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Top child artists rewarded at ComBank’s colourful ‘Arunalu Siththam’ awards event

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Representatives of the corporate management of Commercial Bank, the judges and the top 12 child artists at the ‘Arunalu Siththam’ awards event at the BMICH.

359 winners picked from over 13,000 entries received across the country

Over Thirteen thousand colourful works of art were scrutinised to select the best child artists who created the most imaginative drawings to be honored and rewarded with cash prizes and certificates at the ‘Arunalu Siththam’ art competition conducted recently by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon.

Of these winners, the 12 young artists that topped four of the five age groups that competed in the competition received their prizes at a colourful ceremony hosted by the Bank at the BMICH.

The Bank launched the ‘Arunalu Siththam Children’s Art Competition 2021’ – the second in the series – in October last year and invited children between the ages of 4-16 under five age categories to submit drawings that illustrate the themes of ‘Our lifestyle,’ (Junior category) and ‘Gifts of nature,’ (Senior category) before 25th November 2021. The categories were Pre-school (ages 4-5), Primary (ages 6-7), Post Primary (ages 8-10), Junior (ages 11-13), and Senior (ages 14-16). The competition was open to any child, whether an account holder of the Bank or not. However, in recognition of being an existing account holder, special cash prizes are to be awarded, doubling the prize.

The child artists that took the stage at the BMICH were the First, Second, and Third placed winners in the four older age groups. These winners were presented cash prizes of Rs 100,000, Rs 75,000, and Rs 50,000 each, as per their placements.

Although not present at the event, the 25 youngest winning contestants in the Pre-school category will be awarded cash prizes of Rs 10,000 each and certificates, and another 50 participants in this category will receive Merit Certificates. Additionally, 25 contestants in each of the other age groups will each receive cash prizes of Rs 10,000 while another 50 participants in each group will receive Merit Certificates, the Bank said.

The total of 359 winners including the top three in each category as well as the winners of Awards of Excellence and Merit Awards were selected from the entries that were submitted digitally via www.arunalusiththam.lk, but only the top winners were present at the awards event, so as to ensure safety in view of the prevailing situation.

The Bank said all other winners will receive their certificates through the nearest Commercial Bank Branch and those that have won cash prizes will have their winnings credited to their respective ‘Arunalu’ accounts. A total of Rs 2.5 million in cash prizes is to be distributed among the winners.

The panel of judges for the competition included Professor Susiripala Malimboda, retired Dean of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) who is also a member of the State Arts Council of Sri Lanka; Mrs Deepa Alahakoon, a Consultant Creative Director (Advertising) and visiting lecturer at the VPA; Mr Lal Jayasekara, Senior Lecturer and the Head of Department of Printmaking at VPA; Mr Sanjaya Seneviratne, professional artist and a graduate of VPA and Mrs Inoka Edirisinghe, art teacher at Royal College Wayamba who is also a graduate of VPA.

The vibrant awards ceremony was attended by Commercial Bank’s Group Chief Marketing Officer Mr Hasrath Munasinghe, Deputy General Manager – Personal Banking Mr Delakshan Hettiarachchi and representatives of the senior management of the Bank.

Commercial Bank launched the ‘Arunalu Siththam Art Competition’ in 2017. The flagship children’s savings account of Commercial Bank, Arunalu, after which the competition was named, offers a higher interest rate for Children’s Savings Accounts and rewards account holders with special cash prizes if they score the first, second or third highest aggregate marks in their schools at the Year 5 Scholarship Examination.



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Dialog Axiata extends its support to the Sri Dalada Perahera for the 16th consecutive year

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As a key contributor and advocator of the major cultural and religious festivals in the country, Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, once again extended its support to the Kandy Esala Perahera (also known as the Sri Dalada Perahera or the Festival of the Tooth) which was held from August 2 – 12.

One of the oldest and most venerated religious festivals in Sri Lanka, the Sri Dalada Perahera is held in the month of Esala (July or August) to commemorate the first sermon of Lord Buddha after he attained enlightenment. A 10-day event, the Kandy Esala Perahera pays homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic and its four guardian deities, Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. The procession appeals to the Gods, seeking their blessings for rains that will aid the cultivation of crops and the prosperity of the country.

While large crowds of spectators travelled from near and far to witness the procession, Dialog enabled its customers with the facility to watch the festival from the comfort of their homes by broadcasting it on Dialog Television.

In its efforts of preserving and promoting Sri Lanka’s heritage and culture, Dialog has been a long-term patron of a multitude of events across the country, contributing to the upliftment of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural history. This year will be the 16th consecutive year Dialog Axiata has extended its support to the historical Kandy Esala Festival and the procession of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Kandy.

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Profit-takings in blue chip counters put an end to bourse’s bullish run

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The CSE turned negative yesterday having traded with a bullish run for 12 consecutive days due to profit- takings of many counters, especially blue-chip counters. This development could be considered as the market correction, stock market analysts said.

Sri Lanka’s shares fell over 1 per cent in mid-day trade, pulled down by retail shares after gaining for 13 sessions. The main All- Share Price Index fell 0.82 per cent or 75.55 points to 9,115.97 during the middle of the session.

