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10 ways to murder your company

Sound advice from FT.com on the top 10 ways how to massacre a company, big or small, and believe me I have copiously sinned at various points in my business career as I can identify with a number of these points.

1. Take on too much debt. Companies usually go bust because they owe the bank too much. If you have no borrowings, you can survive a lot. We have lived through an era where it made sense to borrow and buy if you could; now everything has changed, and certain lenders are taking no prisoners. If there are problems looming, move early to raise capital. If you leave it too late, there may be nothing left to save.

worriedguy2. Choose the wrong business partner. Plenty of companies hit the wall thanks to disputes between owners. It happens even between siblings. If you go into business with someone, be cautious before taking the plunge and have a proper subscription agreement – and keep communicating, even if you disagree.

3. Become overdependent on one customer. Most small non-consumer businesses have just a few clients. If they lose a big one, they are likely to fall into sharp loss. The answer is to diversify if you can, and try your best to be an irreplaceable supplier so that you can never be dumped.

4. Get ill. Many small businesses sink because the founder gets sick or injured, and therefore can’t work. So take exercise, eat sensibly, drink in moderation, stop smoking, buy insurance and try to plan management cover in the event of an accident or other enforced absence.

5. Make a mess of a major IT project. I have seen companies hit the rocks because they spent fortunes on computer systems that did not function properly. I’m not suggesting you never invest in technology, but make sure you take expert advice, and embark on such a move only when the time is right.

6. Get into a price war. Companies frequently undertake suicidal contests with rivals in a desperate attempt to seize market share. This tends to be a zero-sum game that benefits customers only, and leaves the operator with the least cash broke. I prefer to sell on quality or other differentials. Discounting is a dangerous pursuit.

7. Sign a burdensome property lease. I have witnessed many professional services companies go under because they signed a long-term lease on too much office space at the wrong rent – and then revenues collapsed. It must be the main reason for accountancy, law and architecture firms having to dissolve. Now would be a great time to start such a business if you can generate the orders.

8. Forget your customers. I am constantly surprised at how often one experiences poor service, especially in competitive fields. Almost everything is a repeat business, and if you are treated badly by someone, you don’t purchase from them again – and you tell your friends not to go there too.

9. Never evolve. Successful companies can fall into the trap of saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to every innovation that comes along. They grow complacent and allow newcomers to eat their lunch. Long-term winners are always improving, questioning, adapting. No commercial formula lasts for ever.

10. Don’t bother investing. Certain proprietors strip their business of every penny of cash, starving them of capital. But every undertaking requires maintenance and refreshment – otherwise the facilities grow tired and inefficient, and new product development evaporates. If you dividend everything out, you will eventually discover that you own a wasting asset.

By Luke Johnson – FT.com · heads up by Guy Kawasaki

Let me add an 11th point which I am currently suffering from and am actively seeking advice to redress:

11. Don’t have an HR policy. Treat every employee differently, put them on arbitrary pay scales and use haphazard methods of evaluation.

I am convinced that every company, no matter how small, must have an HR manual or written set of procedures and regulations so that employees know what they could expect from a company and know without a shadow of a doubt that they are being treated fairly with a good chance of progress.

I’m sure there are many more factors too like not investing in staff training, not being communicative, not being fair etc, but the 11 points above I think are the most important.

Do you have any others you can contribute?

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The Chamber’s folly

IMG_3034A new board of directors have been elected to lead the Chamber of Commerce forward. Apart from a few new faces, the incumbent board remains largely intact. The birth of this new board; however, was a bit onerous.

Arriving at the Chamber to render my vote at 1pm, I discover that there are over 200 voters ahead of me. The speed at which the numbers were called suggested that it will be a long wait, so rather than just remaining in the ante-room, I went to have lunch with my wife in the nearby Seef Mall. I came back after lunch, some 45 minutes later, and my turn was still to come, but another 100 voters or so. This thing is going to be slow.

