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Reports of possible terror attack: ACJU requests Muslims to pray for Sri Lanka

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The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) says it is alarmed over media reports warning that Sri Lanka may face another terrorist attack similar to the Easter Sunday bombings on April 21, 2019.

The ACJU has, in a media statement, encouraged the Muslim community to pray and make Du’a to Almighty Allah (SWT) to protect Sri Lanka and all its people from all forms of tragedies and disasters.

It has also appealed to the Muslim community to be very cautious and vigilant as the claims of an attack have not been verified.

“We appeal to the community to be wary of the ISIS and similar terrorist organizations which are misleadingly and falsely representing themselves as protectors of Islam while they are widely perceived as being orchestrated by elements hostile to Islam and all religions,” ACJU said.

Full text of the ACJU statement titled ‘ ‘: The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) is alarmed at the several media reports claiming that Sri Lanka may very soon face yet another terrorist attack similar to the Easter Sunday Bombings of 21st April, 2019. While encouraging the community to pray and make Du’a to Almighty Allah (SWT) to protect Sri Lanka and all its people from all forms of tragedies and disasters, the ACJU requests, particularly the Muslim community to be very cautious and vigilant in this regard as we are not certain of the reliability of the above claims.

We appeal to the community to be wary of the ISIS and similar terrorist organizations which are misleadingly and falsely representing themselves as protectors of Islam while they are widely perceived as being orchestrated by elements hostile to Islam and all religions.

Islamic Scholars around the world have unanimously stated that these organizations are anti-Islamic terrorist groups, whose handlers are yet to be fully investigated. It is noteworthy that the ACJU, and all Muslim Civil society organizations have collectively issued a Declaration on 2015.07.23, declaring that such organizations are completely against the teachings of Islam.

We are deeply saddened by the fact that the innocent civilian lives were lost and many suffered injuries in the brutal attacks carried out by terrorists on the Easter Sunday of 21st April 2019.

We need to emphasize that our community has made innumerable contributions and sacrifices in the national interest of our country. Our forefathers have contributed immensely to preserve the sovereignty and security of this country throughout history. Similarly, they have been in the forefront of developing and strengthening beneficial foreign relations with our country. Whenever our country was threatened with invasion by external forces, our forefathers had supported the reigning kings of our country in protecting our Motherland. Since gaining independence and becoming a democratic republic, our leaders have made admirable efforts to forge religious harmony and communal amity.

It is however disappointing to note that a situation has arisen, where vested interests are continuing to instigate distrust and hatred on grossly false basis against the Muslims, following the cowardly and brutal terrorist attacks carried out by a few misguided elements with Muslim names, while overlooking the invaluable contribution of the community towards this nation.

It is sad that false allegations are being circulated against Islam and Muslims by certain elements who are intent on disrupting communal unity. We, the ACJU strongly urge the Muslim community not to be provoked by such conspirators and to practice restraint.

The ACJU requests its District and Divisional Branches, Masjid Trustees and all civil organizations to pay attention to these matters and all Muslims to be vigilant and cautious in this regard and strive towards building closer relationships with all communities.

Furthermore, we request all Muslims to read the below mentioned booklet published by ACJU and to circulate it among others as well: Tamil: ‘Madaththin Peyaraal Theeviravaadam Vendaam’, Sinhala Translation: ‘Anthawaadayeku Nowanna’.

We urge all Muslims to ensure that our brothers and sisters are not influenced by extremist or un-Islamic ideologists.

We pray that Almighty Allah bestows protection, justice and solace to all those who are suffering in our country and around the world and bless our Motherland with lasting peace, unity and prosperity.”



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Central Bank looking at proposal to permit dollar-paid vehicle imports

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Duty too must be paid in hard currency

The central bank is looking at a proposal to allow persons who can pay in foreign exchange to import vehicles and pay taxes in hard currency, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said last week.

