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What is Happiness?

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As a living human in the 21st century, it has become more challenging to deal with emotions and relationships since society has become complicated with its own needs and demands. Amidst all this chaos, humans must have good health.

Good health often gets judged physically, but mental health also plays a vital role. We often neglect our emotions and problems because of our busy lifestyles, which is a bad habit and could result in an emotional explosion.

So, it is important to understand how true happiness is determined, and what each of us can do to up-bring our mental well being. Let’s get into it!

Happiness is a state of mind.

Happiness may differ from person to person. It is essential to understand yourself to identify what brings you joy and happiness. Because true happiness would relate to good intentions and healthy actions, it does not depend on material things or people.

Happiness is a choice.

A mind is a scary place if you let it control you. Therefore, be conscious of the choices you make, drive your intentions and thoughts mindfully. Also, be sure to be present. Do not dwell in the past or always plan for the future.

Always encourage the mind to perceive positive thoughts and motivational thinking. Inspire yourself by feeding your brain with uplifting thoughts, optimistic views and reducing negative factors such as negative thinking, neglecting, comparing yourself to others, demotivated ideas, etc. Because what you feed your mind determines your appetite!

Enjoy life within limits.

As much as boundaries are valid in a healthy relationship, it is necessary for happiness as well. To build a healthy relationship with yourself, ensure that there are certain boundaries for you.

Also, be aware of other people around you. Do not become too selfless but become a helpful person without letting others use you. Put some effort into understanding the people around you, so it is much easier for you to work with them.

Happiness depends on person to person, and it is a different experience for any individual. Understand yourself to define your happiness. Start being happy from now!

Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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FeaturedFree*

Signal or Telegram

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Are you one of those many users who saw a notice to accept the “new” Privacy Policy and Terms when you opened Whatsapp recently? Thereafter, you saw lots of articles on social media with bold headlines (as usual), discussing the consequences of clicking the “agree” button. This has already become one of the trending topics early in the year and has fueled the discussions on privacy concerns, which desperately needed wider attention. However, did you know that the concern about Whatsapp sharing data with the entire Facebook group was started way back in 2016?! We have even alerted you to this on our article on Whatsapp which you can find here. Also, a recently published Wired Article discusses how users have only become aware about this mass data sharing when they saw the notification a few days back.

Then came Musk with the tweet “Use Signal” (yes, that is all) which shows another trend to #BoycottWhatsapp by switching to other apps, Signal and also Telegram. They are the two leading contenders for the “good-guy messenger”, and hence we thought it will be better to understand what makes these apps better (or worse). 

Signal

Probably has one of the shortest privacy policies with just 440 words! However, this is not something your Law professor will recommend at all. The Signal app just requires your phone number for registration and other details such as profile name and picture can be added later if you prefer. And not only the messages, but also all your personal information are encrypted unlike Whatsapp, which only protects messages. 

To find out if any of your contacts are using Signal, they use “a service designed to protect the privacy of your contact”, and information of the contacts “may be cryptographically hashed and transmitted to the server”. Additionally, they have features such as “Registration Lock PIN” to enhance the user data privacy. 

So, how do they share the Information? 

When you use third-party services like YouTube (Owned by Google), Spotify and Giphy (Owned by Facebook, in other words, the company you are trying to escape from) within the Signal app, privacy policies of those particular services will be applicable. 

Furthermore, the company will share the following information,

  1. For Legal reasons 
  2. To enforce applicable terms and conditions
  3. For user and company security reasons

Believe it or not, this is all Signal has mentioned about their privacy practices, which was last updated on the 25th of May 2018. (long time no see?)

Telegram 

This app has two principles when it comes to privacy, which says that they,

  1. Don’t share user data to show ads.
  2. Only store the data they need to maintain the features and security of the app.

Compared to the Signal app, Telegram has many features, and hence they have a more complex privacy policy (yes, with many more words).

The app needs your phone number and some basic information such as profile name, picture and about information. Your screen name, profile picture and name will always be public (but doesn’t need to be a human name), but  your real name, gender, age and what you like don’t have to be public. This may lead users to “pretend” to be anyone they prefer on their Screen Name. This may raise ethical questions in addition to the privacy concerns. (Telegram is notorious for the use of illegal activities as well.)

Your email address will only be used for 2-factor authorization, to use the Telegram Passport feature, and if you need to reset the password. That’s right: no marketing or “we miss you” bullshit as they say. Since they have different chat modes, the operations vary from one to another.

Cloud Chats – store messages, photos, videos and documents from your cloud chats, with encryption (not clear if it is end-to-end) to enable you to view them from anywhere around the world. 

Secret Chats – offers end-to-end encryption and requires a secret key that only the participants will know. These chats are not stored in the servers, but only in the user devices, and Telegram also does not keep a log of the chat. Media you send in these secret chats are first encrypted and uploaded to the servers, but requires the secret chat key to open them. 

“We (Telegram) don’t know what this random data stands for and we have no idea which particular chat it belongs to”

Public Chats – Also cloud chats that are encrypted but as the name says they are open to the public to see. 

Unlike in Signal, the contacts are synced with Telegram to “notify you as soon as one of your contacts signs up” for which they use the phone number and the contact name. But you have the option to stop contacts from syncing with the app through settings. 

And of course, it says that they use cookies just to operate and provide the service and not for ad purposes. 

How do they use your personal data?

Unlike Whatsapp, Telegram is vulnerable for spamming due to the nature of its privacy policies, hence they need to take actions to prevent any spam attacks. Therefore, they will collect data such as your IP address, devices and Telegram apps you’ve used, history of username changes, and keep them for a maximum of one year. 

BOTS BOTS BOTS

Telegram API allows anyone to create bots in the app to perform actions such as finding a gif or a song. Since these bots are made by third-parties, Telegram privacy policies will not be applicable either. 

