Monthly Archives: January 2015

Top American Diplomat to Travel to Sri Lanka Next Week


WASHINGTON: A top American diplomat travelling to Sri Lanka next week to hold talks with the new government there, an official announcement said.

The Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal will travel to Colombo from February 2 to 3.

She would be joined by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Atul Keshap.

During the two-day visit, Biswal will review bilateral and regional issues with the new Sri Lankan government, civil society and religious leaders, and other officials.

This will be the first visit to Sri Lanka by a senior State Department official since national elections were held earlier this month, the State Department said in a statement yesterday.


Sri Lankan Passport holders can travel to 39+ countries without Visa

Based on Henley Visa Restrictions Index which ranks countries according to the travel privilege their citizen enjoy,  Sri Lankan citizens can visit  about 39 countries and territories without any prior visa plans or arrangements. Visa requirements for Sri Lanka nationals are administrative entry restrictions placed on citizens of Sri Lanka by the authorities of other states so this means that the they either enter those 39 countries without visa or get visa on arrival.

Sri  Lanka ranked 88th most valuable passport in the world. 

Below are over 39 countries Sri Lankans can visit without visa

Bahamas: Visa not required – 3 months.

Barbados: Visa not require – 6 months

Bolivia: Visa on arrival – 90 days.

Burundi: Visa on arrival – 30 days; obtainable at Bujumbura International Airport.

Cape Verde: Visa on arrival.

China: 30 days VISA on arrival for Official Passport holders.

Comoros: Visa on arrival.

Djibouti: Visa on arrival.

Dominica: Visa not required – 6 months.

Ecuador: Visa not required – 90 days.

Gambia: Visa not required – Entry clearance required.

Grenada: Visa not required – 3 months.

Guinea-Bissau: Visa on arrival – 90 days.

Haiti : Visa not required – 90 days.

Iran: Visa not required – 1 month.

Malawi: Visa not required – 30 days.

Saint Kitts and Nevis: Visa not required

Singapore: Visa not required – 30 days.

Vanuatu: Visa not required – 30 days

Ireland: Visa required  – Visa is issued free of charge.

Kenya: Visa on arrival – 3 months.

Madagascar: Visa on arrival – 90 days.

Maldives: Visa on arrival – 30 days.

Mauritania: Visa on arrival.

Nauru: Visa on arrival.

Nepal: Visa on arrival – 90 days.

Palau: Visa on arrival – 30 days.

Rwanda: Visa required – Visa is obtained online.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Visa not required – 1 month

Samoa: Entry Permit on arrival – 60 days

São Tomé and Príncipe: Visa required – Visa is obtained online.

Serbia: Visa required -Visa free for a maximum stay of 90 days for valid visa holders or residents of the European Union member states and the United States.

Seychelles: Visitor’s Permit on arrival – 1 month.

Solomon Islands: Visa required.

Somalia: Visa required – 30 days visa on arrival, provided an invitation letter issued by the sponsor has been submitted to the Airport Immigration Department at least 2 days before arrival.

Timor-Leste: Visa on arrival – 30 days

Togo: Visa on arrival – 7 days

Tuvalu: Visa on arrival – 1 month

Uganda: Visa on arrival – 3 months

United Kingdom: excluding some Overseas territories Visa required.

Vietnam: Visa required – Prearranged visa obtained online through travel agencies available at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang airports.

Phú Quốc: Without a visa for up to – 30 days.

Micronesia: Visa not required – 30 days.

Mozambique: Visa on arrival – 30 days. 

Myanmar: eVisa – 28 days. eVisa holders must arrive via Yangon International Airport.

Visa requirements for Sri Lankan citizens – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sripavan Second Tamil to Become Lankan Chief Justice


COLOMBO:Justice Kanakasabapathi Sripavan will be the second Tamil to be Chief Justice of the Sri Lankan Supreme Court when he takes over on Friday following the retirement of Shirani Bandaranayake.

The first Tamil to hold the highest judicial post in Sri Lanka was Suppiah Sharvananda, who served between 1984 and 1988.

Born in 1952, Sripavan was educated at the Jaffna Hindu College and the Law College in Colombo. After a short stint at the private bar in the late 1970s, he joined the Attorney General’s Office as a government counsel. He rose to be Deputy Solicitor General before he was appointed a judge in the Court of Appeal. He was party to many landmark judgments when he was raised to the Supreme Court.

