Wednesday, 1st October 2014

Mahinda Rajapaksa a ‘national hero in Sri Lanka’, despite Commonwealth criticism

Mahinda Rajapaksa may be a pariah for some of his Commonwealth peers, but for many of his fellow Sri Lankans their president is a national hero who ended four decades of bloodshedFor all the internati...
Read more...

Calamander invests US$10mn in Sri Lanka hotel

Singapore-based Calamander group has invested 1.35 billion rupees (10 million US dollars) to acquire and upgrade a hotel in Sri Lanka. Calamander had bought Unawatuna Beach Resort just off Galle in So...
Read more...

Sri Lanka Airlines bomb threat: Alan Patey to appear in court charged with making hoax

A 49-year-old man will appear in court today charged over an alleged bomb threat hoax that led to an aircraft being diverted. Alan Patey, of no fixed address, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Co...
Read more...

31
Mar
2014
Sri Lanka ruling coalition wins local polls with lower margins
News - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition has retained two provincial councils with significant loss of seats in a crucial mid-term test for President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the opposition parties made considerable gains, according to the official results on Sunday. President Rajapaksa had campaigned for the polls held yesterday for the Western and Southern Provincial Councils, both in the ethnic majority Sinhalese heartland, which account for more than a third of the country’s electorate.

The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won 33 of the 55 seats in the southern province, down from 38 in the 2009 poll, with three opposition parties winning the rest, final results from the election office showed. The drop in the vote in Rajapaksa’s home constituency of Hambantota was a bitter pill for the president as he seeks his third successive term in the next presidential elections which could be held in 2015.

The ruling party’s vote dropped from 66.91 in 2009 to 57.42 per cent in the district, one of three that make up the southern province. In the West, the UPFA suffered a loss of 12 seats in the 104-member council compared to the 2009 poll when it won 68 seats. The main opposition United National Party (UNP) won 28 seats, a loss of two. The biggest gain was made by the war winning Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party which won nine seats.

The party pushed the third force JVP to fourth place in the West. JVP won six seats up from three in 2009. Fonseka’s party ended up having 12 seats in the two councils as they won three seats in the South. The main opposition UNP retained its 14 seats while suffering a loss of two seats in the west.

President Rajapaksa had based his campaign on the issue of the Sri Lanka resolution adopted on Thursday at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

He had urged for votes as a fitting reply to the Western countries against him in the UNHRC. Rajapaksa had said that defeat in Geneva would be offset by his victory in the two provinces. The UNHRC resolution prescribed an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed by government troops in the final battle with the LTTE five years ago. The opposition urged voters to issue a warning to the Rajapaksa’s government for bungling of the economy, his inability to uphold the rule of law, curb corruption and drug pedalling. The government banked on its unprecedented infrastructure development with ports, airports and highways. The provincial elections are being seen as a prelude to the next presidential election.

 
18
Dec
2013
Sri Lanka emerging as heroin transit hub
Newsflashes - Newsflash

Sri Lanka has recorded a sharp rise in drug busts, suggesting the island is becoming a transhipment hub for heroin in Asia, a government minister said on Tuesday. Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said record hauls of illegal drugs seized by police and customs pointed to a new smuggling operation using Colombo as a transhipment location.

"The quantities of illegal narcotics clearly suggests that this is not for consumption in the country, but to be re-shipped to some other countries," Rambukwella told reporters. He said Australia could be a possible destination. About 10 kilos (22 pounds) of heroin was found last week at the coastal resort of Hikkaduwa, a region where illegal boats going to Australia had been detected in recent years, the minister said.

Rambukwella said the government was "deeply worried" about the incidents of narcotics smuggling and vowed the authorities would ensure maximum punishment for offenders. In August, Sri Lanka customs found 260 kilos (572 pounds) of pure heroin in a container at the Colombo port. The cargo had been sent from Pakistan and declared as grease.

Police are investigating a senior official from the Prime Minister's office who  asked local authorities to waive demurrage charges and speed up the clearing of the container later found to hold one of the biggest hauls of heroin identified in Sri Lanka. Rambukwella said an independent investigation was underway into that smuggling attempt as well as several others. Police said they had detected about 300 kilos (660 pounds) of hard drugs this year compared to 15 kilos (33 pounds) last year. Police said they suspected drugs were coming in from the Indian subcontinent.

