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Early demand for Astoria condominium

Dec 4 (FT) Astoria, the luxury condominium project by AVIC International, has so far seen nearly 30 units reserved surpassing the standard monthly sales of the market. The average selling price on launch day surpassed $ 2,800 per square metre. The reservations disclosed were by 20 Nov. Astoria was ceremonially opened for sales on 21 Nov 2014. “The project has attracted interest from diverse sectors and fields following its inauguration event on 9 Oct. Enrollment of VIP members and more..

World Bank for socially-inclusive urban development

Dec 4 (Island) Not everyone can afford to eat in exclusive restaurants, enjoy theatre or musical evenings in their free time, so urban development projects need to include convenient public spaces and recreation facilities for the deprived sections of society, Rosanna Nitti, Task Team Leader of Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) said last week at the World Bank Colombo Office. Nitti said so while briefing the media on the results, status and future directions of the MCUDP. more..

LMD’s Sri Lankan of the Year is The Sri Lankan Cricketer

Dec 4 (FT) Business magazine LMD announced that its Sri Lankan of The Year for 2014 is ‘The Sri Lankan Cricketer’. It is the first time that the magazine has not nominated an individual, except when ‘Arjuna and the Boys’ won the award in 1996 for their heroics at the Cricket World Cup. “The Sri Lankan Cricketer has been an inspiration to a nation that is still coming to terms with the aftermath of war and striving to more..

Bandarawela Pradeshiya Sabha UNP Opposition leader joins SLFP

Dec 4 (FT) Bandarawela Pradeshiya Sabha Opposition Leader (UNP) Sachchiththanandan Suren Kanna joined the SLFP yesterday. Suren Kanna who met SLFP National Organiser, Basil Rajapaksa obtained SLFP membership and pledged to work for the victory of UPFA Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. Suren Kanna who was a UNP Candidate for the Bandarawela PS Election of 2011 was elected its Opposition Leader and was also the UNP Plantation union, more..

Wushu promotes people-to-people exchange between China, Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Wushu players are vying for the chance to represent their country at the national games that kicked off here on Wednesday, an official said here, saying it was a positive step to enhance relations with China. Wushu Federation of Sri Lanka organized the 14th edition of the national tournament that will pick the best from Sri Lanka's Wushu players to be trained for international tournaments in the next two years. Wushu is a significant success story in people-to-people more..

Tourist arrivals up 9.4% in November

Dec 4 (FT) Tourist arrivals rose by 9.4% in November this year compared to the same period in 2013, SLTDA data showed. The month recorded 119,727 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 109,420 who arrived in November 2013. In the first eleven months of this year a total of 1,348,481 tourists arrived in the island, recording a 20.3% increase from the 1,120,675 who came during the corresponding period in 2013. more..

Vehicle carrier kills pregnant teacher

Dec 4 (Island) A 29-year-old teacher was run over yesterday morning by a vehicle carrier while she was waiting at a bus stop in the Hungama police area. The carrier also crashed into an SLTB bus. Victim Padmini Shiromala of Middeniya was on her way to Dickwella Central College around 6.20 a.m at the time of the incident. Padmini had been pronounced dead on admission to the Ranna hospital. The driver of the carrier and its assistant, who sustained serious injuries, more..

38 Indian fishermen on fast unto death in jail

Dec 4 (PTI) At least 38 Indian fishermen lodged in Sri Lanka's Jaffna prison for alleged poaching are on a fast unto death demanding their early release. Indian consulate office in Jaffna has alerted the Indian High Commission officials here after the Indian prisoners began their protest in the jail, prison officials said today. The fishermen were arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Last month, Sri Lanka released five Indian fishermen, who had been sentenced to death on drug trafficking more..

Ceylon Tea losing competiveness: Study

Dec 4 (CT) Ceylon Tea is gradually losing its competitive position in the global market, a frontline university don cautioned. "Intense global competition has affected the once famous 'Ceylon Tea' that was distinguished for its quality and taste. Issues such as low yields, high cost in production, labor issues have exacerbated the Sri Lanka tea industry's position" University of Sri J'pura, Professor of Accounting, D. Gunawardena said. more..

