle, you were reminded of the famous idiom, once bitten, twice shy.

With the lead already 429 at tea, Sri Lanka were expected to declare, but they batted for five more overs after the break and added 27  runs before eventually calling it off following the dismissal of Dilruwan Perera.

Set an improbable target of 457 in 125 overs, Bangladesh reached 67 for no loss before bad light ended play early with still 11 overs remaining. The tourists need a further 390 runs in 98 overs.

The mainstay of Sri Lanka’s innings was opener  Upul Thranga, who posed his  third Test hundred and the first at home. It was the left-hander’s 14th game on home soil.

Tharanga was involved in three 50 plus stands. He added 69 runs with Dimuth Karunaratne (32) for the first wicket. The last time the openers added 50 runs was in Port Elizabeth in the Boxing Day Test last year. Since then there have been five innings where Sri Lanka’s openers had fallen cheaply.

It was Tharanga’s second hundred against Bangladesh. He played himself in taking 109 deliveries for his half-century, but from 50 to 100 he required only 55 deliveries.

He went onto post 115 off 171 deliveries with 11 fours and two sixes.

Vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal posted his first half-century in eight innings after being dropped on 11 by Soumya Sarkar at first slip.

If Bangladesh were to chase the mammoth target, they will have to create a World Record. West Indies’ 418 against Australia in Antigua in 2003 is the highest successful run chase in the history. No team has made more than Pakistan’s 382 in 2015 at Pallekele to win a Test here while the highest successful run chase in Galle is 99.   

Sri Lanka will need early wickets today, but with predictions for rain and the wicket playing well, the game could be heading for a draw.  

 

 

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83rd Battle of the Saints – Jehan Daniel, 124 n.o. saves the Josephians on day-1

Posted on 03 March 2017 by TSL

83rd Battle of the Saints : Jehan Daniel (124 n.o.) is Joes saviour

Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Indika Welagedara – Courtesy: Daily News.

Jehan Daniel exults after scoring a face-saving century for St Joseph’s College on the first day of the Battle of the Saints cricket match against St Peter’s College at the P Sara Oval yesterday.  Pic by Thilak Perera

Jehan Daniel exults after scoring a face-saving century for St Joseph’s College on the first day of the Battle of the Saints cricket match against St Peter’s College at the P Sara Oval yesterday. Pic by Thilak Perera

 Sri Lanka under 19 cricketer Jehan Daniel played the role of savior to rescue St Joseph’s College from dire straits at 10 for 5 to a respectable 205 on the opening day of the 83rd Battle of the Saints encounter against St Peter’s College at the P Sara Oval yesterday.

By the close the game was evenly poised with St Peter’s replying with 138 for five wickets.

Daniel’s magnificent century saved St. Joseph’s the blushes and enabled them to take the upper hand.

Daniel came to the crease with his side tottering at 10 for 5 after skipper Harin Cooray had won the toss and elected to bat first. However in the first session’s play things go the way the Joes would have planned.

Under 19 player cum Peterite vice-captain and right arm fast bowler Manelker de Silva and his new ball partner Santhush Gunathilake combined together to rip through the batting line up.

Gunathilake ran through the Joes top order by making the early breakthrough in his first two overs when he dismissed openers Cameron Duruge and took the prize wicket of Nipun Sumanasinghe who has scored 1000 runs this season.

Manelker De Silva added salt to the wound of the Josephians when he got rid of Dineth Madurawela for one as St. Joseph’s slid to 3 for 3.

To make matters worse for the Joes both Thashan Perera and Havin Perera were run out due to brilliant fielding and half the Joes side was out for 10.

A sixth wicket partnership of 56 between Daniel and wicket keeper Shevan Fonseka (26) addressed the slump. The stand was ended with another run out of Fonseka following a direct throw from Ranmith Jayasena, son of Panadura SC cricketer Mangala Jayasena.

Daniel and Jehan Fernandopulle son of former Benedictine cricketer Marlon Fernandopulle took the score to 95 before Jehan was run out for 14 by Manelker de Silva’s brilliant fielding.

