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Lanka PM’s son resigns, all Cabinet ministers follow suit

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Namal Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs and son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has resigned from all his portfolios.

“I have informed the sec. to the President of my resignation from all portfolios with immediate effect, in hope that it may assist HE & PMs decision to establish stability for the people & the govt of #LKA. I remain committed to my voters, my party & the people of #Hambanthota,” Namal Rajapaksa said in a tweet. This comes hours after Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday refuted reports of the resignation of PM Rajapaksa and termed them “false” adding that there were no such plans at present.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a food, fuel, power, and gas shortage and has sought economic assistance from friendly countries. The island nation’s currency has also been devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8 and it is witnessing long hours of power cuts.

Almost an hour later, Sri Lanka’s entire Cabinet Ministers apart from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to resign.

They have all signed a general letter, consenting to resign paving the way for a new cabinet to be formed, the English language newspaper Daily Mirror reported.

Confirming this development, MP Dinesh Gunawardena said Mahinda Rajapaksa will continue to function and all other members of the cabinet have tendered resignation to the PM, News Wire reported.

Following the mass resignation of his Cabinet ministers, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa named at least four ministers, to maintain legitimacy and stability of Parliament and other functions of the country until a full Cabinet is appointed.

The President replaced his brother Basil Rajapaksa and named Ali Sabry, as previous Minister of Justice, as the new Finance Minister, according to President’s media division. The four new ministers were sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday.

Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in as the Minister of Education and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando was sworn in as the Minister of Highways, Colombo Post reported.

Prof G.L. Peiris was re-appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Leader of the House, Dinesh Gunawardena said the President made these appointments this morning to maintain government affairs until a full permanent Cabinet is appointed.

Rajapaksa has invited all political parties in the country to accept ministerial portfolios and work together to find a solution to the national crisis.

In a letter, the President said that the current crisis was the result of several economic and global concerns and that a solution needs to be found within the democratic process of the country. As one of the leading democracies in Asia, it needs to be addressed within the framework of democracy itself, the letter stated, adding that “together we must work together in the national interest for benefit of citizens and future generations.”

A permanent cabinet will be appointed after discussions with the political parties, the Colombo Post added further.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Opposition leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Sajith Premadasa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help their nation to the maximum possible extent.

The Opposition leader said, “Please try and help Sri Lanka to the maximum possible extent. This is our motherland and we need to save it.” While responding to the parties’ readiness to participate in an election, if it takes place, Premadasa said that he and his party are ready to contest the election.

“I can tell you, I myself and we all have been ready ever since we entered social service and political service. We are ready for any eventuality,” he said.

Earlier, the Sri Lankan MP termed the Cabinet Ministers’ resignation a melodrama. “The melodrama is being enacted to fool the people of the country. There’s no genuine effort to bring sanity to our society and relief to the people. It’s an exercise to fool the people.”

Reiterating opposition parties’ demands, Premadasa said, “We’re seeking immediate relief for the people. We want to protect the lives of the people and their rights.”

Premadasa said that the people in the country are asking for a change in the government to bring relief from the economic crisis.

“The whole country is calling for wholesale change. What we ask for is a pathbreaking wholesale change that brings relief to the country, not relief to politicians. We don’t want a game of musical chairs where politicians exchange their positions,” he added.

The streets of Colombo wore a deserted look on Sunday, as a curfew was imposed on the city on top of a 36-hour nationwide curfew already in force after protests outside the residence of President Rajapaksa. Protests staged by the public were reported from small streets, apartment complexes, and multiple areas around the country.

The government on Saturday blocked access to social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube, but lifted the ban on Sunday afternoon after Namal Rajapaksa spoke against it.

“I will never condone the blocking of social media. The availability of VPN, just like I’m using now, makes such bans completely useless. I urge the authorities to think more progressively and reconsider this decision,” Namal had tweeted.

Meanwhile, the 36-hour curfew that was imposed on Sri Lanka on Saturday evening at 6 pm was lifted on Monday morning at 6 am but the country is still under a state of emergency.

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Snehalata Memorial Foundation brings Sambhav on Stage at Triveni Kala Sangam

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During the last two years, a lot of shows were organized online due to the raging pandemic. Now, most of the organizers have decided to conduct their events offline. Snehalata Memorial Foundation established in the year 1992, is a social organization that aims to spread awareness about classical music throughout the world. Snehalata Memorial Foundation is set to organise Sambhav on Stage with the tagline ‘Gayan Vadan Nritya’. The program is being organized at Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, Delhi, 110001 on the 19th of May 2022 from 6 PM onwards.

