FATCA: Already at your doorstep!

Published : 12:00 am  April 21, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  685 views  |  
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The ‘Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act’ (FATCA) is a unique anti-tax avoidance law conceptualised by the US Inland Revenue. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that although it is a US law, it affects financial institutions the world over. FATCA resulted from the efforts of President Obama’s campaign to crack down on tax evasion by US taxpayers through investment in offshore accounts. FATCA rules require US based financial institutions as well as Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI) to identify their US accounts and report them periodically to the US Revenue. It does not stop at just that; non-compliance can possibly prove costly for FFI. It could earn the FFI the tag of “non-participating... 


Some container carriers face bankruptcy…

Published : 12:00 am  April 21, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  483 views  |  
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Some container carriers face bankruptcy The global container shipping industry as a whole faces a greater risk of financial distress, including possible bankruptcy, than at any time since 2010 and that risk has grown in each of the past three years, says a new study by industry consultancy AlixPartners. “Carrier debt has been growing at a constant and significant rate, at the same time as their cash flow is not growing at the same pace,” said Esben Christensen, Director of Global Maritime Practice at AlixPartners. “Over time, there is less and less cash to pay the interest on the growing debt, which is unsustainable in the longer run.” Carriers’ growing debt burden is exacerbated by... 


Policy challenges in climate adaptation in Sri Lanka: Identifying major gaps

Published : 12:01 am  April 18, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  848 views  |  
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Being a tropical island located in a disaster prone region, Sri Lanka is vulnerable to impacts of climate change. The 2004 tsunami has indicated that a large extent of densely populated low lying coastal areas is vulnerable to a future rise in the sea level. The country has frequently been experiencing disaster prone weather extremes such as droughts, floods and cyclones. Predictions by global studies on climate change suggest that both intensity and frequency of such extreme events are likely to increase in the future. As a significant population of the country is directly dependent on weather-reliant livelihoods such as agriculture and fisheries, adverse changes in weather patterns could lead... 


How to get the best out of a training budget

Published : 2:26 am  April 16, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  Leave a Comment  |  508 views  |  
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Recently, at a senior executive forum a CEO asked me to share my experiences of how companies measure the return on investment of their training and development spend. To begin, training is basically the formal activity that generally occurs in a classroom or elsewhere whereas development is broader. For example, one of the key functions of managers is to develop people. That development may manifest itself in different ways. It may occur through on-the-job coaching, performance appraisals or development planning discussions. Development and traditional classroom training go hand in hand. Before an initiative is planned a company should start with development planning, collecting facts and data... 


Elusive balance to illuminating harmony

Published : 1:45 am  April 16, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  988 views  |  
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We are in the midst of Avurudu celebration from work to enjoy “life”. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reconnected me with this ongoing debate on so called “work-life balance”. It was heartening to see the standpoint I took two years ago in writing a paper and making a presentation on the “myth of work-life balance” at the Asia Pacific Conference of the Federation of Unions. Avurudu awakening alerts us on the need to shift from an elusive balance to an illuminating harmony. Ambiguities of “work-life balance” The concept of work-life balance is based on the notion that paid work and personal life should be seen less as competing priorities than as complementary elements... 


India chooses: But what will happen when it is the thinking of 2 leading economists being put to vote?

Published : 1:42 am  April 16, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  3,275 views  |  
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Two contenders for leadership with stark differences India, the world’s supposed-to-be the-largest democracy if one goes by the number of voters, is now in the process of choosing its next leadership. The two leading contenders have stark differences. The incumbent government party, United Progressive Alliance or UPA, is led by young Cambridge University MPhil Degree holder Rahul Gandhi, an heir of the famous Nehru-Gandhi family born to rule the country. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP is led by a commoner, one-time canteen runner at a bus terminal and a street-educated politician, Narendra Modi, commonly known in India now as ‘Namo’. Modi v Rahul becoming Bhagwati v Sen But... 


Co-opetition

Published : 1:45 am  April 11, 2014  |  Category: Hilmy Cader, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  935 views  |  

The joint initiative of Dialog and Etisalat for the mobile money platform is a classic example of co-opetition – whereby conventional competitors, motivated by their consumer needs and commercial synergies, decide to co-operate while still competing on other fronts. (Coincidentally this was highlighted in my previous column on the learnings from the Royal Thomian!) Contrast this with what happen in Sri Lanka’s insurance industry a few years back. Two of the major players started ‘attacking’ each other via a highly egoistic advertising campaign. Imagine if these funds (which finally the policyholder pays for!) were used to ‘Ad-ucate’ non-insurance users and expand the market size,... 


Should State protect Buddhism as a Constitutional provision?

Published : 12:00 am  April 11, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Harsha Gunasena  |  11 Comments  |  5,836 views  |  
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For a long time as a nation we have been talking about a new constitution in place of the existing Constitution of 1978. During the time of President Kumaratunga, a new constitution was drafted and she was not able to get it approved by the Parliament. Recently the United National Party also has proposed the basic elements of a constitution and it was said that they were in the process of discussing with various stakeholders to get their views in order to draft the Constitution. Rev. Maduluwawe Sobhitha wants to become the common candidate of the Opposition at the next presidential elections if there is no one else to be the common candidate, with the sole intention of abolishing the executive... 


A visa, a vote and realities

Published : 12:00 am  April 11, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  1,178 views  |  
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“I have been to England so many times! But that is no consideration when it comes to visa formalities at the embassy. The number of questions they ask you is unbelievable! How much money do you earn, how much do you spend in a month? You have to answer all kinds of trick questions and then await a password to proceed to the next stage. My computer knowledge is only basic. After all I am only a housewife! This process is so taxing and so appalling!” The elderly lady was indignant. Her aging face turned dark with anger at the memory of the humbling experience. A protected childhood, educated at a prestigious Christian girls’ school in Colombo, early marriage to an up-and-coming young man... 


“Rajapaksa regime is sponsoring extremist groups for its survival”

Published : 12:00 am  April 11, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  4 Comments  |  6,426 views  |  
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The Bodu Bala Sena and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress are extremists sponsored by the Rajapaksa regime to create tension among communal groups for the survival of the Government, says Mujeebur Rahman, Member of the Western Provincial Council. “These extremist groups don’t care about the Sinhalese or the Muslims and their existence is purely for political benefit. Now that the war is over, they want to create some tension in order to keep the extremist votes with the Government,” Rahman points out. Rahman, who is also the United National Party Co-organiser for Colombo Central, speaks about the UNP’s victory and the Government’s defeat at the recently-concluded provincial council elections.... 


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