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Enriching the algorithmic programming skills among Sri Lankan students

Considering the salient advantages by enriching the algorithmic programming skills among the Sri Lankan school, undergraduate students as well as early career graduates, IEEE Young Professionals Sri Lanka thought of having an algorithmic programming competition among Sri Lankan young programmers.

Having the constraints of informatics Olympiad, IEEE Xtreme competitions which are of similar kind but restricted to one set of group, we think of having all programmers compete in one platform to enhance the competitive advantage.

This will be a warm up session for undergraduate and graduate students who are willing to participate in the IEEE Xtreme 8.0 and will be a challenging experience for school students who could be able to share the same arena with senior programmers. The early career graduates will also witness a wonderful change having bored with working on their company projects all the time. The expected participation would be around 200+ participants.

Date: 11thOctober, 2014
Venue: University of Moratuwa & University of Peradeniya

IEEE Excavation 1.0

Details submitted to us by Andun Sameera

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Ingress is a location based mobile game popular among Sri Lankan youngsters and it now has its own community that keeps growing each day. This game has two teams or say two factions, the ‘Enlightened’ and the ‘Resistance’. The game is all about destroying enemy builds and territories, claiming them to your team and expand your faction’s ground area by actually traveling places around the country and world using mobile phones.

For the Enlightened faction, some of the agents (players) came up with a team activity to increase motivation and enthusiasm of Enlightened members. In January 2014, there was a global event organized for the Enlightened agents around the world to actively participate in Ingress as a motivational and an effort of uplifting the Enlightened network and statistics in a global scale. It was named after Summer Olympic games and the event was ultimately launched as ‘Ingress Enlightened Olympics’ that had nine Ingress related activities which were matched to the exact Olympic sport names.

Inspired by the internationally organized ‘Ingress Enlightened Olympics’ event, those Sri Lankan Enlightened agents was able to organize and execute the first ever Ingress competition called ‘ENL Games LK’ in Sri Lanka for the local Enlightened community.  (ENL for Enlightened)
After weeks of elaborate planning and discussions, they successfully finished the said community build up project ‘ENL Games LK 2014’, an event that commenced on 22nd of August and ended on the 29th. Sri Lankan Enlightened agents who participated in this event had shown their game skills in various ways and they played very enthusiastically to compete against each other to win places. But ultimately it was team play, enthusiasm to level up and mind blowing stats that decorated agent profiles.
The eight-day event consisted of the following ten Ingress sporting events.
  1. Sprint - Gain maximum points during one hour.
  2. Marathon - Gain maximum points during the Games week.
  3. Hurdles - Create the highest number of control fields during the Games week.
  4. Relay - Make the highest number of overlapping control fields as a team of two to three Enlightened agents.
  5. Shooting - Score the largest points gain from a single attack on an enemy portal.
  6. Boxing - Highest energy loss through attacking an enemy portal.
  7. Long Jump - Make the longest link inside Sri Lanka during the Games period.
  8. Triple Jump - Create the largest control field by geographic area.
  9. Javelin - Create the largest control field measured in Mind Units.
  10. Taekwondo - Highest points gained for destroying enemy resonators, links and control fields during the Games week.
From among all the participants, only twenty two agents could make their way to the top ranks in the leaderboard at the end of this event. A community meetup was held at Independence Square on 30th of August to mark the end of this event to give away prizes to those Enlightened participants who won in aforementioned ten events. The meetup ended with a farming session (excessive walks around several high level portal clusters to gain more items beneficial for the game play by hacking them), to strengthen solidarity among agents and spotted new faces too.
As a whole, ENL Games LK 2014 was a huge success for Sri Lankan Enlightened community and it wouldn’t have been this successful without the organizing team and the judges who worked till late night finalizing scores.
ENL Games Prizes

ENL Games Prizes

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ENL Games LK 2014 Stats Infographic

ENL Games LK 2014 Stats Infographic

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    Google Student Ambassadors have launched a Sinhala Translate week (#SinhalaTranslateWeek) to improve the translation efficiency of Google Sinhala Translator tool. Sinhala Translate Week will be held from 1st to 7th of September 2014. As per Google, the sole purpose of Sinhala Translate week is to get people to contribute to Google Translate through the newly introduced Google Translate Community.

