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Happy feet

Daya Gunasekera leads the way on International Yoga Day at an introductory class by Indian Yogi Dr. Radha Reddy at the Thotupola Lakeside Resort in Piliyandala. Dr. Reddy is a strong advocate of yoga being introduced to schools in Sri Lanka. (See story inside). Pic by Indika Handuwala

Public debt and bonds out of Central Bank control

Public debt and bonds out of Central Bank control

Key functions of the Central Bank (CB) are to removed from the banking regulator under a proposal of the Ministry of Policy Development and Economic Affairs. The Department of Exchange Control, the Employees Provident Fund, the Staff Training College (based at Rajagiriya) and the Public Debt Department will come under independent agencies operating under the purview [...]

Ranatunga’s “yahapalana” recruitment drive

Recruitments to the public sector to any post, even a driver or a peon, goes through a process but for some ministers, ‘yahapalana’ means abusing the process.  Either the ministers are unaware of the rules or due to sheer arrogance of their powers believe that handing out jobs is a prerogative they have earned.  This [...]

Government negotiating with Iran Air to dispose of the 3 Airbus A350-900

The government met Iran Air management and Iran government officials on Thursday to renegotiate the orders for the three A350-900 aircraft ordered by the last regime, government sources, said.  One official said that Iran Air CEO and an Iranian Minister met with Deputy Minister Public Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne and other ministry officials to negotiate [...]

New annual company fees in 2016 Budget: Are they legal?

The government has begun enforcing a new annual company registration fee (ARL) of a minimum of Rs. 60,000 whose payment is due on or before July 1 but without the required law, raising questions as to whether this is a legal fee.  The new fee was introduced in the 2016 budget presented in November last [...]

Reddy Yoga lifts the spirits of a creaking body – briefly

Reddy Yoga lifts the spirits of a creaking body – briefly

YOGA-BY-THE-LAKE – As we lay contorted on the yoga mat with ageing limbs barely able to lift themselves off the floor, the thought flits through my mind that it would be good if the Sri Lankan government was to take up the advice of Dr. Radha Reddy, an advocate of the ancient art who believes [...]

Unwise about MICE

“MICE’ in the literal sense could mean something small if one talks about rats and mice and this, unfortunately, is how the political establishment seems to perceive MICE of different sorts – the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions or Events (MICE) industry.  MICE is a huge market as big as leisure travel with a larger budget [...]

Full liberalisation of the forex market

I wish to congratulate the Prime Minister for respecting public opinion and staying action on the supplementary vote for the purchase of luxury vehicles for ministers and deputy ministers to the tune of Rs. 1.175 billion, until reparation of disaster devastation is completed. But I would dare to go further and suggest that such extravagant [...]

Sri Lanka’s leading hotel group partners with Louis T Collection

Sri Lanka’s leading hotel group  partners with Louis T Collection

A powerful new hotel initiative that promises to stir up a new round of international enthusiasm for Sri Lanka is taking shape on one of Asia’s fastest-growing island destinations.  This month, the Galle Face Hotel Group and the Louis T Collection will come together in a strategic partnership that will link two complementary organizations — [...]

CAFFE petitions appeal Court: Disqualifiy Central Bank Governor

A petition was filed in Sri Lanka’s Appeal Court on Monday urging the judiciary to declare that Arjuna Mahendran is disqualified and not entitled to hold office as the Governor of the Central Bank, the court registrar’s office revealed.  It was filed through a counsel representing Executive Director of Campaigns for Free and Fair Elections [...]

Coconut growers concerned about palm oil imports

The recent seizure by Customs of a palm oil consignment over tax issues has triggered concerns among coconut growers in Sri Lanka that palm oil imports are seriously affecting the coconut industry and its pricing mechanism.  This week some officials of the Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka (CGASL) were busy in obtaining more details [...]

Private sector can play key role in SDGs, asserts Lankan economist at Oxford seminar

The private sector in the global south can play a key role in achieving the new global development goals, argued a Sri Lankan economist at an international seminar recently. Anushka Wijesinha, Chief Economist of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the annual seminar on ‘Advancing Good Governance in International Development’ held in Oxford, United [...]

Music, satire and street art – not an unholy combination – DW Forum

Music, satire and street art –  not an unholy combination – DW Forum

BONN – Satirists, pianists, street artists – an unlikely melting pot for a media gathering?  Not really … when the issue that binds them together with journalists and media is human rights, values and freedom.  Professionals representing a wide range of minds and different fields – with the link being rights – met on June [...]

