Sri Lankan expats pray at a ceremony held to mark the 66th Sri Lankan Independence Day at the Consulate in Bur Dubai. Razan Alzayani / The National
Sri Lankan expats pray at a ceremony held to mark the 66th Sri Lankan Independence Day at the Consulate in Bur Dubai. Razan Alzayani / The National

Sri Lankans in UAE celebrate country’s 66th independence day



DUBAI // Sri Lankans prayed for lasting peace in their homeland during independence day celebrations on Tuesday, viewing this as a path towards economic development.

Sri Lankan Buddhist priests joined Muslims, Christians and Hindus in chanting verses praying for peace and prosperity on the island nation’s 66th independence day.

“I’m confident the country can continue to overcome challenges by uniting despite differences in religion and language,” said M M Abdul Raheem, the Sri Lankan consul general, during a function at the consulate in Dubai.

“We are fortunate and blessed to celebrate our independence day in a peaceful environment brought back in 2009 ... as long as there is communal harmony among ourselves then we can be unofficial ambassadors representing our land here in the UAE.”

The country’s civil war ended in 2009 when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought since 1983 for a separate homeland for minority Tamils.

Tuesday also marked the day the country won independence from the British in 1948.

“We won our freedom and we are also free from terrorism, so we must keep that peace for ever,” said Mohammed Riyas, an Islamic teacher among those who led the prayer service.

“Islam teaches you to respect each other’s religious places whether it is a temple, church or mosque, and if we treat each other with kindness and respect the whole of Sri Lanka can continue to live in peace.”

Urging tolerance, Devanand Mahadeva, a lawyer, read from Hindu scriptures and teachings of religious leaders.

“More development will bring more confidence to the country,” he said. “When the pace of infrastructure development and progress increases, people will feel confident and secure.”

About 250,000 Sri Lankans live in the UAE and annual two-way trade between the two countries is worth US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) with a target of $2 billion this year.

Gathered at the consulate on Tuesday, Sri Lankan expatriates said continued peace would strengthen ties with the UAE.

“Safety and security has drastically improved and so the future between our two countries is bright,” said Farook Kassim, the chairman of the Sri Lankan Business Council.

“We are hoping more companies from Sri Lanka will come to the UAE in freight and logistics, IT, the financial sector as well as Islamic banks.”

Mohammed Giado, managing director of a computer firm, said the coming years would be critical.

“We are at a crucial phase of our nation’s history and the next two to three years will be important because everyone in the country wants development, and the most important ingredient is peace. Every citizen, no matter where he is from, is craving for peace and our only hope is that the country continues on this phase,” he said.

Expatriates applauded when the independence-day message from the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was read out by Mr Raheem.

“I share your dream to strengthen the Sri Lankan nation under a single flag in a united country,” the message said.

“Achieving this requires hard work coupled with diligence and honesty. It calls for patriotism that transcends the barriers of geography and community, with reconciliation and combined unity of purpose.”

The President, Sheikh Khalifa, and the Vice President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, sent a congratulatory message to Mr Rajapaksa, reported Wam, the state news agency.

rtalwar@thenational.ae

AS WE EXIST

Author: Kaoutar Harchi 

Publisher: Other Press

Pages: 176

Available: Now

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Rating: 3.5/5

The distance learning plan

Spring break will be from March 8 - 19

Public school pupils will undergo distance learning from March 22 - April 2. School hours will be 8.30am to 1.30pm

Staff will be trained in distance learning programmes from March 15 - 19

Teaching hours will be 8am to 2pm during distance learning

Pupils will return to school for normal lessons from April 5

Fighting with My Family

Director: Stephen Merchant 

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Florence Pugh, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, Jack Lowden, Olivia Bernstone, Elroy Powell        

Four stars

Difference between fractional ownership and timeshare

Although similar in its appearance, the concept of a fractional title deed is unlike that of a timeshare, which usually involves multiple investors buying “time” in a property whereby the owner has the right to occupation for a specified period of time in any year, as opposed to the actual real estate, said John Peacock, Head of Indirect Tax and Conveyancing, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, a law firm.

