Daily Archives: January 6, 2015

Google’s Page named as business person of the year for 2014


Google’s Larry Page has emerged as the ‘business person of the year’ for 2014, edging past the likes of Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to Fortune magazine.

Page, who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder of Google, came on top in the 20 global corporate leaders’ list compiled on the basis of various factors including company’s performance, leadership style and total shareholder returns, the magazine said while bringing out its list.

Apart from Jack Ma and Zuckerberg, others in the race included Apple’s Tim Cook and fast food chain Chipotle co-CEOs — Montgomery Moran and Steve Ells– and Fedex chairman & CEO Fred Smith.

Besides, five women have made the cut to the top 20 list. Interestingly, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who led Fortune list in 2012, failed to make in to the top 20 list.

As Google’s core business continues to thrive, Page, who topped the list, is making “huge bets on new technology -ingestible nanoparticles, balloons that beam down broadband- that could define the future,” the magazine noted.

Page and his company have packed a lot of evolution into just over 15 years of existence, it added.

The women contenders were Ultra Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, ITT CEO and President Denise Ramos, TJX Cos CEO Carol Meyrotwiz, Theranos Founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes and Williams-Sonoma President and CEO Laura Alber.

The list is based on various parameters like financial results of the company including 12-month and three year growth in profits and revenues, company’s stock performance and total shareholder returns over the same periods.

Besides, several non-financial elements like business influence, leadership style, strategic initiatives played a part in evaluation.


China Still Isn’t Ready to Be a True Global Leader

China’s economic miracle over the past 35 years is well documented. It has emerged as the world’s largest economy, although it’s still lagging well behind in world-class per capita GDP. While working in China over the past five years, we increasingly encountered senior government officials and business executives who confidently explained to us that the United States is a fading superpower whose best days are behind it and that the global leader for the 21st century will be China. Buttressed with a certain kind of evidence, this is a beguiling story. It is also a very complex one – and ultimately it is not clear, in our judgment, that it will play out this way.

We see substantial barriers to progress on the short- and medium-term horizons that collectively suggest that while China has done easy economic repositioning work, there are increasingly substantial obstacles standing in the way of further progress.

Economic dynamism is necessary for global leadership, but it’s not enough. Although China’s growth has been extraordinary, and its short-term prospects continue to be bright even in these turbulent times, deep challenges lie ahead. They range from brain drain to civil unease over pollution and corruption to hundreds of millions of migrant workers, who, without hukou, or formal residency status, constitute an alienated army of second-class citizens in every major Chinese city.

Perhaps a greater sign of challenge is to be found in the actions of China’s elites. What does it mean when a country’s leading citizens send their wealth and children abroad? What does it mean when family and company funds are parked in American, Canadian, and British real estate? What does it mean when Canada has had so many rich Chinese apply for citizenship that it has recently attempted to limit their immigration?

A global leader’s most successful citizens should not as a first preference seek to educate their children outside the country. Today, at least 275,000 Chinese young adults are studying in American universities, and another some 160,000 are studying in Europe. Leading secondary schools in these countries faces long waiting lists of Chinese applicants. In response to these trends, international secondary and tertiary education institutions seek to replicate their campuses in China (sometimes, like London’s Harrow School, lending their name to the effort). Although around 300,000 international students now study in China, the influence is more regional than global, with the majority numbers from Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. Chinese universities are rising in world rankings, yet none is in the top 40 by any measure. In short, in education there is a long way to go.

Chinese universities face real barriers as they attempt to compete on a global level. Two years ago, President Xi Jinping visited Tsinghua University and Beijing University (the two leading Chinese universities) and made clear that a central role for both was to train future Party leaders, and that the Party should have more, not less, influence on higher education. More recently, faculty in Chinese universities have faced strict limitations as to what they could talk about both in classrooms and in individual meetings with students. The concept of the “7 Nos” – a list of topics to steer clear of discussing with students – was articulated. This meant faculty could not talk about any past failures of the Communist Party, either in a classroom or with students. They could not talk about the advantages of separation between the judicial and executive arms of government. They could not talk about universal human rights. They could not talk about freedom of press, nor of “civil society.” They even were prohibited from discussing whether or not the Chinese Communist Party was subject to the “constitutional rule” of China’s constitution, which the Party wrote in 1982. As we write, it is hard to overstate the impact of these strictures on campus discourse and the learning environment.

What are other measures of global leadership? In our view, one cannot lead if one’s currency is blocked from the rest of the world and is not convertible. (This is perhaps the easiest of the problems to address and indeed progress is already being made in this realm.)

It is also hard to lead when there is intense surveillance on the internet, and, by implication, intensive distrust of one’s own citizens. This monitoring and censorship can be circumvented, but the apparent insecurity of the government is not a cause for confidence in a global leader.

Finally, a leader needs to have a moral message to communicate to the world. In the Maoist era, China had ambitions to lead the so-called “Third World” on a path that would be different from that of the United States or the former Soviet Union. There is no such message in China today. Getting gloriously rich is a soulless statement. The concept of a “Chinese Dream,” rooted largely in material wealth and power, does not appear to offer dreams to others. The official objective of achieving “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” has neatly avoided describing just what a “Chinese” characteristic is, save to imply that it means a continuingly large role for state-owned enterprises.

