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TIME TO FOCUS ON THE BILLION-DOLLAR TRADE FAIR & MEETINGS INDUSTRY- NEW SLAPCEO PRESIDENT
 

Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organisers (SLAPCEO) held it’s virtual AGM on the 30th of June 2021. The following members were appointed to the mainboard: . Imran Hassan (President) - CDC Events & Travels, Ms Janice Hakel-Ranasinghe (Vice President) - Kairos Events & Weddings, Ms. Nadeeka Leeniyagoda (Secretary) - Aitken Spence Conventions & Exhibitions, Dr. Shaffaath Amidon (Treasurer) - M & S Travels Solutions, Mr. Nalin Ariyaratne (Immediate Past President) - Jetwing Events Pvt. Ltd. Along with Mr. Aasim Mukthar - Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Nadun Egodage – Beyond Boundaries Global Pvt. Ltd, Ms Esther Goonatillake - Columbus Tours Pvt. Ltd.,  Devanthi Ambuldeniya – BMICH and Irfam am Aariff – Eventistry Pvt Ltd., as board committee members.

 

 Imran Hassan, the new president of SLAPCEO says, now is the best time for Sri Lanka to strategically focus on being ready to open up to this industry. Like Singapore and Dubai the Trade fair, Meetings & Destination Events industry can play a huge role in giving the Sri Lankan economy the much needed boost it requires. Sri Lanka should focus her marketing strategy in breaking into the Billion-Dollar Industry of Trade Fairs, Meetings and Destination Events, which has long been neglected. When Sri Lanka re-opens its doors to the world this needs to be one of the key factors in Sri Lanka’s marketing strategy.

 

Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning is one of our significant assets in this industry. We should focus our attention at making it a global hub, such as Dubai and Singapore. They recognized the value of this industry decades before and have taken it to the next level of a global meeting hub to the world. Sri Lanka also has all the characteristics needed to become the meeting/business Centre to this part of the world. With our friendly relationships with our neighbours and convenient accessibility and connectivity, we have much to offer. Our close proximity of just 40kms from one of the biggest markets in the world - India, is another huge advantage. We have always been a service-oriented economy, from Tourism to ICT with service-oriented Human Resources.

 

Sri Lanka has trained professionals who are currently involved in the Trade Fairs, Meetings and Destination Events Industry and most of these professionals are employees of the member companies of the SLAPCEO who are very much engaged in the services of the Trade Fairs, Meetings and Events Industry with relative international connections. Sri Lanka also has a government body focusing on this industry namely - Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) which is the main government agency to promote Sri Lanka as a hub. The sad part is that while we have been having the basic requirements and infrastructure since 1976 the Inception of BMICH hosting of events such as the non-aligned Nations Conference and UFTAA we have not built on this and caught up with the world due to many reasons such as the war and political instability. Now Sri Lanka has to play catch up with countries like UAE, even though Sri Lankan were pioneers in this field.

 

Some areas we need to focus on are infrastructure facilities, strategic marketing plans, policy and training in order to achieve our goals of becoming the central hub in this part of the world. This will not only give our Tourism Industry a boost but also ensure that Sri Lankan businesses will benefit through the connections, investments and the joint ventures that will come through Sri Lanka. As you may understand, we are not only just speaking of the Trade Fairs, Meetings and Events Industry but of taking a major step towards the direction of economic prosperity. The Port City holds great opportunity to boost this industry in Sri Lanka, if we focus our attention strategically in this area. We intend to meet with the government authorities and share our views and plans with a view of getting it included in the national plan for the next decade. We will also strive as an industry to collaborate with other tourism associations to achieve our goals. We intend to meet with the authorities of the tourism industry and especially with the new finance minister to share our plans. We will also share our views with the media through a Press Conference shortly.

Daraz donates Rs. 2 million to ITUKAMA COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund

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Daraz showcased their perseverance in combatting the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through their donation of Rs. 2 Million and the supply of PPE kits to the ITUKAMA COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund.

The donation was handed over to Honorable Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha at the Temple Trees on 19th July 2021, in the presence of the Minister of Youth and Sports, and State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development, Namal Rajapakse and State Minister of Provincial Council and Local Government, Minister Roshan Ranasinghe. Representing Daraz Sri Lanka were Managing Director, Rakhil Fernando, Chief Operations Officer, Darshika Attanayake and the Head of Administration, and Procurement, Malith Ranadewa. 

The ITUKAMA project is a fundraising initiative for the COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund established by His Excellency, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to support the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. Initially established with a donation of Rs 100 million from the President’s Fund, the fund aims at securing the safety of those in the health sector and other essential service providers while facilitating the aid of those made vulnerable by COVID-19. It simultaneously supports the improvement of Sri Lanka’s long term vigilance and preparation for future health emergencies.

Daraz has played an active role in supporting the community through a series of CSR initiatives spearheaded under Daraz Cares, since the onset of the pandemic and will continue to do so by aiding the government of Sri Lanka.

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DARAZ  OLYMPIC GAMES PARTNERSHIP ACROSS SOUTH ASIA

South Asia’s leading e-commerce platform added to Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Singapore, 15th July 2021: South Asia’s e-commerce powerhouse and market leader, Daraz, has announced it will join as part of its parent company, Alibaba’s twelve-year worldwide deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Through this agreement, Daraz will bring together the power of sport and e-commerce to deliver a positive impact across the region and further deepen Daraz’s commitment to being a champion of South Asia.

Leveraging this partnership across Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, Daraz will work with each local National Olympic Committee to inspire and uplift communities.

Daraz’s Founder and CEO, Bjarke Mikkelsen, said the company’s addition to Alibaba’s Olympic partnership is a fantastic opportunity not only for Daraz but also the people of South Asia.

“Sport is a powerful equalizer. It doesn’t discriminate and brings people together right across the world, from all walks of life. For a company like Daraz the foundation of our business has always been about using the power of commerce to break down barriers and improve accessibility for both consumers and local entrepreneurs. I believe this ethos sits alongside the values of the Olympic Games perfectly.

We have a deep understanding of each market we operate in across South Asia, and we understand the daily challenges, especially during COVID-19, that many have had to endure. Therefore, we want to use this partnership to inspire everyone to live their dreams and show them that nothing is impossible,” says Mr Mikkelsen.  

Timo Lumme, Managing Director at IOC Television and Marketing Services said, “South Asia has a strong sports tradition and the addition of Daraz to the Alibaba partnership will give us an opportunity to connect more people in the region with the Olympic values”.

In the spirit of the new partnership, Daraz plans to extend its support to the region’s participating athletes who have demonstrated dedication to following their dreams. As one of the brands included in the IOC’s partnership with Alibaba, Daraz looks to tell athletes’ stories and inspire local communities, while focusing on the concept of “Delivering Dreams” across the region.

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Communiqué PR bags  Bronze 

Communiqué PR – Sri Lanka’s very own public relations and strategic communications consultancy – was recently recognised by The Globee Awards as a Bronze Award winner in the ‘Startup of the Year’ category at the 13th Annual 2021 Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards.

 

The coveted Golden Bridge Awards annually recognises and honours extraordinary achievements – in business and innovation – across every industry worldwide. All organisations operating anywhere in the world – whether small or big, public or private, for-profit or nonprofit – are eligible to participate in the awards under a wide range of categories that have been updated to reflect the changing roles and responsibilities of businesses today.

 

The 13th edition of the Golden Bridge Awards witnessed the participation of businesses and companies from all corners of the globe, with over 85 judges presiding over the selection process. The judging criteria took into account every aspect of the business including organisational performance, products and services, creativity and innovation, workplace management, public relations, customer satisfaction programmes, and much more – resulting in the much-awaited announcement of the Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners of the 2021 edition.

 

Commenting on the company’s noteworthy achievement, the Director of Communiqué PR Krishanthi Dhayalan, stated: “Winning the Bronze award has left us elated yet humbled, and we are deeply indebted to Globee Awards for the grand opportunity to participate in this prestigious global event. As a startup that just turned two, we are filled with a tremendous sense of appreciation for the incredible journey that has led to this very moment, and are absolutely fired-up for what is yet to come!”

 

She further added: “We are extremely grateful for the continued support and patronage of our wonderful partners, clients and friends without whom this accomplishment just would not have been possible! As more and more people become aware of the crucial importance of PR in the current global environment, you can be assured that Communiqué PR is out there to revolutionise the industry and provide value every step of the way!”

 

Communiqué PR is a Sri Lankan public relations consultancy that is solely dedicated to providing strategic and tailor-made communications solutions for all its clients. Its offerings are centred around modern PR (a confluence of traditional and digital PR), ongoing media relations and influencer relations, reputation building and brand positioning, crisis management and response, and so much more! 

 

The company is best known for its creative approaches and breakthrough campaigns, and is sincerely committed to empowering clients to seamlessly navigate the ever-evolving world of PR. The creative, dynamic and innovative individuals at Communiqué PR strive tirelessly to analyse and craft clever and proactive strategies that exceed expectations.

Daraz – the Official Digital Partner of the Sri Lankan Olympic Team 

 

Daraz, South Asia’s leading e-commerce dynamo, has announced its Olympic Games partnership to support the National Olympic Team of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, Daraz Sri Lanka will be working closely with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka to support and help inspire the local Olympic athletes, under the theme of ‘Delivering Dreams’.

Understanding not only the value of sports, but the importance of perseverance, Daraz aims at inspiring Sri Lankans of all ages, encouraging them to pursue their dreams. By providing a platform via which they can tell their stories, Daraz is supporting our national athletes to follow their dreams. For the youth of the country, Daraz will facilitate their support by delivering dreams across Sri Lanka, as they strive towards self-fulfillment, helping them understand that nothing is impossible.

Commenting on this partnership, Managing Director of Daraz Sri Lanka, Rakhil Fernando stated, “As Daraz grows from strength to strength in Sri Lanka, we have a duty and responsibility to the people of the country to inspire them to pursue their dreams, and help them go from strength to strength. As we bridge the arenas of sports and e-commerce, we hope to deliver the dreams of aspiring athletes in achieving their goals with the true Olympic spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

By being the platform that connects the spheres of sports and e-commerce, Daraz has the potential to truly inspire, especially through their new role as the Official Digital Partner of the National Olympic team.  

Rise in Land Prices in Western Province  from 2018 to 2021

According to the annual Land Price Index released by LankaPropertyWeb, Sri Lanka’s number one real estate platform, in the Western Province (except Colombo Municipality area) the overall land price values have increased by 74% from 2018 to 2021. The company also revealed that, on an annual basis, the increase in average land prices between 2018 and 2021 was 15% (Annual Effective Rate). As a result, if an investor were to invest in property and hold it for 4 to 5 years, his initial investment would multiply largely over time.

When compared with the fluctuations in interest rates for fixed deposits, these values are a major contrast proving further towards the profitability of the real estate industry in the country. 

Data: Central Bank of Sri Lanka and LankaPropertyWeb

Between the first quarters of 2019 to 2021, fixed deposit rates have reduced from 11.41% to 6.29%. While the land price acceleration in the Western Province slowed down from 22% in 2019 to 18.56% in 2021. This is especially significant given that in most countries across the world, the real estate market has experienced major downturns with the spread of COVID-19.

During the last 4 years, growing demand for land in the suburbs was also witnessed with price increases being reported from Kolonnawa, Hanwella, Peliyagoda and Welampitiya in the Colombo district. Cities such as Kelaniya, Dompe and Kadawatha in the Gampaha district showed price increases as well, providing further evidence to the changing patterns of Sri Lankan property buyers.

