Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport project grounded by cash crunch

[ Al Jazeera ][ Apr 01 19:39 GMT ]

Almost exactly two years ago, to celebrate the opening of a $210 million international airport in his sleepy seaside home district, then-Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa flew there on his national airline’s biggest jet with a coterie of ministers. The ensuing fanfare, replete with prayers, plaque unveilings and an elaborate red-carpet welcome for the president, was fueled by hopes that the airport would herald the development of once-dinky Hambantota town, which Rajapaksa hoped would become the island country’s “second city,” after the capital, Colombo. He envisioned a commerce and tourism hub with a strategically located port, a 35,000-seat cricket stadium, a 300-acre botanical garden, a state-of-the-art convention center, five-star hotels and smooth four-lane highways connecting them all. The port, stadium and airport bear his name. [ full story | comments ]

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Sri Lanka road trip finds north and south still divided after civil war [ more ]

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Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport project grounded by cash crunch

Almost exactly two years ago, to celebrate the opening of a $210 milli...

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China offers over $1 bln in grants to Sri Lanka after port project halt

China has pledged over $1 billion in new grant money to Sri Lanka afte...

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Sri Lanka, India and China: An Uncertain Triangle

For India and Sri Lanka, the presence of China and the fall of Rajapak...

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China offers over $1 bln in grants to Sri Lanka after port project halt

[ Reuters ][ Apr 01 19:39 GMT ]

China has pledged over $1 billion in new grant money to Sri Lanka after a Chinese luxury real estate project in the capital Colombo was suspended, a Sri Lankan government spokesman said on Wednesday. Chinese companies building a road in a Colombo suburb have also agreed to cut the cost of the $520 million project by 30 billion rupees ($225.73 million), said spokesman Rajitha Senaratnehe, reporting on the results of President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to Beijing last week. [ full story | comments ]

Xi Jinping proposes trilateral cooperation with India: Sri Lanka

[ PTI ][ Apr 01 19:35 GMT ]

Sri Lanka today said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed trilateral cooperation with India to address its security concerns in the Indian Ocean region amid increased Chinese involvement in mega projects in the island nation. Cabinet minister Rauff Hakeem, who accompanied President Maithripapa Sirisena on a four-day visit to China last week, told reporters here that the Xi made the proposal for three-party talks with India and Sri Lanka when he met the new Lankan President. [ full story | comments ]

War of words between Chinese firm and Sri Lanka escalates over Colombo Port City

[ SCMP ][ Mar 31 16:03 GMT ]

The war of words over the stalled Colombo Port City project escalated yesterday as China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) called the Sri Lankan government’s recent statement on the matter “factually incorrect”. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had told the South China Morning Post on Friday that CCCC had failed to furnish the necessary documents within the two-week deadline set for it by the government. The new government in Colombo that came to power in January put Port City, a giant real estate reclamation project off the capital, on hold earlier this month alleging irregularities. The government, which maintains CCCC had not obtained the requisite clearance to start the project, gave it two weeks to show all necessary documents to prove otherwise. [ full story | comments ]

Rebalancing acts

[ Indian Express ][ Mar 31 16:01 GMT ]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s four-day visit to China was part of a delicate balancing act being executed by Colombo. Under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka had drifted close to China in ways that made it seem unconcerned about India’s sensitivities. There was no progress on the Tamil question. Sri Lanka also hosted two Chinese submarines last year, which made New Delhi apprehensive about its security and contributed to its reservations about the Chinese Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project. [ full story | comments ]

Rajapaksa administration officials grilled, ex-prez cries foul

[ PTI ][ Mar 31 15:59 GMT ]

Amid claims by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the new Sri Lankan government is carrying out a “political witch hunt” against his associates, more senior officials of his administration were grilled by investigators on Tuesday. P.B. Jayasundera, Mr. Rajapaksa’s top bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry during his nearly decade-long rule, was interrogated by police’s Financial Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) on Tuesday. “Dr. Jayasundera was questioned over the alleged wrong doings in the oil hedging transaction which had caused a loss of 200 million dollars to the government,” Police spokesman and Assistant Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera said. [ full story | comments ]

Proof of secret camps Prime Minister Wickremesinghe denies exist

[ JDS ][ Mar 31 13:36 GMT ]

Despite Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's public denial, credible reports have emerged to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the Sri Lankan military still operates secret camps in the north, where surrendered ex-Tamil Tiger rebels and those who were made to disappear during and after the war, have been held and tortured to-date. Another ex-LTTE cadre, who had also surrendered to the army in May 2009 has contacted one of his relatives from this Keppapulavu secret camp and informed that about 50 people were being held in the camp. [ full story | comments ]

US seeks to eventually partition Sri Lanka - – Tamara Kunanayakam

[ Ceylon Today ][ Mar 31 04:26 GMT ]

