The international advisory panel, Indo-Lanka ties and UN inquiry

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  984 views  |  
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Half a loaf being better than none, the presidential expansion of the remit of the Disappearances Commission and the appointment an advisory panel of three persons distinguished in international law are to be welcomed. Of course, the final test will be that of credibility. If the re-engineering results in a robust domestic inquiry which in turn leads either to prosecutions in the most outrageous cases – as indicated by the LLRC – or a TRC type outcome, the case of which the pernicious UN International Inquiry rests, namely the absence or of a credible domestic mechanism and the unwillingness or inability of the Sri Lankan State to initiate one, will be undermined. We shall have a better chance... 

NGOs and their mandate

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  2,178 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... 

Indian FTA and next steps

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  555 views  |  
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In the recent past there have been many discussions on the proposed FTA with China. If one analyses the trade between India and Sri Lanka post the Indo-Lanka FTA even now after 12 years, the reality is that almost 75% of the imports from India happen outside the FTA. Sri Lankan exports into India have been hovering around the $ 500 million mark for years, whilst the majority of the investments into Sri Lanka have happened without direct links to the FTA. If we were to do a detailed export analysis on the Indo-Lanka exports out of Sri Lanka, we see that product mix performance does not reflect the comparative advantage for Sri Lanka but the exports are mostly due to the differential external tariff... 

Ten Cs for crafting people strategies

Published : 12:00 am  July 28, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  826 views  |  
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As we often proclaim, people are the most important asset to any organisation. In brief, people drive business. How to get the best out of people has global, regional and local relevance. Today’s column will explore the crafting of people strategies in highlighting ten Cs. Overview Being strategic is of utmost importance in this context. It essentially shows how “smart” you are in “playing the game”. The roots are from the Greek word ‘stratēgikós’, which means the art of the general. Obviously, it has a military connotation. How a general order the troops to attack, or to withdraw or to surround the enemy, with the aim of winning the war in mind. A battlefront and a business front... 

World’s Fragile States: Sri Lanka should not ignore being classified as an alert state

Published : 12:00 am  July 28, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  7,631 views  |  
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Sri Lanka a failed state according to Fragile State Index On the basis of the country’s score in 12 broad indicators, Sri Lanka is being continuously ranked, from 2006 – the year in which the country was included in the Index – as a fragile state, earlier a failed state, by USA based Fund for Peace or FFP. The ranking in the index is done like the ranking of the students in a class from best to worst. Thus, in respect of each indicator, the best country is ranked at number 1 and the weakest at number 10. Accordingly, countries that get a score of 12 or close to it are ranked as strong. In the opposite, those that get scores of 120 or close to that number are ranked as fragile. Sri Lanka’s... 

Needed: A national ideology to replace Sinhala Buddhist hegemony

Published : 6:52 am  July 26, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  860 views  |  
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Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga recently spoke at a meeting of the Wives of War Victims about the present plight of our country. She said while the UN and developed countries are talking about building an inclusive society, we are seeking to build an exclusive society only for the majority. We have sought to exclude the minorities – first the Tamils, now the Muslims and eventually the Christians. Economists talk of inclusive growth so that the benefits of economic development accrue to all the people including the poor and the low income classes. But what about inclusive politics? It is not enough to make minority political parties a part of a coalition Government if the Government vests... 

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Published : 5:40 am  July 26, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  940 views  |  
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Full many a gem of purest ray serene – The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear Full many a flower is born to blush unseen – And waste its sweetness in the desert air  – Thomas Gray The poem is self explanatory. (There are many people with different intellectual beauties and Competencies, but they are not recognised. They are born and dead unnoticed without having any use to the world). People are born with talents. We simply used words like abilities, skills, competencies, and genius, etc. to explain the word talent. They are closely linked each other but meanings are slightly different from one another. Talent can be explained as one’s ability to perform a particular task efficiently... 

Sivaji Ganesan: Tamil cinema’s versatile actor par excellence

Published : 4:14 am  July 26, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, D.B.S. Jeyaraj, FT Lite  |  1 Comment  |  8,332 views  |  
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The first Tamil film which impacted on me greatly during childhood was ‘Veera Pandiya Kattabomman’. It was a kind of bio-picture about a ‘Paalayakkaaran’ or Polygar (feudal chieftain) who defied the British during the last decade of the 18th Century and paid the supreme penalty. Kattabomman whose full name was Veera Pandiya Kattabomma Karuthaiyya Nayakkar governed an area known as Paanchaalankurichi which is in the Thoothukkudi District of Tamil Nadu state in India. I was five years old when I first saw the film with my parents at Elphinstone Theatre. The upper portions of the theatre were encased in hardboard, resembling the structure of a fortress. There were two cut-outs on either... 

Following people instead of leading them

Published : 12:00 am  July 25, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Harsha Gunasena, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  632 views  |  
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When leaders are forced to take decisions related to racial sentiments or sentiments where the nation is divided very sharply, then it is a hard task. Farsighted leaders who lead from the front take strong decisions in such times and take the nation forward during the difficult period. Those who apply the fox theory of Machiavelli and those who have nothing but self-interest act indecisively in such situations. We have ample examples internationally and locally. In his book ‘The Prince’ written in the 16th century, Niccolo Machiavelli stated as follows in Chapter 18: “…A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the... 

Anura Yapa speaks up on petroleum and politics

Published : 12:00 am  July 25, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists, Opinion  |  4 Comments  |  1,665 views  |  
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The Minister of Petroleum Industries vows to revive the troubled industry and commence the much-delayed upgrading of refinery facilities within the next three months. Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa asserts that losses incurred by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have been reduced during the past two years. “This year we can run with the operating profit. That is our intention and we are working on that.” The Minister further noted that he has held discussions with State organisations such as the Ceylon Electricity Board, SriLankan Airlines and other institutions to issue fuel on credit basis. “We have been able to recover the outstanding amounts from these organisations.... 

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