Among these cities, however, what topped the list in fluctuation during the 4 years was Ingiriya in the Kalutara district. The land prices in the city had experienced a 246% increase from 2018 to 2021. This is an annual average increase of 51% with a 109% increase between 2020 to 2021.

The record of Ingiriya was followed by Angoda (195%) that ranked 2nd and Kolonnawa (183%), which had the 3rd highest land price fluctuations from 2018 to 2021. The data further revealed that on an annual average basis the increase in land prices in the former between 2020 to 2021 was 69% while the latter was at 4%.

Commenting on this the Head of Research at LankaPropertyWeb, Tharindu Jayarathne said, “When we analyse the land price movements for the last 4 years, it is inevitable that the demand has driven away from district capitals to suburbs which have development agendas. Most prices are tagged with infrastructure development prospects.”

 

Source: LankaPropertyWeb

With the changes in infrastructure taking place across the Western Province, people’s motive to shift towards the suburbs of Colombo and other parts of the province has continuously risen over the years. Budget proposals towards housing development plans, highway construction projects and transportation convenience of non-durable products like vegetables, has led to certain cities experiencing triple-digit appreciation during the 4 years.

In Colombo, this was recorded in Angoda, Kolonnawa, Hanwella, Peliyagoda, Wellampitiya, Hokandara and Homagama. While in the Kalutara district, triple-digit land price increases were seen in Ingiriya and Wadduwa. In the Gampaha district Kelaniya, Dompe and Kadawatha showed similar patterns as well.

Besides the increasing trend in prices, lands in certain parts of the country still remain quite affordable and under a price of less than LKR 1 million. However, these lands also experienced an appreciation of over 100% per perch since Q1 of 2018.

 

 

Source: LankaPropertyWeb

Hanwella in the Colombo district and Dompe in the Gampaha district showed hikes of 168% and 156% during the 4 years with an annual average rate of 39% and 37% respectively, in the ‘under 1 million per perch’ segment. 

A highlight in this data is that lands in Homagama also fall into this category of ‘Under LKR 1 million. The land price data showed a fluctuation of 103% from 2018 to 2021 and an annual average of 26.62% (Annual effective).

As of this year, the government announced that over 8 development projects are to be commenced in Homagama. These projects include a wholesale exchange centre in Meegoda, a granary in Dodagama, a sports city in Diyagama, a knowledge city and mega supermarket in Homagama, a biodiversity city in Barawa, an apparel town in Ingirya-Dodagama and an export city in Kahathuduwa. This is further expected to drive land prices in Homagama to increase in the near future.

Land Prices in Colombo Municipality on an average increased by 8% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021: LankaPropertyWeb

The average prices in the Colombo municipality between 1 - 15 have recorded minor fluctuations when compared to the rising demand for lands in the suburbs. In Colombo 1, 2, 4 and 5, land prices have increased slightly while Colombo 3, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14 and 15 have reduced when compared with the 2020 average per perch prices.

2 years ago, the land prices in these areas were higher and in demand. But with the changing patterns of Sri Lankan house buyers property prices have impacted largely.

 

While most price fluctuations during the 4 years were recorded from cities in the Western Province, Kandy in the Central Province, Galle and Matara in the Southern Province, and Kurunegala in the North-Western Province also showed changes in land prices. From 2018 to 2021 land prices in Kandy increased by 45% while in Matara the records revealed an increase of 12%.

A full list of the land prices for Q1 2021 can be viewed at https://www.lankapropertyweb.com/house_prices.php#lands-wp

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International Association of Pageantry appoints Representative in Sri Lanka

 

The International Association of Pageantry (IAOP) recently announced their appointment of Chanaka Perera as the Exclusive Representative/Partner in Sri Lanka. The IAOP is self-regulating ethics and regulatory body for the pageant industry, with its head office based in the United States (US).

Pageantry is a cultural icon in many countries, and the IAOP serves the international pageant community by promoting industry ethics, self-regulation, and best practices, thus providing consumer protection for pageant systems, suppliers, and participants following the Code of Ethics. With numerous international pageants registered under the IAOP system worldwide, IAOP members and participants are asked to provide safe environments for empowering fair competition and protecting participants while maintaining the integrity of the pageant industry. As the IAOP is also involved in the vetting of judges for pageants, maintaining ethical standards throughout the pageant is definitely a priority.

Dr Rollan Roberts, Chairman of the IAOP commented on the appointment of the new Exclusive Representative/Partner in Sri Lanka saying, “I’d like to welcome Chanaka Perera and his organization in Sri Lanka to the IAOP membership family. We are so thrilled that those in Sri Lanka are committed, under his guidance and leadership with the IAOP, to honesty, integrity and ethics in pageantry. We believe that this is the best way to support and empower women through this profession. We are so grateful to the Sri Lankan government, the organization and to our partnership, as they aim to ensure fair, honest and ethical pageants throughout Sri Lanka.”

The IAOP acting through Chanaka Perera has agreed to take pageantry in Sri Lanka to new heights, keeping with the Code of Ethics and advising the Sri Lankan government on the International Systems and Guidelines in place to ensure fairness and integrity within this prominent industry. Educated in England and Australia, Chanaka Perera is a known entrepreneur with involvements in the pageantry industry. Therefore, his expertise in the area as well as his emphasis on ensuring that the system upholds transparency and equal opportunity, promise great hope for the future of Sri Lanka pageants. The IAOP is also interested in exploring the opportunity of promoting Sri Lanka as a pageant destination in the US. Through affiliation with the Supporting Women Association of Pageantry in Sri Lanka (SWAP), it is hoped that every competitor will be facilitated the opportunity to flourish and grow through empowering pageant experiences.

In addition, the IAOP works tirelessly with national and regulatory governing bodies on with the aim of fulfilling Sustainable Development Goal #5 (SDG5) as per the United Nations (UN). SDG5 focuses on achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. As such, the IAOP hopes to provide a foundation by which women and girls might step into the spotlight of empowerment and enable them to take their futures into their own hands.

Commenting on the partnership, Chanaka Perera, stated, “Pageantry is an extremely influential industry, especially in Sri Lanka where many young women either enter pageants in order to make a difference, or watch pageants religiously. These pageants function as a platform by which to empower women, and it is our responsibility to ensure equal opportunities, fairness and integrity throughout these competitions. I understand the importance of maintaining the ethical conduct at every stage of the pageant and am grateful for this role assigned to me by the IAOP. I look forward to the partnership with the IAOP, working with Rollan Roberts who is also a well-known entrepreneur, adviser and the Head of Transform Africa. My aim is to ensure that local pageants meet IAOP standards so as to promote Sri Lanka as a pageantry destination. The IAOP has indicated their willingness to work with the Sri Lankan government to enhance the local pageantry profession. Thus, we hope to facilitate an environment in Sri Lanka that promotes the empowerment of women and girls, while showing the world the wonders of the destination that is Sri Lanka.”

Daraz now the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket

 

Colombo, 24 May 2021;

The culture of Sri Lanka is steeped in cricket and transcends the boundaries of age, gender, race and religion and we as a people, thrive on it as our lifeblood. Daraz takes great pleasure in announcing their role as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket for 2021.  

Daraz will be the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket for the remainder of the year 2021, which will include high profile series against Bangladesh, England, South Africa and Scotland, promising excellent entertainment eagerly awaited by many across the country. The Daraz Group, a subsidiary of global e-commerce giant Alibaba, view cricket sponsorships as one of the key pillars of Daraz’s brand strategy. In response to our customers' love for the game in many of our markets, Daraz also sponsors the national cricket team of Bangladesh. As such, marking a first in Cricket in the region, both teams at the upcoming Sri Lanka – Bangladesh ODI series, will be sponsored by the same company. This is indicative of the continuous prosperity and growth of the largest online shopping platform within South Asia, as they continue to improve the e-commerce infrastructure in the region.

Sharing his thoughts at the sponsorship, Rakhil Fernando, Managing Director of Daraz, stated, “It is our vision to see Daraz grow from strength to strength and ingrain itself in the fabric of culture within the markets we operate. This sponsorship is a testament to that plan and vision. Us sponsoring the Sri Lanka cricket team as they represent our country overseas solidifies our support and commitment to Sri Lanka”. The Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Cricket Mr Ashley De Silva observed, “By partnering with Sri Lanka Cricket, Daraz has made an excellent movie, which I am certain will benefit their brand immensely”.

This is not Daraz’s debut cricket sponsorship. Having most recently partnered Sri Lanka Cricket, during the England Tour of Sri Lanka, which took place in January 2021, as well as the Lanka Premier league which took place in November and December 2020. Daraz also co-sponsored the test matches of the Sri Lankan tour of South Africa in December 2020 at Centurion and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Manik Sooriyaarachchi Scholarship for Female Entrepreneurs

 

The Australian High Commission would like to announce the launch of the Manik Sooriyaarachchi Scholarship for Female Entrepreneurs. This Scholarship has been established to commemorate Ms Manik Sooriyaarachchi, who tragically died, along with her daughter Alexandria, in the 2019 Easter bombings.

 

Manik was an Australian citizen and an alumna from the University of Swinburne in Melbourne. She was an active member of the Australia-Sri Lanka Alumni group and an entrepreneurial businesswoman who returned to Sri Lanka to contribute to the country’s economic development.

 

To mark the contributions Manik made as a female entrepreneur and as an Australian alumna, the Manik Sooriyaarchchi Scholarship for Female Entrepreneurs has been established. The Scholarship will fund a Sri Lankan female entrepreneur to undertake a business entrepreneurship degree at graduate certificate level at one of Australia’s top universities. It is anticipated one scholarship will be offered each year for the next 5 years. The Scholarship will fund course fees and travel and living expenses up to AUD 55,000.

 

Australian High Commissioner David Holly launched the scholarship on 21 April, the second anniversary of the bombings.

 

Applications will be sought from female businesswomen and entrepreneurs with at least 5 years professional experience who have a clear proposal for expanding their current business or creating a new business in sectors that will expand employment opportunities for Sri Lankans. We encourage female Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and businesswomen to take this opportunity to undertake professional development in Australia.

 

More details on the Scholarship can be found at https://australiaawardssrilanka.org.

Acme Group Upgrades Food Safety Management Systems

 

ACME Group has recently upgraded its food safety management systems in line with the latest version of International Food Safety Management System (FSMS) certifications of ISO 22000:2018 and FSSC 22000 Version 5, for their flexible packaging manufacturing facilities in Piliyandala and Pannala respectively. The certifications were awarded by SGS International Certification Services, UK through its local office, SGS Lanka Ltd.

 

ACME manufactures packaging materials in the form of printed/laminated reels, pouches, sheets and lids converted out of Aluminium Foil, BOPP, LLDPE, Nylon, Polyester and Paper for the packaging of a wide range of products such as Confectionery, Milk Powder, Biscuits, Snacks, Beverages, Tea, Noodles, Soya Nuggets, Processed Meat Products, Pharmaceuticals, Detergent Powder, Agro Chemicals, Cigarette Foil as well Garments etc.

 

The Piliyandala factory of ACME is the country’s sole manufacture of Aluminum Foil based flexible packaging items wherein the company has successfully entered export markets. ACME’s list of customers includes and is not limited to market leaders such as Maliban Biscuits and Maliban Milk, Ceylon Biscuits, Ceylon Chocolates, Fonterra, Dilmah, Prima, DSI, CEAT Tyres, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Wijaya Products, Uswatta Confectioneries, Pelwatta, Cherish, Ariya Milk Products, Lanka Milk Foods, Hemas and State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (SPMC).

