Items filtered by date: August 2016

In a move that sent shock waves through the Mackwoods Group and corporate sector, it is learnt that unsuspecting employees of the main Company, Mackwoods Pvt Ltd, which reaches 175 years this year , were terminated overnight on the 25th and 26th August, with no notice whatsoever, and forced to accept an ex gratia payment in place of a compensation package, which was accompanied by a letter of termination which terminated them the same day and undertook to pay provident fund and gratuity, and a verbal promise to pay the previous 2 months unpaid salary and other long outstanding dues. It was however observed that the termination letter the employees were forced to sign, stated that they had no further claims on the Company, thus possibly providing the management with a loophole to avoid meetin g those further dues. This shocking move, instigated by Chris Nonis , and implemented by Mackwoods Finance Director Lalith Fonseka , together with Manager Personnel and Administration Lal Liyanage has been viewed by the terminated employees as not just inhuman and heartless, but completely unlawful, and, according to them, aimed at hoodwinking the employees, thus calling for justice and relief . As one employee observed ,” this was a deliberate and calculated move to dupe us into accepting termination.” Most accepted the letters under a protest , as past unpaid dues going back several months, such as salary a travelling and subsistence were not covered in the letter. Over 60 employees at all levels, factory, minor staff, clerical , executive and senior Managers lost their jobs overnight in this drastic move. This latest development follows in the wake of the disputed sale of the controlling interest in Agalawattte Plantations PLC, the Groups largest asset, by Chris Nonis, Shelendra Nonis Ranaweera and Lalith Fonseka last month, which took place without approval of majority shareholders of the holding Company Mackwoods Securities Ltd , or the golden shareholder approval, and also contravened several Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. With regard to the recent mass terminations at Mackwoods, the Management claimed that the termination was precipitated by the adverse financial situation due to litigation against the Company in May as well as the NDB Bank parate action whereby the Company’s factory at Ja-ela was seized, which the Management claimed , made it impossible for the Company to carry out its normal operations and were therefore not in a position to offer work to the employees. However many employees have commented that a number of the trading operations are not dependent on the Jaela factory complex and this was just a useful excuse to justify termination. A further unacceptable and false reason given was that this development was caused by litigation the Company was facing.. In fact it is understood that no litigation whatsoever has been taken against the Company, but is against the several individuals on the Board including Chris Nonis for oppression and alleged mismanagement and fraud, following action instituted by the majority shareholders of the holding Company including Co Chairman Nirmali Samaratunga. It is reliably learnt that, in fact, Nirmali Samaratunga herself was attempted to be removed by Nonis and his Co Directors Nonis Ranaweera, Fonseka and Samarasinghe from the Mackwoods Ltd Board, with no notice and that strictures were passed on her and she was relieved of her responsibilities as a Director over a month ago. This is being challenged by her in Courts. She meanwhile continues to hold her other Board positions in the Group including in the Holding Company. The terminated employees numbering over 60 upto now, are meanwhile seeking recourse from the Labour authorities for unjust termination and seeking the intervention of the Commissioner General of Labour to rectify their plight where they have been rendered unemployed and destitute overnight , with no other income to support their families.

Published in Miscellaneous

- New Range Rover SVAutobiography dynamic derivative combines Range Rover desirability with enhanced dynamic performance
- Innovative semi-autonomous driving technologies including advanced tow assist and intelligent speed limiter join unique all-terrain progress control systems
- Market-leading InControl Touch Pro infotainment system features enhanced 10-inch touchscreen display
- New All-Terrain info centre and low traction launch systems support Range Rover's all-conquering all-terrain capability
- On sale from Winter 2016, with prices starting from £76,350

Wednesday, August 31 2016, Colombo: Land Rover has reinforced Range Rover's status as the world's finest SUV with the introduction of advanced autonomous driving technologies and an all-new model from Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) – the Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic.

Since it redefined the luxury SUV sector more than 46 years ago, Range Rover has achieved more than one million sales and sits at the pinnacle of the Land Rover family. Range Rover's unique combination of peerless refinement, timeless design and unrivalled all-terrain capability has seen it used to transport royalty, undertake gruelling expeditions and even developed into a high security fortress in the form of the armoured Range Rover Sentinel.