Bots can also get the screen name, username and profile picture when you interact with them. Along with the messages you send to them, IP addresses if you click on links or buttons provided by Bots, queries that you type to use a service from a bot, and group activity and messages if a bot is in a group with access to messages.

If you make payments through the app, Credit Card and other information will not be saved on Telegram servers but the particular payment provider’s servers. But users are able to clear all payment related info that are with both Telegram and service providers by using App settings.

Information will be shared among:

  1. Other Telegram users
  2. Telegram’s Group of Companies (reminds of whatsapp?)
  3. Law Enforcement Authorities

But the company allows you a number of rights such as:

(1) Request a copy of all your personal data that we store and transmit that copy to another data controller. 

(2) Delete or amend your personal data. 

(3) Restrict, or object to, the processing of your personal data. 

(4) Correct any inaccurate or incomplete personal data we hold on you; and 

(5) Lodge a complaint with national data protection authorities regarding our processing of your personal data.

How can you Delete Telegram?

If you want to delete the Account, you can do that by going to the Telegram Account Deactivation page

If you want to delete messages:

  1. Secret Chats – If you delete a message in your device, it will be deleted from the other recipient’s device as well.
  2. Cloud Chats – You can “delete for all” within 48 hours after sending. 
  3. Bot Chats – Any party can instruct to delete the entire chat history of both participants.
  4. Supergroups and Channels – You can “delete for all” but the deleted messages and original version of edited messages will be stored for 48 hours to be shown in the admin log. (almighty admin alert!)

Boom Mode – You can order all the messages in Secret chats to be Self-destructed after viewing, and by default your entire account will be deleted together with all the data if you do not come online for 6 months. You can also go to settings and reduce or increase this account self- destruction “timer”. 

If you are seeing this, Congratulations! We hope that you are now ready to take a decision. 

Tap the Agree button on Whatsapp or Uninstall it and get on board Signal or Telegram. But there may not be anything like a free lunch in the App world.

Written by: Rtr. Ashen Hirantha

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedOur Projects

Jumpstart 2020

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Being a spur for budding Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs to Initiate their Ideas, Elevate their Journey and Triumph in the field of Business, the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School presents, Jumpstart 2020

With the threat posed to the Sri Lankan economy by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lankan business owners and startup founders have been in need of an extra push to continue their day-to-day operations. From the valuable guidance and mentorship it offers, to being a platform that can validate their business ideas and find investments for their businesses, Jumpstart 2020 has been a tremendous boost for all participating startups. 

JUMPSTART is the signature Professional Development initiative of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, which took place for the 4th consecutive year in 2020. It was staged under two categories, namely the Pitch it! Win it! category and the Shark Tank category. Pitch it! Win it! was a platform for early stage business startups, or business ideators to pitch their business idea before a panel of judges, and stand a chance to win valuable prizes worth LKR 200,000. On the other hand, the Shark Tank round opened an incredible opportunity for businesses in the growth stage, where they were brought to the same table with renowned investors in the country in numerous fields. They were given the opportunity to present their businesses to the investors and stand a chance to win investments for a return of equity in their businesses. Jumpstart also comprised of a valuable Series of Workshops, conducted with the aim of improving the entrepreneurial skills of not only its participants but also the general public. 

Despite having to conduct the whole competition on a virtual platform due to the prevailing health care regulations in the country, we humbly believe Jumpstart 2020 equally served its purpose in the quality of competition it offered to its participants, as well as the experience and exposure it gave to all upcoming entrepreneurs. 

Jumpstart 2020 kicked start on the 7th of November 2020 with the first workshop of its workshop series, Pitch Perfect. Conducted by Mr. Biman Liyanage, CEO & Founder of CirQ Technologies, the workshop addressed on how to effectively pitch one’s business idea. He introduced many important techniques such as the elevator pitch, and the 3-to-5-minute pitch, and also guided the audience on how to prepare a sound business plan.

Following this, the preliminary round of Pitch It! Win It! took place on the 21st of November 2020, with 28 teams pitching their unique business ideas. The Esteemed Panel of Judges consisted of Mr. Aloka Gunasekara, Mr. Milinda Thilakaratne and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Having had the opportunity to witness all the pitches, it was a pleasure to watch the participants engage in not only a heated competition but also genuine teamwork, where each participant spoke about their idea with extreme passion.

Five talented finalists with the most outstanding pitches were chosen to compete for the ultimate award at the Grand Finale!

Jumpstart 2020 would not have been possible if not for our wonderful partners. We are extremely grateful for our partners, namely, 

  • CIMA Sri Lanka- Bronze Partner
  • Venture Frontier- Knowledge Partner
  • Shirtworks- Gift Partner
  • PwC- Advisory Partner
  • E-Law Chambers – Legal Consultation Partner
  • Hub9 coworking- Co-working space partner
  • StartupX Foundry – Mentoring Partner
  • Myshopbox – IT solutions partner
  • Chokolate – Media Partner
  • Thuru – Reforestation Partner

The five finalists of the Pitch It! Win It! category were assisted and overlooked for two weeks leading up to the finals by industry experts from our advisory partner PwC, to help them perform effectively at the finals. 

The remaining workshops took place during the last two weeks of November. Mr. Kavinda Dasanayaka conducted the workshop on Finance and Bookkeeping while the workshop on Marketing and Sales was conducted by Mr. Ahmed Irfan. Next was the Fundraising workshop conducted by Mr. Kishan Nadarajah followed by the final workshop of the series on Legal Aspect of startups conducted by Mr. Revan Weerasinghe. 

The Grand Finale of Jumpstart 2020 consisted of the Pitch It! Win It! Finale and the Shark Tank round. The 6th of December was a day much eagerly anticipated not only by the participants of the Pitch It! Win It! and Shark Tank but also by the organizing committee. The Pitch it! Win it! finalists pitched their business ideas once again before the esteemed panel of judges which comprised of Mrs. Nevindaree Premaratne, Mr. Enosh Praveen and Mr. Zowfir Zaheed. Following this, the finalists were given a realistic business scenario customized to their business and industry to be solved within an hour, where they had to present the built strategies and solutions to the judges and audience. 