    Google Translator is one of the widely used tools in the online community and it has introduced the Sinhala language to support the needs of Sinhala language users. The Google Sinhala Translate week seeks to improve the quality of the Sinhala translations, by crowdsourcing the words to the translator.

    If you are interested in helping Google improve its Sinhala Translator tool, here is the chance for you. There are three ways in which you can contribute for the Google Sinhala Translate Week.

    Translate and Win Prizes from Google

    If you have free time that you can allocate for translations, here is an opportunity for you. You can help Google to improve its translator tool by translating, matching, rating and comparing words. All what you need to do is to get yourself registered as a contributor and contribute during the week. You can get yourself registered here. Your contribution will help to enhance translation for millions of users who use Sinhala language.

    Contributing for Google Translate during this week also will allow you to win prizes from Google. Registered contributors with most number of contributions will stand chances to win. It does not stop there; this week will also allow you to be a part of the Google Sinhala Translate community by joining the Twitter conversation on #SinhalaTranslateWeek or engaging on dedicated Google Plus and Facebook Groups.

    Participate in a Translation Run

    Translation Run is an informal gathering of people who are enthusiastic about Google Translate, with the sole purpose of contributing, sharing knowledge, taking pictures, having fun, and posting them out to the public to let the world know that it is happening. During the Sinhala Translate Week, there are many Translation Runs happening around the country, predominantly based on universities and colleges. As of now, Translation Runs have been planned to be held at University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Moratuwa, University of Ruhuna, SLIIT and University of Jaffna. More details can be obtained here.

    Host a Translation Run

    Apart from participating in a Translation Run, you also have the opportunity to organize/host a Translation Run during the Sinhala Translate Week.  You can organize Translation Run in your university, institute, school or work place.  Hosting a Translation Run should be carried out according to the guidelines provided by Google. More details can be obtained here.

    If you think Sinhala language users deserve a better Google Translate, here is your chance to make the tool better. Contribute and help others to use Sinhala language online!

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    Ramadan season for Muslims started few days back and trend of Iftar is back in the town. Twitter community of Sri Lanka being so popular for exclusive events for Tweeps, is back with its very own #TweepsIftar. Iftar refers to breaking fast or ending the fast at the sundown after approximately 13 hours of avoiding food and beverages.

    The Tweeps Iftar 2014 is the third time that an event of such nature is being organized by the Twitter community of Sri Lanka. First ever Tweeps Iftar was held in 2012, in a very small scale with few tweeps gathering to break fast. However, Tweeps Iftar – 2013 was attended by a large number of Tweeps and received many positive comments. Check out our coverage on Tweeps Iftar 2013 here.

    Tweeps Iftar 2014 will be held on 25th of July 2014 (Friday) at CIOCONAT lounge (107, Barnes Place, Col – 07). The entrance fee is Rs. 1,000/= , subject to reduction based on securing sponsorships. The entrance will be limited only for prior registrations and having a Twitter account is compulsory to attend this event. You can get yourself registered for Tweeps Iftar here.

    The Tweeps Iftar 2014 is not limited to Muslims and open for all the ethnicities. The main aim of the event is to educate non-Muslim Twitter users about practices of Muslims during the Ramadan including rituals of break fast (Iftar) events while allowing them to network with fellow Twitter users. The event also aims to promote the ethnic harmony in a challenging time, by creating awareness about religious practices and sharing food and beverages with generosity.

