PM’s 1,500-day economic plan within two weeks…

The much-anticipated five-year economic plan of the coalition government is expected to be announced within the next two weeks by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to the Governor of the Central Bank.

This is long overdue as it was initially planned to be announced in June. “ ….the Prime Minister is about to deliver, during the next week or two, what he calls his ‘1,500-day economic plan’, which is intended to flesh out his economic policy statement of last year and to give framework in terms of the development plans for the next five years,” said Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy.

Speaking at an event organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka last week, Dr. Coomaraswamy asked the private sector to closely listen to the policy statement which could provide clues on the direction and vision of the government for the economy as it will help them to plan their businesses and investments.

Investors, both domestic and foreign, have long been waiting for a clear direction for the economy from the government before making crucial medium to long-term investments in the country. The US $ 1.5 billion three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement struck with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given some assurance to the investor community that the government would take a more disciplined path in fiscal spending.

In fact, the agreement bode well for the Sri Lankan economy as foreign inflows resumed to the government securities market bringing some stability into an otherwise volatile exchange rate. The government too has shown much discipline in handling the budget during the first six months of the year.

Further, a month later, the appointment of respected economist Dr. Coomaraswamy as the Central Bank Governor also brought in integrity to the Central Bank and certainty to the trajectory of the interest rates and inflation.

The government has also been taking steps to forge new links with its old and new trade partners in an attempt to broaden the country’s market access. However, still much need to be done in creating a predictable policy climate and improving the doing business conditions and the forthcoming policy statement by the premier is expected to shed more light into these areas.

Premier Wickremesinghe is also expected to announce the political reforms the government is envisaging within the next few weeks, including that of the electoral reforms.

Happy Birthday Jon Secada

Jon Secada (born Juan Francisco Secada Ramírez; October 4, 1962) is a Cuban American singer and songwriter.[1] Secada was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Hialeah, Florida. He has won two Grammy Awards and sold 20 million albums since his English-language debut album in 1992. His music fuses funk, soul, pop and Latin percussion. Secada also has worked as a songwriter for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore and other performers.

Secada emigrated with his parents to the United States at age 12 after previously living in Spain; while he attended school, his family managed a coffee shop. As a teen, Secada discovered his gift for music. In the culturally-diverse city of Miami, Secada was exposed to salsa and merengue. Secada also became interested in rhythm and blues and pop music performed by Barry Manilow, Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder.

Secada graduated from South Florida’s Hialeah High School in 1979 and then enrolled at Miami Dade Community College, then transferring to the University of Miami. During college, he became an accomplished jazz musician and was inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society. He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Music and then earned a Master’s degree in Jazz Vocal Performance.

In the late 1980s, Gloria Estefan hired Secada as a background singer. He also started composing music for Estefan, including some of her best-known ballads. Among other songs, Secada co-wrote and sang background on “Coming Out of the Dark”, Gloria’s number one hit from her 1991 album Into the Light. During Estefan’s ‘Into the Light World Tour’, Secada was given the life-changing opportunity of taking over the stage and performing solo. The song was “Always Something” which would be featured later on his debut album. It launched his career as a solo performer.

In 1991, Secada legally changed his first name from Juan to Jon. The following year, Secada released his self-titled debut album Jon Secada (SBK/EMI), which sold over six million copies worldwide and was certified triple platinum in the U.S., where it reached No. 15 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Secada scored a No. 5 Pop hit (and a No. 5 UK hit) with his Gold single “Just Another Day”, and three more top 30 hits, “Angel” (No. 18 Pop, No. 23 UK), “I’m Free” (No. 27 Pop, No. 50 UK), “Do You Believe in Us?” (No. 13 Pop, No. 30 UK), and “Do You Really Want Me” (No. 30 UK) received national radio play. The Spanish-language version of Secada’s solo album, Otro Día Más Sin Verte (EMI-Latin), became the No. 1 Latin album of 1992 and earned Secada his first Grammy Award for “Best Latin Pop Album”.

In 1994, Secada’s second album, Heart, Soul & a Voice (EMI) featured members of the Miami Sound Machine and guests Arturo Sandoval (trumpeter) and Betty Wright (background vocals). The album went Platinum in the US. One of its singles, “If You Go”, was a top ten Pop hit and “Mental Picture”, a Top 30 hit which was used in the soundtrack for the film The Specialist. His third album on EMI, Amor, was released in 1995 and earned Secada his second Grammy for “Best Latin Pop Performance”.

Secada co-wrote the song “Bella”, the Spanish version of “She’s All I Ever Had” for Ricky Martin’s 1999 multi-platinum self-titled album. He also co-wrote and co-produced the song “Baila” for Jennifer Lopez, which appeared on her 1999 multi-platinum album, On the 6. He worked with teen singing sensation Mandy Moore on two of her tracks, “One Sided Love” and “It Only Took a Minute” from her self-titled multi-platinum album. In 2001, he was a backing vocalist on Enrique Iglesias’s album Escape on the tracks “Don’t Turn Off the Lights” and “Love 4 Fun”.

Secada has performed with opera legend Luciano Pavarotti and recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra on “The Best is Yet to Come” from Sinatra’s Duets II album.