While the heated Finals of Pitch it! Win it! was brewing, Shark Tank was simultaneously taking place with 13 well established Growth Stage startups. They presented their businesses to the sharks, who were prepared to offer investments for the startups they deemed worthy. 

The closing ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 started off with the address of the chief guest, Mr. Dulith Herath who himself had been very impressed after listening to some of the pitches that had taken place. He inspired the audience as he spoke about how he too had started from rock bottom and built Kapruka and Java Lounge into what it is today. 

Team ‘Plutous’ topped the list in this year’s event and went on to be crowned champions of jumpstart 2020, securing prizes worth more than LKR 200,000 inclusive of coworking from Hub9 Coworking, mentoring from StartupX Foundry, legal consultation from E-Law chambers and IT solutions from Shopbox LK. Team Flash came on to take the spot of runners up and received prizes worth LKR 100,000. The remaining finalists also won valuable prizes worth LKR 50,000.

The Award Ceremony of Jumpstart 2020 was held on the 2nd of January 2021 at Hub9 CoWorking Spaces, Colombo 8, where all Finalists were invited and handed over their awards and certificates. After knowing each other from a months long virtual project, it felt wonderful to finally meet our contestants face to face and have a chat. It was agreed by everyone that having to conduct Jumpstart 2020 virtually was truely an experience to remember for both participants and organizers alike. 

The project’s success owed to not one or a few, but to our entire club. Each and every member did their utmost to make sure this project lived up to its potential. A very big thank you to our wonderful club, our generous sponsors and to our eager participants.

Thank you for making Jumpstart 2020 tougher, bigger and better!

Written by: Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – December

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Football

  • Despite an injury-depleted squad, Liverpool managed to stay on top of the Premier League table during the festive season, despite dropping points against Newcastle and Southampton. A resurgent Manchester United follow close behind, while Leicester also is just one point behind. Only 4 points separate the top 7 teams in an exceptionally close season. On the other end of the spectrum, a struggling West Brom fired manager Slaven Bilic, replacing him with Sam Allardyce.
  • Despite a loss in the Madrid Derby, Atletico Madrid remained on top of the La Liga table with Real Madrid following in 2nd with Barcelona in 3rd. Having 3 games in hand over their nearest rivals, Atletico Madrid seems to be in a strong position to win the title. Surprise package Real Sociedad struggled, falling down to 5th place with Villareal hanging on to 4th. Lionel Messi broke the record for the most goals scored for a single club, breaking Pele’s record of 643 for Santos, during a game against Real Valladolid. (Although, the claim was disputed by Santos)
  • AC Milan maintained their position on top of the Serie A table, with city rivals Inter Milan following 3 points behind. Despite beating the leaders, Juventus have been inconsistent under Andrea Pirlo, remaining in 4th place in the table. Cristiano Ronaldo also moved past Pele on the records list, this time going past Pele’s 758 career goals while scoring a brace against Udinese.
  • Bayern Munich went into the Bundesliga winter break leading the table over rivals RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen. Borussia Dortmund bid farewell to manager Lucien Favre after a 5-1 loss at Stuttgart with caretaker manager Edin Terzic taking over. Archrivals Schalke remain in the relegation spots and have gone for nearly a year without a single Bundesliga win, coming near to breaking a 50+ year old record.

Cricket

  • Despite getting off to a strong start, Sri Lanka suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of South Africa with injuries to several key players hampering the squad. The first test match saw Faf Du Plessis falling just short of a double century, falling for 199 in a match that South Africa won by an innings. In the second test, despite a strong bowling performance in the first innings with Vishwa Fernando getting his maiden test 5-wicket haul and a Dimuth Karunaratne century, Sri Lanka would fall to a 10 wicket loss.
  • The Border-Gavaskar trophy got off to an explosive start as an astonishing second innings collapse saw India dismissed for 36 after taking a substantial first-innings lead. Ajinkya Rahane took over as captain for the second test, with India hitting back immediately to win the Boxing Day test match at the MCG, on the back of a Rahane century.
  • New Zealand rose to No.1 on the test cricket rankings for the first time, completing a 2-0 series victory against Pakistan after a 2-0 series victory against the West Indies. The first test against Pakistan was a close affair with Pakistan surviving into the final session of the game before Mitchell Santner took the crucial final wicket. That match was also notable for Fawad Alam scoring his first test century in more than 10 years and Neil Wagner bowling with 2 broken toes. Kane Williamson’s sublime form saw him rise to the top of the test cricket batting rankings, overtaking Steve Smith.
  • The Big Bash League got underway with the introduction of several new innovations such as the Power Surge (Where the last 2 overs of the powerplay can be taken at any point after the 10-over mark in the innings), Bash Boost (where teams can get an extra point for being ahead of the opponents at the 10-over mark of the innings) and X-Factor (Which allows a team to substitute a player at the 10-over point of the first innings). Sydney Sixers currently lead the points table, with Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers following close behind.

