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US investor community hears strong case for Sri Lanka in New York

Posted on 19 October 2017 by admin

  • Macroeconomic stabilisation of economy broadly on track
  • Better, more facilitative capital market regulation across the board
  • CSE ready to play its part in national growth agenda
  • Foreign speakers offer a compelling endorsement of Sri Lanka

 

 

The ‘Invest Sri Lanka Investor Forum’ organised by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), in association with CSE member firms and listed companies, and supported by Asia Securities (Event Sponsor) and the Oxford Business Group (Exclusive Publication Partner), drew strong interest among the investor community in New York.

A Sri Lankan delegation which included senior representatives of the CSE, SEC, stockbroker firms and listed companies attended the forum to make a collective case for the Sri Lankan capital market as an investment destination. Remarks made by policymakers and capital market leaders on the economic outlook of the country and investment opportunities surrounding progressive reforms were well received by participants, who expressed confidence in the way forward for Sri Lanka. 

US…

One-on-one and group discussions between investors, who included representatives of the largest frontier and emerging market funds, and Sri Lankan listed companies, were well attended and featured John Keells Holdings Plc, Commercial Bank Plc, Sampath Bank Plc, Tokyo Cement (Lanka) Plc, Teejay Lanka Plc, Dialog Axiata Plc, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc, MTD Walkers Plc and Sunshine Holdings Plc. 

Addressing the forum as the keynote speaker, against the backdrop of the IMF reaching a staff-level agreement on the third review of Sri Lanka’s Extended Fund Facility, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy stated that the macroeconomic stabilisation of the economy was broadly on track and that the structural reforms implemented over the past two years were showing signs of gaining traction. 

The Governor added that the Central Bank was well advanced in putting in place a flexible inflation targeting regime and added: “The narrative is that the macroeconomics are improving. You have a tremendous location, you have a shift to a growth model which is capable of giving you more sustainable growth and the policies are being put in place to support that growth model. The growth framework is being strengthened through action in terms of the investment climate, investment promotion, trade facilitation and trade policy complemented by a pipeline of very ambitious projects. Sri Lanka has raised its ambition because it is now getting support from all corners of the world.” 

 

CSE ready to play its part in national growth agenda 

 

Commenting on the capital market’s role in contributing to the national agenda, CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena stated that the CSE was fully geared to creating capital raising opportunities for both the public and private sector, which is set to make a vital contribution to the Government’s Vision 2025 and empowerment of private investment-based growth. He added that providing a platform for State-owned enterprise reform through the stock market, facilitating the growth of SMEs through the introduction of an SME Board and providing other equity and debt capital raising opportunities to spur growth among Sri Lankan corporate entities remained a key priority at the CSE. 

A development drive focused on all investor segments, product diversification, improvements to governance and market infrastructure and further improvements to risk management was presented by Abeywardena as key facets of the way forward for the Sri Lankan stock market. 

Presenting the opportunities in the Sri Lankan capital market, CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike pitched investment in the CSE as a sound diversification opportunity with attractive valuations and returns backed by strong market fundamentals for equities. 

The presentation offered a broad perspective on the unique opportunity offered through the Sri Lankan stock market for foreign investors to take part in a transformative economy through an exchange that on average performed better than most global indices in recent years. Further inducement offered in the form of relaxed repatriation of returns and regulations on capital gains also drew the interest of investors present at the event. 

 

Better, more facilitative capital market regulation across the board

 

Discussing the salient features of the new SEC Act, SEC Commission member Dilshani Wijayawardana stated that the new securities law is set to usher in an era of stability, transparency and efficacy to the capital market, adding: “The new securities law will be a pillar of strength in making the capital market of Sri Lanka attractive to both international and local investors.”

SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunerwardane, speaking on the reformist agenda of the capital market, expressed the SEC’s continued commitment to better, more facilitative regulation across the board. 

“The SEC Strategy 2020, which consists of a set of regulatory and developmental initiatives, maps an integrative growth plan for the capital market to create a robust regulatory framework which in turn facilitates sustainable development,” he stated. 