As the then Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris, was due for removal on the grounds that his appointment was illegal, Sri Lanka’s new President, Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, chose to be sworn in by Justice Sripavan rather than CJ Mohan Peiris. At any rate, Sripavan was the senior most Supreme Court judge.

Bandaranayake Retires

Sripvan’s predecessor, Shirani Bandaranayake, had assumed office on Wednesday following her re-instatement through a Presidential order sacking Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. However, on re-instatement, she said that she would put in her papers for immediate retirement. According to her attorney, K.Neelakandan, she was not interested in the office but only wanted justice to be done to her, and that was done when she was reinstated.

UNP’s Reservations

However, political sources said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his United National Party (UNP) did not want Bandaranayake to continue as Chief Justice because she had earlier ruled that the draconian 18 th.Amendment introduced by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in accordance with the constitution.

The 18 th.Amendment had repealed the 17 th. Amendment to abolish the Independent Commissions and to lift the cap on the number of terms a President could seek. The 17 th.Amendment, which had set up Independent Commissions, was the brainchild of the UNP.

The 18 th. Amendment was a blatant attempt to further beef up the already powerful Executive Presidency, an institution which the UNP had been wanting to abolish or drastically prune.

Despite the ire against Bandaranayake’s ruling on the 18 th. Amendment, the UNP was committed to reinstating her to prove that it is against arbitrary and capricious removal of judges bypassing the due process. Her reinstatement was put in the manifesto of the Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate, Maithripala Sirisena.


Sri Lanka All Set to Strengthen its Relations With India, China


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s newly-elected government Thursday said it would further strengthen its ties with China and India in order to develop the island nation and make the country free from corruption.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that as the government’s objective was to take their prevailing relationship with India and China to “higher levels”, it would also make use of these relationship for the development of the country.

“Similar to the steps being taken by the leaders of these two countries, the Sri Lankan government will also make every effort to make Sri Lanka a country devoid of corruption,” Xinhua news agency quoted the minister as saying.

The minister held talks with Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha and Chinese Ambassador Wu Jinhao in Colombo Tuesday evening during which a wide rang of issues among the countries were discussed.

The meetings were held after Maithripala Sirisena won the Jan 8 presidential elections in the island nation.


ISIS threatens to behead Obama in White House, turn US into Islamic province


The video, which shows a ISIS fighter clad in black uniform beheading a Kurdish soldier, threatens to behead the US president inside the White House. In its latest video, ISIS has threatened to behead Barack Obama and convert US into a Muslim province.

“This is the fate of anyone who opposes Islam. Know, oh Obama, that we will reach America. Know also that we will cut off your head in the White House and transform America into a Muslim province,” the ISIS fighter in the video said.

The video, which shows a ISIS fighter clad in black uniform beheading a Kurdish soldier, threatens to behead the US president inside the White House. The video was discovered by Memri TV which translated it from Arabic.

“Every time you launch a missile, we will send you back the head of one of your soldiers”, the militant warns the Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barazani who is currently leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Apart from US, the video, titled “Bombardment of Peaceful Muslims in the City of Mosul,” also threatens attacks in France and Belgium.

The video emerged two days after Kurdish fighters expelled ISIS from the strategic Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border after months of fierce fighting.

Inbox IT

YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default


YouTube announced that its Web video player will now default to HTML5 over Adobe Flash to add more flexibility for developers, bloggers and consumers.

The team wrote that it waited on switching to HTML5 players due to numerous technical issues. For example, HTML5 previously lacked support for Adaptive Bitrate (ABR), which helps reduce buffering.

With ABR support, YouTube says it is able to use MediaSource Extensions to run smooth live streams on a variety of devices, including the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Chromecast and most popular Web browsers such as Chrome, Safari 8 and IE 11.


Best Book To Film Adaptations of 2014

It is hard to compare the book to film adaptations, but watching them is one of the first things in our wish list. If we take a look at 2014-15 Hollywood releases, there have been many movies which have been adapted from best selling novels.

From the critically acclaimed Gone Girl to the much awaited release, Fifty Shades of Grey, some of the biggest bestsellers are coming on the big screen. Not all book to film adaptations turn out to be good, but we have picked up some which have got accolades and nominations as well.

For example, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl adaptation has got mixed reviews as many feel that the book was much better. However, the gripping performance by Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne has got her an Oscar nod for Best Actress category.