F1

  • F1 raced on December for the second time in history, the last time F1 race in december was the 2019 Abu Dhabi GP held on December 1st 2019
  • With Lewis Hamilton testing positive a wide variety of names were thrown around the paddock for who can replace the 7 time world champion.Finally George Russell was announced as the replacement for the Champion at the Baharin outer ring race. Jack Aitken replaced Russell at Williams.
  •  Russell showed what he was capable of doing with the Mercedes car by being the fastest in 2 practice sessions and qualifying P2 behind Bottas with just 0.028 seconds off.
  • The race start was quite exciting for fans as all eyes were on the new star of the show. George got an absolutely stunning start getting Bottas by turn 1 and into the distance.
  • By turn 4 Leclerc locked up his breaks and crashed into Perez who spun round while Leclerc broke his suspension and was in the wall along with Verstappen who was in a wrong place, wrong time situation. Perez was last by the end of lap 1 but was quickly up the order due to the high speed and short track F1 raced on in the week.
  • With another safety car session about ¾ of the way during the race caused by Aitken crashing at the exit of the last turn, Mercedes decided to double stack the drivers which went horribly wrong with the pit crew mixing up the tyres of Russell and Bottas. Very un Mercedes like!
  • This disaster made a Mercedes 1-2 finish impossible and with the drama that unrolled Bottas was P4 and Russell was P5, After the restart Russell did a brilliant move on Bottas which the fans absolutely loved and was on the hunt for the win.Russell was upto P2 while he was said to pit again due to a slow puncture on his left rear. This stop made him drop out of the points.
  • This made way for Sergio Perez who was last at the end of Lap 1 on to his first win in F1 which after a brilliant effort he got, with Esteban Ocon taking his first podium at P2 and Lance Stroll finishing P3
  • Russell finished P9 with the fastest lap and driver of the day and earned his first points in F1 which could have been a first win for him.
  • Coming on to the Abu Dhabi GP the coming week it was still unsure if Lewis Hamilton was going to race the final race of the season. But on friday it was confirmed Lewis  will be racing at Abu dhabi.
  • Russell was back in the Williams while Mick Schumacher debuted his first F1 practice session with Hass.
  • Mercedes seemed to struggle a bit at the track while Verstappen was fastest in all the sessions and taking his 3rd pole in his career in qualifying.
  • The race was quite boring to watch as there was not much track action happening due to the layout of the track which makes following the cars really difficult. But there were some moves done in the mid feild 
  • Max Verstappen won the race with Bottas and Hamilton finishing P2 and P3.
  • Max Verstappen was on to get a Grand Slam (Pole Position, Race win, Fastest Lap, Lead every lap of the race) which would make him the youngest to do so, But on the last lap his former teammate Riccardo took the fastest lap.
  • What’s interesting is Riccardo was also the person who sabotaged Verstappen being the youngest pole sitter
  • Mclaren was P3 in the constructors championship which was a really tight battle between Renult and Racing point.
  • Sergio Perez was announced as the new teammate of Verstappen at Redbull with Albon being demoted as the Reserve driver for the team.
  • Yuki Tsunoda was announced as the second driver of Alpha Tuari. We now have a Japanese F1 driver since 2014
  • Lewis Hamilton is sey to be Knighted by the Queen of England on new years eve. But the knight still has a contract to be signed with Mercedes where there is rumored to be some irregularities in the clauses.
  • Nikita Mazepin is probably the most hated driver on the 2021 grid with his actions that were posted on his social media and was taken down very soon as the fans started to rage.
  • Australian GP is planned to be the Season opener in 2021. 
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FeaturedJoint Projects

Blind Walk 2020

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Blind Walk is one of the award winning projects that focuses on alleviating the plight of the visually impaired, by taking steps to make their lives better. Introduced to Sri Lanka in the year 2016, Blind Walk was conducted with the aim of making people experience the lives of the visually challenged. Another valuable intention of the walk is to raise funds in aid of the visually impaired persons in Sri Lanka while encouraging people to pledge to donate eyes following their demise. 

Blind Walk is organized by the the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town, along with their sponsoring Rotaract Clubs; Rotaract Club of Colombo Mid Town, Rotaract Club of ACBT, Rotaract Club of University of Colombo Faculty of Management and Finance and Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School. In 2020, Blind Walk was organized with the theme Hope in Sight, portraying the importance of one’s vision. Although the physical event had to be cancelled due to the unfortunate re-rising of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Blind Walk took a new twist, keeping firm to not forget the beautiful cause it was initiated for. 

Blind Walk 2020 took the form of a Talk Show, and was conducted on the 15th of October 2020 adhering to the health care regulations in the country. It was hosted by Rtr. Aaamina Ismail, President of the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance. She was accompanied by two guests; Rtn. PHF Mayur Varia and Rtn. PHF PP Hussain Fazlebas. The Talk Show was conducted through a virtual platform which was featured as Rotaract’s First Online Donation Campaign. The Blind Walk talk show was streamed live on YouTube via Rotaract TV channel.

To start off, Rtn. Mayur enlightened the audience on World Sight Day. He said that it was initiated with the aim of raising awareness about blindness and preventable blindness which is a continuing global issue. World Sight Day which falls on the second Thursday of October each year, is also the reason why Blind Walk is held during this time. He went on to discuss the two concepts of Preventable Blindness and Vision Impairment, and spoke about how Preventable Blindness can be easily cured by using a pair of spectacles or undergoing a cataract surgery. However, many people especially in rural areas, suffer tremendously due to Preventable Blindness due to their lack of knowledge about the cures or not being able to afford them. Therefore, he strongly stressed on the importance of educating the public on this matter and providing them with the support they need. 

Rtn. Mayur acknowledged that Sri Lanka pioneered the Corneal Transplantation which is a popular method to give sight to people today. He was proud that Sri Lanka is maintaining high rates of Donors to even provide corneas to foreign countries. 

Thereafter Rtn. Hussain spoke about the History of Blind Walk. He said that it was inspired by ‘Project Vision’, originated in 2013in Bangalore by Fr. Dr. George Kanamthnamby. Following that, Blind Walk was initiated with the aim of encouraging people to donate their eyes at death, in order to control the increase of blind people in the World. In 2016, Sri Lanka had been invited to be a part of it by Father George himself, and Rtn. Hussain who was the President of the Rotary Club of Colombo Midtown, had accepted it. With that, Sri Lanka had been a part of Blind Walk 2016 which was simultaneously held in 55 locations spanning five countries.  

Furthermore Rtn. Mayur spoke about the short term and long term impacts of not treating preventable blindness. He highlighted that it is not merely the ‘sight’ of a person that blindness takes away, but that it also affects the function of their brain and other parts of the body. He further mentioned that this will be an unnecessary burden on society. He said that this has become a serious issue amongst adults as well as school children, which has hindered them from achieving great heights which they are capable of. Therefore, he said that it is essential that people are given treatment as early as possible. 

