Archive | August, 2013


UN-HR Commissioner Navi Pillay not happy with local media, ministers, bloggers and other propogandists

Posted on 31 August 2013 by admin


The Colombo Gazette reports that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is not pleased with what she termed was “deeply offensive” comments made about her just before and during her visit Sri Lanka. Addressing the media at the end of her week long visit to Sri Lanka, Pillay said that some local media, ministers, bloggers and various propagandists in Sri Lanka have, for several years now, on the basis of her Indian Tamil heritage, described her as a tool of the LTTE.

“They have claimed I was in their pay, the Tamil Tigress in the UN. This is not only wildly incorrect, it is deeply offensive. This type of abuse has reached an extraordinary crescendo during this past week, with at least three Government Ministers joining in,” she said. Ms. Pillay however noted that Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa had apologized over the comments made by some of the Ministers. Pillay also rejected the allegations that the UN was biased.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa met visiting Human Rights Commissioner for the United Nations on Friday, August 30, the government information department said.

Following is the press release issued by Presidential media unit

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navanethem Pillay, when she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this afternoon, acknowledged the post-war progress that has been made in Sri Lanka.

“This is a visit long overdue, but I felt that it’s much better that I come so that I’ll be in a position to report on the very many achievements that have been made,” Ms. Pillay said. “Firstly, it was very very visible to me in the North how much you have invested in reconstruction.”

Speaking about implementing the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the High Commissioner said she was very pleased about the establishment of a commission to look into war-time disappearances.

The President and the High Commissioner also spoke about reports that depicted Sri Lanka as a country of religious intolerance, with Ms. Pillay saying she was surprised since Sri Lanka is generally known to have a culture of tolerance. President Rajapaksa described that these have been isolated incidents and that the majority of Sri Lankans continue to coexist peacefully in all parts of the island.

Ms. Pillay also said there has been “good cooperation” between her office and the Sri Lankan government in facilitating her visit and that she had received comprehensive briefings at all her meetings.

President Rajapaksa told Ms. Pillay that there is a belief among many Sri Lankans that the United Nations is biased in the way it deals with countries, and he said he urged those who voiced these concerns to him not to prejudge the report Ms. Pillay is due to issue.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Karunatilaka Amunugama, Head of Mission of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva Mr. Ravinatha Aryasinha and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne also joined the discussion.

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Cinnamon Lakeside gets “Green Globe” certification

Posted on 31 August 2013 by admin

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, in a recordbreaking feat, was presented Green Globe recertification for the fourth consecutive year. The locally and internationally awarded hotel remains the only one in Sri Lanka to be thus recertified by the premier international sustainability body.

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo has continued to grow as a beacon amongst Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, managed by John Keells group, the country’s premier conglomerate. Yearafter-year, the hotel has continuously been recognized for its initiatives to save energy and water resources, reduce operational costs, positively contribute to local communities and its environment whilst meeting the high expectations of green leisure and business travelers. The hotel’s continued efforts demonstrate its sustainable green commitments, in keeping with the John Keells Leisure sector pledge ‘I will be Green’.

Green Globe is the global travel and tourism industries’ certification programme for sustainable tourism. The Green Globe standard is a structured assessment of the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses and their supply chain partners. Businesses can monitor improvements and document achievements leading to certification of their enterprises’ sustainable operation and management.

In 2010, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo became the first Green Globe certified city hotel in Sri Lanka when evaluated on 248 Green Globe standards. In 2011, Green Globe standards were increased to 336 under four main categories. The hotel succeeded in all 39 subcategories broadly classified under the main categories – Sustainable Management, Social/ Economic, Cultural Heritage and Environment. To achieve certification for the third year, the hotel demonstrated 5 percent growth on the standards compared to 2011.

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23rd FACETS Sri Lanka 2013

Posted on 30 August 2013 by admin

Sri Lanka 2013, the international gem and jewellery exhibition organised by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) for the 23rd year was declared open by Chief Guest Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama – Minister of International Monetary Corporation and Deputy Minister of Finance & Planning and Guest of Honor Mr. Ruben Bindra from USA. The event will be held from 29th August to 1st September at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre with over 150 stall holders including individual exhibitor pavilions from Myanmar, The National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) and a SME pavilion from the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). In addition, buyer delegations from USA, China, Russia, Thailand, Iran and India also took part this year. Stall holders from Singapore, Dubai, Myanmar and India participated at the event too.

