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The lost cause of Southern solidarity

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It is all too obvious from the recent UN Human Rights Council vote on its latest resolution on Sri Lanka aimed at promoting war crimes accountability, reconciliation and other undertakings in the country, that Sri Lanka cannot expect countries of the South to back it unitedly and without reservations on these questions. This is a principal, thought-provoking message from Geneva.

Countries such as Sri Lanka cannot apparently expect such support merely by virtue of their formal identity as developing countries or on the basis of their belonging to the global South, in terms of geographical location or other hitherto accepted criteria.

A close examination of how Southern countries voted or abstained from doing so on the resolution ought to bear this out. As is clear, only seven out of the 22 countries that voted for the resolution are of the West European group of countries. Many of the rest of the countries represent regions outside the Western hemisphere. More significantly, the majority of countries from the African and Asian groups voted for the resolution or abstained from voting. These are just two examples of the non-existence of an undifferentiated Southern bloc, so to speak.

In a sense Sri Lanka was orphaned at the vote considering its post-independence history of generally championing the cause of the South with marked zeal. After all, Sri Lanka’s rulers never fight shy of claiming that the country’s foreign policy remains anchored in Non-alignment, for example. In fact, Sri Lanka is a founding member of NAM. But collective Southern backing for Sri Lanka over the resolution in question titled, ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was never to be.

Among other things, this glaring deficit in backing for Sri Lanka ought to engross all sections concerned with the more important issues of the South. While in the sixties and seventies, for instance, a considerable degree of Southern solidarity could have been taken for granted in issue areas of the foregoing kind, such certainty is no longer possible.

It goes without saying that even in the early decades of NAM almost all major Southern countries were anything but Non-aligned, considering their then obvious alignment with either of the super powers. This tendency has lent itself to amused and ironic comment over the years.

However, widespread backing for a small state seemingly victimized by the West, in those early years of NAM, could have been generally expected to be forthcoming from the majority of Southern states, since the then USSR could have been depended upon to side with the country concerned in the latter’s squabbles with the West. If the vote in question was taken in the early decades of NAM, for instance, the majority of African and Asian countries would have been with Sri Lanka.

But, needless to say, the heyday of NAM has come and gone, while it is quite some time since the international political and economic order has changed almost beyond recognition. For example, the USSR is a thing of the past and the Cold War too is no more. The observer would need to focus on current complexities in international politics and economics to sufficiently understand Sri Lanka’s recent near abandonment by a considerable number of Southern states in the UNHRC. There is more than meets the eye here.

The stark reality is that there is no absolutely homogeneous and unchanging collectivity today that could be described as the global South. If at all there is one, it is dynamically changing in respect of the politics engaged in by its member countries internationally and by virtue of their economic policies. This was seen anew when the recent vote on Sri Lanka was taken in Geneva.

Whereas in the decades past, the South was more or less undifferentiated in respect of economic standing, this is not so today. There are wide income disparities among these countries currently, since most of them are tied-up with the global economy and are steeped in market economics. ‘Closed economies’, generally associated with the former socialist bloc, are no more. For example, India and quite a few countries of the Asia-Pacific region are economic power houses in their own right and could stand-up, in economic terms, to any Western country seen as vibrant and strong.

While China could be described as socialist with reservations, many of its neighbours in East Asia, such as, Vietnam, Cambodia and Mongolia, which essentially went the socialist way in former times are today noted for their relatively liberal economic policies and material vibrancy. They too are fast catching-up with the West in terms of economic dynamism. Correspondingly, their populations enjoy better standards of living and are no longer wilting in crippling poverty, although the latter problem has not been completely wiped out from the regions concerned.

The same goes for many of the regions that were described formerly as belonging to the South. Since ‘economic condition determines consciousness’ the majority of Southern countries today, whether they be in Asia, Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean, are likely to shun the idea of belonging to the global South, with all its former negative connotations of being the deprived, run-down and powerless half of the world.

Accordingly, those countries of the South who see themselves as being victimized by the West need to think twice and more before counting on the majority of today’s seeming developing countries for their continued political support in their feuds with the West. This accounts in the main for Sri Lanka’s UNHRC setbacks.

Right now, Sri Lanka could be said to be ‘on the wrong side of history’. Its former support base, the South block, lies disintegrated. It has no firm supporters among the major powers, except for China and Russia. But it is open to question whether the latter could be indefinitely depended upon for their economic and political support.

For instance, it is thought-provoking that China is yet to pledge its support for a recently mooted international treaty pertaining to pandemic preparedness. The latter development is a pointer to China’s continuing adherence to a spirit of economic pragmatism, which could result in it carefully considering the cost-effectiveness of international financial commitments. Countries such as Sri Lanka should increasingly think in terms of relatively independent, self-sustaining development, since major external backers could not be relied on indefinitely. That’s the path taken by the majority of countries of the erstwhile South.



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Features

To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur

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by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from www.wcicsl.lk and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Features

Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!

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In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL

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The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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