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Boots headed by Lankan won best retail team in UK award

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Chaminda Ratnayake and his team with the award

by Sujeeva Nivunhella reporting from London

Boots Piccadilly Circus branch headed by its General Manager Chaminda Ranasinghe Ratnayake won the Best Retail Team in the UK for 2020/21 out of 300,000 retail teams across the country at a glamorous award ceremony held in London last week. A former head boy of Carey College, Colombo, Ratnayake completed his Bachelors in Business Management in University of Bangalore and achieved his Masters Degree in International Marketing from the University of East London. He has now gained over 18 years experience in Retail in the UK.

Retailers award ceremony is conducted by the Retail Week magazine every year and winning an award at the event is considered to be the pinnacle of their career.

In the Best Retail Team category, Boots competed against renowned businesses such as Tesco, Sainsburys, CO-OP, B&Q, Mark & Spencer, Pets At Home and River Island who were also nominated for the award.

After the ceremony talking to Sunday Island, Boots Piccadilly Circus General Manager Ratnayake said that throughout the pandemic the store team demonstrated that they are true frontline heroes and a great asset to the organisation, as well as the community by overcoming personal and external barriers to ensure all services and support are accessible to the customers and patients. “Staff canceled time off and worked on their scheduled days off to ensure the branch stayed open to serve people in need, including homeless people, methadone users and victims of domestic violence, who sought refuge there”, he said.

“The team transformed the pharmacy consultation rooms into Safe Spaces for victims of domestic violence as cases soared during lockdown and employees took calls from patients in need of support day and night. They were part of the Government initiative “Ask ANI” project. This was supported by the Duchess of Cornwall. The team was part of the fight to fly Covid testing trial which helped thousands of customers who were traveling to see family and loved ones”, he further said.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins commended Ratnayake’s contribution towards social welfare. Then Health Secretary Matt Hancock also made a special acknowledgment about all the support and efforts made towards the public’s well being in the global pandemic.

Lord Bethell, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care visited the branch to thank the team personally for all the work they did to support the COVID-19 testing and diagnostics.



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Nightlife is essential without hindrance to other tourists, residents and businesses – Diana Gamage

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Minister of State for Tourism  Diana Gamage acknowledged that events that emanated noise should be conducted within a soundproof environment without causing any inconvenience or disturbance to other tourists who are here to relax, residents of the area and other businesses inasmuch its necessity to boost the economy by generating revenue.

She made this comment speaking at a press conference themed ‘Collective path to a stable country’ at the Presidential Media Centre today (22),

As debates continue regarding the regulation of nightlife, she urged stakeholders to consider the broader economic implications and the vital role that nightlife plays in driving economic activity and sustaining national finances. She further emphasized the importance of providing entertainment options to tourists, particularly in beach areas, which are major attractions for visitors. According to her, nightlife plays a crucial role in catering to the needs of tourists, not only in beach areas but also in urban centres like Colombo. The Minister noted that current regulations often restrict entertainment options, citing examples such as early last orders in hotels and restaurants, which may not align with the preferences of international tourists.

Drawing attention to the diverse origins of tourists, including those from the UK, France, and Germany, the State Minister Diana Gamage emphasized the need for flexibility in entertainment hours to accommodate varying cultural norms and preferences.

As discussions on tourism regulations continue, stakeholders are encouraged to consider the perspectives of tourists and the potential economic benefits of promoting a vibrant nightlife scene. The Minister’s remarks underscore the importance of striking a balance between regulation and the provision of entertainment options to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for visitors to Sri Lanka.

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All vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka should be consolidated into a single vocational college – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe during an observation tour at the Ratmalana Lalith Athulathmudali Vocational Training Centre, this morning (22) , outlined plans to consolidate all vocational training institutes in Sri Lanka into a single vocational college, offering contemporary subject-related courses.

He said that the restructuring of vocational education was  essential to align with the demands of the modern world, ensuring that the youth of the country are equipped to excel in the competitive global job market.

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Opposition threatens to move no-faith motion against Speaker over OSB

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Speaker Abeywardena

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition and SJB leader Sajith Premnadasa told Parliament yesterday that the Online Safety Bill had been passed in violation of the law and unless remedial action was taken, a no-faith motion would be brought against Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Premadasa said that Article 123(4) of the Constitution says, “Where any Bill, or the provision of any Bill, has been determined, or is deemed to have been determined, to be inconsistent with the Constitution, such Bill or such provision shall not be passed except in the manner stated in the determination of the Supreme Court.”

Premadasa said: “It is illegal to pass a Bill without adhering to this constitutional provision. There were nine instances where the government overlooked the Supreme Court determination on the Bill. The Speaker allowed that to happen despite our protests. The Justice Minister, too, has admitted that there are flaws in the Act. How could that happen? Rectify them immediately, or we will bring a no-confidence motion against the Speaker.”

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that even if the Supreme Court determined that a section or clause of a draft Bill was inconsistent with the Constitution, a Bill could be passed by Parliament. It could be done with either a two-thirds majority or two-thirds majority plus people’s approval from a referendum. A case cannot be filed against the way the Speaker or an MP behaved in this House as they have immunity. Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, too, has given a ruling on this issue and we still consider it as a precedent to be upheld. With regard to the Online Safety Bill, the Attorney General has instructed Public Security Minister Tiran Alles to incorporate some amendments as per the Supreme Court determination and to bring other recommended amendments in the form of a separate Amendment Bill. I was not a party to that discussion. This Amendment Bill was presented to the Cabinet and approval was granted and now is at the Legal Draftsman’s Department. Thereafter, it would be referred to the Cabinet again and with that approval we can have it here in this House for consideration,” the Minister said.

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