Held annually in Colombo since 1991 with state and private sector patronage, FACETS Sri Lanka 2013, the 23rd International Gem & Jewellery Show will have hundreds of local and foreign exhibitors showcasing their gem and jewellery products and a large number of influential trade visitors from around the world visiting FACETS Sri Lanka 2013 which promises to be "Bigger & Better" than ever before.

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Dy. Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto H.M.B. Herath accorded historic farewell by Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

Deputy Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto, H.M.B. Herath was accorded a historic farewell on August 22nd at the prestigious Richmond Hill Country Club. The senior diplomat completed his 3-year term in office in Toronto, and was on an extension of six months. Mr. Herath will be taking up duties next month as Consul General for Sri Lanka in Karachi, Pakistan and hope to leave for his new station directly from Toronto. Due to this development, the two bilateral business councils based in Toronto promoting trade and investment for Sri Lanka and Pakistan joined hands and accorded a joint farewell to Mr. Herath. Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council headed by Upali Obeyesekere and Canada-Pakistan Business Council headed by Samir Dossal were instrumental in planning the logistics for this event. This is the first time in the history of both councils that such an event has been organized jointly and augurs well for Sri Lanka/Pakistan commercial relations. Members of both councils were invited for the farewell luncheon that was attended by the two Consuls General for Sri Lanka (Karunarathna Paranawithana) and Pakistan (Mohammad Nafees Zakaria).


The group photo on top captures the attendees at the farewell lunch while the photo here features from L to R: H.M.B. Herath (Deputy Consul General, Sri Lanka), Samir Dossal (President, C-PBC), Karu Paranawithana (Consul General for Sri Lanka), Mohammad Nafees Zakaria (Consul General for Pakistan), Upali Obeyesekere (President, CSLBC) and Asghar Ali Golo (Deputy Consul General, Pakistan).

Bilateral trade which includes Imports/Exports and balance of trade both have improved steadily in the last few years and the outgoing diplomat H.M.B. Herath has been directly responsible for this upward trend. An experienced officer, he is credited for the increase in imports from Sri Lanka to Canada specially in Tea, Rubber and Allied Products. During his three-and-a-half years in Toronto, Herath also organized two trade mission to Sri Lanka and hosted the same number of incoming missions to Canada. All in all, a job well done. His new posting will offer fresh challenges as the balance of trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is much higher than that of Canada and Sri Lanka. In Toronto, the Deputy Consul General post includes duties relating to Trade and Economic matters. Prior to his stint in Toronto, Herath served as Sri Lanka Trade Commissioner (Minister Counsellor) for 4-years in London, England and 6-years in the same post promoting trade and investment in Chennai, India. Mr. Herath has had the pleasure serving under Sri Lanka High Commissioner H.E. (Mrs.) Chitranganee Wagiswara twice – once in London, England and more recently in Canada.


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World Bank sees high potential in Sri Lanka

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

The World Bank's new country director assigned to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Francoise Clottes, said she sees “high potential” in Sri Lanka. Clottes made this observation when she met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees.

Clottes also said that the government has put in place some ambitious goals, but what “is more remarkable is that (work on those objectives) is well under way,” and the World Bank's role in the country now is “more about how we can help more.”

President Rajapaksa advised Clottes to visit rural parts of the country to get a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of Sri Lanka.

The President also said that speaking directly with the people will be the best way to understand the actual ground situation.

Telling President Rajapaksa that she feels “privileged to be placed in Sri Lanka,” Clottes said that the World Bank remains fully-aligned with the government's vision for the country. “The country is unique. The country has assets,” Clottes said, describing how, unlike many other countries, Sri Lanka does not have to struggle to establish an identity. Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera also joined the meeting. 


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CHOGM, an ideal forum to promote country’s image globally – Minister Sarath Amunugama

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin


The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) would be the ideal forum to promote the country's image globally and dispel any misconceptions about the country internationally, Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation and Finance and Planning Deputy Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said.

"This prestigious event presents Sri Lanka a valuable opportunity to promote and reposition the country as a strategically important economic centre of the word," the Senior Minister said.

Dr. Amunugama was commenting on the benefits the country can derive from hosting the CHOGM 2013.