 

In addition, ACME Group holds the prestigious International Quality Management System (QMS) certification of ISO 9001:2015 for both their flexible packaging manufacturing facilities in Pililyandala and Pannala.  ACME ensures that their products are in high quality and food safe by aligning their systems in line with said international certification systems.

 

 

 

The management of ACME is proud to declare the upgrade of its Management Systems (QMS/FSMS) especially as the Group has increased its manufacturing capabilities in terms of both quantity and quality, which has resulted in increased customer satisfaction and confidence, notwithstanding the unfavourable business environment of the country and the world at large caused by the recent Covid 19 pandemic. As the country’s foremost flexible packaging manufacturer, ACME Group has the ability to comply with what is required by the latest version of international standards (QMS/FSMS) since it has the benefit of the services of country’s most experienced labour force relating to flexible packaging.  

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AYA pioneers addressing women's  health concerns
By Shivanthi Medagoda

Fems, a brand, owned by Hemas Consumer, announced taking the lead in addressing pressing concerns of women’s reproductive health issues at a recent press meet held in Colombo. 


Fems AYA pioneers a nationwide initiative in addressing menstrual health and hygiene concerns of women islandwide.  The initiative by Hemas AYA aims to educate women on health and hygiene and to provide equal access to high-quality napkins for every woman, was launched in line with the International Women's Day celebrations. Fems joined forces with the ARKA initiative, Dilmah's Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation, Sarvodaya Women's Movement and Sarvodaya-Fusion to educate a wider audience of Sri Lankan women on menstrual health and iron out the long-held myths and misconceptions. This initiative intends to educate women on the health benefits of using sanitary napkins. As research has found out that the majority of women are non-users of sanitary napkins.


Addressing the launch, Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle, State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control said, "I am proud to see a leading private sector company like Hemas stepping up to lead a social endeavour that bridges a long-felt knowledge gap together with organizations that share a similar interest.


The Arka Initiative is an organization working on sexual and reproductive health issues in Sri Lanka. It is led by a group of young doctors, psychologists, lawyers and researchers. One of the main objectives of the Arka Initiative is to educate and equip young women with the necessary knowledge and tools they need, to ensure menstrual health and hygiene. The partnership with MJF Foundation enables Fems to educate more than 10,000 plantation residents, with the due support from the ARKA initiative. The Dilmah's Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation continuously engages in charitable initiatives to uplift the lives of Sri Lankans and extend support to various communities such as the students with special needs. Fems intends to expand this awareness campaign to rural villages through the Sarvodaya Women's Movement which is a large network of women spread across the island. The Movement's years of experience in tackling women's issues and empowering women by uplifting their knowledge add the necessary momentum to drive this initiative forward. Sarvodaya-Fusion who works on ICT for development initiatives will be instrumental in conducting online awareness sessions on healthful living for women in this digital era.


Responding to a concern raised that how this product “AYA '' manufactured by Hemas FMCG goods compare with other related sanitary napkins in the market?  Managing Director, Hemas FMCG Sriyan De Silva Wijeyeratnre, said that AYA done by Fems is manufactured using a soft cotton top sheet to provide maximum comfort to the user and also clearly stated that their main concern is providing sanitary napkins for a very affordable price than the ones existing in the Sri Lankan market.

As many women facing financial difficulties don’t spend on napkins, also they don’t have access and knowledge on the need for sanitary napkins. Aya product is a cost-effective sanitary napkin for a woman facing their monthly difficulties. Costs are hoping to start from LKR 100 for 10 napkins. Fems is a leading brand in the local market introduced by Hemas FMCG and they have all the necessary machinery that is required to launch this new product and the manpower to produce their new product to the local market in the upcoming month.  Ladies facing their monthly difficulties will have a good option and mainly an affordable napkin. On World Women’s Day, Hemas launched "AYA" addressing to talk and make a different along with our partners to bring a good change and care about their menstrual health and hygiene to empower women to continue their lives without trouble.


Joining together with Arka Initiative, MJF Foundation and Sarvodya Women’s Movement Fems will launch a new product that will be both cost-effective and available islandwide. The product will also be manufactured to the highest standards and quality, De Silva Wijeratne said. 
 

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Cathay Pacific Cargo Develops Solution for Vaccine Distribution

 

The new quality-assured solution facilitates the fast and effective import and transhipment of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide Cathay Pacific Cargo has built on its many years of experience in transporting  pharmaceutical shipments to develop a vaccine solution specifically for the fast and
effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.


Cathay Pacific Director Cargo Tom Owen said: “With our 20 dedicated freighters and cargo bellies of passenger aircraft supporting our extensive freighter network, we stand ready to assist with what will be the biggest humanitarian response to a situation involving civil aviation that anyone has ever seen.”

Ultra Track
Cathay Pacific Cargo is progressively rolling out Ultra Track as a key part of the vaccine solution. The next-generation track-and-trace system monitors information
including temperature, GPS location, and humidity, using low-energy Bluetooth readers. This gives shippers and forwarders near real time visibility, and ensures
vaccines will remain within their transportation temperature ranges. 


Operations Control Centre
In addition, shipments using Ultra Track will also be monitored by the newly established Operations Control Centre. Based in Hong Kong, and staffed by
dedicated cargo professionals 24/7, the team can instruct ramp and cargo terminal staff to take proactive steps to ensure the various storage requirements of vaccines are maintained. Owen said: “Ultra Track will allow forwarders to monitor the condition of their vaccine shipments in near real time. It will be progressively rolled out through the first quarter of this year, and we will be offering the service free of charge for any COVID-19 vaccine shipments.”


CEIV Pharma accreditation
The combined approach follows on from airport-wide recertification of IATA’s CEIV Pharma accreditation (the internationally recognised quality-assurance
scheme for pharmaceutical shipments) at Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay Pacific Cargo, the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal managed by Cathay Pacific
Services Limited (CPSL) and ground-handling subsidiary Hong Kong Airport Services (HAS) have all been re-certified, offering a complete level of quality
assurance at every stage of the import and transhipment journey.


Airport Authority Hong Kong General Manager Aviation Logistics Alaina Shum said:“Hong Kong International Airport advocates and supports the airport community in its CEIV Pharma recertification, which helps to cement its status as the world’s leading and busiest cargo airport.” The Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal is being expanded to offer more temperature-controlled capacity. While it is currently able to temporarily hold and transit 6.6 million doses of vaccine a day, there is more to come. Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Owen says: “We have just expanded so that it can handle more than seven million doses, and there will be more cold storage coming online soon. This new cold room storage will be able to handle a further 1.6 million doses.” “With the vaccine being so valuable and in such limited supply, it’s critical that we get it right at every stage of the journey. We are confident about meeting the  challenge, and we stand ready to play our part.” 

India to approve  first set of vaccines for Covid 19

 

India is at the cusp of authorizing the first set of Covid-19 vaccines announced Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday and expressed the need for an expeditious vaccination drive to cover the target population estimated to be around 30 crores.

 

While chairing the 22nd meeting the Minister made the announcement to the  Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 through a video-conference as India crossed the one crore infection mark.

He was joined online by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of State Health and  Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai, Member (Health) NITI Aayog Vinod K. Paul, Advisers to the Prime Minister Amarjeet Sinha and Bhaskar Khulbe.

Appealing to diligently maintain a Covid 19 appropriate behaviour, the Vardhan said we should follow coronavirus guidelines even at a time "when the country is at the cusp of authorizing the first set of vaccines".

Expressing deep gratitude to all Covid warriors, who have been steadfast in their duty throughout the pandemic, Vardhan informed his colleagues of the progress made by the country`s public health system has brought encouraging results so far. Confirmed by the fact that pandemic growth has dropped to 2 per cent and the case fatality rate is amongst the lowest in the world at 1.45 per cent.

"India`s Recovery Rate has peaked to 95.46 per cent, while the strategy of testing 1 million samples has decreased the Cumulative Positivity Rate to 6.25 per cent," he added.

Observing the fact that despite festivals in October and November, Vardhan said no new surge of cases was observed in this period due to comprehensive testing, tracking and treatment policy implemented on the ground.

Sujeet K. Singh, Director (NCDC), presented a detailed report on how the data-driven graded government policies have helped India achieve significant control over the pandemic.

Singh presented a granular analysis of the trajectory of the pandemic in each state pointing out critical parameters like positivity, RAT and RT-PCR per cent breakup, the concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends like a fatality, and fatality within 48 and 72 hours of hospitalization. Along with the data on the total dedicated Covid-19 facilities in the country.

Through a detailed presentation, NITI Aayog member Paul apprised the GoM on three critical aspects of vaccination; the process of a pre-clinical and clinical trial of all vaccines, the details of the six vaccine candidates undergoing trial in India (in terms of composition, manufacturers and technical partners, numbers of doses, conditions for storage and efficacy) and the composition of target populations in India, in terms of age, occupation and co-morbidities and how they compare with other countries and WHO`s recommendations.

He briefed the GoM about requests for vaccines received by the Ministry of External Affairs from 12 other countries. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan noted the importance of Health Seeking Behaviour among the population as a key driver in checking fatality.

Explaining the paradox of some states and Union Territories reporting very high cases but minimal fatalities while others reporting low cases but comparatively high fatalities, Paul said that this phenomenon results from people not coming forward for testing even if they are symptomatic in the second category of states.

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Fairfirst Insurance  awarded at Sri Lanka’s Brand Leadership and Best Employer - Awards 2020 

 

Fairfirst Insurance Limited was awarded the prestigious Sri Lanka’s Brand Leadership and Best Employer Awards recently, held over a virtual event. Endorsed by global professional platforms, CMO Asia, Employer Branding Institute and World HRD Congress, seek to recognize and award professionals and companies together under one roof.

 

Been awarded Sri Lanka’s Brand Leadership Awards for the 3rd consecutive year, Fairfirst went onto receiving three titles: Best Brand Award, Best Use of Social Media in Marketing and Banking, Financial Services & Insurance Sector. Their wins authenticate a moment of bright optimism in striving for the best, continuous and outstanding brand building & marketing capabilities. Fairfirst’s communication efforts revolve around the core values of empathy, authenticity, transparency and social responsibility thereby, ranking them amongst the top brands in Sri Lanka yet again. And it is a true testament to the company’s aspirations in achieving brand excellence by providing a service that is on par with global standards to its customers.   

 

Fairfirst was also awarded the Best Employer Brand Award for the 2nd consecutive year under the title of Best Employer Brand in developing talent and cultivating competencies for a future-ready organization. This has helped them to attract talent, retain talent and develop talent - all in the scope of celebrating leadership goals at Fairfirst. This being yet another recognition that reaffirms a milestone surpassed in their journey in being the best that comes a few months after been recognized as the only Sri Lankan Company amongst 22 global companies listed in the ‘2020 Top Insurance Workplaces in Asia-Pacific’ by Insurance Business Asia”.


Commenting on this recognition, Chief Marketing Officer Fairfirst Insurance, Mr. Sasith Bambaradeniya stated, “Our core values of Empathy, Authenticity, Transparency and Social Responsibility are a testament to a brand that is sensitive, sensible and successful. We are also a brand that creates a design-led thinking culture combined with empathy that reinforces failing – but failing quickly and cheaply - and thereby learning quicker to provide our customers with a peace of mind against the uncertainties we face, especially in the life of the new normal.”

 

Adding on, Head of Human Resources, Fairfirst Insurance -  Manjari Kumarage said, “Our utmost priority remains in crafting an environment where our belief in each other and our hard work-culture makes it possible for us to nurture the goodness in what we do. Staying true to our values and being optimistic is what we always strive for.”

