- Issue

COMIC STRIP - WASANTHA SIRIWARDENA

COLUMNS

‘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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Battle Lines In New Cold War Drawn-Up

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Dissector
A new Cold War is taking shape in the international political order but ideology would not be playing a dominant role in it, although we would be having some resonant echoes of the old Cold War in the developing situation.  On the one side, is the US and its allies world-wide, on the other, Russia, China and those making common cause with them. Over the past few months the US has been increasingly vocal about an  “Indo-Pacific strategy”,   which seemingly brings within its scope almost ...Continued

CEB Workers Get Salary Shock

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Kshama Ranawana
Nearly 12,000 employees of the Ceylon Electricity board are up in arms over their salaries being paid out as an allowance based on their net take home pay of March this year. These employees who come under the United Engineers Service have fallen victim to a legal imbroglio that stems from a 2014 CEB Board decision allowing for the creation of the afore mentioned category and an E Salary Scale. The decision was challenged in Courts by the Lanka Podu Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya for its ...Continued

Cricket’s Marketing Battles

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Spectator
The ICC Cricket World Cup has returned to England, the country that staged the first three editions of the sport’s showpiece event and the possibilities of players breaking new grounds are explored. One of the questions cricket pundits have discussed is whether any team can break the 500 run barrier. While experts discuss a whole new set of possibilities and teams put up strategies to overcome opponents, the game’s governing body – the International Cricket Council – keeps a close eye on some key aspects ...Continued

Will The Government Stem The Anti-Muslim Campaign?

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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

Cricket’s Greatest Celebration

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Spectator
The participants of the ICC Cricket World Cup were welcomed to England by none other than Queen Elizabeth herself at SW1A 1AA – the postcode for Buckingham Palace. The ten captains posted for an official photograph with the Queen and Sri Lankan skipper Dimuth Karunaratne posted the picture on Instagram with the title ‘priceless’. Looking back at the tournament which is 45 years old, cricket has come a long way. The inaugural edition in 1975 generated little revenue but today the sport’s showpiece event is ...Continued

The Dangerous Rise Of The Right

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Dissector
The increasing rise of Right wing populism in the West recalls to mind the Europe of the First and Second World Wars. Nationalism was the driving force behind these wars and we are left to wonder whether the world is biting off more than it could chew by passively allowing the re-emergence of this virulent brand of politics. One of the theatres to watch most closely is Western Europe. Right wing and nationalist parties have made an impression at the recent European Parliament elections and ...Continued

Higher Education And Privatisation

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H G S Prematunge
From deciding access to quality, economics play a vital role in education. And since the education system bares the heavy burden of producing the country’s human resource that will directly affect the country’s economy, education and economics are like two sides of the same coin. The economies of countries that have large stocks of educated human resources are superior to economies of countries that have lower stocks of educated human resources. This was highlighted by E. Hanushek and L. Woessmann in their 2008 paper ‘The ...Continued

Sri Lanka In A Quandary – Extreme Religiosity And Religious...

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
Sri Lanka is regarded as one of the most religious countries in the world. In recent times, this has become manifest not just once, but at least twice. And that again by two cutting edge independent research work. The world renowned Zurich based market research cum polling firm Worldwide Independent Network/ Gallup International Association (WIN/GIA), in its latest report on world religiosity (published in 2016), ranked Sri Lanka as the second most religious country in the world! According to the survey Sri Lanka sits only ...Continued

Can Poaching Of Wild Animals Ever Be Contained?

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Kshama Ranawana & Aanya Wipulasena
Poaching of wild animals is a lucrative business. With a kilo of fresh game meat going at anything between Rs. 400 to 800, and dried meat for about Rs. 1500 a kilo, it is not surprising that wildlife officials are hard put to successfully fight this illegal trade. Moreover, despite Sri Lanka’s supposed adherence to teachings that invoke non-violence towards all beings, illegal killing of wild animals continues unabated because there is a market for Big Game, from both area locals and visitors.  Several people ...Continued

‘A Legend In Green Blazer’

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Spectator
Watching the national cricket team being massacred at the Cricket Club of India in Bombay by the hosts was one of the toughest things the spectator has experienced on a cricket field. On day one, a 22-year-old Angelo Mathews was run out on 99. Then Virender Sehwag demolished the attack scoring 284 runs in less than a day. It was carnage as India went on to declare on day three having reached 726 for nine.  The Sri Lankans were getting a taste of their own medicine. ...Continued

Are Our Schools Really Safe?

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H G S PREMATUNGE
Security is an integral part of education, and instability and violence pose a direct threat to a child’s right to education. The prevailing bomb scare, resulting from the Easter bombings is a case in point; schools have been out for over two weeks to all intents and purposes. The second school term was to commence on April 22, but was delayed by two weeks following the Easter terrorist attack on April 21. Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has requested all Catholic schools to be ...Continued

Counting The Dead – Has Sri Lanka Risen To The...

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
Russian dictator Joseph Stalin’s “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” is usually met with ill-feeling and sarcasm by the civilized society.  How bitter as the undertone may be, this hyperbole will continue to hold water as long as human lives are lost in large numbers in gruesome and startling ways. It is unimaginable how calamities strike people in a split second, making them just sitting ducks, helpless and hapless. This phenomenon continues despite all the advances in science and ...Continued

‘Indo-Pacific’ As A Happy Hunting Ground Of The Big Powers

Columns
Dissector
Former US ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake was in Colombo recently at the invitation of the Path Finder Foundation and the Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka for the purpose of delivering a lecture in the latest of a series of seminars launched by these organizations on international developments of relevance to Sri Lanka and the region. What he had to say was most revealing in parts and proved food-for-thought material. Among other things, the presentation reminded the more seasoned observers that the ...Continued

Sri Lanka’s War On Drugs – III

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Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
Politics and drug trade are inseparable, and dependent on each other like the hermit crab and the sea anemone. This symbiotic relationship has made it extremely difficult to remove the scourge of narcotics, especially in the developing world, where lawgivers are a law unto themselves. Sri Lanka’s experience is a case in point. In Oct. 2005, the then Chandrika Kumaratunga government drew a lot of flak when it appointed a notorious drug dealer, known as Kudu Lal, a Justice of the Peace (JP) so much ...Continued

Displaced Refugees – A Failure To Protect

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Anupama Ranawana
Another group of people have become collateral damage of the waves of anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka following the April 21st, Easter Sunday carnage. They are refugees and asylum seekers and the challenge they face now is a culmination of a growing global environment that is hostile to refugees, the limited ground presence of the UNHCR, as well as the dysfunction of the Sri Lankan government. However, the most pressing issue at the moment is one of law and order, of protecting the refugees, thus ...Continued

The Easter Sunday Attacks And The Human Security Question

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Dissector
As should be expected, it is the human costs of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka that are engaging the attention of the world and this is likely to be so for a long time to come. It is the sheer inhumanity and brute insensitivity of the attacks that are leaving people everywhere dumbfounded and the irony is that this could be an eye-opener of sorts in the cloud of depression currently hanging over Sri Lanka. This is because our minds are being ...Continued

Will The Move Towards Renewable Energy Be Tripped Again?

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Kshama Ranawana
In March this year Cabinet approved a proposal by the Minister of Power, Energy and Business Development Ravi Karunanayake to amend the Sri Lanka Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009. The amendment seeks to exempt Non –Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) projects from having to follow the tendering process, which often could take up to 2 years. Approvals and actual implementation of the projects usually take a further 2 to 3 years. In fact, Act No.20 of 2009 had been amended through Act No 31 of ...Continued

Adaptation To Future Climate Change In Sri Lanka

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Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri
Sri Lanka has been described as one of South Asia’s climate hotspots in a 2018 World Bank Report titled “South Asia’s Hotspots: The Impact of Temperature and Precipitation Changes on Living Standards”. The report has concluded that Northern and North Western provinces emerge as the top two hotspots, followed by the much less densely populated North Central Province. Even the highly urbanized and densely populated Western Province, which includes Colombo, is also predicted to experience a living standard decline of 7.5 percent by 2050. (https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/28723/9781464811555.pdf). ...Continued

The Lessons That We Can Learn From Aravinda

Columns
Spectator
It’s a crying shame that during the prime of his career – former great Aravinda de Silva – played little cricket at home. Due to the political unrest, no international cricket was played in Sri Lanka for more than five years from April 1987 to August 1992. Aravinda made most of his career from the little opportunities he got. All Sri Lanka’s captains from Bandula Warnapura to Kumar Sangakkara agree on one thing – Aravinda is the greatest batsman the country has produced. Let’s hope ...Continued

Wealth And Power Of Drug Lords

Columns
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
Sri Lanka’s focus has been shifted from its successful war on drugs to battling a new form of terrorism, following the Easter Sunday bombings, which claimed more than 250 lives and left over 500 persons injured in several churches and hotels on April 21. This is not something anyone bargained for, and the ferocity of the terrors strikes has not only shaken the government to its foundations but also led to a political crisis of sorts. The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has ...Continued