 

Strong endorsement for Sri Lanka’s economic direction and capital market 

 

Outlining that May 2009 was a turning point for the country and for foreign investors, Senior Portfolio Manager at TimesSquare Capital Management and investor in Sri Lankan equities for over 10 years, Caglar Somek stated that the country was now on a sustainable growth path after going through a significant transition, adding that present growth and future estimates could further improve if the Government continued its reform process beyond the IMF program and attracted additional foreign direct investors. 

“The investment case for Sri Lanka is getting stronger with the support of the IMF. Sri Lanka has domestic avenues for growth. According to third party estimates such as the Economic Intelligence Unit, over 70% of long-term sustainable growth will likely come from the consumption and investment side of the economy, which is encouraging,” he noted. 

Commenting on the key attractions of Sri Lanka as a frontier market, he asserted that Sri Lanka offers a more diversified economy compared to other oil and commodity heavy frontier markets.  

A fully functioning democracy, an improving balance of payments situation, independent institutions, the rule of law, promising social aspects, the absence of capital controls and Sri Lanka’s strategic location and external growth opportunities surrounding it were identified as key factors that could persuade foreign investors to consider Sri Lanka going forward. 

Adding to the positive sentiments expressed, NASDAQ Vice Chairman Meyer ‘Sandy’ Frucher said: “We believe in the Sri Lanka story, which is why we are represented here at this forum. I have viewed and watched Sri Lanka for a long time and I think that the record and story is getting out there.” 

The Invest SL event in New York was hosted on the back of a considerable level of foreign activity in the stock market in 2017 where foreign purchases during the first half of 2017 established a record for the highest foreign purchases recorded in the first half of a calendar year. Investors from the US have consistently been the leading contributors to foreign turnover in the Sri Lankan stock market, and have contributed to 40% of the total foreign turnover since 2013. 

The ‘Invest Sri Lanka Investor Forum’ organised by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), in association with CSE member firms and listed companies, and supported by Asia Securities (Event Sponsor) and the Oxford Business Group (Exclusive Publication Partner), drew strong interest among the investor community in New York.

A Sri Lankan delegation which included senior representatives of the CSE, SEC, stockbroker firms and listed companies attended the forum to make a collective case for the Sri Lankan capital market as an investment destination. Remarks made by policymakers and capital market leaders on the economic outlook of the country and investment opportunities surrounding progressive reforms were well received by participants, who expressed confidence in the way forward for Sri Lanka. 

One-on-one and group discussions between investors, who included representatives of the largest frontier and emerging market funds, and Sri Lankan listed companies, were well attended and featured John Keells Holdings Plc, Commercial Bank Plc, Sampath Bank Plc, Tokyo Cement (Lanka) Plc, Teejay Lanka Plc, Dialog Axiata Plc, People’s Leasing and Finance Plc, MTD Walkers Plc and Sunshine Holdings Plc. 

Addressing the forum as the keynote speaker, against the backdrop of the IMF reaching a staff-level agreement on the third review of Sri Lanka’s Extended Fund Facility, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy stated that the macroeconomic stabilisation of the economy was broadly on track and that the structural reforms implemented over the past two years were showing signs of gaining traction. 

The Governor added that the Central Bank was well advanced in putting in place a flexible inflation targeting regime and added: “The narrative is that the macroeconomics are improving. You have a tremendous location, you have a shift to a growth model which is capable of giving you more sustainable growth and the policies are being put in place to support that growth model. The growth framework is being strengthened through action in terms of the investment climate, investment promotion, trade facilitation and trade policy complemented by a pipeline of very ambitious projects. Sri Lanka has raised its ambition because it is now getting support from all corners of the world.” 