 

 

Fairfirst Insurance Limited, is part of the global Fairfax Group. The Group is a leading property and casualty insurer, reinsurer and investment manager, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Fairfirst is today among the top general insurance companies of Sri Lanka and is recognised as the only Sri Lankan company amongst the 2020 Top insurance global giants in Asia-Pacific. Fairfirst serves individuals, businesses and institutions across this beautiful island through a versatile workforce spread across the comprehensive branch network, affinity partners and brokers in Sri Lanka.

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Huawei  Maximizing Wireless Network Value for a Golden Decade of 5G

At the 2020 Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF), Huaweis Executive Director and President of the Carrier Business Group Ryan Ding gave his keynote speech " Maximizing Wireless Network Value for a Golden Decade of 5G". Ding said that the coming decade will be a golden age for 5G's progress around the world and that the whole industry must have faith in 5G, build the best 5G networks, and make the most of them for shared value. 5G is developing much faster than previous generations. Currently, there are more than 100 commercial 5G networks worldwide, and budget 5G mobile phones have dropped to CNY1,000. This is driving up the number of 5G users around the world, and leading carriers are already benefitting from 5G data plans. They are seeing an increase in the ARPU of 5G users through multi-metric service packages and
upgraded services like 5G messaging and enriched calling.

To further develop 5G and encourage more people to embrace 5G, carriers need to build the best 5G networks possible. They need to provide coverage across all scenarios such as for dense urban areas, suburbs, and indoors so that users always have access to 5G services. Carriers also need to improve 5G connectivity to deliver a consistently superior experience to users.  In addition to the consumer market, the industrial market will become a new revenue stream for carriers. 5G is being applied in more and more sectors over the year since it was first deployed. Many industry applications have become increasingly commoditized and can be replicated on a larger scale. Carriers are also exploring how to use 5G to enable vertical industries.

Unlike consumers who care most about data speeds, industry customers have a variety of needs, and so it is crucial that carriers maximize network value by nurturing new capabilities. To meet these diverse needs, the telecom sector needs to provide fundamental network capabilities, highly reliable network services, and flexible networking solutions necessary for industrial 5G applications. The telecom sector will also need to make improvements from end to end, ranging from network planning, construction, maintenance, and optimization to operations. This will help reduce the costs of deploying industry applications. Ding emphasized that developing industrial 5G applications is an industry-wide effort, rather than just carriers' responsibility. Accelerating this development is only possible when telecommunications integrates with other industries. In the recently
frozen Release 16, 3GPP added an improved standard for broadcasting services and 5G functions like location and ultra-low air interface latency. Upcoming releases, including Release 17, will address additional industry needs.

At the end of his speech, Ding stated that the next decade will be a golden age for 5G. The whole industry needs to have faith, build the best networks possible for consumers, and nurture new capabilities for industry customers to maximize the value of wireless networks for a golden decade of 5G.

At the 2020 Global Mobile Broadband Forum, Huawei will share insights into global industry trends and hot topics with carriers, regulators, partners, and media analysts from around the world. They will explore how innovation in ICT technologies such as 5G and AI can be mutually beneficial to industries and society at large. 

Ocean Lanka Enters into Partnership with Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)

Ocean Lanka Pvt Ltd, Sri Lanka’s largest weft knitted fabric manufacturer, announced that it has entered into a partnership with Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), one of the world’s leading standards for sustainably produced cotton. The recent partnership will see Ocean Lanka further increasing its
sustainable cotton portion, which is ecologically and socially progressive.


Cotton made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation, which operates on the principle that partnering retailers and brands pay a license fee for every product bearing the CmiA label. CmiA then reinvests the licensing revenue towards training smallholder cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa,
thereby improving their living conditions. “In 2009, we made a commitment to source more sustainable cotton. As of today, over 40 per cent of
fabric and yarn we use is already sustainable. The partnership with CmiA will allow us to further increase that proportion, putting us well on our way to reaching at least 75 per cent by 2025,” Dr. Austin Au, Managing Director of Ocean Lanka said.


“Ocean Lanka maintains a proactive stance in bettering the textile and apparel industry and reducing the environmental impact. The partnership with CmiA is an expansion of our responsible fabrics portfolio, which includes; organic cotton, GOTS certified organic cotton fibres and BCI cotton. It is important that all our stakeholders partake in our journey - only this way can we achieve long-term success and trust,” he added.

Samsung Sri Lanka infuses the joy of giving and receiving with its ‘Nattal Wasi Malla’ seasonal offers

 

  • Attractive price discounts up to Rs.3,500

  • Free Samsung battery packs and Data bundle offer on selected models

 

 

06th November 2020 Colombo: Sri Lanka’s No. 1 smartphone brand, Samsung is ushering in the joyous spirit of Christmas with a fantastic seasonal promotion - 'Nattal Wasi Malla' - to reward customers with attractive price discounts on their favorite Samsung smartphones, unmatchable free data bundles up to 6 months and free Samsung battery packs worth Rs.4999/- for a memorable holiday season.

 

In Samsung’s Seasonal ‘Nattal Wasi Malla’ promotion, customers can select from an array of the best-selling Samsung smartphones at amazing price discounts available up to Rs,3,500. Free Samsung battery packs worth Rs. 4999/- are being offered with the Samsung Galaxy A71 (6/8+128GB) which is priced at Rs.85, 490 upwards and A51 (6/8+128GB) priced at Rs.66, 790 upwards. As an extended value addition, customers can enjoy the upgraded memory variant of 8GB for A51 and A71 at the introductory price of 6GB! The price discounts are also extended to Galaxy A11, A21s, M21, M11, A01 and J2 Core smartphones. Not only that Samsung Sri Lanka further strengthens the promotion offering a free unlimited data bundle for Galaxy M31, M21, M11, M01 and M01 Core up to 6 months. This timely seasonal promotion by Samsung is one not to be missed considering the fantastic offers customers are getting.

 

As Sri Lanka’s most popular smartphone brand, Samsung smartphones appeal to all ages, but the youth and Millennials have been especially captivated by the features of the Samsung Galaxy range, which support their lifestyle and aspirations. Samsung’s seasonal promotion offers a great opportunity to infuse joy and happiness into the lives of loved ones in the true spirit of Christmas giveaway. Given the current country situation, Smartphones empower people to stay connected to loves ones from anywhere in the world while also facilitating their work from home or online learning needs, making it the best Christmas surprise one could gift this holiday season.

 

This offer can be availed at island-wide authorized dealers of John Keells Office Automation and Softlogic Mobile Distribution, easily identified by the Samsung logo placed outside the shop. The promotion will also be carried out at authorized partners - Softlogic Retail, Singer, Singhagiri and Damro, and Network Partner Dialog and through the online portals; Samsung E-Store, Daraz.lk and MySoftlogic.lk. To add to the brand’s value further Samsung Sri Lanka provides TRC approved products only.

 

For further information, customers can reach out through the Samsung customer hotline, Monday to Sunday 8.30am to 8.30pm, or post their inquiries on Samsung Members, which offers 24x7 assistance providing real-time solutions through its Live Chat

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The Wolf is back
Big Bad Wolf online Book Sale Sri Lanka 2020 
 
By Shivanthi  Medagoda      
Big Bad Wolf,  book sale this year offers free island-wide delivery and discounts ranging from 50%-90%.

           This year one can simply order online from the comfort of one's home or via their website either through your laptop, PC or mobile. The website has added features that have categorized the interesting books for our beloved readers said Big Bad Wolf Co-founder, Jacqueline Ng  There will be online assistance till the 20th of October if you find any difficulties trying to purchase books online via the website or any related issues after purchasing.

           Speaking at the online launch Big Bad Wolf, Partner, Dipak Madhavan said,  this year will be a hassle-free book shopping experience by Big Bad Wolf SL 2020 in which readers no longer need to wait in traffic, queues, and worry about safety. The changes brought about by the corona pandemic has created the necessity to host the book fair online between the 1st to 4th October 2020. Around the clock with great offers. We all are going to miss the browsing throughout each exciting book at the fair. Once you complete the order, books will be shipped from Malaysia directly to you within 20 working days. Free islandwide delivery and international shipping is available this year for all orders above LKR 8000.00

              

           Responding to a  question from the media, Big Bad Wolf Co-founder Andrew Yap said, Particular books will have a certain number of pages that can be viewed online. However, this option is only available for a limited number of books at the moment. You can add to the cart the book that you wish and continue checking out their website for more interesting and exciting books. The website with its' very simple layout, and user-friendly interface, offers over 30,000 books online this year.

 

            Speaking further Madhavan said there are many offers this year for Big Bad Wolf fan readers. The Magical Books series promotion for kids carries a  buy two and get one free offer. Also if you buy 3 Magical Books then you’ll be getting 2 free Magical Books. Another special is  The Classic Fairytale by White Star Kids series, is a buy 1 and get one free offer! For the youth reader fans of “The Horrible Book Series” offers to start from LKR 640 for bundle books of three. Several buy one get one free and bundle offers have been lined up this year. 

            Sampath Bank Mastercard or Credit cardholders can purchase books on interest-free plans as well. Also, readers register online via our website you'll be eligible for 20% off on a selected range of books. Also, stay updated via their social media FB and Instagram page for the latest contest and promotion announcements. Readers can also join their contests on social media, ‘TNL NOW’ radio station and sharing content to win discount codes to order online.

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Australian support to establish Sri Lanka's  National Defence College

 

Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka David Holly and Australian Defence Adviser Group Captain Sean Unwin presented 600 books to the Commandant of the Sri Lankan National Defence College, Major General (ret’d) Amal Karunasekara.

 

At the handover ceremony, High Commissioner Holly said “The Australian Department of Defence is pleased to continue its support to Sri Lanka’s establishment of a National Defence College which will provide professional military education to senior officers from all three services. Australia has been involved with the National Defence College since its inception when then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Sri Lanka in 2017 and pledged Australia’s support for this important institution”.

 

The 600 books consist of 173 different titles covering subjects relating to international relations, strategy, economics, politics and history, and will assist in establishing the college’s library prior to the start of academic courses in 2021.   

 

In the early stages of the college’s establishment, Australia seconded a Royal Australian Navy Captain to support curriculum development staff to design the strategic studies courses offered by the college. Currently, as a part of ongoing support to the college, the Australian Department of Defence is sponsoring a Sri Lankan Navy officer to study a Masters of National Security Policy at the Australian National University’s National Security College for 18 months.

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EFL Global Freeport  receive merit award 

EFL Global Freeport (Pvt) Ltd, a member of Expolanka Holdings PLC, a leading logistics conglomerate in Sri Lanka has recently reached two key
milestones of being recognized for their superior process discipline by winning a Merit Award at the Taiki Akimoto 5S Awards as well as being inducted in to being a Member of the World Free Zones Organization (World FZO).


EFL Global Freeport is the only logistics service provider to have achieved this Merit Award at the Taiki Akimoto 5S Award awarded by JASTECA, which was held at The Galadari Hotel recently, and was awarded in view of their adherence to 5S disciplines. Taiki Akimoto has become synonymous with 5S in Sri Lanka and this award is known as the Annual National Competition for 5S in Sri Lanka. Companies take part in this competition in order to obtain an independent assessment of their superior disciplines and adherence to benchmarked practices. A multitude of applications have been received for the Taiki Akimoto 5S Awards from both the Public & Private Sector Organizations.