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    Some of the tweeps at TweepsIfthar 2013

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    Some of the tweeps at TweepsIfthar 2013

     

    Some of the tweeps at TweepsIfthar 2013

    Some of the tweeps at TweepsIfthar 2013

    The Twitter Iftar will include an awareness session on Ramadan season, catered to Non-Muslims who will be attending the session. Further, you can witness Muslims performing religious rituals, including the Maghrib group prayers. If you are a foodie, the most important element for you at the event will be the delicious iftar food and the dinner buffet. The Tweeps Iftar will serve Kanji, a rice porridge which is an exclusive item at Iftar. Tweeps Iftar will also serve more yum yum, including salads and a variety of vegetarian dishes too.

    In a nut shell, Tweeps iftar is all about promoting religious harmony, networking.. and of course FOOD!! Be there! Get to know more about Ramadan! Talk to fellow tweeps!! And most importantly, enjoy yummy food!!

     

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    Mobile phones are one of the essential commodities these days. Well, they do have endless uses and the Asian region has the highest adaptability rate. In a recent report published, Ericsson claims that in the next 5 year period, highest share of the smartphone growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region. We recently published the growth in smartphone sales based on a report by CMR India. And the same people have now released the Sri Lanka mobile market share report for the 1st quarter of 2014. And we have listed out the key takeaways from the report, below. We have also turned the report into a nice infographic for easy viewing.

    Important: There are few things you you should note before reading the facts/ infographic. We have repeatedly used the term ‘sales’ below. But what it actually means is the ‘number of units shipped to’ retailers or distributors. Given supply shares reflect the demand in the market, the producers of the report have used it to reflect the sales in the market.

    Another important fact to note is that the numbers actually mean the number of units shipped by OEMs to authorized distributors or retailers. This report does not include the devices sold in the ‘grey market’. There are also instances where devices are brought down by individuals traveling from abroad and the report does not track the numbers. Given these facts, please note that the actual market share numbers will be higher than what is shown in the charts.

    Key facts from the report

    1- Compared to Q4-2013 (0.8 Million), ‘mobile handsets’ sales (shipments) in Sri Lanka has seen a drop of around 5% in Q1-2014 (0.76 Million).

    2- Drop in the sales of ‘feature phones’ (0.68 Million in Q4-2013 and 0.64 Million in Q1-2014) contributed to this overall drop in sales. Smartphone sales (shipments) remained unchanged.

    3- Total of 0.12 Million smartphones were sold (shipped) in Q1-2014, which is around 15% of the total mobile phone sales of the quarter.

    4- With 26.2% of the market share, Nokia remains as the leading mobile phone vendor in Q1-2014. Compared to 23.8% market share in Q4-2013, Nokia’s mobile handset market share has seen an increase in Q1-2014. We have clearly seen Nokia promoting the Lumia range heavily in Sri Lanka through dealers and service providers in the past few months.

    5- Micromax has retained the 2nd place in among leading mobile phone vendors in Sri Lanka with 18.3% of market share. Micromax had 21.4% market share in Q4-2013.

    6- With 11.4% of market share, E-tel beat Samsung to claim the 3rd spot in ‘mobile phone’ market share. Samsung occupied the 3rd spot in Q4-2013 with 12% market share. Also notable is that Samsung had the 2nd spot back in Q3-2013.

    7- Samsung remains as the leader in ‘smartphone’ segment with 27.7% market share in Q1-2014, which is an increase compared to Q4-2013. Back in Q4-2013 Samsung’s market share in the smartphone segment was 21.2%.

    8- Huawei retained the 2nd spot in the smartphone segment with 18.9% market share, while E-Tel took the 3rd position with 13.9% market share. Back in Q4-2013 Huawei and E-tel had 19.6% and 16.1% market shares, respectively. A notable fact is that for the year 2103, Micromax maintained the overall 3rd place in smartphone sales. But for the last 2 consecutive quarters E-Tel has overtaken the sales of Micromax in that department.

