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Core democratic values increasingly eclipsed by Realpolitik

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Dissector
A narrative of the crashing descent from democratic icon status to one of run-of-the-mill, repressive Asian Head of government of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi reads like a Shakespearean tragedy with a few amendments. Today, she stands exposed as a Myanmarese ruler who did not spare the coercive capability at her disposal to beat into submission and humiliation her country’s minority Rohingya community. She is accused, among other things, of presiding over a 2017 military crackdown that forced around 740,000 Rohingyas from her country’s Rakhine ...Continued

Will we throw the Baby out with the Bathwater?

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Kshama Ranawana
It’s back to the drawing board for the Hathe Ape Potha, the supplementary reader on sexual and reproductive health. On Tuesday, January 21st, interested stakeholders, Buddhist clergy, officials of the Education and Health Ministries, Psychiatrists, representatives of the Child Protection Authority and Academics met for the second time to discuss whether or not the Hathe Ape Potha is appropriate reading material for Grade 7 students. The meeting was jointly called by the Sectoral Oversight Committees on Women and Gender and Education and Human Resources Development ...Continued

Zimbabwe’s rapid decline

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Spectator
Remember Sri Lanka’s opening fixture of the 1992 World Cup! Zimbabwe, yet to become a Test playing nation, gave us a near scare. The rookies piled up over 300 runs with debutant Andy Flower posting a fine hundred. It needed Arjuna Ranatunga’s cool head to overcome the obstacle as Sri Lanka became the first team in the history of the game to successfully chase a target of over 300. It didn’t take that long for Flower to become the world’s number one batsman. His greatest ...Continued

Landscape Modification and Extinction of Species

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Shakila Ifham
There is a growing body of literature including some from Dr. Ruchira Somaweera’s team that lizards adapt to changed environments in ways scientists didn’t previously think of. Speaking to Counterpoint, renowned scientist, Dr. Somaweera, says it is very common to claim that all change is bad and habitat change will destroy everything. But, he says scientists are convinced otherwise. Dr. Somaweera, who is currently based in Australia, is a Research Scientist at the Ecosystem Change Ecology (ECE) team of CSIRO and an Adjunct Research Fellow and University of Western Australia, working on ...Continued

‘The Wonder of Asia’

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Ivan Alvis
I’ve been to Thailand many times, courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and I’ve checked out the country’s famous Floating Markets. On many an occasion it has got me wondering why Sri Lanka, with so many canals, and rivers, can’t make this tourist attraction (in Thailand), a reality, in our part of the world! In Thailand, the boats, plying these Floating Markets, are packed with tourists. Obviously, they love such an experience. They have the opportunity of buying nick-knacks, etc., from villagers  who ply ...Continued

Teaching – It should be more than Book Based

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HGS Prematunge
‘Love, Mary’ is a movie about a dyslexic teenager who beats the odds by earning an MD degree and achieving a career in family medicine despite her condition. What is dyslexia? Dyslexia entails difficulty to learn reading or writing, despite normal intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, auditory short-term memory, and/or language skills or verbal comprehension…so goes the text book definition. Before she became Dr. Mary Groda-Lewis, she was sent to reform school due to her ‘troubled behavior’ where she ...Continued

Who’s Afraid of Sex Education?

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Kshama Ranawana
The Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera’s objection to the Hathe Ape Potha, raises questions whether we, as a society, are ready to openly discuss sexual health and all other issues connected with it, not only with our children but even amongst adults. Hathe Ape Potha is meant to act as an age appropriate guide for students of Grade Seven apart from their textbook on health science, to introduce the many bodily and emotional changes one undergoes around adolescence.  But Abhayatissa Thera thinks that is not ...Continued

A Gradual Pick Up In Tourism

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A.W.
Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals in 2019 fell short of the desired 2.5 million due to the Easter Sunday attacks in April last year, which killed 269 people including at least 40 foreigners when the terrorists targeted luxury hotels in Colombo and churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.  Nevertheless, arrivals reached 1.9 million (1,913,702 to be exact), in 2019 according to newly released statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). This was an 18 per cent dip from 2018. Last year, the country was ...Continued

Stage set for upsurge in Middle East tensions

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Dissector
Agitated by the recent US military strike in Iraq that accounted for the life, among others, of Iran’s Major General Qasem Soleimani, sections of the world were posing the disquieting questions: Are we hurtling towards a Third World War? Has humankind opted for self-annihilation? These posers are a veritable measure of the fear US-Iran antagonisms have been generating in the hearts and minds of people the world over, ever since the Islamic Republic of Iran came into being in 1979. While a comprehensive look at ...Continued

Recognize Diversity of the Nation

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TNA Parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran cautions against the country regressing into naked majoritarianism, if the diversity of the nation, its races, religions, languages and cultures is not recognized. ‘The equal status of each of these people is not dependent on their respective numerical strength. This principle must be acknowledged if our democracy is to survive and indeed flourish, and not regress into naked majoritarianism.’ The Jaffna District parliamentarian was speaking during the debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, delivered in Parliament on January 3rd this year. Claiming that ...Continued

‘Hello Scandal’ buffets Opposition

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Hawk’s Eye
The first sitting week of Parliament following the opening of the new session by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was limited to only three days, from Tuesday to Thursday, since Friday is a public holiday. Two out of those days were allocated for an adjournment debate sponsored by the Opposition on the President’s policy speech delivered on 03 Jan. However, that debate was overshadowed by an unforeseen development – MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s phone recordings which contain his conversations with various people. The last party leaders’ meeting set ...Continued

A land like no other, but …

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Ivan Alvis
I generally hear people referring to Sri Lanka as ‘a land like no other.’ And, they are absolutely correct! But, what worries me is that Sri Lanka, in spite of having ‘beauty’, in abundance, has still not been able to break into the tourism market … in a BIG way. While we struggled to reach the two million tourist arrival mark, last year, Thailand hit the 38 million mark, in 2018. You may wonder why I’ve decided to draw a comparison between Sri Lanka and ...Continued

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