Kitchener startup headed to Google Demo Day

[ Record ][ Apr 29 16:11 GMT ]

Travis Ratnam is preparing a five-minute pitch before a who's who of Silicon Valley investors early next month after his startup was selected for the prestigious Google Demo Day at the tech giant's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Ratnam is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Knowledgehook, a startup that has developed a web-based platform that helps teachers and students in math classes from kindergarten to Grade 10. The Kitchener company is one of only two Canadian startups picked for the annual event on May 4 — the other is Halifax-based PACTA. Last year, Kitchener startup Bridgit was the winner at Google Demo Day with its mobile app for construction management. [ full story | comments ]

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Sri Lankan struggle to recover from the economic and emotional wounds of civil war

It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass ...


Battle scars: Sri Lanka's north counts the cost of a 26-year war

An equitable power sharing structure is crucial to resolving the natio...


Sirisena faces May Day test of strength, growing challenge from pro-Rajapaksa ‘JO’

He neither put a halt to new taxes nor sent home the Government’s ec...



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A Divided House: DMK Is Struggling To Contain Rebellion In The Ranks

[ Huffington Post ][ Apr 29 16:09 GMT ]

It is not just in Coonoor though, where the DMK is a divided house. Sholinganallur, in south Chennai area, too has witnessed factional feuds within the DMK. The candidate for Sholinganallur, Arvind Ramesh, is said to have been pushed through by Duraimurugan, veteran DMK leader and its Deputy General Secretary. South Chennai district deputy secretary of the DMK, Palavakkam Viswanathan, expressed his anger and his supporters protested and burnt Duraimurugan’s effigy. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka Secures $1.5 Billion IMF Loan to Help Bolster Finances

[ Bloomberg ][ Apr 29 15:40 GMT ]

Sri Lanka reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund for $1.5 billion in loans to help lower its borrowing costs and fix its finances. The South Asian nation has pledged to narrow its fiscal deficit to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 through “a comprehensive set of reforms to Sri Lanka’s tax system,” the Washington-based lender said in a statement. The budget gap widened to 7.4 percent of GDP in 2015 from 5.7 percent a year earlier, according to the central bank. The IMF said his government pledged a number of reforms, including limiting support for state-owned companies and making subsidies for the poor more targeted. The central bank will also move to a flexible inflation-targeting program, it said. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan struggle to recover from the economic and emotional wounds of civil war

[ CNBC ][ Apr 29 02:54 GMT ]

It looks peaceful and serene in the late afternoon but Elephant Pass – a strategically important gateway controlling access to and from Jaffna, the captial of Sri Lanka's northern province - was the focus of bitter fighting between the separatist Tamil Tigers and the security forces. This is where war memorials honor the soldiers that fell in the government's campaign against the Tigers. But nothing tells the story of the civilian lives lost. And those that remain say they're struggling to re-build homes, businesses and a broader self-sustaining local economy under the shadow of military occupation. [ full story | comments ]

Seeman Is The Rising Star Of Tamil Politics, Making The Campaign Colourful

[ Swarajya ][ Apr 28 16:29 GMT ]

It will be interesting to see how Seeman sustains the political momentum. While his party candidates are likely to lose their deposits in most of the seats Namm Tamilar Katchi is contesting, ground reports indicate that Seeman is in with a fighting chance in Cuddalore constituency. His entry into the Tamil Nadu Assembly could be a game changing event for both his party and the politics of Tamil Nadu. In case he does not make it to the Assembly, Seeman as an indefatigable campaigner can continue to build his cadre base across the state and emerge as a major player in the 2021 Assembly elections. [ full story | comments ]

UN Special Rapporteurs to visit to Sri Lanka

[ News First ][ Apr 27 19:09 GMT ]

UN Special Rapporteurs to visit to Sri Lanka The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E. Méndez, will undertake a joint visit to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7,2016, at the invitation of the government.During their visit, the two Special Rapporteurs will meet with relevant ministers, government officials, members of the judiciary, the Attorney General, lawyers, civil society members, the National Human Rights Commission, and victims and their families. In addition to visiting Colombo, they will visit the Northern, North Central, Eastern, Central and Southern Provinces, and also places of detention. [ full story | comments ]

Human rights groups ask Trudeau to end ‘immoral’ arms deal with Saudi Arabia

[ GM ][ Apr 27 18:52 GMT ]

A huge coalition of human-rights, development and arms-control groups are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rescind the “immoral and unethical” decision to approve export permits for the bulk of a $15-billion sale of combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The coalition wrote an open letter to Mr. Trudeau on Wednesday, saying there is a reasonable risk that the ruling House of Saud will use the vehicles against their own citizens and in the Saudi military mission in neighbouring Yemen. [ full story | comments ]