 
18
Dec
2013
Supermodel from Sri Lanka takes New York by storm
Newsflashes - Newsflash

Adam Flamer Caldera, a Sri Lankan who is currently the rage in New York has made such an impact in over a year more than any other Sri Lankan model. In just one year Adam has walked the ramp at the iconic New York Fashion Week, modelled at high profile fashion shoots for renowned brands such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Bastian and been a part of various high profile assignments in Brazil. Currently one of Ford Models prized possessions, Adam was featured in a photo shoot for this months (December 2014) Esquire magazine that has George Clooney on the cover.

 

Apart from being a model, Adam is also a medical student studying to be a doctor at the top medical school in the world, Colombia University. The Sri Lankan suopermodel in New York has also walked the ramp for Colombo Fashion Week and is also the model/face of Arugam Bay Beachwear.

 

Colombo Fashion Week this month launched SUPERMODEL SRI LANKA, the hunt for fresh faces and model talents that would shine in the world as people with personality and charm.  Adam Flamer Caldera is on the front board of Ford Supermodel page. This should inspire the new generations of models, which Colombo fashion Week will also promote to take centre stage at important platforms in Sri Lanka and overseas.

 
18
Dec
2013
Sri Lanka approves Packer's Crown resort without casino -minister
News - Entertainment
Sri Lanka has approved Australian Crown Resorts Ltd's $400 million complex along with two similar projects, but without any explicit permission to operate casinos at them, the island's junior investment minister said on Tuesday. However, Crown's chief, gambling tycoon James Packer, would still be able to operate a casino in his mixed-development project through his local partner, the minister said.

The government's decision to alter the deal's terms came after opposition politicians said Packer was getting concessions not given to local entrepreneurs and Buddhist leaders said the casino could be detrimental to Sri Lanka's culture. Faizer Mustapha, the deputy investment promotion minister said a new gazette notification has been issued for Packer's joint venture and two similar requests by Sri Lanka's top conglomerate John Keells Holdings and a leading local businessman Dhammika Perera respectively. A gazette notification is issued after an approval by the cabinet of ministers before being presented to the parliament.

"The applications are for mixed development projects, which include convention centre, shopping malls, and five-star hotels," Mustapha told Reuters.

"This gazette notification has no mention about a casino anywhere. So it doesn't deal with running a casino, operating a casino, or approving a casino."

However, he said there was a separate mechanism for operating a casino in Sri Lanka and government policy was not to issue any new casino licences, but to allow existing approvals to operate under regulations passed in 2010.

 

GAMING PARADISE?

Packer said in a speech at a Commonwealth forum last month said he believed the Indian Ocean island nation could be turned into a leading tourist hotspot for the rising middle classes of India, China and the rest of Asia.

Government officials have told Reuters that two Sri Lankan entrepreneurs have five casino approvals among them. Packer's Sri Lankan partner Ravi Wijeratne owns two and Dhammika Perera owns three, they have said.

The Crown resort-casino complex is planned for a two-acre plot in the heart of the Colombo commercial hub. It has already been delayed once after the government asked Lake Leisure Holdings, the joint venture between Crown Ltd and its local partner, Rank Entertainment Holdings Pvt Ltd, to change its construction plans.

Local media have reported that Perera, who has been running casinos on a small scale would use one of his approvals for Queensbury, a $350 million resort near Packer's planned complex, and has committed another to Keell's $850 million Water Front mixed-development project.

He has also planned to lure one more U.S. or Asian gaming brand for a third casino approval to build 500-700 room complex also near Packer's resort.

Sri Lanka's Buddhist leaders have repeatedly urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to allow casinos, saying they are detrimental to the culture of a country that is a predominantly Buddhist and where gambling is not approved of morally, despite the intermittent presence of casinos since 1990s.

Crown has confirmed it was in detailed discussions with the Sri Lankan government and potential joint venture partners regarding the development of a 5-star integrated resort.

Packer, one of Australia's richest men, has been in talks since February with the government about the integrated resort and investment options as he expands his global gambling business that includes casinos in Australia, Macau, Britain and the United States.

