Items filtered by date: July 2017

The essential food supply of Sri Lanka looks set for doldrums as the mounting struggle waged on chilling stealth narcotics deterred top food importers. And the domestic distributors who run the bulk of food supply market in the country, are bracing for the worst at supply side anytime-even fearing for the wellbeing of their own families.

 "We are highly worried-our families and our future are facing a new danger" said an agitated Chairman of All Ceylon Essential Food Items, Retail & Wholesale Suppliers Association (ACEFIR&WSA) Bandula Jayamanne on 24 July in Colombo. ACEFIR&WSA Chairman Jayamanne  was addressing the Special Press Conference at Government Information Department by the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen  on the cocaine haul netted at a warehouse of Lanka Sathosa of his Ministry on 19 July. Joining the event were Minister Bathiudeen, Secretary to Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthaka Lokuhetti, Chairman of Lanka Sathosa TMKB Tennakoon, Essential Food Commodities Association (EFCA) Chairman Nihal Seneviratne and Media Secretary of Sri Lanka Sugar Importers Association (SLSIA) Hemaka Fernando.

"More and more containers are caught with narcotics at Colombo Port. Most of them have essential food items such as sugar. They still continue to escape detection" said WSA Chairman Jayamanne and added: "There is no guarantee that one of the containers received by us will not face a situation similar to Rathmalana Sathosa container. Therefore we are highly worried-our families and our future are facing a new danger."

Almost 99% of essential food imports for Sri Lanka's domestic market arrive via containers shipped to sea-ports of Sri Lanka, with only a negligible volume coming through air-freight. The 112,000 strong membership (shops, groceries and distributors in Districts, towns and village levels) of Jayamanna's ACEFIR&WSA directly handles domestic distribution of more than 80% of such imported foods to Sri Lanka.

WSA Chairman Jayamanne added: "We call the government and Minister Bathiudeen to take steps to safeguard us and the local food market. Next time if a similar unchecked container is sent to one of our members and only detected when it is opened, what would be the solution? We are helpless."

During the July 24 press brief, sugar importers such as EFCA Chairman Seneviratne and SLSIA's Hemaka Fernando said that the next step on controlling and monitoring of containers lies with the government. "This is something that the Customs and law enforcement have to attend to and therefore we do not have any further comment" said EFCA's Seneviratne and added: "More containers from Brazil are awaiting at Colombo port."

SLSIA's Secretary Hemaka Fernando said that despite the narcotics problem, Brazil is the cheapest sugar supplier to Sri Lanka. "Annually, 600000 MT sugar were imported to Sri Lanka in 24000 containers. Brazil supplied about 65% of total sugar imports before June 2016. Since this supply is no more we are importing from Dubai, India, Ukraine and several European countries, paying $50 more for each MT.  This is costing the Government US $ 3 million extra in comparison to imports from Brazil." 

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said that it was not the Police, but Lanka Sathosa employees who alerted the Police. "Our employees found that first and I praise them for their vigilance. Seven people were arrested by the Police but none of them were Lanka Sathosa Employees. Even the vehicle the cocaine was brought was a private sector container vehicle and people who were unloading were hired workers from a manpower company. The container was carrying sugar from a private sector supplier called Ranjitha Traders who qualified to supply to Lanka Sathosa. The container seal was opened in the presence of Lanka Sathosa officers, a representative of Hemas Logistics, and a representative from Ranjitha Pulses Company. Upon opening the container and unloading they detected the unusual green colour bag inside, stopped their work, then opened the bag, and found the cocaine haul. They closed the container immediately and informed Sathosa Chairman TMKB Tennakoon who instructed them to contact the police immediately. They promptly contacted the nearby Mt Lavinia Police post. The Police who arrived identified the cargo to be a cocaine haul and took it into custody. But since the discovery, several organised groups are using the incident to tarnish my good name. I call them to refrain from doing this and also ask friends from media here to not to support such negative publicity."

According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka under Minister Bathiudeen, various types of sugar imports from Brazil to Sri Lanka totalled $95 Mn in 2015 and peaked to $151 Mn last year. Sri Lanka's sugar imports from Brazil this year show a huge fall-a paltry US $11 Mn from January to May.

According to food importers who spoke on 24 July, another 65 to 70 sugar containers from Brazil are lying at Colombo port awaiting inspection and clearance, having arrived here from Port of Santos prior to June 2016.

