Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vegetarianism in Hinduism

This article stresses the fundamental concept of adhering to vegetarianism by the Hindus

It also highlights and tries to justify animal slaughter/sacrifice to some extent in accordance with the Vedas stating that "killing of animals and eating of their flesh are only provided in the Vedas for sacrificial purposes and that the Vedic mantras and rites are considered so effectual in themselves that the souls of the animals offered for sacrifice are purified and despatched at once to some form of heaven or other, while the performers of the sacrifice are given some form of grace or other in a ‘secular plane’".

A lot of people feel that if it has been stated so in the Vedic mantras, it is sheer nonsense. We, born as human beings, are blessed by our Creator to possess ‘intuition’ to decide what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ unlike animals which lack the attributes of speech and perhaps, judgement!

Nothing could be more horrifying than seeing an animal undergoing torture when it is slaughtered for its flesh for ‘consumption’ or ‘sacrifice’.

The folly of animal sacrifice has now been realised by most right-minded Hindus and animal sacrifice has been banned in many Hindu temples though I was highly saddened to watch quite recently on a television programme the most cruel slaughter of goats by chopping off their necks with a sword as a ritual of animal sacrifice in a Hindu shrine in Nepal. It was horror indeed!

In this context I would like to quote the late Swami Sivananda (a medical practitioner himself), who attained ‘enlightenment’ at Rishikesh, India) for the benefit of those who value and treasure ‘Ahimsa’ (compassion) and ‘Metha’ (loving kindness) or reverence for all life in general.

"In the Hindu view of life, the real value is placed upon the moral and spiritual worth of the man. Moreover, flesh- eating involves the exercising of cruelty which is not an elevating virtue. It is a bestial quality. It degrades man. Cruelty is condemned by all right-thinking men".

Thus the cruel slaughter of animals and flesh-eating make them abhorrent to all right-thinking people. People who are slaves to flesh-eating cannot it give up because they have become addicted to it. Hence, they try to justify the habit by devious arguments.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Knowledge city at Henegama, Gampaha

The Public Private Partnership Unit of the BOI arranged an interactive meeting recently on the ‘Knowledge City’ at Henegama, Gampaha District. This meeting was arranged with the representatives of the education sector, construction sector and financial institutions. Ms. Pauline Matthias, Executive Director (Finance) & Head of the PPP Unit of the BOI made a presentation.

The proposed Knowledge City Henegama will be developed on public private partnership basis where the development of the infrastructure will be carried out by a selected developer on Design, Finance, Built and Operate Basis (DFBO basis). It is proposed that international and local educational institutes will locate their facilities at this city thereby catering to the tertiary education in Sri Lanka. Statistics reveal that there is a huge scope for commercial run educational institutes who can award foreign degrees with the affiliation of recognized foreign universities. It is also expected that this ‘Knowledge City’ will attract foreign students from abroad, such as Maldives and India.

The location selected is a 122 acre land plot belonging to the BOI situated 33 kms from the Colombo City having access through the Kandy-Balummahara Junction. The BOI propose to carry out a bidding process to select the developer through an international bidding process. The estimated investment is around US$ 75 Million. The self contained city is envisaged to have common library facilities, sports grounds, gym, health care facilities, food courts, hostels, super markers and residential units.

BOI’s vision is that the ‘Knowledge City’ Henegama will be a destination of education and position Sri Lanka as a centre of excellence for learning and innovation.

nterested parties could contact Ms. Christine Kuruppumulege on 2427232 or e-mail for further information.

Re-imagine the world of tomorrow

The inauguration of the 29th National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka was held last Thursday night at the Cinnamon Grand hotel highlighting the theme ‘Re-imagine- Creating a Successful Business in Challenging Times by Thinking Differently’.

Starting off his address the Chief guest at the event High Commissioner of India Mr. Alok Prasad said it was time to “Re-imagine what the world of tomorrow will look like,” and went on to say that it was important to firstly reconsider our attitudes in the past in order to reassess and thereby rectify our mistakes as well as correcting our past imaginations or predictions of the future. He explained how at the time the soviets fell the whole world expected America to become a dominating empire much like the Roman Empire. However recent events have shown that this empire has now crashed.

Mr. Prasad said he believed that, “one steady inescapable trend ignored by the whole world had been Asia. Today, however India and China have become two giants to be reckoned with.” He predicted that the years to come would be the “coming Asian Century.”

