‘Japana Hapana’ and ‘Cheena Patas’

Published : 12:01 am  September 23, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  5,071 views  |  
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The story begins in 1951, to be precise, on 8 April. The day on which the Treaty of San Francisco, between Japan and part of the Allied Powers who fought World War II, was signed. It was signed by 48 nations, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. The Treaty came into force on 28 April 1952. This Treaty served officially to end World War II. It ended Japan’s position as an imperial power, it allocated compensation to Allied civilians and former prisoners of war who had suffered Japanese war crimes, and to end the Allies’ military occupation of Japan and return sovereignty to that defeated nation. The Treaty of San Francisco and the Security Treaty signed the same day signifies... 

China reaches out

Published : 12:01 am  September 16, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  626 views  |  
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President Xi of China is scheduled to visit India and Sri Lanka. The Middle Kingdom of ancient times is asserting itself on the world stage. The current leaders of China are driven by a ‘manifest destiny’, a strategic view that China is destined to play a dominant role in their region and the world. Historically, from the time of the Emperors, China has considered the rest of the world, including its neighbours, especially those untouched by Chinese culture, as inferiors. For over 2,000 years, what is now called the South China Sea has been a meeting point for diverse cultures and for global trade. A more historically accurate name for that expanse of ocean would be ‘Malay Sea,’ since... 

World War I and Ceylon

Published : 12:00 am  September 10, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  1 Comment  |  2,517 views  |  
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  Consequences of conflict   August 2014 marked a very sombre anniversary for most of Europe and the world. It was in this month that the Great War, or First World War as it was later known, broke out among the world’s great powers. Sadly, this is a conflict that is totally neglected in our schools. In this writer’s time, no mention was made of it in any textbook or classroom and it was only through personal interest in history that my interest in the subject has been sated. Many readers of this column must be asking themselves “How is this relevant to Sri Lanka in general and a financial newspaper in particular?” The answer to these two very appropriate questions is that... 

Bharat’s Pradhan Sevak

Published : 2:59 am  September 2, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,905 views  |  
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Modi speaks on India’s 67th Independence Day Politicians, especially populist ones, campaign in poetry and govern with prose. Most times it with a repressive and harsh prose that they govern. This has not happened yet in India, but in the build-up to the traditional address to the nation from the ramparts of Delhi’s 17th century Mughal era Red Fort, the feeling was that the inspiring poetry of the Modi tsunami, which swept the cow belt in Bharat and showed a strong performance in other areas to enable the BJP to have an absolute majority in India’s lower house of Parliament, was fast turning into dull prose. In the election campaign, the Modi rhetoric was all about sweeping market reforms... 

The world’s ‘new’ IFI

Published : 12:53 am  August 26, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,581 views  |  
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A brand new International Financial Institution (IFI) has emerged hot on the heels of and from among the debris, flotsam and jetsam of the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil. The World Cup was won by Germany, reinforcing the reality of German domination of, among other things, the ‘Beautiful Game’ and in other areas, personified by Angela Merkel’s political and economic domination of the ‘real’ power politic in Europe. The leaders of the BRICS nations – Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa – who think of themselves as the new emerging powers, have met in the city of Fortaleza, Brazil, at the sixth BRICS annual summit, and agreed on forming the ‘New Development Bank’... 

Ebola, globalisation and Sri Lanka in 2039

Published : 2:19 am  August 19, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  2 Comments  |  3,521 views  |  
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 The Ceylon Chamber’s 175th anniversary celebration At the recent 175th anniversary celebrations of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, its Chairman Suresh Shah provided a ‘fast forward’ , describing how the business community wished Sri Lanka would be in the year 2039, when the Chamber will celebrate its 100th year of existence. In summary the picture the Chairman presented was of a country having a strong globalised and regional presence in the worlds markets. He said: “Sri Lankan brands are on the shelves around the world and components made by our companies are in high demand. Many Sri Lankan firms have a strong regional presence and whilst some have a global footprint.” In essence... 

Be Alert!

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,289 views  |  
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The mandate of the External Resources Department Fast on the heels of the National Secretariat for NGOs issuing a circular purporting to limit the activities to their legitimate mandate, which has been discussed in this column earlier, the Director General of the Department of External Resources has placed a notice in the newspapers – under the alarmist caption ‘Be Alert…’ and subtitled ‘Notice to all Government officials, civil society organisations and general public’. This advisory on alertness comprises nine paragraphs. The first starts as follows: ‘Due diligence on the utilisation of funds received from foreign funding agencies, INGOs and any other sources to all Government... 

World War I: The Great War centenary

Published : 12:00 am  August 5, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  3 Comments  |  2,720 views  |  
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With 2014 marking the 100th anniversary since the start of World War I and the centenary being commemorated worldwide, the Daily FT reproduces a column by Charitha Ratwatte first published in the paper on 29 January 2013 World War I was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all of the great powers of the world, as at that time, which were grouped into two opposing alliances: The Allies, based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, France and Russia on the one hand and the Central Powers, originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy. But, as Austria and Hungary had taken the... 

NGOs and their mandate

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  1 Comment  |  5,275 views  |  
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Space for civil society Lanka’s National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) issued a statement on 1 July, reportedly stating that: ‘It has been revealed that certain NGOs conduct press conferences, workshops, trainings (sic) for journalists and dissemination of press releases, which is beyond their mandate. We reiterate that all NGO should prevent from such unauthorised activities with immediate effect.’ The newspapers state that this circular has only been issued to NGOs registered with the National Secretariat for NGOs. Two questions arise here. What is an NGO? How is its mandate determined and by whom? The commonly-accepted definition of a NGO is that it is an organisation... 

PM Modi’s paisa

Published : 12:01 am  July 22, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  5,632 views  |  
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India’s 2014/15 Budget Regionally, India’s economy is so big, that what happens in India affects all of us in South Asia. On 10 July, Arun Jaitely, the Minister of Finance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Government, presented a new Budget. Expectations were high. The Mumbai stock market on Dalal Street was up by a fifth. A hitherto shaky rupee had steadied and consumers, who had the money, seemed to be on a spending splurge. Jaitely in his pre-Budget comments insisted that fiscal prudence will prevail over ‘mindless spending and populism’. Although analysts felt that the target of shrinking the Budget deficit to 4.1%, which Jaitely inherited from the former Minister of Finance... 

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