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Top US Indian and Chinese officials to attend Colombo symposium

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It is envisioned that events of this nature would further augment the government’s policy towards transforming Sri Lanka into a regional trading, logistics and financial hub.The Conference, which is a Track 1.5 exercise that includes policy makers and senior government officials along with academia, is organised by the  Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute in collaboration with the Global Maritime Crime Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (Colombo Gazette) The “Indian Ocean: Defining our Future” Conference, which aims to create a platform for Indian Ocean littoral states and major maritime users to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, will be held in Colombo on 11-12 October 2018. Top officials from the US, India and China are to attend a symposium to be held in Colombo next week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today.Indian Deputy National Security Advisor Pankaj Saran, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department Alice G. Wells, and Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Yi Xianliang are attending the symposium. This Conference is held at a time when the Indian Ocean has emerged as one of the world’s busiest and most critical trade corridors, carrying two thirds of global oil shipments and a third of bulk cargo and hosting the most critical Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs), directly impacting global trade and economy. The inaugural address of the Conference will be delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will deliver the keynote address. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson will also address the inaugural session.The Inaugural Panel titled “Navigating Challenges and Prospects in the Indian Ocean: Towards a Shared Understanding” will include key policy makers such as Indian Deputy National Security Advisor Pankaj Saran, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US State Department Alice G. Wells, and Director General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Yi Xianliang, and Deputy Director General at Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, and Chair of the Committee of Senior Officials of IORA, Dr Anil Sooklal.The speakers and participants will focus their discussions on four thematic areas, namely:  The Indian Ocean Economy: The New Global Growth Pole;  Life below Water: Reframing the Oceans as Development Spaces; An End to Uncertainty: Safety and Security at Sea; and Reinforcing International Law in the Indian Ocean:  United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Emerging Issues. The Conference is expected to lead to a multilateral  diplomatic Conference to be held early next year in Sri Lanka building on the work of this Conference and move towards an understanding among littoral states and major maritime users that would contribute towards greater peace, security and prosperity in the Indian Ocean. The “Indian Ocean: Defining Our Future” Conference will explore the region’s strongest challenges and opportunities in a 2-day symposium featuring international dignitaries and experts from the littoral states and beyond. Sri Lanka’s geographical location in the Indian Ocean and its long history of peaceful engagement with the international community makes it an ideal convenor of such an international Conference.The Conference, scheduled to be held at Temple Trees, is an initiative of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, the Foreign Ministry said. read more

CVS Caremarks 1st quarter profit jumps 18 per cent 2014 forecast reaffirmed

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CVS Caremark’s 1st quarter profit jumps 18 per cent, 2014 forecast reaffirmed by Tom Murphy, The Associated Press Posted May 2, 2014 5:35 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email In this March 25, 2014 photo, a pedestrian passes a a CVS store in Philadelphia. CVS reports quarterly earnings on Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) CVS Caremark’s first-quarter earnings jumped 18 per cent as generic drugs and an acquisition helped the drugstore chain and pharmacy benefits manager weather rough winter storms.The company runs the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, with many of its nearly 7,700 stores on the East Coast and in the Midwest, areas blasted by snow storms and sub-zero temperatures this past winter. CVS Caremark said that weather, plus a weaker flu season compared to last year, hurt sales at its established stores.CEO Larry Merlo told analysts during a Friday conference call that the company normally doesn’t blame the weather when it explains results, but it was making an exception.“This quarter, the amount of extreme weather was so abnormal that, quite frankly, it’s hard not to talk about it,” he said.CVS Caremark Corp. also runs one of the biggest pharmacy benefits management operations, and that segment played a large role in its growth during the quarter. Sales from that unit, which runs prescription drug plans for employers and other clients, climbed more than 10 per cent to top $20 billion in the quarter. It was helped in part by rising drug prices, as well as the company’s acquisition of the drug infusion business Coram.Growth in generic drug use also helped the company’s bottom line, as it has done for several quarters now for CVS and other drugstores. Generics, which are cheaper than brand-name drugs, provide a wider margin between the cost for the pharmacy to purchase the drugs and the reimbursement it receives.CVS earned $1.13 billion, or 95 cents per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That compares with earnings of $954 million, or 77 cents per share, in last year’s quarter. Revenue climbed 6 per cent to $32.69 billion.Adjusted results totalled $1.02 per share. That was 2 cents shy of Wall Street expectations and a penny lower than what the company expected.But CVS Caremark beat analyst projections for revenue of $32.3 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.The company also reaffirmed on Friday a forecast it first made in December for 2014 adjusted earnings of between $4.36 and $4.50 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $4.47 per share.CVS Caremark gained national attention in February after vowing to phase out tobacco products from its stores by October. CVS anticipates a $2-billion hit to its revenue because of the decision, but it doesn’t expect the move to affect its earnings forecast.The company, like other drugstore chains, has been raising its focus on health care by adding in-store clinics and seeking to work more with doctors and hospitals to manage patient care. Company leaders told analysts on Friday that they don’t expect the products they put in tobacco’s shelf space to replace the lost revenue from cigarettes and cigars, but they do expect to gain health care business because of the move.Company shares climbed 29 cents to $73.38 in midday trading, while broader indexes were largely flat. read more