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Saturday, 15 October 2011






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Microsoft to empower migrant worker community with ICT skills

Microsoft Sri Lanka in partnership with the Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association (SLANA) and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) under the patronage of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry announced a grant aimed at supporting the migrant worker community in Sri Lanka.

The grant will see the opening up of eighteen centres in ten districts across the country to benefit thousands of migrant workers who plan to go overseas.

The program also includes the training of master trainers who will in turn train the other instructors at the centres.

One key highlight of the entire program is that the training will not be limited only to the migrant workers, but will also include one member of his or her family, who will be given the same training on how they can use ICT as a simple and faster tool for communication.

Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association President Asitha Gunesekara, Asia Pacific Region President Tracey Fellows, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry Secretary Nissanka M Wijeratne, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka and Microsoft Sri Lanka Country Manager Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne at the launch.

In 2009, Microsoft Sri Lanka partnered with SLANA and the Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) in an effort to empower the migrant worker community via ICT with the launch of a multi-faceted training process inclusive of basic IT skill development, provision of information and mentoring to enhance the workers' employability and economic security.

Microsoft Sri Lanka provides both the funds (including the most recent grant renewal), and the necessary software and teaching material for this project which is carried out at the SLBFE training centres around the island while SLANA came on board as chief facilitator and trainers.

The project launched with three centres dedicated towards this cause and has since expanded across the island, with the most recent centre opening in Badulla earlier this month, empowering over 10,000 migrant workers in the region. One of the key elements of the IT component within these programmes is ensuring that migrant workers and their families have pre-established communication channels to ensure that no disruption to their families are caused by their long absences from the children's day-to-day lives. In particular, SLANA believes that one of the leading problems among the families left behind which is the high risk of substance abuse by the spouse left behind can be combated by proper communication access.

The programme consists of a specially designed accelerated five-day programme focusing on basic computer literacy including an abridged of the Microsoft UP Curriculum, components of emailing and browsing the net, sending and receiving pictures and SMS messages through mobile phones, using the Sinhala and Tamil Language Packs (introduced by Microsoft Sri Lanka in 2009) to help develop communication skills in local languages and a general overview of excel to provide an introduction into money management.

This programme is a component of the compulsory two week training programme conducted by the Foreign Employment Bureau for all migrant workers.

The IT component of the programme is also targeted towards the families of the migrant workers, with local nenasala branches enabling both basic IT training to these families and providing work spaces for practice, thereby ensuring that the project not only establishes communication channels for the migrant workers but also their families.


Aspirations Education facilitates applications to UK universities

Aspirations Education (AE), one of the pioneer career guidance and student placement service centres in Sri Lanka said that the unit is able to channel local student applications to any British university, being a registered centre of the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission System), the British admission service for students applying to universities and colleges.

By channelling their applications via Aspirations Education students are able to select up to five courses and/or universities to apply. Application deadline for this programme is June 30 every year. For the year 2011 applications, it costs 11 to apply for one course or 22 per student to apply to two or more courses.

In the meantime, those applying for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses can only select up to four preferences (although the other choice can be used to apply for different courses). The deadline for these courses is October 15, 2011, for the September 2012 intake. More than half a million people who wish to study at a university or college in the UK use UCAS services each year. UCAS provides an online application portal and application processing system where students can apply up to five UK universities of their choice where they wish to pursue their undergraduate studies.

Aspirations Education is a UCAS registered career guidance center and will guide Sri Lankan students to choose a proper undergraduate course at a reputed UK university of their choice, and to submit their application through UCAS. Aspirations Education helps students to secure a placement and will assist students throughout the application process including Visa counselling.

"Aspirations Education is registered with the UCAS customer database and therefore are able to process applications to almost every British university and Aspirations Education will assist these students with the initial UCAS applications, selecting university choices, guidance on writing personal statements, guidance with obtaining reference letters, arranging UCAS clearing placements and obtaining UCAS guidebooks on course selection," said Aspirations Education General Manager Deepamala Abeysekera.

Aspirations Education has channeled students to many British universities including Sheffield University, Queen Mary University of London, Liverpool University, Brunel University, Coventry University, Nottingham Trent University and many more.

Through channelling applications for any university in the UK of their choice with the assistance of Aspirations Education, aspirant students can stand a high chance in entrance pathway which is hassle free and secure. Students who missed the 2011 intake can apply for the 2012 intake; also students seeking entry to Medicine and Dentistry in 2012 must apply before October 15, 2011.

Approved and authorized by the Australian High Commission to assess and issue Pre Visa Assessments (PVA), Aspirations Education is registered in the UCAS customer database and is permitted to process the application via UCAS.

The centre has been trained and certified as a Singapore Education Specialist by government owned Singapore Education. It's also a pioneer member of the British Education Representatives Association in Sri Lanka, (BERA) established with the British Council.

