Daily Archives: September 2, 2015

President Maithripala Sirisena promises consensual governance


President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said his administration would introduce a new political culture and the country would be governed through consensus for the next two years.

`This country has been ruled by two parties from time to time since Independence. One party ruled the country for 35 years and the other for 32 years. I hope to change this political culture and replace the two party system by a government of consensus during my time. I hope all of you will extend your cooperation and assistance to make that effort a success for the betterment of the country and nation,` the President said, presenting the first Statement of Government Policy in Parliament yesterday.

He requested all MPs to pay their attention to find ways and means to reinforce the on-going efforts to reach a consensus on the basis of the accord between two major parties. `In preparing the agenda of the government of consensus, my presidential election manifesto titled, A compassionate governance, a stable country approved by the people of this country will provide the foundation. On that foundation we will build on the plans and programmes envisaged in the UNP s manifesto titled `A New Country in 60 Months: Five Point Plan`, and UPFA s manifesto A Certificate guaranteed for the future , JVP s manifesto `Accord of Conscientiousness` and TNA s election manifesto. The policy document of the government of consensus is being prepared now with comparative studies on those manifestos and it would soon be made public.`

`The identity of a nation or a country is found on its constitution. That is why a constitution is considered supreme. During the 60 years after independence we have adopted three constitutions.

Yet it is so unfortunate that we have not been able to adopt a constitution which enables all of us to agree as a single nation. Since the day the 1978 Constitution was passed, there were various opinions and complaints with regard to the executive presidency and electoral system. I have paid my attention to this matter in my manifesto Compassionate governance, a stable country . Getting the 19th amendment to that constitution passed in parliament was fulfilment of one of the promises I made in that manifesto. Now it is up to this parliament to decide whether we can continue with the executive presidency and if so what its nature should be. One of my other pledges was to amend the electoral system that has been pestering this nation for more than three decades. As you all know the basic foundation towards changing the electoral system is provided with the 20th amendment I have presented. The present parliament is bound by the historic duty of amending the electoral system so it could be acceptable to all political parties and members of the civil society.`

President Sirisena said that it was before new Parliament to take political decisions, preparing policies which would lead the country ahead in post-conflict reconciliation process. `You elected to this parliament have become the shareholders of the supreme task of creating a new political culture which will help us stand as a single nation irrespective of ethnic and religious differences. I as the President am dedicated to provide leadership, guidance and assistance to you all in that regard.

`I believe that human resource is the most valuable resource our country has. It is only by improving the human resources we can develop this country on par with other developed nations in the world. Our country has already achieved middle income earning stage and moving further from there is only through the capacity building of the human resource and converting this country s work force into a trained labour that can accept any challenge in both local and foreign labour market.

`I would like to remind you that the 21st century is the century of Asia. We should make use of Sri Lanka s geo-political location to the maximum in that context of Asia rising in the world. We should prepare our national economic policies keeping this in mind`.

The President said that there had been many neglected areas in economic policy planning. Self-employment and small scale entrepreneurial industries were among them. The new government should focus to remedy such negligence and capitalize on the avenues that strengthen the national economy.

`People voted for my A Compassionate governance, a stable country programme for its main features of doing away with corruption and protection of state resources. Hence one of the main policies of my government is to fight corruption. In that regard, our government will further strengthen the institutional mechanisms available to arrest corruption and waste. We will also not hesitate to take punitive action against those who are accused of corruption and misappropriation of public funds irrespective of their status.`

President Sirisena promised that his government would work to minimise the economic disparities as much as possible. He said that a country could not be called a developed nation if a few rich people were enjoying the dividends of development while the majority remained poor. `Thus, our government will work towards increasing the per capita income and to minimise the economic disparities between the rich and poor in the meantime. Minimizing the economic disparity will also result in expansion of the middle class/

`Many countries in the world had achieved fast development at the cost of environment. Now they had realised the ill-effects of the speedy march towards development. It had resulted in many unintended consequences. Therefore, we will plan our development giving priority to green policies.`

The President said there was a pressing need for national policies which would not change as governments or presidents changed.