WikiLeaks Gave Full Meaning To The Right To Information

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Dissector
In future, a country’s democratic advancement would need to be measured in terms of the value the states and societies concerned attach to the ‘WikiLeaks revolution’. While the possibility is that the merits and demerits of the methods used by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to divulge the truth may dominate discussion and debate the world over following his recent arrest in London, there is no denying that his approach to keeping the world informed gave substantial meaning to the Right to Information. Needless to say, ...Continued

Gender Dynamics In Sri Lankan Education System

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H.G.S Prematunge
Sri Lanka is recognised as the only South Asian country that has achieved the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal for gender equality in education across the board. Yet again, free education and making primary education compulsory maybe the major reasons for this gender balance. Although the Sri Lankan education system has been successful in closing the gender gap with regards to education accessibility, this does not translates to employment rates. With the majority of unemployed females produced from the Arts streams of local universities, it ...Continued

When A Bunch Of Amateurs Created Cricket’s Greatest Upset

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Spectator
During an event in Bombay to celebrate India’s World Cup triumph in 1983, opening batsman Krishnamachari Srikkanth recalled thinking his captain Kapil Dev had gone mad when he told the team to believe in themselves that they could beat West Indies in the World Cup. “Before the 1983 World Cup, India had played in two World Cups and had won just one game. In 1979, India incidentally lost to a team called Sri Lanka, who were not even a full member of the ICC at ...Continued

CEB And Power Shortage: A Dark Vision Of The Future

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
While the nation baked under an unrelenting sun and endured unscheduled power cuts that negatively impacted the economy, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has been dragging its feet on implementing a scheme that would have prevented power cuts and been more financially prudent. In September 2018, the Cabinet approved a memorandum prepared earlier that year by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister for National Policy and Economic Affairs, proposing that stand- by generators owned by government institutions be harnessed to boost ...Continued

The Polluter Pays!

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Kshama Ranawana
In a landmark decision on April 4 this year, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka awarded Rs. 20 million as damages to the people living within a 1.5 kilometre distance of the Northern Power Company (Pvt.) Ltd, (NPC) in Chunnakam.  The monetary consideration will benefit around 500 families, who will receive Rs. 40,000 each, to clean and rehabilitate their wells, which have been polluted by oil, grease and/or BTEX. (Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene). For environmentalist Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam, the National Coordinator of the ...Continued

A Triumph Of Environmental Activism

Columns
Dr. Prasanna Cooray
“The most striking feature of this entire battle was the unyielding solidarity the people (in Chunnakam) showed till the end. They were united as one, and their unity was unwavering”, Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam, Director of the Colombo based Center for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS), who led the Chunnakam battle from the front quipped with intense satisfaction. Kariyawasam was the sole petitioner of this public interest litigation (PIL) case on behalf of the residents of Chunnakam. Attorneys-at-law Nuwan Bopage and Chathura Wettasinghe argued the case ...Continued

Food or Education, Take Your Pick

Columns
H.G.S Prematunge
In the previous issue, the many matters that plague the Sri Lankan education system were discussed. Among the major issues that adversely affect the education system are the failure of the system to cater to labour market demands, inability of universities to meet tertiary education demand, brain drain and limited government expenditure on education. Rigorous examination process and high competition for the higher education, disparity of access to quality education, unequal distribution of resources between urban and rural schools, poor performance in mathematics and science ...Continued

Death Due To Ragging- Punish The Culprits

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Prof. O. A. Illeperuma
This week, a student at the Institute of technology, University of Moratuwa at Homagama committed suicide because of the mental and physical harassment during ragging he received at this Institute. This student had earlier been at the University of Jaffna where he was continuously beaten up for nearly six months and he was transferred to the Homagama Institute. There too, he was severely beaten up for several weeks and when he could not take it any longer, he decided to take his life. Who is ...Continued

The President, Elections and the Politics of the Tripitaka

Columns
Sasanka Perera
Out of the blues, President Maithripala Sirisena has decided, apparently all by himself, that the Tripitaka, the sacred scriptures of Theravada Buddhists must be declared a ‘national heritage.’  To his credit, he has already done this in January this year.  After all, what was needed was a presidential decree and tax-payers’ money to make this declaration somewhat celebratory in a visual sense at the ‘national’ level. Hence, the recent Tripitaka Week enforced on all government entities.  Along with the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, the President ...Continued

Cold War-type Tensions Gripping International Politics

Columns
Dissector
The recent Sri Lanka-centred diplomatic drama in Geneva where Sri Lanka clinched yet another two-year ‘reprieve’ from the West over war crimes accountability issues underscores afresh the West’s keen intent to maintain its firm foothold in South Asia. The present Sri Lankan administration is a Western ally and the US in particular would go to any lengths to protect its friends in our part of the world. This is the clear message the diplomatic wrangling in Geneva over UNHRC resolution 40/1 conveys. Among other things, ...Continued

Arsikland! The Musical Review: Laughing So That We Don’t Cry

Columns
Annemari de Silva
I had been following Feroze Kamardeen’s Pusswedilla series of plays to record their run-ins with various types of censorship and finally had the opportunity to watch one of their performances, this time in musical form. Arsikland! The Musical had its run at the Lionel Wendt from March 30th to April 5th – a long, staggering schedule which is unusual for most English language productions that only draw in crowds to fill 2-3 nights. Yet Pusswedilla and his cronies have drawn such an audience that by ...Continued

Camera Trapping To Monitor Their Health

Columns
Chandima Fernando & Ravi Corea
Monitoring the health of free ranging wild animals is one of the toughest challenges for conservationists and wildlife managers.  If the animal is a highly mobile animal like the elephant, then, it is near impossible.  Unless the animal had been made immobile due to a debilitating wound or situation, to track an injured wild animal even with the slightest mobility is a daunting task. By serendipitous events we have found that remote cameras could be an effective technology to monitor injured elephants.  But the underlying ...Continued

Neil Perera – An Unsung Hero, An Untold Story

Columns
Spectator
Sunday (17) marked the 23rd Anniversary of Sri Lanka winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. The architects of the country’s biggest achievement in the sporting arena are all too known, but Neil Perera has remained an unsung hero. The same is true of most real heroes in Sri Lanka, where nobody sans self-marketing skills gets recognition. Perera was elected Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in 1991 with Tyronne Fernando as the President. During the Executive Committee’s first meeting at Maitland Place, Perera discussed with ...Continued

Continuing The Practice Of Living Beyond Means

Columns
Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
Budget 2019 themed “Enterprise Sri Lanka – Empowering the People and Nurturing the Poor” envisages to promote a new form of private sector free from the protectionist mindset that can operate efficiently in a rule-based system within a competitive market environment. Loan concessions and various other incentives are to be given to prospective entrepreneurs with a view to create an entrepreneurial society, particularly among the youth. Another programme highlighted in the Budget is the “Gamperaliya” scheme, which is meant for accelerating village development through infrastructure ...Continued

Social Media Declaration, A Timely Need

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Just over a year ago, social media faced a shut down in Sri Lanka.  The action, enforced by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), came in the wake of the violence that erupted in Digana, in the Kandy district between Sinhalese and Muslims.  While the incident that sparked the violence was not caused by social media, it was seen as the prime culprit in helping to spread rumours and misinformation. In less than a decade, social media has evolved to become the foremost communicator of information.  ...Continued

Of ‘Local Universities’ And ‘Foreign Universities’

Columns
Sasanka Perera
On the 12th of March 2019, after much delay, the Sri Lankan parliament finally approved the country’s budget.  Sri Lanka, with its cash-starved economy had been hobbling along since last year’s constitutional crisis. Though there were threats from the opposition of defeating the budget and toppling the regime, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera managed to secure a clear majority in support for his budget proposals, and ensure the survival of the regime he represents in the process.  As to be expected, since 2019 is an election ...Continued

‘Lone Wolf’ Terror And The ‘End of History’

Columns
Dissector
Not only was New Zealand’s taken-for-granted peace shattered but also popular theories about the evolution of history reduced to tatters when ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist Brenton Tarrant opened fire on two New Zealand mosques a few days back and cold-bloodedly killed some 50 worshippers. Among other things, we are reminded that no country could be declared as absolutely safe from terror today. Tarrant joins Anders Behring Breivik of Norway as a contemporary ‘Lone Wolf’ terrorist marked by ruthless efficiency of the most chilling kind. Breivik hit ...Continued

Demerits Of An Education System Stalling Development

Columns
H.G.S Prematunge
(The third in a series of articles on education related issues) The Sri Lankan education system is not without merits. According to the World Bank collection of development indicators we have achieved universal primary education and gender parity, with 98.18 percent enrolment rate for males and 96.43 percent enrolment rate for females as at 2016. Sri Lanka has a Human Development Index value of 0.770, and ranked 76 out of 189 countries, in 2017, mainly due to our free education and health policy. In fact, ...Continued

Save Sinharaja From The World Bank!