 
17
Dec
2013
Australian man arrested in Sri Lanka over alleged rape of mentally disabled girl
News - Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police say they have arrested an Australian man who is alleged to have raped a mentally disabled girl in the country three years ago.

Police say they arrested the 56-year-old Victorian man when he returned to Sri Lanka in recent days. The man is alleged to have raped the 17-year-old girl in 2010 and then fled the country. Police say he had returned to Sri Lanka to attend a friend's wedding when they caught up with him. The man has appeared before a magistrate and has been remanded in custody.

 

 
17
Dec
2013
Sri Lanka Airlines bomb threat: Alan Patey to appear in court charged with making hoax
News - Featured News

A 49-year-old man will appear in court today charged over an alleged bomb threat hoax that led to an aircraft being diverted. Alan Patey, of no fixed address, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court later this afternoon. A 57-year-old man was also arrested after the plane was forced to land at Stansted Airport in Essex on September 20. The Sri Lankan Airlines A330 Airbus, which was carrying 267 passengers and crew, was due to land at Heathrow Airport but was diverted to Stansted just after 7.30pm. Sources said the drama unfolded after a passenger was overheard claiming “something” was on board the flight in the luggage hold.

 
18
Dec
2013
Sri Lanka to resettle war displaced people by 2014
News - Latest
Sri Lanka Tuesday announced that it hopes to complete the resettlement of its internally displaced people (IDP) by next year. Minor issues still remain to be addressed on the resettlement of war displaced people, Xinhua quoted Sri Lanka’s Deputy Resettlement Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, a former senior rebel member, as saying. The deputy minister said the government needs time to complete the resettlement process and it hopes to do that by the end of next year.

Muralitharan added that after 30 years of war it is impossible for one to expect the entire resettlement process to be completed in four years. However, overall he said the government has achieved a considerable task and this had been recognised by a UN envoy who visited Sri Lanka recently. According to Chaloka Beyani, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, a significant number of IDPs in Sri Lanka still live in protracted displacement.

He said that tens of thousands others who have returned or have been settled elsewhere in the north live in very precarious conditions and need more durable housing, access to social services, and the creation of livelihood opportunities. The UN envoy said that key issues to address include protection of the autonomy of women and girls and their reproductive rights, of children, feasible access to land, and a proportionate balance between national security and freedom of movement and choice of place for IDPs seeking to return to their original places of residence.

 
18
Dec
2013
Sri Lanka bans over 1000 websites hosting obscene content
Newsflashes - Newsflash
 Sri Lankan authorities have taken measures to ban websites hosting obscene content and prevent the spread of such materials through the Internet, a government official said. Director General of Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Anusha Pelpita said that over 1,000 obscene websites have been banned in Sri Lanka.   Speaking to Sinhala daily The Dinamina, Pelpita said the government takes action immediately when information is received on such websites.

He further said that the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission had recently banned several pornographic websites produced with Sri Lankans. The official said some have secretly made videos without the knowledge of the participants and distributed them through the obscene websites. He said the government has taken this action to safeguard the children from accessing these websites.

 
18
Dec
2013
Refurbished Taj Samudra targetsbusiness travellers to Sri Lanka
News - UK Sri Lanka
Taj Samudra, Colombo, has re-opened its doors after extensive renovation costing $20 million. The property overlooks the scenic Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean, and is situated at the heart of the city’s business hub. It has 300 rooms of which 71 rooms and 15 suites have been renovated. A new category called the Taj Club rooms has been introduced, along with a Tata Suite or presidential suite.

Commenting on the re-opening of the hotel, Rohit Khosla, General Manager, Taj Samudra, said, “Following a year of ambitious renovation, Taj Samudra welcomes Sri Lankans and international travellers to experience Taj’s legendary hospitality.” The renovation was undertaken by interior designer David Edwards. “The interior offers both a traditional and a contemporary feel, and is influenced by Sri Lankan culture,” said Rajshree Bakshi, General Manager- Marketing International Hotels.

Apart from the refurbished rooms, the reopening also saw the launch of the Pebbles Lounge, the Lobby Lounge, and Yumi, a resto-bar offering authentic Japanese food. “We have taken Japanese cuisine out of the conventional low-tables and cushions style of dining, reinventing the way people experience it,” said Rajshree.

