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‘Cross border co-operation, key to stopping illegal migration’



"Strengthening Maritime Security: Australian High Commission's Press Conference highlights the robust partnership between Australia and Sri Lanka. From Left to Right: Commander Chris Waters, Regional Director South Asia, Department of Home Affairs.; SSP Samarakoon Banda, Director, HTCINCID; Rear Admiral Justin Jones CSC, RAN, Commander, Joint Agency Taskforce, Operation Sovereign Borders; RADM Pradeep Rathnayake, Director General Naval Operations; RADM Pujitha Vithana, Director General Coast Guard; and SSP Nihal Thalduwa, Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesperson."

Joint release between the Australian Border Force, Sri Lanka Navy, and Sri Lanka Police

Australia’s commitment to stopping illegal people smuggling has been reinforced this week in a visit to Colombo by Commander Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, CSC, RAN.

The visit follows an Operation Sovereign Borders interception and return in early May, where 41 Sri Lankan individuals, who left from Valaichchenai, were attempting to migrate illegally by boat to Australia.

Speaking in Colombo, Rear Admiral Jones said the success in supressing the illegal people smuggling trade is an ongoing success of both governments, but there is always more work to be done.

“The partnership between the Sri Lankan and Australian governments to combat the criminal people smuggling trade is gold standard, and the recent interception is proof of that enduring closeness,” Rear Admiral Jones said.

“This interception also demonstrates there is ongoing work to be done to educate people about the dangers and repercussions of these illegal journeys,” Rear Admiral Jones said.

Sri Lanka Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera said, “People are still being lured to part with their hard-earned savings and falsely believe that an illegal maritime journey will work. It will not. That is why educating communities on both the pitfalls as well as the legal pathway is vital to stemming the flow.”

Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesperson, Nihal Thalduwa, commended the effectiveness of the partnership between Sri Lanka and Australia in deterring and disrupting illegal maritime ventures.

“Sri Lanka Police works very closely with Australia to combat the threat of people smuggling and other transnational organised crimes. We are resolute in stopping vulnerable people from falling prey to people smugglers,” Mr Thalduwa said.

The success of the relationship is reflected in the success of the Australian Government’s Zero Chance anti-people smuggling communication campaign across the country, delivered through a range of advertising and community engagement channels. It is designed to raise public awareness of Australia’s strong border protection policies, alert potential illegal immigrants to the dangers of attempting sea journeys, and the criminal disregard people smugglers have for their welfare.

Research conducted during the recent Zero Chance community roadshow pointed to a high degree of awareness among Sri Lankans of Australia’s tough border protection policies, but varying degrees of awareness of the legal consequences of attempts to reach Australia by boat.

“Ninety-seven per cent of those surveyed had a strong awareness of Australia’s policies on illegal maritime migration. This level of awareness speaks to the dedication of our Sri Lankan partners in extending the reach of the Zero Chance message to various socio-economic groups in Sri Lanka.”

“Having said that, our combined work in this area never stops. I cannot stress enough the futility of undertaking such dangerous journeys – there is Zero Chance of success for those considering undertaking illegal maritime migration,” Rear Admiral Jones said.

For more information on Australia’s border protection policies, visit

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Amana Takaful Insurance and CBC Finance forge partnership for insurance coverage



Standing from Left to Right Harsha Samarasekara Head of Credit & Branch Administration CBC Finance, Namal Cooray - Head of Sales & Marketing CBC Finance, Chamilantha Fernando - MD/CEO CBC Finance, Upul Dissanayake - MD/CEO CBC Finance, Hassan Kassim – Managing Director ATPLC, Shehan Feisal – CEO ATPLC, Noushad Cassim – Deputy General Manager Sales (Metropolitan) ATPLC, Zakir Kanaka – Assistant General Manager Branch Sales Distribution ATPLC, Suresh Basnayake – Chief Sales Officer ATPLC

In a significant move to enhance insurance services for vehicle owners, Amana Takaful Insurance PLC and CBC Finance Limited have inked a special Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This strategic alliance positions Amana Takaful Insurance as the preferred insurance partner for CBC Finance, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC.

The signing of this exclusive agreement signifies Amana Takaful Insurance’s commitment to providing tailored insurance solutions to the customers of CBC Finance. It opens up a range of benefits for vehicle owners, including three-wheelers and motorcycles, ensuring affordable, comprehensive insurance coverage and seamless services. The MOU will facilitate widespread collaboration between Amana Takaful Insurance and CBC Finance, on an Islandwide basis, thereby strengthening customer relationships. Furthermore, the agreement introduces tailor-made insurance products crafted specifically to cater to the needs and preferences of CBC Finance customers.

Hassan Kassim, Managing Director at Amana Takaful Insurance expressed his enthusiasm about this new exclusive partnership saying, “We’re excited to join hands with CBC Finance to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to their valued customers. This strategic alliance aligns perfectly with our commitment to delivering exceptional value to customers across Sri Lanka.”