The program will start with a vocal, followed by a Tabla duet, and end with a Kathak trio recital. The performers have already performed online, this time they would be performing offline. During covid, the upcoming performers have suffered the most and Snehalata has planned to encourage young artists and present their art in front of the audience.

In a candid conversation tabla artist, Saptak Sharma who will be performing in the event said, “It’s completely an honor for me to be performing for Snehalata Memorial Foundation. Especially getting an opportunity after a long gap of 2 years is a whole another experience. I’ve been attached to this organisation and did some online concerts during the lockdown as well. A big thanks to Binay ji and the whole team for making this possible and getting the artists back on stage. It’s a whole different thing to live with the audience in a face-to-face way as compared to the online sessions. The essence of classical music lies in the baithak systems in which the artist is being praised by the audience and the music flowing out of that is completely felt differently. It’s always said music can only be felt and not seen. And that’s the best part about being on stage when you realise your audience feeling your music and reacting to it.”

The event features

Classical Vocal Recital by Abhijeet Mishra

Accompanists:

Sarangi – Ejaz Hussain

Tabla – Kamil Khan

Duet Tabla Recital by Saptak Sharma and Ashutosh Verma

Accompanist:

Sarangi – Mudassir Khan

Kathak Recital by Harshita Vaish, Disha Gupta, and Sagar Vishwakarma

Accompanists:

Sarangi- Ejaz Hussain

Vocal- Zaki Ahmed

Tabla- Shubhan Khan

Padhanti- Aishwarya Rawat

Venue-Triveni Kala Sangam, Delhi

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‘WE AT ICCS ARE OFFERING CUSTOMIZED OUTSOURCING SOLUTIONS WITH BEST TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE’

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In response to The Daily Guardian, Divij Singhal, Founder & CEO, ICCS, said ICCS’s mission is to outperform the industry by fostering innovation and forming collaborations with the world’s largest brands, as well as enthusiastic leaders and employees. The company envisions being one of the worlds’s most recognized and trusted BPM service provider, offering exceptional value to customers across all industries through cutting-edge technology and world-class service.

Q: What made you launch this business?

A: We looked at the domestic service industry and it was growing in the country and skilled people for voice and non-voice would be needed. We evaluated that there is a niche that can be created in this industry by the amalgamation of people and technology. That motivated us to be a part of this BPO industry.

Q: Goals and objectives when it is founded.

A: The goal was to be a leading player in this space of domestic BPO with the right quality and consistency being delivered to our customers at the right price.

Q: Business success so far

A: Our growth is consistent with the growth of 25% YoY, and something which we really can cherish is all our customers who started with us continued together, and we both grew over time. We believe in high quality and besides, we also give them the technology to improve their customer experience turning into retention.

Q: What will be the industry trends in 2023.

A: New-age technologies are emerging and making their mark in businesses across sectors. We feel that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in particular will be buzzwords and their impact will be such that the BPO sector will witness growth concerning the people in the coming year. The yield per employee will increase and this trend will render a positive impact on the valuation of the BPO industry

Q: What are your future plans?

A: We are indeed joyous that we have had a successful run so far. Indeed, we had our fair share of ups and downs. But we take pride in the fact that we have surpassed them all and are bracing for exponential growth in the future. As far as our growth plans are concerned, we at ICCS are looking forward to expanding our footprints in tier 2 regions as well as in the metro cities. We are also planning to hire 1000+ employees by the end of this year. From the business perspective, our focus is to increase our presence in the healthcare and retail distribution verticals. On the whole, we are striving to bring about innovation as well as foster associations with reputed brands at the global level.

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VIBE, THE SKYBAR REOPENS AT GURUGRAM BAANI SQUARE

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True to its name, Vibe – The Sky Bar, a rooftop bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Gurugram Baani Square is back to serve its patrons.

Blessed with breathtaking city views and sparkling ambiance, this high-end rooftop bar is an ideal place to socialize with friends and family or for a corporate gathering. Wind down after a busy day in comfortable lounges while you enjoy the sophisticated bites and handcrafted concoctions to lift your spirits.