Columns
Dr. Prasanna Cooray
World Bank’s (WB) 2016 April report, titled, “International Development Association (IDA) Project Appraisal Document on Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project”, serves as the official document with regard to the ongoing ESCAMP project that stipulates the development of certain selected ecosystems including some protected areas (PA) in the country. The protected areas, identified in the report include Sinharaja, the only rainforest reserve in the country and a world heritage site and the Yala, Minneriya, Horton Plains and Uda Walawe national parks. Through this project the WB ...Continued

Untold Stories Of The Lahore Attack

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Spectator (08/03/2019)
March 3rd marked the tenth anniversary of heavily armed gunmen opening fire on a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, Pakistan. Several policemen were killed in the attack, which left quite a few other law enforcement officers and members of some of the Sri Lankan squad and support staff injured. Two civilians were also seriously injured. What happened that day has been well documented but there are still untold stories. Suranga Lakmal, the lionhearted fast bowler, who has become Sri Lanka’s leading seamer was on ...Continued

It’s Time To Be The Change!

Columns
Kshama Ranawana (08/03/2019)
That only 4% of 90% women who answered yes to a survey question whether they had been sexually harassed on public transport, had the courage to seek help from the police, is a serious indictment on Sri Lankan society and the police service itself. Whether the 4% who sought help were successful in getting justice, the survey does not say. However, given the general lackadaisical attitude of both officials and the public to the issue of sexual harassment, one could safely guess that in most ...Continued

Regulation Necessary To Mitigate Negatives And Enhance Positives

Columns
HGS Prematunge (08/03/2019)
(Second installment in a series of articles) Shadow education, supplementary education, or whatever the moniker one may use, private tuition has become a necessary evil, ironically even in countries that have a well-established free education systems. When the majority of students attend private tuition classes, those who do not do so are at a direct disadvantage. Supplementary tuition has become a way of life in many Asian countries. As discussed in the previous article in this series, private tuition encourages social inequality. Regulating shadow education ...Continued

Buddhism, Sustainability And Sri Lanka

Columns
Srilal Miththapala (08/03/2019)
Today, sustainability is fast becoming a very relevant and essential aspect of our lives. This has come about as a response to the high degree of consumerism that prevails in the modern world, and the resultant use of fast depleting natural resources, giving rise to global warming and climate change. In quest of sustainability, the competitive business landscape is already starting to transform, forcing companies to change the way they think about products, technologies, processes, and business models. Sustainable growth and development requires a harmony ...Continued

Fresh Indo-Pakistan Hostilities Underscore South’s Leadership Deficit

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Dissector (08/03/2019)
The latest round of Indo-Pakistan hostilities draws attention to South Asia’s security vulnerabilities and the global South’s yawning political leadership deficit. The former aspect is plain to see because the South Asian region continues to be considerably dependent on a degree of harmony and good will between India and Pakistan, for the sustainability of its collective security. That is, instability in the Indo-Pakistan relationship has a knock-on effect on South Asia’s security. If this were not so,  SAARC would not be in a near moribund ...Continued

A New Dead Zone In The Bay Of Bengal

Columns
Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage (22/02/2019)
Ocean-our Present and Future The ocean covers 71% of earth’s surface and contains 97% of planet’s water. This ocean is the life support system for the planet earth. The oceans have been playing a key role in the world in spreading civilizations, cultures, religions and affect the climate and weather. Humankind has been using the oceans since time immemorial for venturing for explorations, navigation, wars, trade, leisure and for obtaining living and non-living resources. Oceans have been the main protein supplier for the humankind. With ...Continued

Shadow Education Overshadowing Mainstream

Columns
H. G. S. Prematunge (22/02/2019)
Regulating tuition, and introduction It goes by various monikers—jukus in Japan, hagwons in the Republic of Korea and buxiban in Taiwan. It is generally known as private tuition and coaching in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and of course, Sri Lanka. ‘Private tuition’ involves lessons of academic subjects offered for a fee, as one-to-one basis, small or large groups or as online or digital material. It is also widely known as shadow education, a metaphor used for its mimicking of the school system. A.V Suraweera, in his ...Continued

Sri Lanka’s Rebel Tour To South Africa In 1982

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Spectator (22/02/2019)
Their request for test status having been turned down several times, Sri Lanka finally became a full member of the ICC, in 1981, with the then Board President and Minister Gamini Dissanayake telling the ICC board that he would do all within his means to fix the infrastructure needed to play international cricket, in his country. There was never a doubt about the country’s cricketing talent; Sri Lanka had made a powerful Indian team eat humble pie in the 1979 World Cup. But infrastructure was ...Continued

New Indo-Pak Stand-off Could Plunge SA In Unprecedented Economic Doldrums

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Dissector (22/02/2019)
A new tense stand-off between India and Pakistan over a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which claimed over 40 Indian soldiers recently could reverse South Asia’s seemingly glittery economic gains and take the region back to times of dire material impoverishment. It is not the case that we are having uniform, eye-catching economic growth over the length and breadth of South Asia, but economic setbacks in India and Pakistan, the regional economic heavyweights, that carry on their shoulders the SAARC region’s economic prospects, could ...Continued

Is Geoge Keyt Still Relevant To Sri Lankan Art?

Columns
Anoli Perera (22/02/2019)
The Indian art historian, Yashodhara Dalmia’s excellent book, Buddha to Krishna: Life and Times of George Keyt was published in 2017 by Routledge in London and New Delhi 2017.  Keyt died in 1993, twenty four years before Dalmia’s book was published. And as the book enters circulation, memories of him are steadily fading in Sri Lanka’s cultural domain as newer styles of art-making and cultural appreciation invades the country’s discourses of taste.  It is all the more timely therefore, to ask if Keyt’s work is ...Continued

Of Bradman, Packer, Chappell And Waugh

Columns
Spectator in Australia
The greatest compliment Sri Lanka’s health service has ever received perhaps came from former Australian captain Steve Waugh. Barely a few weeks after becoming the World Champions, Waugh’s Australian side arrived in Sri Lanka for a seven-week tour that included a three-match Test series and a tri-nation limited overs competition also involving India. The Asgiriya Test match went to the wire with Sri Lanka eventually recording their first ever Test win over Australia. Attempting to take a catch off Mahela Jayawardene, Waugh and Jason Gillespie collided ...Continued

Religions For Responsible Governance Building Bridges

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Kshama Ranawana
It was an unprecedented event; a Buddhist Monk apologizing, on television, to the war affected people of Sri Lanka in the North and East for any wrongs done to them by Buddhists. The Monk, the Ven. Galkande Dhammananda of the Walpola Rahula Institute was participating in a live TV discussion on Rupavahini on February 4, this year. Dhammananda Thero was one of four religious leaders who reflected on the role religions had played in post-independence Sri Lanka in this TV talk show. The others were ...Continued

The Urgent Need To Foster And Save Secularism

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Dissector
Democracies are said to be thriving in the Asian region but most of them lack a strong secular foundation. This begs the question: Could they be identified as democracies in the truest sense? Opinion makers in Sri Lanka have tended to ignore this issue or have glossed over it. This has been the case since 1948, the year of ‘independence’. The time is ripe to face this question squarely as Sri Lanka ‘celebrates’ another anniversary of ‘independence’. This exercise is bound to trigger much contention ...Continued

The Rape Of A Virgin Forest

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
Sinharaja, the only rainforest reserve in Sri Lanka, is in the news again. And this time around, a road building project has become the bone of contention. Young environmental activist, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reforms (MONLAR), who was in the thick of many battles fought on the Sinharaja front during the last two decades, gave a snapshot picture of the struggles that were to save Sinharaja. “There were many attempts to exploit and commercialize Sinharaja in the past. The attempts ...Continued

Brain Drain Or Brain Gain?

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Srilal Miththapala
Introduction Much has been talked about Sri Lanka’s tourism boom and the impending Human resource shortfall that the industry will face.  Recently, a private sector initiative by You Lead (of the USAID) unveiled a practical and comprehensive road map to address some of these issues. (You Lead: Sri-Lanka-Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Competitiveness Roadmap-2018-2023) Although detailed numbers and assessments are difficult to be derived accurately due to the lack of proper information, it is generally accepted that about 100,000 extra direct staff at various levels will ...Continued

Artificial Reefs The Answer?

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Muttukrishna Sarvananthan
The fishing dispute between the two countries, and the enduring sufferings of fisherpersons of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, is the result of the failure of the Indian and Sri Lankan governments to fully implement the 1974 and 1976 maritime border agreements, as also, the failure of the Sri Lankan government to fully implement the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.   Introduction Sri Lanka’s northern provincial economy has been rising from the ashes of the civil war since 2010, and has, as per the ...Continued

Why Not An Export Industry?