Sri Lanka Police said that the cocaine haul netted on 19 July at Rathmalana Sathosa is valued around Rs 3.2 Bn ($ 20.8 Mn), weighing 218 Kg. From 19 July Minister Bathiudeen's officials too are now working on a report on the incident on his call.

Published in Economy & Commerce

The Outlet Store, Sri Lanka’s latest addition to the fastest growing retail fashion sector which opened its doors for an exclusive family shopping experience, rolled out a fabulous shopping week spree this summer (24th July – 30th July) with discounts upto 25pct on the total bill value.

In line with its tagline ‘Get Smart for Less’, the spacious 15,000sqft departmental store features a wide range of local and international fashion and lifestyle brands at affordable prices. It offers the latest trends in wardrobe for men, women and kids and has an exhaustive collection of household and gift items, accessories, perfumes, cosmetics, watches, toys, footwear, and jewellery.

Shoppers are sure to enjoy the most fashionable and individualistic collections and merchandise that’s of the finest quality in an international shopping ambience. The Outlet Store also provides an ample parking space which can occupy around 30 vehicles, and a café is scheduled to open very soon.

‘It has only been a few weeks since we launched our store at Bambalapitiya and we’ve already experienced a significant success in all shopper segments. We are excited to roll out a shopping spree for a whole week inviting customers to come and shop till they drop by giving away massive discounts on almost all items including that of the total bill value, said Sharhan Mansoor, Managing Director- The Outlet Store Clothing Pvt Ltd.

The Outlet Store is gaining grounds as a much sought after shopping destination featuring contemporary and trending merchandise, and has an ambitious direction to open up more stores in Sri Lanka’s most preferred fashion destinations in the future. Follow the store on Facebook for updates of latest news and products at www.facebook.com/TheOutletStore.lk​

Published in Textile & Fashion

World renowned, home-grown hotel chain Uga Escapes, takes Sri Lankan cuisine beyond borders, leaving Germany with a hearty taste of local flavours.

Globally acclaimed Uga Escapes represented Sri Lanka’s gastronomic prowess at the Sri Lankan Culinary Experience, in Munich, Germany recently. Highly reputed for their indulgent, authentic cuisine around the world, guests have consistently heaped praise on all Uga Escapes’ hotels. Approximately 50 participants were present at the event, including German travel enthusiast consumers, travel agents and journalists. The practical and hands-on session was aimed at personally engaging with Sri Lanka’s expansive culinary background under the guidance of one of Uga’s executive chefs from Residence by Uga Escapes. Rare, the highly sought-after fusion cuisine restaurant is housed here.

The event consisted of a combination of multiple cookery demonstrations, which included Sri Lankan highlights such as isso baduma and dhal curry, followed by a bona fide, sumptuous Sri Lankan dinner. Some of the other dishes featured include Sri Lankan chicken curry, coconut sambol, mango chutney, and to sweeten things up, kalu dodol, kiri toffee and thala rolls. Guests and invitees were particularly astonished to discover the wide spectrum of colourful and flavoursome spices used in Sri Lankan cooking, and perhaps more so loved the layers of piquancy found in each dish. Sri Lanka has typically incorporated a plethora of spices in its dishes for centuries, a majority of which is grown and produced on home soil. In fact, the island’s precious spices was one of the main attractions that drew the colonial powers to it many years ago, with cinnamon being one of the most coveted.

With a rich and unique array of delectable options stemming from traditional and cultural recipes that have filtered down through the ages, Sri Lankan cuisine offers a distinguishable element of rarity. Being a home-grown resort chain that is wholly committed to delivering a purely authentic Sri Lankan hospitality experience, Uga Escapes was proud and humbled to carry the Sri Lankan name beyond borders.

Published in Hospitality & Leisure

Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 25, 2017—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon (CBC) to help the bank increase investments in local companies focusing on renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects.

IFC will help Commercial Bank develop a green-finance business—an emerging field in which banks provide credit to support a broad range of projects covering energy efficiency and renewable energy, cleaner production, green buildings, and resource efficiency, among others.

“There is substantial untapped potential in Sri Lanka for investments in green-energy projects,” said Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director of Commercial Bank. “This work is part of our broader strategy to help clients mitigate climate-change risks and contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable environment.”

While Sri Lanka is a country with high electrification coverage, up to 70 percent of the country’s power requirement is met by thermal power. Tapping into increasingly feasible renewable-energy sources will help minimize overdependence on fossil fuel sources.

