Monthly Archives: April 2015

“PM Wickremesinghe’s goal was to head for early elections” – Min. Dilan Perera


“PM Wickremesinghe’s goal was to head for early elections” – Min. Dilan Perera

A number of political figures expressed their opinion on the decision to implement the 19th amendment to the constitution, during functions held around the country.

SLFP spokesperson Minister Dilan Perera addressing a function held on Wednesday (April 29th) stated that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s main goal was not to introduce the 19th amendment but to go in for early elections.

Recalling the activities of the 2nd and committee stage debate of the 19th ammendment, the Minister stated that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe used his powers to silence MP Ganeshan when he requested for the ammendments in his native tongue.

Dilan Perera also stated that the present administration attempted to sneak in clauses which would grant them control over private media institutions even thou such clauses were quashed by the Supreme Court on an earlier occasion.

Opposition Leader,Nimal Siripla De Silva meanwhile stated that he is proud that President Maithripala Sirisena is the chairman of the SLFP as he is the only person who was capable of making a difference in the constitution that was originally introduced by President J.R. Jaywardene.

The opposition leader went onto note that the President Sirisena as etched his name into Sri Lankan political history by bringing in the 19th amendment to the constitution.

Meanwhile Susil Premajayantha, National Organizer of the SLFP stated that the SLFP and the UPFA have demonstrated that they are capable of coming together to fulfill national responsibilities. MP Premajayantha went onto note that President Sirisena has proven himself to be a trustworthy leader who is capable of fulfilling his promises.

Minister of Health,Dr. Rajitha Senaratne stated that the JRs and MRs have been defeated and a farmers son who hailed from the village has changed the course of history.

Commenting on the vote on the 19th amendment the minister stated that one individuals opposed the amendment while several other were absent during the vote, the minister opines that these individuals would provide an explanation as to why they took such a decision in the near future.

Minister Rajitha Senaratne also noted that a persons character can only be judged by their mental fortitude and the action they take with their heart, not by the size of their body or whether or not they have facial hair.

General Secretary of the JHU,Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka stated that if the leaders of the country were able to operate according to correct principles the country would have been able to curtail the powers of the executive presidency to larger extent. Minister Ranawaka stated that if a consensus was reached by the 15th of March this could have been achieved.

Leader of the National Unity Front, Azath Salley also expressed his views on the matter. He had stated that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s promise to abolish the executive powers was swiftly carried out by the new president Maithripala Sirisena who became flexible and thought of the country. Salley went onto note that President Sirisena had fulfilled the promises made to the people. He further added that the qualities possessed by the president is not evident in any other leader who rose to power after the country achieved its freedom.

Leader of the Democratic National Front,Mano Ganeshan opines that the 19th amendment was not a complete victory and that many important things have not been included in the amendment to the constitution. However,He further added that there is good governance to some extent and it was President Maithripala Sirisena who led this victory and it is him who needs to be praised.

Professor G.L.Peiris of the UPFA stated that the United National Party had a narrow political minded objective and this objective was to establish the power of the United National Party and Ranil Wickremesinghe. He addded that the best example to prove this is the inclusion of an extraordinary article , which is not evident anywhere else in the world, where and if, the Major Political Party in Parliament and the second largest political party come together to form a Government , the 30 member limit on the Cabinet will not be affected. He further added that Such an article cannot be found anywhere else in the world and this leaves room for an all-powerful Prime Minister instead of an all-powerful President.

Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa went on to express his view on the matter.He noted that he Prime Minister did not receive any of the President’s powers and that information has been received stating that Ranil Wickremesinghe is lamenting that the change did not favor him. Weerawansa went on to note that the UNP and the Prime Minister has no claim to the victory of changing the constitution.

by Melanie Santiago,

Microsoft may bring Android app support to Windows 10


Microsoft may announce Android App support for Windows 10 devices like smartphones, tablets and PC. According to reports, the company may reveal the details at the upcoming Build 2015 developer conference in San Francisco.