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Srilal Miththapala
The Debate of export status There has been some debate, of late, on whether tourism qualifies to be an export industry. This argument has been fuelled by the age old definition of an export industry as one which ‘exports goods and services produced and purchased by residents of another country’. The problem stems from the wording ‘…purchased by residents of another country’. However, the modern day interpretations are different from the classical one.  What is the harm if such goods and services, are purchased by ...Continued

Diaspora Engagement In Sri Lanka

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Anupama Ranawana
The subject of the Sri Lankan diaspora can often be a contentious, politicised one. As the war between the LTTE and government forces came to an end, especially, there were many assumptions made about the role of the diaspora that resided in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe. As an example, there is the overwhelming assumption that much of the Sri Lankan diaspora is a ‘Tamil’ diaspora that is unanimously supportive of the LTTE. This, however, is a misconception. The Tamil diaspora is various ...Continued

Political Realism, Much Needed In IR Analyses

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Dissector
International Relations commentators would do well to take a leaf from none other than specialists in Marketing who have forged a valuable conceptual tool to analyse current developments in international economics. This is commonly referred to as ‘VUCA’, which acronym stands for, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. An impartial survey of ‘external sector’ developments ought to convince commentators and observers that the Marketers have got it plum right. Fast-breaking events in international politics and economics could indeed tend to be baffling. The magnitude of the ...Continued

When ‘Saint’ Adam Denied Sanga A Remarkable Milestone

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Spectator
The national cricket team taking on Cricket Australia XI, in a warm-up game, at the Bellerive Oval ahead of the Test series, brought back nostalgic memories of Kumar Sangakkara’s superb knock at this ground some 12 years ago. Sanga came up with a master class when the chips were down for Sri Lanka and ended up with 192. Known for his meticulous planning and appetite for big runs, the former captain could have gone on to complete a double hundred but was denied the milestone ...Continued

Dirty Politics Ruined Sri Lanka Cricket

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Spectator
New Sports Minister Harin Fernando has made some serious allegations; he has called the Executive Committee of Thilanga Sumathipala, which won a close cricket election in 2016, the most corrupt cricket administrative set-up in the world. Fernando subsequently asked the International Cricket Council permission to delay the cricket elections to bring the much-needed changes to the Constitution of Sri Lanka Cricket. Sumathipala was one of the key architects of the recent unsuccessful bid to wrest control of Parliament from the UNP and Fernando could be ...Continued

Bandula’s Folly

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Kshama Ranawana
UPFA Member of Parliament and former Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena has taken umbrage over the fact that a student of an international school has been ranked first in the Arts stream amongst the candidates who sat the 2018 GCE Advanced Level examination. Talking to the media, the UPFA Parliamentarian accused the government of conspiring to privatise free education, claiming that a private candidate had been ranked for the first time in history, and that it is unfair by government and semi-governments schools. According to ...Continued

“Siege Mentality” Will Cost Sri Lanka Dearly In The Economic...

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Dissector
There is this unfortunate tendency on the part of sections of the media in Sri Lanka to sensationalize South Asia’s perceived geopolitical tensions. They are prone to even counting the number of big power war ships that visit Sri Lankan ports. According to one source, the number of such vessels visiting Sri Lanka since 2008 is 450 and rising. The question to be posed is whether such media fixations have a depressing impact on the morale of the public and on that of the political ...Continued

A Look Back On 2018

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Srilal Miththapala
Arrivals Sri Lanka has been recording a steady YoY growth in arrivals in the post-war period; 2017 saw 2.1 m arrivals, with a CAGR of close upon 19% over the past five years. Total arrivals for 2018 reached 2.33 m arrivals, with a marginal 10.3% increase over 2017, missing the target of 2.5m arrivals set by the government.  In the absence of any strong and cohesive marketing campaign, which the private sector has been clamouring for over two years now, the YoY growth percentage has ...Continued

Old Fox Rolling Over In His Grave

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Vishvanath
How would the late President J. R. Jayewardene feel if he knew his party’s frantic efforts to do away with the executive presidency he created and was so enamoured of? He would feel the same way as he did way back in the early 1970s, when his proposal for a powerful executive presidency met with stiff resistance from his own party, the UNP, which he bent to his will a couple of years later after taking over its leadership. He contemptuously rejected the idea of ...Continued

Rumble At Sri Lanka Cricket

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Spectator
As in politics, there aren’t permanent enemies or permanent friends in cricket. Friends who come together to topple an incumbent administration, end up fighting one another within a matter of months, as we have seen over the years. When the last cricket election was held in 2016, the unthinkable happened. We witnessed  a coming together of sworn enemies, Jayantha Dharmadasa and Thilanga Sumathipal, to demolish Nishantha Ranatunga’s empire. Thanks to the backing of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sons, the younger Ranatunga was running the game of cricket ...Continued

Overcoming The Challenges Of Organic Farming

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
Health complications of foods contaminated with agrochemicals are now well known. The long list of such complications include the conditions as immediate as allergies and gastro-intestinal disorders and long term consequences like asthma, cancers, Parkinson’s disease and kidney disease. At a time when the entire country is grappling with the need to produce food without chemical inputs, a farm named “Mihimandala” in Welikandagama, in the Badulla district, has come out with the practical solutions. Managing Director V. M. B. Athula Priyantha, BSc Agriculture (Special), MSc ...Continued

Nationalistic Sentiments Hinder Vibrant Economic Integration

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Dissector
Sri Lanka is badly at risk of being out of step with a briskly economically-integrating South Asia. What is required is not simply an open economy in the ‘island nation’ but one that is steadily integrating itself with not only the economies of this region but also with those outside it. Just being ‘open’ would not suffice. What is of crucial importance is integration and this process is at a farther qualitative remove from mere ‘openness’. Why is all this important now, some 30 years ...Continued

SAARC Still Stuck At The Cross-roads

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Dissector
To be sure, SAARC is a regional grouping with some notable characteristics and one could not agree more with SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ruwan Edirisinghe on this score. Unlike, ASEAN, for instance, which is the virtual future of the global south, SAARC has made little or no progress on the tasks it gave itself since its founding in 1985 and this fact alone makes it a phenomenon of some absorbing interest among regional organizations of its kind. However, it goes without saying ...Continued

Oil Palm Goes Rancid

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
Doubts have been cast on the much-advertised health benefits of palm oil and environmental concerns on oil palm cultivations. A paradigm shift reshaping the conventional thinking as regards vegetable oils has become discernible both in health and environmental spheres. All the good things once said about the vegetable oils are no longer heard. Health and environmental concerns Palm oil is no longer considered cholesterol lowering or cardio-protective. Some researchers argue that it may even raise blood cholesterol levels. Worse, it has been linked to increased ...Continued

The Glory Days Of Tom Moody

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Spectator
Why is it that good things last only a brief time? Kumar Sangakkara was Sri Lanka’s captain for less than two years. Tom Moody was the country’s Head Coach for 20 months. Veteran banker Rienzie Wijetilleke, who introduced many changes for the game of cricket, served SLC less than a year. They have left such an indelible mark that their legacy is spoken of very highly even today. With the national cricket team currently in New Zealand, it is time to reminisce of the last ...Continued

Colonial Mentality And Its Background

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Laksiri Fernando
Although small islands, there are 61 colonies and dependent territories still in the world. Eight countries maintain them: France (16), the United Kingdom (15), the United State (14), Australia (6), New Zealand (3), Norway (3), Netherlands (2) and Denmark (2). At present, France has the most controversial colonial legacy although it was the first country to have a ‘human rights declaration’ (‘des droit de l’homme’) as early as 1789. New Caledonia in the Pacific is one of them. Because of nickel resources and tourist attraction, ...Continued

According To A Sri Lankan Woman

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Dhanushki Abhayaratne
I happened to watch the movie ‘According to Matthew’ by Chandran Ratnam showing these days, and was horrified by the wanton character assassination of a young woman in the movie. The movie is based on a true story and showcases a double murder committed by a very powerful priest, where he kills his wife and the husband of the young woman he is having illicit relations with. The priests point of view, paints the woman as a seductress and willing partner in their illicit affair. ...Continued

Catches Win Matches

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Spectator
Remember Clive Lloyd’s epic words moments after West Indies won the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup at Lord’s?  The memorable quote, ‘Catches win matches’, remains true even more than 40 years after the West Indian legend first uttered it. If you need to check the validity of Lloyd’s pearls of wisdom, you only have to recall the way how England pounced on half-chances pulling off some sensational catches during the bilateral series against Sri Lanka. Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha admitted that fielding was the big ...Continued

Sri Lanka On The Brink Of An Economic Dictatorship

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Muttukrishna Sarvananthan
Whilst there may be certain elements of ambiguity about the Constitutional authority of the Chief Executive (aka the President) of the country on the dismissal and appointment of a Prime Minister or the dissolution of the Parliament, on the critical issue of public finances there is no such ambiguity. It is crystal clear in the Constitution that the Legislature / Parliament is the SOLE custodian and authority of the public finances in Sri Lanka, and indeed in any democratic country. The Parliament has the sole ...Continued

There’s More Than Meets The Eye In The Chinese Consulate...