Brothers-in-migration: Real-life prince and an Afghan journalist who hid in a coffin to sneak across borders

Brothers-in-migration: Real-life prince and an Afghan  journalist who hid in a coffin to sneak across borders

Sohrab Balkhi was a producer of a TV programme on social issues in Afghanistan when he ran afoul of the Taliban for his independent views, and voice of justice and liberty.  Threatened with death, he decided to leave the country in 2011 and sneaked across the borders of India, Africa, Turkey, Greek and finally Austria [...]

Call for new social media platform supported by media outlets

Call for new social media platform supported by media outlets

Hossein Derakshan is an Iranian journalist who spent six years in jail in Iran after creating the blogging revolution in the war-torn country. Speaking at one discussion titted “Post web journalism: how can the media survive the shift?” he argued that FB and Twitter have outlived their usefulness and urged media outlets to come together [...]

Flying robot ‘excites’ journalists at the Global media Forum

Mathew Waite waits for his audience as they troop and find places to sit inside the former parliamentary chamber in the city of Bonn. After a few introductory remarks, he picks up a miniature plane fitted with a camera, saying “I have permission to only allow the plane to go up and down (not forwards [...]

Sunday Times Business was an invitee

Criss-crossing several plenaries and smaller discussions over three days, Sunday Times Business Editor Feizal Samath found the conversations and debate on issues confronting the global media ‘engaging’ and similar to many situations back home.Invited by Deutsche Welle as part of the German Embassy in Colombo’s Visitor Programme, he was only Sri Lankan among 2000 participants [...]

Dangerous business of blogging in Bangladesh

Blogging is not only big business and a strong channel in the media but also attracts the dangers normally associated with traditional media – print, radio or television.  There was ample proof of this when three Bangladeshi bloggers, all living in exile, came together at the “Blogging – a high risk endeavour” session in one [...]

Sporting scandals, doping and remote prospects of Sri Lanka hosting the Olympics

Athlete Susanthika Jayasinghe wrote her name in the history books a few years ago when she won silver at the Olympic Games, the second Sri Lankan to achieve this honour.  If winning silver was a remote possibility, hosting the games one day in Sri Lanka is a distant but not impossible dream.  During a discussion [...]

Finance companies accuse CB officials of undue interference

Alleged undue interference by Central Bank (CB) officials into day-to-day operations of finance companies going beyond the bank’s authority has created a problematic situation in the country’s non banking financial institution (NBFI) sector, finance company CEO’s complained.  A group of finance company CEO’s told the Business Times that CB officials are interfering with the business [...]

Strategic Risk Solutions supports Cinnamon Lakeside

Strategic Risk Solutions supports Cinnamon Lakeside

Fire Emergency Readiness Strategic Risk Solutions, a premier enterprise risk management outfit in Sri Lanka, recently concluded the updated version of the Fire Emergency Response  (ERP) Manual for Cinnamon Lakeside – Colombo. Seen here is Damith Kurunduhewa – CEO of Strategic Risk Solutions presenting the manual to Dermot Gale – General Manager – Cinnamon Lakeside. [...]

Unilever project empowers rural women through entrepreneurship

A longstanding symbol of women’s empowerment in rural areas, Unilever Sri Lanka’s Project Saubhagya awarded its top performers at the Annual Diriya Pranama Awards held recently at the Cinnamon Lakeside. The awards celebrate the top 100 entrepreneurs of Unilever’s Saubhagya Channel across the island, according to a company media release.  Project Saubhagya is Unilever Sri [...]

Computers of local NGO accused in Bangladeshi bank hacking case come under forensic scrutiny

Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya on Wednesday ordered the Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology, Moratuwa University to analyse and report to the court the erased data of a computer and two mobile phones in connection with the illegal transfer of US$ 20 million to a NGO in Colombo after hacking the accounts of [...]

SL negotiating with Chinese Government to offset low rates on H’tota Port City loan

The Sri Lankan Government has invited the Chinese Government to develop the next phase of the Hambantota Port in an effort to set off some of the loans obtained from China, Minister of Ports and Shipping Industry Arjuna Ranatunga said.  “We have sent a proposal to them in this regard and the Chinese Government is [...]

NSB to go on a roadshow to pitch national carrier

The National Saving Bank (NSB), lead manager to Sri Lankan Airlines impending Request for Proposal (RFP) to select a partner to restructure the national carrier, is searching for an investment banker to assist its financial advisory, KPMG prepare this RFP.  Kabir Hashim, Minister Public Enterprise Development told the Business Times that along with the RFP [...]