Journalist Paul Thurrott reported that Microsoft has been considering adding Android app support in Windows 10 for some time now and has now finally decided to launch it. This means Microsoft could create its own app store for Android on Windows 10 and could also support other third-party Android stores like Amazon’s. It remains to be seen how Microsoft will manage Android apps on its platform and also whether this will affect the company’s Universal app strategy for Windows 10. Other touch-based Windows 10 devices could also benefit from access to Android apps.

Windows users will gain access to hundreds of thousands of new apps if Microsoft decides to launch Android App for Windows 10. However, this might affect the company’s universal app strategy for Windows 10. Microsoft has been pushing “Universal” apps on all Windows 10 devices, but nobody expected these apps to include a large collection of Android apps. The company has also been experimenting with lets Android users install Windows 10 OS on their devices. Thurrott says that the move may displease developers as well as Windows Phone buyers in the long run.

Thurrott writes, “But letting Android apps run on Windows is another thing entirely. Indeed, it is the literal opposite of opening up universal apps to Android. And I question the logic of this strategy.”

What do you think about Microsoft’s move to bring Android apps to Windows Phone? Share your views in the comments section below.


Why – and How – to Hire Young People Without Diplomas


When an executive at global services firm UBS Americas challenged trainees to design a cost-saving strategy, one young woman proposed that the company install software that puts a computer into sleep mode after a period of inactivity. This idea was calculated to save up to $400,000 a year for every 1,000 computers and the practice was quickly adopted.

The trainee, who didn’t have a college degree, saved the firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. As remarkable as this is, it isn’t an isolated example. Indeed, in our interviews for the study “Making Youth Employment Work,” conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, we heard story after story of revenue increases, cash savings, and tangible workforce improvements that smart companies are realizing by tapping into the potential of workers who are 16-24 years old.

Corporate leaders told us that employing young adults is not a charity project or “nice-to-have” anymore. Instead, it’s about concrete business benefits. The investments in young adult workers pay off in four important ways. They:

Create a robust pipeline of their company’s next generation of talent.
Fill critical skills gaps.
Increase workforce diversity that enables greater customer connection.
Spur innovation.
The companies in our research represent a range of industries, and vary in size from small local firms to global powerhouses. Moreover, our study uncovered a range of successful approaches to employing young adults, from building in-house training to partnering with outsourced providers. What these companies share is a recognition that a strong youth talent pipeline is critical to their success.

Despite these advantages, the potential of young adult workers seems to be a well-kept secret. While 40% of U.S. employers struggle to fill more than 5 million open jobs, 6 million young adults are neither working nor in school. Many employers want to develop a robust pipeline of young talent but report that they are not sure where to start. Here are five practical approaches recommended by leading employers.

1. Link your youth employment strategy to your business strategy, and find champions. Successful integration of young adults into your workforce requires both top leadership support, usually someone in the C-suite, and a day-to-day sponsor. The trick is for leaders to identify business needs and assign new recruits to areas of real value to the business. For example, when medical technology and services company Medtronic needed to economize by identifying unused IT equipment, it gave the project to one of its young interns. By scouring equipment inventory spreadsheets, the intern saved Medtronic $342,370 on its maintenance contract.

2. Expand your talent sources of young adult workers. Many firms want to cast a wider net, but don’t know how. In simple terms the answer is to go where the youth are, or partner with experts who can help. For example, Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm has created recruiting centers in Dallas, Atlanta, and Phoenix, which more accurately reflect the demographics of its customer base. And Hasbro is partnering with a leading nonprofit, Year Up, to train outstanding apprentices within Hasbro who then apply for jobs at the company. The company plans to hire at least three-quarters of the program grads. Tapping into successful intermediaries like Year Up can provide an inherent vetting process and work-ready candidates.

3. Examine business policies that inhibit youth hiring. One recent study by Burning Glass Technologies found that fewer than 20% of executive assistants have a four-year college degree, yet 65% of current job postings for the position require it. This “credential inflation” not only exacerbates the problems employers face in filling positions, it also has serious implications for middle-skill jobs.