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Dissector
The taking of life under any circumstances and for whatever reason cannot be condoned but  one could be accused of being simple-minded if the recent ‘terror’ attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi which claimed some four lives is seen as having only security implications. It has security dimensions and more and what is called for is far more than a superficial examination of the event that has triggered concern region-wide. It is reported that a Balochistan-based militant group is behind the attack and it ...Continued

Sri Lanka On The Verge Of A Foreign Exchange Crisis

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Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
The political turmoil triggered in Sri Lanka following the abrupt replacement of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet by the President a month ago has given rise to a constitutional crisis harming an already battered economy. Even before the political catastrophe, the economy was in bad shape on all fronts. The economic growth slowed down to a mere 3.5 percent a year. The budget deficit was high at 5.5 percent of the GDP. The worst has been the foreign exchange situation impaired by rising imports, ...Continued

It’s Time To Root Out This Rotten Political Culture

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Kshama Ranawana
When President Maithripala Sirisena slapped democracy on its face, surreptitiously appointing  a Prime Minister while unceremoniously removing the other, and followed that action by proroguing and then dissolving Parliament, he did Sri Lanka one great favour. A usually apathetic population was jolted out of its complacency.  This time around it was not just another murder or abduction of political opponents, journalists, or robbing the country blind.  It was not about appointing one’s kith and kin to plum positions or parceling out prime forest land, or ...Continued

Democratising State Power through Alternative Means

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Dr. Siri Gamage
There is a tendency in today’s society,  to characterise the ruling class as self-serving, removed from the average citizen in the street, and consider themselves as a distinctive category who are born to rule unquestioned. This situation has arisen as a result of the hybrid governance system introduced in the late 70s, cross overs of MPs from one party or alliance to another at critical moments, extravagant lifestyle of politicians and the associated political culture, conformist role of the mainstream media, failure of education system ...Continued

Dark Side Of Campaign To Paint A Black Picture Of...

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Dr. Prasanna Cooray
The Ministry of Health (MoH), in spite of being troubled by many unfinished battles, has opened another front. This time around, it has declared war on powdered milk, of all things. The MoH, in a poster put out in collaboration with the WHO’s country office, warns of as many as 21 dangers of consuming powdered milk. It may claim that it is trying to promote breastfeeding through that poster. We cannot but agree that breastfeeding should be encouraged at all times and there is nothing ...Continued

Once Again, The Confounding Tamil Nadu Factor

Columns
By Dissector
There was this cartoon in a local daily which showed caretaker Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa about to fence off in a boxing ring with a hulking opposition politician whose face was not clearly sketched. The former was being pushed into the ring by a sleek, sleeved hand with the label ‘China’ on it and the latter was being showed in by no less a person than ‘Uncle Sam’. The cartoon graphically highlighted the ‘external forces’ that are likely to come into play in the parliamentary ...Continued

Lanka’s Untapped Gold Mine

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Duncan
Almost seven decades after making its debut at an international sports event as an independent country, Sri Lanka won its first medal in an endurance event, when Paarami Wasanthi of Kuliyapitiya Central clinched a bronze at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October 2018. With the schools track and field structure largely encouraging development of sprinters, doesn’t this against-odds victory in the long distance event point to where the country should have its focus on to win at international level? Sri Lanka’s Olympics medals ...Continued

The Barmy Army Invasion

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By Spectator
Barmy Army was the first group of fans to follow and support their cricket team dedicatedly and consistently. Gradually other cricketing nations have taken a leaf out of their book, and now we have ‘The Richies’ in Australia and ‘Bharath Army’ in India. Not to be outdone, a group of Sri Lankan students living in Australia have started something of our own. These cricket crazy lads from various parts of Colombo call themselves ‘Appuhamy’, of all names. It is doubtful whether Test cricket interests many ...Continued

Saving The Elephants

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Kshama Ranawana and Aanya Wipulasena
Unless elephant movements are studied for at least a year, and solutions implemented according to their lifestyle, the attempts to prevent trains killing them will be a bigger calamity warns Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya, former Director General, Department of Wildlife and former Environment Specialist at the World Bank. It is vital to determine if the elephants have a specific crossing point, or if they are crossing at random points he states, or else it will be a waste of colossal amounts of money and destruction of ...Continued

Asia’s Big Powers On Alert

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Dissector
Engrossing political developments in Sri Lanka over the past few days are spurring both regional and extra-regional powers into making moves that international politics watchers ought to find extremely thought-provoking.  No sooner was Mahinda Rajapaksa controversially sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on October 26 in a lightning move that took Sri Lanka and the world by storm, than he was congratulated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The latter was the first world leader to do so. Close on the heels of ...Continued

When Hot-blooded Youth Cool Their Heels

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Shamindrini Peiris
Protests by unemployed graduates demanding jobs are not infrequent. They march, shout, obstruct traffic, get the water cannon treatment and disperse. All governments respond in a similar manner. First, they make grand promises to recruit them as ‘Development Officers’ to an already burgeoning public service. And there lies the rub. Across the board, there is tacit agreement that it is politicization coupled with incompetent employees that has brought Sri Lanka’s civil service to this sorry pass. As for the quality of employees, much has been ...Continued

The Batsman Who Could Not Bat Like Jayasuriya

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Spectator
Having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, Leicester City stunned all and sundry when they won the English Premier League in the 2015-16 season. It was described as one of the greatest sporting stories as Claudio Ranieri worked with a shoestring budget compared to the more affluent Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Some 15 years prior to that Chandika Hathurusigha did exactly the same with an unfancied Moors SC winning Sri Lanka’s Premier League Cricket Title. Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket has been dominated by ...Continued

Regionalism Defeating Unfettered Globalization

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Dissector
Even the ‘best of minds’ cannot be faulted for being somewhat confused by what is happening currently on the international political and economic scenes. There ought to be a widespread feeling that ‘things are falling apart, the centre cannot hold’ and on the face of it, this assumption seems to be right. Before we go any further on this theme, it would be best that the observer ascertains the more prominent historical developments over the past 30 years. The turning point in international politics came ...Continued

“Refugees In Their Own Village”

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Anupama Ranawana
Trawling through Twitter over my breakfast hour, I noticed several users, from different parts of the world asking the same variant of a question, “Why is it that governments always fail us?” From Canada, to Turkey, to Brazil, to the United Kingdom and the United States, there is a growing sense that governments are locked in a strange hostility towards citizens, especially those who are in the minority. It is this same question of governmental failure that is brought to light in the report “‘Why ...Continued

The Myths And Truths Of The Much Maligned Singapore- Sri...

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Chanakya
The Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (SSLFTA), signed earlier this year has garnered much discussion in Sri Lankan business, political, and social circles. Free trade agreements are full of convoluted, technical jargon and in the absence of a clear communication strategy to explain its contents by the government to the public, the information gap is filled by others. Members of professional organizations such as the GMOA have been particularly vocal about this agreement. Unfortunately, much of what is being said by these representatives of professionals ...Continued

More Than Just A Library

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Shamindrini Peiris
‘When we read, we are able to travel to many places, meet many people and understand the world’ Nelson Mandela. When I saw on social media, the inspirational story of a man in Kegalle who runs a mobile library for children in the area, I was transported back in time to a similar ‘book man’. Back when I was a teenager, there was an old man who cycled all around Kotte and Nugegoda (I am not sure where else), with a little metal trunk strapped ...Continued

DUMPED! – Lanka Cricket Plunges To New All-time Low

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Dion Michael
Sri Lanka’s cricket plunged to an all-time low when the team was unceremoniously dumped from the Asia Cup tournament in just three days and after two big defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and newcomers Afghanistan. The heady night of 17 March 1996 when Sri Lanka was crowned World Champions remains a mere memory in the distance after the night of 17 September 2018 when the young Afghanistan team sent the Lankans crashing out of the Asia cup with an emphatic victory. The Asia Cup ...Continued

Prospects For Constitutional Reform Are Receding

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Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
On Tuesday 18th September, there was a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper, bottom right hand corner of page A4 quoting Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratna, that the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly will submit its report to the Assembly shortly.  Dr. Wickramaratna is also quoted as saying that the proposed constitutional reforms have not in any way weakened the unitary character of the state, nor paved the way for federalism or diluted the foremost status given to Buddhism.  The report referred to, is the composite report ...Continued

Shortage Of Trained Social Workers Impacts Interventions

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Shamindrini Peiris
As far numbers go, the good news for Sri Lanka is that there has been an overall decline in the number of people taking their lives.  Of concern, are reports by Sumithrayo, which provides suicide intervention assistance amongst other services, that those attempting suicide is ten to twenty times more, and that this number is increasing. Even though the World Health Organization(WHO) places the age-standardised rate of suicide in Sri Lanka at 30.3 per 100,000 people, the Sumithrayo website states that the number of suicides ...Continued

Confident Lankans Seek More Asia Cup Glory

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Dion Michael
A confident Sri Lankan cricket team will leave shortly for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeking to add more Asia Cup Silverware to their trophy cupboard. The Asia Cup cricket tournament 2018 is being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 15-28 September, with the participation of six countries – India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong – the winner of the qualifying tournament. The tournament will be the 14th edition of the Asia Cup and UAE play hosts for the third ...Continued

Why Former Presidents Cannot Run For Presidential Office Again

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Asanga Welikala
There has recently been a flurry of comment and speculation about whether, due to a technical flaw in the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (2015), former President Rajapaksa may actually be eligible to offer himself for election at the next presidential election, although it had so far been universally assumed that he was disqualified by virtue of having been twice elected previously to the presidency. A legal argument to this effect has most completely been made by the distinguished jurist, Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama. In his ...Continued

Three-Wheelers Need To Be Regulated

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Shamindrini Peiris
One day, I was in a hurry to get home after visiting a patient at a leading private hospital down Kirimandala Mawatha and got into a three wheeler from the ‘hospital stand’. Preoccupied as I was with the condition of the patient and the other errands I had to run, it was only after I was almost halfway home that I realized that the meter was running at Rs 50 /- per km, more expensive than an AC cab with four wheels! All three wheelers ...Continued

Entrepreneurs Need Help Accessing Markets

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Anupama Ranawana
The Sri Lankan government’s move to write off microfinance debts and place caps on microfinance rates in the 12 districts of Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa is certainly a welcome one.  It shows clear attention to one of the most significant issues troubling post-war Sri Lanka, a country which, in a round of studies conducted by the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium was found to be one of two countries to exhibit a high level of sustained indebtedness.  Academics and ...Continued

Getting An Education Or Cramming To Pass Exams?

