The Budget, Pusswedilla and what to do!

Published : 12:08 am  October 30, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  812 views  |  
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“The beginning of everything lies in moral indignation” Milovan Djilas Almost all commentators have labeled the 2014 Budget an election budget, meaning that its main purpose is to offer a sop to voters before the impending presidential elections in 2015, a description the Government spokesmen have not seriously challenged. Some of the spokesmen for the Government even gloat that   there is “something” in it for almost everybody. For once they   seem to have forgotten the most important element in our society; for conspicuously left out of the list of Budget beneficiaries were the legislators themselves and other politicians! Given the popular exhort ion to serve oneself first when... 


Fish exports to EU: $ 125 m at stake

Published : 12:00 am  October 29, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  614 views  |  
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The latest data reveals that Sri Lanka’s exports are booming at 14.7% as at end August 2014 with the apparel industry growing at a commanding 18.9%, tea at 12.3%, whilst the top two countries, USA and UK growing at 16.1% and 11.9% respectively. The Indian market growth of 8.3% is disappointing given that we have an FTA that has seen more than a decade of maturity. The Fish Exports in 2014 is growing at 20.1% with EU accounting for $ 125 m   Fish exports at 20.1% growth The fisheries sector, growing at 20.1% as at end August, is very interesting with the EU business poised to cross the $ 125 m mark. But a point to note is that the EU having issued an ultimatum on the sanctions to be imposed... 


Tertiary education 2020: Quadrupling intake and placing a Sri Lankan university in Asian top 30

Published : 12:45 am  October 28, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  1,045 views  |  
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The 2015 Budget speech included a commitment to increase the number of students entering universities to 100,000 by 2020. The current intake to Government universities is 25,000 per year, with another 30,000 qualified but not admitted, according to the Minister of Higher Education. The Budget speech also stated that the Government will ensure that Sri Lankan universities will be among the top 30 of Asian universities by 2020. Are these objectives contradictory? Can both quantity and quality be increased at the same time? The challenge of quality The QS Asian University Rankings assess the top 300 universities in Asia. Only one Sri Lankan university makes the list: the University of Colombo.... 


Crony capitalism

Published : 12:15 am  October 28, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  1 Comment  |  547 views  |  
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Redefining conflict of interest The Arab Spring has turned out to be a great disappointment. It is fast turning out to be a winter of great discontent and suffering for the poor people who threw out a bunch of dictators with great aspirations of establishing an accountable and responsible liberal democratic government. However, the dark clouds have a silver lining. Two classic examples of crony capitalism were exposed. After the dictator Ben Ali was thrown out in Tunisia in 2011, a total of 214 businesses and assets worth $ 13 billion, including 550 properties and 48 boats and yachts, were confiscated from the deposed President his associates and relatives. Meanwhile in Egypt, where President... 


Strategy in public policy: Continuous public consultations a must

Published : 12:00 am  October 27, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  4 Comments  |  6,621 views  |  
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Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka? The official name of the country called Sri Lanka is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. One may wonder what this means because many other countries have chosen to call themselves just Republics. The list is extensive but some notable examples from this region are Republic of Korea, Republic of India, Republic of Singapore, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Maldives and Republic of the Philippines and so on. The full list of the official names of the countries in the world has been documented by Wikipedia (available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states). When many countries have chosen to keep their official names as... 


Strengths towards success

Published : 12:00 am  October 27, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  473 views  |  
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We are familiar with the typical SWOT analysis including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I came across this interesting book based on solid research that capitalised on the key term, strength. How can we direct our strengths to succeed? Today’s column will attempt to discuss the essence of the New York Times Bestseller, ‘Go Put Your Strengths to Work’.   Overview Marcus Buckingham goes round in harping on strengths. He is a British-American, New York Times best-selling author, researcher, motivational speaker and a business consultant. He bases most of his writing on extensive survey data from interviews with workers in countries around the world and he promotes... 


Sri Lankan economy: Hardware or software problem?

Published : 12:00 am  October 27, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  418 views  |  
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Government must invest in public sector HR, attitudes and productivity   Economic performance and the Gini factor Evidently, the Sri Lankan economy has better performed than our neighbours in the SAARC region in terms of economic numbers, but in reality this prosperity has certainly not trickled down the economic chain and we have now ended up in a society where the Gini index (Standard economic measure of income inequality, based on Lorenz Curve; a society that scores 0.0 on the Gini scale has perfect equality in income distribution. Higher the number over 0, higher the inequality) is between 0.4 and 0.6 in Sri Lanka in the recent past. This is indicating high inequality and wealth distribution... 


The Karu candidacy project: Is it a viable option?

Published : 12:52 am  October 25, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  3 Comments  |  1,172 views  |  
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Do you watch ‘Boston Legal’? We do, by which I mean my wife Sanja and I, and we like it. Of course it is one of the few programs we enjoy equally, since she finds my favorites, such as ‘True Detective’, ‘Breaking Bad’,‘ The Bridge’, and ‘Sons of Anarchy’, which reflect my obsessions with the dialectic of evil and justice, the figure of the anti-hero and the struggle for a code of violence, far too…violent. I find Comedy Central too lightheartedly escapist. Domestically, a bipartisan consensus is reached in our preference for ‘Homeland’— the selectively violent but cerebral espionage thriller—and of course ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Castle’. Which brings me to the... 


21st Century Maritime Silk Road

Published : 12:00 am  October 25, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  911 views  |  
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  The two-day historical visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan who arrived in the island on 16 September ended with a new milestone, further strengthening Sri Lanka-China relationship. A number of MOUs were signed between the two nations on development of infrastructure related to various aspects. The visit of the Chinese President to Sri Lanka was a part of his official tour to South Asian countries. The main objective of this tour as opined by political analysts and professionals was to share cooperation and seek support from Sri Lanka and Maldives to elevate initiatives of the Chinese 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The support and cooperation of... 


Winning the battle against poor English

Published : 12:46 am  October 24, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  591 views  |  
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One classic feature that unites doomed societies is their denial in the face of stark reality and failure to adapt to changed circumstances; the woeful state of English in this country spells impending gloom and could morph into the inconspicuous slick of oil that topples us all. Granted that there is a nudge from various quarters towards a so-called trilingual state. True that charitable English language centres have mushroomed across Colombo. Cheers to the ubiquity of the internet and all the free English language study aids that flood it. But, the point is, has all this induced an interest for self-improvement amongst the city’s bourgeois? Why, for instance, does the local O/L English paper,... 


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