To remedy this, decision makers need to reconsider what credentials are truly necessary for a given job and revisit hiring policies and processes that may be shutting out qualified candidates. Grads of Life’ Hiring Guide is one helpful how-to blueprint for creating both diversity and youth-friendly hiring practices.

4. Prioritize soft skill development. Many business leaders believe young adults are lacking in soft skills, which leaves them ill-equipped for the teamwork, professionalism, and communication most jobs require. The good news is that soft skills are teachable. As one example, Georgia’s Southwire, a leading manufacturer of wire and cable for the distribution and transmission of electricity, structured its successful 12 for Life program to include soft skills training in the context of work. High school students mix classroom time with time on the floor of a real manufacturing plant, for which they receive a paycheck. The students participate in workshops, one-on-one mentoring, and other instruction to learn important life skills. In particular, the program seeks to instill a strong work ethic by focusing on key traits such as respect, attitude, and teamwork.

5. Measure and improve over time. While companies in our study consider young adults to be an important part of their talent pipelines, few currently separate them out in order to track outcomes. But measuring progress can demonstrate how a youth employment strategy goes beyond the social good and can make the business case for the positive effects such a plan can have.

Wegmans grocery chain sets an example. It has a close partnership with the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, a nonprofit agency that trains at-risk students to be work-ready employees. The partnership helps Wegmans met its diversity goals, and it has reduced part-time high school workers’ turnover rate from 26% to 19%. Lower turnover is a direct benefit to the company. And a more diverse staff helps to attract a more diverse range of customers. “Because we focus on having our employee base mirror our customer base, there is a direct tie to sales,” says Gerry Pierce, Wegmans’ senior vice president of human resources.

Creating a successful youth employment program is no easy task, yet our study found dozens of business leaders who report that it’s increasingly critical to the lifeblood of their companies. And while many companies are not sure how to develop young adult talent, a growing number are investing in youth to meet their talent needs. Their examples show that even more businesses can realize tangible financial benefits by capturing tomorrow’s talent, today.


Facebook introduces Video Calling in its Messenger application


Facebook has announced integrating video calling feature in its Messenger application. The feature has been rolled out for users on iOS and Android in countries such as Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Laos, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, the UK, the US and Uruguay. Facebook will be rolling it out in other regions over the coming months.

It’s notable Facebook’s Messenger already allows users to make voice calls. “Video calling will expand Messenger’s real-time communication features, enabling the more than 600 million people who use Messenger every month to reach others wherever they are, from anywhere. It’s fast, reliable and high quality. Video calling in Messenger is available for calls made from a mobile phone to another mobile phone, even if one person is on iOS and the other person is on an Android device,” says Facebook in a detailed post.

Facebook has over the years shifted its focus on the mobile platform. Even though it has acquired popular messaging app WhatsApp, the company is making big investments in its Messenger platform. Among a few recent major updates include transition into a platform and introduction of Business on Messenger.

Facebook recently confirmed adding payments feature in the Messenger that will enable users to send money to each other for free. The feature will be available in the US initially. Moreover, Facebook has launched standalone Web version of its Messenger app, that will allow desktop users to chat from a browser tab without interruptions from their Facebook newsfeed and posts.

The social networking company recently launched a new dialer app called Hello. The app replaces dialer on your phone and comes with features such as caller id.


Lankan Parliament Passes Landmark 19th Constitutional Amendment Bill


COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan parliament on Tuesday passed the landmark 19 th. Constitutional Amendment Bill (19A) to prune the draconian powers of the Executive Presidency and set up Independent Commissions to de-politicize major arms of the State such as the judiciary, bureaucracy, police and the Elections Commission.

The bill was passed with the required two-third majority. 215 of the 225 members of parliament voted for it. Only one voted against, one abstained, and seven were absent. The bill has now gone to a parliamentary committee where further amendments could be moved. But a simple majority would do to get these amendments passed.