The Chief Guest also believed that it was more a “re-emergence of India and China” as opposed to an emergence. Since in the past, prior to colonial times, over 75% of the worlds GDP was from China and India. He said that perhaps the re-emergence of Asia was a “correction of the anomalies of the colonial period.”

Mr. Prasad went on to say that none of the development or dominance we seek will “come to us automatically” we would have to work for it and deliver on the promise that Asia had great potential. However he did admit that the Asian regions “progress towards inter-connectedness was dissatisfactory,” and that considering other region our trade of was “insufficient in terms of cultural knowledge and monetary trade,” and are more likely to go outside of the region for commercial trade. Nevertheless India and Sri Lanka was sufficiently connected as evidence to his fact 70% of the goods in and out of the Colombo port were to and from India. Drawing upon the words of the Chairman of the 29th National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Mr. Sujeewa Rajapakse, that Sri Lanka was “no longer India’s little brother but its Twin brother.”

Former Precedent Partner of KPMG Ford Rhodes Thornton and Co. Mr. Ranjan Asirwatham was the keynote speaker for the evening. Mr. Asirwatham spoke on the growth of the accounting industry and the importance of an ACCA qualification.

The conference’s Technical sessions are conducted over two days by a group of eminent and respected corporate personalities through six main presentations titled ‘creating opportunities’, developing a blue ocean strategy’, the differentiating factor’, ‘ navigating the vortex’, ‘forward focus’ and numbers to strategy’.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Jet Airways' JetPrivilege wins Top Honours with Seven Awards

Wins the Coveted ‘Program of the Year’ for the Second Year Consecutively Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege, India’s largest and most recognized frequent flyer programme, won 9 Freddie Awards at the 20th Annual presentation ceremony of the Freddie Awards 2007, held in Wyndham Phoenix, USA on April 24, 2008.

JetPrivilege, which competed for Top Honours in the intensely competitive Japan, Pacific, Asia and Australia region against some of the best known airlines in the world, emerged victorious in seven categories and runner-up in two categories. JetPrivilege bagged-in 9 Freddie Awards under all the nominated categories.

Jet Airways, Jet Privilege won these highly coveted awards for Program of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best Elite Level, Best Affinity Credit Card, Best Bonus, Best Website and Best Award. Jet Airway’s JetPrivilege received the second position in the categories of Best Member Communications and Best Award Redemption.

Commenting on the honour, Mr. Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Chief Executive Officer, Jet Airways, said, “On the occasion of our resounding victory at the Freddie Awards 2007, we would like to reaffirm our commitment to providing our JetPrivilege members the best in comfort, benefits and privileges, in keeping with their expectations from India’s largest and best loyalty program, be it in the Indian or International skies.”

More details

Saturday, April 19, 2008

No fuel hike immediately - Fowzie

Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development A.H.M. Fowzie said fuel prices will not be increased immediatley but the Ministry will use hedging and other market tools to keep prices stable. He was addressing a meeting in connection with the profits of over US$ 5.4 million made by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) last month by oil hedging.

Minister A.H.M. Fowzie

The Minister said the country has gained over US$ 10 million from six oil hedgings that commenced early last year and that the money was used to reduce CPC losses and maintain price stability.

“The Ministry has taken steps to minimise waste and curtail malpractices in the CPC and increase profits. The Sapugaskanda oil refinery will be upgraded with assistance from Iran”, he said.

Fowzie said that it will not be a surprise if fuel prices hit US$ 175 per barrel this year and that many countries are resorting to oil hedging to reduce losses. Despite the gains by oil hedging the CPC has incurred a loss of Rs. 7,815 million this year.

The Ministry will commence marketing lube oil, gas and bunker fuel this year. Tenders have been called for 40,000 gas cylinders and with the requisite number of cylinders the CPC will market gas at a cheaper rate.

“Tenders have been called for oil exploration in Mannar and the company that gives the highest returns will be offered the contract”, the Minister said.

He said that he will present a framework on sharing losses by member countries at the OPEC conference to be held in Italy. The conference will be on the dialogue between the producer and consumer.

“Stability of oil prices is essential for democracy to survive. If oil prices continue to rise causing a burden to countries people will rise against governments and help to set up dictatorship regimes”, he said.

CPC Chairman, Asantha de Mel said the CPC opted for the lowest hedging so that the risk will be less if fuel prices drop in the global market.

Oil hedging is a dangerous game and it is not rewarding, he said.

The CPC commenced oil hedging with the Citi Bank, a leading provider of hedging solutions to manage high oil prices.