Accredited as one of the leading student placement centres for Malaysian Universities, Aspirations Educations is certified as a New Zealand Education Specialist by the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

LG to top Global 3D TV market

At IFA 2011 held recently in Berlin, Germany, LG Electronics (LG) announced its intention to be the top 3D TV brand by the end of next year, on the back of the strong public acceptance of its CINEMA 3D TV line-up.

"The 3D TV market is expected to grow dramatically in 2012 due to technological advancements in 3D and the expansion of content distribution," said, LG Home Entertainment Company President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Havis Kwon.

"LG intends to become the leader in 3D TVs to the extent that we become synonymous with all things 3D," he said.

According to Kwon, the acceleration in adding smart features to 3D TVs will increase the competition for an industry-standard ecosystem. Success in the TV market will no longer rely solely on the actual TV, but instead the ecosystem, he said.

Since its launch, LG's CINEMA 3D Smart TV has already boosted LG's share of the 3D TV market.

By next year, LG will field a wider array of products from high-end to entry-level with 3D included in about 70 percent of all new home entertainment products.

LG Electronics will continue to raise the 3D bar by working in close partnership with LG Display and other LG companies that contributed to the development of Filmed Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology, the science behind CINEMA 3D. And LG is aiming to further develop its content sourcing capabilities to provide 3D Video-on-Demand (VOD) services with an emphasis on content specially tailored for different markets.

Enhancing its Smart TV ecosystem is a key component of LG's TV business strategy. Strategic partnerships with 3D broadcast, online video sites and game companies will enable customers to directly access a wider variety of content. The Magic Motion Remote Control, a key feature of LG's successful Smart TV platform, will get greater functionality.

LG's 3D TVs will gradually transition to an open architecture platform, making it far easier and convenient for developers to create apps and content for LG's TVs. By creating a vibrant market for TV apps and content, LG expects to significantly expand the adoption of 3D. LG is also working with LG display to develop next generation, Ultra-High Definition (UD) Display Technology which will be integrated into their Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) TVs planned for launch next year.

UD screens offer four times greater resolution than existing high definition (HD) screens. Aggressive R and D will also be geared towards developing glasses-free 3D displays.

Abans, the sole agent in Sri Lanka for LG Electronic and Home Appliances are very optimistic that LG will be No.1 in the Global 3D TV market by next year.

LG 3D Smart TV's are selling well in Sri Lanka at very affordable terms offered by Abans through their showrooms islandwide.

MBSL special promotion for children

MBSL Saving Bank's Punchi Savings account was introduced with the aim of motivating children to save more for their future.

With this in mind and to enhance the product value, the bank is now launching a special promotion from October 1 to November 30, where any account holder that opens a Punchi Savings account within this period, is eligible to be included in the competition where they have the chance of winning the first prize of Rs 25,000 or the second and third prizes of Rs 20,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively. In addition, 10 more account holders are also have the chance of winning Rs 1,000 each.

With attractive interest rates and an initial deposit of only Rs 100, the Punchi Savings Account offers gifts such as mountain bikes, cameras, kids computers, toys, school bags, umbrellas, caps, tills and many more items which would be treasured by children.

It also offers additional benefits for the Punchi Account that include free children's health insurance policy to the value of Rs 50,000 when the account balance reaches Rs 20,000 with a 6% interest component.

Fortune G-P Farms feted at NCE Awards

Bairaha Farms Managing Director Yakooth Naleem receiving
the National Chamber of Exporters award.

Fortune G-P Farms (Lanka) Ltd. was recognized with a Bronze award in the Agriculture Value Added - Small category at the recently held awards ceremony of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka. Fortune G-P is Sri Lanka's most advanced and the leading producer of broiler breeder parent chicks for Sri Lanka and export markets.

Fortune G-P Farm (Lanka) Ltd is a joint venture between Bairaha Farms PLC and Crysbro Group of Companies.

The company has established a unique position by exporting broiler breeder parent chicks, a non-traditional export.

Fortune G-P Farms (Lanka) Ltd has a well established position, locally and in the export markets, due to its high standards of production and facilities that conform to Western standards. The farm and hatchery facilities are regularly monitored and inspected by the visiting representatives from the company's Principals, Cobb-Vantress Inc. Since the company produces prime breeder chicks for local consumption as well as for export, the Department of Animal Production and Health also pays regular visits to monitor both the facilities as well as the flocks of grand-parent birds, to ensure that quality parent chicks are produced from the farm and hatchery. The farm's location is in a very rural and isolated area in the Matale district has enabled it to maintain high standards of hygiene as well as bio-security whilst providing employment to the people in the area.

Fortune G-P saves valuable foreign exchange by producing breeder parent chicks in Sri Lanka and at the same time, earns foreign exchange by exporting quality parent chicks.



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