IMG_3032So like so many others, I sat back and chatted with various colleagues awaiting our turns. The hold-up was clearly not the organisation, there were many pods serving people as they came in. The hold-up was rather the penultimate step in the voting process, one that is governed by the Chamber’s own by-laws. It appears that voting must be done manually on paper, and before receiving the ballot, the voter must sign against his or her company’s membership register. Add to that the fact that each commercial registry (rather than person) is eligible to vote and that many people had multiple entities, and the fact that some eligible voters abrogated their right by assigning their vote to a block – some allege this is a prime method of buying such votes – one could easily recognise the bottleneck.

IMG_3031So we waited for our turn to come up. That wait; however, wasn’t without entertainment! I personally witnessed two almost-full-blown-fists-flying fights between candidates and other representatives and officials! I still am unaware of why those fights started and frankly, I wasn’t going to even attempt to find out beyond recognising the so called businessman/candidate who was seeking votes and making absolutely sure that I would not vote for him.

The papers the next morning carried several reports of alleged corruption and corrupt practices. I wasn’t privy to the alleged vote-buying. I clearly witnessed several infractions which should be noted and corrected for future elections. As Human Rights personnel were present to monitor the elections, I hope they noted them too and have raised the proper objections with the elections committee.

Here are my observations:

  • 1. Candidates were milling about unhindered in the ante-room, clearly still campaigning;
  • 2. Candidates supporters/family/friends were also present in the room and they too were actively campaigning for their candidate;
  • 3. As every voter received a queue number, and as the wait was very long, some candidates exchanged higher numbers with lower ones, clearly attempting to influence the voting process. If someone gives you a number that will save you an hour, what would it cost you to simply tick their name, I mean you still have 17 more choices to make!
  • 4. I was aghast that Kadhem Al-Saeed gained the most votes. For a first time candidate and one who has been convicted and imprisoned for harassing a minister, I find it surprising that his candidature was (a) accepted and (b) gained the most votes, even surpassing the incumbent president of the Chamber!
  • 5. The other surprise is another first time candidate – Mohammed Sajid Sheikh – a controversial figure, gaining the third highest votes cast. This gentleman apparently was helped by the large Asian business community in Bahrain, but his candidature created a flurry of unsavoury accusations, least of which that he doesn’t speak Arabic properly, being Pakistani originally whose mother tongue is Urdu, and like Mr. Al-Saeed, both are alleged to have worked for months prior to the elections to buy as many votes as possible. The surprising results for both gents speak for themselves. As each candidate must be seconded by two members of the Chamber, I’m not sure what Othman Sharif and Jawad Al-Hawaj had in mind when they seconded this unsavoury gentleman, regardless of his origin and affiliation.

This brings me to my hero of the day. And that is my good friend Jassim Abdulaal, an MP of note in the first parliament in 2002 (and my tough auditor I must say) who stood up to Sheikh when the other ruffled his feathers unnecessarily at the end of the evening after the gates for casting votes have closed and his supporters complained about a lone person still to vote in the voting hall:

I’m not very optimistic that this board will actually enact any changes to the business society in Bahrain, nor can I see them creating an effective lobby to push parliament and the government to create better opportunities for businessmen and women, especially when you consider that their traditional roles have been severely curtailed by the advent of Google on one hand, and the creation of various government institutions like the EDB, Tamkeen, and others who individually and collectively do and have done a better job.

Now with at least two members of this new board buying their way in (allegedly of course), they water down the effectiveness of the board and its respect in the community.

No wonder that for the first time in its modern history, HRH the Prime Minister didn’t bother to visit them on election day.

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Bet you didn’t know this about entrepreneurs

After interviewing about 20 Bahraini entrepreneurs over the last few weeks for the Bahraini Views project, I thought I found a common denominator: they are driven, they come in all ages and from different backgrounds, and their religious affiliation doesn’t have anything to do with their success (the last part is important, Bahrainis would probably understand).