Significantly, many of those who were in the forefront of the campaign against the 19A, and who were acolytes of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, voted for it after President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe accommodated the amendments moved by the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

The 19A envisages a partial reintroduction of parliamentary democracy which existed in Lanka till 1978 when the Presidential system was established. Under 19A, the directly elected Executive President “shall” act on the advice of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, though the President will continue to be the Head of the Executive and the Cabinet with the right to hold cabinet portfolios. The President’s term has been cut from six to five years, and no incumbent can bid for more than two consecutive terms.

The 19A establishes a Constitutional Council, which in turn, will set up Independent Commissions to oversee appointments and the work of eleven organs or functions of the State. Initially, the Constitutional Council was to comprise the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Parliament Speaker and seven non-political distinguished persons who would represent various interests and social groups. But the SLFP and UPFA wanted the majority of the members to be MPs. Finally, a compromise was struck by which, in the ten members council, seven will be MPs and three will be non-MPs.

The 19A was a major election promise of President Sirisena who was keen on dismantling the near dictatorial system presided over by his predecessor, Rajapaksa. But Sirisena’s bid to usher in democracy ran into rough weather because the 19A became a battlefield for two bitter rivals, namely, Sirisena and the ruling United National Party (UNP) on the one hand, and the opposition SLFP and UPFA led Rajapaksa, on the other.

The 19A was touted as a democratic revolution by Sirisena, but it was criticized for destroying the strong state created by Rajapaksa. Sirisena’s political future was at stake because if he did not win the battle of 19A, Rajapaksa would have staged a quick comeback in the next parliamentary elections expected anytime between June and September.


215 Parliamentarians back 19th Amendment


How to Plan Your Week to Keep Your Weekend Free


“I’ll get that done over the weekend.”

This one sentence has become a one-size-fits-all solution when we can’t fit in working on a project, answering e-mail, or simply knocking items off our to-do lists during the week.

And although it’s true, you can potentially get some work done over the weekend (particularly if you’re someone who is often interrupted and finds that the weekends are a rare oasis of focus), it may not be in your best interest to never give yourself a break from work. If you don’t have some dedicated time off each weekend where you can relax guilt-free, you are setting yourself up for resentment of your work and eventual burnout.

In my own experience and in my work as a time coach, trainer, and the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, I’ve discovered some key benefits to taking weekend time off:

Rest and recovery: We’re human beings-living organisms-not machines. Our bodies and minds and spirits were made to work in cycles of work, rest, and sleep. When you have a sustainable lifestyle, you can consistently be productive throughout the week, but it’s still important to have a day or two completely work-free. Not only does this give your mind and body a rest, but also it gives you the invaluable gift of perspective. The issues that seemed so overwhelming on Friday afternoon are typically much more manageable on Monday because you’re in a better frame of mind to handle them.

Being present: If you have a vague sense that you should work over the weekend but haven’t clearly defined when you are on and off, you can never truly relax. When you’re watching a movie or spending time with your family, you have a nagging guilt that you should be finishing a task for work instead. When you are working, you feel like you’re neglecting your family or missing out on something fun. With the commitment to work on the weekend but the lack of parameters around when to do it, you’re always being tugged in different directions. But if you’ve clearly decided that, no, you’re not going to work over the weekend-or at least during certain parts of the weekend-you free yourself to fully relax and be in the moment during those work-free zones.

Connection: Sure, almost everyone has a busy season where they have to work a few weekends. But if you make it a habit to work every Saturday and Sunday, you’re less likely to make commitments to the important people in your life-and they’re less likely to invite you to get together since you’re “always busy.” By consistently leaving weekend time open to connect with friends and family, you increase the opportunities to form, sustain, and deepen meaningful relationships.

Making progress: Ever wonder why your closet never gets organized, you have a pile of items to mail, and you’re always filing your taxes at the last minute? It could be because you don’t leave enough space in your schedule to get anything done at home because you’re always planning to work. Once you open up the space in your schedule to really complete personal to-do items you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish for yourself in a weekend-and how much better you’ll feel overall.