The original Classic model debuted in 1970 and over four generations the luxury SUV has established itself as a design reference, representing the ultimate in all-terrain luxury. The new SVAutobiography Dynamic brings new levels of performance to the Range Rover, powered by a 550PS V8 supercharged engine. Building on the successful launch of the long-wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography, the SVAutobiography Dynamic is available exclusively in standard wheelbase specification and comes fitted with specially configured suspension designed to optimise agility without compromising Range Rover's trademark refinement and comfort.

The 2017 model year Range Rover also debuts a selection of innovative new technologies, which provide the building blocks towards fully autonomous driving. The innovative features include advanced tow assist, an intelligent driver aid, which takes the stress out of reversing a trailer, and intelligent speed limiter, which automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed to suit the speed limit using Traffic Sign Recognition technology.

In addition, driver condition monitor and blind spot assist, which autonomously steers the vehicle back into its lane if sensors detect the driver is steering into the path of another road user, are added to an extensive selection of advanced safety features.

Interior changes include a new larger 10-inch dual view touchscreen display, powered by Land Rover's market-leading InControl Touch Pro system. The pinch and zoom tablet-style touchscreen provides a host of new features including customisable homepages, enhanced satellite navigation functions and instant access to the driver's favourite apps.

Gerry McGovern – Land Rover Chief Design Officer, said: "Range Rover has been the world's leading luxury SUV since its debut more than 46 years ago. Design is fundamental to this vehicle and the latest refinements reinforce its status as the ultimate luxury SUV. By offering our customers more choice, more technology and more power we ensure Range Rover remains in a class of its own."

- New SVAutobiography Dynamic added to the Range Rover line-up
- 2017 Range Rover adds convenience through innovative technology
- Specialist technology enhances all-terrain credentials
- Low traction launch
- All-Terrain info centre
- Improved connectivity and intuitive interactivity
- Improved satellite navigation and services
- Advanced safety systems
- Unique colours and finishes for most luxurious Range Rover

Published in Automobile

- Invests in New Tech Companies and Doubles Silicon Valley Team -

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Aug. 29, 2016:  Ford recently announced its intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 as a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

Towards this goal, the company is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development, doubling its Silicon Valley team and Palo Alto campus.

“The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

To be a leader in autonomous vehicles in 2021 are part of the company’s Ford Smart Mobility plan as well as in connectivity, mobility, customer experience, data and analytics.


Driving autonomous vehicle leadership
Building on more than a decade of autonomous vehicle research and development, Ford’s first fully autonomous vehicle will be a Society of Automotive Engineers-rated level 4-capable vehicle without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. It is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride sharing and ride hailing, and will be available in high volumes.

“Ford has been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “We have a strategic advantage because of our ability to combine software and sensing technology with sophisticated engineering necessary to manufacture high-quality vehicles.”

Delivering several firsts, Ford was the first automaker; to begin testing its vehicles at Mcity, University of Michigan’s simulated urban environment, to publicly demonstrate autonomous vehicle operation in the snow and to test its autonomous research vehicles at night, in complete darkness.

Helping Ford to deliver an autonomous vehicle in 2021 are four key investments and tech collaborations. Ford has invested in Velodyne, the Silicon Valley-based leader in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors.

The Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company, SAIPS will enable Ford to further strengthen its expertise in artificial intelligence and enhance computer vision. Ford’s exclusive licensing agreement with Nirenberg Neuroscience, will help Ford autonomous vehicles learn and adapt to the surroundings of their environment. Ford’s investment in Berkeley, California-based Civil Maps will assist to further develop high-resolution 3D mapping capabilities.

Silicon Valley expansion
Ford also is expanding its Silicon Valley operations, creating a dedicated campus in Palo Alto. The expanded campus will grow the company’s local footprint and support plans to double the size of the Palo Alto team by the end of 2017.

“Our presence in Silicon Valley has been integral to accelerating our learning and deliverables driving Ford Smart Mobility,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “Our goal was to become a member of the community. Today, we are actively working with more than 40 startups, and have developed a strong collaboration with many incubators, allowing us to accelerate development of technologies and services.”

Since the new Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto opened in January 2015, the facility has rapidly grown to be one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in the region. Today, it is home to more than 130 researchers, engineers and scientists.