Transparency Key as Rights Commission Deadline Looms

[ HRW ][ Apr 26 17:09 GMT ]

The government has tried hard to build a new well of trust and goodwill after years of intransigence from the Rajapaksa government. As the next UN discussion in June approaches, it is critical for the government to confirm publicly the steps it has taken toward delivering on its promises. Failure to do so has already eroded the trust of some segments of society, particularly Tamil and Muslim groups in the north and east. The government would do well to wipe away the fog of rumor and make clear public statements about what it is doing – and how – to implement its obligations. [ full story | comments ]

The Inconvenient Truth about Sri Lanka’s North and East

[ Huffington Post ][ Apr 26 16:59 GMT ]

Frankly, the scope and scale of the problems in the country’s Tamil-dominated areas are staggering. According to the report, Sri Lanka’s military is still heavily involved in civilian affairs. Unsurprisingly, sustained militarization continues have extensive negative effects on the Tamil community; this includes ongoing reports of sexual violence and fewer livelihood options for Tamils, among other problems. More fundamentally, the military’s strong presence in the north and east undermines even the most modest of reconciliation agendas. Some of the report’s findings jive broadly with my own recent visit to the north and east. For additional context, PEARL has included numerous case studies. [ full story | comments ]

China, India tussle for influence as Sri Lanka seeks investment

[ CNBC ][ Apr 26 16:55 GMT ]

Now, with Asia's economic rise, experts say Sri Lanka's location has become even more alluring. Not only are three Asian powers - China, Japan and India - playing dominant roles in the global economy at the same time for the first time, there are also increasingly attractive markets and trade opportunities in Asia. "Sri Lanka is the pivotal point for a global grand strategy," R. Hariharan, a retired Indian army colonel and specialist in South Asian geopolitics, told CNBC. "Sri Lanka's geography gives it an advantage disproportionate to its size." [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka, Lost in Transition

[ Foreign Affairs ][ Apr 26 02:51 GMT ]

In January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena surprised the world when he defeated his old boss Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. His victory was followed by parliamentary elections in August, which reiterated the demand for democratic reform and improved governance. Soon after, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), the country’s two big Sinhala–Buddhist parties, agreed to form a coalition government. The nation was now set to turn its attention to a wide-ranging reform agenda to address some of the problems that plagued it during Rajapaksa’s decade in power, including corruption, nepotism, and the excessive centralization of power. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lankan protest demands new probe of Tamil journalist's killing

[ First Post ][ Apr 29 15:43 GMT ]

Hundreds of journalists and media rights activists protested today to demand Sri Lanka's new government start a fresh investigation into the abduction and killing of a prominent ethnic Tamil journalist 11 years ago, during the country's civil war. Those demonstrating in front of Colombo's main railroad station said Dharmeratnam Sivaram was targeted because of uncompromising coverage of political and military matters. Media rights activist Lasantha Ruhunage said even 11 years after, the law enforcement authorities have failed to find the killers and “therefore they should start a fresh investigation and bring the culprits before law.'' [ full story | comments ]

Samantha Power Misses the Mark on Sri Lanka (Again)

[ Diplomat ][ Apr 29 15:33 GMT ]

Sri Lanka’s new government has ruled in a less authoritarian fashion than the administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa, though it’s unclear how or when Colombo became a “global champion” of human rights and accountability. The truth is that we’re still waiting for the government to move toward deeper reform. Besides, the recent spate of arrests and abductions across the Tamil-dominated Northern and Eastern Provinces should set alarm bells ringing in Washington. That’s the type of anti-Tamil behavior that became increasingly common during Rajapaksa’s divisive decade in power. [ full story | comments ]

Sri Lanka: A Troubling Spate of Arrests Across the Northern and Eastern Provinces

[ Huffington Post ][ Apr 29 02:44 GMT ]

A recent spate of arrests across Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated Northern and Eastern Provinces is cause for serious concern. It’s been more than fifteen months since Mahinda Rajapaksa was thrown out of power, yet the island nation’s state security personnel (the vast majority of whom are ethnic Sinhalese) don’t seem to have stopped their discriminatory ways. People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), a non-profit organization, has released a press statement about these arrests. [ full story | comments ]

Colombo detains ITAK youth leader cum editor after criticism on PTA arrests

[ TamilNet ][ Apr 27 19:15 GMT ]