Daniel counter attacked making use of three dropped chances to score an unbeaten 124 off 116 balls that included 12 boundaries and five sixes. He was involved in a face saving partnership of 93 runs for the eighth wicket with left hander Pahan Perera (25) that saw St. Joseph’s to their final total.

The eighth wicket partnership between the pair broke a 67-year old record for St. Joseph’s of 66 between Adolphus Silva and Milroy Brohier in 1950.

For the Peterites who batted after tea Shalith Fernando their number four batsman hit a fine 47 before being dismissed in the penultimate over of the day. However vice-captain Manelker de Silva hung around for a solid unbeaten 40 by the close. 

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83rd Battle of the Saints on March 3rd & 4th at Colombo Oval

Posted on 02 March 2017 by TSL

(Courtesy: The Nation)

Stalemated draws, negative tactics and a rare crowd invasion have embroiled cricket’s big match between St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College to the point that 83 years down the line, the two schools have now realized it’s time to turn a new page.

When the match gets underway at the P Sara Oval in Colombo on March 3 and 4 all players, the two captains in particular, will come under intense scrutiny to play with a positive mindset while in the spectator stands a monitoring system will be in place to ensure nothing demonic will get in the way of the outcome of this year’s Battle of the Saints match which was disrupted last year by an unruly group to thwart a Peterite win. But despite the matter being spontaneously settled and the Peterites awarded victory by a no-nonsense St. Joseph’s College rector Fr Travis Gabriel, the hierarchy of both schools have decided to go a step further and appoint a former First Class cricketer Nalliah Devarajan as an independent match referee just in case a group attempts to pull the plug again.

“Winning and losing is all part and parcel of the game, but what is more important is that the game is played in the true spirit of sportsmanship which has been a hallmark of this big match over the years”, said Fr Trevor Martin, the rector of St. Peter’s College as he launched a countdown to the match while addressing the media.

Last year’s crowd disruption, although claimed as an isolated incident by former players, is still fresh in the minds of match organisers who are determined to have the incident left where it can be best forgotten-in limbo.

Spearheading the drive to ensure nothing of the past returns to haunt the contest is an old Peterite Dr Nirmal de Silva who is rallying old boys of both schools in a joint organizing committee that was setup last year.

“The issue of security is still under discussion, and we want to make certain there won’t be a repeat of last year. We have already done the ground work for this. We like to think that what happened last year was an isolated event”, said Dr De Silva.

Sporting rivalry between two schools have on occasions reached boiling point in recent times in view of what is at stake in a highly volatile set-up in the country where nothing short of winning will fall in line with high expectations by followers.

But the two Christian academies also contend that despite last year’s disruption, they are still in the forefront of showcasing discipline and virtues that other youth institutions have come to admire.

“We have been teaching many lessons to non-Joes and non-Peterites and this is our tradition”, declared the vice rector of St. Joseph’s College Fr. Anton Ranjith while deputizing for Fr. Travis.

The match has also moved onto a new phase where a minimum of 15 overs will have to be bowled in an hour, while the umpires will be stern on negative or leg-side bowling in accordance with the changes.

But imposing the new changes may also be a tough call for match organisers who say they can only expect ethics and fair-play to have a big say in the match.

“We want these new methods to work and we leave it to the players, captains and coaches to believe in this system and the traditions of this match”, said Dr De Silva. Player-wise, the Peterites have more to prove than the Joes with skipper Lakshina Rodrigo (over 850), Manelker de Silva (over 600), Santhush Gunatilleke (over 850), Shalith Fernando (over 700) and Anishka Perera (over 500) being the leading run-getters and Mohamed Ameen (100 wickets) and Chathura Obesekera (over 70 wickets) as the pick of the bowlers that gave them five wins.

The Joes have had mixed fortunes with skipper Harin Cooray standing out as their only leading wicket-taker with over 75 scalps from 17 matches while a fortnight ago Nipun Samarasinghe (957 runs), Dineth Madurawela (794 runs) and Shevon Fonseka (638 runs) stood out as the best with the bat. Madurawela remains the pick with four hundreds.

