Air China to launch direct Chengdu-Colombo flight from Feb.10

Air ChinaColombo, Dec.29 - China's national airline - Air China - will start a direct service between Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China's Sichuan province, and Sri Lankan capital Colombo from February 10, 2015.

An airline statement said that the Chengdu-Colombo service will operate four weekly flights using Airbus A330 aircraft.

The four flights will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays with one-way trip taking five-and-a-half hours.

This is the first service from Chengdu to a Sri Lankan city, marking an important step towards the construction of the flag carrier's Chengdu hub.

Actors Salman Khan,Jacqueline Fernandez in Sri Lanka to support Rajapaksa's poll campaign

Salman Khan Jacqueline FernandezColombo, Dec 29 : Indian actor Salman Khan and Sri Lankan-born actress Jacqueline Fernandez are in Sri Lanka to support the election campaign of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

According to the Lanka Page web site, a group of six Bollywood personalities, including the two actors, arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Monday morning.

Reportedly, the group has been invited to participate in President Rajapkasa's campaign by his son and Hambantota District parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. (ANI)

Unilever CEO in Sri Lanka on business visit

Paul PolmanColombo, Nov 28 : Unilever Global Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman has arrived in Sri Lanka on a two-day visit primarily aimed at reviewing Unilever Sri Lanka's operations.

Accompanying Polman is Executive Vice President - South Asia, and Managing Director and CEO of Hindustan Unilever, Sanjiv Mehta.

Unilever Sri Lanka (USL) has been a high performing business and has a rich heritage of over 75 years in the country.

USL has registered an exceptionally strong performance so far in 2014.

Sri Lanka Govt. apologises for article critical of Jayalalithaa

JayalalithaaColombo, Aug 1 : The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry on Friday tendered an unqualified apology to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa over a negative article that appeared on its web site.

The article criticised Jayalalithaa for writing frequently to Prime Minister Modi on issues related to Sri Lanka and the fishermen's issue.

Unbeaten ton by Jayawardene helps Lanka to score 305 for 5 on Day One of 2nd Test

Mahela-JayawardeneColombo, July 24 : Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene unbeaten 140 helped Sri Lanka to end Day One of the second Test against South Africa on a healthy 305 for the loss of five wickets.

At the end of the day's play at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Jayawardene walked off to a huge applause after scoring his 34th Test century, while giving some hope to his Sri Lankan team mates of putting up a healthy and challenging total for the Proteas.

It was Jayawardene's 11th Test hundred at his home ground, and extended his lead at the top of the list for most Test runs scored at a single venue.

Sri Lankan Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa orders release of 78 Indian fishermen

Mahinda RajapaksaColombo: President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday ordered the release of 78 Indian fishermen held by the navy for allegedly poaching into Sri Lankan waters as a goodwill gesture to mark the joint session of the Indian Parliament.

The decision came a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a "permanent solution" to the thorny issue.

Rajapaksa tweeted: "On the occasion of the 1st joint sitting of Indian Parliament, I have instructed officials to release the 78 Indian fishermen in SL custody."

'Sri Lanka has no faith in international probe'

Mahinda RajapaksaColombo, April 13 - The Sri Lankan government Saturday said it has no faith in an international investigation into the alleged human rights abuses occurred during the civil war in the country.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy on human rights and Government Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that Sri Lanka feels an international investigation will lack credibility and will not be independent, Xinhua reported.

Samarasinghe was speaking to reporters after meeting some of the island's leading Buddhist monks and briefing them on the latest developments in the country.

Sri Lanka refuses to cooperate with international probe

G L PeirisColombo, April 8 - The Sri Lankan government Monday refused to cooperate with an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the country.

External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris said the government will not allow international investigators to visit Sri Lanka to conduct a probe, Xinhua reported.

Peiris told reporters in Colombo that an international investigation cannot take place on Sri Lankan soil without the cooperation of the government.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva had recently passed a resolution calling for an international investigation into the war in Sri Lanka.

Jayawardene refutes allegations of divulging T20 retirement plans to Indian media for 'financial gain'

mahela JayawardeneColombo, Mar 20 - Star Sri Lankan batsman and former captain Mahela Jayawardene has dismissed allegations against made him made by a Sri Lankan publication that he chose to announce his Twenty20 international retirement plans to an Indian newspaper as it would be more 'financially rewarding'.

An article, which appeared in Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper under the headline 'Sanga, Mahela betrayal shocks SLC', suggested that Jayawardene did not announce his retirement plans to their publication, when they had interviewed him just days prior to the eventual announcement.

Prince Charles invokes Nehru in CHOGM speech

Prince-CharlesColombo, Nov 15 : Invoking India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in his speech, Britain's Prince Charles appealed to the Commonwealth to intensify cooperation to resolve economic, social and environmental challenges at the grouping's summit here Friday.