Next Rtn. Hussain briefed the audience about how Blind Walk had taken place over the past few years. Sighted people were blind folded and made to walk about a kilometer, giving them the feel of the lives of the visually impaired. He spoke about the astonishing reaction of the participants afterwards, as to how people manage their lives without vision as well as how privileged one is to be gifted with it. He mentioned that the walk was usually followed by a musical programme, and in the year 2016, was conducted by children from the Blind School. Blind Walk had taken place in 2017, and after a break in 2018, had come back in 2019 with a remarkable participation of 150 individuals in the walk alone, resulting in over 120 eye pledges. Rtn. Hussain believed Blind Walk has served its purpose over the years, which is to make people understand enough to pledge their eyes. 

Rtn. Mayur again spoke about the seriousness of the situation in Sri Lanka, and said that at least 10% of School children are visually challenged. He stressed on the importance of treating preventable blindness at an early age, so that the future of these children are not wasted. He said that something as simple as a pair of spectacles or a cataract surgery may be life changing to some children, and that it may pave the path to many wonders that they have the potential for. Rtn. Mayur ended by saying that we need all the support we can get for this cause. 

On an ending note Rtn. Hussain shared the impact Blind Walk has made over the years.He again spoke about how it has inspired more and more eye pledges in the country and that Blind Walk 2019 also collected funds which were directed to visually impaired School Children in Sri Lanka through a programme called ‘Vision 2020’. 

Further to that, Fr. Dr. George, founder of ‘Project Vision’ shared a few words on what inspired him to initiate it. He said that the donation of eyes could be one of the best strategies to bring sight to a visually challenged person, and through eye donation about 20% who are visually impaired today can be given sight. He ended with the beautiful words, ‘Let us all commit to allow our eyes to love after our death’. 

Followed by this District Rotaract Representative Rtn. Rtr. PP Kasun Sigera joined the talk show and expressed his thoughts of Blind Walk. He praised the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town and the organizing Rotaract Clubs for working toward such a phenomenal cause. 

By the end of the session Blind Walk 2020 had reached a monetary pledge of LKR 211,000 which will be directed to the visually impaired persons in Sri Lanka. With that, Rtr. Aaamina ended the session with one last reminder for everyone to try to become someone’s Hope in Sight.

Written by: Rtr. Rukaiya Shahabdeen

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedFree*

The Real Deal with Truecaller

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Truecaller is the most widely used app to find that person (or robot) who keeps calling you, without ever accepting their calls and saving you enough patience. The service has come well in handy, and is widely used today. Hence it is worth understanding exactly how Truecaller works, and how they use our information, in order to help us identify spam callers. 

First and foremost, to use the service you need to register by providing basic information such as your name, phone number (obviously) and “optional” details such as gender, address and email. Such information is then “supplemented” by using third party data about us. This will include demographic information and additional contact details (if they are publicly available). So it is understood that once registered with the app, it will not be difficult for Truecaller to find a way to reach you in the future. However, this is just the beginning!

As a primary consequence of using the Truecaller app, it will collect personal information from you as well as any device through which you use the app. It is a long list including Geographical Location, IP address, device type and settings, SIM card usage, other apps on the device, and web browser. 

When you agree to use the app, you accept that they may collect, use, and retain information provided by third-party services (Information more specific than the earlier mentioned demographic details). That is, if you use Facebook or Google to sign in for the app, they may automatically provide Truecaller with information such as your payment handle, Unique ID, content viewed by you, content liked by you and details on the ads you have seen on those services. However, we can be glad that they don’t at least take our passwords of those services.

Further more, by using Truecaller, you will be  providing  access to your contact list, device log and other details such as metadata of incoming and outgoing calls and messages. And what exactly do they collect? As per the privacy policy, Truecaller will not only get the phone numbers and names (even if they are saved as Flash, Arrow, etc.), but also the Google ID’s and email addresses if you have included them under each contact. So technically when you use the app, all of your friends (and foes) in the contact are also giving their information to Truecaller unknowingly (even if they do not use the app). So, I hope you understand that this also means that if at least any one person who has you in their contacts is Using Truecaller, that your details are already included in the Truecaller Diary!

But it is good to remember that you can always delist your number or opt-out to render your entire contact information unavailable for search in the Truecaller database. We will let you know how to do so later in the article. 

Before that, how does the company use this information?

It uses them to deliver us their list of services which is to, provide smart caller ID, display the number associated with the name when manually searched in the database, provide details such as “who viewed my profile”, and “availability”, send push notifications in the app, deliver messages, and finally maintain the spam caller list, also known as the Blacklist.

As usual, they will use the information to “personalize” the services (another way of saying to show ads) and other communications like emails and SMS. 

Talking about messages you send through the app; they will be retained for a limited time in order to deliver accordingly but “unless specifically stated” (which is not explained further) they will not “monitor the content of your messages”

In addition, Truecaller will share the information they have about you for legal aspects as well as with “trusted vendors, service providers and other parties” who assist them to operate the business. 

Press 0 to (almost) opt-out 

As we mentioned before, yes, you can ask the company to make your contact information unavailable to search in their database. But no, it is not easy like ticking a check box off.  You will to go through the process of informing the company on your “wish” through their website or by sending an email to support@truecaller.com, and following the steps.

However, at least it is easy to limit or opt-out of the collection of your personal details and use them to target ads, by going to your app/device settings. 

In summary you need to provide your contact details in order to know who is calling (and spam calling) you. Also, there is no mention about for how long the company will keep your personal data in their servers and databases. Although not available for Sri Lanka, some regions and countries, can have more control over the data that Truecaller collects, due to their strict privacy protection.

