COVER STORIES

Mt.Lavinia Beach Nourishment – Where has all the Sand gone?

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Kshama Ranawana
The sand that seems to have been washed away from the Mt. Lavinia Beach Nourishment Project, has not gone to waste, but has been carried northwards along the coast, claimed the Director General of the Coast Conservation Department (CCD), Prabath Chandrakeerthi.   It was meant to be that way, he said. He was addressing a media conference at the Information Department on June 1, to explain the CCD’s position amidst widespread accusations by opposition politicians and environmentalists that the thousands of metric cubes of sand pumped ...Continued

Making It Right by Farmers

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Kshama Ranawana
The current shortage of fertilizer should ease within the next ten days or so, with the arrival of the first of three shipments by end of May, says the Director of the National Fertilizer Secretariat, Mr. Mahesh Gammanpila. Mr. Gammanpila told Counterpoint   that though each year a projected estimate of the required tonnage of fertilizer is calculated, a variety of factors had affected the easy availability of the products this time around. This year, the expectation was that 523,000 hectares would go under the plough ...Continued

No Student Should Be Left Behind

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Kshama Ranawana
While e-learning and distance education through the TV was introduced to assist all students to keep up with their studies, during the COVID 19 curfews, a bone of contention has been about the vast number of students left behind with no access to the internet or the TV. Therefore, it was heartening to learn that the Ministry of Education will, as of Tuesday, May 26, begin distributing study packs to all students irrespective of whether they have access to smart-phones, computers or a TV. Speaking ...Continued

Pathfinder Foundation Proposes Pro-Poor, Macroeconomic, Climate Friendly and Structural Reforms

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Kshama Ranawana
Sri Lanka’s post COVID-19 economic recovery strategy must be a mix of pro-poor, structural, macroeconomic and climate friendly policies, says an eminent panel appointed by the Pathfinder Foundation. The panel’s report which provides a series of recommendations, both for immediate implementation and medium to long term also advices that a Task Force of Officials be appointed by the President’s Office with a mandate to evaluate the damage caused to the economy and to develop the recommendations into an ‘actionable national economy strategy.’ The Task Force ...Continued

Facebook Attempts to Mitigate Misuse of Its Platform

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Kshama Ranawana
Earlier in the week Facebook Inc. issued an apology for the role it may have played in fuelling the violence that erupted in Sri Lanka in early 2018. Along with the apology, Facebook also released three impact assessment reports that looked at the platform’s role in human rights violations in three countries, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Indonesia. Anti-Muslim riots in Digana in the Kandy district in March that year came about when a Sinhalese man was attacked and killed by some Muslim youth in the ...Continued

Weligama UC Chairman Stands Up for His Constituents

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Kshama Ranawana
The Chairman of the Weligama Urban Council, Rehaan D W Jayawickreme has invoked his right as the first citizen of that Township to ban the unauthorised entry of any media personnel into private properties of anyone suspected to be infected by the Corona virus. The chairman has conveyed his decision in writing to the Heads of two private TV stations, Hiru and Derana on May 8, 2020. He has stated in the letters that he is implementing these measures through the powers vested in him ...Continued

SJB seeks answers from Dr. Jasinghe

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Several former Parliamentarians, all members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya are seeking detailed answers regarding Sri Lanka’s fight against COVID-19 from Director of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe. The ex-parliamentarians are seeking answers for actions taken by the Health Service to fight the spread of the Corona virus in the country, through a Right to Information Application addressed to Dr. Jasinghe on May 6, 2020. The sixteen questions sent to Dr. Jasinghe are: The number of Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests carried out to identify ...Continued

MR Fires Back

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by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa The President, the government and the state apparatus have focused their entire attention on combating Covid-19. The way in which the people have benefited from this, is clearly apparent. Even in the midst of this national crisis and global disaster we see the unpleasant sight of the political opposition in this country vociferously demanding that the dissolved Parliament be reconvened and asserting that after the 30th of April, the President has no legal right to allocate funds for the maintenance ...Continued

Content Creators Leave Ethics at the Door!

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Kshama Ranawana
When Navy Sailors tested positive for COVID-19 and their families and homes were exposed to the glare of the media, the Defence Ministry was quick to act. Citing privacy issues, it requested the media to refrain from accompanying health and security personnel when they visit homes to trace possible contacts.  In early April, the Ministry of Health and the Director General of Government Information, Nalaka Kaluwewa issued a similar communique to Heads of Media institutions, which the latter sent out again on April 25th. (See ...Continued

Cannot Reconvene Parliament says the President

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Kshama Ranawana
Parliament cannot be reconvened, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed members of Opposition political parties, in a letter dated April 30, 2020. The President’s response was conveyed by a letter signed by Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera, that Parliament cannot be recalled as the general election scheduled to be held on April 25th, following the Gazette notification which dissolved parliament on March 3, 2020, has now been set to be held on June 20, 2020 by the Election Commission. He has also informed the ...Continued

HRCSL tells Acting IGP, act within the Law

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Kshama Ranawana
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is calling on the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. C D Wickremaratne to be cognizant of permissible laws of the country, in this case the Constitution and Sri Lanka’s international obligations in the human rights sphere, when making arrests even during times of emergencies. In a letter dated April 25, 2020 addressed to the Acting IGP, the letter raises concern about the spate of recent arrests in connection with statements made on social media with regard ...Continued

Easter Sunday Bombings – A Year Later

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Kshama Ranawana
Church bells will toll across the country today, April 21st at 8.40 a.m. to mark the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts that killed 259 people and injured scores of others. The Head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has also requested all other religious places to join in the ringing of bells.  This is to be followed by 2 minutes silence at 8.45 a.m. and lighting a candle or lamp in all homes in remembrance of all victims ...Continued

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