Slider
LATEST POSTS

Violence Is Violence, Offline Or Online!

Cover Story
Anupama Ranawana
“I will **** you up.” “We will teach you a lesson, low-caste b***h”. Hate, it’s online now. Hate, it’s in the memes on your phone. Hate, it’s in your Twitter notifications. Put yourself out there on social media, and someday, somehow, you’ll encounter a wall of hate. If you’re a woman, a person of colour or an LBT person, you are likely to see some choice language or graphics channelled your way.  Women, in South Asian countries in particular, experience significant cyber violence.  Such harassment ...Continued

Has Sirisena Let The Genie Out Of The Bottle?

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP has not decided on its presidential candidate yet though speculation is rife in political circles that it will be Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition. Serving Prime Ministers have always contested presidential election in this country. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are also grooming themselves. Sajith makes no bones about his desire to run for President. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s biography, Khema’s Boy, in Matara, ...Continued

‘Essay Mills’ and Ethics

Columns
H G S Prematunge
Hiring academic writing services to get essays, papers and dissertation done is fast catching up in the Sri Lankan academic services market, as we pointed out previously. ‘Essay mills’, as the service providers are referred to in the West, offer academic writing services for Diploma, HND, degree, MSC, MBA, M Phil and even PhD level programmes. Students can get their dissertations done for a fee. The purpose of a research is to train students to collect, analyze, and process information and hone strategic thinking, critical ...Continued

Life Begins Again at 60!

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
How well prepared is Sri Lanka to deal with the feminization of its fast ageing population? Statistics indicate that life expectancy for Sri Lankan women is at 79 as opposed to 72 for men, therefore women and men on the threshold of 60 are expected to live 19 years and 12 years longer respectively. While globally, the over 60s population is projected to be around 20% by 2050, that same age group in Sri Lanka  will make up 20% of the population by 2030. Already, ...Continued

Of That No-Faith Vote Fiasco

Columns
Hawk’s Eye
The defeat of the JVP’s no-faith motion against the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the government in Parliament came as no surprise, on Thursday. Even the Catholic MPs voted against the motion which blamed the government for having failed to prevent the Easter attacks in spite of being forewarned. The government mustered a comfortable majority of 27. The motion received 92 votes in favour and 119 votes against. The JVP and the UFPA voted for the motion which had been debated for two days. The ...Continued

Trump’s Triumphalism Set To Aggravate Global Tensions

Columns
Dissector
It was US triumphalism at its most strident and its creator was none other than President Donald Trump. Speaking at the height of a seemingly gathering military stand-off with Iran in the Gulf and an apparently ‘no-winners’ trade war with rival world power China, Trump’s essential message to the American people at the recent American Independence Day celebrations in Washington was that for the US: ‘Nothing is impossible’. It was a speech replete with florid praise for the US military and American national heroes. Trump ...Continued

Proliferation Of ‘Essay Mills’

Cover Story
HGS Prematunge
If one can buy over the counter academic writing packages, what would be the point of burning the midnight oil writing a paper on, say ‘The influence of political events on Shakespeare’ or crunching numbers on a public opinion survey of the credibility of science journalism. Seeking the help of academic writing services to get essays, papers and dissertation done is a fad fast catching up in the Sri Lankan academic services market, churning out anything from essays to PhD thesis for as little as ...Continued

President Sirisena’s Latest Volte-Face And Presidential Hopefuls

Politics
Vishvanath
Policies of the yahapalana government with President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm lack consistency, just like the performance of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team. It came to power, promising a crusade against bribery and corruption and abuse of power among other things. But, today, it is tainted and unpopular thanks to the Treasury bond scams and various corrupt deals such as the importation of sick milch cows from Australia. It undertook to liberate the country from the clutches of China, which it accused of having ...Continued

Delivering World Cup’s Biggest Surprise

Columns
Spectator at Headingley
Sydney Pardon, one of the most famous Wisden Editors once summed up England selections so ruthlessly; in the 1910 Alamanack, he pointed out selections in the previous summer had ‘touched the confines of lunacy.’ Sri Lanka’s World Cup selections could be categorized with something similar as five players who hadn’t featured in an ODI for more than 18 months were chosen for the sport’s showpiece event. But the point is how the players rose to the occasion, despite the chaos!   They came up with a ...Continued

The Criminal Mental and Physical Abuse in Our Universities Has...