Published in Automobile
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 16:29

Batticaloa trade expo 2016 in october

Event Highlights:

- Over 300 stalls raging from consumer favorites to industrial goods
- Crowds exceeding 60,000 visiting the show
- Live evening musical shows
- Amusement park with Children's play area
- All types of food and beverage, Hawker type food court
- Special discounts on over 1000 products
- Hourly raffle draw to win exiting prizes
- Seminars and workshops
- Special higher education pavilion

The 3rd Edition of Batticaloa International Trade Exhibition 2016 is scheduled to be held on the 30th September, and 1st & 2nd of October 2016 at the Shivananda Vidyalaya Grounds in Batticaloa.

BITE as it is popular known, is organized by Lanka Exhibition & Conference Services (Pvt) Ltd together with Batticaloa District Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (BDCCIA).

This mega expo was one of the most colorful and most recognized events that took place in the eastern region after three decades of war. The exhibition is a major platform to develop the lifestyle in the East.

The event will feature the Construction Industry, Hospitality Industry, Food, Beverage and Packing Industry, Automobile Industry, ICT Industry, Travel & Tourism, Financial Services, Apparel & Textile, Agricultural, Consumer Goods and many others, which will be on show during the three days

. The expo will be expecting over 60,000 people to visit the three day event. Special business delegations from business communities in Batticaloa and surrounding areas will have easy access to all the visiting exhibitors for joint ventures and partnerships. Students and young adults from Leading Schools from Eastern Province will be visiting the special education pavilion at the event.

It is indeed the correct time to have an exhibition of this nature. Batticaloa has seen many changes in the past year in terms of infrastructure and business development. The recent "invest in east" forum saw large number of Foreign and local investors showing interest in this region.

The exhibition itself is a one stop platform for business needs. This mega exhibition is reaching Batticaloa after a lapse of 4 years. The demand for an event for companies to showcase their goods and services is very much in need in this region, hence the re-launch of the Batticaloa International Trade Exhibition.

Published in Economy & Commerce

“Running out of money in retirement, too much debt and managing money day-to-day are the main financial worries for most people. Nine out of 10 people have real concerns about how long their money will last once they give up work. A further eight out of 10 fear they will never have enough savings to give up work when they reach the age of retirement,” says Ms. Christina Wesley, Financial Advisor with NDB Wealth.

Other financial issues that people constantly worry about include: Not having enough savings to cover emergency spending; Not having enough cash to live comfortably; Not saving enough for kids' education; Having no spending money; Making poor investment choices; Missing mortgage or rent payments; Losing cash to a financial scam.

“People do not realise they can take action to relieve their worries by reviewing spending and checking their creditworthiness,” says Ms. Wesley. “Plenty of help is available online in the form of apps, calculators, spreadsheets, etc. to assist people in managing their finances.” In fact, NDB Wealth offers its own online financial utility, “The NDB Wealth Planner”, which can prove very useful for future financial planning.

NDB Wealth additionally provides a number of very simple, introductory products, such as “Money Market Funds,” which will help you plan better and facilitate a smooth entry into the world of wealth management. NDB Wealth allows you to maximise your savings and income beyond the limitations of traditional banking, by initiating clients into high performance instruments such as money market funds. For example, NDB Wealth's money market funds offer safety, anytime withdrawal and high rates of return in comparison to traditional savings accounts. Ms. Wesley also went on to add, “What’s really unique about NDB Wealth's Money Market accounts is that your earnings are credited to your account daily.”

“Understanding tax, pensions and savings is a daunting prospect for many people who confess they often make the wrong financial decisions because they do not fully understand their options,” said Ms. Wesley of NDB Wealth. “A lot of people told us that they need to take control of their finances to feel more confident about the decisions they make. The Financial Advisors at NDB Wealth are trained to listen to your worries and come up with plans that will take care of your specific concerns.”

To get you started, NDB Wealth suggests the following, six-point plan to help you manage your money more effectively: 1. Set a strict budget; 2. Regularly review finances to identify any wasted money; 3. Look at cutting unnecessary spending and luxuries; 4. Maintain a record of actual spending to compare against the budget; 5. Reconcile bank and credit card statements against spending records; and 6. Devise a savings plan, even if the amount is only a small amount a month.

Further, the “My Wealth Plans” section of the NDB Wealth website ( can even point you to pre-designed, “Build your own plan” savings plans geared towards kids, women, families, retirement, etc.

Published in Finance
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