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Shamindrini Peiris
I used to meet a mother, a little while back, who brought her two children to the same swimming class as my daughter. The older child was a boy of ten who seemed really keen on his lessons and would rush into the pool as soon as the coach got in. But one day, he just sat on a bench near the changing room, clutching a book to his chest, wistfully watching his little sister swim. Wondering why he was not in the pool, I ...Continued

Drawing Board Beckons For Lankans Dogged by Inconsistency

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Dion Michael
The ODI Cricket World Cup is just ten months away and whilst most competing countries have a fair idea of the composition of their squads, the Sri Lankan selectors find themselves going back to the drawing board to try and choose a team that will fly the Lion Flag high at the world cup in England in June 2019. All is not lost – the cupboard is not exactly bare. In fact, Sri Lanka has never been short of talent but the lack of consistency ...Continued

Decisive Action Needed To Halt Hate Speech

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Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
The issue of the punishment of hate speech seems to raise more questions than it answers in the Sri Lankan context.  Invariably there are the arguments about free speech, which are of concern to the genuine rights activist or those purporting to be one.  There are also arguments about the weaknesses and gaps in the existing law of the land and therefore the argument for new law.  At the same time, there are concerns about the political commitment of the government of the day to ...Continued

Thirty-five Years After July Riots, Wounds Are Yet To Heal

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Shamindrini Peiris
School rivalry can be lots of fun, especially when it comes to sports, but when I went through the gates of Holy Family Convent (HFC), Bambalapitiya in the last week of July, thirty-five years ago, it was in circumstances I would never have dreamed of.  That Monday morning on the 25th of July, I was just another 8 year old on her way to school at St. Bridget’s Convent, Colombo, quite unaware that by the middle of the week I would take up residence at ...Continued

‘Home Advantage’ In The Spotlight After Lankans Thrash Proteas 2-0

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Dion Michael
In another David and Goliath tale, the Sri Lankan Cricketers belied their lowly sixth rank to brush aside second ranked South Africa in a 2-0 sweep of their two-test series which concluded this week. Revelling in home conditions with dry spinning tracks, the Lankans completely outplayed their opponents to extract revenge for the 3-0 drubbing they received when they last toured South Africa. In that series in 2016-17, the hosts South Africa prepared fast, bouncy tracks to expose the Lankans known weakness for fast bowling ...Continued

Lions, Proteas Set For Intriguing Battle

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Dion Michael
The Sri Lanka and South Africa cricket teams are set for an intriguing contest. The first of their two-test series began on Thursday in Galle. Both teams have had successful outings in their last test series with South Africa overcoming a subdued Australia 3-1 at home and the Sri Lankans holding West Indies to 1-1 in a three-test series in the Caribbean where they became the only Asian team to beat West Indies in their citadel – Barbados. There is a bit more than the ...Continued

Causes and Consequences of a Depreciating Rupee

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Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
The rupee has depreciated sharply against the US dollar since the beginning of this year. The weakening of the currency is an outcome of the continuing setback in the external sector characterized by the wide trade gap and heavy external debt commitments. In recent times, the Central Bank (CB) has allowed the rupee to fluctuate depending on the foreign exchange market conditions instead of intervening to defend the currency as previously done. The weaker rupee is partly a reflection of this policy shift. The strengthening ...Continued

Balkrishna Doshi – the Pritzker Prize Winner

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Jennifer Henricus
The profession of Architecture in South Asia received an incredible boost last month when the 2018 Pritzker Prize, the field’s highest accolade was awarded to India’s Balkrishna Doshi for his exceptional contributions to humanity and the built environment. The energetic and young at heart 90-year-old is the first Indian and South Asian to win the Prize since its inception 40 years ago. Awarded each year by the Pritzker family in Chicago through its Hyatt Foundation, the Prize is often described as “architecture’s Nobel.”  This year ...Continued

Absorbing Series In the West Indies Marred By Ball Tampering...

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Dion Michael
The West Indies and Sri Lanka cricket teams have just concluded one of the most absorbing three-test series in recent history which ended level at 1-1 with one game drawn and included some world class individual performances which constantly swung the initiative from one team to the other. West Indies’ fast Bowler Shannon Gabriel was the undoubted star of the series with a haul of 20 wickets including 13 in one game – a new record for a test in West Indies. Sri Lanka’s paceman ...Continued

Public Service is a Human Right

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Kshama Ranawana
In Sri Lanka, the day passed unnoticed, even though, June 23 has been declared by the United Nations as Public Service Day..  It is the one day of the year that is set aside to celebrate and recognize the work of public servants. The duties and responsibilities of a public servant are vast, and makes up the backbone of delivering basic to complex services to citizens.  While the State formulates policies and affords various protections through the constitution, the actual delivery lies in the hands ...Continued

Sri Lanka Missed Out On A Foreign Direct Investment Boom...

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Kshama Ranawana
Five billion dollars in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by 2020; that is the grand plan the government of Sri Lanka has for this nation. Along with that, the government hopes to generate a million new and better jobs. To reach that goal, the government has begun the process of setting up an online one-stop shop that will help potential investors obtain official approvals with ease. As a first step, the Board of Investment, (BOI) launched a web portal on May 30 this year.  The BOI ...Continued

Groupthink: A New Phase of an Old Epidemic?

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Prof. Susirith Mendis
‘Groupthink’ is a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis as recently as 1972. It occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”.  Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups.  A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background; when the group is insulated from outside opinions; and when there are no clear rules for decision making. The ...Continued

In Sri Lanka, the Leaders of the Catholic Church are...

Columns
Anupama Ranawana
In the depth and breadth of its reach, the Catholic Church across the world is a recognised transnational actor, able to speak and intervene directly in issues of social justice and human rights amongst many affected populations.  In doing so, it is responding to the most radical of Christ’s teachings: love, as I have loved you. Or, as the well-known Sri Lankan radical thinker the late Fr. Tissa Balasuriya would have it, the need to stand up continually to greed and structural injustice. Importantly, what this ...Continued

Al- Jazeera TV Sting Operation Opens New Can Of Worms...

Columns
Dion Michael
The world of cricket – the gentleman’s game – took another body blow last week with the revelations of the Al Jazeera sting operation which claimed to have strong evidence that two tests played on the picturesque Galle Cricket grounds were fixed by curators of the pitch in collusion with a gambling syndicate. Host countries preparing wickets to suit the strengths of the home team is nothing new and in fact most host countries resort to every tactic possible to give their own teams the ...Continued

Those Underused PET Scanners

Columns
Kshama Ranawana and Aanya Wipulasena
What must it take to get up to date health care for the sick of this country? Two Positron Emission Tomorgraphy (PET) scanners, both donations, one bought through the goodness of Sri Lankans, and the other being part of the Saudi Governments funding of the Epilepsy Unit at the National Hospital, remain underused. The scanner gifted to the Apeksha Hospital, also known as the Maharagama Cancer Hospital is used only to carry out CT scans, as is the one at the Epilepsy Unit. While patients ...Continued

A Malevolence Like Any Other: Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and...

Columns
Anupama Ranawana
My cousin and I have a little joke between us. It is that when getting into a three-wheeler in Colombo, one needs to check for two things: a working meter, and the political tendencies of the driver. The former causes haggling over the rate, but the latter may make you the recipient of ethno-nationalist diatribe all the way from work to home. Beware, beware, there are racists everywhere. Sri Lanka’s post-war landscape is troubled by new and re-emergent ethno-nationalist tensions that manifest variously, and are ...Continued

The Troika- How Crucial Relations With India Was Managed In...

