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Being mindful at work place

In performing one's duties in the work place it is useful to always be mindful of what is done by self. It helps the person to act correctly by being conscious on the continuous performance. Mindfulness, the Lord Buddha preached could be used in our day to day activities to prevent from doing incorrect actions and misbehaviour ie. Akusala Karma introduced here as Raga, Dosa and Moha.

Limitless desire causes a lot of damage to our lives. Everybody likes to be blessed with gains and praises although it doesn't happen always.

A person is motivated by accomplishing his desires one by one. There may be a sort of strong affection towards an objective or somebody. Failure to fulfil the aspirations connected to that, he gets anger, depression or ill-fame. Some times these bad effects/disappointments will lead to violent activities.

If the person is mindful of being aware of the things that are happening, he can easily understand the cause behind as to why he or she acts/reacts in a vulgar manner.

Today we come across a lot of problems/discriminations in our work places due to this type of limitless desires of the mankind. There won't be a difference between a top level officer or a bottom level employee when these ill thoughts are cultivated.

If the person could realize the cause and effect and if he is mindful irrespective of the level he belongs to, it will be easy to evade from the violent situation.

We can see there are few people may be uneducated, but having good understanding/qualities who are able to survive with the contemporary environment.

Everything is happening due to misdirection of mind, body and word. What the man should do is to control himself in wild thinking, misbehaviour and bad utterance described in Buddha's preaching. Good conduct/discipline which is expected from everyone in the work place goes parallel with the controlling of mind, body and word according to Dhamma.

When we harbour good qualities and be mindful, automatically there will be good results.

It always affects our official life. Irrespective of the position someone holds the result of the action goes behind the person with or without his knowledge although he refuses its repercussions.

Anger (Dosa) come with jealous. A lot of damages occur due to this evil thoughts. Everybody has a feeling of jealousy. But ego can control it without being harmful to anyone's progress. Discipline directs the person to analyze the consequence of any action. If he is mindful he can come to a conclusion why this has happened and it gives room for him to accept, whatever the result he gained.

That is due to self controlling of developed mind/thoughts. Today we face lot of problems and difficulties as the man does not like to accept the defeat or loss. Lord Buddha taught us to accept Eight Universal Conditions and no body can go away from that.

When things are happening according to the above doctrine people do not want to realize that. That is the biggest mistake we all do.

In most of the work places there may be lot of hindrance for one's development/progress.

That will come in so many ways, as trying to stimulate someone through indirect action or by words, sometimes trying to provoke to come out with bad behaviour.

The intellectual is able to perceive the sort of germs spreading around him. If some one is unable to identify those, he will definitely will be in trouble which leads to disciplinary action against him.

The man should be intelligent enough to judge the others motives that will prevent he being in trouble. It will help him to survive with good discipline.

Person could be influenced in any sort of affection due to his ignorance, leading him to foolish/harmful actions. Whatever position he or she may be, will tend to do any misconduct ignoring its effects. Knowing the gravity of the foolish action and its repercussions he will have to suffer not only in this life but also at any time in samsara. Nobody can escape from the consequences of the things/actions he does whether it is good or bad. Against self conscious can do many things, but should expect its real harvest.

When person acts without being mindful he will loose not only his status at the work place, but also the other objects that are surrounding him.

People will tend to hate him gradually. And he himself becomes unpopular through his cruel and foolish actions which reflect on his face. Although the man pretends that he is a devoted religious character, by getting close to monks, temples and performing other religious activities such as observing Sil, meditation etc. his real qualities will erupt when he faces a problem or loses something unexpectedly.

He goes behind anyone or do any unethical thing for the things done in his favour. When the power of such a person is lost what will be his position?

He/she will be just a person who collected lot of sins with anger and jealous. Can he leave the work place with a peaceful mind? What has he/she gained for this life or for next birth? Of course nothing.

Therefore we all must think that we should always be mindful not only at our work places but also at every moment to gain good harvest in our lives, by keeping away Raga, Dosa and Moha to some extent.


Ceylon Chamber to enhance trade with Jordan, Kuwait

The CCC having identified Jordan and Kuwait as potential markets for Sri Lankan products has initiated a mission to these two emerging markets.

The Mission will be organised in association with the Sri Lankan Embassies in Jordan and Kuwait and will take place from November 22 to 29.

The main objectives are to strengthen trade ties, establish business links, source suitable business partners in the areas of Trade, Investment, Joint Ventures, technology transfer and services.

The highlights will be meetings with the business communities and Chambers of Commerce in Jordan and Kuwait which will offer opportunities for our mission members to have direct dialogue with their business associates.

The balance of trade between Sri Lanka and Jordan as well as Sri Lanka and Kuwait have been in favour of Sri Lanka for the past three years.

