COLUMNS

Dealing with the New Normal of E-learning

Columns
      With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating just yet, there is every possibility that school kids will be staying at home for a while more.  At least most of those residing in areas where the number of Covid cases is high will not be returning to school proper any time soon. It also means more time spent learning online. Caught unawares, Sri Lanka’s education system, like in many other countries, has not been geared to online or distance education.  Naturally, ...Continued

“Hands off Muthurajawela” – Cardinal

Columns
The Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith was in his element recently when he took up cudgels against those who are planning commercial development of the Muthurajawela wetlands. He certainly did not mince his words when he reminded government that it is only the temporary keeper of all that is public, and businessmen who throw around their might and money have no right to interfere with such resources that do not belong to them. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, January 7 the Cardinal ...Continued

Addressing Period Poverty in Prisons

Columns
That the Catholic Church has responded positively to a concern raised by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is certainly heart-warming, especially when most news one hears these days is about the coronavirus pandemic and its depressing outcomes. On December 22 the AHRC wrote to Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, drawing his attention to the plight of women prisoners and their inability to accesses sanitary napkins.  The concerns stem from a recent “Prison Study” by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka which said amongst other issues ...Continued

COVID 19 Deaths; Why is the Government Refusing Cremations?

Columns
On Thursday, December 17 a few Christian priests gathered at the crematorium at the Borella Cemetery.   In their visit to the crematorium and the symbolic tying of a white cloth along the fence they were indicating their solidarity with Muslims who are grief stricken over the government’s refusal to allow the burial of those who succumb to the COVID virus. The Priests, drawn from the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Christian denominations gathered at the crematorium where 20 day old baby Shaykh was cremated several ...Continued

Is Rs. 6000 too much to ask?

Columns
Families of the missing and disappeared; perhaps the only phenomenon that unites Sri Lankans across all ethnicities, occupations, social classes and religions! They are those whose family members have gone missing during the various periods of civil unrest and conflicts that have taken place in the country since 1971. And for them, the wait for justice and compensation is well-nigh a half century. There was a very short spell of financial relief for a few of the families at the tail end of the Yahapalanaya ...Continued

Whither the Government’s Sustainable Environment Policy?

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Just a year into the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency,environmentalists are up in arms over the apparentassault on the country’s Wildlife and Forest Reserves.   Recent actions of the government’s Ministers’ and associates belie the promise of his election Manifesto, “Vistas of Splendour and Prosperity’, they say, where a variety of actions have been identified under the topic ‘A Sustainable Environment Policy.’   Amongst those are ‘Biodiversity: The sustainability of land and water resource management will be ensured while taking proactive measures to increase national forest cover ...Continued

Who gave them the right to tell us what to...

Columns
I openly admit it – I am by heart and nature a libertarian.  I don’t like being told what to do and I like it even less when I am told what to do by a bunch of politicians, listening to a bunch of public servants who have a very clear and limited agenda to keep us locked up.   Quite clearly this attitude of mine puts me to the right of the political spectrum.  Although, like most other people, I do not believe left ...Continued

Disposal of the COVID Dead; Will Govt. Heed HRCSL Recommendations?

Columns
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is calling on the health authorities to amend an April 2020 Gazetteto incorporate its recommendations and resolve the vexatious issue of the disposal of bodies in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. Writing to both the Secretary of the Ministry of Health as well as to the Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner in Charge of Investigations and Inquiries, RamaniMuttettuwegama points out that, the HRCSL believes that the governments ruling of mandatory cremation, imposed through ...Continued

COVID 19 Raises the Urgent Need to Ease Congestion in...

Columns
It goes without saying, that currently, the COVID-19 Virus has become the most feared of illnesses the world over.  Apart from wearing masks and constant washing of hands, maintaining at least a meter’s distance between people has become our new normal. For those who have access to uninterrupted water supply, sanitizers and large areas of space, observing such guidelines is not an issue.  Not so, for those who live in less privileged circumstances.  And amongst all of these persons, the right to enjoy or maintain ...Continued

Women pilots makes history at SLAF

Columns
Today marks a historical event as two female officers were commissioned as pilots at the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) at its academy in China Bay. This is the first time in the SLAF’s 69-year history where female officers were commissioned as pilots. In a press release the SLAF stated that today’s proceedings began on a grand note with the Commissioning Parade led by the Commanding Officer of the Ground Training Wing at China Bay, Group Captain Udaya De Silva marching on to the Parade ...Continued

A more Holistic approach to Mental Well- Being

Columns
    Even at the best of times, mild incidents of trauma could upset our equilibrium.  And dealing with a pandemic situation as we are now, has its own peculiar challenges, when even interaction with family and friends has been reduced to connecting through social media.   For most people though, especially in Sri Lanka, even keeping in touch through social media is not possibility.  And thus, the COVID related lockdowns has affected a fundamental lifestyle. The situation is worse for those coping with mental ...Continued

Government doesn’t have any money of its own

Columns
“The state has no source of money, other than the money people earn themselves. If the state wishes to spend more, it can only do so by borrowing your savings or taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay – that ‘someone else’ is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money.” It is now 37 years since Margaret Thatcher made that statement in a speech at the 1983 Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. ...Continued

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