Columns
Lalith Weeratunga
Background It is no secret that foreign ministries work in water tight compartments and often under immense pressure. As a result, they cannot be flexible, and quite obviously cannot think out of the box. Even the most experienced foreign service officers have to be cautious when dealing with their counterparts due to sensitivity of the work they handle. In writing a memo, a letter or a communique’, foreign ministry officials take extraordinary precautions, and that’s quite understandable. Because of the visibility they get in the ...Continued

For Rehabilitated Tamil Rebel Cadres, it’s a struggle to survive

Columns
Niranjani Roland
Nine years after physical hostilities ended between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ex-combatants of the rebel group are struggling to survive. This, despite the government’s massive rehabilitation programme at the end of the war, which saw approximately 12000 ex-combatants undergo training and re-skilling with hopes of becoming productive members of society. A total of 594 Children ,9374 males and 2032 females underwent the rehabilitation programme and were trained in Information Technology, Mechanical training, Education, Handicrafts, Carpentry, Beauty Culture and Cake ...Continued

To demobilize an Army, a country must enjoy economic, cultural...

Columns
General Daya Ratnayake
I am often asked why the Sri Lanka Army was not demobilized in May 2009. The first thing I must emphasise is that a Defence Force is essential for a country whether you at war or at peace. There is no question of total demobilisation. Probably the question is asked owing to the excess numbers we were compelled to recruit to overcome the challenge of defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. When Sri Lanka’s 30 year old war came to a close on May 19, ...Continued

Whistleblowing- The Thin Wedge in the Door

Columns
Prof. Susirith Mendis
I wrote in two previous columns about two sides of the coin. First, the bribe-takers in “Decline of integrity in public service: Can we stem the trend?” and about the bribe-givers in “Corporate Corruption: The Other Side of the Coin”. What we need to realise and understand is that bribe-takers would not exist if bribe-givers did not exist. It is bribe-givers that create bribe-takers. And the bribe-givers that we need to worry about are not the man in the street who bribes a peon in ...Continued

The 20th Amendment

Columns
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
The decision of the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to present a Private Members Bill on the abolition of the executive presidency holds out some hope that constitutional reform will not be completely forgotten in the remaining 18 months of this government’s term.  As to whether it will succeed or not – there ought to be every reason why it should – will be determined by the post NCM political climate, in particular the evaluations as to which political actor retention or abolition will benefit most. ...Continued

Preventing Sexual and Gender-Based violence at Universities

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
In February this year, the University of Kelaniya hosted a gender festival; the third in a series to promote gender equity and equality. The first two were held at the Eastern University and the University of Peradeniya, in May and November last year respectively.  Sponsored by the Centre for Equity and Equality of the Ministry of Higher Education, the festival at the Kelaniya University was organized by its Centre for Gender Studies. Involving all the universities, the festivals host programs that help raise awareness on ...Continued

SL economy in doldrums amidst political chaos

Columns
Prof. Sirimevan Colombage
While the Sri Lankan economy is on a downward path, the coalition government is struggling for its survival, and the economy is not on its radar. The political front is in chaos. Conflicts within and among the ruling political parties have escalated since the local government elections held early this year. The government managed to win the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but not without much effort. Some Ministers have resigned from their portfolios over the no-faith motion. Meanwhile, the President has prorogued ...Continued

At the Dehiwala Zoo, There’s a need for better animal...

Columns
Risidra Mendis
The National Zoological Gardens is amongst the oldest in the Asian region and is 82 years old.  Initially set up by John Hagenback as a transitory home for captured wild animals, waiting to be transported to Zoos in Europe, it became the property of the government of then Ceylon in 1936. The Dehiwala Zoo, as it is commonly known occupied 11 acres of land at the beginning and on becoming a government owned entity functioned as a place of entertainment for the public who were ...Continued

Corporate Corruption: The Other Side of the Coin

Columns
Prof. Susirith Mendis
I mentioned in a previous article on integrity in public life that “the low ebb of integrity and corruption in the corporate world needs another telling”. So here it is. I saw the growing tree of corruption spreading its canopy that covered all the undergrowth of development and underdevelopment – the politicians, the professionals the state officers who were on the take. And little grew underneath. Never did I think of the roots below surface; it was always the ‘bribe taker’ and not the ‘bribe ...Continued

Abortion; Which is less evil? The death of a mother...

Columns
Prof. Wilfred Perera
I am writing this article in view of the recent hue and cry by various Religious Organisations in the country, against legalising abortions in this country. I have read the Global literature on the subject and consulted some international authorities to gain more knowledge. I am distilling my thoughts for the information of the public in this country. Some of these International authorities have been working with the Irish Family Planning Association, and the Citizen’s Bureau on the issue of Liberalizing Abortion in Ireland. I ...Continued

Honour in reverse swing

Columns
Dinoo Kelleghan
In church today, the minister said a simple prayer for the athletes competing in the Commonwealth Games just started in Brisbane. “Let them enjoy themselves and let there be no cheating,” he said. Such simplicity of thought: how did we let it slip so far away from us? I don’t know if people outside Australia can understand why we here are so shocked and degraded by the exposure of Australia cheating at the recent test matches in South Africa. Those of us linked by birth ...Continued

The JVP: Whence it Came, Whither Bound?

Columns
Prof. Susirith Mendis
I am no painter or artist. But I am going to ‘paint a picture’. It is certainly not a portrait. It’s a meandering scene on a broad canvas of one aspect of our political landscape. It is certainly not the political equivalent of what John Constable or JMW Turner did with the English countryside. In one swell sweep, I am going to paint a 50-year landscape. So, political purists and Marxist ‘theologians’ must abide with my rushed or even rash brush strokes. Yes, 50 years. ...Continued

How unarmed civilians saved lives during anti-Muslim attacks in Sri...

Columns
Lisa Fuller
On March 4th, Sinhala Buddhist mobs began sweeping through Sri Lanka’s Kandy district, hurling petrol bombs at Muslim-owned houses, shops and mosques. The attacks came as a shock, as Sri Lanka has not seen violence on this scale in nearly a decade. The government deployed thousands of security forces, armed with automatic weapons, tear gas and water cannons, but they failed to stop the violence until four days later. By then, mobs had wreaked havoc in a dozen towns and destroyed 465 properties. Yet the death toll was astonishingly ...Continued

Philippines’ Duterte is also trying a Rajapaksa stunt

Columns
Naganathan Pillai
“Please do not allow me to report to President Duterte that you guys are not doing anything about this killing,” Under Secretary Jose Joel Egco, a journalist turned public servant who went to investigate a murder of a journalist in Mindanao threatened a senior local police officer a few months ago. The officer, well aware of the repercussions of such a complaint, arrested the suspect within hours and produced him before courts. “That is how we have to operate if we are to get these ...Continued

Empathy – a much needed attribute in doctors

Columns
Professor Susirith Mendis
What really is empathy? Let us take some similar words – sympathy, compassion, kindness, humanity, pity; and the Buddhist concepts of Meththa (loving kindness); Karuna (compassion), Muditha (vicarious joy – the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being.) What is sympathy? – feelings of sorrow for someone else’s misfortune; Compassion? – concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others; Kindness? – a pleasant disposition, and a concern for others; Humanity? – a set of strengths focused on “tending others”; Pity? – feeling of ...Continued

Not Yet Beyond the Point of No Return

Columns
Dr. Paikaisothy Saravanamuttu
The stinging rebuke delivered by the country to the two main parties in government is indeed that – things cannot continue as before, promises have to be kept and the people have to be taken into the confidence of the government through constant, cogent and coherent communication. It is not a wholesale repudiation of the government or of the reform agenda of 2015.  It is also worth noting that in almost half of the local bodies no single party has won an overall majority, although ...Continued

A look at Sri Lanka’s labour in a post-war economy

Columns
Anupama Ranawana
In Sri Lanka’s post-war economy, studies on labour and livelihoods indicate deep structural inequalities. When we look at the global political economy, we can see that the expansionary dynamics of the past forty years have produced an economic system that acquires and controls resources and labour easily, and supports production, marketing and consumption on a global scale. An increase in automation within this system has also displaced millions, either from traditional methods of production, such as farmers in Mexico, or from their traditional sites of ...Continued

Nationalism isn’t what it used to be

Columns
Dinoo Kelleghan
 ‘A free country debates its history, it does not deny it.’ I don’t know what the national mood in Sri Lanka was from top to bottom as you celebrated Independence Day but here in Australia we didn’t know whether to wave a flag or char a chop – or the other way around – on Australia Day. You grumbled at the traffic jams as roads were closed for the rehearsals of the parades but(after the laptop dance was changed) it seemed undeniably a celebration of ...Continued

Ending the cycle of violence against women

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
When a group of women and like-minded men engaged in a walk from the Fort Railway station to the Galle Face Green on Monday, March 5th, it was to make the point that not just streets, but homes and all other places must be safe for women. The Walk, organized by the Women’s Education and Research Centre along with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs called for “Safe Nights, Safe Streets & Safe Homes for Women.” Even though we have created the space for ...Continued

Her. Him. The Other; Condemning of where we are and...