The United States has no genuine interest in accountability or reconciliation in Sri Lanka, but is seeking a strategic military base in Asia, says Tamara Manimekhalai Kunanayakam, onetime Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Holy See. In a wide ranging interview with Ceylon Today, Kunanayakam said, the US would demand more concessions using the resolution as a tool and charged the UN Rights Chief as a 'US instrument' doing Washington's bidding. [ full story | comments ]

Top UN official arrives in Sri Lanka for official visit

[ Xinhua ][ Mar 30 18:24 GMT ]

A top UN official had arrived in Sri Lanka for a six-day visit, a government statement said Monday. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, arrived in Sri Lanka Sunday on an "exploratory visit and for consultations", the government said. During his visit, de Greiff is scheduled to meet with government officials and leaders of civil society organizations. He is also expected to visit the war ravaged north and meet Tamil political leaders as well as the northern Tamil people. [ full story | comments ]

Sweden To Strengthen Bilateral ties With Sri Lanka

[ Eurasia Review ][ Mar 30 18:22 GMT ]

Sweden hopes to further enhance the existing economic and trade relations with Sri Lanka, Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven said during the bilateral discussions with President Maithripala Sirisena on the sidelines of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, in Boao, Hainan Province, China. Prime Minister Löfven congratulated President Maithripala on his presidential election victory and said that he and the Swedish government are pleased to see the positive development in post-election Sri Lanka. [ full story | comments ]

Dissolution likely after Vesak, General Elections in late June

[ Sunday Times ][ Mar 29 17:38 GMT ]

The Lodge, once known as Queen’s Cottage, in the cooler climes of Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as ‘Little England’ was once home for British Governors and the ruling elite. Since independence in 1948, it became the holiday resort of the Governor General, later Prime Ministers and now Presidents. the tea country highlands for the campaign to re-elect Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election on January 8. The man who lived there and ran the show was Udayanga Weeratunga, then Ambassador to Russia who was concurrently accredited to Ukraine. [ full story | comments ]

UN Assistant Secretary-General to visit Sri Lanka

[ ANI ][ Apr 01 19:38 GMT ]

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Chairman of the United Nations Development Group Asia-Pacific, Haoliang Xu, is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from April 4-10. A UNDP statement statement said that during his second visit to the island-nation, Xu is expected to meet and exchange views with high-level Government officials, development partners and the civil society on learning more about the emerging development needs and expectations of Sri Lanka in a new political environment whilst ascertaining the future direction of UNDP support along with other members of the UN family, in particular strengthening UNDP's role as a key development partner in Sri Lanka. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka, India and China: An Uncertain Triangle

[ Pragati ][ Mar 31 17:05 GMT ]

For India and Sri Lanka, the presence of China and the fall of Rajapaksa mean that the relationships have to be recalibrated. Nowhere in South Asia has democracy been so unpredictable as in Sri Lanka. Six weeks before the election in January 2015, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appeared unbeatable, even invincible. Elected as President in 2005, he had ended a bloody civil war of 26 years with the Tamil Tigers in 2009, and the country’s GDP had grown by 7.4 percent over the past five years. Having orchestrated a change in the Constitution so that he could run for an unprecedented third 6-year term, he called an early election two years before necessary, being supremely confident of victory. [ full story | comments ]

India’s Key to Sri Lanka: Maritime Infrastructure Development

[ The Diplomat ][ Mar 31 16:02 GMT ]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Sri Lanka highlights New Delhi’s reawakening to the strategic position that Sri Lanka holds in India’s neighborhood. Since 2008, India has watched as China built port facilities, highways, and other major infrastructure in Sri Lanka. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships have also paid port visits to Sri Lanka, even taking in Trincomalee, where India has been sensitive to any extraregional presence for decades. Most recently, in September and October 2014, New Delhi became unsettled at the sight of a conventional Chinese submarine and a tender ship openly paying port visits in Colombo on the way to counterpiracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka Naval officers detained over Tamil politician murder

[ PTI ][ Mar 31 16:00 GMT ]

Three Sri Lankan Navy personnel, including two officers, have been detained by the police here under the anti-terrorism Act for the alleged murder of a popular Tamil lawmaker in 2006 that snowballed into a major human rights issue for the then government. Nadarajah Raviraj, 44, was gunned down in his car along with his police guard as he left his residence here in November 2006. Raviraj was a popular Tamil politician with an ability to communicate with the Sinhala majority and was a rising star in the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance. [ full story | comments ]

Unfound Shores: Exhibition dwells on the collision between time and freedom

[ Indian Express ][ Mar 31 15:53 GMT ]

As you enter 24 Jor Bagh, you come across a halogen board, illuminated in orange that reads: Abandoned. The rooms are washed in darkness, but the silent radiance of several photographic art works draws you within. An empty chair in the middle of a chaotic room; a collage of faces, distinct by skin colour; and a solitary glove – each support the theme. “Abandoned” an exhibition featuring works of photographers Uzma Mohsin, Phillipe Caila and Ronny Sen is an ode to the disappearing identity of humanity and raises the question of survival and uncertainty, curated by Rahaab Allana of the Alkazi Foundation of Arts. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka confronts ex-leader's extravagant projects in 'middle of nowhere'