Exposé
Aanya Wipulasena and Kshama Ranawana
You find them along pavements or near markets or even on trains, till in hand, raising funds to assist undergraduates and other students who cannot afford to even purchase an exercise book. However, the monies thus collected don’t actually go towards the purpose they tell you about, rather, it’s a ruse to raise money to build “thoran” (pandals) or even rent places to rag new batches of university students. For instance, one such Thorana had cost nearly Rs. 7 lakhs, a source who wished to ...Continued

Though Banned, Corporal Punishment Is Practiced Across Schools

Exposé
Kshama Ranawana
Around March this year, some parents of students of Royal College Primary contacted the Ministry of Education regarding certain abusive situations their children were being subjected to in school.    They were reaching out to the Ministry out of sheer frustration as no corrective action had been taken by the school authorities. Amongst the cases they highlighted was of a Grade 5 student who was injured when a musical instrument was thrown at him by one of the teachers.  The injury which damaged some nerves resulted ...Continued

Newspaper Circulation Figures, A Big Lie

Exposé
For the average reader, circulation or readership figures of newspapers or magazines are irrelevant.  For them, what matters most is content.  However, for those who must market the multitude of consumer goods, educational establishments, and whatever else needs promoted, circulation and readership numbers are critical. An industry that is supposed to report the truth has been living a lie for decades and have got away with it because neither the advertising industry nor the advertisers have joined together to demand for audited circulation numbers. In ...Continued

Ceylon Electricity Board Pays Billions To Private Power Suppliers Illegally...

Exposé
For the Deputy General Manager Energy Purchases of the Ceylon Electricity Board, (CEB) it is an interdiction order for his efforts to follow procedure and minimise unnecessary expenses.  For Aitken Spence, the parent company of Ace Power Embilipitya (Pvt.) it is a windfall that will boost its revenue in billions of rupees. Deputy General Manager, Energy Purchases, Sujeewa Abeywickrama was interdicted on July 2, 2018. The charges against him ranged from not carrying out assigned duties, not following directions given by the General Manager, to ...Continued

Violence Is Violence, Offline Or Online!

Cover Story
Anupama Ranawana
“I will **** you up.” “We will teach you a lesson, low-caste b***h”. Hate, it’s online now. Hate, it’s in the memes on your phone. Hate, it’s in your Twitter notifications. Put yourself out there on social media, and someday, somehow, you’ll encounter a wall of hate. If you’re a woman, a person of colour or an LBT person, you are likely to see some choice language or graphics channelled your way.  Women, in South Asian countries in particular, experience significant cyber violence.  Such harassment ...Continued

Proliferation Of ‘Essay Mills’

Cover Story
HGS Prematunge
If one can buy over the counter academic writing packages, what would be the point of burning the midnight oil writing a paper on, say ‘The influence of political events on Shakespeare’ or crunching numbers on a public opinion survey of the credibility of science journalism. Seeking the help of academic writing services to get essays, papers and dissertation done is a fad fast catching up in the Sri Lankan academic services market, churning out anything from essays to PhD thesis for as little as ...Continued

Developing Clean Energy In Sri Lanka – Vacillating Policies Hinder...