Enjoy an open-air dining experience in re-imagined spaces secured with stringent safety norms, where Mukesh Kumar, Executive Sous Chef has introduced an array of delectable choices in the eclectic menu which includes The Giant Chicken Wings, Kaffir Lime Gamberi, Kasundi Salmon, Crunchy Amritsari Fish Tots, Tenderloin Boti Popsicles, Raan, Ragi Chickpea Falafel, Mexican Tacos, Citrus Creme Brule, DoubleTree Cookie Pastry, and many more to choose from.

Timings: – 04:00 PM–12:00 AM

Average cost for two: INR 3500 plus taxes

For reservations: +91 9711216466

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LOGIC OR INSTINCT, WHICH DO WE FOLLOW?

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During the last days of 2004, as a giant tsunami-ravaged a dozen countries, killing almost two hundred thousand people, researchers noticed something odd at the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. The park, home to several hundred species, hardly had any animal carcasses. National Geographic magazine quotes observers reporting strange behavior from animals before the tsunami hit. Elephants screamed and ran for higher ground, turtles changed paths, and dogs refused to go outdoors. What did the animals sense that humans didn’t?

The pinstriped world of Wall Street might seem far removed from the forests of Sri Lanka, yet the same animal instincts run deep. Billionaire investor George Soros said that the onset of back pain is, for him, often “a signal that there was something wrong in my portfolio”. In his son’s words, Soros often “changes his position on the market” because “his back is killing him”. A study by researcher John Coates observed that traders who were more aware of their body rhythms made more profitable trades and could sense when ‘something just felt right.

Does this mean that we should trust our ‘gut instinct’ more often?

The answer, unfortunately, is not that simple. Almost every trader or gambler who places a bet feels that ‘today is going to be my lucky day. A look at the ranks of failed gamblers tells us that blind reliance on instinct can lead to ruin. Examples abound not just of businesses but entire kingdoms which were destroyed because the leader chose to act on an impulse or a whim. Giving our instincts a free run is like letting an angry elephant loose in a bazaar.

Scaling up and running a large enterprise requires standardization, and standardization leaves little room for subjectivity. Not surprisingly, our professional worlds elevate logic over instinct. The parameters for business decision-making, whether at Board meetings or client presentations, prioritize measurable metrics and tangible calculations. For a firm to say that decisions are made based on ‘gut feelings’ of key executives would be comical.

And yet, something valuable is lost when we rely too much on logic. Logic is often just a way for us to rationalize and reduce dissonance with a decision that has already been made based on our emotions. One needs to look no further than debates on Twitter or WhatsApp groups to witness this. Data can often be tortured to spit out a conclusion that suits a particular viewpoint.

In the numerous Board or investment committee meetings that I have attended, I have noticed that if you peel beyond the veneer of logic, key decisions almost always rest on softer factors, such as trust in the management team. Great investors focus on qualitative factors, such as the drive, energy, or integrity of the founders, instead of relying on metrics alone.

Can we leverage this power of instinct in our lives? Experience has shown me that there is a way.

First, we need to build deep expertise in the field in question. Coates’ study was done on experienced traders. My involvement in the stock markets dates back twenty-five years. Over two-thirds of those were spent focusing on left-brain analysis, involving numbers, financials, strategy, metrics, and so on. But in the last eight years, I have been able to transcend these and understand the softer realms of temperament, awareness, subtler patterns, behavioral biases, and so on. Yet, the latter would not have been possible without the former. The logical parts need to be integrated into muscle memory for the instinct to be robust.

Second, we need to polish our antennae. Today, as we increasingly tune into digital noise, we have lost the connection to nature and to the cues that it gives us. We need to tune in to signals from our bodies, minds, and the environment. Coates found that successful traders exhibited greater self-awareness of their body rhythms, such as heart rates. My practice of mindfulness meditation forms the core of my creativity, as it enables me to tap into intuition and get ideas for my writing.

As we eliminate the dust and cobwebs from our antennae, we re-establish our connection with our inner compass and with activities that nourish us deeply. We are then able to tap into the vast primeval universal intelligence. This intelligence works through processes that transcend logic and opens us up to the true power of instinct and intuition.

S.Venkatesh is the bestselling author of AgniBaan and KaalKoot, a leadership coach and an investor who has held key positions with JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Macquarie. He writes about mindfulness and its link to creativity, business and wealth.