Addressing these issues will not be easy in the next decade or two. But that doesn’t mean they cannot be addressed. One has only to compare the United States of around 1900 – a place where no women voted, Jim Crow laws prevailed across the South, and food and drugs were largely unregulated – to see what deep changes in values and institutions are possible over long periods of time.

Surely it is possible to visualize something like this happening under the right circumstances in China over the next century. At present, however, debates on China’s future are vibrant, but underground, on the mainland. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, as we have seen in recent months, the debate is public and energized. When such debates become open, public, and even predictable on the Chinese mainland, then – and only then – do we believe that China will have the capacity to truly lead.


40 Indians Find Place in Forbes Annual List of Global Prodigies

Over 40 Indians and people of Indian-origin, including technology wizards, inventors and policymakers, have been named by Forbes in its annual list of “young game changers, movers and makers” under the age of 30 from around the globe.

The fourth annual compilation by Forbes includes 600 millennials in 20 fields, including consumer technology, retail, entertainment, science, finance, media, social entrepreneurs, law and policy and enterprise technology.

The list includes big names like Harry Potter actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, actor Zac Efron, basketball player James Harden and NBA star Chris Paul.

There are 44 Indians and people of Indian-origin in the list, who are doing exemplary work like inventing an inexpensive method of purifying water, working on international food security initiatives and developing crutches that don’t hurt armpits.

In the venture capital category is Nitesh Banta, 28, who cofounded Rough Draft Ventures that helps student entrepreneurs receive up to USD 25,000 to start a company.

In the consumer technology category is Ankur Jain, 24, who cofounded ‘Humin’, an app that organises contacts, social networks and calendars into a neat, searchable interface.

Avinash Gandhi, 26, is making waves in Hollywood as an agent for talent agency William Morris Endeavour.

Partha Unnava, 22, is the CEO of Better Walk which develop a better set of crutches that don’t hurt people’s armpits.

The retail category features Aman Advani, 26, who cofounded ‘Ministry of Supply’, a men’s fashion company that has developed shirts that use NASA-developed technology to manage heat and moisture.

In the sports category, 29-year-old Ishveen Anand founded OpenSponsorship, which is the first online platform to facilitate sponsorship agreements by connecting brands with

pro-sports rights holders like leagues and teams. The group currently includes Indian cricket captain M S Dhoni and F1 team Force India.

Vijay Chudasama, 28, is working in one of the hottest areas for new biotechnology drugs of combining antibodies with other medicines.

Vinith Misra, 27 is working on the Chef Watson machine, which applies artificial intelligence to create new recipes.

Vivek Ravisankar, 27, cofounded HackerRank, a service company that can use coding challenges to find new engineering talent. Its paying customers include Facebook, Amazon, Zynga, Walmart, and the White House.

Deepika Kurup, 16, has invented an inexpensive method of purifying water that utilises sunlight and a photo-catalytic composite of titanium dioxide and silver nitrate.

Others in the list are Assistant professor at MIT 28-year-old Nikhil Agarwal, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Vikrum Aiyer, Ohio state representative Niraj Antani, and 23-year-old Rahul Rekhi, who is currently working to develop a UN-level treaty on antibiotic resistance policy.


Thailand Nabs Pakistani Man Convicted in 1995 India Bombing

BANGKOK – Police in Thailand have arrested a Pakistani man convicted in India for his involvement in a bomb attack two decades ago that killed a chief minister of a northern Indian state and at least 15 other people.

Gurmeet Singh, one of six Sikh militants convicted for the 1995 blast, fled a high-security Indian prison in 2004 before receiving a life sentence in 2007.

Thai National police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thawornsiri says Singh entered Thailand in October and was arrested in the eastern province of Chonburi on Monday.

He said Tuesday that the 37-year-old Pakistani faces extradition to India.

Beant Singh, the target of the 1995 attack, was Punjab’s chief minister. He came to power in 1992 and began crushing the Sikh militancy, leaving hundreds dead in encounters with police.


SL Prez Poll Divides Astrologers, Pollsters


COLOMBO: Given the general perception that the January 8 presidential election will see a photo finish, astrologers and opinion pollsters have jumped into the fray egged on by the two principal candidates, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena.

However, not surprisingly, these predictions, whether based on planetary positions or statistical data, have contradicted each other sharply. Given tension in the air, innuendos have been flung at the astrologers. And the circulation of forged or unauthorized surveys have led to angry refutations from their supposed sponsors.

Astrologer P D Perera predicts that Sirisena will win because Sri Lanka’s horoscope shows the onset of a radical change of the type seen in 1956 when the coming into power of SWRD Bandaranaike turned Lanka into a Sinhalese-Buddhist polity. At present, Srisena stands for radical change, while Rajapaksa stands for the old order, Perera told Daily Mirror.

On the other hand, Sumanadasa Abeygunawardena predicts a victory for Rajapaksa on the basis of his horoscope. “All subha muhurthas for the President in relation to this election have come right quite naturally, as if by divine intervention,” he said.