But fault in initially suggesting a certain age-group of between 18 and 30 for this project, due to my supposition that our target demographic (young Bahrainis) would respond more readily to, I now think is based on a mistaken notion. Based on these interviews, I found that apart from anything else, they are passionate about what their doing and that passion transcends every other criteria you can think of.

I am therefore really glad to find some academic corroboration for this premise; a recent report from the Kauffman foundation for entrepreneurship, entitled “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”, is based on a survey of 549 company founders across a variety of industries in the United States suggests the following:

    1. The average and median age of company founders when they started their current companies was 40.
    2. 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
    3. Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds
    4. 15.2% of founders had a sibling that previously started a business.
    5. 69.9 percent of respondents indicated they were married when they launched their first business. An additional 5.2 percent were divorced, separated, or widowed.
    6. 59.7 percent of respondents indicated they had at least one child when they launched their first business, and 43.5 percent had two or more children.
    7. The majority of the entrepreneurs in the sample were serial entrepreneurs. The average number of businesses launched by respondents was approximately 2.3.
    8. 74.8 percent indicated desire to build wealth as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.
    9. Only 4.5 percent said the inability to find traditional employment was an important factor in starting a business.
    10. Entrepreneurs are usually better educated than their parents.
    11. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always run in the family. More than half (51.9 percent) of respondents were the first in their families to launch a business.
    12. The majority of respondents (75.4 percent) had worked as employees at other companies for more than six years before launching their own companies.

Interesting observations aren’t they?

So what do YOU consider the most important assets of an entrepreneur? Please share your thoughts.

via OnStartups.com

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Bahraini Views – Huda Radhi – Connoisseur of Life

It’s not just the psychology of chocolates and flowers that entrepreneur and Huda Radhi is an expert at, it’s also the passion she has for both. Discovering such a brand by chance on a business trip, she didn’t allow anything to stop her from bringing that joy to her native country Bahrain.

Through this interview, Huda shares with us the ups and downs of her business and offers us some insights into the love of the finer things in life.

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Batelco to introduce new broadband packages

from Twitter with no confirmation yet on Batelco’s pages:

Blocked websites in Bahrain

#WebsiteURLAdmin OrderAlternate URL
1منتديات شهداء البحرين
Bahrain Martyrs Forums
shaheedbh.com2005/43shaheed-bh.com
2منتديات المالكية
Malkiya Forums
malkiya.net2005/43
3منتدى شبكة الدراز
Alduraz Network Forums
alduraz.net2005/43
4منتديات البحرين
Bahrain Forums
montadayat.org2005/43
5تقرير البندر
Albandar Report (Bandargate)
members.tripod. com/bahrain32005/43
6ملتقى البحرين
Bahrain Online
bahrainonline.org2006/58http://bahrain4u. com and http://208.100.39.36/ index.php Alternates BLOCKED by Admin Order# 2008/197 on 5 Aug 08
7مركز البحرين لحقوق الإنسان
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights
bahrainrights.org2006/60alternate bchr.net is also blocked
8منتديات باب البحرين
Bab Albahrain Forums
bab-albahrain.net2006/62
9الشبكة العربية لمعلومات حقوق الإنسان
Arab Network for Human Rights
hrinfo.net2006/62hrinfo.org
10منتديات قرية شهركان الثقافية
Shahrakkan Village Cultural Forums
shahrakkan.org2006/62
11منتدى فريج الحياك
Alhayak Neighbourhood Forum
alhiyak.net2006/62
12بنت جبيل
Bint Jbeil
bintjbeil.org2006/62
13منتديات الثقلين
Althuqlain Forums
althaqlain.com2006/62
14منتديات الجفير
Juffair Forums
juffair.com2007/03
15أسكان عالي
A’ali Housing Forums
eskanaali.com2007/03
16موقع كرزكان
Karzakan Forums
karzakan.com2007/03
17منتديات هيئة علي الأصغر
Ali Alasghar Forums
alialasghar.net2007/03
18شبكة النور الإسلامية
Alnoor Islamic Forums
alnoornet.net2007/03
19البندر )جديد(
Albandar (bandargate - new)
bander.allfreehost.net2007/09
20يا حسين
Ya Hussain Forums
yahosein.com2007/13
21حق
Haaq Political Movement
haaq.org2007/47
22منتديات عراد نت
Arad Forums
3radnet.com2008/01
23شاطئ الإيثار
Ethar Coast Forums
nasr-b.com2008/01
24منتديات المحفوظ
Almahfood Forums
almahfood.com2008/01
25منتديات كرباباديات
Karbabad Forums
karbabadiat.net2008/08
26صحيفة أوال الالكترونية
Awaal Electronic Journal
awaal.net2008/16http://www.awaal.net. nyud.net:8090/
27منتديات الصرح الوطني
The National Edifice Forums
wattani.net2008/193block order on 30/8/08 http://wattaninet.net/forum blocked under Admin Order# 2008/197 on 5 Aug 08
28حركة أحرار البحرين الإسلامية
Bahrain Freedom Movement
vob.org
29الصحيفة
Alsaheefa
alsaheefa.net
30الحوار المتمدن
Modern Descussion
rezgar.comahewar.org
31أحرار البحرين
Ahrar Bahrain
ahraralbahrain.comabandoned
32البوابة
Albawaba
albawaba.com
33الناقد
The Critic
annaqed.com
34Free Coptsfreecopts.net
35Arab Churcharabchurch.com
36Kurd Timeskurdtimes.com
37وعد
NDAS
aldemokrati.org
38The Lands of Sandsbenkerishan.blogspot.comalternate benkerishan.com also blocked
Last updated 30 July, ’08 by Mahmood Al-YousifVia @BoilingIce and @ahmedzainal on Twitter.

Batelco’s channel alludes to this too:

@batelco: Our existing customers will be automatically migrated to the new broadband packages with higher speeds & more usage, up to 90% lower prices!
[…] E.g.: customers who are currently subscribed to the 2Mbps/BD60 package will be automatically upgraded to 4Mbps at a reduced price of BD50!

New ad for Batelco's latest ADSL packages to presumably be released soon.
New ad for Batelco's latest ADSL packages to presumably be released soon. source: http://twitpic.com/7dnf7
via http://twitter.com/bahraini/statuses/2168630156
via http://twitter.com/bahraini/statuses/2168630156

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“Let Them Rust” campaign

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I received an interesting email from a friend this morning, with pictures, which I thought is worthy of translation and sharing.

There is an active campaign in Bahrain at the moment by consumers to force greedy car dealerships to reduce their prices. It’s apparently fashioned after a Saudi campaign which some say already bore fruit.

The essence of this campaign is to not buy cars, let the stock rust if need be, until dealers take active steps to make car prices in Bahrain comparable to world markets. The email cites some staggering prices that if true, demonstrate the abject greed which should only be rewarded by completely shunning the owning company’s (if not family’s) businesses.

Here’s the translation – I vouch not for these figures, if anyone has any corroboration, please comment:

Let them Rust

There are approximately 9,500 cars in Mina Sulman with no buyers in sight. An agreement has been struck between the importers to move their stock to their warehouses outside of Mina Sulman due to its closure [and taking over by the US Navy’s 5th Fleet apparently.]

Friday 15th May 2009: see pictures below of shots taken at the port 3 months ago.

  • Al-Moayyed’s car companies didn’t sell more than 60 cars since the start of 2009 and anyone can go to witness their stock in Saar without a buyer in sight.
  • Kanoo transported more than 3,000 cars to their warehouses in Sitra.
  • The pictures below show the cars in Mina Sulman due to the global economic downturn and no one wants them. I implore everyone in Bahrain to start the “Let Them Rust” campaign as in Saudi until the dealers reduce car prices to parity with the rest of the world.

