UN Says SL Inquiry Into War Crimes Must Satisfy Tamils


COLOMBO: The visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, has said that any Sri Lankan domestic inquiry into allegations of human rights violations and war crimes during the last phase of the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV should satisfy the minority Tamils.

Speaking to the media here on Tuesday at the conclusion of his four day visit to Lanka, Feltman said that the mechanism that is to be put in place by the Lankan government will have to measure up to the expectations of the Tamil community which was the most affected by the war.

He drew the attention of the Lankan government to the “wide trust deficit” that exists between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils, and has said that the domestic inquiry must satisfy the Tamils.

“Without question, there is still a wide trust deficit between communities in Sri Lanka, especially between the Tamil and the Sinhalese. We have encouraged the national leaders and political stake holders to work on all of these issues in the spirit of inclusion and consultation,” Feltman said.

He urged the Lankan government to immediately address pressing issues relating to land, detentions, disappearances, and the “military posture” in civilian areas, by which he meant the overwhelming military presence and involvement in the Tamil-majority Northern Province.

Feltman underscored expectations by the UN and the international community that the government will, as it has promised, develop in the coming months, a strong framework for accountability that meets international standards and norms, and which also satisfies Sri Lankans.

Feltman was hopeful that the government will address these issues. He recalled that Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, that the new government will promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights.

As requested by Sri Lanka, the UN is committed to assisting efforts to usher in accountability and reconciliation through the Peace building Fund and other appropriate facilities, Feltman said.


MWC 2015: Silent Circle unveils Blackphone 2 smartphone and Blackphone+ tablet


Silent Circle has announced the Blackphone 2 at the MWC 2015. The smartphone boasts of an octa-core processor, 3GB RAM and Silent Circle’s PrivateOS 1.1. The Blackphone 2 will be released in the summer for a price tag of $629.

Blackphone 2 smartphone has a 5.5-inch Full HD screen with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The device runs on 64-bit Qualcomm octa-core processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. The smartphone is backed by a 3060mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 feature. It is equipped with an enterprise oriented Silent Circle’s PrivateOS 1.1, a highly secure layer that sits on top of Google’s Android OS.

The Blackphone 2 has a “Spaces” UI, that is a virtualization system, that offers different log-ins running concurrently on each app or service. Users can set up an Enterprise Space for their work documents and communications, a Personal Space for private emails and pictures. The smartphone comes equipped with the Silent Store, which is a privacy and security orientated app store.

Silent Circle has revealed a few details about its new Blackphone+ tablet which will be “the world’s first privacy focused tablet”. The Blackphone+ tablet will have a 7-inch screen, a Qualcomm processor and is expected to be launched in the fall.

The company’s chairman, Mike Janke stated at the launch of the company’s new Blackphone 2 smartphone, “While the rest of the market is going one way, with selfie sticks and curved screens, we’re going down another, to the heart of problems, sticking with privacy and security.”

Silent Circle’s first Blackphone received $750 million in orders and the company anticipates an even bigger response to the Blackphone 2. Co-founder and Silent Circle chairman Mike Janke had this to add, “Never before have private citizens been under barrage from world governments — hacking, vacuuming, and chipping away at our privacy.” “We’re replacing BlackBerry, we don’t care that BlackBerry’s CEO is throwing nasty things about us onto Twitter. We’re going to dominate them,” said Mike Janke at today’s launch.


MWC 2015: Google announces Android Pay


It was only a matter of time before Google entered the mobile payments segment. Company SVP Sunder Pichai just made Android Pay official during his keynote speech at MWC 2015. Android Pay though is not a service. Rather, it is an API framework, which developers will be able to use in order to build payment methods into their own applications. The best example of this would be Google Wallet, which will use Android Pay.

Pichai said Google agrees that mobile payments have become much more important. The idea is for users to carry their credit or debit cards on their smartphones and pay directly for services, while on the go.

Android Pay though is not like Apple or Samsung Pay. The two services are native to their respective ecosystems, managed by the respective companies. Android Pay on the other hand, like the OS itself, is for everyone else. Any developer can pick up the API and use it on their app(s).

This will allow mobile payment to become popular across devices, irrespective of the price range or specifications. Google’s Android Pay will be using the tokenized card numbers method to make mobile payments more secure. This means that even if the service you’re paying for or the vendor providing it is hacked or compromised in any other way, the thieves will only get a one-time-use number, instead of all your card details.


World’s first all-electric communications satellites launched


Washington, Mar 2: US-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the world’s first all-electric communications satellites into orbit.

Blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in California on March 1, the rocket carried two satellites, built by Boeing, for French satellite provider Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).

The satellites will rely entirely on energy-efficient electric ion engines to maintain their orbit for up to two decades.

The satellites are outfitted with all-electric engines rather than conventional rocket thrusters to reach and maintain orbit, Forbes reported.

This reduces the weight of the satellites to the point where both could be launched at once.

The downside is that it will take the satellites months to reach geostationary orbit.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch at least two more Falcon 9 rockets this year.

The next launch is scheduled for March 21 when a Falcon 9 will deliver a communications satellite into orbit for Thales Alenia Space and the government of Turkmenistan.


Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are now official


Samsung’s back to the drawing board Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have just been made official. The South-Korean smartphone maker just announced the two flagship smartphones at the Samsung Unpacked event held in MWC 2015, in Barcelona. The two much awaited smartphones are powered by the Exynos 7 SoC and have 16MP rear cameras. There’s also a 5.1 inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED display, which Samsung says is the best in the market right now. The company also announced a new Gear VR headset, which will be compatible with both the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be available in 20 countries from April 10, in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB variants.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have lived up to all the rumours, being made completely out of metal, but with the familiar Samsung device. The company went a long way in comparind the smartphones with Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The best example of this would be Yunhi Lee’s statement, “Engineering may not be my first language, but I can tell you these don’t bend.” The company also showcased images and videos taken through the iPhone 6 Plus, side-by-side with the Galaxy S6, showcasing the latter’s superiority.

In addition, Samsung also went ahead and launched its rumoured Samsung Pay payment method, which will be available with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The two new smartphones also support both fast and wireless charging. According to Samsung, they can get 4 hours worth of charge after only 10 minutes of charging.

Keeping all of the above in mind, while the S6 Edge looks good with its dual-edge display, the Galaxy S6 looks basically like any other Samsung device. While both the devices boast bodies made out of metal and glass, the company has gone with its traditional design elements in the home button etc.



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