CSE ready to play its part in national growth agenda 

Commenting on the capital market’s role in contributing to the national agenda, CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena stated that the CSE was fully geared to creating capital raising opportunities for both the public and private sector, which is set to make a vital contribution to the Government’s Vision 2025 and empowerment of private investment-based growth. He added that providing a platform for State-owned enterprise reform through the stock market, facilitating the growth of SMEs through the introduction of an SME Board and providing other equity and debt capital raising opportunities to spur growth among Sri Lankan corporate entities remained a key priority at the CSE. 

A development drive focused on all investor segments, product diversification, improvements to governance and market infrastructure and further improvements to risk management was presented by Abeywardena as key facets of the way forward for the Sri Lankan stock market. 

Presenting the opportunities in the Sri Lankan capital market, CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike pitched investment in the CSE as a sound diversification opportunity with attractive valuations and returns backed by strong market fundamentals for equities. 

The presentation offered a broad perspective on the unique opportunity offered through the Sri Lankan stock market for foreign investors to take part in a transformative economy through an exchange that on average performed better than most global indices in recent years. Further inducement offered in the form of relaxed repatriation of returns and regulations on capital gains also drew the interest of investors present at the event. 

Better, more facilitative capital market regulation across the board

Discussing the salient features of the new SEC Act, SEC Commission member Dilshani Wijayawardana stated that the new securities law is set to usher in an era of stability, transparency and efficacy to the capital market, adding: “The new securities law will be a pillar of strength in making the capital market of Sri Lanka attractive to both international and local investors.”

SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunerwardane, speaking on the reformist agenda of the capital market, expressed the SEC’s continued commitment to better, more facilitative regulation across the board. 

“The SEC Strategy 2020, which consists of a set of regulatory and developmental initiatives, maps an integrative growth plan for the capital market to create a robust regulatory framework which in turn facilitates sustainable development,” he stated. 

Strong endorsement for Sri Lanka’s economic direction and capital market 

Outlining that May 2009 was a turning point for the country and for foreign investors, Senior Portfolio Manager at TimesSquare Capital Management and investor in Sri Lankan equities for over 10 years, Caglar Somek stated that the country was now on a sustainable growth path after going through a significant transition, adding that present growth and future estimates could further improve if the Government continued its reform process beyond the IMF program and attracted additional foreign direct investors. 

“The investment case for Sri Lanka is getting stronger with the support of the IMF. Sri Lanka has domestic avenues for growth. According to third party estimates such as the Economic Intelligence Unit, over 70% of long-term sustainable growth will likely come from the consumption and investment side of the economy, which is encouraging,” he noted. 

Commenting on the key attractions of Sri Lanka as a frontier market, he asserted that Sri Lanka offers a more diversified economy compared to other oil and commodity heavy frontier markets.  

A fully functioning democracy, an improving balance of payments situation, independent institutions, the rule of law, promising social aspects, the absence of capital controls and Sri Lanka’s strategic location and external growth opportunities surrounding it were identified as key factors that could persuade foreign investors to consider Sri Lanka going forward. 

Adding to the positive sentiments expressed, NASDAQ Vice Chairman Meyer ‘Sandy’ Frucher said: “We believe in the Sri Lanka story, which is why we are represented here at this forum. I have viewed and watched Sri Lanka for a long time and I think that the record and story is getting out there.” 

The Invest SL event in New York was hosted on the back of a considerable level of foreign activity in the stock market in 2017 where foreign purchases during the first half of 2017 established a record for the highest foreign purchases recorded in the first half of a calendar year. Investors from the US have consistently been the leading contributors to foreign turnover in the Sri Lankan stock market, and have contributed to 40% of the total foreign turnover since 2013. 

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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall 2.3-pct in September

Posted on 09 October 2017 by admin

 


ECONOMYNEXT – Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka fell in September 2017 from a year ago mainly because of lower arrivals from big markets like China and Germany although the number of visitors from India, the biggest market, grew strongly. 

Total arrivals fell 2.3% to 145,077 in September 2017 from the year before, data from the tourism office showed. 

The biggest fall was in Germany, the second biggest European market, from where arrivals fell 15.1% to 8,574 while arrivals from China fell 14.3% to 18,939. 