He said that action would be taken to ensure that the rights of vulnerable groups, women, children, disabled and elders be safeguarded.

There were some shackles of feudalism still hampering the nation in its efforts to stand up. `There are many backward, traditional vestiges of feudalism in our society. For example, we have noticed how some people become inconvenient when they are requested to say their full name loud because certain surnames indicate their caste identities. I have taken initiative to enable people to enter their surnames in official documents only if they are willing to do so and not to make it compulsory.`

PayPal.Me Peer-to-Peer Payments Service Launched


PayPal on Tuesday announced the rollout of a new peer-to-peer payments service called PayPal.Me. The service is an easy method to get back the money users had lent, or start a collection drive.

The new PayPal.Me peer-to-peer payments lets users easily name their amount and share a personal link to get paid back. “PayPal.Me makes requesting money from groups of friends, family and colleagues suddenly so much easier and faster. Rather than following up individually, you can email your PayPal.Me link to co-workers to chip in for an engagement present for another co-worker. Or stop asking each of your fellow bridesmaids for bachelorette party payments and just send a group text message with your PayPal.Me link,” said the company’s post.

For instance, a link can be named as paypal.me/ndtvgadgets and can then be sent to groups of friends, family and colleagues using email, instant messenger, social media post, blog, or website. The recipients can then open the link on a wide variety of devices, fill in the amount they want to pay (which was due) and click on send, after which the particular amount is then deducted from their PayPal account and is transferred on to the sender’s account.

The PayPal.Me service for now is available in 18 countries – the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Russia, Turkey, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.

The company, according to its recent survey, said that “adults worldwide are owed more than $51 billion in IOUs (unpaid, small debts) from friends and family[…]These billions of dollars go unclaimed simply because people hate spending the time to chase down debts, and have those awkward face-to-face conversations. That same study found that over 50 percent of Americans find it awkward to ask their friends or family to pay them back. But PayPal.Me changes everything about getting paid back.”

PayPal last month teamed up with BlackBerry, the smartphone maker, to allow peer-to-peer (P2P) payments where the conversation is already happening in the BBM app. Using the service, BB10, Android and iOS users can send money securely with PayPal straight from their BBM app. For sending money via BBM, users will have to tap on the “Send Money” icon in the app and connect a PayPal account. You can start sending money once the receiver (whom you intend to send money to) also connects their PayPal account to BBM.

Wall Street slumped after week data from China escalated


Wall Street slumped more than 2 percent on Tuesday, pushing all three major indexes into the red for the year, after weak data from China escalated fears that the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy will constrain global growth.

The sell off was broad. All 10 major S&P sectors were lower between 1.8 and 3.4 percent. All 30 Dow components were down between 1.5 and 4 percent.

Data early on Tuesday showed that China’s manufacturing sector shrank at its fastest pace in three years in August. Later in the day, data showed that the pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed in August to its weakest in over two years.

Adding to the nervousness, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde said global economic growth was now likely to be weaker than had been expected just a few months ago.

The weak data pushed oil prices down more than 7 percent, snapping three days of gains, and also reduced the odds that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates this month.

Google unveiled a new logo


Following its corporate reorganisation last month, Google is making another major change – the company on Tuesday unveiled a new logo.

Google’s new logo epitomises the company as it stands today, present on myriad devices rather than its humble roots of a single browser page. Apart from the redesign of the full logo, which while retaining the same colours for the letters features a new font, Google has also reimagined its little blue ‘g’ icon to a four-colour ‘G’.

The updated logo features a sans-serif typeface, similar to the one being used by Google’s newly created holding company, Alphabet. The new logo is already visible on its Search home page, and will roll out across products soon. It is the fifth such logo redesign since Google started in 1998.

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