    We came to know that dealers actually raised prices by 5% rather than reduce them. Let them fester in their warehouses, full in the knowledge that the car costs are quite cheap.

    Here are examples of actual costs:

  • Toyota Corolla: Cost BD2,800 including customs and shipping, resale price BD6,500
  • Camry with costs: Cost BD4,000 but resale price is over BD9,000
  • Land Cruiser costs BD7,500 with full options is sold for over BD16,000
  • Mustang costs BD4,000 but sold for BD11,000
  • Lancer costs less than BD2,000 but sold for over BD5,500
  • Honda Accord costs approximately BD4,200 but is sold for BD9,000
  • Lexus ES300 with full options costs BD5,500 but is sold for BD15,000, even though they are sold as 2009 models while they actually are 2008. Be careful, they might even be sold as 2010 models!
  • Please don’t buy any cars [in Bahrain] unless traders reduce their prices appropriately. Citizens! You live on perpetual loans, be careful!

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    iPhone 3G available in Bahrain

    iPhone 3G available in Bahrain

    I was starving after the gym this morning so I stopped over at a nearby supermarket to get a sandwich. On the way out, I noticed this on their noticeboard:

    This person is selling them for really hefty prices:

    • The 8GB black is for BD 420 (US$ 1,111 – it’s $199 originally but with a contract)
    • The 16GB black is for BD 465 (US$ 1,230 – it’s $299 originally “)
    • The 16GB white is for BD 480 (US$ 1,270 – it’s $299 originally “)

    They go on to explain why the prices they are charges might appear high with this:

    Why does the price APPEAR high? …. What you don’t know is that to own an iPhone 3G in from Apple, Worldwide, you MUST (in addition to initial iPhone price & being a resident in that country):

    • Sign and entire 2 YEAR contract with AT&T, and add $30 to every monthly bill.
    • Pay Taxes.
    • If you wish to cancel contract you must pay $170+, if otherwise cancelled you MUST RETURN the device.
    • many more hassles.

    Well, for those prices, Apple can keep their phone. I would rather have this one instead.

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    Batelco Blocked!

    In a reversal of fortunes, Batelco finds its own site blocked by a much higher authority than the one it kowtows to: Google!

    Several people emailed me a screen grab of Batelco’s site in the latest FireFox browser which severely warns people from having anything to do with Batelco; in fact, it offers a very expeditious get-way for would-be visitors by offering them a button which says “Get me out of here!”

    While the dire warning of having anything to do with Batelco is not new, nor is it unique, it is quite germane to the company that offers us untold amount of spam, and through whose servers and collection of IP addresses our business get affected. I am sure that others have suffered from those petulant “undeliverable mail” syndromes that hurls emails back at senders like gleaming hot coals due to their association with Batelco due to its status in the black lists of almost all the major spam-detecting engines.

    So thanks to the dependable Google for protected me and countless others who have the forethought to insist on using Firefox which allows for the display of such warnings:

    Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content
    Batelco site blocked by Firefox 3 warning of malicious content

    What is the current listing status for www.batelco.com?

    • Site is listed as suspicious – visiting this web site may harm your computer.
    • Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

    What happened when Google visited this site?

    • Of the 843 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 284 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 07/27/2008, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 07/27/2008.
    • Malicious software is hosted on 27 domain(s), including butdrv .com, chds .ru, kgj3 .ru.
    • 1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including butdrv .com.

    Lackadaisical security policies? Or is it once again complete indifference on Batelco’s part?

    I would err on the side of both; why should they even care if they are the de facto source of internet communications in this country? A privilege they hold on to and will continue to do so with the complete aid and support of our very own Government – being its largest shareholder, and one that does not care to put any pressure whatsoever on its child to engender creativity and competitiveness in order to allow Bahraini individuals and companies to compete in a global and much more connected marketplace?