He said Sri Lanka will be able to present its case of political stability and tranquility as part of the process against all kinds of misinformation that has been spread by some elements looking to achieve their partisan objectives and aims by discrediting the country with false propaganda.

He said world leaders and other delegates who visit Sri Lanka for the CHOGM could see for themselves the prevailing peaceful situation in Sri Lanka.

Dr.Amunugama noted that authorities will also use the opportunity to enlighten the international community about the investment potentials in Sri Lanka and to showcase the socio – economic developments achieved by the country in the post conflict period.

While noting that Sri Lanka is privileged to hold the summit this year, Dr.Amunugama said, this is the first time an Asian country is hosting this in 24 years.

Assumption of Commonwealth leadership by Sri Lanka is going to put the country on the world stage," he pointed out.



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New IDs for Senior Citizens in Sri Lanka

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin


The Social Service Ministry has taken measures to issue new identity cards for senior citizens.

“This new identity card will be produced using modern technology and would include personal details of the person, blood group, bank account numbers etc. Health problems of the individual concerned,” ministry sources said. According to sources, senior citizens will be able to get special benefits using this new identity card. A 5 percent discount will be provided by all SPC outlets for those in possession of this identity card.

This identity card will also be valid for voting. Apart from that, all government institutions will give priority for elders having this identity card. According to the present statistics, there are over 2.2 elders in Sri Lanka. Of them, more than 11,753 elders have previously issued elder’s identity cards.

These identity cards are issued under a concept of Social Service Minister Felix Perera. The minister has also decided to provide these identity cards for all senior citizens above age 60. These identity cards will also be issued through Divisional Secretariats on the the recommendations of the Grama Niladari. 


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News Release: Increasing Support for People on Social Assistance

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin



August 29, 2013

Ontario Improving Supports and Employment Opportunities for Vulnerable Families

Ontario is increasing support and removing barriers to finding work for people receiving social assistance.

Beginning next month, a number of changes announced in the province's 2013 Budget will be coming into effect. People with disabilities receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits will see an increase in rates by one per cent starting Sept. 1, 2013, and people receiving Ontario Works will see an increase of one per cent starting Oct. 1, 2013.

In addition, clients in both programs will be able to earn up to $200 per month through employment before their social assistance benefits are reduced. This change will encourage more clients to gain valuable work experience and will help increase their opportunities of finding full-time jobs, while improving the incomes of over 58,000 recipients who currently have employment earnings. To further improve financial independence for Ontario Works clients, the province is also increasing the amount of assets they are able to keep before they can get assistance, such as a car a client may need for getting to and from work.

Enhancing supports and removing barriers to employment for people who receive social assistance benefits is part of the government's plan to build a strong economy and help people in their everyday lives.








  • Single people supported by Ontario Works can now have up to $2,500 in assets without affecting their eligibility. Couples receiving Ontario Works can have up to $5,000 in assets.
  • As part of the changes, single adults without children receiving Ontario Works will receive a top-up of $14 a month, for a total increase of $20 a month to help individuals with the cost of food, clothing and other necessities.
  • Over 950,000 children in 510,000 families are benefiting from the Ontario Child Benefit. The benefit increased this July to a maximum annual payment of $1,210 for each child, and will increase to $1,310 in July 2014.













"We’re committed to helping more people find jobs and become more financially secure. These changes are part of our government’s vision for a prosperous and fair Ontario."
 — Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services


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Blue Ocean Group of Companies, Sri Lanka

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

 Building the Face of Future


The dynamic Blue Ocean Group of Companies, has evolved over the years to become a versatile conglomerate, and adopts an inspired namesake from the “Blue Ocean Concept”; one that describes growth and profit. With a diverse portfolio to its name that includes its flagship brand Blue Ocean Residencies, the Group takes bold strides as it strives to uphold a reputation of ethical, innovative and constructive practices not only in Sri Lanka but in the Asia Pacific region.

The Group’s Chairman S. Thumilan, with his own illustrious portfolio is instrumental in the Group’s extensive diversification into spheres that include Education, Engineering and Construction, Real estate, corporate consultancy, Trading, Electrical and Engineering consultancy. However, “to be the most respected, ethically sound and socially responsible company,” has been the base of all of the conglomerate’s many endeavours, explains S. Thumilan. Embracing the “Blue Ocean Strategy” that describes the generation of growth and profit through innovation, in a created and uncontested environment, the Group engages in its key markets in Asia Pacific, European, Middle East and East Asian regions. Specialising in construction and engineering and development, the BOI Approved Blue Ocean Residencies, is the flagship venture of the Group. Covering all aspects of construction, that include construction, design, real estate, facilities management and consultation, its services encompass an umbrella solution to contractors and customers. The company’s building construction services offer both construction and consulting solutions customised to cater to a range of requirements, including the construction of private houses.