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Amazon Smbhav announces launch of Smart Commerce

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The third edition of Amazon Smbhav, Amazon India, with the theme ‘Pragati’ discusses innovation and growth along with exploring ideas to drive India’s success towards development in terms of business. The summit has also announced the launch of Smart Commerce, an initiative to transform local stores into Digital Dukaans. The initiative aims to digitalise 1 crore small businesses by 2025.

Announcing its launch, Amit Agarwal, SVP, India and Emerging Markets, Amazon said, “We are humbled by how neighbourhood stores from across India are taking advantage of our Local Shops on Amazon program to go online and grow their business, with over 1.5 lakh stores already selling on Amazon.in within two years of launch. Today, we are excited to launch Smart Commerce that will enable any store to truly become a digital dukaan, and serve customers with the best of Amazon no matter where they are in their physical store, directly through their own online storefront, or on Amazon.in. We are just getting started and remain committed to our pledge to digitize one crore small businesses by 2025.”

In the opening session, Manish Tiwary, Country Manager, India Consumer Business, said, “Over the last two years, we have invested significantly towards the pledges we announced at the inaugural Smbhav Summit in 2020. We are humbled to share that we have already digitized over 4 million small businesses and local stores, are on track to enable $5 billion in cumulative exports and have created over 1.16 million direct and indirect jobs in India including 135K new jobs added in the last year.” Many India-First innovations such as Seller Flex and Easy Ship have been implemented in global markets as well. Moreover, technology has been used to bring small businesses online. Moreover, most of the customer orders on Amazon are from tier 2 cities. Around 8 million local stores and businesses are using Amazon Pay, with 75% of the customers (tier 2 and tier 3 cities) using Amazon Pay UPI.

Similarly, Dave Clark also emphasised that Amazon has invested more than $18 billion in its selling partners’ success since 2020. Amazon has also digitized more than 4 million small businesses and enabled exports worth nearly $5 billion. To support the idea of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the minister of state in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, also focused on using technology to create opportunities for youth. As post-COVID reshaped the value chain of products and services, the growth of small businesses and villages would make India Atmanirbhar.

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POLICE BUST INTER STATE DRUG CARTEL IN DELHI, HEROIN WORTH RS 20 CR RECOVERED

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A team of Special Cell/Northern Range, on Wednesday, successfully busted an interstate drug cartel after arresting one of its key members from Delhi. The team, led by Inspr. Vivekanand Pathak and Inspr. Kuldeep Singh was under the supervision of Shri Ved Parkash, ACP, and overall guidance of DCP/Spl Cell/NR & STF, Sh. Rajiv Ranjan Singh. The arrested member has been identified as Rajesh Gupta of Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar.

Five kilograms of high-grade heroin worth more than Rs. 20 crores in the international market have been recovered from the possession of arrested 47-year-old Gupta. One mobile handset and two SIM cards used in the drug trafficking activities have also been recovered from the detainee.

Rajesh Gupta has served 12 years in the Indian army, and was court-martialed and dismissed in 2006, after being found involved in a financial scam. Later, Gupta was put in civil jail in Kohima, where he came in contact with a person namely Sushil who lured him to work with him in drug trafficking. Thereafter, Gupta started supplying heroin after procuring it from drug suppliers of Manipur.

Special Cell in its continuous crusade against drug suppliers had busted many narcotic drug cartels in the past by arresting several drug suppliers and by recovering huge consignments of high-grade heroin. Sleuths of Special Cell of Northern Range were working on information that an Interstate narcotic drug cartel is active in the states of Manipur, UP, Delhi etc.

In a statement, police said: “Members of this cartel are involved in the supply of high-grade heroin in Delhi, NCR, UP, after procuring the same from suppliers from bordering areas. This information was further developed through technical as well as human surveillance.”

It took about 3 to 4 months of painstaking efforts to successfully investigate the case. During this process, members of this cartel were identified and their activities were kept under discreet surveillance, police statement added.

Arrested Rajesh Gupta was thoroughly interrogated, and after that, the accused person disclosed that he was part of an interstate narcotics syndicate.

The police statement said: “Rajesh Gupta disclosed that he is indulged in drug trafficking activities for the last five-six years. He used to transport heroin after taking delivery from one Limanthang resident of Manipur. Further investigation is in progress.”

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