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First EgyptAir Cargo flight arrives and departs with 188 tons of Sri Lankan products

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The very first flights of EgyptAir Cargo, the national freighter of Egypt, arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport last week and departed with a total of 188 tons of Sri Lankan products to export destinations worldwide, benefiting from the broad global network of EgyptAir.

Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Colombo Hussein El Saha said that this long-awaited event was considered an inaugural step towards establishing a regular air transport route between Egypt and Sri Lanka, which would broaden the horizons for bilateral trade between the two friendly countries, and through them to the markets beyond. He praised the efforts of both Sunil Adikaram, General Manager Sales and Operations of Forwardair Aviation, the Cargo General Sales Agent of EgyptAir in Sri Lanka and his efficient team and EgyptAir Cargo team in Cairo to attain this significant achievement. El Saharty revealed that feasibility studies were now being carried on by both sides to consider several options for establishing a regular transit cargo route for EgyptAir either through BIA or MRIA, benefiting from the growing facilities in both hubs.

“Bilateral trade values between Egypt and Sri Lanka averaged USD 50 million annually in the last few years. Even during recent COVID-19 lockdowns, exporters, trade authorities and diplomatic mission in both countries worked hard to facilitate the regular and smooth flow of trade, resulting in Sri Lanka being able to export a total of 738 tons of its products to Egypt during the two months of April and May 2020, including 264 tons of Ceylon tea, 208 tons of desiccated coconut, 26 tons of cocoa powder, 234 tons of rubber products, and seven tons of PPEs. Similarly, Egyptian products, especially citrus fruits, have been smoothly exported to Sri Lanka during the same period. Huge trade potential was still to be explored and untapped”, he said.

The first bilateral agreement between Egypt and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) for the operation of regular flights was signed in 1950 in London, while the first trade and payments agreement was concluded in 1954 in Cairo. Another updated air transport agreement was signed in 2005. Colombo and Cairo have been connected through direct regular flights operated by Air Ceylon from the late 1940s until the late 1970s, while EgyptAir has operated intermittently between both capitals during subsequent years. The future holds immense opportunities for enhancing trade and connections between both countries.

 



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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded

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The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death

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By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months

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Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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