He said that this was a proposal made by certain parties whom he did not identify making clear it was at a proposal stage with no decision taken. But it was under examination.

Asked whether Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) account holders – now called Personal Foreign Currency Accounts – would be permitted to use their resources to import a vehicle provided they would pay the applicable duty in hard currency, he said that he did not see why not.

“If the vehicle is paid for in hard currency and not converted rupees, and the duty also accrues to the government in hard currency, I don’t see any harm, in fact it would be good,” he said.

It would also mean that there’s are new vehicles coming into the country not paid for by rupees converted into hard currency plus a hard currency duty stream, an analyst said.

Banning vehicle imports on account of the present foreign exchange crunch has cost the government an immense revenue stream.

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Forex pressure eases – CB

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By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte

The Central Bank says that pressure caused by shortage of foreign exchange is easing gradually towards better.

“Earnings from exports marked a notable improvement and recorded over US dollars 1 billion for the third consecutive month in August 2021. Expenditure on imports has also increased, partly reflecting the surge in global commodity prices, resulting in an expansion in the trade deficit during the eight months ending August 2021, over the corresponding period of last year. Outlook for tourism improved with the easing of travel restrictions globally and the successful vaccination drive domestically. Despite the moderation of workers’ remittances observed in recent months, a rebound is expected in the period ahead with the improved growth outlook for major foreign employment source countries and greater stability in the domestic foreign exchange market. The realisation of foreign investments in the real sector and the timely adoption of remedial measures by the Central Bank as enunciated in ‘The Six-month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability’ are gradually easing pressures in the domestic foreign exchange market,” the Central Bank says.

The CBSL said that it continued to intervene in the foreign exchange market to provide liquidity for essential imports, including fuel. The depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar is recorded at 6.8 per cent thus far in 2021.

It said that the gross official reserves were estimated at US dollars 2.6 billion by end September 2021. This, however, does not include the bilateral currency swap facility with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) of CNY 10 billion (equivalent to approximately US dollars 1.5 billion). Gross official reserves are expected to improve with the measures that are being pursued by the Government and the Central Bank to attract fresh foreign exchange inflows, as outlined in the Six-month Road Map, thereby reinforcing the stability of the external sector in the period ahead.

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Samarasinha to promote ‘Commercial Diplomacy” among German states

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Nihal S. Samarasinha has been appointed as Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka for three Federal States in Germany, which includes Hessen, Rheinland Palatinate and Saarland.

He would be mainly promoting commecial diplomacy in the three states.

He presented his credentials to State Minister Axel Wintermeyer along with 18 other Consuls General and Honorary Consuls at the official State Residence Villa of the Minister President of Hessen.

Samarasinha, born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Germany in 1972 is the Chairman and Managing Director of Millennium Hospitality Advisory Company providing advisory services and managing and operating hotels of several international hotel brands based in Frankfurt am Main. He is an alumni of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, and graduated from the Heidelberg Hotel School, Germany, American Hotel and Motel Association, Michigan USA; Holiday Inn University, Atlanta USA and from the Ramada International University, New York.

His focus in Finance throughout his career made him a proven financial expert with vast analytical skills.

 Samarasinha has held senior management positions in organisations such as Holiday Inn WorldWide (Europe) as Director of Finance; Canadian Pacific Hotels – Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) as Regional Comptroller and Ramada International Hotels and Resorts as Vice-President of Finance and Internal Audit for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), India and Sri Lanka. He has been engaged in the hospitality industry since 1972 with remarkable success.

Over the years Samarasinha has developed strong bonds with Sri Lankans in all parts of Germany and had assisted them in numerous ways long before he was first appointed Honorary Consul for the Federal state of Rheinland Palatinate in 2010.

He is a co-founder of the Diplomatic Council in Frankfurt along with the former Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Frankfurt Buddhi Athauda, The Diplomatic Council acted as a springboard to promote Sri Lanka Tourism, Trade and Culture in an environment of commercial diplomacy.

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