Cover Story
Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri
In December 2015, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Paris where the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted by all Nations. At this summit meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the conference said “the impact of climate change threatens our very survival. In Sri Lanka, the adverse impacts are already obvious” and further said “We have embarked on the challenging task of moving away from fossil fuel-based energy, towards renewable energy”. Realizing ...Continued

A Brief History Of No–Faith Motions

Cover Story
Hawk Eye
Two motions of no-confidence are currently before Parliament against Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the government. The first one, signed by 64 opposition MPs, has been fixed for debate on June 18 and 19, but the Joint Opposition (JO), which submitted it has urged Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to advance it, given the severity of the charges contained therein. The second motion, signed by JVP MPs against the government, has entered the Order Book of Parliament, but no date has been fixed for a debate ...Continued

Complex Psychology Of Terrorism

Cover Story
H G S Prematunge
The Easter Bombings that left 253 people dead and at least 500 others injured, is making psychological ripple effects, with sporadic incidents of violence reported from areas such as Negombo, Chilaw, Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya and Dummalasuriya, intermittent banning of social media and a call to boycotting Muslim business establishments. Counterpoint spoke to an expert on the psychological impact of a tragedy of national scale. And who is better to talk about armed conflict and its psychological repercussions than a person who has been in the thick ...Continued

Education As Means Of Conflict Resolution

Cover Story
H G S Prematunge
The Easter bombings, on April 21, left 253 people dead and at least 500 injured. Speculation is rife that the savage attacks were in retaliation for the recent massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand or the ISIS’s loss of its stronghold in Syria. Conspiracy theories also abound. But one thing is clear; the attackers were driven by religious fanaticism. Keeping religion out of the affairs of the State has become a major challenge and many feel the first step towards achieving this end is ...Continued

Sri Lanka’s War On Drugs

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
The recent destruction by the police of a massive consignment of cocaine weighing as much as 769 kilos in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena himself and some judicial and police officers, in Kelaniya, must have warmed the cockles of many a heart; parents worrying about the future of their children must have heaved a sigh of relief on watching that event on television, on April 01. It is heartening that the police including the elite Special Task Force (STF), the armed forces and the ...Continued

Illicit Firearms Chipping Away At The State

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
EVOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM The proliferation of illicit arms in Sri Lanka worsened due to the over-militarisation of the state following three armed conflicts, two in the South and a protracted one in the North and the East.  The country witnessed the first post-Independence bloodbath in 1971, when the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) took up arms against the state in what turned out to be an abortive revolt. It had a ceremonial army at that time. Needless to say the police were not prepared for ...Continued

Illicit firearms chipping away at the State – 2

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
The danger of firearms in the wrong hands became evident, last Friday, when a lone gunman mowed down 50 persons in a mosque and left many others injured in Christ Church, New Zealand. Armed with an automatic weapon, he carried out the barbaric attack, which he livestreamed, much to the horror of the civilized world. The massacre has jolted New Zealand into reviewing its gun policy. Most of the Sri Lanka Police crime busters, interviewed by Counterpoint, were of the opinion that the available information ...Continued

Has Sirisena Let The Genie Out Of The Bottle?

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP has not decided on its presidential candidate yet though speculation is rife in political circles that it will be Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition. Serving Prime Ministers have always contested presidential election in this country. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are also grooming themselves. Sajith makes no bones about his desire to run for President. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s biography, Khema’s Boy, in Matara, ...Continued

President Sirisena’s Latest Volte-Face And Presidential Hopefuls

Politics
Vishvanath
Policies of the yahapalana government with President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm lack consistency, just like the performance of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team. It came to power, promising a crusade against bribery and corruption and abuse of power among other things. But, today, it is tainted and unpopular thanks to the Treasury bond scams and various corrupt deals such as the importation of sick milch cows from Australia. It undertook to liberate the country from the clutches of China, which it accused of having ...Continued

Political Pugilism: Feints And Uppercuts

Politics
Vishvanath
Both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went overseas the other day, leaving a mega political issue unresolved at home. Their attitude to the serious problems the country is faced with can be considered cavalier. Their political differences which have spilled over into Parliament have rendered the Cabinet inoperative. The President has refused to summon Cabinet meetings in protest against the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on Easter attacks. His call for suspending the PSC on the grounds that the summoning of top military ...Continued

What’s Up Sirisena’s Sleeve?

