Top 5 Experiences to have in Sri Lanka

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A paradise island where tea plantations thrive, beaches are characterised by elegant palms that tumble to the water’s edge, and cities are steeped in colonial history, Sri Lanka offers a myriad of landscapes but remains relatively untapped. With a resilient attitude, the country picked itself up after years of civil strife and opened its doors to all from luxury-minded holidaymakers to off the beaten track backpackers. Here are our top five travel tips that will have you as enamoured with this enigmatic island as we are.

Travel by train

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It’s tempting to opt for an inexpensive taxi to navigate your way around, but Sri Lanka is also conveniently connected by rail. Trains serve as the vital arteries to this heart-shaped drop in the Indian Ocean and have done for generations, with train travel harking back to a time when tea was shipped to Blighty to fill a thirsty nation’s teacups. Bag yourself a doorway seat for the ultimate view and enjoy mesmerising scenery as you fly through the countryside with your legs swinging from the carriage. Trains also pass through rustic villages where beaming children wave you on your way.

Eat locally

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Sri Lanka is best explored by going local, and with city streets brimming with street food, and even the tuk tuks selling freshly made rotis, the options for eating local in Sri Lanka are endless. Piquant flavours are integral to Sri Lankan cooking and bolster the country’s reputation as a gastronomical great. Authentic curry dishes are found in unassuming roadside restaurants and friendly cooks are more than happy for you to watch them rustle up a traditional feast. Be sure to try the seafood, with fish caught by skilled fishermen who catch their haul perched on wooden stilts in shallow water.

Try the tea

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You’ll never look at the humble tea leaf in the same way after exploring Sri Lanka’s tea plantations. In the heart of the island, the altitude soars to around 2,000 metres above sea level. Here the air becomes misty, temperatures drop, and thick jungle is replaced by tall forests. It’s in these conditions the tea leaf plantations bloom, with charming hill towns like Nuwara Eliya a tourist hotspot for those who are keen to learn more about their favourite tipple. A trip to a plantation provides a narration of the country’s imperial history, and will undoubtedly involve a scenic cuppa or two.

Discover the wildlife

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Teaming with wildlife, Sri Lanka is a viable option for nature enthusiasts keen to spot their favourite animal in the wild. Venture to Udawalawe National Park and witness parades of elephants, water buffalo and lurking crocodiles lingering by watering holes. Head east from Udawalawe for the chance to spot leopards in Yala National Park, or west where you can stay in an eco lodge in depths of the Sinharaja rainforest. Off Sri Lanka’s southern shores, pods of majestic blue whales dive off a 2,000 metre deep trench and tour operators offer whale spotting tours and diving trips.

Get active

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With its mountainous terrain, Sri Lanka poses plenty of opportunities for outdoor activity. Eager hikers are beckoned to the peaceful hill town of Ella where leisurely walks along train tracks lead to waterfall vistas, temples, and the iconic Nine Arch Bridge – a classical piece of British architecture juxtaposed against verdant jungle. Ella’s more intrepid visitors will make their way up Little Adam’s Peak – a hike that finishes with a rewarding sunrise vista if started in the early hours. Along the south coast, rolling waves attract surfers of all abilities, with Weligama an ideal spot for beginners.

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Wu Dajing Tops Short-Track 500m Qualifying Results at 2018 Winter Olympics

Wu Dajing set an Olympic record in the men’s 500-metre short-track speedskating qualifying at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

He set a time of 40.264 seconds in the Gangneung Ice Arena to become the quickest qualifier, ahead of compatriot Ren Ziwei.

Here are the top three qualifying times:

Wu Dajing—40.264 (CHN)

Ren Ziwei—40.294 (CHN)

Lim Hyo-jun—40.418 (KOR)

                             

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Homemade houseboats serve as floating art studios for European travels

The 2Boats project will conclude in June 2018, at the Hamburg Triennial of Photography

Artists Claudius Schulze and Maciej Markowicz have embarked on a voyage through Europe’s waterways on two self-built motorized houseboats. The aptly-named 2Boats project involves the pair traveling to multiple destinations, including Paris and Amsterdam, while meeting people and documenting their journey.