    The reason must be manifold of course, but could the chief reason amongst them is the perceived indifference that our own government holds us in by allowing the perpetuation of this situation? Robbing us of our chances of a much more creative and competitive marketspace that cheaper and unrestricted communication could very well engender?

    In any case. I urge everyone who has to deal with Batelco to exercise extreme caution. You never know when (not if) you will be breached because you are beholden to them.

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    Vituperation

    Bahrain gets behind Space Shuttle! Image uploaded by Mike Knight, original file name is ISD_highres_STS101_STS101-718-27_2 taken from eol.jsc.nasa.gov
    Bahrain gets behind Space Shuttle!

    That itty bitty thing that is almost completely obscured by the Shuttle’s rudder is the archipelago of Bahrain. Not only one of the smallest kingdoms in the world, but also one of the smallest countries therein. Period.

    But ask any Bahraini about his country and you will be forgiven for thinking that they hail from one of the largest, most powerful, most vibrant countries on God’s Earth. Maybe the Universe even!

    Small or big doesn’t matter much, though, when you try to understand the political upheaval that we continuously go through. From one scandal to the next. From one demonstration to the next. From one threat to the next. From one disaster to the next. Quite tiring of course, but it seems to have become our stock in trade. We’re getting used to it.

    The latest fracas was signalled by the controversial MP Jassim Al-Saidi who issued one of his infamous outputs – never self thought or instigated, some contend – by demanding that Bahrain should turn the military loose on “the agitators who harbour ill for this country and its blessed leadership and are absolutely instructed to wreak chaos by outside forces” – or words to that effect. The press and the opposition reacted as expected to this “test balloon”. But the signal was loud and clear. Someone high and mighty was getting pissed off, and the suggestion was supposedly made to “do something” about the situation.

    I guess the usual riot police convoys of twos upgraded to six (at least) for the past few weeks was not enough, or someone rightly decided that they were still ineffective and cannot control the various skirmishes in some Bahraini villages. So, the common and tried and trusted solution must have been to the lines of “let’s throw more power at the problem and hope that those kids and villagers will be controlled.”

    It didn’t.

    More power was needed – common wisdom demanded.

    Malkiya – a village on the western shores of Bahrain, the mother island, had some beef with officials. Someone was burying the sea and cutting them off from enjoying it or going out in their boats to make a living. They decided to protest.

    We can’t have that. They were given the wall, and now they think that their station has been elevated, and that any time they go on a demo the government or officials or the community or those in power would acquiesce and give them what they want. What rubbish. We can’t have that. So off on a demo they went. They got “dealt with” this time and I think a 13 year-old boy even saw the inside of a prison cell for a while. The community in Bahrain went ape-s*it and those nefarious human rights activists and pseudo-politicians demanded his release. He was eventually. Unharmed I think. But others are still languishing in cells awaiting their just desert.

    While all of that was happening, the 8 Bahraini teachers who were accused of being “foreign spies” by the Saudi authorities and imprisoned – without charges – were rescued as their release was secured by His Majesty on a recent visit to Saudi where he personally intervened, the next day they were home safe and sound and restored to their jobs with back-pay. Complimentary pictures and whatnot were taken with high officials and His Majesty of course to offer thanks and unstinting loyalty by the eight for their release.

    But was it just a day or two before, or after – I dinna ken – about 5 who demonstrated and allegedly stole a weapon and burnt a police car in December last year were handed their sentences ranging from 1 to 7 years for their troubles, while 4 were acquitted. It was their villages’ turn to go out and demonstrate; one, we are told, had a collection of 117 Molotov cocktails, a few tyres and various other paraphernalia stashed in a deserted house presumably awaiting to be used on the day the court decisions are handed down against the December rioters. Needless to say, the efficiency of the police prevailed once again, and the four will soon be joining their compatriots for breakfast, lunch and dinner of luscious and healthy dal and khobbiz.

