Daily Archives: April 20, 2015

WhatsApp crosses 800M active users, adds Google Drive backup feature

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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has confirmed that the app has crossed 800 million monthly active users milestone. The messaging app has also launched chat backup/restore options on Google Drive in the latest update for Android users.

Jan Koum in his Facebook post takes a dig at other messaging apps who disclose registered users instead of active users. He wrote, “WhatsApp – now serving 800,000,000 monthly active users. Reminder for the press out there: active and registered users are not the same thing.”

WhatsApp crossed 700 million active users in January, and has added over 100 million users in just four months. The popular messaging app is expected to cross 1 billion monthly active users milestone by the end of this year. WhatsApp recently announced free voice calling feature for Android users, and is expected to launch it for Windows Phone, Blackberry and iOS platforms later this year.

The company has also rolled out backup/ restore options for chat history and media via Google Drive. The feature will help users to have the messages backup in case they switch off or lose their smartphone. The Google Drive Backup option can be accessed via Settings and users can select the frequency of data transfer from daily, weekly or monthly options. It also has a ‘Backup Now’ option that allows users to transfer the data instantly. Users can also choose to transfer data through Wi-Fi or data. Currently the feature has been rolled out in the latest Android Version v2.12.45, and may be rolled out to other platforms later.

Source: WhatsApp

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Parliament adjourned after 19th Amendment second reading – debate to commence

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Parliament has been adjourned to Tuesday April 21 following the second reading of the bill on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on Monday morning.

Our Parliament correspondent noted that the debate on the 19th Amendment Bill, will commence on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a tense situation arose in Parliament on Monday morning when a group of opposition MPs voiced protest.

Our Parliament Correspondent noted that tensions flared shortly after media reports regarding the former president and former defence secretary being summoned to Bribery Commission were brought to the attention of the Chair.

Several opposition and government MPs had made arguments for and against the summoning of the former president to the Bribery Commission.

Several Opposition MPs contended that the former president, cannot be summoned to the Bribery Commission, constitutionally. The Prime Minister and the Speaker were called upon to intervene to stop the former president being summoned.

A deputy minister however noted that since the government has pledged to ensure the independence of these commissions, there will be no political interference. Tensions flared thereafter.

The government had agreed to grant a two day debate on the matter. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pointed out to the house that only MPs privileges can be brought up in Parliament and noted that neither the former president or the former defence secretary are members of parliament. The Speaker noted that attention would be drawn to the matter.

Several opposition MPs had then entered the well of parliament. The Speaker adjourned the house and informed the Sergeant-at-Arms to take the mace out of the chamber.

NF

Sri Lanka tetherball association launched

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Anjana Sirikumara in college T Shirt

Anjana Sirikumara present AL student at St Josephs College Nugegoda has become the Charter President of the Sri Lanka Tetherball Association. Mr. Sirikumara said that he was extremely thankful to be associated with this athletic game, that is introduced for the first time in Sri Lanka.

Tetherball is a North American game for two opposing players. The equipment consists of a stationary metal pole, from which is hung a volleyball from a rope or tether. The two players stand on opposite sides of the pole. Each player tries to hit the ball one way; one clockwise, and one counterclockwise. The game ends when one player manages to wind the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope. It must not bounce.

The board of directors of the Sri Lanka Tetherball association are the following:

Charter President – Anjana Sirikumara
Executive President – Dhinoda Hansina Perera
Secretary – Yashodha Dilesh
Deputy Secretary – Tharushan Aloka
Coordinator – Ishan Sirikumara

Tetherball was introduced to Sri Lanka for the first time by Anjana Sirikumara’s grand uncle on 16th April 2015.

The association is planning a social media campaign to promote the game in Sri Lanka.

Peoples’ Alliance May Be Revived To Prop Up Rajapaksa

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COLOMBO: The Peoples’ Alliance (PA) which won all major elections in Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2001, is likely to be revived to prop up defeated Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to media reports.

The move to revive the PA stems from the conviction that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which is Rajapaksa’s party, will not put him up as its Prime Ministerial candidate in the coming parliamentary elections. This is because there is no love lost between Maithripala Sirisena, the current chairman of the SLFP, and Rajapaksa, who Sirisena had defeated in the January 8 Presidential election.

A conglomerate of the SLFP and left parties, the PA was put together in 1994 to take on the then entrenched United National Party (UNP). Though its place was taken by the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in 2004-2005, the PA continued to officially exist with the “chair” as its election symbol. Its General Secretary (former Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne) and some of its constituents are now with the Rajapaksa faction.

It is clear that the SLFP is going to split on the Rajapaksa issue. Stung by the belligerence of the Rajapaksa faction, Sirisena told party MPs that those who do not want him to carry out his Presidential election pledges will not be given tickets in the coming parliamentary elections.

Top leaders of the SLFP want Sirisena to disengage himself from the UNP. They have also said that they will not support the 19 th. Constitutional Amendment Bill (meant to depoliticize Lanka’s administration), unless Sirisena simultaneously brings a bill for electoral reforms. Voting on the 19 th Amendment is fixed for April 21.

But Sirisena has made it clear that he cannot ditch the UNP, as he had won the Presidential election with UNP’s support. He also feels that electoral reforms cannot be carried out in a hurry. He has threatened to dissolve parliament if the 19 th. Amendment is not passed on April 21.

Sirisena is hopeful of getting a parliament that will back his agenda, despite the fact that his government’s lackluster performance thus far, is boosting Rajapaksa’s prospects.

TNIE

International Power Boat Association gives special licences to several Lankans

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Seven Sri Lankans have been granted special licenses by the International Power Boat Association. Accordingly, they will be given the oppurtunity to particiapte in future international power boating competitions.

A training camp organised by the International Power Boat Association and the Lanka Power boat Association was held in Bentota.

The training camp was inaugurated on the April 9 under the auspices of the Chief trainer of the International Power Boat Association John Puddyfoot.

The players were educated on the theoretical and practical aspects of the game.

Seven Sri Lankans were allowed to participate in Power Boat competitions while special license was granted after the training camp.

The license grants the opportunity to organise power boat competitions, to judge tournaments, participate in tournaments as well as train other players.

Sri Lanka received membership of the International Power Boat Association three years ago. However, power boat tournaments could not be held due to the lack of licences.

NF

Former President issues statement over ‘secret bank accounts’ allegations

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Issuing a statement, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that he and his family do not hold any secret bank accounts in foreign banks.

The statement reads that some weeks ago, the cabinet spokesman had told Reuters that a member of a ‘leading family’ had $1064 million in a secret account in Dubai.

Rajapaksa states that in this era of heightened surveillance due to concerns over money laundering and terrorist funding, accounts with millions of dollars cannot be operated without attracting the attention of international regulatory authorities and that if any such accounts existed, it is certainly not going to take this long to reveal their details.

NF

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