The notorious 'Terrorist' Investigation Division (TID), operated by the 'Defence Ministry' of genocidal Sri Lanka has arrested V.S. Sivakaran, the Youth Wing secretary of Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) and the editor of Tamil weekly ‘Puthiyavan’ on Wednesday afternoon at the paper office located on Mannaar Main street. Sivakaran's arrest is an attempt to suppress criticism being levelled against the abduction-styled arrests taking place in the Tamil homeland, journalists in North said. The arrest comes 2 days after Sivakaran went on record strongly condemning the PTA based arrests that have taken place in the North and East. [ full story | comments ]

Battle scars: Sri Lanka's north counts the cost of a 26-year war

[ CNBC ][ Apr 27 19:06 GMT ]

An equitable power sharing structure is crucial to resolving the nation's entrenched racial divisions, particularly as greater regional autonomy was a key request Tamil rebels made during wartime negotiations with Colombo, says Professor Subrata Mitra, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. But there's no consensus on how this can be achieved, he adds. Sirisena offered to establish a truth and reconciliation commission last year but the U.N. said the country was "not yet ready or equipped" to conduct a "credible investigation" that would address the gravity of the suspected violations. [ full story | comments ]

Tamil & Chinese-speaking pupils ahead of British children in reading and writing English

[ Express ][ Apr 27 18:51 GMT ]

Children whose mother tongue is Tamil are also doing better than those whose first language is English. Figures from the Department for Education reveal children recorded as speaking the Asian languages outperform English-speaking children in all year six tests. A higher proportion of Chinese or Tamil speakers get grade five or above in end of primary school SATs. In reading tests for children aged 10 and 11 around 50 per cent of children who have English as their first language get a grade five or above. [ full story | comments ]

A TV Interview with Basil Fernando regarding the appointment of public officials and in Sri Lanka

[ AHRC ][ Apr 26 17:03 GMT ]

In the interview Mr. Fernando speaks on the modalities of appointments to the public services including the police service, the Attorney General’s Department, in the light of the recent appointment of the Inspector General of Police, and elaborates on the constitutional framework in making these appointments, and a critical analysis of the role the present Constitutional Council, and other instituions such as the Police Commission in this process. In the interview, Mr. Fernando explains the features of the basic structure of a constitution in making appointments to the public services in a country including espeacially the main law enforcement agencies. [ full story | comments ]

Pakistan National Defence University delegation visits Sri Lanka

[ Sunday Times ][ Apr 26 16:57 GMT ]

A 19-member delegation from the National Defense University (NDU) Pakistan led by Lt. Gen. Nazir Ahmed Butt, HI (M) is currently visiting Sri Lanka, Pakistan embassy in Sri Lanka said. The Delegation comprises of senior officers from Pakistan’s Armed Forces and Civil Services as well as Officers from Turkey, Iran, Nigeria and Sudan who are undergoing National Security and War Course at NDU. The Defense Advisor of Pakistan to Sri Lanka Colonel Rajil Irshad Khan is conducting the visit for the delegation. [ full story | comments ]

Former NDP MP Sitsabaiesan leaves party to seek provincial Liberal nomination in Scarborough-Rouge River

[ Inside Toronto ][ Apr 26 16:52 GMT ]

New Democrats in Scarborough are expressing disappointment and anger after ex-MP Rathikia Sitsabaiesan announced she’s leaving the party to seek a byelection nomination as a Liberal. Sitsabaiesan, who said she “did not make this decision lightly or without careful consideration,” praised in her message the Liberal government’s free-tuition policy for low-income post-secondary students, calling it “one of the most progressive policies we have ever seen in Canada.” “I’m certainly seriously considering it, and I’m being urged by many in the community to put my name forward, but I haven’t made a final decision yet,” said Shan, who has also run for council in Ward 42 against longtime incumbent Raymond Cho. [ full story | comments ]

Cineplex pulls Tamil movie in GTA after pepper spray-like attacks

[ Toronto Sun ][ Apr 26 02:49 GMT ]

A Tamil film has been pulled by big-wig movie theatre corporation Cineplex following three GTA attacks involving a pepper spray-like substance. Theatres in Brampton, Scarborough and Mississauga were evacuated Friday night around 7:20 p.m. because of similar attacks during screening of the action movie Theri. A few people were treated by paramedics at the scene but no one was seriously injured. “I can confirm that we did cancel the remaining run of the film, Theri, at our theatres across the GTA,” Cineplex spokesman Sarah Van Lange said Monday. [ full story | comments ]

>> News Archives

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[CNBC - Apr 29, 2016 2:54:06 GMT]

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