    Source: CMR India

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    These days we do a lot more than making calls on our mobile handsets. Many spend much more time on internet browsing or instant messaging than using the device for calling someone. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t see any innovation on the voice call front; given the ultimate purpose of phones, is to call others. In the last few weeks Mobile HD Voice has been one of the much publicised topics in the country. As the name suggests, we are talking about high quality voice calls in mobile networks, with an improved user experience.

    A new innovation?

    HD Voice service was first introduced to Sri Lanka by Dialog, back in early 2012. Dialog was the 42nd operator, globally, to introduce the service to their customers. Last month Etisalat became the second operator in Sri Lanka (and 107th operator globally) to add this feature to their network offerings. So, clearly it is not entirely new to Sri Lanka.

    So what exactly does HD Voice mean? And how does it work?

    To start with, HD Voice is an umbrella term that refers  to the technologies that enhance the quality of an audio call (or even the ‘audio’ part of a video call). Yes, that means there are more than one technology used together or separately to achieve the ¨HD Voice functionality¨…or rather the improvement.

    HD Voice improves the quality of the voice call. It provides more natural sounding calls. HD Voice also helps people hear better in noisy environments by reducing the background noise, using noise cancelling techniques. Which means, with HD Voice, your caller’s voice will sound less robotic and you will be able to differentiate between ‘s’ and ‘f’ easily. Overall HD Voice improves the user experience. This is not something new. VoIP services like Skype has been using such feature for a long time and probably you have used it too, but we are talking about bringing the feature to mainstream mobile voice communication.

    The technology behind HD Voice

    There are three mechanisms that are widely used to achieve the HD Voice functionality.

    Frequency Range: Narrowband vs Wideband. (Image Source: road2it)

    Frequency Range: Narrowband vs Wideband. (Image Source: road2it)

    First, doubling the audio bandwidth. Instead of limiting a voice call to the current narrow-band frequency range of 300 Hz and 3.4 KHz, HD Voice makes use of Wideband audio technology that transmits at the range of 50 Hz to 7 KHz. To achieve this, operators use an audio codec called Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB), which doubles the audio bandwidth compared to traditional  telephony. In ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) terms AMR-WB is codified as G.722.2 codec.

    Secondly, improved acoustic design. This is more or less something that the device manufacturers need to focus on. Since HD Voice utilizes greater bandwidth with the help of AMR-WB codec, the devices too need to be designed in a way to utilize the greater bandwidth offered to them. Here’s where acoustic design comes into play. Components like the microphone and speaker need to be of good quality and they need to be well integrated to the device, in such a way to optimize the HD voice features.

    Thirdly, redesigned signal processing algorithms. Processing of the audio (in the background ) is an essential part of the whole process. The algorithms that handle this part, are capable of handling higher ‘sampling rate’ compared to regular voice calls. Regular voice calls take 8000 audio samples per second (8 KHz) to process the call. In HD Voice it is doubled to 16000 audio samples per second (16 KHz). Hence, users will be able to hear ‘more details’ from a person’s voice. Another algorithm used in this process is a noise suppressor. This helps in reducing the background noise while a person is using HD Voice.

    Global availability

    According to the latest report published by Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) on 2nd June 2014, 109 mobile operators across 73 countries around the world have launched the HD Voice service for public. And Sri Lanka is one of the 22 countries which has more than one operator offering the service.

    HD Voice: Global Availability. (Image Courtesy: Global Mobile Suppliers Association)

    HD Voice: Global Availability.
    (Image Courtesy: Global Mobile Suppliers Association)

    As I mentioned before, Dialog (the largest mobile service provider in Sri Lanka) introduced the service on their 3G/HSPA network back in February, 2012. Etisalat joined the club last month (May 2014) by upgrading their 3G/HSPA framework with this capability. On GSM/HSPA platforms, all it takes the operator is to upgrade their existing network infrastructure(i.e no need to add new base station components), in order to offer HD Voice service. Since HD Voice feature is an upgrade to the operators existing infrastructure, they will not be charging you extra for the service. You will be charged the regular rates when you make a call, while the call quality gets better. Sounds cool, right? Well, read further!