Subsequently, EFL Global Freeport has also been inducted as a Member of the World FZO, which is the largest, most active Free Zone organization in the world with over 620 members from all parts of the globe. World FZO brings together free zones from all over the world and promotes their positive impacts by providing guidance, knowledge and services to its members, so as to enhance free zones’ contribution to economic prosperity and social development.
EFL Global Freeport is the first private company to set up free zone operations in Sri Lanka.


Occupying 240,000Sqft, the facility is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure along with a Tier 1 Warehouse Management System (WMS), HighJump to provide seamless services. EFL Global Freeport provides real time visibility and increased efficiencies through advanced analytics, business intelligence (BI), robotic process automation (RPA) etc. EFL Global Freeport is backed by EFL’s international presence in 21 countries across 60+ offices globally and can provide end to end solutions to all client requirements whatever and wherever they may be. With a global network and international affiliations, which are supported by adherence to processes and disciplines, EFL Global Freeport is able to provide a seamless and global logistics experience and solutions to its clientele around the world.

Renato Lombardi, Huawei Fellow and Chair
Innovative Microwave Solutions Proposed at Huawei 5G Microwave Asia-Pacific Conference for Heavy-Rain Regions

The Huawei 5G Microwave Asia-Pacific Conference was held online recently, bringing together more than 130 guests to share insights into 5G microwave applications and to discuss how microwave solutions contribute to accelerating 5G development in the Asia-Pacific region. At the conference, Huawei proposed an innovative solution to solve transmission capacity and distance bottlenecks that traditional microwave solutions encounter in the parts of the Asia-Pacific region that experience heavy rain.

Huawei's 5G microwave solutions have simplified architecture and support ultra-high bandwidth and low latency. The solutions allow carriers to quickly launch networks, helping them acquire subscribers from high-end markets, as demonstrated in the first wave of 5G construction in the Middle East. As they feature a shorter time to market and return on investment period, microwave solutions are hailed as the optimal transport solution to scale up 5G development.

Huawei's leading 20 Gbps E-band microwave solution has played a crucial role in ensuring the transport capacity for large-scale 5G commercial networks. However, the E-band spectrum is prone to high rain attenuation, limiting the coverage distance in heavy-rain regions. Large-diameter antennas are featured with small beam angles, placing high requirements on tower stability.

Chairing the conference, Mr. Renato Lombardi, Huawei Fellow and Chairman of the ETSI Industry Study Group mWT, proposed an innovative solution based on intelligent beam tracing (IBT) antenna for long-reach E-band and super dual band(SDB) approaches to increase the coverage distance and simplify deployment. The combination aims to significantly increase the coverage distance of microwave solutions in heavy-rain regions.

Increasing antenna diameter is the most effective approach to increasing the coverage distance of microwave signals. However, a larger diameter leads to a smaller beam angle and requires greater tower stability. Therefore, for current E-band deployments, 0.3 m antennas are mostly adopted for ultra-short-distance links. In contrast, the 0.6 m antenna applications are limited due to demanding deployment requirements.

Earlier in 2020, Huawei released the industry's first 0.6 m IBT antenna. Detecting that signal towers shake or shift within a certain degree due to environmental factors, the antenna will enable beams to automatically maintain their orientation, addressing strict requirements placed on tower stability. The antennas support on-pole deployment, providing an extra advantage to promote scaled deployment. Compared with 0.3 m antenna, the 0.6 m IBT antenna increases the coverage distance by up to 40%. While this new solution is now beginning to see scaled deployment, an IBT antenna with an even larger diameter is being planned to further increase the coverage distance of E-band microwave solutions.

If the long-reach E-band solution cannot meet the coverage distance requirement in high-capacity use cases, Mr. Lombardi recommended the SDB solution. This solution combines the long transmission distance of traditional bands with E-band's high capacity, offering an optimal solution to achieve a transmission distance of 3–5 km in heavy-rain areas. Combined with 0.6 m IBT antennas, the SDB solution provides a multifold transmission distance as compared to the E-band solution, while also easing site deployment.

Chris Meng, the director of Asia Pacific Carrier Wireless Network solutions of Huawei, pointed out that 5G microwave is crucial to the speed and cost control of 5G deployment. "Resolving the backhaul bottleneck helps promote the prosperity of 5G in the Asia Pacific region." Perry Yang, President of Huawei's Microwave Product Line, said: "Huawei will continue innovating on microwave products and solutions to help customers fulfill backhaul requirements for different regions in line with spectrum and rain region-specific characteristics."

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP report suggests need for strategic investments

 Re-designing anti money laundering (AML) compliance programmes in banking and financial services sectors necessary

  • Banks are facing increased challenges in meeting heightened regulatory expectations 
  • AML compliance is a board level issue with continuing operational challenges and investments not bearing fruit
  • Banks are following a risk-based approach for AML compliance, but more needs to be done to extend it to the enterprise level
  • Transactions monitoring, and sanctions screening processes need a re-design and increased use of technology to improve their conversion ratio and effectiveness
     

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP (DTTILLP) released its “South Asia Anti Money Laundering Preparedness Survey report 2020” today. The survey conducted with leading banks and financial institutions in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh earlier this year, highlights siloed risk management approaches across banking operations, customer due diligence, sanctions screening, and trade-based transactions as the root cause for systemic inefficiencies leading to fraud. 

 

According to the survey, meeting increased regulatory expectations and enforcing AML compliance pose key operational challenges to banks, even as 77 percent respondents indicated that their AML programme was compliant with all regulatory requirements. These challenges range from insufficient numbers of adequately trained staff, insufficient/outdated technology to manage AML compliance, and budget constraints to implement AML programs alongside increased scrutiny of third-party reviews. 

 

“Historically, AML programmes have been incident-driven with lean teams to manage response to events, or changes in regulatory developments. But that is no longer adequate today. With increased regulatory scrutiny, and expectations being “If you could have known, then you should have known”, banks need to move to a proactive approach to demonstrate their compliance to avoid fines, rather than rely on the traditional reactive approach. This calls for investments in an integrated enterprise wide approach to manage compliance and prevent failures. Such an approach that provides a comprehensive view of customers and transactions can make it difficult for criminals to exploit gaps between business systems, databases and countries,” said KV Karthik, Partner, Forensic – Financial Advisory, DTTILLP. 

 

Overall, survey respondents also highlighted technology-related challenges such as limited integration with core banking systems, incomplete coverage of all products and processes, too many false positive alerts, and issues around data accuracy and unstructured data. This lack of technological maturity, and data governance appears to have had a cascading impact on every aspect of the AML programme. 

 

In the area of sanctions screening, around 63 percent respondents indicated that they were struggling with issues posed by limited data structure and integration with core banking systems. Too many false positives, limited automation pertaining to the updation of regulatory lists and sanctions lists, and inadequate “fuzzy” name matching capabilities emerged as other major issues amongst the respondents. 

 

In the area of trade-based money laundering, 83 percent respondents indicated screening trade finance transactions against internal lists, regulatory lists, and sanctions lists. The respondents also pointed at challenges such as identifying hidden relationships between trade partners and ports, estimating pricing and invoicing of goods, and unavailability of a single automated system that can combine all screening data. 

 

“In the past, banks have made discretionary investments in technology to meet certain immediate concerns around AML compliance. These have created issues pertaining to the availability and quality of data, systems working in a siloed manner, and inherent module based limitations, leading to significant reliance on manual processes to close gaps in compliance. Regulators today expect banks to have a consolidated view of customer transactions across businesses and jurisdictions, to identify any unusual transactions and behaviours, or potential sanctions violations. The current technology frameworks may pose a challenge to doing that and banks need to take a strategic and longer term view of technology investments,” said Karthik.

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Huawei bags dual EISA awards 

Huawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) recently received two awards from the European Image and Sound Association (EISA), a group comprising 55 of the world’s most respected consumer electronics magazines. HUAWEI’s P40 Pro was named “EISA Smartphone Camera 2020-2021” by the Association, alongside the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2, which won the accolade of “Best Smartwatch 2020-2021.”

The EISA called out the HUAWEI P40 Pro as being “a true champion in its class,” praising the phone’s camera capabilities, display technology and luxurious design. High praise was also shared for the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2, with the association claiming that thanks to the watch’s smart design and host of fitness features, “a modern classic is born.”

"We are thrilled to continue our winning streak with EISA and pleased with the recognition of two of our standout products, the HUAWEI P40 Pro and HUAWEI WATCH GT 2,” said Kevin Ho, President of Handset Business, Huawei Consumer Business Group. “With every device, Huawei is committed to bringing new and exciting experiences to consumers, from a smartwatch that can push your workout limits with the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 to a smartphone that is breaking boundaries of smartphone photography with the HUAWEI P40 Pro." 

The EISA recognises the “luxurious designed” HUAWEI P40 Pro as the perfect companion for those who use their smartphone for taking stunning photos on a daily basis, believing the phone marked yet another impressive advance in mobile photography. This award was won as a result of the unmatched photography capabilities of the HUAWEI P40 Pro, from the primary 50-megapixel Ultra Vision Camera with phase detection auto-focus and optical image stabilisation and its 12-megapiel periscope telephoto lens, allowing for 5x optical zoom, to the incredible 40-megapixel Ultra-Wide Cine Camera for advanced video capture. Added to this are the HUAWEI P40 Pro’s ToF 3D depth Camera and AI Photography enhancement, giving users a premium technology experience which EISA has said “pushes smartphone camera technology forward.” 

Looking to the winner of this year’s EISA “Best Smartwatch” the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2, EISA has praised the device as it “melds the talents of modern smartwatches” for its design, AMOLED display, and physical control. With up to two week battery life  and host of fitness features, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 can analyse 15 professional workout modes, and record 85 customized workout types. With Huawei’s TruSleep technology, WATCH GT 2 can track sleep quality, the WATCH GT 2 can also monitor heart rate and stress level, and support SpO2 level measuring . Moreover, the HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 cover daily life usage such as Bluetooth calling, app notification and onboard music storage, allowing users to easily pair and connect their HUAWEI FreeBuds 3 and listen to music on the go with their HUAWEI WATCH GT 2.

EISA members include expert media across the full spectrum of consumer electronics from 29 countries, and each member contributes to one or more of EISA’s six Expert Groups—namely photography, mobile devices, Hi-Fi, home theatre audio, home theatre display & video, and in-car electronics. Every year, EISA members nominate a list of products that they consider the standout performers in each of these Expert

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NAMAL TO REVIVE HAMBANTOTA CONVENTION CENTER

 

With the opening of the Southern Express way extension to Hambantota, Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre (MRICC) has now become an attraction for Conventions, Exhibitions and Events, which the Government would like to pursue immediately. 

According to Hon. Namal Rajapaksa Minister of Sports & Youth, this property which was built in 2013, has become a significant piece of infrastructure especially with the extension of the Southern express way to Hambantota. With this facility the travel time to Hambantota has been reduced to one & half hours. This enables anyone to travel to work from Colombo to Hambantota or Hamantota to Colombo and get back home within one & half hours.

 

The Managing Director of CDC Events & Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Imran Hassan carried out a site inspection in order to draw a Floor Plan for trade fair organizers to conduct many fairs in the center. CDC Events, one of the main trade fair organizing companies in Sri Lanka has planned to conduct the first major International trade fair and conference in the facility early next year. 

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he Chairman of CDC Events and veteran businessmen Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe said the event will be called “Hambantota International Trade & Agri-Export Fair 2021 (HITAF)” for which Hon. Namal Rajapaksa has pledged his fullest support, said the convener of this project Mr. Kris Balthazaar. He also said that the government expected other trade fair organisers in the country to follow. He also added that exhibitors and visitors can drive down from Colombo in a matter of one & half hours or fly down direct to Mattala’. The location has all facilities and activities awaiting them from Star class accommodation, world’s best National parks to sacred religious sites.