“The sheer success of Blue Ocean Residencies is exclusively related with its breadth of services available for clients, under one roof. Because of its ubiquity, Blue Ocean Residencies is able to tailor its services to each and every specific client’s requirement, local and abroad, irrespective of location,” affirms Thumilan. The brand Blue Ocean Residencies is positioned as the “Smartest Investment to Secure Your Wealth”, which offers higher level of Return on Investment for Sri Lankan and overseas professionals who are looking to invest. It is a branded icon in the property market and it complies with regulations and provides approved plans designed by architects complete with modern amenities.

As such, the layouts are complete with spacious rooms, privacy in access, fresh air ventilation and circulation for a superior modern outlook. Furthermore, convenience is ensured with wide access roads without traffic congestion amidst perfect landmarks. The surroundings are of uncongested, secure residential living environments and the affordable monthly maintenance costs are an added benefit. Buyers are also guaranteed minimum return, property exchange, a flexible payback schedule and support in obtaining Bank Loans. The company’s services also include precise legal documents for the purchase and are assured on-time occupation.


Customers can rest assured with high-profile skilled personnel that form the team and represent the roles of Chartered Architects, Engineers, Accountants, Interior Designers and other industry professionals. Blue Ocean Residencies apartments have residential rooms that are aesthetically designed in an idyllic setting to deliver sophistication with elegance. The private balcony overlooking the sea and the city view accentuates the tranquility. Bedrooms merge luxurious and modern amenities, while entertainment is provided in a sophisticated cosmopolitan setting. Adding to convenience all properties are located right in the heart of Mount Lavinia at College Avenue, Templars Road and Samudra Mawatha and thus are intended for both residential and business purposes. While the apartments will be ready for occupation next year, apartments have already gained ownership by local and foreign clients. The company at present is in preparation to commence a similar undertaking in several other prominent locations next year as well. In the backdrop of a booming property market, Thumilan notes, “where owners now experience higher appreciation of property values, the credit is due to the Government for implementing favourable policies towards the growth of the economy and in turn increased demand for property.” Lower lending rates, low cost loans for property buyers, inflow of long-stay tourists including students, medical patients, industrial contractors and potential business initiators have greatly increased the demand for property, particularly with regards to apartments. “We are passionate about creating wealth for our customers through property. With enhanced rental income as well as appreciation in property value for owners, the policies also help long-stay foreigners to find affordable rental apartments,” says Thumilan.


One of the Company’s indispensable assets is its highly qualified and experienced human resources including Chartered Architects, Chartered Engineers, Chartered Accountants and other professionals in related fields who have garnered extensive exposure and industry experience locally and abroad. “In comparison with market standards our professionals are highly capable of contributing to real value, through their competency and experience” acknowledges Thumilan, while much emphasis is laid on the quality of work clients are further attracted by the sheer volume of work undertaken and delivered within a scheduled time-frame. Coupled with unconventional expert consultation services on property management, development schemes, real estate investment options and other related aspects Blue Ocean Residencies has gradually solidified its prominence in both local and international arenas.


Blue Ocean Residencies not only focuses on traditional construction but also endeavours to develop innovative services to enhance the value of the customer’s property and investment by creating opportunities for customers; for instance, the provision of Property Exchange facilities to prospective customers who are unable to afford liquid cash transaction. With this innovative programme the company purchases prospective customers’ existing island-wide properties in return for setting-off their asset values against the customers’ intended investment values with the company.


“The sheer success of Blue Ocean Residencies is exclusively related with its breadth of services that are available for clients under one roof. Because of its ubiquity, Blue Ocean Residencies is able to tailor its services to each and every specific client’s requirement local and abroad irrespective of the location.”