The squads: St. Peter’s College: Lakshina Rodrigo (Captain), Manelker de Silva, Santhush Gunatilleke, Shalith Fernando, Vinul Gunawardena, Anishka Perera, Ranmith Jayasena, Sulakshan Fernando, Shivan Perera, Prabasara Herath, Nipunaka Fonseka, Chathura Obesekere, Sachin Silva, Dinith Anjula, Laseh Rodrigo, Ravindu Silva, Banuka de Silva, Mohammed Ameen.

St. Joseph’s College: Harin Cooray (Captain), Dario Dassanayake, Revan Kelley, Nipun Sumanasinghe, Dineth Madurawala, Jehan Daniel, Shevon Fonseka, Pahan Perera, Thashan Perera, Havin Perera, Ruchira Ekanayake, Jehan Fernandopulle, Dineth Jayakody, Sachitha Mahindasinhe, Kavindu Jayatissa, Cameron Durage, Lakshan Gamage, Sheran Rassool, Avishka Fernando, Sachitha de Silva.

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Galle Face Hotel wins TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award

Posted on 25 February 2017 by TSL

We value their feedback, as it allows us to better understand our guests’ expectations and create more memorable experiences in the future,” said Deni A. Dukic, General Manager, Galle Face Hotel. 

 

We are immensely thankful to everyone who took the time to review us on TripAdvisor over the course of the last year.

Guests have long been captivated by the colonial charm the hotel resonates, which is combined with our team’s dedicated approach towards providing them with a unique experience upon every visit.

“It is a distinguished pleasure to be recognized by our patrons as one of the best properties in Sri Lanka.

Categories are both international and regional, and include everything from the top hotels, luxury, family, boutique hotels, B&Bs and inns.

The travel planning and booking site determined the winners based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide. The awards reflect the “best of the best” for service, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Now in its 15th year, these annual awards are the only travel industry awards based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world.

Established in 2002, the Travellers’ Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor can bestow.

South Asia’s leading Grande Dame, the iconic Galle Face Hotel recently won a Travellers’ Choice award in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor. Ranked as one of the Top 25 hotels to visit in Sri Lanka, the award is a testament to the exceptional service and attention to detail which is weaved seamlessly into the old world grandeur and modern sensibility that Galle Face Hotel has consistently been well known.

 

 

 

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City approves 2017 budget, but some councillors say cuts will make it hard to sleep at night

Posted on 18 February 2017 by TSL

City approves 2017 budget, but some councillors say cuts will make it hard to sleep at night.

Council has passed a budget that Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes "reasonable" but that critics say is “unsustainable” and fails Toronto’s most vulnerable.

Toronto Mayor John Tory outlines his support for the 2017 budget proposal and opposition to a motion that would have kept 10 front-line shelter staff positions. The budget, which included a 3.29 per cent property tax increase, passed. (CITY COUNCIL/YOUTUBE/TORONTO STAR)

By JENNIFER PAGLIAROCity Hall reporter
EMILY MATHIEU – Housing Reporter
Thu., Feb. 16, 2017
It was the budget that almost wasn’t.

Despite a vote that created an unexpected $2-million hole just before midnight and nearly 15 hours into the debate, council approved a budget Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes at “reasonable” rates his allies called “affordable.”

That included approval of a residential property tax rate hike that totals 3.29 per cent for 2017, or $90 extra for the average homeowner.

The budget passed with a final 27-16 vote.

But critics of the approved balancing called it “unsustainable” and said they would have trouble sleeping once they got home in the early hours Thursday morning with cuts impacting the city’s most vulnerable.

An attempt to prevent the elimination of 10 front-line shelter staff positions — at a time when those havens are exceeding capacity targets and those who rely on them struggle to find more permanent housing — failed 19-25. The mayor and all but one of his executive members supported the cut.

Toronto Mayor John Tory defended the budget, saying that additional investment in transit and housing could "in no way be described as a cutback."
Toronto Mayor John Tory defended the budget, saying that additional investment in transit and housing could "in no way be described as a cutback." (DAVID RIDER / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO) 
 Councillor Joe Cressy moved a motion that council keep the 10 front-line positions, by voting to increase the 2017 operating budget for shelter, support and housing administration by just over $1 million, by pulling funding from a property tax stabilization reserve fund.