CAL advises Sunshine Holdings on a LKR 1.7 Billion acquisition of Daintee

Consolidating its stance as a Sri Lankan family business expert, Capital Alliance Partners Limited (CAL) advised Sunshine Holdings PLC on the acquisition of Daintee Limited. The transaction was structured by CAL to enable the Sunshine Group to expand its operations in the FMCG space with the use of Daintee’s well established brands, thereby maximizing the growth prospects of both entities.

 

Functioning as the Buy-side Advisors to the Sunshine Group, CAL was entrusted the role of harnessing the value of the Daintee brand that has been created over the years and plugging it into the Sunshine Group such that they can expand their presence as a leading FMCG conglomerate in Sri Lanka.

 

Having negotiated through a number of prospective investors, CAL played an instrumental role in the implementation of the transaction by liaising with all related parties and engaging in negotiations with Daintee, on behalf of Sunshine, securing the most beneficial terms of the transaction.

 

Having been a family run business over the past 35 years, Daintee has become a household name as one of the largest players in the confectionary space in Sri Lanka with an island-wide footprint and over 95,000 touchpoints.

 

Sunshine Holdings is one of Sri Lanka's most respected conglomerates, with a core focus in Healthcare, Agribusiness, Consumer Goods & Renewable Energy. The group has a 50 year heritage that started as a prestigious family owned business, growing to become one of the most respected conglomerates Listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange bearing a name synonymous with quality.

 

Commenting on the acquisition, the Group Managing Director Vish Govindasamy said; “I believe this transaction positions the Sunshine Group on the path to becoming the leading FMCG conglomerate in Sri Lanka and is a strong statement about our vision to grow.” 

 

CAL’s VP of investment banking Rizny Faisal went on to say “The transaction is a boost for the country’s capital markets in a post COVID landscape and has been a testament to CAL’s unwavering commitment to its’ clients, whilst solidifying CAL’s stance as Sri Lanka’s family business expert in investment banking.”

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New voice for Muslim women's rights

By Chanaka de Silva

 

A new entrant to the fray of politics Himaya Niyaz has vowed to make the voice of Muslim women heard.

 

Speaking at a recent press meet Himaya Niyaz said, I was brought into politics because of the social work that I have done for the community. As a teacher training women from all walks of life and ages in the profession of Hair Dressing and Beauty Culture' I have been able to give them a steady income. As the women of all ages and communities come to me for training I have done my best. Further I have also done several other projects in providing safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for the needy, Himaya said. why I have decided to entree enter politics is that once I am elected to Parliament I will be able to do more people. The biggest problem is that children do not get an opportunity to be educated.

 

Those who do not have an opportunity to get an education has a strong chance to end up as street children. This is the position I want to change. Commenting on the recent development by certain Muslim fractions to bring Shari'a Law to this country Hasina said it is not required here Also freedom is for everyone and not a particular community only.

 

Finally she said, I have come into politics to help the community and serve it better through social service, therefore I believe my work done so far will be recognized and will be given an opportunity to continue.

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Huawei Nova 7i’s a new benchmark for mid-range devices

Huawei Nova 7i, the stylish smartphone from Huawei’s Nova series boasts a range of features that facilitate users with an optimal entertainment while they are confined to their homes at present. This feature-packed device allows users to explore new avenues such as embracing photography skills and also stay connected with the loved ones, cherishing beautiful memories. From enjoying a variety of photography features to experiencing a high quality gaming experience, immersive audio experience and breath taking videos, Nova 7i has all it takes to deliver a solid performance in every aspect.

Spending a longer time away from the loved ones is not easy. The Quad camera set up of Nova 7i allows users to take amazing photographs and post on Social media platforms and share among the others on private messaging apps. Now users do not need to worry about searching for a well-lit background, thanks to an astounding camera setup that houses a 48MP camera, 8MP Ultra wide lens, 2MP Bokeh lens and a 2MP Macro lens. They can capture stunning photos and videos with a variety of modes such as Portrait, Pro, Low light, Panaroma, HDR, Slow motion, Time lapse and also explore the mobile photography techniques. The video editing apps found in Huawei AppGallery allow users to edit videos in just few taps. Many challenges and friendly dares do the rounds on social media these days and amazing camera setup featured on Nova 7i and the editing apps on AppGallery will keep you on top of the game.

‘’Nova 7i is one of the highly rated devices in the Nova series, providing all the cutting edge specifications for an amazingly affordable prize. Its design is equally adorable reminiscing the Nova 5T and is the perfect partner to have at one’s disposal for a stay at home period like we are experiencing right now. It is capable of transforming boredom into a moment of joy and entertainment making users feel much more comfortable at home.’’ Said Peter Liu, Country Head of Huawei devices, Sri Lanka.

Powered by a Kirin 810 chipset and 8GB Ram, Nova 7i provides a smooth gaming experience even with most demanding games. The new generation GPU Turbo delivers HD graphics and high frame rates with no lagging and it also consumes less power, offering longer playing hours. The Histen sound technology of Nova 7i offers an immersive audio experience and users can choose from auto, 3D audio, natural, standard and headset modes to adjust sound in their preferred way and also an in-built equalizer to enhance sound quality.

Its 6.4 inch full HD screen is easy on the eye providing a seamless video experience backed by its minimal bezels. There is no better time to catch up on entertainment shows, TV series and now users can enjoy YouTube videos and binge watch movies with the longer battery life of Nova 7i.

Users can utilize this break to learn new skills, be it a new language, subject, DIY tips and life hacks from the host of apps available on Huawei AppGallery. All these features make it a highly indispensable device and it is all you need to have in order to enjoy the long stay at home.Nova 7i is available at all Huawei Experience shops, Singer outlets and is available to order from Daraz.lk .

Huawei enters laptop segment with Huawei MateBook D 15 


Introduces “Huawei Share” enhancing user experience and productivity

Huawei, announced the introduction of Huawei MateBook D 15, the latest addition to Huawei’s product portfolio in Sri Lanka. The Huawei MateBook D 15 laptop has a stylish and a minimalist design whilst focusing on a solid performance. Huawei has been steadily making a name in the laptop space and this MateBook D 15 with its innovative features presents more things to fall in love with it, which also depicts
Huawei’s potential for developing laptops which offer best value for money.


At a glance, this midrange laptop has a stunning metallic finish with thin bezels and an 87% screen to body ratio. It weighs only 1.62kg including the HDD and its thickness is 16.95mm making it a highly portable and lite device. MateBook D 15 comes with 15.6 inches full view screen which is a full HD IPS panel and its color temperature controller feature includes an eye comfort mode which is ideal for heavy usage.


‘’Huawei has continuously innovated in the smart living category and the new MateBook D 15 is no exception. When it comes to design and performance we are focused on providing best value for money to our valued consumers. Going forward, we will continue to come up with highly efficient laptops and PC’s with innovative features for reasonable prices offering a better range of new lifestyle products in Sri
Lanka’’ said Country Head of Huawei Devices Sri Lanka, Peter Liu.


Powered by AMD Ryzen 5 3500U mobile processor with AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, MateBook D 15 has all it takes to deliver a solid performance for multiple purposes as the processor’s SenseMI technology uses true machine intelligence to accelerate performance. With its four core and a maximum clock speed of 3.7 GHz, Ryzen 5 3500U is a great processor for the home and office computing duties
with its ability to run multiple apps simultaneously. MateBook D 15 features an 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD which speeds up performance and its storage is expandable with a SATA HDD.


Another significant addition to MateBook D 15 is the cross device collaboration feature which allows the laptop to connect with smartphones to share the laptop screen. This feature called ‘’Huawei Share’’ enables users to drag files from one device to another in just one tap making file sharing and multi- tasking easier. It also allows a work-life balance where users can perform their smartphone tasks such as
texting through laptop screen.

Its innovative web camera sits discreetly in the keyboard and pops up in just one press optimizing security and preventing potential remote access. Matebook D 15 also features a very reliable, smooth touch pad and a key board which is ideal for longer typing sessions. Its fingerprint scanner is housed in the power button located on the right side of the keyboard making it easier to log in and is a significant
addition for a midrange laptop. The laptop comes with a 65W USB-C charger which is convenient to carry in the pocket and it allows fast charging which charges the laptop battery to 54% in just 30 minutes. The new MateBook D 15 laptop is available through all Singer outlets at a price of LKR 149999

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IIT’s online seminars in ICT help O/L and A/L students continue their exam preparations

 

In view of the ongoing lockdown in Sri Lanka caused by the COVID-19 threat, Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), the pioneer in British higher education in Sri Lanka and the country’s premier IT and Business campus, has increased its ongoing series of online support seminars in ICT, that help prepare Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) students for their examinations later this year.

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the country to a virtual standstill, students preparing to face the O/L and A/L examinations this year are greatly inconvenienced. Their school term was abruptly cut short disrupting their studies while they were restricted to their homes unable to attend school or tuition classes. As a responsible organisation that is always ready to help the young minds of the nation, IIT stepped forward to help these students continue their ICT studies. By utilizing its ICT expertise, IIT put together a series of informative online seminars that focused on the ICT subject for both O/L and A/L students.

 

IIT has been conducting these support seminars on a regular basis for several years with hundreds of schools and thousands of students across the island benefiting significantly. Given the current restrictions due to the lockdown, they provide the ideal platform for principals and teachers to educate their students in ICT thereby allowing them to continue with their studies without any disruptions and providing a much-needed boost to their attempts to cover their respective ICT subject syllabuses. The 2-hour seminars cover topics such as Internet of Things (IoT), Programming, Flowcharts and several others. They are conducted by a highly-experienced academic member of IIT and are of two types. The first type is specifically tailored to educate the audience on a topic put forward by a single school based on their requirements of the ICT syllabus. On average, around 100 students from a school participate in these types of seminars at any given time. The second type is a general seminar that covers a wide variety of ICT topics and is open to students from all schools across the island. Approximately 400 students took part in each of these seminars.

 

Sharing his views, Prof. Jayantha Wijeyaratne - Director of IIT stated, “These are trying times for the whole country and it is important that we all look at avenues to help each other in any way possible. The shutting down of schools was an important step in safeguarding our children from the COVID-19 disease but it does come at a price of disrupting their studies. We, at IIT, recognised that we can help out during this crisis by using our experience and knowledge in ICT to provide these online support seminars in ICT for O/L and A/L students. I am happy to note that the seminars we have carried out so far have been very successful with students from all parts of the island coming on board to learn from our very own team member. We hope to continue these seminars and do our best to help these students perform well in the upcoming exams.”

 

Prof. Wijeyaratne also emphasized, “It is important that we all follow the instructions given by the authorities to the letter to overcome the huge challenges posed by this disease. We must all stay at home, practice good personal hygiene at all times and maintain social distancing. By being disciplined and carefully adhering to these instructions, I am certain we can beat this disease and eventually return to our normal lives, stronger and more united as a nation than ever before.”

 

IIT was established in 1990 as the first private higher education institute that awards reputed British degrees in the field of ICT and Business. IIT is an award-winning campus offering internal postgraduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Westminster, UK and the Robert Gordon University, UK. IIT has played a pivotal role in strengthening the IT and Business sectors in Sri Lanka over the years by producing world-class graduates. Since its inception in 1990, IIT has produced over 3,000 graduates that are now based in 25 countries.  These graduates have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs and IT/Business professionals in both local and international corporate and government entities. They have played a pivotal role in empowering over 250 multinational and local blue-chip companies by holding key strategic positions while contributing immensely towards the growth of their respective organizations.