    Requirements to experience HD Voice

    That brings us to the important part. As an end user (customer/ subscriber) what does it take you to experience mobile HD? Well there are few requirements.

    1- Your phone and the phone on the other end need to be HD Voice compatible.

    Imagine this like calling someone on Skype. Just like you both need to have Skype installed on your devices to make the video call, both devices need to be ‘HD Voice compatible’ to use the HD Voice service offered by your mobile service provider.
    According to GSA report of March, 2014, there are at-least 329 mobile phones from 19 manufacturers that support HD Voice (AMR-WB, currently available. Most of the new devices introduced daily, are compatible with the feature. You can have a look at the device list here.

    Does my phone needs to be a smartphone?

    Not really. AMR Wideband was first developed by Nokia. HD Voice technology was first implemented in 2009, when the number of smartphones were limited. And Nokia was one of the first manufacturer to integrate the technology in their handsets including the ones that ran S40 and Symbian S60 OS. Hence, your device does not need to fit into ‘smartphone’ category to experience HD voice. But it should be compatible with AMR-WB. Most new devices released these days support it. (So, in my opinion, ‘lack of smartphones in the market’ is not the only reason for ‘less public awareness’ about the service, over the years). Given many phones don’t come with extensive user manuals these days, you can simply Google the model name or refer to this list provided by GSA to check the availability of AMR-WB on your device.

    2- Both devices need to be connected to HD capable base station

    Both the caller and receiver need to be connected to the HD Voice capable base station of their respective network. In Sri Lanka’s case it should be 3G/HSPA stations of Dialog and Etisalat since both networks support HD Voice over 3G/HSPA network. (Instead of GSM(2G) or LTE).

    Does that mean you need to be connected HSPA (Data)?

    No. Actually some media outlets have reported that you have to be connected to 3G (as in data) to experience this. Even Etisalat’s media report claims you need to be ‘connected to 3G’ – but what they actually mean is that you need to be connected to a 3G capable  base station.

    This should not be confused with VoLTE or Voice over LTE which puts voice and data in a single radio layer. Here calls are carried over IP technology (same as data) instead of circuit switched path (regular calls) used in HSPA networks like Dialog or Etisalat. VoLTE supporting networks are currently limited  to 8 worldwide, and VoLTE supporting device are limited too. LTE offered by Sri Lankan networks is limited to data only at the moment. (i.e – you can’t make voice calls when your network mode is set to ‘LTE Only’ on Dialog or Mobitel)

    Again, just because your carrier supports HD voice does not mean they support it all around the country. Reason is, there are places that have only GSM(2G) base stations instead of HSPA ones. So if your device is connected to a 3G base station and your friend’s is not, even though you both have compatible devices, then you will not be able to experience it.

    Interoperability: Another less publicised, but very important requirement for HD Voice is that when the call involves two different networks, they both need to be using HD Voice on compatible network modes in-order for HD Voice to work. (Wait, what?) Yes, that is because HD Voice technology is not inter-operable at the moment. At the time of writing, as I mentioned above, both Etisalat and Dialog support HD voice on their HSPA network. But, I have not got enough data that confirms that both networks are compatible with each other. Which means there is a chance that caller and receiver need to be on the same network to experience the feature. The problem widely exists in the US since different networks support HD Voice in different modes like GSM, CDMA and LTE. And not many devices are compatible with all these modes. Now, you know why HD Voice has not got great public attention over the years. That is because not many people have been able to experience it even though they have a compatible phone and they are on a compatible network.

    Growth of HD Voice (Image Courtesy: Global Mobile Suppliers Association)

    Growth of HD Voice
    (Image Courtesy: Global Mobile Suppliers Association)

    So that brings us to the important question…is HD Voice another gimmick?