"Sri Lanka was one of the founding countries of the modern Commonwealth. Historians of this family of nations will recall that, in the circumstances of that time, the Commonwealth showed an exceptional spirit of accommodation over how the organisation should be constituted," the Prince of Wales said.

Sri Lanka to sign $2 bn worth investment deals

Lakshman-Yapa-AbeywardenaColombo, Nov 14 : Sri Lanka is set to sign investment deals worth $2 billion on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit here Thursday, an official said.

Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told reporters that the deals would be signed with an Australian company and two Chinese companies, Xinhua reported.

China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) will sign preliminary agreements to build a port city redefining the shoreline of capital Colombo at an investment of $1.3 billion.

Sri Lankan economy grows

Sri Lankan economy growsColombo, Sep 14 - Sri Lanka's economy grew by 6.8 percent in the second quarter of 2013, improving from a 6 percent growth in the first quarter of the year, the state-run Census and Statistics Department said in its latest report.

However, the agriculture sector, which has the highest employment in the economy, recorded a negative 1.1 percent growth in the second quarter.

Industry and services sectors recorded 10.1 percent and 6.6 percent growth respectively in the same period, the department said.

China, Sri Lanka pledge to cement friendship

china-sri-lankaColombo, Sep 10 : China and Sri Lanka have agreed to boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation with Beijing encouraging its entrepreneurs to invest in Sri Lanka and to help deepen mutual exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism, media and other areas.

At a meeting here Monday between Sri Lankan Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and Liu Yunshan, senior leader of the Communist Party of China, both countries agreed to strengthen and promote bilateral friendship and cooperation.

Sri Lanka to revive cricket ties with Pakistan

Mahinda-RajapaksaColombo, Sep 4 : Sri Lanka has decided to resume playing cricket in Pakistan after a four year gap.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated this here Tuesday to Pakistani minister Ahsan Iqbal, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.

Rajapaksa said a Sri Lankan team will soon play in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka stopped sending its cricket team to Pakistan after the March 2009 terror attack on its squad in Lahore that injured six of its players and left six Pakistani policemen and two civilians dead.

UN human rights chief slams Sri Lankan ministers

Navi-PillayColombo, Aug 31 : UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay hit back at Sri Lankan government critics for calling her a tool of the Tamil Tigers at the conclusion of her mission in Colombo Saturday.

Pillay said the claims were both "wildly inaccurate" and "deeply offensive", Xinhua reported.

The UN envoy said the abuse against her on the basis of her Indian Tamil descent has reached an extraordinary crescendo during her visit to assess the country's human rights situation four years after the end of the war with separatist rebels.

Sri Lanka seeks equal treatment from UN

G-L-PeirisColombo, Aug 29 : Sri Lanka, under attack for human rights abuses, Thursday sought equal treatment from the UN for all countries.

External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris said there was a perception in Sri Lanka about the lack of objectivity and fairness in the treatment meted out to Colombo, reports Xinhua.

The minister said Sri Lanka accepts constructive and justified criticism but resents vicious and baseless positions.

He made the comments when he met visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the foreign ministry said.

South Korean PM begins Sri Lanka visit

Jung-Hong-wonColombo, Aug 28 : South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won arrived in Sri Lanka Wednesday for an official visit aimed at boosting relations and investment.

The three-day official visit Aug 28-30 will also see the prime minister visiting new areas of development in the island including a visit to the freshly expanded Colombo port, which is now the deepest harbour in South Asia, Xinhua reported citing a South Korean embassy statement.

This is the first official visit of a South Korean prime minister to Sri Lanka since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1977.

UN talks tough on reform in Sri Lanka

Navi-PillayColombo, Aug 26 : The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay began her visit to Sri Lanka, focusing on government progress on reforms pertaining to accountability, including pending court cases against former Tamil Tiger cadres, an official said Monday.

She discussed legal aspects of detainees, victim and witness protection, government inaction against the rise of religious hardliners, delays to introducing a right to information act and rolling back the contentious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Xinhua reported.

Sri Lanka to cooperate during Navi Pillay visit

Navi-PillayColombo, Aug 21 : The Sri Lankan government will place no restrictions on the forthcoming visit of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, a minister assured Wednesday.

Pillay, who is expected to arrive in the country Aug 25, will meet a range of government officials, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and is also scheduled to visit the former civil war-torn areas of Sri Lanka, Xinhua reported.

Rajapaksa mourns Indian flood deaths

Mahinda-RajapaksaColombo, June 21 : Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has mourned the large number of deaths and destruction to property in severe floods in northern India.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Rajapaksa expressed condolences on account of the unprecedented natural calamity, particularly in Uttarakhand.

"The people of Sri Lanka and I are deeply saddened by the loss of life and property ... in Uttarakhand as well as parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh," he said.

"We in Sri Lanka share the grief of the people of India at this time of grave distress.

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