Where eagles dare…

Published : 12:00 am  July 9, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  726 views  |  
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The worst sort of business is one that grows rapidly, requires significant capital to engender the growth, and then earns little or no money. Think airlines. Here a durable competitive advantage has proven elusive ever since the days of the Wright brothers. Indeed, if a far-sighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favour by shooting Orville down – Warren Buffett, famed investor known world over as the oracle of Omaha ‘SriLankan Airlines…you are our world…” – SriLankan Airline advertisement   Obviously among our population there is only a handful that can claim a sound knowledge of business or economic realities. On the... 

Stop blaming the victims

Published : 12:00 am  July 9, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  379 views  |  
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In the weeks that have passed since 6-15 June, when Sri Lanka witnessed one of the worst outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence, the official narrative has been as chilling as the events. The Government initially dismissed the violence that has so far claimed at least four lives directly, displaced over 370 families and damaged property worth about Rs. 5.8 billion1 as a “minor incident”. Blaming the victims The Sri Lanka Government’s first formal statement on the events was delivered at the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, four days after the riots. In a shocking omission of facts, the statement makes no reference to the pre-planned rally held that day in Aluthgama where... 

Illegal deposit takers: Time for a crackdown?

Published : 12:45 am  July 8, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  5 Comments  |  715 views  |  
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Recent newspaper reports carried a story on one more financial pyramid scheme, allegedly called ‘Pandora Advertising’ in Tangalle, allegedly modelled on another in Tissamaharama, ‘Luminous Advertising,’ both in the Hambantota District. A pyramid scheme is one by which an unauthorised deposit taker offers high interest rates to gullible depositors, paying off early depositors, with funds deposited by later depositors and at some point decamps with the money. Charles Ponzi, an Italian American is said to have invented the scheme in New York in 1920. But author Charles Dickens, both in his 1844 novel Martin Chuzzelwit and 1857 novel Little Dorrit, wrote about such schemes. The CBSL it is... 

Tea: Link producers with exporters?

Published : 12:41 am  July 8, 2014  |  Category: Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  728 views  |  
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The Ministry of Finance and Planning Annual Report of 2013 states that Sri Lanka’s tea industry generates over $ 1.5 billion in revenue to Sri Lanka, whilst provides almost a million jobs to the economy. Though privatised business of the industry generates only 35% to the total production of the country, it drives the sector with modern management technique infusion and value chain development with some companies out beating global international brands in the local market that indicate the talent base in the industry. Tipping point If one were to go back in time, we can see that the gap between the Cost of Production (COP) and Net Sales Average (NSA) was 9.4% in 2001. Over time due to varied... 

Pathana aiming for the triple

Published : 12:00 am  July 7, 2014  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, Columnists, Sports  |  Leave a Comment  |  324 views  |  
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Round up The schools knockout rounds are in their final stages. Whether the same has evoked the level of interest and excitement that it should is debatable. Maybe the FIFA World Cup and the Wimbledon has had an adverse effect. As anticipated Pathana played quality rugby and progressed to semi-final with ease. As I write they are to take on giant killers Science College who downed a struggling Petes outfit last week. As someone quipped, the Petes were scientifically dismantled and their track record of last gasp efforts in crunch games deserted them and they had no answer. Rugby has always been and will be a team game and whilst brilliant individuals win games, quality and consistent teams win... 

Mind over matter: ‘Five S’ revisited

Published : 12:00 am  July 7, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  555 views  |  
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Better housekeeping, higher orderliness, enhance productivity are some of the ways the benefits of a popular approach called ‘five S’ have been described. It is no stranger for the Sri Lankan workplace. I think it has much depth and breadth than that. Today’s column is an attempt to go one step ahead in calling it ‘Five S for the mind’. Five S in a nutshell “Five S” originated in Japan, and stands for five Japanese words that start with the letter ‘S’: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. An equivalent set of five ‘S’ words in English have likewise been adopted by many, to preserve the “Five S” acronym in English usage. These are: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardise,... 

European Commission extends antitrust exemption

Published : 12:00 am  July 7, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Shipping / Aviation  |  Leave a Comment  |  580 views  |  
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European Commission extends antitrust exemption Despite opposition from shippers, the European Union has extended by five years an antitrust exemption for liner shipping consortia. The regulation, which will now run through April 2020, allow carriers with a combined market share below 30% to enter into cooperation agreements to provide joint cargo services. The European Commission, the EU’s executive agency, said that following a public consultation, it “concluded that the exemption has worked well, providing legal certainty to agreements which bring benefits to customers and do not unduly distort competition and that current market circumstances warrant a prolongation.” The extension... 

Central Bank does it again: Shoot the messenger while ignoring the message

Published : 12:00 am  July 7, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  4 Comments  |  7,026 views  |  
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The heat-up of the debate on external debt sustainability is beneficial The Central Bank has renewed the public debate on Sri Lanka’s external debt sustainability by issuing a fresh clarification on 4 July through its Public Debt Department or PDD (available at www.cbsl.gov.lk/pics_n_docs/latest_news/press_20140704e.pdf). This is a salutary development since in democracies, the public has the right to express their views freely on action taken by authorities and the authorities have a responsibility to clarify their position on the issues raised. Those who serve in public authorities are not owners but trustees who hold their position in trusteeship to the public. This has been eloquently... 

Spilling the beans: Refresh relationships, connect better and transform your company performance

Published : 12:28 am  July 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Management  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,002 views  |  
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Conversations matter. Flip through any of the 20,000+ leadership books currently available on Amazon and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t extol the virtues of good communication. Recent research puts a business twist to the tale; studies performed over the early 2000s show that companies with more effective communication strategies enjoy a 57% higher shareholder return compared to those whose techniques were less than ideal. In addition, separate research shows that such firms (regardless of whether they are public or private) registered a 30% increase in valuation over the first years of this century. Put simply: good leadership, and hence good business performance, rests on... 

Whitewashing saffron fascism

Published : 12:24 am  July 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  6 Comments  |  1,161 views  |  
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What is the role of the regime and state in a multiethnic, multilingual, multi-religious, multicultural i.e. pluralist setting and in a fraught, conflicted, actually or potentially violent situation? How should and how do the regime and state function? Are the UPFA regime and the State a neutral umpire –as it should be– between the constituent communities of Sri Lanka where all citizens are constitutionally equal, or are they a biased (“hora”) umpire? If the case is the latter do the rulers and state managers not know or care that there is an ‘action replay’ at work in the international system in the 21st century? Do the regime and the state apparatuses under its command,... 

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