While the hotel tariff has seen an increase, it is “befitting the investment made in the upgrade, along with a host of other facilities such as access to the exclusive Taj Club Lounge being provided to our guests,” said Khosla. “This is a value for money proposition for business travellers.”

Occupancy

In terms of occupancy projections, the management envisages a 5-8 per cent increase, given the “buoyancy in the market,” he says. At present, highest occupancy rates are seen in November to April, and the lowest in May to October. While Indian tourists dominate this inflow, they are closely followed by Europeans, Chinese and now, those from West Asia. “Sri Lanka expects tourist inflow figures to go up by 15 per cent this year,” Khosla added.

Regular, local customers of the hotel said that when an internationally trusted brand like the Taj increases investment in its assets in Sri Lanka, it paves the way for others to follow suit and view Sri Lanka as being “open for business.”

 
17
Dec
2013
Australian man arrested in Sri Lanka over alleged rape of mentally disabled girl
Newsflashes - Newsflash

Sri Lankan police say they have arrested an Australian man who is alleged to have raped a mentally disabled girl in the country three years ago.

Police say they arrested the 56-year-old Victorian man when he returned to Sri Lanka in recent days. The man is alleged to have raped the 17-year-old girl in 2010 and then fled the country. Police say he had returned to Sri Lanka to attend a friend's wedding when they caught up with him. The man has appeared before a magistrate and has been remanded in custody.

 

 
17
Dec
2013
Mahinda Rajapaksa visits Maasai Mara Game Reserve
News - Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has visited Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Rajapaksa made the trip on Saturday after attending the celebrations to mark Kenya's 50th birthday.

Rajapaska had earlier attended a luncheon at State House, Nairobi. He jointly signed an MOU with Presidsent Uhuru Kenyatta on trade ties between the two countries. Rajapaska flew to Maasai Mara aboard a Kenya Airforce helicopter. He was accompanied by Industrialisation Secretary Adan Mohammed. Rajapaska's entourage was received by Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai.

 
17
Dec
2013
Calamander invests US$10mn in Sri Lanka hotel
News - Featured News
Singapore-based Calamander group has invested 1.35 billion rupees (10 million US dollars) to acquire and upgrade a hotel in Sri Lanka. Calamander had bought Unawatuna Beach Resort just off Galle in Southern Sri Lanka for around one billion rupees in 2011 and rebuilt it by investing another 350 million rupees.

Sri Lanka has seen a surge in hotel investmetns after a 30-year war ended in 2009 and tourist arrivals started to pick up. The 30-year old hotel has since been re-named Calamnader Unawatuna Beach Resort. "The new Calamander Unawatuna Beach maintains a key role in promoting and developing Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, and reaching the 2016 target of 2 million arrivals," Calamander chairman Roman Scott said in a statement.

"For more than forty years, Unawatuna beach and UBR have been hugely popular with the North European market, in particular Germany.

"The hotel hosts an extraordinary one in ten of all German visitors to Sri Lanka, who proceed to spend over one billion rupees during their two week average stay on the island." Holland, the UK, and Scandinavia tourists are the hotels’ next largest customer base."   Calamander said it had rebuilt the original set of buildings and restaurant, with contemporary design with more natural light and upgraded entertainment fixture and furnishings. Scott said the hotel had a large number of repeat customers going back over 10 years. "These customers demand higher standards today and no longer just want a nice beach with a mediocre room," Scott said.

"Thailand has raised the competitive standards for mid priced hotels in the last decade, and we have set out to lift UBR to match or beat them, and keep our German and other traditional North European markets with us in Sri Lanka..." He said the hotel is priced in the 100 to 150 US dollar range. It has 55 Delux rooms of 25 square meters, 8 Super-delux rooms of 30 square meters 22 luxury rooms of 45 square meters each.

 



Support Us

Please send your donation

Enter Amount:

Polls

Did Sri Lanka Hold Free and Fair Elections
 
Colombo, 1, Sri Lanka
Temp: 23°C
Wind Chill: 26°C
Humidity: 98%
Speed: n/a
Direct.:
Pressure: 1008.47 mb
CALM
Provided by:
MORE DETAIL

Market Update

Powered by Stock Trader

Spotlight

Stop
Play

Useful Links