Main export products to Jordan are black/herbal tea, sewing thread (synthetic), fresh coconuts, desiccated coconut, coir fibre, rubber and rubber products (tyres, tubes, gloves etc.), garments, tableware/kitchenware, ceramic products, cut flowers and foliage, food products (jams, biscuits, pasta, preserved vegetables, preserved/prepared fish, sauces etc.), coir fibre carpets, toiletries and felt tipped/stylograph pens.


CB strategies to cushion export prices decline

Considering the recent sharp decline in export prices, prospects of lower export demand due to a likelihood of further slowing down in the global economy and the recent sharp appreciation of the US dollar against most major international currencies, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has decided to allow the rupee exchange rate against the US dollar to respond with greater flexibility, when compared to the very stable level that was maintained during the recent past.

This move is particularly necessitated by the fact that the currencies of some of Sri Lanka's major trading partners and competitors have, since mid September 2008, depreciated sharply against the US dollar leading to some pressure on the competiveness of Sri Lanka's exports. While Sri Lanka's export sector has been growing well above 12 per cent during the first eight months of 2008, and has shown commendable resilience in the light of the current unfavourable global conditions, it is now considered desirable that an added support be granted in order to provide the impetus for the exports to remain competitive in the months ahead.

At the same time, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka recognises the vital importance of maintaining stability of the financial markets, in both the foreign exchange and rupee markets, even in the face of the current global financial crisis. Therefore, as a measure of reducing pressure on the real sectors, the Central Bank would favour a limited depreciation of the Sri Lanka Rupee so as to enable the real sector to maintain Sri Lanka's export competitiveness across all export and import competing industries.

As a result, the export sector could continue to perform well in the future while of course taking the necessary measures to improve their productivity and cost effectiveness in order to further enhance their competitiveness in global markets.

The envisaged limited depreciation is also timely since it will not adversely affect the declining trend in Sri Lanka's inflation as global prices of petroleum, gas, wheat, sugar, milk powder, etc are declining and this trend is expected to continue during the next few months as well. In addition, the move will help to contain inflation in the medium term, since there would be a lesser likelihood of higher fiscal deficits in the medium to longer term, as this measure may reduce the need to provide fiscal subsidies to the export sector.

In order to ensure the financial market stability, the Central Bank stands ready to provide liquidity to maintain stability of the exchange rate if the rate tends to be more volatile than warranted. Further, as in the recent past, the Central Bank will continue to monitor the developments carefully and respond promptly with timely interventions ensure economic stability, and to mitigate the impact of any external shocks arising from turbulence in global financial markets.


China's animal feed tainted with melamine

Animal feed producers in China commonly add the industrial chemical melamine to their products to make them appear higher in protein, state media reported Thursday, an indication that the scope of the country's latest food safety scandal could extend beyond milk and eggs.

The practice of mixing melamine into animal feed is an "open secret" in the industry, the Nanfang Daily newspaper reported in an article that was republished on the Web sites of the official Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.

Publicizing such a problem is rare in the Chinese media and appears to be a tacit admission by China's central government that melamine contamination is widespread.

The news comes after four brands of Chinese eggs were found to be contaminated with melamine, which agriculture officials have speculated came from adulterated feed given to hens.

The discovery of the tainted eggs followed on the heels of a similar crisis involving compromised dairy products that sent tens of thousands of children to the hospital and was linked to the deaths of four infants. That scandal was triggered by dairy suppliers who added melamine, a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer, to watered-down milk in order to dupe quality control tests and make the product appear rich in protein.

Health experts say ingesting a small amount of melamine poses no danger, but in larger doses, it can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure.

It is forbidden to deliberately add melamine to food and animal feed, but its apparent prevalence highlights the inability of authorities to keep the food production process clean of toxins despite official vows to raise safety standards.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment. Phones rang unanswered at the Ministry of Health.

Chemical plants used to pay companies to treat and dispose of excess melamine, but about five years ago began selling it to manufacturers who repackaged it as "protein powder," the Nanfang Daily report said, citing an unnamed chemical industry expert. Melamine is high in nitrogen, and most protein tests test for nitrogen levels.

The inexpensive powder was first used to give the impression of higher protein levels in aquatic feed, then later in feed for livestock and poultry, the report said.

"The effect far more exceeds the milk powder scandal," the newspaper said.

In the past week, melamine has been discovered in at least four brands of Chinese eggs, and officials in China's largest city, Shanghai, said they had begun checks on all eggs sold in local markets.

"We are closely following the development of the egg scandals in the nation and will carry out effective measures accordingly," said Gu Zhenhua, an official from the city Food and Drug Administration was quoted as saying in Thursday's editions of the Shanghai Daily. No one has been sickened and it was not immediately clear how many eggs have been recalled. AP


'Vehicle emissions and new regulations' seminar concludes

The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka recently concluded a seminar on "Vehicle emissions standards and new rules and regulations on motor vehicles" to a fully packed audience at the Chamber Auditorium recently.