Managing Director/CEO at CBC Finance, Upul Dissanayake noted, “This partnership marks a significant step forward in ensuring robust insurance coverage for vehicles across Sri Lanka. Amana Takaful Insurance’s strong financial position and exceptional product offering, combined with CBC’s extensive reach, will empower customers with top-notch insurance solutions and unparalleled convenience.”

The collaboration between these two leaders in the financial services space exemplifies their dedication to supporting the business community and the general public by offering innovative and customer-centric insurance products. Amidst a challenging market environment, this partnership underscores Amana Takaful Insurance’s resilience and commitment to providing reliable insurance coverage, making it the preferred choice for individuals and businesses alike

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From Thread to Tree: MAS Holdings’ Fabric Park redefines sustainable manufacturing



Water Treatment Plan at MAS Fabric Park

In an era where environmental sustainability is transitioning from choice to necessity, MAS Fabric Park (MFP) stands out as a revolutionary force in Sri Lanka’s apparel industry. Nestled in the tranquil environs of Thulhiriya in the Kegalle District in Sri Lanka, this 165-acre privately owned apparel-intensive free trade zone is not just a manufacturing hub; it’s the result of the MAS Group’s unwavering vision for sustainability, a testament to the Group’s dedication and a shining example of business harmonizing with the environment.

A Vision for Positive Change

MAS Holdings, the parent company of Fabric Park, has long embraced a vision of sustainable growth and positive transformation within the Company’s ethos, which is seen throughout the organization and its initiatives. The belief is that sustainability goes beyond profit; it’s about fostering positive change in the world, making a difference for the communities around the locality, and leaving a lighter footprint on our planet.

MAS Fabric Park’s CEO Murad Rajudin explained that MFP provides partner plants with centralized utility services including treated water, raw effluent treatment for factory-discharged water, energy in the form of electricity distribution from the main grid, steam, and thermic heat, based on the location of the plant. “MFP plays a pivotal role in the intricate supply chain of MAS Holdings.

Firstly, it is a strategic hub for fabric development and value addition, contributing significantly to the vertical integration of the MAS supply chain. This integration is crucial in a global industry where speed, efficiency, and reducing carbon footprint have become paramount. By offering state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities for fabric manufacturing right within Sri Lanka, MFP not only streamlines operations but also aligns with the global demand for responsible and sustainable manufacturing practices.”

Comprehensive Water Management, Waste Reduction, and Value enhancement

Sustainability is deeply ingrained in every facet of MAS Fabric Park’s operations, notably in its approach to IPZ’s overall water footprint management, centralized effluent treatment, and waste management operations. The Park introduced a uniquely designed centralized raw wastewater collection and combined treatment system, which strictly adheres to global-level Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) standards with respect to the fully treated discharges of the zone.

MFP General Manager (Hydro & Sustainability) Harsha Deraniyagala says, “MFP is leading the way in centralized water management systems, and centralized effluent treatment operations whilst meeting global standards with a present capacity of 9000 cubic meters per day. These innovative systems, operating at such high capacity, eliminate the need for redundant in-house treatment plants for partner facilities, effectively optimizing resources and curbing environmental impact within the zone.”

In addition, MAS Fabric Park has pioneered the sustainable management of textile “sludge”, which is a globally concerned area related to the industry. Through sustainable solar and thermal drying-based reductions, and dried sludge co-processing for energy recovery leading to final eco-brick production, it has significantly reduced the waste footprint of the zone whilst ensuring circularity within the entity.

Even the ultimate byproduct of textile wastewater treatment sludge finds purpose in products like the Eco Brick, used in constructing the chalets at MAS Athena and also across other construction needs of the entity, whilst biological waste is being diverted for composting for nurturing plants, aligning seamlessly with the concept of waste-to-energy and waste-to-value.

These initiatives contribute for the significant reductions of respective Carbon Footprints usually linked with the water, wastewater, and resultant large-scale environmental engineering operations. The fully equipped, ISO IEC 17025 accredited water quality laboratory and the research center support the related quality assurance and compliance aspects throughout the respective value streams.

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Inspiring children’s storytelling workshops



The Gratiaen Trust, in association with the John Keells Foundation, and with the support of the British Council, continues its mandate of fostering creativity and literary excellence in Sri Lanka with an exciting series of storytelling workshops in celebration of Children’s Day.

Workshops targeting young storytellers have been a regular feature on the Gratiaen Trust’s annual calendar. This year the Trust has expanded the scope of these workshops significantly to include events for teachers of English Literature and ‘A’ level students in Galle, a workshop for teenagers, and a Masterclass for authors of children’s literature in Colombo. The resource person at these workshops will be renowned British author and storyteller, Sita Brahmachari. Furthermore, in October, the Trust will also be hosting its second session of the Gratiaen Trust Young Writers Club.

Neloufer de Mel, Chairperson of the Gratiaen Trust, stated, “Our mission at the Gratiaen Trust is to unlock the imaginative potential of young writers and artists. We are delighted to have someone like Sita Brahmachari, a renowned UK-based author of children’s literature, to facilitate our Children’s Day programme’’.

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