Columns
Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke
In 2015, artists of various disciplines from around the island were invited to a meeting at the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation with former President Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunga. Amongst the writers, artists and musicians were perhaps our most internationally celebrated filmmakers; Prasanna Vithanage, Vimukthi Jayasundara and Asoka Handagama. It was a town hall style meeting to discuss ideas and proposals for art that spoke to the national post-war conversation, art that would actively try to foster or reflect the need for reconciliation. Her. Him. The ...Continued

The Unfair Burden of the Women’s Quota

Columns
Natasha Balendra
The recently concluded local government elections have been notable for a number of reasons. One of these is that for the first time in Sri Lanka a 25% quota was introduced for women representatives. It now appears from press reports that both the Chairman of the Elections Commission and some of the Political Parties and Independent Groups which contested the elections find implementing the quota to be too “burdensome” and “unfair.” Well, of course! Is it really fair for these women’s movement type people to ...Continued

Decline of integrity in public service; Can we stem the...

Columns
Prof. Susirith Mendis
The revelations of the Bond Commission Report where Lanka’s political and financial elite have conspired in the greatest scam ever in Sri Lankas history, the consequent revelations on money laundering and luxury penthouse kickbacks and the evasive statements made in parliament by the Prime Minister and other responsible public figures prompts me to take up this topic for comment. Forget public life for the moment. Let us get to basics first. What are the dimensions of the concept of integrity? Integrity encompasses many of the ...Continued

A case for non-partisan Local Government

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
It is time to re-think how we elect representatives to our local administrative bodies. Local government means having our day to day needs attended to; be it the collection of garbage, repair of drains and culverts or maintaining a clean city amongst a host of other services. Basically it’s getting our worth for the taxes we pay to the local administration that oversees the city or village we live in. In Sri Lanka, the mandate of the local authority is to “provide for the comfort, ...Continued

A Shift from a Straight White Male Perspective (2017’s Best...

Columns
Arun Welandawe Prematilleke
In a year that has seen seismic shifts occur around the world, where often times the news has been a like a car accident, horrifying but with a chokehold on your attention span, cinema does seem like a distant concern. Any art does in moments of panic. But after the panic fades, it is the arts we go to; for escape, for reflection, and hopefully to gain some perspective on the world we occupy. There’s plenty to reflect on in the larger cultural shift where ...Continued

Hot and Bothered

Columns
Dinoo Kelleghan
How did the backlash against sexual abuse of women become weakened by all the female counter-arguments and counter-counter-arguments over the right to call out the abuse? Women are so trapped by the instinct to nurture, to distance ourselves from aggression and the overt wielding of power, that we can’t go in for the kill on an issue. No, we slice and dice the subject, split hairs and chop logic in our anxiety to be fair and achieve an impossible equal balance of every possible factor ...Continued

Extricating Yahapalanaya

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
A new year brings with it the promise of change.  Resolutions are made and often broken, even before the first month of the year comes to an end. The Yahapalanaya government came in on the promise of change.  This month, sees its third year in government and there is disillusionment all around. There was an air of expectation that January 2015. We were throwing out a regime that destroyed the core values of our society; arrogance, thuggery, nepotism and might is right was the order ...Continued

Higher Education – A Public Good or a Tradable Commodity?

Columns
Prof. Susirith Mendis
I agree, this has now become an oft heard cliché. And indeed, quite a relevant one in the current polemical debate and ensuing street protest and violence on the establishment of a private medical education institute in Sri Lanka – the SAITM. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall and the advent of a unipolar world under the hegemony of the USA; and the consequent grandiloquent pronouncement of Francis Fukuyama in 1992 that “The End of History and the Last ...Continued

An Election to Decide the Fate of Reform?

Columns
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
As Sri Lanka approaches the 70th anniversary of its independence, it also approaches elections, albeit local government elections and no less significant for being so. Long delayed – in some cases for 3 years – these elections will be the first under the National Unity Government and the independent election Commission set up under the 19th Amendment.  The election will invariably be perceived as a referendum on the performance of the National Unity Government and a harbinger of things to come – provincial council elections ...Continued
PHOTO ESSAYS

The Buddhist Convention of the Bodu Bala Sena

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The Bodu Bala Sena held its Sivu Hele Maha Samuluwa, (Buddhist Convention) at the Bogambara Grounds in Kandy on July...

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SF combatants showcase skills

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The latest passing out parade of the Sri Lanka Special Forces was held at the Maduru Oya SF training camp on...

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A Faith Strengthened

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St. Anthony's Kochchikade, was declared open after renovations following the April 21, Easter Sunday bomb blasts.  Here, the faithful gather...

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In Solidarity

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Muslims the world over will celebrate the feast of Eid-ul-Fitr in the first week of June this year.  It brings...

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To School, on the “Ele Friendly” Bus

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Living cheek by jowl with wild animals is often a tricky business.   They invade your homes in search of food...

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A Day of Deep Sorrow

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It was the holiest of days for the Christian community and the most joyous!  Easter Sunday is the culmination of...

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A Test Of Mettle

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Elite police commandos, who are leading the country’s war on drugs, from the front, held a tattoo at an STF...

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A Presidential War on Narcotics

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On Monday, April 1st, President Maithripala Sirisena watched the destruction of nearly 800 kilograms of cocaine, in a suburb close...

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Exhibition of Vintage Cars

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Chinese Acrobats in Sri Lanka

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The Annual Navam Maha Perahera

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Celebrating 71 Years Of Independence

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Thai Pongal

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Hindus celebrate Thai Pongal on a grand scale the world over in the month of January. Thai Pongal marks the...

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Cementing Sri Lanka –China Partnership

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In December 2017, 50 Chinese couples said “I do”, in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.  The mass wedding was held to...

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So This Is Christmas!

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Christmas is upon us and Colombo has come alive with the hundreds of decorations that adorn the city. The Colombo...

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House Expresses Confidence In Ranil

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On Wednesday, December 12, Parliament passed a vote of confidence in Ranil Wickremesinghe to function as the Prime Minister.  The...

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Chasing Away Evil

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Classical dance in Sri Lanka falls into three groups; Kandyan dancing (Uda Rata Natum) of the people from the Hills, ...

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Celebrating Light Over Darkness

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It is the festival of light!  On the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar month known as Kartika, which usually...

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A Week Of Chaos!

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It has been a week of political upheaval like never before.  President Maithripala Sirisena chose to appoint his arch enemy...

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The Lion Rock

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The Sigiriya, rock fortress is an archeological wonder. Some archaeologists believe it was originally a Buddhist monastery, which later became...

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Before It Becomes Your “Rice Puller”

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Not all fish are firm to the touch; many begin to lose their freshness by the time the boats bring...

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A Magnificent Parade

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Almost every major Buddhist Temple in the country conducts an annual Parade, known as “Perehera” in Sinhala.  But the perehera...

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MR Shows Off His People Power

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Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has achieved what no other politician in recent history has managed.  Adoration of his supporters. “Janabalaya...

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The Illness That Baffles Us All

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For long, it has been one of the most devastating illnesses in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, and...

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The Unique Gathering

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They emerge from the relative coolness of the jungle as the heat of the day begins to recede. Babies and...

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Preserving An Ancient Technique Unique To Sri Lanka

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“Angam” or “Angampora”, is an ancient martial art form believed to be unique to Sri Lanka.  Banned during the period...

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Aiming for 3 million tourists

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Gone are the days when the word ‘tourist’ brought to mind people from European and other such Western countries, for...

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A Lifetime Creating Architectural Wonders

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This essay features some of the work of Balkrishna Doshi, the first Indian and South Asian to be awarded the...

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Taking care of Mother Nature

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Forty four years ago the world was put on notice.  It was time to take affirmative action to protect Mother...

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It’s Time to Revive the Age-old Tradition of Puppetry

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Puppetry is a dying art in Sri Lanka, bemoans master puppeteer, Premin Gurunnanse. The grandson of Gamvari Podisirina Gurunnanse, Premin...

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The long war: This is the cost, but have we...

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A series of poor, short-sighted political decisions, made by leaders of all communities, resulted in the longest war in modern...

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Celebrating Buddha’s Teaching: “Tamed mind will bring solace”

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As 2017 neared its end, the usual calendars and diaries published for the New Year were distributed.  Unlike most other...

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When the Sun travels from Pisces to Aries

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When the “Koha” (Asian Koel) adds its distinct call to the other birdsong we constantly hear, it’s a joyous reminder...

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Under the Big Tent

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The Sakura Circus is five years old. Part-owner of the outfit, Dayan Preethilal Fernando has been a circus artiste since...

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In celebration of women

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#PressforProgress was the theme for the 2018 International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world on March 8th each year.  The...

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First Perahara of the year

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Peraharas’ are part and parcel of Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. The largest and most important Perahera is considered to...

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When the weather gods are angry

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Even as the debate on climate change rages on, there is one thing that cannot be denied; the increase in...

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In chains

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It’s a tradition that goes back many centuries.  Yet, given the treatment meted out to most elephants in captivity, it...

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