Arrivals from China in the nine months to September are lower this year while those from Germany are stagnant. 

The number of visitors from India, grew 26.6% in September 2017 to 34,481 from a year ago and are up 6.1% to 267,601 so far this year. 

(COLOMBO, October 9, 2017)

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SRI LANKA: MICE Tourism in high demand – Minimum Room Rates concept should be scrapped

Posted on 05 October 2017 by admin

 

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, The Times of Sri Lanka.

The minimum room rates in Colombo hotels have been a hot topic in the tourism industry for some time. Many in the hotel trade consider this policy as disruptive as opposed to it been pro-active.

The ‘Minimum Room Rate’ introduced by Colombo City Hotels in Sri Lanka is a contentious policy. It has been a hot topic since introduced in 2009, by the Rajapaksa Government soon after the cessation of the north-east situation. Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, or Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) is a type of tourism in which large groups, usually planned well in advance, are brought together for a specific event. According to JLL Research, around sixty-five percent of Colombo hotel demand was from business tourists or MICE tourism. This upward trend in tourism arrivals prompted the Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga to do away with ‘minimum room rates’ as it hurts the market opportunities.

The Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Ministry on a couple of occasions over the past two years had communicated that the minimum room rate would be abolished in early 2017 since the market forces best determine the intrinsic value of a product. However, on each occasion, within a period of days, various lobby groups managed to get these policy decisions reversed.

Just last week Mahesh Fernando, General Manager of Hilton Colombo speaking to a mainstream media outlet in Sri Lanka was highly critical of the ‘minimum room rate’ and was quite vocal when he said, “The regulation is highly unwarranted, and the bigger hotels do not want any authority dictating terms to them”. Quite a strong statement from the GM of Colombo Hilton who is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Fernando’s rationale is that room rates should be fixed in keeping with market sources (demand and supply). In most other countries, this does not happen, he emphasised.

It must be said that successful tourism destinations in the region such as Thailand, Bali or Singapore do not have a minimum room rate criterion. The Maldives tourism industry depends on upscale tourists who pay USD $180 to USD $2,000 per day for the resorts. Minimum room rates in these places will kill the industry. This will apply to Sri Lanka over a period of time, analysts say.

Talking of the tourism industry and hotel accommodation, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo is scheduled to open soon and reservations are accepted as of October 2017. It is a 5-star hotel with 31 floors and 466 rooms. The hotel is equipped with five restaurants and 34 suites. Shangri La Colombo is expected to offer a new level of luxury hospitality in Sri Lanka. Shangri-La's world-renowned CHI, The Spa presents 10 private rooms and a soothing selection of traditional Sri Lankan and Asian treatments and therapies. The spa is complemented by a state-of-the-art, 24-hour Health Club and one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in Colombo.

To meet the needs of Colombo's dynamic business community, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, offers the largest and most extensive hotel conference and event facilities in the region, which can cater to up to 2,000 guests.

Hilton Colombo is celebrating its 30th anniversary with General Manager Mahesh Fernando stewarding the destiny of the hotel. Long standing patrons of Hilton Colombo might recall the name ‘Gamini Fernando’, who was General Manager of the hotel in the early years, a person who fashioned the property into a business cum family hotel.

GM Mahesh Fernando stays positive on forward bookings. “We also see a lot of Sri Lankan expats and their families coming and staying with us, especially towards the end of the year. With the growth of Sri Lanka tourism and seven new Hilton Hotels to be added in Sri Lanka from next year, we are very optimistic of the future,” He said.

Interestingly, as at date of writing the popular search engine Booking.Com shows room rates (Canadian dollars) in Colombo ranging from $109 to $225 for a hypothetical December 20th reservation. Jetwing Colombo Seven $171; Cinnamon Red $109; Mandarina Colombo $127; The Kingsbury $169; Movenpick Hotel Colombo $166; Galle Face Hotel $161; Taj Samudra $219; Cinnamon Lakeside $156; Fairway Colombo $113; Hilton Colombo $169; Cinnamon Grand $156; Sh

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India continues winning streak against Sri Lanka – takes ODI series 5-0

Posted on 03 September 2017 by admin

Virat Kohli scored unbeaten 110 runs against Sri Lanka.