.. Continue Reading Homemade houseboats serve as floating art studios for European travels

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Operators target USD$26bn business messaging market

• Independent research accurately sizes market and operator readiness
• Action taken to stop revenue leaking to grey market
• Aggregators under pressure – market consolidation inevitable
• Consumer security protection remains a market risk

London, February 20, 2018: New, independently produced research from specialist analysts at Mobilesquared reveals that the mobile operator community has acted to protect its messaging revenues from the unauthorised, so-called, grey market companies that previously dominated the market.

Mobilesquared found that operators now carry more than half of Application to Person (A2P) traffic on official routes and successfully captured some 75 per cent of the total market revenue in 2017, but those revenues still fell a long way short of the predictions that many analyst houses made just two years ago.

Earlier forecasts had predicted a close to USD$60bn A2P market in 2017 but based on market information tracked across more than 600 operators in 200 territories – combined with its own in-depth data gathered from interviews with nearly 50 operators – Mobilesquared is able to accurately calculate global A2P market revenues in 2017 at just USD$11.86bn.

Mobilesquared was able to analyse A2P SMS messaging by market sector and could also determine the extent to which operators had deployed firewall technology to protect and secure A2P messaging traffic and guard against consumer fraud on the operator’s SS7 signalling channel.

The report shows that A2P traffic consisted mostly of promotional alerts, customer service updates, and reminders of appointments and deliveries. However, the ‘two-factor authentication’ (2FA) messages sent by banks and other organisations to authorise online transactions accounted for almost 20 per cent of traffic – nearly 300bn messages in 2017.

Key A2P statistics in the report include:

• Globally, some 1.67 trillion A2P SMS messages were sent in 2017
• Mobilesquared predicts traffic will rise to 2.8 trillion by 2022 creating a market worth more than $26bn
• At the end of 2017, 48 per cent of operators had installed an A2P Firewall to prevent unauthorised, grey-route A2P messaging
• As a result, for the first time, authorised traffic outnumbered grey-route messaging and white route revenues totalled more than USD$10bn
• By 2022, 83 per cent of operators will have deployed A2P Firewalls and white route revenues of USD$25.86bn will represent 97 per cent of the market value
• Grey route market value will fall by almost 50 per cent from USD$1.4bn in 2017 to just USD$750m by 2022 leading to further consolidation within the aggregator market

“We have been saying for some time that other forecasts were way off the mark,” said Mobilesquared founder and Chief Analyst Nick Lane. “Now after more than a full year of data discovery we are able to publish the most comprehensive and accurate picture of the market as it is today, forecast its potential size and highlight the threats to its growth.”

Mobilesquared’s report highlights two potential threats to the continued growth of the A2P SMS Market. One is the launch of so-called Rich Communications Services (RCS) scheduled for later this year which could see up to ten per cent of A2P message traffic switch from SMS to RCS.

The other threat to growth is the continued security weakness in the SS7 signalling system used by all operators to interconnect mobiles. Fraudsters and hackers are known to be able to access the SS7 network to track, hack or divert calls and messages. In Germany last year, criminals successfully used an overnight SS7 attack to successfully hijack 2FA messages and drain consumer bank accounts.

“The threat of an SS7 attack is well known, but at the end of 2017 only 6 per cent of operators had installed a specialist firewall to protect their consumers from those fraudulent diverts,” said Gavin Patterson, Chief Data Analyst at Mobilesquared. “While we expect that number to double during 2018, the absence of stronger security represents a significant risk to operator income from 2FA messaging.”

“While we think RCS will take about 8-10 percent of traffic away from the A2P market, and have factored that into our forecasts,” Lane added, “if enterprises fully adopt RCS and banks and others lose faith in 2FA SMS, then as much as a further 20 per cent of A2P SMS revenues – worth some USD$5bn in 2022 – could be lost to RCS.”

