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Monday, 12 April 2010

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SLT continues efforts to preserve heritage

Students at the workshop

Sri Lanka Telecom, (SLT) launched its first Sinharaja awareness workshop for the year 2010. Twenty students and four teachers from Vidyaloka Maha Vidyalaya, Kerewalapitiya, Wattala were taken on a three day field trip into the Sinharaja rainforest.

Sinharaja rainforest is the only patch of virgin tropical rainforest in the island, and has been widely recognized for its rich biodiversity and ecological importance. It was declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988 by UNESCO.

The students and teachers of the Vidyaloka Maha Vidyalaya received hands on experience on a wide range of topics including - the rich biodiversity of the forest, nature conservation, mountain climbing and trekking, as well as skills in research, administration and documentation, time management and team working skills.

Students between the ages of 13 to 18 years are selected from schools across the island without discrimination to the stream / medium of education, community, location etc. Since the inception of the Sinharaja awareness program in 2006, a total of 640 students and 159 teachers have participated in the workshops. Students are encouraged to continue what they have learned during their Sinharaja experience by forming heritage societies in their schools and villages.


Ceylinco Life 'Family Savari' policyholders in Singapore

Fifty Sri Lankan families from all parts of the country were united in a memorable four-day holiday in Singapore recently with all expenses paid by their life insurance partner Ceylinco Life, when the first phase of the Family Savari III promotion was worked out.

The group comprising many first-time overseas travellers and more than 50 children were accommodated at star-class hotels and treated to a fun-filled itinerary that included a city tour, a visit to Sentosa Island, a night safari, sensational shopping and a cultural show.

Ceylinco Life policyholders in Singapore

The program included visits to the iconic Merlion statue, the botanical gardens, Buddhist temples, Underwater World, a dolphin show and Songs of the Seas, all popular attractions of the Lion City.

Among the group were families from far-flung cities and towns such as Vavuniya, Kathankudi, Batticaloa, Chenkaladi and Medirigiriya. The promotion covered policyholders whose policies were active as at December 31, 2009, new policyholders who purchased life insurance between October 1 and December 31, 2009, persons who had or who opened Ceylinco Retirement Accounts (CRA) during the three months of the promotion as well as those who had or purchased investment insurance plans during the same period.

The annual Ceylinco Life Family Savari event is intended to generate greater awareness of an interest in life insurance in market segments as yet unprotected through insurance, reward existing policyholders for keeping their policies active and provide an incentive to others to revive and maintain their policies.

The second phase of Family Savari was a star cruise tour in Singapore, which was won by a family of four from Kegalle.

The third phase of this year's Family Savari, the biggest in terms of numbers, takes place in April when 2000 people from 500 policyholder families spend a day at the Leisure World theme park, courtesy Ceylinco Life.


Unilever Sri Lanka celebrates Earth Hour

Employees at Unilever Sri Lanka at work during Earth Hour

Unilever Sri Lanka took part in Earth Hour, demonstrating its commitment towards addressing the climate change challenges.

The company launched a comprehensive awareness campaign among its employees and business partners about the impact of climate change and the Earth Hour initiative. On March 26, Unilever Sri Lanka symbolically switched off all non-essential lighting for one hour at its Grandpass facility.

Employees were invited to wear clothes of vibrant colours to brighten up the office during this time, and were served a 'green meal' at the canteen.


COPD Assessment Test:

GSK introduces CAT

A new, patient-completed instrument designed to help doctors and patients assess health status in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), one of the most widely prevalent respiratory diseases, has been introduced to medical professionals in Sri Lanka by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the company that funded its development.

The panel of doctors at the launch of the CAT

The COPD Assessment Test or CAT, is a validated, short and simple questionnaire for use in routine clinical practice, enabling both doctor and patient to monitor the progress made in the management of the disease, which is projected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

Comprising eight questions that cover a broad range of effects of COPD on patients' health, and a simple scoring methodology that facilitates a quick assessment of the disease's impact on the individual patient's lifestyle, the CAT questionnaire is available free of charge at www.CATestonline.org for use in clinical practice.