India 239 for 4 (Kohli 110*, Jadhav 63) beat Sri Lanka 238 (Thirimanne 67, Mathews 55, Tharanga 48, Bhuvneshwar 5-42) by six wickets.

Virat Kohli scored yet another century in a chase for India as they beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the fifth one-day international in Colombo. With the win, India clean-swept the series five-match series 5-0. 

The Indian skipper once again structured the chase for India with an unbeaten century and guided his team to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final one-day international in Colombo. The win gave India a 5-0 series sweep, the first time a country has won those many ODIs in a bilateral series. Chasing a target of 239 runs, India had a new opening pair at the crease with Ajinkya Rahane opening the batting with Rohit Sharma who has been in tremendous form with two centuries in this series. Rahane and Rohit could not make most the opportunity as both the openers were dismissed early. Manish Pandey rebuild the innings with Kohli and made 36 runs before getting out. Kedar Jadhav then scored an unbeaten half-century and took India on the verge of victory. He was dismissed with India needing only two runs. Kohli scored the winning runs with two overs remaining.

Earlier, three Sri Lanka players got off to decent starts but none of them converted it into a big one. After a solid stand between Thirimanne and Mathews, the hosts were looking good for a good total but India fought back well in the final overs and bundled them out for 238. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was pick of the bowlers for India as he returned with 5/42. Spinners Kuldeep and Yuzvendra did well in the middle overs to contain the flow of runs in the middle overs and picked one wicket each. For hosts, Tharanga (48), Thirmanne (67) and Mathews (55) played well but were not able to post a big score.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar's maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs and Virat Kohli's 30th hundred in the format led India to a clinical six-wicket win that consigned Sri Lanka to a first ever home-series whitewash. There was a sense of inevitability to it all, particularly to Kohli's innings, which swept him past 1000 runs for 2017 and moved him level with Ricky Ponting in second place among ODI century-makers.

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Active Ontario: The Summer’s Final Ontario150 Celebration At Ontario Place This Long Weekend!

Posted on 03 September 2017 by admin

TORONTO, Aug. 24, 2017 /CNW/ – Active Ontario, the fourth and final long weekend event that celebrates Ontario150 this summer, kicks off next Friday, September 1 at Ontario Place. This free admission celebration encourages everyone in our province to get active and stay healthy with a variety of activities, programming and entertainment.

"This long weekend, I encourage everyone to visit Ontario Place for its last Ontario150 festival of the summer. The Active Ontario festival will be a wonderful opportunity for people to celebrate a great summer by getting out and learning more about active living, while also participating in fun activities for all ages," said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Come out and join us for a weekend of healthy living and active lifestyle initiatives! Highlights include:

  • Music: Performances by Dr. Draw on Saturday, September 2 at 7:15 p.m. whose violinist stylings venture from rock and classical genres into the electronic music culture, and Michael Morales at 10:00 p.m. who will bring his alternative rap approach to the stage, bridging the gap between 90s hip hop storytelling and modern production.
  • Rock climbing: A giant climbing wall will allow guests to put their rock climbing skills to the test.
  • ParaSport Ontario Volleyball: A full-size volleyball court where guests can learn the basic skills of ParaSport Ontario volleyball followed by live officiated games.
  • Zen Dogs Wellness: Bring your pup and indulge in a holistic and healing yoga class that uses instruction and simple movements for total relaxation.
  • City Dance Breakdance: Get your groove on! City Dance will be providing interactive dance classes complete with choreography and dance moves inspired from today's most popular music videos.
  • Drone Light Show: Canadiana-inspired choreographed drone performances by Ontario-based Arrowonics will light up Ontario Place on Saturday, September 2 at 11 p.m. (please be advised that this performance is weather dependent).
  • Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail: Located on the East Island of Ontario Place, the new green space is open for all to enjoy year round. Take advantage of this bike-friendly park as a relaxing stop-over from your long weekend activities. Walk, jog with your dog, or pack a picnic and enjoy the 7.5 acres of public green space on the Toronto waterfront (park hours 5:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. daily).