Ex- Dy minister Gunawardene makes a scene at SLFP Hq

Dec 4 (DM) Former deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana M.K.D.S Gunawardene who had been stripped of all positions in the SLFP had arrived this morning at the SLFP headquarters and allegedly created a scene. Gunawardene who had expressed his support for the common candidate through the media had subsequently been removed from all positions he held in the SLFP. When he visited SLFP headquarters those who were present there had objected to his presence and staged a more..

Mother appeals Osaka court order to return child to father in Sri Lanka under Hague pact

Dec 4 (Kyodo) The mother of a 5-year-old girl appealed an Osaka family court order that her daughter must be returned to Sri Lanka to live with her father in accordance with the Hague convention on child abduction. The court order for the child’s return was the first such decision by a Japanese court to come to light since the country joined the international agreement in April. According to the father’s attorney, the parents are both Japanese citizens and the daughter was born in Japan. more..

Hakeem consults EP SLMC councillors

Dec 4 (Island) SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem yesterday consulted his members in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) as well as some members of his parliamentary group regarding the forthcoming presidential election. He met representatives at a Colombo hotel where they discussed the best course of action for the party and the Muslim community in the wake of both the SLFP led ruling coalition & joint Opposition seeking more..

SL is the new route for gold smuggling

Dec 4 (Hindu) Following increased surveillance on traditional routes, smugglers have found a new way to bring in gold — Sri Lanka. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials said quite a few gold consignments seized in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu were brought from Sri Lanka. This shows that after Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan, this is the new route for gold smuggling. As many of these countries have raised import duty, smugglers have moved to a new area, more..

No SLFP in Mahinda’s Govt: Maithripala

Dec 4 (FT) Issuing a clarion call about the fate of the SLFP, common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena charged there was no SLFP in the ruling UPFA Govt. “It is the SLFP supporter and other progressive forces that brought this Govt to power. But today, there is no SLFP present in his Govt,” Sirisena said. He said that there had been no new membership recruits to the SLFP for the past two years. “Over the past 7-8 years, a terrible tragedy has befallen the SLFP,” Sirisena said. more..

Gold rush to Colombo from North

Dec 4 (CT) The Yal Devi service would run at full capacity today as over 2,000 people from the North are to be brought to Temple Trees to be given back their gold which was in LTTE banks. Military Spokesperson, Ruwan Wanigasooriya said the four trains would depart from the Kilinochchi and Vavuniya Stations in order to transport the people from Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Jaffna. The trains are expected to reach Fort at more..

12 already in the fray More vie for Presidency

Dec 4 (CT) As days advance towards the scheduled nominations day in the presidential race, the number of those aspiring to be the next Executive President of the country, seems to be increasing. Twelve candidates have already deposited bonds to contest for the coming Presidential Election by yesterday. The Elections Commissioner has fixed December 08 as the date to receive nominations. Three contestants deposited bonds yesterday. Among those who deposited bonds yesterday is more..

MR says he will remain President

Dec 4 (CG) President Rajapaksa says he will still be President after the January 8 Presidential elections and will carry out his responsibilities to the country. President Rajapaksa also said he does not need to sign multiple MoU with his Govt members like the opposition before the Presidential election. Speaking in Embilipitiya, President noted that the opposition candidate had signed separate agreements with the political parties backing him at the election. Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena more..

'Worry about China, India & not Opposition'

Dec 4 (Island) JHU Assistant General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila refuting govt allegations of an ‘international conspiracy’ amongst the common opposition said that Sri Lanka should worry about China’s entry into the country in a big way as well as the Indian dominance instead of the Opposition. He warned that though the country was experiencing rapid development at present, it was depending on more..

Duminda's security detail transferred

Dec 4 (CT) Twenty policemen who acted as security guards of Former Minister Duminda Disanayake have been transferred from Anuradhapura Police Headquarters to Police stations in rural areas, as a political revenge. Dissanayake was sacked from his ministerial portfolio after he decided to support common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Officers of his security detail were asked to report to Anuradhapura Police Headquarters on 24 Nov. Thus an inspector, three sergeants, a driver and more..

