Where eagles dare…

Published : 12:00 am  July 9, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  2,860 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  |  1,997 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  |  1,095 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  |  939 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... 

Mind over matter: ‘Five S’ revisited

Published : 12:00 am  July 7, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  851 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,... 

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  |  7,218 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... 

Rajapaksa regime’s deceptions and Sri Lanka’s international obligations

Published : 12:00 am  July 5, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,326 views  |  

 ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive’ – Walter Scott, Marmion‘When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the State’ – Euripides, Orestes      The final LLRC report being handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by LLRC Chairman Chitta Ranjan de Silva at Temple Trees – File photo The Government of Sri Lanka has again used Parliament to adopt a resolution rejecting the appointment by the UNHCHR to probe the human rights violations including war crimes alleged to have been committed by the armed forces of the GOSL during the last phase of the war with the LTTE in April-May 2009. The resolution... 

UN Chief urges Sri Lanka to protect Muslims under attack

Published : 12:00 am  July 5, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  965 views  |  

     President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised in a joint statement with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold an inquiry to probe all human rights and humanitarian law violations alleged to have been committed during the war with the LTTE   UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the Sri Lankan Government to “take necessary measures” to prevent any further attacks against minority Muslims in the country. Asked to respond to reports of violence, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told IPS “the Secretary-General is concerned about reported attacks against Muslim communities in southern Sri Lanka”. He said the Secretary-General recalls the Human Rights Council resolution... 

Plagued by dengue fever, Lanka looks to the weatherman

Published : 12:00 am  July 5, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  460 views  |  

     Schoolchildren hold up a handmade sign that reads ‘Let’s Eradicate Dengue’ – Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS   IPS: What’s the connection between weather forecasts and the mosquito-borne dengue virus? It’s not just a question for science nerds; in Sri Lanka, health officials believe answering this question could save lives. For over half a decade now, doctors and residents of this island nation, especially those living in the cramped Western Province, have been battling the persistent, sometimes deadly, dengue plague, which tends to follow the monsoon rains that drench the southwest coast from June to October. The tropical disease generally results in prolonged... 

Whitewashing saffron fascism

Published : 12:24 am  July 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  6 Comments  |  1,811 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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