Korean government funding for digitisation of SL’s land bank

The proposed digitalisation of the land bank proposed by the Lands Ministry is to be funded by the Korean government, a top official said.  ”There’s a proposal to digitise all lands and it’s a Korean government funded project,” a Ministry of Lands official told the Business Times. He said that a team from the Ministry [...]

RPCs propose Rs.35 per kg for plantations in new model

Sri Lanka’s Planters Association (PA) during a meeting with estate sector trade unions on Wednesday has proposed to offer Rs.35 per kg to encourage pluckers to increase productivity on the tea plantations.  This came about since the Collective Bargaining agreement has been hanging in the balance for over one year since the tea estate owners [...]

Sri Lanka goes ahead with foreign exchange market liberalisation

Sri Lanka has initiated the process of repealing the draconian Exchange Control Act and replacing it with an Exchange Management Act to liberalise the foreign exchange market.  This was revealed at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) meeting held in Colombo recently.  Following the enactment of this bill, foreign investors will be allowed to [...]

SL Government can do more to support start-ups

Increasing attention on start-ups in Sri Lanka is drawn to highlighting government policies which are acting as deterrents to setting up and operating businesses in the country.  Corporate law expert and partner at Nithya Partners Arittha Wikramanayake emphasized the importance of creating an eco-system for start-ups.  ”Start-ups are key to economic diversification and growth of [...]

Ice, ice baby – a cool idea calls for a Quickee

Ice, ice baby – a cool idea calls for a Quickee

Some of the best ideas happen when you are having a strong drink – and run out of ice.  Ashan Whittall and Mariam Moosa, husband and wife now, but courting couple three years ago when this lightbulb moment occurred, were drinking on the balcony of their home in Rajagiriya with a friend when the ice [...]

‘LookApp’, a new innovation location based mobile app opens up online business platform

‘LookApp’, a new innovation location based mobile app opens up online business platform

Start-up mobile app ‘LookApp’ has come up with a new innovation of doing business online from wherever you are in the local market. This location based app is designed to buy and sell brand new as well as used items from the location where the mobile phone is.  This start-up app was set up by [...]

Taken for a ride by ‘Taxi Karaya’ Zulfer

Taken for a ride by  ‘Taxi Karaya’ Zulfer

A few decades ago the late Baila maestro MS Fernando tried to raise the self-esteem of the ‘Taxi Karaya’ with his lilting song of the same title but his efforts did not meet with all that much success. Today, Jiffry Zulfer is trying the same feat, not by making a song and dance about it, [...]

Start-Ups underwater and other highlights

Start-Ups underwater and other highlights

This week in start-up news we’ll cover how start-ups responded to Sri Lanka’s recent floods, a new start-up competition with 3 million in prize money, and some interesting news from around the world. During our recent floods, many start-ups helped out. These included PickMe, ReadMe, Roar, Takas, and YAMU (where I work).  PickMe – a taxi [...]

Underwater and aerial robotics feature at Sri Lanka’s first Robotics Meetup

Sri Lanka’s first-ever Robotics Meetup was held at VirtusaPolaris Colombo recently focusing on the topic of cutting edge Robotics and IoT technologies. The event was co-organized by the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Sri Lanka Section Chapter, in partnership with the IEEE Sri Lanka Section. VirtusaPolaris was the exclusive sponsor, co-organizer and the event host, [...]

“John Keells X”: Open innovation challenge of John Keells Group

“John Keells X” is a 4-month open innovation challenge organized by John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), aimed at galvanising the creative and intellectual talent of the public, in a competition format. This challenge is open to any individual or team that wishes to present world-class disruptive innovative ideas and will stand the chance of winning [...]

State hotel institute earmarks plans, ups intake

State hotel institute  earmarks plans, ups intake

The government this year is targeting over 180,000 jobs in the tourism industry with a new skills training programme that has commenced alongside opening five more hotel schools around the country.  Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) Chairman Sunil Dissanayaka in an interview with the Business Times recently said that they have [...]

Indo-Lanka business talk on linking tourism ties

A delegation of Indian tour operators and its Tourism Ministry representatives will this week hold discussions in Sri Lanka in promoting the two destinations between them through joint collaboration.  Scheduled to arrive in the country on Thursday the delegation would meet their counterparts from the industry and the government providing an opportunity for the local [...]

New regulations force classification of registered hotels

An industry requirement to ensure that all Sri Lankan registered hotels in the country are classified became mandatory from May 20 this year. Issuing an Extraordinary Gazette No. 1963/28 on April 20 the government has stated that a tourist hotel upon registration should obtain classification from the Director General of the Sir Lanka Tourism Development [...]

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