JVP says foreign polls monitors utterly useless

Dec 4 (Island) JVP believes that it is useless to invite foreign election monitors for the Presidential Election as their presence did not serve any purpose at the previous elections. Foreign election monitors had been here for a few days on earlier occassions and prepared a report before leaving the country, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya has already invited the EU, Commonwealth and Asian and SAARC election observers to monitor more..

'UNHRC used as cat’s paw to harass Sri Lanka, President MR'

Dec 4 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said some countries were using the Geneva-based UNHRC as a cat’s paw to destabilise Sri Lanka. But, he declined to name those countries. Minister alleged that the govt had been relentlessly pursed since the conclusion of the war in May 2009. He was responding to a query whether Sri Lanka construed Indian National Security Advisor Ajith Doval meeting Opposition presidential more..

Polls Chief, Police face moment of truth

Dec 4 (DM) For the past few years and during recent elections, the plunder or abuse of the people’s money, resources and public servants for political party propaganda work has reached criminal proportions. In addition to this plunder, there are also allegations of cyber crime or computer ‘jilmart’ to manipulate the results. The early presidential election is turning out to be a crucial stage in Sri Lanka’s history. Until Nov 21, most analysts believed President Rajapaksa was unbeatable and more..

The scourge of 'eve-teasing'

Dec 4 (CT) Ask a hundred Sri Lankan women whether they have ever been harassed or victimized, while travelling in a bus in one of our cities, and more than 90 are likely to say yes. This week a video went viral on the Internet, in which two female university students in the State of Haryana in India are seen being harassed by three men. The plucky young women, harassed before they got on the bus, and again on the bus, retaliated by fighting back, including hitting the men with a belt. more..

'Indian Navy monitoring infra development by China in ports around'

Dec 4 (PTI) The Indian Navy is "very closely" monitoring the infrastructure development by China in various ports around India, Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan today said even as he played down the presence of Chinese ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean. Navy chief also reiterated India's position on South China Sea saying the country was for freedom of navigation in commerce and if a situation develops, more..

'Maithripala is thousand times better than the present ruler'

Dec 4 (DM) Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, the leader of the DP announced that his party would support the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the upcoming presidential polls. Sarath Fonseka who was the common opposition candidate of the 2010 presidential elections said that his party had taken this decision to defeat the present ruler in the country. more..

Western pressure builds

Dec 4 (SL) The Govt is continuing to face pressure from the West, the latest being from Britain by way of a discussion at the House of Lords and a threat of sanctions. Add to that, in Geneva, the UN special rapporteur on minority issues, Ms Rita Izsák, accused the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) of igniting tensions and contributing to more than 350 violent attacks against Muslims and over 150 attacks against Christians in the past two years. more..

'We won't stop our call for political reform'

Dec 4 (DM) Daily Mirror sat with the General Secretary of the Communist Party (CP), DEW Gunasekara to discuss the current political and social issues in the country under the backdrop of the Presidential election. Q: CP is vehemently opposed to the Executive Presidency since its introduction in 1978 but you are continuing to support President Rajapaksa and his UPFA govt despite broken promises given in 2005 under more..

Thirimanne relishes Anderson's absence

Dec 4 (CI) At times in the English summer, it seemed as if James Anderson only needed to swear quietly into the breeze for Lahiru Thirimanne to combust at the crease. With Anderson absent from this series, Thirimanne extended his return to form with 62 not out from 47 balls, leaving his captain Angelo Mathews to dub his knock the most encouraging aspect of Sri Lanka's five-wicket defeat in Hambantota. more..

Hambantota: Haven for projects

Dec 4 (ST) Miles of gleaming asphalt and mega infrastructure looming up from the sparsely populated terrain make Hambantota different to any other district in SL. Ever since the Govt started building it up—beginning, as it were, from scratch—billions of rupees have been poured into the district, and more is yet to come. The ST endeavoured to compile a list of major completed and ongoing infrastructure projects in H'tota. more..