“We continue to strengthen our partnership with Commercial Bank as we partner with them on an initiative to build their green-finance portfolio,” said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Investments in energy and resource efficiency are not just good for the environment, they are also good for business since they help reduce energy consumption, drive down costs, and make businesses more competitive.”

IFC’s Green-Finance Program is a global program that aims to increase private sector investments in green projects, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, by increasing banks’ capacities and confidence to lend to green projects through investment and advisory support. Over the last 15 years, IFC has worked with more than 125 financial institutions in 35 countries, to provide over $20 billion of private sector financing.

Commercial Bank has been in the forefront of promoting green finance facilities and offers special terms for both businesses and consumers on investments made on green projects.

Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. IFC’s committed portfolio in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.

Published in Finance
  • Upgrade to widebody 787 Dreamliner provides significant capacity increase on key route
  • Aircraft features industry-leading, award-winning cabins
  • Acclaimed Flying Nanny service now available on 787 Dreamliner flights to Beirut

Etihad Airways today introduced the Boeing 787-9 on its scheduled daily service from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to Beirut, Lebanon.

The new 787 Dreamliner service replaces the Airbus A321 aircraft previously operating the airline’s EY535/EY538 flights to and from the Lebanese capital. The Boeing 787-9 features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins and is configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Executive Vice President Commercial, said: “Beirut was the first international destination served by Etihad Airways in 2003 and it is fitting that we introduce the state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner to this key market today.

“The new two-class 787-9 provides an increase of 125 seats per flight, with 4,186 weekly seats now offered in both directions. This reflects the strong demand to Lebanon from Abu Dhabi and the entire UAE, where a large Lebanese expatriate community resides.

“Additionally, a significant proportion of our customers travelling to Lebanon originate in Australia, home to a considerable Lebanese Australian community, with the vast majority based in the Sydney area. They can now enjoy an upgraded, seamless flying experience, connecting from A380 services via Abu Dhabi onto 787 Dreamliners onwards to Beirut.”

The Boeing 787 is the backbone of Etihad Airways’ modern fleet of aircraft, boasting innovative, award-winning cabin designs and products, complemented by the airline’s acclaimed service and hospitality offering, which on Beirut flights now includes a Norland approved Flying Nanny in Economy Class to provide extra specialised care for families with young children.

The Business Studios offer direct aisle access, a fully-flat bed of up to 80.5 inches in length, and an increase of 20 per cent in personal space. Upholstered in fine Poltrona Frau Leather, the Business Studio is equipped with an in-seat massage and pneumatic cushion control system which enables guests to adjust the firmness and comfort of their seat. 

Each Business Studio has an 18-inch personal touch-screen TV with noise-cancelling headsets. Guests can also enjoy mobile connectivity, onboard Wi-Fi and seven satellite channels of live TV.

Economy Smart Seats provide enhanced comfort with a unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest, adjustable lumbar support, a seat width of approximately 19 inches and an 11.1” personal TV monitor on each seat. The aircraft has been designed with enhancements including humidity controls while air pressure levels are set to ensure a smoother flight, allowing guests to arrive feeling fresher.

The airline’s Boeing 787 fleet is equipped with the latest inflight entertainment system featuring over 750 hours of movies and programmes, as well as hundreds of music choices and a selection of games for both adults and children.

 

Boeing 787 schedule to Beirut, Lebanon, effective 25 July 2017:


Flight

Origin

Departs

Destination

Arrives

Frequency

Aircraft

EY 535

Abu Dhabi

09:20

Beirut

12:35

Daily

Boeing 787-9

EY 538

Beirut

14:20

Abu Dhabi

19:20

Daily

Boeing 787-9

 

To meet peak season demand, Etihad Airways will add four extra weekly frequencies to Beirut, between 2 August and 10 September 2017, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. 

Additional peak frequencies to Beirut, Lebanon, effective 2 August to 10 September 2017:


Flight

Origin

Departs

Destination

Arrives

Frequency

Aircraft

EY 533

Abu Dhabi

14:40

Beirut

17:55

Mo, We, Fri, Su

Airbus A320

EY 534

Beirut

18:55

Abu Dhabi

23:55

Mo, We, Fri, Su

Airbus A320

Notes: All departures and arrivals are listed in local time.

Published in Aero
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