The presenters were from the Ministry of Environment, Commissioner of Motor Traffic and Chief Medical Officers of Colombo Municipal Council and two authorised companies for vehicle emission testing.

The President NCCSL D. Eassuwaren, Director, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Anura Jayathileke, Dep. Commissioner, Motor Traffic, R.P.R. Rajapakse, Chief Medical Officer, CMC, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, Deputy CMO, CMC Dr. Ruwan Wijemuni and Deputy Secretary General, NCCSL Kumara Kandalama were also presented at the seminar.


Construction Chamber Solicits Government Support to Promote Exports

Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka (CCI) facilitated the first ever construction industry trade mission to promote export of construction related professionals services and construction industry capacities from Sri Lanka in November 2007.

This delegation which visited the State of Qatar and Dubai was jointly led by Prof. G L Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade and Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services. A follow up visit to the State of Qatar was undertaken in February 2008.

Consequent to these visits, a number of professional service providers have succeeded in obtaining consultancy assignments and outsourcing opportunities while some of the major civil and MEP contractors have ventured into the State of Qatar by establishing joint ventures with Qatari companies.

Nevertheless, Chamber recognizes that entering the construction market in the Asian Region in an era of extreme competition will remain a challenge and a large number of constraints and barriers will require dismantling. CCI in its capacity as the accredited representative of the principal stakeholders of the construction industry wishes to be officially recognized as the focal point for promotion of export of construction related professional services from Sri Lanka.

The Chamber solicits financial assistance from the Government of Sri Lanka to undertake this exercise and launch a series of initiatives which are so necessary to ensure that domestic construction companies are made ready to enter the overseas market.

Opportunities that exist not only in GCC countries but also in Asian Region must be vigorously explored to place the Sri Lankan construction industry on the regional map, an exercise that cannot be accomplished without tangible support from the Government. With the domestic construction industry still lagging behind in terms of use of Information Technology applications in construction project management and adoption of proven Quality Management Systems among others, the Chamber has carried out a series of programmes to facilitate ISO accreditation and transfer of ICT.

Chamber believes that the competitive position of the construction industry will depend on relevant sectors of the industry embracing an export culture.

The construction boom in the Gulf region has reached staggering heights with many iconic building and other projects worth more than UDS 2.4 Trillion being undertaken.

Currently, the value of active construction projects within the GCC countries exceeds USD 1 Trillion out of which Kuwait accounts for USD 211 Billion, Saudi Arabia over USD 200 Billion and the UAE more than USD 221 Billion while Qatar which is the fastest growing economy in the region and the Sultanate of Oman having multiple construction projects also contributing in no small measure to the Gulf Boom. With some of the most innovative projects underway, analysts expect the construction and real estate sectors to remain upbeat.

Sri Lankan professionals numbering in the tens of thousands have no doubt earned the highest respect and are most sought after in the Gulf region. They have taken the lead role in mega development projects such as airport development in the Gulf. In this scenario, entry of Sri Lankan professional service providers and constructors to the Gulf market is a distinct possibility.

However, traditionally, to do business in the Gulf, you need to build up strong linkages and close ties and bonds with industry stakeholders and clients in these markets which is a task that cannot be achieved through one-off visits. Relationships established through MOUs and partnering arrangements by the Construction Chamber with its counterparts in the Gulf need to be strengthened through regular visits.

In this respect, CCI has already entered into a MOU with the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and has even initiated an alliance with Doha Bank, the Arab Bank of the Year 2007.

We need to monitor construction industry opportunities in the Gulf, develop market intelligence and continuously nurture exiting relationships while forging new alliances.

Sri Lankan enterprises that have secured contacts and business leads must be provided with support services and industry personnel at all levels must be subjected to training and continuous professional development.

If prioritized attention of the Government is focused on export of construction related professional services and contracting capacities from Sri Lanka, billions of Rupees in foreign exchange could be earned while generating a large number of meaningful employment opportunities for construction industry personnel at all levels. Chamber is confident that an internationally competitive domestic construction industry could be created placing Sri Lanka on the Global map as a reliable source of construction services.

Changing the image of Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world from that of a provider of manual labour to that of a high quality professional service provider is within our reach. Such an exercise will simultaneously enhance the capacities and competitiveness of the domestic construction industry which could become the main driver of National Development.

The need to employ foreign consultants and contractors will diminish, projects of national importance will be completed on time and a large number of indirect cost- benefits will accrue.

Chamber will make a fervent appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to provide high priority for promotion of export of construction related professional services, an exercise that requires prominent participation of the private sector.

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