However, the sooner the remaining operators implement a next generation firewall the sooner grey-route traffic can be converted into white-route revenue. Mobilesquared pinpointed that close to USD$8bn of potential revenue was lost to the grey market in 2017 and that – over the period covered by the forecast – the total operator revenue leakage would amount to more than USD$30bn.

Ends

Note:
The Global A2P SMS messaging forecasts by country, 2017-2022, is published and available only from Mobilesquared. The detailed data report includes a breakdown of messaging and forecasts of growth by sector as well as comprehensive regional, mobile operator and country-based data, and the impact of RCS.

Information on the report can be found here

Further information contact Jo Hall on:
jo@mobilesquared.co.uk
+44 (0) 1344 747 113
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KITH Opens in Los Angeles With Special Guest LeBron James

Visit the original post to see all 22 images from this gallery.

KITH made its mark on the Los Angeles shopping scene during NBA All-Star Weekend. The new 3,500 square-foot space is just below fashion boutique Fred Segal, which already hosts a bevy of celebrity shoppers (as we were checking out the space this weekend, Dave Chappelle and family were on their way out).

Being the sixth store in founder Ronnie Fieg’s quiver, guests are greeted with 200 plaster casts of the Air Jordan 6 situated in a verdant display above the staircase leading to the shop. Its alternate entrance hosts several art pieces in an otherwise empty industrial space. The plan is to host a rotating series of artists.

The store is divided between Fieg’s KITH Treats ice cream and cereal bar and a more expansive retail area with a circular glass wall featuring numerous sneakers, surrounded by racks carrying KITH’s in-house line and other designers carried by the store—like Stone Island, Fear of God, and Don C.’s latest collaboration with Levi’s for All-Star Weekend.

Given the star power already in the area, Fieg also released his KITH x Nike “Long Live the King” Chapter 2 collection, featuring a special strapped-up lifestyle rendition of the LeBron 15. In fact, he celebrated the new shop by giving 15 lucky shoppers the opportunity to cop the sought-after friends-and-family pair.

Fieg sat on a panel Saturday afternoon moderated by Complex‘s Joe La Puma, and also featured Nike senior designer Jason Petrie, who worked on the collaboration as well.

KITH Opens in Los Angeles With Special Guest LeBron James

Visit the original post to see all 22 images from this gallery.

KITH made its mark on the Los Angeles shopping scene during NBA All-Star Weekend. The new 3,500 square-foot space is just below fashion boutique Fred Segal, which already hosts a bevy of celebrity shoppers (as we were checking out the space this weekend, Dave Chappelle and family were on their way out).

Being the sixth store in founder Ronnie Fieg’s quiver, guests are greeted with 200 plaster casts of the Air Jordan 6 situated in a verdant display above the staircase leading to the shop. Its alternate entrance hosts several art pieces in an otherwise empty industrial space. The plan is to host a rotating series of artists.

The store is divided between Fieg’s KITH Treats ice cream and cereal bar and a more expansive retail area with a circular glass wall featuring numerous sneakers, surrounded by racks carrying KITH’s in-house line and other designers carried by the store—like Stone Island, Fear of God, and Don C.’s latest collaboration with Levi’s for All-Star Weekend.

Given the star power already in the area, Fieg also released his KITH x Nike “Long Live the King” Chapter 2 collection, featuring a special strapped-up lifestyle rendition of the LeBron 15. In fact, he celebrated the new shop by giving 15 lucky shoppers the opportunity to cop the sought-after friends-and-family pair.

Fieg sat on a panel Saturday afternoon moderated by Complex‘s Joe La Puma, and also featured Nike senior designer Jason Petrie, who worked on the collaboration as well.

‘It’s not a war. It’s a massacre': scores killed in Syrian enclave

Assad regime uses barrel bombs and attacks hospitals in rebel-held eastern Ghouta

More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds wounded on a day of “hysterical” violence in the opposition-controlled enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria.

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Letting The Freedom Of Truth Uncover The Value Of Life

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