Each question offers a scoring range of zero to five, with the higher end indicating a higher impact of COPD on the patient's well-being. The CAT scoring range of 0 - 40 for the total score of all eight questions encompassing four impact levels Low, Medium, High and Very high.

Launched at the European Respiratory Society Conference in September 2009 in Vienna and subsequently in other countries, the CAT was developed by a multidisciplinary group of international experts including pulmonary specialists, primary care physicians and representatives from patient bodies. The CAT development was commissioned and funded by GSK as part of its efforts to facilitate an improvement in communication between patients and doctors, thereby improving care.

Addressing medical practitioners at the launch of the CAT in Sri Lanka, Dr. Liesel GSK Pharmaceuticals in Mumbai Senior Medical Advisor D'Silva said COPD had been found to affect patients in a similar manner, regardless of age (whether less than or more than 65 years) and regardless of country, despite different strategies of management. Patients often underestimate the severity of the disease she said, stressing that doctors and patients need to speak the same language to have a common understanding of how to manage COPD.

She said the CAT was developed in three stages, during which a draft questionnaire was tested on 1,503 patients before it was reduced to eight questions using a structured, rigorous scientific approach.

The questionnaire takes only a couple of minutes to complete. Until further data is available, the expert committee recommends that patients should routinely complete the CAT questionnaire every three to six months. Based on the strong correlation of the CAT with the SGRQ (St. George Respiratory Questionnaire), the steering committee believes that a change of two or more units in a patient's CAT score between visits suggests a clinically significant difference or change in the patient's health status; however this needs to be confirmed by further scientific studies.

The introduction of the CAT to doctors in Sri Lanka was followed by a panel discussion led by a panel of three leading Consultant Respiratory Physicians, Dr. Kirthi Gunasekera, Dr. A. T. Munasinghe and Dr. Amitha Fernando.


PC House partners Creative Solutions

PC House signed a partnership with Creative Technology Singapore.

Creative Technology is the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products, providing technology that has revolutionized the entire industry.

PC House Chairman S.H.M Rishan with Creative Technologies Business Development Manager Andy Cheng

The combination of PC House and Creative Technologies provides a powerhouse combination of the best products and the best services.

PC House Chairman S.H.M. Rishan spoke on the combination that was now available to consumers.

'Creative is probably the most famous sound and entertainment accessory manufacturing company in the world.

Their innovations have changed the face of how consumers operate their PCs and appreciate sound.

We are confident that coupled with our extensive island wide distribution networks and our commitment to customer satisfaction, this partnership will benefit consumers and enrich lives for many years to come'.

The extensive range of products offered by Creative cover Personal digital entertainment gadgets, web cameras, sound cards, pocket video cameras, audio solutions and sound cards, speaker systems, docking systems, portable sound systems, headphones, backphones, earphones, headsets, music keyboards and mice. Items available are not only covered by above average warranty, they are also upgraded regularly, ensuring that the technology available is always the latest innovations.

Specialty items that a customer wants and are not available in the general stocks can be special ordered, minimizing the hassle of importing and enabling a level of customer interaction that is far beyond what is possible now.


Abans accepts American Express Card bill payments

Nations Trust Bank recently tied up with Abans (Pvt) Limited to accept American Express Credit Card Bill payments at all Abans Showrooms Island- wide.

Cardmembers can now make payments at over 250 Abans Showrooms which include Abans Elite showrooms, JVC/HAIER Showrooms, A - Z Showrooms and [email protected] Showrooms. Nations Trust Bank PLC American Express Cards DGM Priyantha Talwatte, said. "We are pleased to announce our strategic partnership with Abans in providing all American Express Cardmembers greater convenience through the widely accessible Abans network.


Unilever Sri Lanka celebrates Earth Hour

Unilever Sri Lanka took part in Earth Hour, demonstrating its commitment towards addressing the climate change challenges.

The company launched a comprehensive awareness campaign among its employees and business partners about the impact of climate change and the Earth Hour initiative. On March 26, Unilever Sri Lanka symbolically switched off all non-essential lighting for one hour at its Grandpass facility.

Employees were invited to wear clothes of vibrant colours to brighten up the office during this time, and were served a ‘green meal’ at the canteen.