Politics
Vishvanath
A president at the tail end of his or her term without much hope of being re-elected usually gets written off as a spent force in politics. But President Maithripala Sirisena has been a notable exception. He has been able to retain his grip on power to a considerable extent and hold his opponents at bay. The UNP may not have bargained for this kind of situation when it fielded him as the Common Candidate of the Opposition and threw in its lot with him. ...Continued

Political Shock Waves Of Easter Blasts

Politics
Vishvanath
One of the main allegations the leaders of the Rajapaksa dispensation levelled against their political enemies in the present administration was that the latter would endanger national security and the country would be plagued with terrorism again. They may have expected the LTTE to raise its head again and wreak havoc, but terror attacks came from the least expected quarters. But the government stands accused of having compromised national security and failed to prevent terror strikes. The government finds itself in an unenviable position. The ...Continued

Back To Blasts

Politics
Vishvanath
Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. But this is not true of Sri Lanka, where a group of terrorists carried out suicide attacks in churches and hotels, on 21 April, snuffing out more than 250 lives and injuring about 500 others. That the government had received an intelligence warning days ahead of the Easter Sunday attacks, but no action was taken to protect the public is now only too well known. Minister Harin Fernando admitted in the immediate aftermath of the attacks that he ...Continued

Gota Returns, But His Problems Remain

Politics
Vishvanath
The National Election Commission (NEC), which is under fire for the inordinate delay in conducting the Provincial Council (PC) elections, has made a last ditch attempt to bring pressure to bear on the government leaders to clear the legal barriers in its path. It has written to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to call for the report that a five-member committee, tasked with reviewing the National Delimitation Committee (NDRC) report, which was rejected by Parliament, last year, and gazette it without further delay. The NEC, ...Continued

End of SLPP-SLFP Honeymoon and TNA’s Elephantine Dilemma

Politics
Vishvanath
President Maithripala Sirisena and his immediate predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa are busy ruining things for themselves, in politics, albeit unknowingly. Their parties, the SLFP and the SLPP, are set to pit themselves against each other, at the next presidential election. They are already on a collision course. The Rajapaksa family wants one of its members to run for President, and Gotabaya has already thrown his hat into the ring. It is a case of Hobson’s choice for other family members. President Sirisena has been conducting his ...Continued

SLPP’s Woes, UNP’s Ploy And Geneva Volte-face

Politics
Vishvanath
The SLPP has failed to maintain the momentum it gained, early last year, when it scored a stunning win at the local government polls. Its spectacular electoral performance sent shockwaves through the government so much so that President Maithripala Sirisena opted for a honeymoon with it in a bid to arrest the erosion of the SLFP’s vote bank. The abortive power grab in October last year, the subsequent developments and the deplorable conduct of some Joint Opposition (JO) MPs in Parliament, where they fought a ...Continued

‘Essay Mills’ and Ethics

Columns
H G S Prematunge
Hiring academic writing services to get essays, papers and dissertation done is fast catching up in the Sri Lankan academic services market, as we pointed out previously. ‘Essay mills’, as the service providers are referred to in the West, offer academic writing services for Diploma, HND, degree, MSC, MBA, M Phil and even PhD level programmes. Students can get their dissertations done for a fee. The purpose of a research is to train students to collect, analyze, and process information and hone strategic thinking, critical ...Continued

Life Begins Again at 60!

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
How well prepared is Sri Lanka to deal with the feminization of its fast ageing population? Statistics indicate that life expectancy for Sri Lankan women is at 79 as opposed to 72 for men, therefore women and men on the threshold of 60 are expected to live 19 years and 12 years longer respectively. While globally, the over 60s population is projected to be around 20% by 2050, that same age group in Sri Lanka  will make up 20% of the population by 2030. Already, ...Continued

Of That No-Faith Vote Fiasco

Columns
Hawk’s Eye
The defeat of the JVP’s no-faith motion against the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the government in Parliament came as no surprise, on Thursday. Even the Catholic MPs voted against the motion which blamed the government for having failed to prevent the Easter attacks in spite of being forewarned. The government mustered a comfortable majority of 27. The motion received 92 votes in favour and 119 votes against. The JVP and the UFPA voted for the motion which had been debated for two days. The ...Continued

