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Virtusa sponsors first virtual IEEE Sri Lanka robotics workshop

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The Arduino compatible ZUMO 32U4 robot interfaced using ROS during the workshop

Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering, and IT services and solutions that help clients change and disrupt markets through innovation engineering, sponsored the first in a series of ‘Workshop’ branded events organized by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Sri Lanka Section Chapter in partnership with IEEE Sri Lanka Section.
 
 Anchored to an alliance that goes back a number of years, Virtusa and the IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Section Chapter moved away from the traditional ‘Meetup’ to host a full day virtual workshop, offering a unique opportunity for participants to engage with robotics and automation experts on a virtual platform. An introduction to Robot Operating System (ROS) – the workshop explored the fundamentals of ROS including robot theory, perception, navigation and manipulation, followed by hands-on sessions on ROS basics, as well as moving and manipulating robots online.
 
 “Moving away from the physical auditorium set-up to a virtual platform, we were extremely thrilled with the participation we saw during the full-day workshop,” commented Dr. Peshala Jayasekara, Senior Lecturer – Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, lead presenter at the workshop. “Over 120 students, undergraduates, postgraduates, academia and industry stakeholders enthusiastically engaged and invested their day to successfully complete the workshop with an IEEE Technical Sponsorship, one of the highest recognitions in the world.”
 
The significance of robotics and automation largely depends on the broader collaboration between researchers and end-users of various domains – market potential that Virtusa continues to explore. Servicing multiple industries with intelligent engineering automation among a growing solutions portfolio, Virtusa promotes robotics research and application to generate greater impact by developing solutions to end-user driven challenges.
 
 “Robotics, particularly intelligent automation is rapidly changing the new norm of the IT industry,” Misnad Haque, Director – Technology at Virtusa elaborated. “From automated IT quality assurance to autonomous spaceflight, the opportunities to develop and nurture these bots are limitless. Events like this bring together like-minded humans – and perhaps robots too in the future –facilitating innovation through knowledge-sharing as well as experiential platforms that organizations like Virtusa can provide.”
 
 “Our aim is to host an IEEE Sri Lanka Robotics Workshop each year among other events, so that we can work together with expert resource personnel who are on par with global robotics trends and insights,” stated Prof. Chandima Pathirana, chairman of IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Chapter. “With Virtusa’s continued sponsorship and support, we are proud to say that this session delivered on the promised level of exposure and knowledge on robotics, and we look forward to inspiring the growing group of robotics enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.”
 



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Rupee devaluation, high shipping rates hurt tea prices at Colombo auctions

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by Steve A. Morrell

The Sri Lankan rupee weakening against the US dollar coupled with surging shipping rates reflected adversely on tea prices at the Colombo auctions.

This contributed to regressive price trends in Colombo, Forbes & Walker (F&W) said in its weekly Tea Market report.

The average for April 2021 was Rs. 627. 41 in comparison to Rs. 689.18 the corresponding month in 2020, indicating a minus variant Rs. 61. 77.

Brokering sources collectively said such price trends could result in negative market conditions seriously affecting profits at producer levels.

The depreciation of currencies in importer countries also contributed to depleting prices in Colombo apart from other allied trading disruptions, they said.

Commenting on the National auction average for April 2021, JKH Tea Brokers warned that the declining trend caused by the fall of the rupee against the dollar would trigger further minuses that could be foreseen at future auctions as well.

They said all elevations showed minus variances with low growns recording a higher minus variance of Rs. 93.43 per kilo.

Nevertheless, commenting on positive results for flowery grades at last week’s auctions, they said these grades fetched prices ranging from Rs. 2,300 to Rs. 3,000. per kilo. Quantities, although relatively small, impacted on the overall prices for the week.

The better known garden marks in the Uva High catalogue showed quality trends setting in with prices of Rs. 800 or more. Some Nuwara Eliya garden marks as well were in the Rs. 950 range of the price table.

Comparing production in most tea producing countries, China, India and Kenya were among the first three in production position in the world. Sri Lanka, producing 278.7 million kilos, was fourth in line.

Tip world producers include Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania, apart from Argentina supplying Tea to the US market.

Sri Lanka also exports to the US market but in irregular quantities.

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Mobiglotech Blockchain Corp seeks investment for EXIP Project

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To become a billion dollar company by 2025

The EXIP project, Mobiglotech Blockchain Corp’s flagship initiative in partnership with Dev Ceylon Holdings and Niftron, is looking for a US$ one million investment to become a billion dollar company by 2025.

The EXIP project, themed as ‘By Community for Community’, is expected to create independence on the internet and ensure it remains neutral of any political affiliations.

‘’EXIP ecosystem is custom built to the needs of any individual, private or government institution where they can have the ownership of their domain or TLD other than rent it from present service providers. In future, depending on the way the world is moving with blockchains and decentralizations, all aspects of the project will be decentralized and the community will control it without any monopoly”, says Shashi Meghawarna, the founder and CEO of Mobiglotech, the world’s first decentralized domain and TLD name service.

“We will build this project in such a way that all users have equal rights to access and anyone will be able to create domains and top-level domains whose ownership will be identified through Non fungible tokens’’, he added.

The internet transformed the way we carry out transactions, communicate, share information, promote business, entertain, study and so forth. Nevertheless, the internet was never properly designed for such a global role, he noted.

On the other hand, some organizations have the power to seize, revoke, dismiss, and permanently erase any domain from existence. Once the EXIP project is completed, the community would be able to decide all the major actions in the system based on their voting such as removing or banning a domain or a user, he further said.

EXIP is specially designed to decentralize the internet and overcome the monopolistic control over domains and TLDs. While providing the connectivity of an internet, it assures full security similar to an intranet.

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Contactless payments from Sri Lanka Insurance

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Sri Lanka Insurance the national insurer has facilitated an array of payment channels at this hour of need honouring customer needs while ensuring their safety and wellbeing.

Sri Lanka Insurance customers can enjoy uninterrupted service through an array of online service platforms without having physical contact during the current pandemic situation

SLIC policy holders can renew their insurance policies and make premium payments via Sri Lanka Insurance Customer Portal www.srilankainsurance.net and SLIC mobile App is available to download on Apple App Store and Google Playstore to fulfill various insurance needs.

Keeping in line mobile payment facilities including Genie, FriMi, mCash and eZ cash are available and further direct bank payments facilities are also available through Sampath Bank (Life – 092960000104 / General – 002960001543 ) , Commercial Bank (Life – 1484444444/ General- 1480020022), People’s Bank ( Life -014100120112337/General – 014100160112335), Bank of Ceylon ( Life -0000164657/General-0000000464), Hatton National Bank (Life -003010313831/General 003010011166 ),National Savings Bank (Life -100011141139) Nations Trust Bank ( Life -011106000275 ), Seylan Bank ( General -086433464695001) for the premium payments.

Established in 1962, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation is the largest government-owned insurance company in Sri Lanka, with a managed asset base of over Rs.212 billion and a Life fund of Rs. 117 billion, the largest in the local insurance industry. The company is also the first and only local insurer to secure Fitch Ratings AA (lka) rating for its long-term financial stability and sustainability and also Sri Lanka Insurance ranked as the ‘Most Valuable General Insurance Brand’, and ‘Most Loved Insurance Brand’ and the 3rd Most Loved Consumer Brand in the country by Brand Finance. The national insurer is on a mission of being a customer focused company which constantly innovates in providing insurance services to customers and is now serves customers through an extensive network of 158 branches.

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