Cressy accused the mayor of directly intervening to ensure the cut passed.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the mayor of Toronto decided to personally intervene to balance a budget on the backs of the city’s most vulnerable,” he told the Star. “When it comes to a budget setting the priorities for a city, cutting shelter staff is about as clear an indication as any that this budget is a failure.”

Tory supported a successful motion asking staff to report back on the “true” service level impacts of the shelter cuts, saying he believed it would be “minimal.”

“I have confidence in our professional public servants and I can’t believe they would even put in front of us for consideration, no matter what direction they’d been given by us, any recommendation that they thought could lead to that consequence that you’ve talked about,” Tory said in response to criticism the cuts could hurt Torontonians most in need.

“That a budget that does make a big additional investment in transit somehow gets translated into a cutback, a budget that makes a big additional investment in housing somehow gets translated into a cutback, a $250 million investment in repairs to Toronto Community Housing can in no way be described as a cutback … But I guess that is the way things work in the context of this chamber and I am glad for the most part today the discussion has been other than on that kind of basis.”

Earlier, under questioning from Councillor Mike Layton, Tory admitted staff said they only presented the cut because they were directed to find 2.6 per cent in budget reductions — a direction pushed by Tory.

The 10 positions will be lost through attrition, when the current staff retire or leave.

Five of the jobs, council heard earlier in the night, would come from one of the 10 city-run shelters, which serve about 1,500 people. The remaining 49 shelters in the city are run by community agencies. The entire system, including hotel beds, has room for about 4,600 people, according to city data.

Councillor Pam McConnell, who was picked by the mayor to champion the poverty reduction strategy, said it wasn’t enough to just fund new shelter beds and that shelters are not meant to be “homes.”

“If we get it wrong, people are going to die. I don’t want us to be in a position where we are increasing the number of beds, but at the same time we are not able to service those people,” she said from the council floor before the vote. “Because at the end of the day this is not about the bed count entirely, it is about moving people through the shelter system, getting them out off the street, into the shelter system and then out of the shelter system and into their own homes.”

Paul Raftis, general manager of the city’s shelter, support and housing administration division, said an earlier description from McConnell that the cut means less hands to help was fair. He noted it would be a relatively “minor” impact on service.

The budget was briefly and confusingly unbalanced just as council believed they were heading into the final votes of the evening.

Council unexpectedly voted against reducing spending on street sweeping, which left a $2 million hole in the budget. Legislation requires that council pass a balanced budget.

After the uproar, a motion that took money out of a rainy-day fund restored order and the budget was finalized.

Earlier on Wednesday, council approved a residential property tax increase for 2017 just below the rate of inflation.

The 2 per cent increase required to help balance this year’s budget, when adjusted to include a new special levy for capital projects and the provincial education tax, totals 3.29 per cent.

That increase will cost the average homeowner, with property assessed at $587,471, an extra $90 in 2017 and total $2,835 on their bill.

Council rejected two separate motions — one that would have flatlined property taxes and another that would have raised them above the rate of inflation.

A motion for a 0 per cent increase from Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who has positioned himself as enemy number one to the mayor in recent months, failed 2-40. Only Etobicoke Councillor Stephen Holyday supported him.

Councillor Gord Perks, who has long argued that residents can afford to pay more to help the city’s most vulnerable, put forward a 4.26 per cent increase. That motion failed 10-32.

“What I am proposing is that we ask those people in the city of Toronto who have the most wealth to put more money back into the system and the reason I want to do that is so that we can afford the programs that help the people who truly are struggling to live in the City of Toronto,” Perks told his colleagues on the council floor.

His motion would have meant the average homeowner would see their taxes increase by $152.50 this year instead of the approved $90.

“I am proud of city council’s decision to keep Toronto property tax increases below the rate of inflation,” said a prepared statement from Tory’s office after the tax rates vote. “The single biggest cheque most families write to the city is for their property tax bill. I was elected on a mandate to keep property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation and I will keep that promise.”

Layton, who unsuccessfully moved to reverse above-inflation increases to user fees for recreation programs for youth and seniors, noted the mayor had set a benchmark for this budget’s success: for councillors to sleep soundly after it was finalized.