Value addition to clients via Remote  Working - PR Wire 

 

New service offerings supporting business continuity

 

A leading public relations consultation and services company in Sri Lanka, PR Wire, has shifted its operations to a remote working model in order to serve its customers through these challenging times.

 

Despite certain projects coming to a temporary halt due to the prevailing situation, the customers require the services of PR Wire - now, more than ever. In order to facilitate these requirements, the team at PR Wire work tirelessly from their own homes and ensure that its valuable customers are served efficiently. Since many of the customers are engaged in essential services such as the healthcare, telecommunications, F&B, retail, financial services and transportation industries the consultancy collaborates through a remote working model with the help of investments in latest top-notch technological solutions. The PR Wire Team has been working around the clock in order to meet the requirements of their customers, both local as well as international.

 

Locally, PR Wire continues to support their existing and increasing number of new customers through 24/7 crisis management services, media Intel as well as public relations related services during these tough times. On the international arena, the agency continues assisting to bring in new business from around the world to Sri Lanka via its global partners and networks.

 

PR Wire, Managing Director Ashan Kumar, said, “The team has had to shift to a work from home model which has anyway not limited our service offerings to our valued clients. This model has enabled each individual to push themselves further and carry out in-depth research to touch bases that were never considered earlier, in order to engage in utmost value creation for our clients. A special appreciation to our team and our wonderful clientele who has rallied around to embrace our swift adaptation during this challenging time. The current situation is volatile indeed, but we are confident that we can tide over these rough times, together. PR in its true form has presently come to the fore, through stakeholder relations and messaging empathy. We will continue to lead our mission of creating purpose driven and impact communication strategies together with our all our stakeholders”.

 

In addition to traditional PR, the company also launched a series of new solutions to the market in order to further facilitate the needs of the valuable customers and adapt in accordance with the prevailing circumstances due to the health emergency. Some examples of these new solutions are: -enhanced public relations tools on online and social media platforms, local and international paid for media solutions as well as a host of other services and new platforms to increase customer communications to their target public on new media. All these new services will be backed by the PR Wire’s global network of business professionals and specialists.

 

PR Wire offers public relations consultation and services to meet the marketing communication needs that range from reaching mainstream media to engaging with new media. The consultancy helps organizations meet their communications goals through strategic public relations. PR Wire is an exclusive affiliate member of Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm. The company offers a diverse range of Public Relations services, and Digital Public Relations engagements through constant service research and development and innovation. The company has won the Gold award from the PR World Awards in 2017 and 2019 continuing its impact in communication engagements and is Sri Lanka’s largest Public Relations Consultancy Group.

 

 

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Left to right : PR Wire Managing Director Ashan Kumar, Timm Kruse from Germany, Chandan Lahiri from India and KL.LK Chairman Santosh Menon

A “Slow Boat” around Sri Lanka launches

 

In an all new, exciting edition of the Slow Boat series, Chandan Lahiri from India and Timm Kruse from Germany will paddle their crafts around the coast of Sri Lanka. The expedition will begin on the 8th March 2020 from Mount Lavinia and paddle till 17th April through one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

The dynamic duo revealed that Chandan will be paddling on his canoe and Timm on his stand up paddleboard and both requested from all the water sport enthusiasts and lovers of adventure to join and support the unique journey through cheer and wishes of Godspeed! With the launch of this expedition, Chandan and Timm will join a very short list of expeditioners in the world to have circumnavigated the coast of Sri Lanka.

The event is supported by KL.LK as the Communications partner and PR Wire as the PR Partner. Some of the other supporters include OTA Survival School from India, tuktukrental.com from Colombo, Sea Eagle Boats from USA and Groove house hostel, Colombo.

“I think given the recent mini crisis faced by the tourism industry due to various reasons, it’s great to generate visibility for Chandan’s mission. We are honored to support the adventure he is on and to ensure that the story goes around of the confidence he has in Sri Lanka as a destination and to showcase its great unharnessed potential as a place for great adventures” said, Santosh Menon, Chairman of KL.LK. Chandan Lahiri who will be leading the team on this expedition, is a record holding adventurer, wilderness survival instructor, author and videographer. Chandan, who will be on his second major expedition, is also certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He continues on his merry ways exploring and adventuring with a prosthetic knee. As someone who believes that disability is a reality and not something that should make anyone shy away from living a full and adventurous life, he is a great example and a role model to the disabled individuals around the world.

He has written a few inspirational books on various subjects with the intention of sharing the details and the experience gained from his adventures. He also runs OTA Survival School to train people for a safe outing in the wilderness. His aim is to ensure that people living in eco sensitive regions of the country are trained in survival and safe reliance to be able to take care of themselves in case of natural disasters and calamities.

Timm Kruse, who is a reporter by profession, joins the team from Germany. He is currently working as a reporter at the German TV station ZDF, the biggest TV station in Europe and is well known as an adventurer and bestselling author. He loves to break free and to find out what life is all about. Sailing around the world and spending 2 years on the high seas from 2003 – 2005 shows how much he likes to break free! The five books which has been written by Timm cover many topics ranging from the spiritual to the adventurous.

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Kala Pola 2020  a celebration of visual art

Pics by Chanaka de Silva

Kala Pola 2020, the 27th edition of Sri Lanka’s annual open-air art fair, turned Green Path in Colombo into a riot of colour, shining a spotlight on several  local visual artists. Presented by The George Keyt Foundation in association with the John Keells Group, Kala Pola 2020 took place on February 23rd along Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7.

The fair attracted a record 370 registered artists and thousands of visitors with its variety of art ranging from breath-taking paintings and life-like portraits to abstract art and intricate sculptures. The chief guest was Rita Giuliana Mannella, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Sri Lanka who shared her interest at being part of this long-term event which promotes art and artists of the  country. The event was also graced by the Chairman of John Keells Group and the Chairman and Trustees of The George Keyt Foundation as well.

Kala Pola 2020, similar to the previous years, included a Children’s Art Corner under the guidance of the Cora Abraham Art teachers, attracting many child artists. The evening segment of Kala Pola, included a performance by the students of Music Matters and several other lively performances by traditional and fusion dancers and drummers. Kala Pola 2020 was supported by a dedicated team of staff volunteers in excess of 100 from across the John Keells Group.

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 Sri Lankan Airlines on mercy mission

Text  and  Pics By  Chanaka  de  Silva

 

 The  national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines  returned to the  island carrying  the Sri Lankans  from Wuhan detained  because  of the  out  break of the  Coronavirus pandemic. The flight was  operated  by sixteen crew  members who were  volunteers for this  mission.

 Sri Lankan Flight UL 1423 embarked on this  mercy mission on the instructions  of the  Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The  crew  for  this mission was  entirely  made  up of volunteers  who have refused  incentives  offered  to them by the  airline once they returned to the  island  on the 1 February  2020.

Commenting  on the  situation Sri Lankan Airlines  Chairman Asok Pathirage said, “Our nation has always relied on our national carrier during times of crisis, be it a tsunami or a terror attack, and we are proud to say that we will always do our duty no matter what the challenges that we will face.”

The  Passenger  upon arrival at  the  Mattala  Airport were  subject  to tests  and  were  then transferred to Diyatalawa Air Force  Base  for  period of  2 weeks  quarantine.

The effort was  supported by several government institutions and officials including the Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka Army, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Acting Ambassador to China and Sri Lanka’s embassy in Beijing, Government of China and Embassy of China in Sri Lanka, Airport and Aviation Services, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Ministry of Health and many others. 

The national carrier worked in close cooperation with the Sri Lanka Air Force which sent its Bio Medical Team to Mattala and provided SriLankan Airlines with all the equipment needed to make this mission a success. 

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Audangawa youth get Computer Literacy Centre

 

Text  and Pics  By Chanaka de  Silva

 The dire  requirement of the  hour  for the  youth of the  area  to secure  a better  level of employment is both English and  Computer  literacy.  Raising  to the challenge  of bettering the  lot of these  people  Chandra Wickremasinghe Chairman Theme Resorts  together  with the Management of Connaisance de Ceylan inaugurated  a much need English and  Computer  Centre  for the youth of  Audangawa area.

 

Passionate about enhancing the living standards of the underprivileged youth, the fourth and the newest Computer and Language Training Center of R.e.V (Reconstruire et Vivre) is inaugurated today, 19th January 2020 at Audangawa by His Excellency  Eric Lavertu, the French Ambassador for Sri Lanka, and Mr. Michelle Salaün, the Chairman of Salaün Holidays, a leading tour operator in France and the main sponsor of the project together with the management of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas. The inaugural ceremony is held in the presence of 20 journalists representing several prominent media enterprises of France and Belgium who are currently in Sri Lanka on a familiarization tour of the country.

Constructed on a land donated by the Buddhist temple of the village ‘Sri Dharmawardhanarama Purana Viharaya’, the Computer and Language Center will offer free-of-charge English language classes and computer classes to the youth of Audangawa, with the blessings of the chief monk of the temple, Ven. Eswatte Uditha Thero. The total investment being 5 Million LKR, the investment made by Mr. Michel Salaün on the project is 1O,OOO Euros (approx. 1.8 Million LKR) while the management of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas invested 3.2 Million LKR.

Giving much thought to all aspects of the project, the classes will be scheduled from 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. every day with the exception of weekend classes to prevent it from becoming any hindrance to school education of the children. The management of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas being zealous advocates of local hiring, teachers to conduct computer and English classes are to be recruited from the respective region itself, making yet another effort to sustain the local community.

Prioritizing local employment, more than 70% of Aliya Resort & Spa’s staff is hired from the same region and a majority of the resort’s day to day supply requirements are sourced locally, where preference is given to suppliers from the local area whenever possible. The resort also engages in a number of projects directly aimed at the upliftment of the local community’s livelihood and living standards through its environment and sustainability society.

Today, the hospitality industry is well-established in the region, with a huge number of employment opportunities created, and approximately 800 locals employed in the hotel and hospitality sector as well as many other tourism-related industries.

However, it is no secret that employments in the domain of hospitality demands that the candidates possess good command of English language and computer literacy. For  Chandra Wickramasinghe, it was evident that the candidates of the local area hardly meet these very requirements that are vital to successfully engage in their job roles.

About Salaün Holidays

With 88 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Salaün Holidays was born in Brittany, the westernmost region of France. Founded by Michel Salaün, the grandfather of the current CEO, the company commenced its journey in 1982 and has become one of the tour operators that is most sought after today. The Group now employs more than 726 people in several countries, while retaining its headquarters in French Brittany.

Huawei Previews New Range in 2020

Beginning the year 2020 with a fresh start, Huawei, innovative smartphone manufacturer, held an exclusive preview for its new additions of smartphones to the Y series, Huawei Y9s and Huawei Y6s, the all-new Huawei MediaPad T5 10-inch, as well as its remarkable new set of wearables, Huawei Watch GT 2, FreeBuds 3, Band 4 and 4e, at a media event recently.

Peter Liuyi, Country Head, Huawei Devices Sri Lanka, commented at the preview, “We are extremely enthused to display our new additions to the Huawei smartphone and wearables family. Huawei Y6s and Huawei Y9s of the Y series provide our consumers with an unmatched performance level, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance. With better entertainment, design and performance, Huawei MediaPad T5-10 brings an adaptive experience to its users. Moreover, our new wearable products, FreeBuds3, Huawei Watch GT 2, Band 4 and 4e Basketball Wizard Edition are our new provisions to our consumers in order to make their lives exceedingly easier.

