Now that Representative Democracy has become a mockery, the solution may lie in Liquid Democracy

Published : 12:00 am  November 3, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  1 Comment  |  6,581 views  |  
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Discipline among Parliamentarians in good old days     This writer had an opportunity to observe a Budget debate in the old parliamentary building at Galle Face in 1974 when N.M. Perera, popularly known as NM, was the Minister of Finance. In that Parliament, the Government party had been swollen to such an extent, as it has been today, that some of the Government party backbenchers had to be accommodated in the backbenches of the Opposition side of the House facilitating them to effectively sandwich the Opposition. An Opposition MP was on his feet castigating the Budget and Vivienne Goonewardena, an MP from NM’s party, was trying to interrupt him. Speaker Stanely Tillekeratne looked at... 

GDP risk in building maritime capacity

Published : 12:00 am  November 3, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  537 views  |  
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GDP risk in building maritime capacity Some organisations use the growth of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as a benchmark to increase Shipboard-Port capacity. As reported in the Financial Times, in a private meeting with the US ambassador to China in 2007, provincial communist party secretary Li Keqiang described his country’s gross domestic product figures as ‘man made’ and unreliable. To get a good idea of what was happening to the economy in his province of Liaoning; Li said he preferred to focus on three alternative indicators: electricity consumption, volume of rail cargo and the amount of loans disbursed. All other figures and especially GDP statistics, were ‘for reference only’,... 

Executive Continuity: Excel or Extinct?

Published : 12:00 am  November 3, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,561 views  |  
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The sudden departure of a person handling a critical task can cripple business operations. That’s why we need to be conscious of executive continuity. I was moderating a panel discussion on new trends in succession planning, recently organised by a leading HR solutions provider. Today’s column is all about executive continuity with relevance to Sri Lankan workplaces. Figure 1: Levels of Succession Planning Source: Deloitte Consulting     Overview ‘Executive continuity: how to build and retain an effective management team’ is the title of a book by Walter Robert Mahler. It opened the eyes of many executives to the vital aspects of succession planning. It is so vital yet does... 

Positioning for electoral success in Sri Lanka

Published : 2:18 am  November 1, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  774 views  |  
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“It’s the battle for your mind, it’s the battle for your mind,” voiced the lanky character in the ‘hampada’ denim and casual T-shirt in classroom No. 4, his husky voice reverberating through the corridor. It was our marketing instructor lecturing in a cramped-up room many years ago in downtown Colombo. I was able to unearth the notes of this exercise kept in a remote section of my house and infested with small insects. The instructor was explaining to the class the concept of positioning in the complex and often absorbing realm of marketing. He continued: “It’s not what you do to the product, but what you do to the mind, not anyone’s mind; it’s the mind of the prospect, voter,... 

Foreign policy conundrum

Published : 2:15 am  November 1, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  408 views  |  
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During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union and United States embarked on establishing diplomatic spying networks aimed at gathering political intelligence and breaking secret diplomatic codes between the embassies and their respective foreign ministries. One notable incident which drew global media attention was the bugging of the US Embassy in Moscow and the method adopted was introducing the ‘honey trap’ – undercover female workers – who befriended US marines guarding the Embassy so that KGB could gain access to premises (ref: ‘Moscow Station, How the KGB Penetrated the American Embassy’ by Ronald Kessler). The Geneva incident has similar resonance but could be an eye-opener for... 

“Govt. responsible for LTTE’s re-emergence”

Published : 1:57 am  October 31, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu  |  5 Comments  |  1,588 views  |  
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The LTTE is re-emerging and the Government should be held responsible for that, asserts Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, in an interview with the Daily FT. Minister Ranawaka further says that LTTE leader Prabhakaran may have been defeated but the Government has failed to fully liberate the country. “The Government is yet to find an answer politically, socially and economically.” Following are excerpts: Q: Why are you criticising your own Government? A: We have been in power for three years. During this three-year period, whilst carrying out development work and improving infrastructure, the Government failed to pay attention... 

Marketers must help solve China free trade puzzle

Published : 1:52 am  October 31, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  339 views  |  
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Free Trade Agreements have become the flavour of the year. It is now the smart thing to sing the praises of Free Trade Agreements! The concept of free trade was developed a long time ago by the classical economists. It was a neat theory. If every country made what it was best at making and bought what they required from others who were best equipped to make them, the world will make the best use of global resources. Nice idea, but totally impractical. Free Trade Agreement with China Similarly, the theory is very attractive. If the market in China was open to manufacturers in Sri Lanka, it will be a huge growth opportunity for Sri Lanka. The engine pushing this are economists and politicians. Economists Economists... 

Budget 2015: Education allocations must target youth unemployment and labour productivity

Published : 1:44 am  October 31, 2014  |  Category: Dinesh Weerakkody  |  Leave a Comment  |  531 views  |  
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The 2015 Budget speech of the President included a commitment to increase the number of students entering universities to 100,000 by 2020 and also to allocate more funds for vocational training. The current intake to Government universities is around 25,000 per year. Nearly 60% (150,000) of the students, who sit for the exam satisfies the minimum requirement, cannot enter the universities. While this proposal is certainly a positive move, the challenge however would be to improve the teaching quality and the curriculum of the Government universities. To teach four times as many undergraduate students, would require additional faculty and high quality investments to build better infrastructure. If... 

Club rugby season kicks off today

Published : 12:06 am  October 31, 2014  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez  |  Leave a Comment  |  229 views  |  
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After an extended break due to a change in the schedule, the club rugby season will kick off today. The ardent fans and the players are bound to be rejuvenated, recharged and rearing to go. The format for the current season has been changed in that all the teams will play each other twice on a home and away basis. Sadly, we have seen the demise of the Upcountry Lions this season and there short-lived foray into the big league has come to a shuddering halt. The rugby budgets of the clubs are increasing exponentially and it could be a reason for their demise. The other well-established clubs too are, to the best of my knowledge, struggling to retain players and it is no surprise to see a number... 

Sri Lanka and the C’wealth: Reading between the lines

Published : 12:10 am  October 30, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians  |  4 Comments  |  1,248 views  |  
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“This erosion of democracy and fundamental freedoms is no longer only Sri Lanka’s crisis. The fate and future credibility of the Commonwealth is inextricably bound to the actions of its Chair in office…It is your crisis too.” Mangala Samaraweera, in a letter to C’wealth SG Kamalesh Sharma, April 2014   President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma during their meeting this week   For 11 months in 2013, Kamalesh Sharma, the Commonwealth Secretary General was Sri Lanka’s main man. In his hands lay the fate of the prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, the biennial summit that attracts over 50 heads of state... 

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