“I can tell you with cuts to shelters, cuts to long-term care, I’m going to be thinking of those people tonight when I try to go to sleep,” Layton said Wednesday night.

A motion from Councillor Janet Davis that tried to reverse cuts to mandatory training for long-term care home homes staff failed while another to delay closure of a child-care centre passed.

A motion from the newest executive member, Councillor Jon Burnside, asked for funding of two youth hubs and increased programming for existing hubs in four other library locations that was earlier left out of the budget. That $387,000 for a program that is part of the city’s poverty reduction strategy — which Tory earlier promised to fully fund — was approved with Tory’s support.

“I think we will approve a budget that is status quo,” said Councillor Ana Bailao on the council floor, noting other levels of government needed to come to the table to help with the city’s most pressing needs, such as $1.7 billion in unfunded repairs to social housing.

“What we have in front of us is a fight for a future of this city.”

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Prime Minister Trudeau concludes successful visit to Europe

Posted on 18 February 2017 by TSL

 


Flag EU with flags of countries – members of European Union

February 17, 2017
Hamburg, Germany

 

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded a successful visit to France and Germany from February 16 to 17, 2017. During the visit, the Prime Minister addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and visited Berlin and Hamburg, Germany.

The Prime Minister’s visit reinforced the close bonds between Canada, Germany, and the European Union (EU). It was also an opportunity to promote Canada’s role as a leader on progressive trade and investment, and highlight how the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will create good, well-paying jobs, bolster our shared prosperity, and help grow the middle class.‎

During his historic address to the European Parliament, the Prime Minister spoke of the importance Canada places on its relationship with the EU and welcomed the European Parliament’s vote to approve CETA and the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement.

In Berlin, the Prime Minister met with outgoing President Joachim Gauck and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In these meetings, key economic and foreign policy issues were discussed, including CETA. They also exchanged views on pressing international security concerns, including migration, the situation in Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism and Daesh.

While in Berlin, the Prime Minister paid his respects to the more than six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. During his visit, he laid a wreath in honour of all the victims. He and Chancellor Merkel were greeted by the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, at Breitscheidplatz, central square in Berlin. Both leaders laid a rose in memory of the innocent victims of the Christmas Market attack in December 2016.

In Hamburg, the Prime Minister met with Mayor Olaf Scholz as well as officials from several of Germany’s federal states. Following the meetings, the Prime Minister attended Hamburg’s annual St. Matthew’s Day banquet as this year’s invited guest of honour and delivered remarks. The German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also spoke at the banquet as an invited guest.

Quotes

“It was a great honour to be the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the full European Parliament following this week’s positive vote on CETA. This landmark trade deal puts people first, and will strengthen the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic. Together, I know Canada and the EU will continue to champion progressive free trade deals that benefit everyone.”

—Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Germany is a key partner, ally, and friend. We will continue working with Chancellor Merkel to strengthen this important relationship, while advancing our common goals and growing the middle class in both our countries. I look forward to returning to Germany this July for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hamburg.”

—Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • While in Europe, the Prime Minister was joined by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade; and Stéphane Dion, who has been proposed as Canada’s next Ambassador to the European Union and Germany.
  • Canada and the EU are expected to implement CETA in spring 2017, which will allow businesses on both sides of the Atlantic to take full advantage of the Agreement’s significant economic benefits.
  • With CETA, Canada and the EU have set the bar high for progressive trade agreements

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New visa changes influence Sri Lanka’s real estate market

Posted on 16 February 2017 by TSL

Since the new visa laws were proposed, a new government has come into power. What impact do the new visa requirements and this new government’s enforcement of the rules have on real estate investment on the island? Leading property portal Lamudi finds out, Visa programmes in Sri Lanka’s new system Since the end of the war, Sri Lanka’s immigration services have evolved considerably. The process of applying for a visa and having a visa approved is now more similar to processes in fully developed countries like Australia. All visitors to Sri Lanka now require an electronic travel authorisation document (ETA) to enter the country.

This represents a similar procedure to the USA and Canada’s immigration services. When it comes to spending longer periods of time in the country, (and depending on your citizenship) you can either apply for a Visitor Visa (for a short stay), or a Residence Visa.