In 1995, Secada starred in Broadway’s hit musical Grease, playing the lead role of Danny Zuko. Broadway called upon Secada once again in 2003, where he played the emcee role in Sam Mendes’ acclaimed version of Cabaret. In the fall of 2004, Secada also starred as ‘Joseph’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s theatrical hit Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

On November 30, 2007, Secada participated in the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade which was taped inside the Magic Kingdom at Disney World Orlando, Florida.

On June 3, 2011, the heavily Cuban-American community of Union City, New Jersey honored Secada with a star on the Walk of Fame at Celia Cruz Plaza.[2]

On October 27, 2012, Secada starred in the Broadway-style musical Loving the Silent Tears, which premiered in Los Angeles.

Roy Orbison biopic gets the go-ahead!

It’s worked for Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, N.W.A. and Hank Williams – and now Roy Orbison is to have his life portrayed on the big screen.

The surviving family of the iconic singer of songs like Pretty Woman and Only the Lonely have given their blessing to The Big O: Roy Orbison – which apparently makes it the first estate-authorised movie biopic.

Ray Gideon & Bruce Evans have been set to write the script and Alex Orbison, Roy Orbison Jr, and Wesley Orbison will be exec producers.

Those are the surviving children of the singer, who have overseen their father’s legacy since the death of the singer’s widow, Barbara Orbison, in 2011.

The movie will be able to use virtually all of Orbison’s songs and recordings.

Lankan appointed as Singer Bangladesh CEO…

Singer Bangladesh has appointed a Sri Lankan, Mohamed Fairoz, as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his new appointment, Fairoz was Marketing Director of Singer Bangladesh. He began his career at Singer in Sri Lanka in 2001. He joined as Product Manager for furniture products. In 2006, he was promoted to the senior management at Singer (Sri Lanka) and was in charge of televisions, electronics and furniture as Marketing Manager. He was promoted to the position of Marketing Director at Singer Bangladesh in January 2015. Fairoz has a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and has an accountancy qualification, being a Member of the Certified Management Accountants of Australia. In addition, he has completed several management courses at the National University of Singapore and Administrative Staff College, Hyderabad, India and has over 25 years of experience in marketing. Fairoz was the Head Prefect of his alma mater, Carey College. He was also the President of the Interact Club, Islamic Society and School Savings Bank and represented the college in hockey and cricket. Singer (Sri Lanka) has a rich history, where persons in the company have taken up top positions in Singer companies of other countries or at the Singer corporate head quarters.

Happy Birthday Marilyn McCoo!

1943, Born on this day, Marilyn McCoo, singer, 1977 US No.1 & UK No.7 single ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star’. Also a member of The 5th Dimension.

an American singer, actress, and television presenter, who is best known for being the lead female vocalist in the group The 5th Dimension, as well as hosting the 1980s music countdown series Solid Gold. Since 1969 she has been married to singer Billy Davis, Jr., the founder and co-member of the 5th Dimension. McCoo has a four-octave vocal range.

In the early and mid-1960s, McCoo was a member of the Hi-Fi’s, who often opened for Ray Charles. She had been invited to join the group by photographer Lamonte McLemore, who would himself join McCoo in the 5th Dimension. Other Hi-Fi members included Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, who would go on to form the Friends of Distinction. She met Billy Davis, Jr. in 1966 when he established the 5th Dimension, then called The Versatiles, which would also include Ron Townson and Florence LaRue. The group’s first big hit was with 1967′s “Up, Up and Away”, written by Jimmy Webb. The song won four 1968 Grammy Awards and was the title track to 5th Dimension’s first hit LP. A year later the group covered Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic”. A medley of “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (from the musical Hair) reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April to May 1969 and won the Grammy for ‘Record of the Year’. The group’s cover of Nyro’s “Wedding Bell Blues”, featuring McCoo’s most prominent vocal of that period, topped the Hot 100 in November 1969.

By the early 1970s, McCoo began to sing lead on the group’s remaining chart-topping singles, “One Less Bell to Answer”, “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All”, and “If I Could Reach You”.

In 1975, McCoo and Davis left the 5th Dimension and began performing as a duo. Landing a contract with ABC Records, they recorded their 1976 debut album, I Hope We Get to Love in Time. The first single was the title track, which was a mid-chart hit. Their follow up, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)” was an even bigger hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1977. McCoo and Davis were awarded a gold single and a gold album as well as a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. They became the first African American married couple to host a network television series, The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show, on CBS in summer 1977. They released one more album on ABC in 1978, produced by Frank Wilson and containing the popular ballad “My Reason To Be” by songwriters Judy Wieder and John Footman. The pair signed with CBS Records the following year and released their last album as a duo until October 2008 when the pair released The Many Faces of Love, a collection of hit songs from the 1960s and 1970s.

She was the first to record “Saving All My Love for You” in 1978, later sung by Whitney Houston. The album Marilyn and Billy featured that track as well as a disco hit, “Shine On Silver Moon”.

The pair decided to go solo professionally in the early 1980s with McCoo hosting the popular American syndicated television series Solid Gold from 1981 through 1984 and again from 1986 through 1988. She also created a successful nightclub and concert act, and went on to appear as Tamara Price on Days of Our Lives in 1986, as a friend of Marlena Evans who sang at her wedding. Price later became involved with James Reynolds’ character Abe Carver. McCoo left the series in 1987.

Her 1991 album, The Me Nobody Knows, was nominated for a Grammy. She also released a Christmas album in 1994. McCoo won her eighth Grammy for her contributions to Quincy Jones’ Handel’s Messiah.