Some other book to film adaptations in 2014 includes The Fault in our Stars, Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1, The Maze Runner, The Hundred-Foot Journey and many more. Yes, we are talking about the hit adaptations.

Now the wait is not over as 2015 is also loaded with some of the bestselling novels to film adaptations. From Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places to the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey, we have it all in store for you.

Here is a look at the best book to film adaptations of 2014.

Like the novel by John Green, the movie also made us love and cry. The Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort stars in the lead roles.

This is another bestseller book by by James Dashner to film adaptation of 2014 starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario.

The third installment from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins has been one of the best book to film adaptations of the Twilight saga, Mockingjay is divided into 2 parts, the second one will release this year.

The movie is adapted by the novel of the same name by Richard C. Morais. The Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake produced movie stars Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal and Om Puri.

This is Thomas Pynchon’s first book which has been adapted into a movie. Interestingly, Inherent Vice also made it to the scars this year and surprised everyone with the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel’s film adaptation has got mixed response with majority saying that the book is much better than the movie. However, Rosamund Pike has got an Oscar nod for Best Actress.

Veronica Roth debut book from the trilogy is another nice adaptation which stars Shailene Woodley.

The Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper starrer adaptation from the novel of the same name by Ron Rash is a nice watch.

The film is an adaptation from the novel of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The nail biting thriller stars Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role.

Cheryl Strayed has detailed her physical and emotional journey along the Pacific Coast Trail after facing lots of troubles in her life. The lead role has been played by Oscar nominated Reese Witherspoon.

The book which is adapted to The Imitation Game tells the story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who helped crack Nazi codes for the Allies during World War II. The Imitation Game has got 8 Oscar nominations.

The Chris Kyle’s autobiography stars Bradley Cooper who is nominated at the upcoming Oscars for Best Actor.


How to Handle Losing a Major Client

You never want to receive an unexpected email from a very important client that reads “I need to talk to you at 2:30 today.” Particularly if he’s never sent you anything like that before. But one morning last month, that was the message that landed in my inbox. My heartbeat quickening, I replied, “Of course, I’ll be here.”

In my profession, investment management, we are judged on one of two metrics: performance and professionalism. As CEO, I am our firm’s toughest critic, but I know from examining published data from my peers that our performance has been very competitive. I also think we’re very professional – as far as I knew, we had never been anything but prepared, polite, respectful of, and accessible to this client.

Still, I found myself wondering: had we been lacking somewhere? Now, I had four hours to wait until 2:30, and despite my partners’ assurance that this would be about wiring some money for last-minute needs (a new house?), I didn’t like the smell of it.

In my purgatory hours, I reviewed the client’s holdings, their performance, our previous correspondence, and notes from our meetings; I found nothing alarming, but nothing particularly calming either. The phone rang at exactly 2:30. Stephen, the agent for an extremely wealthy family that hired us to manage a portion of their money, got straight to the point. It took less than a minute for him to fire us from the account, very matter-of-factly, with little attempt to acknowledge the eight-year relationship that had seemed (we thought, obviously, in error) to be very positive. Stephen explained that they had hired another manager with a very strong track record who required a high minimum investment; they were redeeming from several other managers to meet that threshold.

Stephen ended with a description of how he would email me the specific transfer instructions for the assets. We said goodbye, I hung up the phone, and then stared into space for a few minutes. By the time I looked at my screen, the transfer information was already there. I walked out of my office to share the news with my partners.

In the weeks since, I’ve thought a lot about what we could have done to keep this client, and how to respond when a client leaves.

I started by asking the client who they were doing business with instead – I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask. However, despite asking Stephen for details on the family’s new investment manager, but he wouldn’t tell me. Because our conversation was so short, I don’t know for sure why this client left. But my guess is that we hadn’t fully understood their expectations – or that the client’s expectations had changed.

Then I asked myself: did I really understand what the client wanted? What did this customer really desire if it wasn’t steady performance returns? Of course, I can only speculate, but one guess is that we were not “sexy” enough. It kills me to say that, because I hate being typecast as the opposite: “stodgy.” I would rather be Hermes than Gaultier. But in my industry, the “sexy” managers are the guys (no offense to my male-dominated industry, but they are almost always guys) whom people talk about at Soho cocktail parties and the investment meetings of non-profit boards. They invite clients to their skyboxes at NFL games and promise huge returns – and high risks.

