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Baurs’ iconic colonial corporate building at Fort celebrate 80 years

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The iconic Baurs building situated at Upper Chatham Street in Fort, one of Colombo’s strong and longstanding corporate buildings of colonial times, celebrates 80 years with makeover in the reception and front office area to signify its Swiss values of being modern and dynamic but deeply rooted in its traditions.

This elegant, imposing structure and a well-known architectural landmark houses the Head Office of one of Sri Lanka’s leading diversified business group A. Baur & Company Ltd. Since its humble beginnings in 1897 by Swiss national Alfred Baur, the company’s philosophy, value systems and culture are deeply rooted in its Swiss heritage till today.

The Baurs complex, the first shock-proof building in Colombo completed in 1941 and securely located within the Navy Headquarters zone, has seen ten managing directors come and go, nine of whom were Swiss nationals with the most recent being a well-known Sri Lankan business personality, Lakshman Niyangoda who now serves as the company’s Non-Executive Chairman.

“This year marks a historic event in the Baurs journey as our building at Fort marks its 80th anniversary. The walls of this building have heard and witnessed all our plans, prayers and passion and we have a very emotional connection to it. The refurbishment done to the front arenas of the building giving it a modern outlook resembles our ambitious intentions to embrace the future whilst living up to our century-old Swiss values”, says Niyangoda.

Baurs’ distinctive reputation stands for its trust and reliability, quality, and innovation. The company’s bold approach has resulted in initiating many industry ‘firsts’ in Sri Lanka. Widely regarded as an industry pioneer, Baurs was the first company to focus on agriculture fertilizer since 1897.

Its track-record of being ‘first’ includes the usage the Sri Lankan railway for commercial transport of goods and sharing scientific knowledge and expertise with farmers in 1901, deploying tractors in agriculture in 1919 which marked the beginning of mechanization of agriculture, establishing the first fully-electrified tea factory in 1936, ending the malaria epidemic in the country in 1946, bringing Swiss Air to Sri Lanka, producing the first basmati rice in 1965, launching a biopesticide to controlling fall armyworm last year, and most recently initiating a Swiss apprentice model for the country’s hospitality education sector.

Its state-of-the-art fertilizer factory in Kelaniya is one of South Asia’s most advanced, fully automated plant. Throughout the years, Baurs has engaged in a full spectrum of import, export, distribution, and manufacturing, expanding from its core agri business to now include various other sectors such as healthcare, consumer, airlines, machinery, education amongst others.

The culture and values at Baurs are similar to that of its parent Genève-based Alfred et Eugénie Baurs foundation. Just like the foundation, Baurs continuously engages in numerous social responsible agendas in the infrastructure, knowledge, and training domains, with the view of uplifting communities and rural towns in Sri Lanka.

 

 



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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice

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 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB

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Protests against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are being used to arouse communal feelings among people ahead of an election, says the main Opposition SJB.

Addressing the media on Saturday, at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip, SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said:

“This country has witnessed many instances in the past. This time, too, the same old slogan of the country being divided is heard again.

“The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution. All parties have contested elections under the 13th Amendment. The UNP, SLFP, SLPP and JVP have contested provincial council elections. It shows that they have accepted the 13th Amendment. Those in such parties now opposing the 13th Amendment must first explain how they oppose it directly while accepting the same indirectly by sending their members to the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment,” Kiriella said.

“The claim of the country being divided by the 13th amendment is made to arouse the communal feelings.

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