Key changes

Commission caps

For life insurance products with a savings component, Peter Hodgins of Clyde & Co said different caps apply to the saving and protection elements:

• For the saving component, a cap of 4.5 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 90 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term). 

• On the protection component, there is a cap  of 10 per cent of the annualised premium per year (which may not exceed 160 per cent of the annualised premium over the policy term).

• Indemnity commission, the amount of commission that can be advanced to a product salesperson, can be 50 per cent of the annualised premium for the first year or 50 per cent of the total commissions on the policy calculated. 

• The remaining commission after deduction of the indemnity commission is paid equally over the premium payment term.

• For pure protection products, which only offer a life insurance component, the maximum commission will be 10 per cent of the annualised premium multiplied by the length of the policy in years.

Disclosure

Customers must now be provided with a full illustration of the product they are buying to ensure they understand the potential returns on savings products as well as the effects of any charges. There is also a “free-look” period of 30 days, where insurers must provide a full refund if the buyer wishes to cancel the policy.

“The illustration should provide for at least two scenarios to illustrate the performance of the product,” said Mr Hodgins. “All illustrations are required to be signed by the customer.”

Another illustration must outline surrender charges to ensure they understand the costs of exiting a fixed-term product early.

Illustrations must also be kept updatedand insurers must provide information on the top five investment funds available annually, including at least five years' performance data.

“This may be segregated based on the risk appetite of the customer (in which case, the top five funds for each segment must be provided),” said Mr Hodgins.

Product providers must also disclose the ratio of protection benefit to savings benefits. If a protection benefit ratio is less than 10 per cent "the product must carry a warning stating that it has limited or no protection benefit" Mr Hodgins added.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Various Artists 
Habibi Funk: An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World (Habibi Funk)
​​​​​​​

Results

5pm: Reem Island – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,600m; Winner: Farasah, Antonio Fresu (jockey), Musabah Al Muhairi

5.30pm: Sir Baniyas Island – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: SSR Ghazwan, Antonio Fresu, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

6pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,400m; Winner: Astral Del Sol, Sean Kirrane, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami

6.30pm: Al Maryah Island – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: Toumadher, Dane O’Neill, Jaber Bittar

7pm: Yas Island – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m; Winner: AF Mukhrej, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Saadiyat Island – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 2,400m; Winner: Celestial Spheres, Gary Sanchez, Ismail Mohammed

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SE (second generation)

Display: 40mm, 324 x 394; 44mm, 368 x 448; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 2nd-gen heart rate sensor, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: Water resistant up to 50m

Battery: 269mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium; midnight, silver, starlight

In the box: Watch SE, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh999 (40mm) / 1,119 (44mm)

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

MATCH INFO

Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Son 1', Kane 8' & 16') West Ham United 3 (Balbuena 82', Sanchez og 85', Lanzini 90'+4)

Man of the match Harry Kane

Company profile

Company: POPC
Started: 2022
Founders: Amna Aijaz, Haroon Tahir and Arafat Ali Khan
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: art and e-commerce
Funds raised: undisclosed amount raised through Waverider Entertainment

Switching sides

Mahika Gaur is the latest Dubai-raised athlete to attain top honours with another country.

Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia, swimming)
Born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, he finished sixth in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 200m butterfly final.

Jonny Macdonald (Scotland, rugby union)
Brought up in Abu Dhabi and represented the region in international rugby. When the Arabian Gulf team was broken up into its constituent nations, he opted to play for Scotland instead, and went to the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sophie Shams (England, rugby union)
The daughter of an English mother and Emirati father, Shams excelled at rugby in Dubai, then after attending university in the UK played for England at sevens.

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.
FROM THE ASHES

Director: Khalid Fahad

Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5


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