Taking place on the West Island, Ontario Place encourages visitors to get into the spirit of the Active Ontario festival and bike, walk, or jog to the event. Bicycle racks are available throughout Ontario Place.

WHEN:
Friday, September 1: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, September 2: 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 3: 10 a.m. – 11: p.m.
Monday, September 4: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WHERE:
Ontario Place, West Island
955 Lake Shore Blvd. West
Toronto

About Ontario Place
Ontario Place is an agency of the Government of Ontario that features 155-acres of waterfront property in Toronto. The iconic location is a venue for live music, festivals and events. From enjoying the skyline, to attending a festival or concert — Ontario Place is a gathering space for everyone in the province. In 2017, Ontario Place will host a series of events on the West Island as part of Ontario150, the province's celebration of Ontario and Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation.

For more information about Ontario Place please visit www.ontarioplace.com

Follow Ontario Place on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtags (#OntarioPlace, #Ontario150, #OPfestivals) to share your experience.

SOURCE Ontario Place

 

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 SriLankan Catering reign at Culinary Expo 2017

Posted on 31 August 2017 by admin

Award winning SriLankan Catering team

Colombo, August 31, 2017: The highly skilled and experienced team at SriLankan Catering (SLC) bagged no less than 29 medals (7 Golds, 10 Silvers and 12 Bronzes) at Culinary Art Expo 2017, the premier international exhibition and competition organized by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka that was held for the 17th time in Colombo recently.

Rakhita Jayawardene, Executive Director of SriLankan Catering, said: “Once again, our highly skilled team has demonstrated its extraordinary talent, with 24 of our team members winning medals while competing in a wide range of categories versus some of the finest chefs in the country’s hotel and restaurant industry. This cements SLC’s position as an airline caterer and restaurant operator of choice, with the highest standards and levels of talent and innovation in the culinary industry. Within the past month, SLC Flight Kitchen at BIA Katunayake have experienced a multitude of achievements including the completion of 25,000 meals per day to be catered to the National Career Srilankan Airlines and all other global prestigious airlines touch down at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake.”

Chathura Karunasena won two Golds and two Silvers and Upul Marasinghe bagged two Golds, in the Scan Sunquick Mocktail Competition. Chathura was recognized for his outstanding performance by winning two Gold and two Silver medals and also the title for Most Outstanding Mixologist in Sri Lanka. Both are members of the staff of SLC’s Semondu Restaurant in Colombo, situated in the heart of Colombo, in the Old Dutch Hospital building. Meanwhile, S.A. Nilanka of the Production Division won a Gold in the New Sri Lanka Cuisine category; Shashi Prabha Medhavinee of the Restaurant Division won a Gold in the IDL Cocktail Competition; and Jagath Samarasinghe of the Production Division won a Gold in the Flambe Deserts category.

Silver medals were won by Sampath Danangala, Dinesh Paranamana, Palitha Perera, Prasanna Nawarathne, Wasantha Kumara Alponso, Sameera Samarakoon, Ishara Jayawardena and Indika Wickramasekera.

Bronze medals were won by Sampath Danangala, Dinesh Paranamana, Ranga Wickramarachchi, Ruwan Silva, Chaminda Wickremasinghe, Harsha Gayashan, Harsha Dilushan, Yoshan Chathuranga and Rajitha Gunawardene. 

Executive Director Rakhita Jayawardena and General Manager Lalith Withana of SriLankan Catering honoured the winners with their presence at a felicitation ceremony held on 9th of August 2017 which was organized by the Human Resources & Administration Division of Srilankan Catering.