Trump’s Triumphalism Set To Aggravate Global Tensions

Columns
Dissector
It was US triumphalism at its most strident and its creator was none other than President Donald Trump. Speaking at the height of a seemingly gathering military stand-off with Iran in the Gulf and an apparently ‘no-winners’ trade war with rival world power China, Trump’s essential message to the American people at the recent American Independence Day celebrations in Washington was that for the US: ‘Nothing is impossible’. It was a speech replete with florid praise for the US military and American national heroes. Trump ...Continued

Delivering World Cup’s Biggest Surprise

Columns
Spectator at Headingley
Sydney Pardon, one of the most famous Wisden Editors once summed up England selections so ruthlessly; in the 1910 Alamanack, he pointed out selections in the previous summer had ‘touched the confines of lunacy.’ Sri Lanka’s World Cup selections could be categorized with something similar as five players who hadn’t featured in an ODI for more than 18 months were chosen for the sport’s showpiece event. But the point is how the players rose to the occasion, despite the chaos!   They came up with a ...Continued

The Slow But Relentless War Against Ethnic Nationalism

Columns
Dissector
We have no choice but to resort to a tired figure of speech, ‘rolling in the grave’, to describe a strange malaise that has gripped sections of those who consider themselves ‘progressives’ and sworn Leftists in Sri Lanka. The disquieting frequency and relish with which some local ‘Leftists’ use the term ‘patriotism’ compels Dissector to say that world renowned communists, such as, Lenin and Trotsky, must be ‘rolling in their graves’ to see their seemingly ardent adherents in Sri Lanka resorting to or finding refuge ...Continued

A Political War By Other Means

Columns
Hawk’s Eye
President Maithripala Sirisena took another swipe at his bete noire Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the other day. Addressing the media heads on Wednesday in Colombo, he described the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage, which killed 258 people, including 45 foreigners, and wounded nearly 500, as a ‘drama’ scripted by Temple Trees. Stating that he had not been asked to testify before the PSC, the President declared that he would never appear before it even if he was summoned. The President remains ...Continued

The Cup That Cheers Ruins Rain Forest

Columns
Dr. Prasanna Cooray
“Around the time of Independence there were fewer people living in these areas (around Sinharaja). Since then, population has increased by six times. Plantations have also expanded. There wasn’t anything significant to be called agriculture in this area then. Kalawana, Nivithigala, Kanneliya, Manikevita Kanda, Kalubowita were jungles. (Then) monsoon rains were falling timely. Animals were everywhere.” This is who octogenarian Martin Wijesinghe, who is also regarded the “uncommissioned professor of Sinharaja”, reminisced of the Sinharaja rain forest seven decades ago. Continuing onslaught on Sinharaja According ...Continued

Autonomizing Education

Columns
H G S Prematunge
In the last issue of Counterpoint, we discussed the vital role economics plays in deciding access to and the quality of the education system, which decides the country’s labour force dynamics. There is obvious correlation between the level of education and income, social mobility, economic and social status. Moreover, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development educated individuals make more intelligent and informed democratic political choices. Consequently, spending on education has been viewed as promoting human capital by many scholars. It was R.E ...Continued

COMIC STRIP - WASANTHA SIRIWARDENA

COLUMNS

COLUMN OF THE WEEK

Will The Government Stem The Anti-Muslim Campaign?

Columns
Kshama Ranawana

Even as families of victims of the Easter Sunday terror gradually pick up the pieces of their lives, and attempt to make sense of that dastardly act, a more insidious campaign is taking hold of the country. Anti-Muslim rhetoric is not new in Sri Lanka, but the Easter Sunday bomb blasts carried out by members of extremist National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) has given it a new breath of life. The move to stifle Muslim owned businesses has been around for more than a decade, but ...Continued

Top