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Mark Mobius bullish on Tourism, Real Estate and Tech in Sri Lanka

 

Cinnamon Life -Sri Lanka’s most-anticipated mixed development- hosted an exclusive breakfast forum on 10 December 2019 at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo, where prominent business leaders were made privy to insights from illustrious emerging markets investor, Dr. Mark Mobius. The invitee-only event titled ‘Emerging Markets and Sri Lanka’s Growth Trajectory’ was extremely well attended, being Dr. Mobius’ only officially speaking appointment while in the country. 

The high-profile interactive forum is the latest in a series of similar events organized by Cinnamon Life, intended to cement Sri Lanka’s position as on par with global business capitals of the world as an investment destination.

Dr. Mobius initiated his presentation showing the growth trajectory of countries such as Singapore, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Namibia and the UAE, highlighting the change in landscape over the last 25 years. He expressed generous praise for Sri Lanka and his enthusiasm at the opportunity to travel to the country at a very transformative period for the local economy.

The presentation in itself was insightful, Dr. Mobius not just highlighting the country’s strengths, but also showcasing the immense growth potential Sri Lanka as an economy has with regards to foreign investor appeal. Admitting that while Sri Lanka’s agri-based economy has always held global interest -especially with tea as its strongest brand and commodity- as well as its charm as a tourism destination, he also made note that the recent attractiveness of Sri Lanka to the software and real estate sectors.

Individual sectors aside, one of the more fascinating points Dr. Mobius was keen to stress on during his visit was the issue of privatization. “You don’t have to privatize,” he said simply. “Just increase transparency of state-owned enterprises, by publicly listing the companies. This is a high priority even if they are losing money, because only when issues are made publicly known, where these losses are coming from can be definitively pin-pointed, and as a result, addressed.”

Dr. Mobius also mused over how investments the world over have been significantly altered by the entry of sophisticated communication, the internet, and IT, and yet maintained that through his four-decade long tenure, he has learned that the acceptance of new trends and optimism has always paid off as an investor.

On the conclusion of his presentation, Dr. Mobius was joined on stage by Sector Head of John Keells Properties, Nayana Mawilmada, following which a riveting tete-a-tete ensued.

Drawing parallels with other global emerging markets vying for space in the midst of the ongoing power stand-off between the US and China, Dr. Mobius brought reassurances to an initially skeptical audience. “Emerging countries such as Sri Lanka actually stand to benefit from the new re-arrangements of moves in trade and exports. China for instance should be encouraged to invest and manufacture here as should other superpowers such as India while Sri Lanka maintains its independence. Furthermore, with low global interest rates -as it now stands-, it is easier for emerging economies -more than established markets- to refinance and restructure the debt as rates come down, and then to raise more money at very low rates.”

Himself having invested in an apartment at Cinnamon Life, Dr. Mobius indicated an interest in the local property market, the country’s financial services, as well as its tourism sector.

He however didn’t shy away from highlighting the key shortcoming in the local property sector. “The methodology for property investment is the same around the world,” confessed Dr. Mobius, “and that is the challenge in the development of mortgage markets. Here in Sri Lanka there is a dire need to develop a mortgage market where owning property is made easier for potential investors.”

When asked for his expert opinion about what practical steps need to be taken by the new government in order to get the economy moving with confidence, Dr. Mobius stated off the cuff, “Tax reform, ease of foreign exchange flows and travel: make taxes easy to pay and competitive to the region , change procedures for foreign exchange controls by making the way easy for money to come in and go out, and make visa procedures easy for tourism to flow.” All of which he claims will easily solve the issues of tax deficits and strengthen the currency as a result.

Dr. Mark Mobius is widely recognized as the architect of the emerging markets asset class. The founder of Mobius Capital Partners – a firm which utilized a highly specialized active investment approach with an emphasis on improving governance standards in emerging and frontier market companies-, Dr. Mobius has served as Executive Chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group, where during his tenure, the group expanded Assets Under Management from USD 100m to over USD 40bn. He is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Since 2010 he has also served as a member of the supervisory board of OMV Petrom in Romania, and was previously a Director on the Board of Russian oil firm, Lukoil.

After more than 40 years of a career in global emerging markets, Dr. Mobius has earned for himself industry recognition and influence, having acquired numerous global industry awards and written several best-selling books on the subject.

For more information on the Cinnamon Life project, please visit www.cinnamonlife.com.

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Dell steals the show  with  designed XPS and Inspiron text Portfolio

Pic by  Chanaka de  Silva

New Dell XPS and Inspiron portfolio offer the best of both worlds; heavyweight performance in thin and light, portable designs

 

  • Dell offers the best of both worlds – heavyweight performance in thin and light portable design with new 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors

  • New XPS 13 2-in-1 offers modern design, more performance and larger 16:10 display

  • New Dell Inspiron laptops offer power and style to suit every consumer’s needs

  • Eyesafe® display, an innovative solution for reducing potentially harmful blue light emissions while maintaining vivid in-screen color quality

 

 

Dell listens to what consumers want and need from their PCs - convenience, powerful performance, beautiful design and a device that fits their lifestyle.Today, Dell is delivering it all in the new products introduced in the capital city, Colombo. The new devices showcase a harmonious balance of both experience and design, taking Dell’s innovation to a new level with precise attention to meaningful details and flawless execution throughout its acclaimed, premiere XPS line, and weaved throughout its mainstream Inspiron brand.

 

Today, Dell unveils its latest computing innovations which transform the mobile computing experience.  The company is expanding its consumer portfolio with brand new form factors powered by new 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors to the current XPS and Inspiron portfolio to deliver performance gains needed for compute intensive, demanding multi-thread workloads, while still handling 4K content efficiently.And in doing so, giving users heavyweight performance in thin, light and portable designs – the best of both worlds.

 

“While the trend to move to thin and light devices continues across the industry, we recognize that it’s not all about racing to a smaller form factor for consumers. They want adaptive, always connected, high-performing and flawlessly designed PC,”said Chrishan Fernando, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Dell Technologies. Now with the addition of Intel’s new 10th Gen processors, we can deliver the performance gains needed for compute intensive and demanding multi-thread workloads, in bold and beautifully designedPCs to our loyal customers in Sri Lanka.”

 

The new XPS 13 2-in-1 – modern, thinner design with up to 2.5 times more performance

 

The XPS line is Dell’s most awarded line of devices celebrated for its best-in-class technologies, exceptional build and materials, and ability to blend both power and beauty. Dell is taking that commitment one step further with the new XPS13 2-in-1.It is the world’s first Project Athena-verified laptop available with Intel’s new 10th Gen CoreTM, 10-nanometer silicon processors.

 

The display experience in this new 2-in-1 device has been elevated on all fronts, including extendingthe InfinityEdge display toa 7% larger 16:10 format and adding Dolby Vision[i]. Furthermore, the new optionalUHD+ display offers improved color accuracy and resolution to capture precise detail and sharp images, as well as the ability to enjoy HDR content with a HDR400 certified UHD+ panel. And all of this was accomplished alongside integrating Dell’s smallest laptop camera ever(at 2.25mm)above the top bezel, answering a highly-desired request from our customers.

 

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is Dell’s first laptop with Intel’s 10th Gen Intel Core processors and features adaptive performance based on the latest Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology, which proactively changes the power of the CPU according to the performance of the workload. Dell has reengineered the thermal design to cool the higher performing processor while creating an overall 8% thinner 2-in-1 than the previous generation. The actively cooled 15W design can now offer up to 2.5 times more performance than the previous generation.[ii]

 

Its new KillerTM AX1650 (2x2) built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset offers wireless connectivity three times faster than previous generation. The Killer 1650 automatically detects, classifies, and prioritizes streaming video, communication, and game traffic, allowing users to enjoy fast and smooth online experiences.

 

In today’s device-driven culture, people are staring at devices for hours on end each day and consuming high levels of blue light. To help reduce the potentially harmful blue light emissions while maintaining color gamut performance, Dell is bringing Eyesafe® displays to the XPS 13 2-in-1 to selectively reduce harmful blue light and disperse it across the light spectrum.

 

A winner of COMPUTEX d&i Award, this new 2-in-1 is a testament of Dell’s meticulous attention to detail, combining expert craftsmanship and premium materials. The new design features CNC machined aluminum with diamond cut sidewalls, black carbon fiber palm rest, and Gorilla Glass 6for both durability and beauty. Dell has also elevated the essentials with a larger touchpad, edge-to-edge MagLev keyboard and new cleverly crafted hinge design, blending together an exceptional user experience and beautiful design, in a remarkably small size.

 

New Inspiron Laptops – Power and style to suit every consumer

 

Dell is also bringing a range of new and versatile Inspiron laptops and 2-in-1s with fresh and contemporary designs, featuresand competitive prices. Now everyone can find something to fit their needs and spark their potential.

 

With the latest 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, Dell is offering more performance for multi-threaded workloads in Dell’s new Inspiron line, including the new Inspiron 13 7391 2-in-1 laptop.Firstintroduced at CES 2019and a Computex Design Innovation Award winner, this new versionof the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 features a magnetic pen garage in the hinge to cleverly pockets theDell Active Penfor easyaccess regardless of which mode the 2-in-1 is in. And it still comes with an abundance of premium features expected of the Inspiron 7000 series, including a 4k UHD touch screen framed by a 3-sided narrow border, redesigned thermal flow that moves hot air through hidden vents in the hinges, and an entirely aluminum body with a diamond-cut edges on the touchpad that impresses with elegance.

 

Its new adaptive thermal design uses advanced algorithms and accelerometers to understand when the 2-in-1 is being held versus when stationary on a desk, and will ramp up power and take advantage of the increased airflow provided by the drop-hinge to provide the optimal computing experience for every situation. Users can also expect to see a variety of convenient design and tech features such as an integrated power key with a built-in fingerprint reader, larger batteries that support ExpressChargeTM, a full-size HDMI port, a Micro SD card reader, a USB Type-CTM port supporting ThunderboltTM 3, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, all in a beautifully compact design weighing from only 1.39kg[iii].

 

Additionally, Dell Inspiron 5000 series system are also upgraded with the new 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, including:

  • Inspiron 15 3000 (3593)offers optional NVIDIA® GeForce® MX230 discrete graphics card in a stylish build for on-the-go tasks

  • Inspiron 13 5000(5391)offers a portable form factor in two sleek color options - Platinum Silver and Iced Lilac

  • Inspiron 145000 (5490)is feature packed, built for reliability and multitasking, and

offered in the stylish color options of Platinum Silver, Iced Lilac, Iced Mint, and Iced Gold (14”

only)

  • Inspiron 147000 (7490)features a new lid-open sensor that turn on the laptop, even when completely off, allowing users quick access to files and applications. It is available in Platinum Silver color

  • Inspiron 1570002-in-1 (7590 2-in-1), first announced at CES 2019 and a Computex Design Innovation Award winner, is now available with the addition of USB Type-CTM with ThunderboltTM 3 support and in an optional silver chassis

 

Availability

All products come with a 2-year warranty period and are already available in Dell authorized retailers, unless stated differently.

 

  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (5593) is now available for a price of LKR 92,699 upwards

  • Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (5491) is now available for a price of LKR 170,999  upwards

  • Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (5490) is now available for a price of LKR 149,999 upwards

  • Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (7391) is now available for a price of LKR 214,999 upwards

  • XPS 13 (7390) is now available for a price of LKR 259,999  upwards

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