A fully owned subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering (www.srilankancatering.com) is the exclusive inflight caterer for all airlines that operate to Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). It also provides an array of services for BIA’s lounges and restaurants, including catering, laundry and restaurant management. SLC’s diversified operations include the Serenediva BIA Transit Hotel; Semondu Restaurant in Colombo city centre; Aeroclean industrial laundry; and Vanilla Pod boulangerie and patisserie.

SLC holds no less than four global certifications – ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management System; ISO 22000:2005 for Food Safety Management Systems; HACCP-Codex Alimentarius for Food Safety Assurance; and ISO 14001:2004 for Best Environmental Practices. Among its many accolades are Mercury Awards presented by the International Travel Catering Association (ITCA), Presidential Export Awards and National Energy Efficiency Awards.

More than 1,700 professionals in the catering industry from 165 hotels and restaurants competed in 34 categories in this competition, which is one of the largest food industry events in Asia, with winners being chosen by a panel of judges from World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS). Organized every two years by the Chefs’ Guild of Sri Lanka which is affiliated to WACS, Culinary Art serves as a platform for identifying the country’s culinary talent and for selection of teams for global competitions such as the Food Olympics, Global Chefs’ Challenge and Culinary World Cup.

 

Corporate Communications

SriLankan Airlines

www.srilankan.com

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Denis Shapovalov announces himself with stunning US Open win v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Posted on 31 August 2017 by admin

Canada's Denis Shapovalov r

Denis Shapovalou………….remember that name. Only 18 now, he might one day be a super star in the tennis world.

It might be too soon to say he can win this US Open but after his utterly brilliant dismantling of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and considering his placement in a weak bottom half of the draw, the quarter-finals look a very real possibility and from there, who knows?

Light on his feet, with a booming serve, frighteningly unpredictable and dangerous off both wings, Shapovalov is the real deal. 

If back-to-back wins over Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal in Montreal didn’t provide a big enough warning to the ATP Tour, this comprehensive 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-3) defeat of the eighth seed surely will – the left-hander has everything to reach the top of the sport.

Currenty ranked at 69th in the world, the 18-year-old had only played three Tour-level matches – including an impressive win over Nick Kyrgios as a wildcard in Toronto – ahead of this year and his meeting with Tsonga was only his third Grand Slam main draw match.

And Tsonga suffered a similar fate as those who had gone before him as young Denis Shapovalov made sure his name will be the talk of the town in New York. 

Denis Shapovalov may only be 18 but boy oh boy he is a serious player.

 

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Tilak Marapana is new Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka

Posted on 25 August 2017 by admin

Newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, Tilak Marapana assumed duties today at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Standing at extreme right is Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam. FM received blessings of religious dignitaries and well wishers.

The Minister also serves as the Development Assignments Minister.

He assumed the post as the Foreign Minister following former Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation.

 

Tilak Marapana was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs before President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday.

Marapana, a President’s Counsel, is a former Attorney General who retired prematurely with the change of Government in 1994. He thereafter practised on the unofficial bar and enjoyed an extensive and lucrative practice when in 2001 he was appointed the Minister of Defence in the UNP Government headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Later, with the demise of Gamini Atukorale, he was also appointed the Minister of Highways, Transport and Civil Aviation.

In 2015, following the last General Election, Marapana was appointed as the Minister of Law and Order. Consequent to a speech made by him in Parliament in which he explained the use of firearms stored in a ship chartered by Avant Garde and following allegations that he could interfere with the ongoing investigations against Avant Garde, he resigned from his portfolio until the conclusion of the investigation. 

In May this year Marapana was once again appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister of Development Assignments, a new ministry set up to monitor all ongoing development projects, both foreign and local.

Marapana as the Attorney General led the Sri Lanka delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva on successive sessions from 1992-1994 and successfully prevented the passage of a resolution against Sri Lanka on human rights issues. 

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New Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah assumes duties; calls on the president

Posted on 22 August 2017 by admin

 President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed the Eastern Naval Commander Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah, as new Navy Commander at the President's Official Residence, the Government Information Department said. 

