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A leading Lankan philanthropist passes away

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Founder of Zam Gems, Z.A.M Reffai Hajiar passed away peacefully, on Saturday morning, August 7.

Zam Gems is synonymous with the very best of gemstones mined, in Sri Lanka, and is one of the leading exporters of precious stones and jewellery in the country. Zam Gems has enjoyed tremendous success for over 40 years since its incorporation, due to its commitment to sourcing a variety of the finest gemstones Sri Lanka has to offer and combining them with skilled artisan design and workmanship to create exquisite pieces of jewellery.

Zam Gems had very humble beginnings as a sole proprietorship in the 1970s, when Chairman Z.A.M Refai (or Zam, as he is known in the industry) started conducting business by visiting the hotel rooms of guests to Sri Lanka, who were interested in seeing and purchasing the famous Ceylonese gemstones they had heard much about. He eventually established himself by opening an outlet called ‘El Dorado’ at the Macan Markar arcade in Galle Face in 1972. This small boutique grew into Zam Gems with the opening of the Head Office showroom in Colombo in 1976. Refai had managed to win over many of the international guests with his fine gemstones as well as his exemplary reputation for honesty and business ethics, building an international network of business contacts and lifelong friends. This reputation in a trade built on the cornerstones of trust, honesty and relationships was instrumental in the rapid rise of Zam Gems.

Today, Zam Gems is a proudly recognised Ceylonese brand with a strong customer base from around the world, from gem connoisseurs and jewellery enthusiasts in Japan, China to the United States and Europe.

Marhoom Reffai had been a popular philanthropist who never said ‘no’ to any charitable activity.

His remains were moved to the Oddamavady burial grounds, in the east of Sri Lanka last Saturday.

Sri Lankan expatriates in the Gulf will remember the services rendered by his brother Engineer Aga Barie in constructing the first stormwater system for Saudi Arabia in the early eighties.

S.H. MOULANA



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Opinion

Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft

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The top of Nelum Kuluna (Lotus Tower) stands 350 above sea level in the heart of Colombo City, as the air navigators of old would say, sticking out like a ’sore thumb’. It has to be lit up in accordance with the Aircraft Obstacle Lighting recommendations contained in Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention originally signed by Ceylon in 1944.

A free-standing tower of that height is required by international law to be lit up not only at night with red lights, but also with high visibility white strobe lights during the day.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be on always during the day. The authorities concerned must realise that the strobe lighting during the day is not for beauty but for air safety, especially these days, when the air quality and visibility are low during the day.

Have those in charge of the tower been briefed properly on the legal requirement and the use of proper lighting? In case of an accident, this certainly will have implications on insurance claims.

I wonder whether the ‘Regulator’, Civil Aviation Authority Sri Lanka would like to comment.

If not rectified, it will be just a matter of time an aircraft will be impaled by the Nelum Kuluna.

I M Nervy (Aviator)

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Opinion

Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya

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If Sirisena had not been informed of the plans to explode bombs on 21st of April 2019, as he has claimed, shouldn’t he have taken immediate action to call for explanation from Nilantha Jayawardena, then head of State Intelligent Service (SIS), who had been notified several times about the impending attack by the Indian intelligence.

Sirisena and Jayawardena should be prosecuted for allowing a mass murder to take place. Further Sirisena should be made to explain his famous uttering, “I will reveal everything, if somebody tries to implicate me”.

Why did Gotabaya, who announced his candidature for presidency almost immediately after the Easter Sunday attack and promised to punish those who were involved in it, pay no attention to Nilantha Jayawardena’s failure in taking necessary action with regard to information he received, instead he was given a promotion?

President Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting with USAID Administrator Samantha Power on September 11, 2022 had said that Scotland Yard had been requested to review the reports and reach a final conclusion on claims that there was a hidden hand behind the bombings.

We do not need Scotland Yard, just get an honest set of Sri Lankan police officers to question Nilantha, Sirisena and Gotabaya to find the “hidden hand behind the bombings”

B Perera

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Opinion

Open letter to Sirisena

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Y you were in Singapore when the Easter Sunday attacks took place. You claimed that you had not been informed of the intelligence received by your intelligence officers. However, the Supreme Court has ordered you to pay Rs 100M as compensation to the victims of the terror attacks. The reasons for the decision are stated in the judgement.

Acting on a claim that there was a conspiracy to assassinate you and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya you caused the interdiction and arrest of DIG Nalaka Silva, who was held in custody without bail for a long time.

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission  of Inquiry, Silva said that he had been interdicted while plans were in place to arrest Zaharan.

Due to the arrest of DIG Silva, Zaharan escaped arrest. Silva was never charged. Zaharan continued with his plans and the rest is history.

After the SC order you have been claiming that you have no money to pay the Rs 100M as compensation. You are asking for public help to pay compensation to Easter carnage victims. You even accepted some money collected by a person called Sudaththa Tilakasiri, who begged from people.

You have said publicly that you submitted your asset declarations. I suggest that you sell all your assets declared in the declarations before asking for funds from the public.

Hemal Perera

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