    I will safely say it is not. It has been practically proved that HD Voice improves user experience by increasing call quality and reducing background noises. (Simply do a YouTube search to check some demos). In my opinion it should be supported by default on all handsets and all networks should adopt to it. What is keeping us behind is the compatibility issues, which is a shame.

    What does the future hold?

    Sri Lanka has been one of the first countries to bring latest mobile innovations to public, thanks to our wonderful service providers (yes, seriously). We are one of the first to have LTE in the region. VoLTE or Voice over LTE is seen as the next big trend in voice communications. GSA says that Sri Lanka is actually testing this service. I foresee a future where major networks in Sri Lanka adopt to VoLTE that provides seamless connectivity and HD Voice on the same platform without any hassle. It is always good to be optimistic!

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    Ingress is a mobile game made for Android handsets that needs more physical strength to play than any other mobile game. It is a game not only for men but also for women. If you are a member of any Sri Lankan Ingress community, you may find how low the number of female appearances are and you will realize how important it is to have a good blend of men and women in a team since Ingress is not for lonely and male players.

    Women too are as important as men in this society and so too in cyber world. As a result of the vast penetration of information technology to the masses, it made local women more powerful on par with equally skilled men here today. Sri Lankan Ingress community is a good stage to show off women’s power to the world, because Ingress is a globally recognized mobile game played by millions of people around the world.

    It has now grown up with female players from both factions, say the Enlightened (Green) team and the Resistance (Blue) team. Two months after the International Women’s day, when one of the renowned Sri Lankan Ingress team was able to secure the Colombo cell in Interitus global anomaly, they have once again made a big leap by taking the initiative to gather all local female players of Enlightened faction together who have been individually playing Ingress to make the first ever ladies only Ingress portal in Sri Lanka on 23rd of May at Independence Square, Colombo. This attempt could clearly highlight the female power of Sri Lankan Enlightened team and it was a 100% Sri Lankan effort without the aid of any foreign players.

    Eight ladies from Enlightened team who made the first female only portal in Sri Lanka.
    Agents @anuRoX, @SuperNando, @lightwillow, @doomblastic, @unsalgado, @tizzyrubix, @Kveykva, @Zensus
    (not shown in order) participated for this meetup.

    First female only portal in Sri Lanka

    First female only portal in Sri Lanka

     

    In Ingress, portals are the main base of the game and they are described as statues, unique architectures, special outdoor buildings, historical places, monuments and places of worship. Therefore players have to physically travel near such portals. Hacking a portal provides beneficial items to players and the ownership of a portal can be claimed by attacking a portal owned by the enemy team. That is called capturing a portal. To capture, a player has to deploy up to eight resonators to give life to a portal. These eight resonators can either be placed by one player or a group of eight players.

    Some chit chat during the Enlightened women’s meetup

    Unlike in other countries, Sri Lankan Enlightened and Resistance teams are mostly male dominated and due to day-night traveling around the country and lack of understandability on first sight, there is a difficulty of attracting women towards Ingress. Having such a situation, the Enlightened team was able to recruit local female players to their faction and the final outcome was making the first ever female only portal following the aforementioned way by placing eight resonators by eight Sri Lankan ladies. This attempt has brought so much public recognition plus honor to Sri Lankan women and it was a better attempt of inviting more women to play Ingress.

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    The World Conference on Youth 2014 was held in Colombo last week where youth representatives and various stakeholders including government officials gathered from nearly 160 countries to discuss the issues of the youth community. The theme of the conference was based on developing the post 2015 agenda on youth development and various aspects related to youth development were discussed. These findings of the conference were documented in the Colombo Declaration which would become a primary input for United Nation in coming up with post 2015 youth development strategies. The conference emphasised on the importance of Information Technology (IT) in youth development and some of the highlights are discussed below.