Through Sales and Repurchase Arrangements, the Group introduced an innovative method to the Sri Lankan market to enable property investors to earn a higher and more secure income with property security. It guarantees higher returns than traditional investment options such as depositing money in Financial Institutions that may discount due to inflation and market appreciation. It is the Company’s objective to make property investment a moveable liquid asset enabling investors to cash their properties at the prevailing appreciated market price whenever they wish to dispose their acquired properties. Lastly, through Real estate Advisory and Management, Blue Ocean Residencies provides realistic and accurate market researches and consultations for customers, guiding them to invest in ways they can receive high-yield returns. “We guide customers to the areas based on realistic researches where higher appreciation of land value and deed validity is highly probable. We also help them in arranging tenants, obtaining capital for purchasing lands and property assets and so on,” affirmed Thumilan.


Aside from Blue Ocean Residencies the Group has branched out extensively with a number of subsidiaries. To name a few of its vast portfolio; Knowledge Base Business Studies moulds successful leaders geared to take on the business world; Knowledge Base Associates is one of the leading providers of assurance, tax and financial advisory services through a knowledge-based approach.

 Blue Ocean Properties is mainly engaged in buying and selling of properties; Blue Ocean Investment opens up opportunities for investors in a lucrative Real Estate Market, and Global Arena focuses on import of high quality, aesthetic furniture from Malaysia, China and Singapore.


The Group’s KBBS – Knowledge Base Business Studies is a pioneer institute specialising in conducting classes for major professional accountancy bodies such as ACCA, CIMA, CA Sri Lanka and ICEAW and has produced many success stories in the history of accountancy profession in Sri Lanka by obtaining numerous prizes for the best performance in the professional accountancy courses. Since its inception, KBBS has nurtured many ACCA affiliates and also produced 16 subject prize winners in ACCA and CA Sri Lanka and has become a trusted institution in Sri Lanka with the reputation of grooming students into qualified accountants and accounting professionals who are well sought after by employers.


This exceptional performance can be directly attributed to KBBS and Sri Lanka’s seasoned panel of lecturers. “Our institute is formed by some of the leading lecturers in Sri Lanka whose sole motive is to create a revolution in the accountancy profession by producing accountants who are not only paper qualified but also have the ability to work in a dynamic and practical environment,” states Thumilan. KBBS continually aims to lay its prime focus on serving the community at large and delivers socially responsible and acceptable citizens to its stakeholders. The Group’s Knowledge Base Associates is one of the leading providers of Assurance, Tax and Financial Advisory Services through a knowledge-based approach.


The Group attributes its success to the solid strategic direction devised by qualified and experienced corporate planners and transparent professionalism. “As our customer base expands daily locally and globally we at Blue Ocean Group have a strong vision to be the most respected, ethically sound and socially responsible company and I trust this vision will prevail through our achievements, whilst we will also continue to focus on acquisitions and mergers as well as strategic partnerships as a part of the overall strategicintent,” states Thumilan.

Appointment: North American Agent, Blue Ocean Group of Companies, Sri Lanka

Blue Ocean Group of Companies have appointed well known businessman and President, Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council Upali Obeyesekere to promote sales and market their numerous property developments in Sri Lanka. All potential clients are kindly requested to contact Mr. Obeyesekere for pricing, and more details of the properties belonging to the Blue Ocean group.

Tel: 416-445-5390/416-418-2207










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Sri Lanka prepares for CHOGM – special media centre will function during sessions

Posted on 29 August 2013 by admin

Special CHOGM media centre in operation from November – Dr Herath

Around 1,000 local and foreign media personnel are expected at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Sri Lanka in November, Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary Dr. Charitha Herath said. He said a special Media Centre equipped with modern facilities for reporters covering CHOGM will be in operation from November 10 to 18 at the BMICH.

Dr. Herath said the Ministry has arranged facilities for 500 local media personnel and 500 foreign media personnel to cover the event. He said several hotels in Colombo and adjacent areas will be reserved as media hotels during the period the CHOGM is scheduled to be held.

Dr. Herath made these observations addressing a media seminar organised at the Government Information Department on Tuesnday to announce media arrangements for CHOGM.

He said it is for the first time after 24 years that the CHOGM is being held in an Asian country. Dr. Herath requested all local media personnel to work in unison to project the image of Sri Lanka making use of the higher recognition the country receives by hosting this event. He said hosting this kind of an international summit in Sri Lanka was only a dream about five years ago due to security issues.

He said CHOGM will carry the message to the world that Colombo is now a service oriented city always ready for any kind of international event.

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