So that is what you need to know, 

  1. If you are using the app
  2. If you are planning to use the app
  3. Or if your friend(s) use the Truecaller app. 

Call Ended.

Written by: Rtr. Ashen Hirantha

Edited by: Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedOur Projects

Cut the Greed, not the Green: Phase 2

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About an hour after dawn on the 7th of September 2020, a group of young, energetic Rotaractors boarded a bus to reach Ingiriya, which was the planned location for the second phase of the Project Cut the Greed, Not the Green. Having reached our destination by 8.00 am, we at once realized the change in surrounding both physically and mentally. We were surrounded with so much greenery which was not a part of our everyday lives, since we all lived in highly urbanized areas. The rain had given the flora and fauna that occupied the area a proper awakening. It was such a mesmerizing view with the sun peeking through the leaves of the nearby trees, and the noises made by birds and other animals, resulting in a perfect morning. 

In addition to our group of Rotaractors we were accompanied by a team from the organization Reforest Sri Lanka, a group of students from St. John’s School Panadura, the working staff of a nearby Water Board, the senior officer of a nearby Police station and a few more enthusiastic individuals. 

The samplings were to be planted at the bank of the Kalu Ganga, in Ingiriya. As we stepped into the wooded pathway that led there, we immediately realized that the leeches had already emerged due to the rain, and this was naturally something none of us liked. A slight drizzle continued, but it was no turn around for us as we were nothing but focused on reaching the goal of planting the 400 samplings that we had planned for the day. 

Once all the samplings were unloaded from a lorry, we split into 2 groups which consisted of a good mix of Rotaractos from our club and other volunteers. One group headed to the nearby river bank with mammoties and trowels, while the other got onto a fully loaded boat that took them to a more densely forested areas of the river bank one could not reach by foot. 

The group that went by foot immediately began to plant the samplings near the river bank. The place was smaller than we expected, so after completing planting on the bank, we looked for another spot where we could plant the rest. The kind villager helped us with finding the perfect place for the job; a grove a little away from the river. She took us through a paddy field where we had to walk over a long canal boundary to avoid the mud water on both sides and we crossed several small water streams to reach the destination. Thereafter, we successfully planted all the saplings we had.

The group which took the boar ride had quite an experience as the surrounding scenery looked exceptionally calm and beautiful, and we felt the cold wind and water droplets hitting us as we proceeded towards our location on the boat. The time on the boat enabled the team to interact with each other, which added to the good time we were already having. Our voices and laughter were second only to the sound of the boat engine. 

Apart from experiencing leech bites, slips, mud patches and scratches, we also stumbled across some illegally brewed liquor and were able to witness its disposal in the hands of the local police officers having had the chance to know how the brewing is actually done. 

A few hours passed and with almost all the samplings bedded on the side of the river bank and we decided to call it a day and head back to reunite with the others. We had quite a rough time trying to load the boat back onto a lorry on a muddy and slippery surface and it required a lot of manpower and teamwork.

By the time the boat was loaded we were even more exhausted and that was when the rains started pouring again and everyone scurried for cover depriving us of our long awaited lunch. Reforest Sri Lanka provided us and the other volunteers with lunch packets and the kind lady who helped us to find the grove earlier prepared tea for the entire crew. It was amazing to to enjoy the delicious meal while laughing about the epic moments happened throughout the day, and watching the rain outside.

They say all good things must come to an end, and likewise we had to wrap up an adventurous, productive and fun-filled day. The team of Rotaractors gathered to say goodbye and thank everyone who were a part of the project. 

While walking down the road to catch a bus home we laughed and talked about the experiences we had that day,  and within a time span of two hours we were able to carry our tired selves back home with a lot of satisfaction and memories to cherish, looking forward to the next phase of Cut the Greed, not the Green.

Written by: Rtr. Priyan Jerome

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedGeneral

Diego Maradona

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Diego Maradona was an Argentinian football legend who is also known as one of the greatest football players of all time. A short but fearless midfielder, renowned for his ability to create scoring chances for himself and others, Maradona has led club teams to championships in Argentina, Italy and Spain, and famously starred the Argentinian team that won the World Cup in 1986. 

Diego Armando Maradona was born on October 30, 1960, in Lanus in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Maradona grew up in a poor but close-knit household. He received his first soccer ball as a gift at the age of three, and soon became devoted to the game. Maradona was first discovered by a soccer talent scout at the tender age of eight ,while playing for a neighborhood club. Soon after being identified, he was recruited to play for the club Australia Rojas, and went on to play for Los Cebollitas, which is the younger team club for the blended areas club Argentine Juniors. 

“When Diego came to Argentinos Juniors for trials, I was really struck by his talent and couldn’t believe he was only eight years old. In fact, we even asked him for his ID card so we could check it, but he told us he didn’t have it with him. We were sure he was having us on, because although he had the physique of a child, he played like an adult. When we discovered he’d been telling us the truth, we decided to devote ourselves purely to him.”— these were the words of Francisco Cornejo, youth coach who discovered Maradona.

Maradona has always been known for his incredible footwork, and it seems he figured it out pretty early. By age 12, he was entertaining the crowd at halftime at first division games with his ball handling skills, and at 15, Maradona made his debut for the Buenos Aires club Argentine juniors. He went on to play for Argentine Juniors for four years, scoring 115 goals in 167 matches. And if you remember he was not playing attacking midfielder as a striker. He made his debut for the Argentinian national team at the age of sixteen in 1977, but he was left out of the 1978 World Cup squad as the manager believed he was too young. So 1979, Maradona played in the Youth World Championship and was the star of the entire tournament.

Maradona played his first World Cup tournament in 1982 in his new country of residence, Spain. The crowd was eager to see Maradona in action, but unfortunately he did not perform to expectations, since there were internal tensions within the team, with the younger, less experienced players at odds with the older, more experienced players.