And Rajapaksa had invariably had success when he went by the number 8 and this time, too the election is to be held on the 8 th, Abeygunawardena noted. To debunk Abeygunawardena’s prediction, one daily said that he had realized his folly and had suffered a heart attack. Subsequently, the paper retracted the story.


A survey purportedly done by “Colombo University” said that Sirisena will win with a 53 per cent vote. But this was denied by the university authorities who said that it was not a “university” survey by any means.

Meanwhile, a Keleniya University survey said that Rajapaksa will win by 53 per cent!


No Lanka Poll Pact to Woo Tamils: Sirisena


COLOMBO: Sri Lankan opposition unity candidate Maithripala Sirisena today made it clear that he would not go soft on Tamil hardliners or withdraw the army from the north in exchange for their support in Thursday’s crucial presidential election.

“I have no intention of withdrawing the army from the north. As president, national security will be my responsibility,” Sirisena told reporters.

He said he would not allow the country to be divided or allow the LTTE to regroup in Sri Lanka.

“We have not signed any agreement with the Tamil National Alliance or Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to devolve powers or divide the country,” he added.

Since both the TNA and SLMC came out in his support, his rival incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign team has intensified efforts to influence the majority Sinhala voters on a possible deal between Sirisena and the minority parties.

Sirisena has been accused of pledging to create a separate Muslim administrative enclave in the east to win SLMC support.

He said that the political parties which are supporting him in the election have reached an agreement based on the 100-day election manifesto and nothing else.

The manifesto seeks to establish constitutional and electoral reforms rather than trying to address minority calls for political resolutions of issues concerning them, he said.

Rajapaksa suffered a major setback with the defection of Sirisena, his former health minister and General Secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) who is now his main challenger in the January 8 polls.

The TNA has maintained a demand for reduction of the Sinhala-dominated military from the Tamil north since the civil war with the LTTE ended in 2009.

Rajapaksa refused to deescalate the military presence citing national security considerations.

The US and western nations have also backed the TNA demand for reduced military presence in the former conflict zone in order to set up an active civil administration.

Meanwhile, international poll observers who have arrived to monitor the election said that they have heard concerns from parties over several issues – including the use of state resources and the possible use of the military for election purposes in the north.

A team of observers from the Asian Association of Election Authorities (AAEA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat are here.

Bharrat Jagdeo, the chair of the Commonwealth observers said that concerns were also raised on possible poll fraud.

On the concerns of the use of the military on or before election day, Jagdeo said that the Commonwealth observers will meet the army to discuss the concerns if necessary.

“Issues raised by those we met so far included on the abuse of state resources, violence and concerns on the potential role of the military,” he said.

The opposition leaders alleged last week that the military may force a vote boycott of the Tamils.

This is expected to help the incumbent as Tamils are expected in large numbers to favour Sirisena.


Violent Incidents Mount as Sri Lanka Heads to Presidential Poll


COLOMBO: Three supporters of the challenger for Sri Lanka’s presidency were injured by unidentified gunmen on Monday, the latest in a series of violent incidents ahead of the South Asian island nation’s election this week.

Over the weekend a volley of shots were fired at a campaign meeting just after Mithripala Sirisena, who has emerged as a serious threat to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid for a third term, had left the stage in his rural heartland home district.

Two Election Commission officers were also attacked in the eastern port district of Trincomalee by backers of Rajapaksa’s party, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence said.

“Violence is on the rise and it seems to be a well calculated strategy to prevent the opposition campaign,” Keerthi Tennakoon, executive director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE), told Reuters.

Sirisena left the government to take on the president. Since then more than two dozen Rajapaksa loyalists in the 225-seat parliament have defected.

Many Sri Lankans still back the president but his popularity has waned amid complaints of corruption and nepotism.

CaFFE, a local poll monitor, said it has received 157 complaints of violence and 1,201 of election law violations since Rajapaksa called the poll for Jan. 8 in November.

Tennakoon said the three Sirisena supporters were shot at before dawn as they prepared a rally stage in the gem-mining district of Ratnapura. One was in a critical condition, he said.

A district court ordered the arrest of a deputy minister in Rajapaksa’s administration and two local councillors over the incident, media said.

International monitors say they have received complaints of abuse of state power, violence against opposition supporters, and military intimidation in northern areas where a war with Tamil Tiger separatists raged for 26 years until 2009.

“People who we met raised concern over the military presence in the north and intimidation of voters,” Bharrat Jagdeo, the head of the Commonwealth Observer Group, told reporters on Sunday.

Rajapaksa’s party has rejected allegations that it is behind incidents of election-related violence and says the opposition fabricates stories to win votes.

Political analysts expect further election violence, including possible clashes between parties of the ethnic Tamil and Muslim minorities that back Sirisena and the extremist Buddhist groups behind Rajapaksa.

Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said he would order a re-poll in any area hit by election-related violence.

Separately, a court barred four media groups from broadcasting a live programme with Rajapaksa later on Monday, citing possible election law violations.


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