[ Los Angeles Times ][ Mar 31 04:28 GMT ]

This remote coastal scrubland, a haven for wild elephants and migratory birds that is several hours away from the nearest city, seems like an odd place to attempt to create a major commercial hub. Yet such was the whim of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a local son who, thanks to Chinese loans, poured immense sums into pet projects during the decade he held this island nation in his grip. Since he was voted out of office in January, Rajapaksa’s extravagant spending in his home district, much of it named for himself, looks ever more like monuments to folly. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka says no deal to restart Chinese port project

[ AFP ][ Mar 30 18:25 GMT ]

Sri Lanka has yet to resolve a dispute with China over a $1.4 billion development in Colombo despite a state visit to Beijing last week, a minister said Monday. New Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena suspended the Chinese-backed construction of a "port city" in the capital following allegations that environmental clearances had not been obtained. Some reports had indicated the project would go ahead following Sirisena's three-day visit to Beijing last week. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka minister warns Tamil Tiger rebels could regroup

[ AFP ][ Mar 30 18:23 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's new government warned Monday that defeated Tamil Tiger rebels could regroup and orchestrate another conflict, six years after their defeat in the island's separatist war. Deputy foreign minister Ajith Perera made the comments after members of his government pushed for the European Union to again blacklist the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Perera said members of the LTTE had millions of dollars in foreign assets that could be used to fund another guerrilla war at home. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka seeks India's help to evacuate citizens from Yemen

[ IANS ][ Mar 30 18:19 GMT ]

The Sri Lankan government has sought help from India and the UN to help evacuate Sri Lankans who are caught up in the war in Yemen, a government official said on Monday. "The government is taking every possible measure to bring back the Sri Lankans stranded in Yemen. We came to know that the Indian government has sent ships to Yemen to bring their nationals back. We have contacted the Indian high commission in Yemen too to help us since we have no representatives in Yemen," Xinhua quoted a spokesperson from the ministry of foreign affairs as saying. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka pledges 'political solution' in war-torn north

[ AFP ][ Mar 29 17:12 GMT ]

Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged a "political solution" for the island's war-torn north, where ethnic minority Tamils have long demanded greater autonomy. During a two-day visit to the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, Wickremesinghe also repeated his government's promise of national reconciliation six years after the island's ethnic war ended, his office said in a statement on Sunday. "If you want a stable and secure country, we must have a political solution (with Tamils) and move forward," Wickremesinghe said in an address in the Jaffna peninsula on Saturday and released by his office in the statement. [ full story | comments ]


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Notices
Featured News

[Al Jazeera - Apr 01, 2015 19:39:49 GMT]

Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport project grounded by cash crunch


[Reuters - Apr 01, 2015 19:39:03 GMT]

China offers over $1 bln in grants to Sri Lanka after port project halt


[Pragati - Mar 31, 2015 17:05:16 GMT]

Sri Lanka, India and China: An Uncertain Triangle


[SCMP - Mar 31, 2015 16:03:11 GMT]

War of words between Chinese firm and Sri Lanka escalates over Colombo Port City


[The Diplomat - Mar 31, 2015 16:02:37 GMT]

India’s Key to Sri Lanka: Maritime Infrastructure Development


[JDS - Mar 31, 2015 13:36:48 GMT]

Proof of secret camps Prime Minister Wickremesinghe denies exist


[Los Angeles Times - Mar 31, 2015 4:28:57 GMT]

Sri Lanka confronts ex-leader's extravagant projects in 'middle of nowhere'


[Sunday Times - Mar 29, 2015 17:38:31 GMT]

Dissolution likely after Vesak, General Elections in late June


[AFP - Mar 29, 2015 17:12:36 GMT]

Sri Lanka pledges 'political solution' in war-torn north


[Los Angeles Times - Mar 28, 2015 14:45:00 GMT]

Sri Lanka road trip finds north and south still divided after civil war


[Los Angeles Times - Mar 28, 2015 14:44:37 GMT]

NEH funds LACMA show on Sri Lanka, Ken Burns film on Vietnam War


[Eurasia Review - Mar 27, 2015 18:23:20 GMT]

China, Sri Lanka Sign Agreements To Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation


[Boston Globe - Mar 27, 2015 16:35:32 GMT]

Sri Lanka’s pivot to India breaks China’s dreams


[New York Times - Mar 27, 2015 13:25:03 GMT]

In the Hills of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country


[ICRC - Mar 27, 2015 13:10:52 GMT]

Clarifying the fate of missing persons in Sri Lanka requires sustained commitment