An old student of Trinity College Kandy, Sinniah joined the Naval and Maritime Academy, Trincomalee as a cadet in 1982 and graduated in 1986.

Sinniah is a front line officer who served in all the Squadrons in the Navy and held the prominent appointments including Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, The Commandant Naval and Maritime Academy and Deputy Area Commander East.

He represented the Navy at various international seminars and conferences.

“Rear Admiral Travis Sinniah, who has served Sri Lanka Navy with immense loyalty for many decades, took office as the Navy Commander today,” President Maithripala Sirisena tweeted.
The Secretary to the President Austin Fernando and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne also participated at the occasion.

Rear Admiral Sinniah, who joined the Navy in 1982, also holds the post of Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet. He was the senior most Naval officer to be in active combat operations at sea during the conflict with the LTTE separatists.

Former Navy Commander, Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne officially assumed duties as the new Chief of Defence Staff.

Thereafter, the new Chief of Defence Staff called on President Maithripala Sirisena.

Meanwhile, the 21st Navy Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah officially assumed duties this morning.

In a symbolic gesture of handing over command, the outgoing Commander of the Navy Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne presented him the Admiral’s Sword, at a function held at the Naval Headquarters.

Vice Admiral Sinniah was accorded a Guard of Honour upon his official arrival, having taken over command as the new Commander of the Navy and was wished by top brass at the Navy.

The new Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy called on the President thereafter.

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Inflation perks up for first time since January

Posted on 19 August 2017 by admin

 

Loonie

Canada's annualized inflation rate in July was 1.2 per cent, up from 1.0 per cent in June. The increase was in line with estimates.


Courtesy: The Canadian Press.
Published Friday, August 18, 2017.

OTTAWA — Canadian inflation picked up its pace last month for the first time since January as the annualized rate rose to 1.2 per cent.

Statistics Canada's latest inflation number was up from one per cent in June — which had represented the data point's lowest mark in almost two years.

The agency says the higher price of gasoline, up 4.6 per cent in July compared to a year earlier, was among the biggest contributors behind the increase.

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Higher fuel prices were partly offset by lower electricity prices, due in large part to legislated price declines in Ontario.

July marked the first time the annual inflation rate went up since a peak in January at 2.1 per cent — close to the Bank of Canada's ideal target of 2.0 per cent.

Some experts had pointed to weak inflation as a reason for the central bank to hold off hiking its interest rate — but bank argued the recent softness was mostly temporary and raised its key rate slightly last month.

Here's what happened in the provinces and territories (previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 1.0 per cent (1.5)
  • Prince Edward Island: 1.8 (1.2)
  • Nova Scotia: 0.9 (0.5)
  • New Brunswick: 1.4 (2.0)
  • Quebec: 0.9 (0.6)
  • Ontario: 1.2(1.3)
  • Manitoba: 0.9 (0.2)
  • Saskatchewan: 0.8 (0.5)
  • Alberta: 1.0 (0.4)
  • British Columbia: 1.9 (1.7)
  • Whitehorse, Yukon: 0.6 (0.6)
  • Yellowknife, N.W.T.: 0.4 (0.8)

The agency also released rates for major cities, but cautioned that figures may have fluctuated widely because they are based on small statistical samples (previous month in brackets):

  • St. John's, N.L.: 1.0 per cent (1.6)
  • Charlottetown-Summerside: 1.6 (1.1)
  • Halifax: 0.9 (0.5)
  • Saint John, N.B.: 1.5 (2.1)
  • Quebec: 1.0 (0.6)
  • Montreal: 1.1 (0.8)
  • Ottawa: 1.0 (1.0)
  • Toronto: 2.0 (2.1)
  • Thunder Bay, Ont.: 0.9 (0.9)
  • Winnipeg: 0.8 (0.2)
  • Regina: 0.8 (0.4)
  • Saskatoon: 1.0 (0.7)
  • Edmonton: 1.1 (0.4)
  • Calgary: 1.3 (0.7)
  • Vancouver: 1.9 (1.8)
  • Victoria: 1.8 (1.8)

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