    The Secretary to Sri Lanka’s President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga addressed the main plenary session on Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and highlighted the importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in youth development. He said “Throughout the years, ICTs has not had a more robust and loyal champion than the youth. They have effectively exploited ICTs to dictate the trends in a major growth industry, and fostered it to generate youth entrepreneurship as a solution for youth unemployment. Be that as it may, these are not advantages that youth all over the world enjoy. For those in developing countries in particular, ICT access comes at an unaffordable cost.”  The main argument put forward was the making ICT affordable for all youth as a mean to empower them in the development process. Mr. Weeratunga further stated that there is a powerful potential for ICTs to cut across many recommendations to strengthen their outcomes. However, it was also presented that the governments must go beyond simply enhancing access and become actively involved in training and creating programmes aimed towards the empowerment of young people.  In commenting on the IT and job opportunities, Mr. Weeratunga said that becoming ICT-savvy does not only open doors for job opportunities, but also motivates and enables young people to learn about their communities and become active in the local development process.

    Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka Mr. Lalith Weeratunga is seen speaking at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.

    Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka Mr. Lalith Weeratunga is seen speaking at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.
    (Photo credits : Official Photographer)

    The round table session on Poverty Eradication and Food Security discussed the importance of technology in achieving this aim. Mr. Anushka Wijesinha from the Institute of Policy Studies highlighted the ability to use technology to eradicate poverty. He noticed that youth participation in the agriculture industry has been dropping over time. However, citing an example from the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, he stated that the youth who are already engaged in the agriculture industry use mobile phone applications to support trading. Further, he also commented on the use of social media at the global scale in order to support the agriculture industry while concluding that technology is a great method to eradicate poverty and address food security.

    A section of the audience at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.

    A section of the audience at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.
    (Photo credits : Official Photographer)

    The outcome of the conference was the Colombo Declaration which included 97 recommendations for youth development. Among many recommendations that are related to IT/ICT, following recommendations are identified as prominent and expected to be implemented at a global scale:

    • Encourage the use of Information and Communication Technology in education the establishment of inter- and intra-regional youth innovation and technology centers, as a means of disseminating knowledge, skills development, innovation and connectivity, thereby enhancing infrastructure in these areas.
    • Increase recognition of non-formal education and vocational education, including volunteer schemes and Information and Communication Technology models and apprenticeships, as an effective means of empowerment and skills transfer.
    A section of the audience at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.

    A section of the audience at the plenary session on “Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: What We Want” at the World Conference on Youth 2014.
    (Photo credits : Official Photographer)

    It is interesting to notice that IT/ICT being given the due importance in the post 2015 development of youth. According to Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the U.N. Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, this was not the beginning or the end but an opportunity to cater to the issues brought forward for the benefit of the youth of the world. Hence, we can expect more and more development in IT/ICT fields in terms of supporting youth development which is crucial for the betterment of the society.

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      BestWeb.lk 2014 a unique, innovative competition organized by the LK Domain Registry will be held for the fifth time this year. This web-based competition recognizes high-quality Sri Lankan websites in a number of different categories. It is aimed at encouraging site owners and developers to improve the quality of their sites.

      Entries for the competition opened on 5th May with judging scheduled to take place in July. The awards ceremony will be in early August. Sites will be judged on both creativity and technical achievement. The Panel of Judges comprises industry experts in their respective fields with broad web expertise and ability to spot excellence. The public too can contribute by voting for their favourite site.

      Jiffry Zulfer, Chief Technology Officer of Anything.lk says that “Participating and winning in the Bestweb.lk competition was an important milestone in the growth of our company”. Rosheeni Madanayake Wijesekera, Vice President Group Corporate Communications of DFCC Bank says that “We look forward every year to the Bestweb.lk competition. It’s a healthy competition which compels participants to strive towards presenting innovative, user-friendly web solutions”.

      This year competitors can compete under nine(9) categories:  Government, Nonprofit, Commercial, E-Commerce, Corporate-Banking & Finance, Advertising & Marketing, Media, Sports & Entertainment, Travel & Tourism.  In addition to these, a number of special awards will be presented. More details can be found online at www.bestweb.lk.