Maradona captained the Argentine national team to victory in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, winning the final in Mexico City against West Germany. His performance there included two memorable goals in a quarter-final victory over England. The first was scored illegally with his left hand, which Maradona later claimed was the work of “The hand of God”. Altogether, Maradona played in four World Cups, and scored an impressive 34 goals in 91 international appearances for Argentina.

Despite his unquestioned brilliance on the pitch, the emotional Maradona became equally well known as a highly controversial figure. He became addicted to cocaine while playing in Spain in the 1980s and received a 15-month suspension after testing positive for the substance in 1991. Maradona endured another high-profile suspension three years later, this time for testing positive for ephedrine during the World Cup.

After Maradona’s retirement in 2008, he was hired to coach the Argentinian national team. He led the team to the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the coach. Although they had a great start to the tournament, unfortunately Argentina lost to Germany in the Quarter Finals, after which Maradona stepped down as the coach.

Diego Maradona, one of the greatest soccer players of all time, died due to a heart attack at the age of 60 just two weeks after being discharged from hospital for a bleed on his brain. When his death was announced, the football players and fans around the world could not hold back their tears. A three day mourning period was declared by Argentina President Alberto Fernandez, and his words at Maradona’s funeral were, ‘He was someone who touched the sky with his hands but never took his feet off the ground”, This was the feeling the whole world had towards Maradona’s, whcih goes to know what a phenomenal and humble character he was. Diego may be gone, but Maradona will be remembered in everyone’s hearts as one of the greatest football player forever.

Written by: Rtr. Rishad Mohiyade

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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FeaturedISThe Sports Express

The Sports Express – November

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Cricket

  • The Lankan Premier League finally got up and running and has served up some truly excellent cricket so far with the very first games between Kandy Tuskers and Colombo Kings going all the way to a super over. Jaffna Stallions led by Thisara Perera and his blistering form are unbeaten at the top after 3 games, with Dasun Shanaka’s Dambulla Viking and Colombo Kings in hot pursuit. In a rain-curtailed 5 over game Andre Russel blasted a 16 delivery half-century, while other standout performances include wonderful knocks from Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Isuru Udana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Shahid Afridi, Thisara Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka. The highest wicket-taker so far is Asela Gunaratne of the Kandy Tuskers.
  • The Women’s Big Bash League ended in a victory for Sydney Thunder, defeating Melbourne Stars by 7 wickets in the final. Sophie Devine won the player of the series for the second consecutive season while Shabin Ismail was the player of the final.
  • India’s tour of Australia got off to a poor start with a 2-1 loss in the ODI series. Steven Smith was the star of the show, scoring consecutive 62 ball hundreds.
  • England whitewashed South Africa 3-0 in the T20I series, with David Malan scoring an unbeaten 99 in the series finale
  • New Zealand defeated Windies 2-0 in the T20I series between the two teams
  • The Pakistan Super League was won by the Karachi Kings after defeating Lahore Qalanders in the final. The player of the final was well as the series went to Pakistan’s new all-format captain, Babar Azam.

Football

  • Argentine footballing legend, Diego Armando Maradona died at the age of 60 after suffering a sudden heart attack. Commonly regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona led Argentina to victory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup, scoring a brilliant goal against England in the quarterfinals. At the club level, he was known for his exploits with Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli. On the weekend both Barcelona and Napoli showed respect for Maradona during their goal celebrations, with Messi unveiling a Newell’s Old Boys shirt, a club which Maradona played for at the end of his career. He will be fondly remembered for his exploits on the football pitch.
  • The UEFA Champions League neared the end of its group stages with a couple of groups having all teams in contention. 13 time champions Real Madrid suffered a second surprise loss to Shakhtar Donetsk leaving them under pressure going into the final game of the group stage. Braut Erling-Haaland of Borussia Dortmund became the fastest player to reach 15 Champions League goals, achieving the milestone in just 12 games.
  • The UEFA Nations League took place during the international break with Belgium, Italy, France and Spain progressing to the 4 nation finals. Meanwhile, Scotland qualified for Euro 2020, their first major tournament since 1998 while North Macedonia qualified for their very first major international tournament. Euro 2020 ( not 2021), will take place across several European Stadiums in the summer of 2021
  • Tottenham Hotspur under Jose Mourinho moved to the top of the Premier League table after an excellent month where they beat Manchester City and drew against Chelsea. Defending champions Liverpool remain in hot pursuit, on equal points with Tottenham while Chelsea and Leicester City take up the remaining Champions League places.
  • Real Sociedad maintained their surprise lead in the La Liga Table, with 3 wins and a draw in the month of October. Atletico Madrid remain one point behind, but with 2 games in hand while usual suspects Real Madrid and Barcelona are yet to find their best form with Real Madrid losing to Alaves over the weekend while Barcelona were also beaten by Atletico Madrid during the month
  • Business as usual in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich maintained their lead in the table, 2 points above RB Leipzig. Der Klassiker, the rivalry between Bayern and Dortmund ended in a 3-2 victory for Munich, consolidating their lead at the top.
  • AC Milan maintained their unbeaten start in Serie A, buoyed by the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who unfortunately was injured in their win against Napoli. Inter Milan and Juventus as well as surprise package Sassuolo take up the rest of the top 4

Rugby

  • The 2020 Six Nations Rugby Championship commenced after the initial postponement due to the pandemic with England emerging as champions following a victory against Italy.
  • Argentina defeated New Zealand for the very first time in their history with a 15-25 win in the Tri-Nations tournament in Sydney