“On selected shares there is profit- taking but overall the market rose about 2200 points in the last 12 sessions, so we were seeing investors shifting into energy and plantation sector shares from the usual Expolanka, Browns Investments, Browns, LOLC and LOLC Finance, a top analyst said.

In the past few weeks, Lanka IOC and plantation sector shares pushed the index up. Lanka IOC stocks became most sought after and owing to the acute fuel shortage they had enough sales and have recorded high profits, while plantation sector stocks increased due to the dollar appreciation against the rupee, market analysts said.

“There is also a reaction in the banking sector counters as well with the banks adjusting for the ISB restructuring and also higher impairments in the sector. Therefore, we are seeing a selloff in banking counters too, analysts said.

The indices however were a bit subdued due to profit- taking. The ASPI gained by 1.8 per cent and the S&P SL20 improved by 0.8 per cent. The All- Share Price Index went down by 105.2 points and S and P SL20 declined by 60.2 points. Turnover stood at Rs 5.4 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Hunas Falls, which crossed 1.4 million shares to the tune of Rs 54.7 million, its shares trading at Rs 40 and Hela Apparel 3.7 million shares crossed to the tune of Rs 48.9 million, its shares traded at Rs 13.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs 1.5 billion (4.8 million shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 665 million (three million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 459 million (52.1 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 320 million (4.2 million shares traded), LOLC Holdings Rs 141 million (230,000 shares traded), Hayleys Rs 117 million (1.1 million shares traded) and EML Consultants Rs 111 million (21 million shares traded). During the day 222 million share volumes changed hands in 42000 transactions.

It is said the market continued its run in the green; however, witnessed some profit- taking in active counters following several sessions of gains. Lanka-IOC, Expolanka and Hayleys, which have witnessed sharp gains recently, closed in the red.

It is said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Lanka IOC, Melstacorp and Royal Ceramics. Mixed interest was observed in Hayleys and Vallibel One, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, SMB Leasing and Softlogic Capital.

The Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Hayleys), while the sector index gained 2.86 per cent. The share price of Hayleys recorded a loss of Rs. 3.75 (3.18 per cent) to close at Rs. 114.25.

The Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Browns Investments and Melstacorp) while the sector index increased by 3.39 per cent. The share price of Browns Investments gained 70 cents (8.54 per cent) to close at Rs. 8.90. The share price of Melstacorp appreciated by 80 cents to close at Rs. 55.60. Separately, Lee Hedges PLC announced a cash dividend of one rupee per share.

Yesterday the Central Bank- announced US dollar buying rate was Rs 357.37 and the selling price Rs 368.68.

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SL seen as losing billions of dollars as a result of not making use of her locational advantage

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

‘Sri Lanka is located at the heart of a vital global shipping line and more than 45000 ships and an equal number of aircraft navigate this route via Sri Lanka’s Dondra head annually. However, not a single ship nor aircraft is enabled to make a stop-over at Dondra for bunkering, re-fueling and other operational services which could bring in billions of dollars for the country. Thus, we could be seen as sitting on a gold mine, former chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Ceylon Shipping Corporation Ranjith Wickramasinghe said.

Wickremasinghe made these observations at a zoom forum organized by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA) on the subject, “Solution to the Debt Crisis Using Nature”, last week.

Extracts from Wickremasinghe’s presentation: ‘Sri Lanka is now grappling with a huge debt trap running into about US $ 60 billion. Because of that the entire country is now suffering. In 2018 our national debt amounted to US $ 18 billion and now it has gone up to US $ 60 billion. But over the last decade our economy grew by 40 per cent until the debt balloon burst.

‘When we study the factual situation we find that every six minutes some ship of aircraft passes our southern region and we don’t get a single dollar, especially because ships arriving from East, South and West through the Suez canal by pass Dondra and call over at Singaporean ports.

“Sri Lanka enjoys a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone but foreign ships merely navigate through this route without paying anything to Sri Lanka, causing severe damage to nature, which damage has not been quantified by Sri Lanka.

‘Thirty per cent of world trade takes place along this route. Sometimes huge ships that carry more than 25000 containers consisting of retail goods that go from the USA to China and vice versa traverse this route. These two countries together contribute more than 60 per cent to world trade.

‘Most of these ships coming from the Suez canal cut through Dondra and reach Singapore without going round, which reduces traveling by 400 nautical miles or by one day, saving 200 tons of fuel. Average cost of a one ton of fuel is US $ 100, which amounts to about US $ nine billion. If Sri Lanka functioned as a bunkering point/ fueling point we could earn more than US $ nine billion per year by serving 45000 plus ships. Apart from that if Sri Lanka offers other operational services to those ships, we could earn another US$ 12 billion.

‘Sri Lanka must support the United Nations, World Bank and other quarters to salvage it from the US $ 60 billion debt trap. Our debt to GDP is not sustainable. We should avail of a debt waiver for two years until our trade balance becomes stable. We should then go in for bridge financing for another two years and after five years we could become rather stable.’

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