Mangala - Tissa reunite in Matara

Dec 4 (AM) In a positive development for UNP, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and MP Mangala Samaraweera – two big guns of the party who were at loggerheads with each other – today held a public meeting in Matara together, as a sign of a reunion. Although it is still not clear whether the issue has been fully resolved, the Matara public meeting might give a positive indication to the rank and file of the party more..

Sri Lanka lures buyers in post-war boom

Dec 4 (NYT) These days, Sri Lanka is often called the next Bali. Tourism has more than doubled since the 26-year civil war on this teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean ended in 2009, with 1.27 million visitors arriving last year. And some of those foreigners have been buying vacation homes, especially along the island’s southern coast, even though changes to property laws in 2013 made such purchases more complicated and costly. more..

Bribery claims, but no complaints to CIABOC

Dec 4 (Island) Opposition politicians had claimed that the govt offered bribes to stop UPFA MPs from crossing over in the run-up to the presidential election, but no one has made a complaint to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). CIABOC Director General Ganesh Dharmawardena said that according to the law they couldn’t investigate allegations that appear in more..

LSSP terminates membership of six leaders

Dec 4 (AM) LSSP has terminated the membership of six of its leading members including three Central Committee members and three Politburo members. Six members include Western Provincial Councilor Keerthi Kariyawasam, Wimal Rodrigo and D.M.D. Abeyratne who are Politburo members and Dr. Jayampathi Wickremaratne, Lal Wijenayake and Sameera Perera who are Central Committee members. more..

Foreign Office in disarray

Dec 4 (CT) I had written about good ambassadors being dismissed well before Dayan having to come back to Sri Lanka to deal with audit queries, though in fact he survived because the President intervened and called a halt to the persecution. Asitha was not so lucky, and Chris Nonis in London told me at the time that he had to put up with constant complaints, even though he was a good communicator and managed to deal with at least some of the propaganda against us, of which England more..

Air China to launch direct Chengdu-Colombo service

Dec 4 (Xinhua) Air China, one of the country's leading carriers, is scheduled to start direct service between Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, and the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo in February, the airline said Wednesday in a statement. An Airbus A330 will fly the Chengdu-Colombo route each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. A one-way journey between Chengdu and Colombo will take about five-and-a-half hours, Air China said. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Entitlement and Misrule

Dec 4 (CT) Last month three members of Shashindra Rajapaksa’s security-detail died when their speeding vehicle clashed into a parked lorry. Why would Shashindra Rajapaksa – or any other chief minister/minister/MP – need security convoys? LTTE is no more. The govt boasts that the country is at peace and demands that people vote for Mahinda Rajapaksa, again, for this reason. So why the ubiquitous sight of politicians and their massive security details driving at breakneck-speed, more..

UNP monks want govt. ousted

Dec 4 (Island) Patron of the UNP affiliated Jathika Bhikkhu Peramuna, Anunayake Girambe Ananda thera said that they were not against incumbent President Rajapaksa, who had given the political leadership the successful war against LTTE terrorism, but wanted to guide him on the right path. Addressing a media conference, Thera said that the reason for opposition parties and other organizations to work against Rajapaksa was that he was not on the right path to restore democracy. more..

Sri Lanka's NDB bank leads in financial services to Chinese community

Dec 4 (Xinhua) National Development Bank or NDB as it is known to locals has been at the forefront of providing innovating banking solutions to Sri Lanka's growing Chinese community. "We believe we have a big role to play in facilitating relationships between Chinese companies, tourists and the local community. There are many synergies we believe can be tapped into and NDB has focused on spearheading more..

Sri Lankan bourse up low volumes; rupee-forwards steady

Dec 4 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks edged higher on Thursday amid low volumes with investors cautious due to political uncertainty ahead of the Jan 8 presidential poll. At 0549 GMT, the main stock index was up 0.08% at 7,280.36. "The market is fizzling out, even local sentiment is flat. We can see buying is coming in slowly," said a stockbroker, asking not to be named. "...they will wait till prices come down." Nine loyalists from President Rajapaksa's UPFA, including Health Minister Mithripala Sirisena, more..