    His Majesty the King, may Allah bless him, has had enough of this tit-for-tat; thus, he invited the editors-in-chiefs of all the papers and vociferously and verbosely harangued those agitators who sullied the name of Bahrain in the international community and specifically advised them not to bother with such machinations. He reminded those who choose to knock on the doors of foreign powers asking for help in their nefarious causes to destabilise the kingdom of the fact that those very powers were the instigators of Abu Ghraib, and that they don’t care much for the causes they champion. He suggested that if indeed they do have a qualm about the situation in Bahrain, then they are better served attempting to resolve it here, in Bahrain, using the available constitutional and citizen rights means. He also warned against harsh and personal criticism against people, respected Bahraini families and other personages. I’m not sure what was happening there, but I suspect that it might have emanated from one of the infamous forums because I daren’t think that any newspaper would publish such insults.

    Barely a day after that meeting, the prime minister issued a (verbal?) edict to stop any development work in any village or location used by demonstrators to damage the infrastructure, burn tyres and carry on with their illegal activities. The Civil Service Bureau – not to be out-done – unilaterally decided to fire any of its employees who joins unlawful and unauthorised demonstrations.

    Suddenly, the king’s points raised with the journalists were taken to the inside pages, and the new new crises took their rightful space on the front pages. With pictures. And the discussion in the inside political pages – and those were many in every paper – were dedicated to reactions against what is now termed as the collective punishment visited against errant villages and domiciles; while the king’s very valid points were left for the columnists to talk about, taking less than 1/16th of the space – or less actually – than the other new new things.

    So we get to today. Karadzic’s apprehension news is given a couple of centimetres on the front pages, and those are occupied by his hippy-like hairdo and Noel-esque beard, Albasheer’s head is sought by the ICC but the effervescent and wholly useful Arab League and the similarly described African Union won’t have that – and we know why don’t we? Any one of their members could be earmarked next! In Bahrain – that thing behind the Shuttle’s rear – a few poor souls who demonstrated against their company arbitrarily deducing from their wages and had the misfortune of having their mugs appear in the paper got fired by their erstwhile firm, the nurses want to go out and demonstrate for better wages and conditions are being corralled and called traitors for even considering such a thing.

    Ah well, it’s only proper then that dictionary.com’s word of the day sums up the whole situations described rather succinctly; vituperation.

    I think I’ll just go home now, switch off, and watch Monty Python. That, my friends, is more real than this reality!

    Picture credit: NASA Johnson Space Center – eol.jsc.nasa.gov
    this is image: ISD_highres_STS101_STS101-718-27_2
    thanks to Mike Knight for the heads up.

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    The abduction of the Bahraini businessperson

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    LMRA BahrainI thought that come July 1st, Bahraini companies could hire and fire at will – well, within reason – and essentially hire whom they need to grow, rather than who are foisted upon them simply to make their quota with Bahraini workers. Well, I think I might have been mistaken:

    Come July 1, employers in Bahrain would have to recruit two Bahrainis for each five expatriates or risk facing action, including termination or rejection of work permits.

    The move under the Labour Market Regulatory Law focuses on empowering Bahrainis in the labour market through the implementation of an advance system that rejects work permits of companies that do not employ the required number of Bahraini workers.

    The Executive Chairman of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), Ali Radhi, said that the law would also ban termination or suspension of services of Bahrainis without valid reasons.
    Khaleej Times

    What’s going on here? Where did all the talk of a “free labour market” go? Now employers have even more limits than the era before the LMRA? Or have I completely missed the plot here?

    I understood that as long as you pay the LMRA imposed taxes, you could hire whomever you want! What the linked article suggests is contrary to that, in fact it goes even further in not only limiting the number of people you want to employ by paying the required fees, but you’ve got to do that AND hire 40% of your workforce as Bahrainis, regardless – it seems – of what they know and if you actually need them.

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