There are various different types of Residence Visa. You can get a visa for being an employee, an investor, a member of the clergy, a diplomat, a student, a family member, a returning former-expat/dependent, an Indian person covered by the 1954 Indo-Lanka Agreement, or someone applying to the “My Dream Home Visa Programme” (a program for retirees).

The My Dream Home Visa Programme serves to allow “senior foreign nationals” to purchase property in Sri Lanka as long as they meet certain requirements.Foreign nationals over the age of 55 can apply for this scheme as long as they “remit US$15,000 or the equivalent in an approved foreign currency”. They then have to deposit the funds into a Sri Lankan bank account. Other requirements also apply.

Increase in real estate FDI in Sri Lanka Having a valid permanent residency visa is usually a requirement for purchasing property in Sri Lanka. However, factors other than immigration status can affect the process of acquiring a home on the island. In fact, the rules of property acquisition by foreign nationals have changed for the better in recent years.

Since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected in 2015, Sri Lanka has relaxed laws restricting foreign investment. This move has encouraged foreign investors to purchase homes in Sri Lanka.

Before the relaxation law was passed, foreigners who wanted to invest in property on the island (those buying leasehold) had to pay a large and off-putting sum in tax. Since the law was passed, foreign nationals wishing to buy land can now initially be 49% shareholders of leasehold.

Foreigners used only to be allowed to own 25% of this land.Foreigners now have the opportunity to apply for a freehold arrangement 20 years after buying this share.This is a big step as in many emerging markets, it is not possible to apply for freehold as a foreigner at all.

Foreign investors can now purchase a home with leasehold of up to 99 years with a minimal tax fee. In addition, the process for signing a deal on property is now much more streamlined for foreigners. It still isn’t possible for foreigners to buy freehold properties and land from the outset, so there is still a fair way to go, but the situation is definitely getting better. This implies good things and a bright future for Sri Lanka’s property market.

Demand for luxury property among foreign nationals in Colombo

City centre property is in high demand in the nation’s capital. According to JLL, Colombo records high sales velocity in projects close to completion; out of 3,300 luxury apartments supplied since 2005, 98% of the completed units were reported sold in 2014.

While this trend does not appear to be increasing by very much, demand remains stable and the economy is stable too.In addition to foreign investment providing a boost to Sri Lanka’s real estate economy-wise, FDI has also had an impact in the type of property that is the most in demand. Luxury property in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, is on the rise.

This trend is largely motivated by foreign nationals’ penchant for luxury apartment living, especially among the retired, including those on the My Dream Home Visa. Demand is expected to grow. (Lamudi.lk)

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe receives honorary doctorate from Deaking University

Posted on 13 February 2017 by TSL

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived at the Melbourne Air Port, Australia Monday (13) commencing a four day official visit on an invitation by the Australian Government. The Premier and delegation was received by the Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Somasundaram Skandakumar and officials of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Australia also participated at the event.Professor Maithri Wickremesinghe, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Soyza, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Dr.Harsha de Silva, Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Athaudahetti and Special Assistant Sandra Perera too are taking part the official visit. 

 

 

Daily Financial Review, Tuesday, 14 February 2017.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to receive an honorary doctorate on the first day of his official visit to Australia. The Prime Minister will be awarded an honorary doctorate in law at a graduation ceremony at Deakin University in Geelong on Tuesday, the AAP News reported. The award recognizes Wickremesinghe’s efforts to help Sri Lanka transition from a country traumatized by protracted, violent conflict toward a stable democracy.

“Mr. Wickremesinghe has emphasized the need for reconciliation, whilst ensuring accountability, and enabled groups riven by conflict to find common ground in a more hopeful future,” a Deakin University spokeswoman told AAP.

He’ll also meet with Victorian Governor Linda Dessau and will head to Canberra on Tuesday for a reception with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to commemorate 70 years of Australian-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations.

 

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News Release from Sri Lanka Embassy in the USA

Posted on 06 February 2017 by TSL

Sri Lanka reiterates commitment to Open Government Principles.

At a meeting with Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam on February 1, Chief Executive Officer of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Sanjay Pradhan stated, that the election of the Sri Lankan government two years ago on the plank of good governance gives Sri Lanka the opportunity to play an important role in promoting open government principles.