If you want to experience the benefits of weekend time off, you must smartly invest your time during the week. Waiting until Friday to assess if you’ll have to work Saturday and Sunday will only set you up for another frantic weekend. Plan your time off by following some simple tips at the start of your week.

First, schedule your work. If, when you look at your calendar for the week, you see no free time between meetings to move forward on a project that needs to get done, then it’s unrealistic to think you’ll just “squeeze it in somewhere.” Anything that requires complex thought will need at least 30 minutes, if not more, to really get it done. Instead of hoping that time will magically appear in your schedule, make room by declining meeting invites, rescheduling others for later, or coming into the office earlier or working later during the week. Then, assign projects to these free periods in your calendar and mark the times as busy so that no one can book a meeting over them.

Don’t let others control your time. If someone asks you to take on something new, look at your calendar and see if you have room in your schedule to complete the request before committing to a certain deadline. Avoid the trap of having to spend your weekend answering e-mails by blocking out designated times each day to work through your inbox. E-mail doesn’t need to fill all of your free time between meetings, but it does need some time designated to it.

Frontload your week. Unexpected activities will always come up, and no matter how hard you try to estimate how long work will take, some of your estimates will inevitably be wrong. The solution for these x-factors is not to plan more perfectly but to leave yourself more margin. At the beginning of the week, you can more fully book your schedule, but then you should plan on tapering down your planned activities as the week progresses. Ideally on Friday, at least half of the day should be reserved to wrap up work for the week. This gives you the ability to handle spillover from previous days and answer those last few critical e-mails before unplugging for the weekend.

Finally, make personal plans for the weekend. When you commit to doing something fun, it’s much easier to set priorities so that you can get out of the office on Friday work-free. Whether it’s taking a weekend trip with friends, going on a family outing, or simply meeting a friend for brunch or a run, put commitments on the calendar that will prompt you to spend your time in a way that you find satisfying. It may take some mental urging to break you from your weekend work habit, but the results are worth it. In my experience, I’ve felt conflicted in the moment when one part of me just wants to finish what I’m doing instead of going out and having fun. But once I stop working and spend time with my friends or family, I’m happy with my choice.

The next time you hear yourself thinking, “I’ll get this done over the weekend,” stop yourself and ask, “What can I do so I don’t have to work on the weekend?” You’ll find your work-and your time-to be much more satisfying.


Nepal death toll crosses 3200, over 1900 Indians evacuated


The Nepal earthquake death toll has crossed 3200, according to the latest information put out by the Nepal government, reports Associated Press. In this live blog, we track developments of the day in the Nepal earthquake disaster of 2015.

9.50 am: For those who have loved ones or family members still in Nepal, the Ministry of External Affairs has opened up a 24 hour helpline. The numbers are below:

MEA opens 24 hour Control Room for queries regarding tragic #NepalEarthquake. Numbers: +91 11 2301 2113 +91 11 2301 4104 +91 11 2301 7905

Stay Strong People of Nepal!


Our hearts goes out to the people of #Nepal. Stay safe and be strong!

Nepal earthquake death toll rises to 2200


Rescuers dug with their bare hands and bodies piled up in Nepal on Sunday after an earthquake devastated the heavily crowded Kathmandu Valley, killing more than 2,200 people, and triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

A big aftershock between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas. In the

capital, hospital workers stretchered patients out onto the street to treat them as it was too dangerous to keep them indoors.

The tremor, measured at 6.7, was the most powerful since Saturday’s 7.9 quake – itself the strongest since Nepal’s worst earthquake disaster of 1934 that killed 8,500 people.

The aftershock rocked buildings in the Indian capital New Delhi and halted the city metro.

In Everest’s worst disaster, the bodies of 17 climbers were recovered from the mountain on Sunday after being caught in avalanches. A plane carrying the first 15 injured climbers landed in Kathmandu at around noon local time.


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