COVER STORIES

Low-Income and at-risk groups need better protections says WMC

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Kshama Ranawana
  Amongst a set of recommendations released by the Women and Media Collective (WMC) for low-income communities living in Colombo and who were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 related restrictions is a proposal that daily wage earners be supported for a minimum of 6 months (April to September) with a monthly stipend to help re-start their livelihoods without getting into debt. The Collective also states that any aid from the President’s fund or cabinet approved funding must not be politicised or attributed to any political ...Continued

Should “Residual Forests” be managed by District Secretariats?

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Kshama Ranawana
Environmentalists, political parties and even Forest Conservationists are wary of the government’s proposed plan to transfer powers to District Secretariats from the Forest Department that currently manage ‘residuals forests.’ The bone of contention is the cabinet decision taken on July 2 this year, which states, “Administrations of the state Residual Forests, which managed by Divisional Secretaries has been brought under the Department of Forest conservation in terms of the provisions of the circular No. 05/2001 dated 10.08.2001 issued by the secretary to the then Ministry ...Continued

Vote to Safeguard Parliamentary Democracy – Freedom, People’s Collective

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Kshama Ranawana
The ‘Freedom, People’s Collective’ is calling on voters, come August 5th, to ensure that it does not ‘mark the beginning of the end of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary democracy.’ Launching the People’s Collective at the New Town Hall on July 8, speakers extolled the virtues of the 19th amendment and warned that plans by the current government’s leaders to abolish it, would pave the way to restoring the Executive Presidency and the unfettered powers that go with it. Democratic governance, as experienced in Sri Lanka has ...Continued

JCT’s Gantry Cranes for the East Container Terminal

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Kshama Ranawana
A strike action by Port workers was called off today, July 3 following assurances that the three gantry cranes which had arrived at the Colombo Harbour would be unloaded as per their demands.  The Unions want the cranes, which had been ordered by the government to replace three older cranes of the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), to be installed instead at the East Container Terminal (ECT). Informed sources speaking on condition of anonymity told Counterpoint that the cranes are ‘eminently unsuitable for and sub-optimise the ...Continued

Abolish Provincial Council System says Milinda Moragoda

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The 13th Amendment should be repealed paving the way for the abolishment of Provincial Councils, argues former Cabinet Minister and Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, Milinda Moragoda. Issuing a statement, Mr. Moragoda points out that the 13th Amendment, originally introduced with a view to creating more provincial autonomy and addressing the country’s ethnic problem, has instead proven to be more ‘superfluous, expensive, divisive, and fraught with inefficiency.’ He is proposing that a more viable democratic framework, namely an ‘empowered senate/upper house, that could address critical ...Continued

CEJ Goes to Court Over the Mt. Lavinia Beach Nourishment...

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Kshama Ranawana
The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) has filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the Mt. Lavinia Beach Nourishment project (CA/WRT/128/2020). The case filed on June 19th  this year is against the Coast Conservation Department (CCD), the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), the Minister of Environment and the Attorney General regarding “beach pollution and the failed sand filling of the Mount Lavinia beach without following due procedure,’ according to a  media notice on the CEJ’s website. The CEJ ...Continued

In the Best Interest of the Child

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Kshama Ranawana
If there is one thing that is clear, following the recent interactions the police had with children, it is that Sri Lanka has a long way to go in terms of raising awareness amongst the public, and more so the with public officers in child rights and  interactions with children. “Child Protection in Sri Lanka is a National Crisis!” says Dr. Tush Wickramanyake, Founder Chairperson of the Stop Child Cruelty Trust. “One of the fundamental principles of Child Protection endorsed globally “in the BEST interest ...Continued

Only The Fast And The Nimble Will Survive, Says PATHFINDER

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Now that Sri Lanka has achieved notable success in containing the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the health of the nation, the time has come for a concerted and decisive focus on reviving the economy.  This is particularly timely now that the economy has been removed from its “induced coma” with the elimination of daytime curfew throughout the island. A Pathfinder Foundation Study Group produced a report which set out a new economic vision for post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka.  It has been shared with ...Continued

Alleged Assault of Autistic Boy – Three Policemen Interdicted

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Kshama Ranawana
Three police officers connected with the alleged assault of a teenaged autistic boy in Dharga Town have been interdicted, according to a statement from Police Headquarters released at 7.45 p.m on June 5th. The interdiction follows an investigation into the incident, where dereliction of duties on the part of the three officers has been determined, says the statement.  The three involved in the incident are a Sub Inspector of Police and a Sergeant, both attached to the Police College at Kalutara, who were on secondment ...Continued

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

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