F1 

  • November F1 weekend kicked off after a week’s break from the last race in Imola.
  • It was yet another return to an iconic race track, it was none other than Turkey. This track has given us a lot of exciting races and just 3 drivers of the current grid have raced in F1 when they were last here.
  •  Max Verstappen was so confident coming into the weekend where he said in a podcast that he can take the magnificent double apex turn 8 in full throttle and with his eye closed.
  • But from FP1 it was obvious that it was not gonna happen as the track had been resurfaced and drivers often referring to it to be smooth as a baby’s bottom. It was a very slippery track indeed.
  • The Turkish GP was the first time this season where the dominant team was genuinely struggling and did not secure a pole position for the first time this season.
  • But yet a Mercedes powered Racing point (Some Say its the copy of last years Mercedes) of Lance Stroll secured pole from the weekend dominating Max Verstappen who would have been gutted to not get Pole and secured P2 while Sergio Perez got P3
  • Despite leading the race for the most of the first part of the rainy race Lance Stroll had damage on his car and a wrong strategy call made him lose the lead. Sebastian Vettel got a superb start while Bottas and Ocon spinned into Turn 1 at the start.
  • With a lot of spins on track and varying track conditions, drivers had to improvise. What most drivers did was use the softer intermediate tyres and wear out the tread to make it a tyre good for the wet and the dry. 
  • With all this happening Lewis Hamilton drove a Championship worthy drive till the end and Won the Turkish GP along with securing his 7th world title Equaling him to the record held by Michale Schumacher.
  • Sergio Perez Secured P2 while Sebastian Vettel finished in P3. These 3 drivers were the only 3 drivers to have raced in F1 the last time F1 was in Turkey.
  •  After another week of a break F1 is in the middle east for the final 3 back to back races including the season finale.
  • First race of the final triple header was in Bahrain.
  • The race was filled with one very big incident at the exit turn 3 on lap 1 where fans were in shock when the car of Romain Grosjean went into the barrier and went up in flames instantly.
  • Thanks to the FIA and F1 for increasing the safety of the modern day F1 car, the driver only suffered 2nd degree burns on the back of his hands despite his car breaking into two and him being in a raging fire for more than 20s before jumping out to safety.
  • This incident also meant that any argument on the Halo will no longer be spoken of as if it hadn’t been there the outcome would have been very bad.
  • After a 90 minute delay they restarted only to have the safety car deployed since Lance Stroll was hanging upside down after having contact with Kyvat.
  • Despite the incidents in the opening stages the race continued with much excitement in the mid field, with multiple strategies being used in the high degradation circuit and at the closing stages the Podium finishes seemed to be settled.
  • Perez was in P3 at the closing stages but  with just a few laps to go his MGU-H gave up and burst into flames which ended his race.
  • Lewis Hamilton collected his 95th win with Max Verstappen P2 and Alex Albon P3. The first time Redbull had a Double podium finish since the 2017 Japanese GP.
  • The final 2 races of the season will be held at the outer ring of the Bahrain circuit where lap times will be under a minute and the Season closer in Abu Dhabi.
  • On the 30th of November, the day after the Bahrain GP, the 2020 world champion Lewis Hamilton was tested Positive for Covid-19, which will now make the Battle for 4th in the drivers standing and 3rd for the Constructor Championship very interesting and there is a lot of speculation on who the replacement will be.
  • Will it be Hulkenburg? Will it be Vandoorne? Will it be Russell? Wait for the 2020 December edition of the sports express to find out!

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FeaturedFree*

Uber: A Much Needed Reveal

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Feeling down and need someone to cuddle with? How about a kitten, and you don’t need to buy one for yourself either. Just “Uber” it! Yes, Uber offers the service Uber KITTENS in 7 US cities which gives you the chance to find a pet to spend some time with while donating the proceedings to animal shelters. (Sounds like daily doubles)

After discussing about the home-grown ride hailing app, ‘Pick Me’, we turn towards their biggest competitor in Sri Lanka, Uber. Being one of the most recognized companies in the world, Uber entered the Sri Lankan market in the year 2015, and has expanded its presence aggressively through a number of offerings to their customers. With the recent arrival of UberEATS, they have become one of the mostly used apps, further increasing its impact on Sri Lankans. Therefore, through this article we will dig into the Privacy Statement of Uber, to bring out some interesting facts you might not have known! (You will reach your destination in 5 minutes)

As per the statement, there are three kinds of information that Uber collects about you and their drivers, and we will be mainly focusing on the points that really matter to the users. One such information is the information you provide when you sign up for the service, which includes basic personal details, while if you select to sign up using Facebook or Google, will also include some of your information on those services. Secondly Uber will also collect data regarding when you use the app and while the third and most obvious data points being Location Data. Similar to ‘Pick Me’, they may collect your location data when you have opened the app as well as when it is in the background.

Especially the location data will be collected from the point of you requesting a service until you reach your destination, or the foody cravings are delivered to you. Yes, you can always turn off your location data once you have booked a ride, but since your driver’s location is always tracked, Uber will automatically link that information to your account. (Smooth Criminal!)

They also collect data from a number of other sources which include device data, app usage data and cookies. One feature of the app is that it allows you to contact your driver or the delivery person without revealing your contact details. To provide this feature, it will collect information such as date & time, along with the content of the communication. Of course, that helps you to lodge a complain when that one Uber driver starts to misbehave!

For what do they use these data? Some of the uses are – to help them improve to provide and maintain their services, ustomer Support, Research and Development, Personalize the services (which let you know that you always choose pizza for dinner)

They also want you to know that your “personal” data is not sold for marketing and other purposes.

This information is then shared among a number of parties, including other users, Uber Subsidiaries / Affiliates, Service Providers (Including OGs Google and Facebook) and Business Partners.  

Can you (un)ride Uber? Yes, you always have the options from changing or accessing your data, receive a copy of your data with Uber to delete your account. (Case Solved)

Once your (wish) is granted, it will take around 90 days to completely wipe out your data with Uber, given that there is no issue between you and them.

So, compared to ‘Pick Me’, Uber offers number of privacy options for the users to have control over their data. (But if you use it in USA or Europe you can reach the Privacy Level: Thanos)

We have a cookie a.k.a Bonus fact for you – Did you know that Kottawa Town and University of Jayewardenepura are among the top 5 Uber destination in 2019?

Written by: Rtr. Ashen Hirantha

Edited by: Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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