Amana launches CSR program

Amana Takaful PLC Manager - Marketing, Aashiq Aminuddin, handing over the donation on behalf of Amana Takaful Cares to the Chief Matron Swarna Amerasinghe in the presence of Deputy Director NHSL Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa, and Nizam Cader representing ‘Friends of the Accident Service’ organization. Shahad Hussain and Abdul Ghani of Amana Takaful PLC, look on.

Amana Takaful, recently launched its CSR initiative named 'Amana Takaful Cares'. The initiative saw the formalization of existing activities surrounding those needing assistance and also the inclusion of customers and the general public which is symbolic of the participatory nature of the Takaful concept.

"Having served in Sri Lanka for 10 years we thought it opportune to launch Amana Takaful Cares. In the past we have helped many individuals and Government and non-government organizations, however we felt the need to structure our efforts to focus on health care and children," said Amana Takaful Life GM/ Chief Executive Officer Reyaz Jeffrey.

The CSR program, Amana Takaful Cares revolves around the enhancement of educational standards of children in rural areas, guiding street children towards education, development of health care in rural areas and economic development among the less privileged.

Amana Takaful Cares made a donation of Pulse Oxymeters recently to the Accident and Orthopaedic Service of the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo along with the participation of National Hospital of Sri Lanka Deputy Director, Accident and Orthopaedic Service, Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa.


Chevron felicitates star performers

Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC honoured the organizations most outstanding achievers for the year 2009 at the Chevron Star Awards held recently. Twenty three awards were presented at this annual recognition program under different categories to star performers among Chevron's direct employees as well as its business partners and staff.

The award winners

"Prioritize employee recognition and you can ensure a positive, productive, innovative organizational climate" said Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC Managing Director/CEO, Kishu Gomes.

"People who feel appreciated are more positive about themselves and their ability to contribute. Which is why at Chevron, fairness, clarity, and consistency are of paramount importance.

People need to see that each person who makes the same or a similar contribution has an equal likelihood of receiving recognition for his/her efforts" he said.

At this ceremony, Regional Sales Manager Jayashantha Thotahewage, was awarded the award of the event - "The Marketeer of the Year 2009" for his outstanding performance during the year.

"We are indeed proud of our 'stars', said Kishu Gomes. "Chevron Star Awards is a stage on which such 'stars' are applauded for their effort and the value contributed to our business," he said.


Airtel offers SMS banking services

To all Standard Chartered Bank customers:

Bharti Airtel Lanka, had entered into a strategic tie up with Standard Chartered Bank to provide SMS banking facilities to all bank customers. With this, all Standard Chartered Bank customers can access their savings and current accounts over an SMS on their Airtel mobile.

Standard Chartered Bank customers can now access transaction data, request for statements or cheque books and execute fund transfers within their own account through their Airtel mobile. They may even nominate third party accounts within the bank. Airtel also offers accessibility to foreign currency rates, utility bill payment facilities and a host of credit card related information like alerts on periodic reminders, changes to contact details and even overseas transactions.

Bharti Airtel Lanka CEO Amali Nanayakkara, said "Having ushered in unparalleled affordability in Sri Lanka, Airtel remains committed to cater to the evolving needs of our customers. Today, as customer lifestyles experience rapid upward mobility, we see the gradual transformation of the mobile from a mere tool of communication, to a vehicle that enables lifestyle enhancement.

As an integrated solutions provider, Airtel's focus on empowering customers to experience breakthrough services over their mobile will continue to remain at the core of what we do," Amali said.


Free security from Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), Microsoft's latest anti-malware service that helps protect consumers against viruses, spyware and other malicious software, is now available in Sri Lanka. Provided free with every purchase of a genuine Windows 7 software enabled PC from an authorized reseller in Sri Lanka, MSE will also be made available to consumers who have already purchased original software enabled PC's.

Microsoft Sri Lanka Marketing Director, Manoji Samararatne said, "With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers will recieve high-quality, real-time protection that is free, easily available and user friendly. Making Microsoft Security Essentials broadly available as a free consumer download for genuine Windows-based PCs is part of Microsoft's ongoing commitment to provide a more trustworthy computing experience for all customers".

Microsoft hopes to encourage broader adoption of anti-virus protection amongst consumers.

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