The Ambassador recalled that Sri Lanka was invited to join the OGP in 2015, in recognition of the measures taken by the government to strengthen good governance, combat corruption and strengthen democracy in the country since coming into office in January 2015. In October 2015, Sri Lanka participated in the OGP Summit held in Mexico City and became a participating country by endorsing the OGP Declaration committing “to foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government.”

In keeping with its OGP commitments, Sri Lanka has already submitted the National Action Plan of Sri Lanka for the OGP to the Washington based OGP Secretariat. At the meeting, Ambassador Kariyawasam handed over a letter from Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, formally conveying the National Action Plan and reiterating Sri Lanka’s commitment to implement Open Government principles.

Launched in 2011, OGP provides an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. With this aim, OGP aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness cutting edge technologies to strengthen governance. From its initial eight countries, OGP has now grown to 75 participating countries.

The OGP National Action Plan was developed through a consultative process in partnership with relevant ministries, and civil society partners in all provinces of the country. The National Action Plan was drafted by a Joint Working Committee comprising government officials and civil society partners and will be implemented over a period of two years. The Cabinet appointed a National Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of the President, with the participation of the Prime Minister, relevant Cabinet members and members of the Joint Working Committee which will oversee and provide guidance in implementation.

Representing Sri Lanka in the OGP Summit in December 2016 in Paris, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera observed the importance of OGP values to build trust in government and highlighted the reforms being undertaken by the Sri Lankan government to uphold the vision of transparent, inclusive and participatory governance.

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington D.C.

February 3, 2017

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69th Independence Day Celebrations in Colombo

Posted on 04 February 2017 by TSL

The 69th Independence Day celebrations highlighting National Unity, took place at the Galle Face Green today, with President Maithripala Sirisena presiding over the event. A two-minute silence was observed in honour of national heroes who made the supreme sacrifice to protect and preserve the freedom and the territorial integrity of the country. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe , Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya , Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge , ministers , MPs , diplomats and other dignitaries attended the event.

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Speaking at the event, the president said that it is important to remember the valiant war heroes who fought to save the country from L. T. T. E. terrorism throughout 30 years.

He pointed out that it is necessary to strengthen the national as well as religious reconciliation in the country and that the government has given priority in this regard.

“I clearly state that even though we receive accolades locally and internationally for our commitment and determination to establish national reconciliation and peace in the country, there are some opportunistic elements who act against those noble efforts of the Government. I describe those opportunist forces as a section of society who acts against the country” said the president.

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The president also spoke on the country’s economic plan. noting that priority is being given to provide requisite guidance to the young generation to acquire new knowledge to conquer the world and also to build this country based on the concept of the knowledge economy.

“I believe everyone will fulfill their respective duties in achieving noble national goals”, he said.

The president added that there exists the imperative need for eliminating corruption, bribery, malpractices, waste and fraud and it is essential for the politicians and public servants to work honestly and with commitment.

“It is essential for the politician to be a character of honesty and commitment. Furthermore, I trust the politicians and public servants fulfill the responsibilities and duties honestly and with commitment to build the Motherland”, he said.

Over 7,000 individuals represented the three armed forces, police, civil security force, National Cadet Corps and the National Youth Corps at the 69th Independence Day parade.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Independence Day message said that in order to make the spirit of freedom more meaningful to us all, the government must take steps that reaffirm the liberties of the people with regard to their economic, social and spiritual well being.

Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thero , the Mahanayaka of Malwathu Chapter said that everyone should commit to gain economic development and prosperity in the country, keeping unity and development of the country in foremost place and protecting one’s religious beliefs as well as cultural identities and through improving coexistence and humanitarian morals.

He adds that although 69 years have been spend after the independence, ill-effects of the colonial age have not been completely overcome.

Most Ven. Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thero , Mahanayake of Asgiri Chapter says that everyone could fulfil their obligations to themselves, their families, their religion and their nation by fostering national and religious reconciliation and deviating from narrow minded politics.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo in a message on Independence Day said that narrow racial and communal attitudes are not the way to experience the true independence, adding that all should unite as citizens with equal rights to gain the true independence.

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