This led to my next question: could my firm actually deliver what the client wanted? We’re a relatively small firm; we don’t speak at huge institutional gatherings, don’t do a lot of marketing, and don’t have a huge wining-and-dining budget. Our growth comes entirely from on word-of-mouth and referrals. I now found myself wondering if we should have tried to cultivate a different image that would have better met this client’s expectations. But I don’t think so. We have a solid presence in our market segment. Changing the way we do business could alienate our other clients.

Finally, I took stock of the damage done by losing this client. While losing this relationship did hurt, because the absolute dollars were large, the percent of total revenue it represented was relatively small. If the market we serve suddenly began to crave only the hot new manager, of course we would need to address that shift in taste, and try to publicize our strengths more actively. But it wasn’t worth beating ourselves up about falling short of one client’s expectations.

Don’t kid yourself; I hate losing any business and would love to be the dream advisor for every major client out there. But if you do lose a big account:

Ask the client why, and who they’re doing business with now;

Ask yourself whether you understood their expectations, and if not, whether this was preventable;

Evaluate whether your firm could or should even try to meet their expectations;

And ask yourself if this is part of a larger pattern, or just an isolated incident.

If it’s only one unhappy client, and you like your market niche and feel you’re meeting the goals of the vast majority of your clients – well, tell yourself you were lucky to have had the business “temporarily.” Losing a big client is never fun, and much less than ideal for your bottom line, but it’s as much a part of business as landing a dream account. And it’s sometimes the fallout of staying true to your style and strengths.


Sri Lanka reinstates Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake


Sri Lanka’s new president has reinstated the former chief justice two years after she was sacked by his predecessor over corruption claims.

A smiling Shirani Bandaranayake returned to the Supreme Court to be given flowers by her supporters.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s office called her removal a “procedural” error. She always denied corruption.

However, her return is thought only temporary as reports say she is to retire now her name has been cleared.

The former attorney-general who was put in to replace her, Mohan Peiris, has been asked to leave.

“The chief justice was restored and the imposter was asked to go,” said an official quoted by AFP news agency.

Ms Bandaranayake had corruption charges levelled against her by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa after some of her legal rulings went against his government.

She was removed in January 2013 after being impeached on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee dominated by Mr Rajapaksa’s supporters.

The UN’s Human Rights Council said the sacking was an assault on judicial independence.

Mr Sirisena had vowed in his manifesto to restore Ms Bandaranayake. He dramatically defeated Mr Rajapaksa in presidential elections on 8 January.

But in a surprise move, the Bar Association said Ms Bandaranayake would only return as top judge for a day or so as her aim was to clear her name and then retire, reports the BBC’s former Sri Lanka correspondent Charles Haviland.

Sri Lanka To Have Two CJs This Evening!


Highly placed government sources told Asian Mirror that impeached Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is to take oaths as the Chief Justice this evening.

If Mohan Peiris, the sitting Chief Justice, does not leave office before Shirani Bandaranayake’s reinstatement, the country will have two Chief justices – an unprecedented situation in the country’s legal history.

Sources from the President’s office, on Wednesday, told Asian Mirror that the President was exploring the possibility of issuing ‘marching orders’ to the sitting CJ on the grounds that the impeachment process of the ousted CJ was flawed. The President and the Cabinet of ministers have already acknowledged that the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake was flawed and therefore ‘illegal”.

Meanwhile, there were rumours floating around on Wednesday morning that the Chief Justice 44 had left his office due to mounting pressure by lawyers and civil society. This was flatly denied by Wijeratne kodippili, de facto spokesperson of CJ Mohan Peiris, a short while ago. 

However, according to top legal experts who spoke to Asian Mirror on Wednesday on conditions of anonymity, issuing ‘marching orders’ is not an acceptable and democratic way of ousting a Chief Justice.

On the other hand, it also gives rise to a question on the validity of judgments given by Mohan Peiris, who is the sitting chief Justice.

A senior Cabinet Minister said the sitting CJ’s judgments could be validated by Parliament, through a simple majority, despite his “illegal” and “flawed” appointment. “The legislature always stays above the judiciary and that has been affirmed a few times in the country’s legal system,” he added.

Be that as it may, the entire process however will set a bad precedence to the country in terms of ousting judges at the discretion of governments that come to power. 

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