Friday, 31st October 2014

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Today, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Issues

Dayan Jayatilleka in an article published in the Colombo Telegraph (How a weak opposition could still play it smart) offers that the Opposition is actually helping President Mahinda Rajapaksa secure a third term. He claims that the Opposition has picked the wrong slogan, that of ‘constitutional change’ when ‘it has little prospect of acting as a rallying cry among millions

Full Article Sunday, 19 October 2014 00:00

The revelations by the website Colombo Telegraph pointing to fraud and deceit by the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in an article titled ‘Exposé: Center for Policy Alternatives defrauded and hoodwinked donors,’ (see page 5) are serious and damaging to say the least.   Obtaining funds from multiple donors for a single project, submitting invoices for workshops never held, double-billing and entering non-p

Full Article Sunday, 12 October 2014 00:00

Nimalka Fernando asked an interesting question when Thilini was arrested by the Police. Thilini is the woman who responded to alleged lewd remarks by a person called Selva by slapping him repeatedly (all caught on camera). Nimalka asked if the police arrest all men who beat up women.Now a situation of domestic abuse is more complicated that an insulted

Full Article Sunday, 07 September 2014 00:00

There are parties and there are coalitions.  We’ve seen both rise and fall, falter and prosper.  There are party candidates and there are common candidates. We’ve seen both types and both have tasted success and failure.  
Common fronts were not uncommon in the period before J R Jayewardene came up with the Second Republican Constitution in 1978 with proportional representation,

Full Article Sunday, 24 August 2014 00:00
Like many ordinary Sri Lankan citizens who feel genuinely concerned about the future of the country, I have been apprehensively watching a steady flow of potentially inflammatory talk about so-called Sinhala Buddhist extremism against Muslims, as well as actual incidence of violence particularly over the past few months. It is implied that Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism is chronic in our island
Full Article Sunday, 03 August 2014 00:00
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) recently revealed that an alarming 95% of abuses reported on children are carried out by persons known to them, including their relatives. Children are often victims of abuse, assaults and sexual harassment simply because of the assumption that they do not have a way to voice their problems and their issues.
Full Article Sunday, 27 July 2014 00:00
Sometime this summer, probably when as many Americans as possible are tanning on a beach and not paying attention, the White House is expected to release a version of a classified report on torture during the Bush years. Actually, what’s likely to become public is only the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report; the entire thing,
Full Article Sunday, 27 July 2014 00:00
Commissioner of Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC), Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa states that the commission has sent a proposal to amend the current Human Rights Act in a way that it could give more powers to the HRC. In an interview with The Nation Dr. Mahanamahewa stated that currently the HRC could only provide recommendations. However, he said that the...
Full Article Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:00
‘Mandarins’ could refer to the officially adopted form of the Chinese language or to the fruit we all know. Here it refers to a term, adopted somewhat scornfully by those who failed to join it, to the members of the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS). The Cambridge Dictionary puts it thus: ‘A person who has a very important job...
Full Article Sunday, 20 July 2014 00:00
There is light at the end of the tunnel they say and liars will eventually get exposed. Not bad news at all. The position taken by the Tony Abbot Government is commendable. ‘Increasingly shrill’ was what Scott Morrison Australia’s Immigration Minister called critics. Having visited Sri Lanka and toured North Sri Lanka he was in a better position to declare…
Full Article Sunday, 13 July 2014 00:00
When Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison walked the red carpet for a last-minute pageantry ceremony where he gifted two patrol boats, the Sri Lankan Navy band couldn’t have performed a better song – the Waltzing Matilda.Referred to as the ‘unofficial anthem of Australia’, the ballad narrates the story of an itinerant worker who captures a sheep to eat,
Full Article Sunday, 13 July 2014 00:00
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, participating at the 4th Summit of Heads of State & Government of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at the invitation of President Xi Jinping of China, stated that “for building peace and stability in a region, it is imperative that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our nations are secure.” This fundamental right of States is being violated. 
Full Article Tuesday, 27 May 2014 09:54

Narendra Modi is not just India’s new Prime Minister.  He’s also the latest gonibilla conjured by Indophiles, Eelamists, federalists and other fellow-travelers.  The ‘Specter of Modi’ is a good topic to write on, notwithstanding the fact that gonibilla-conjurers, given their secularist posturing would, if they could, have voted for the Congress or any other party apart from the BJP any

Full Article Sunday, 25 May 2014 00:00
The squatters of Railway Avenue, Nawinna have been promised land and housing by various politicians in power, since 1984. But these promises are yet to be fulfilled. This stretch of railway, with shacks close to the railway line, has been the site of over 150 accidents and 10 deaths over the past two decades. To make matters worse, the squatters…
Full Article Sunday, 18 May 2014 00:00
While arguments and counter-arguments continue on the recent Court of Appeal judgment on the percentage of pictorial warnings on cigarette packets, a group of medical officers, together with villagers have been silently conducting awareness programs to change the mindset of people with regard to tobacco.This probably is the first program of its kind in Sri Lanka where officials,
Full Article Sunday, 18 May 2014 00:00

President Mahinda Rajapaksa knows better than most how to make the best out of a bad situation.  He showed once again what an astute politician he is on May Day when he turned things around after key members of the ruling coalition declined to support what has been dubbed the ‘Casino Bill’.  He said that there is room in the

Full Article Sunday, 11 May 2014 00:00

The Government, as usual, put its own spin on what happened in Hambantota when some UNP parliamentarians decided to check out the airport and harbor. Mayor Eraj Fernando’s antics, however, were caught on camera. There’s no erasing that kind of belligerence (that’s a mild word, by the way) regardless of one’s spin-doctoring skills. Attempting to do so would invariably

Full Article Sunday, 04 May 2014 00:00

The gains made by the Democratic Party (DP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) at the recently concluded elections for the Southern and Western Provincial Councils, along with modest performances by the ruling party and the main opposition party as well as a relatively lower voter turnout can be read in many ways.  One explanation has been dissatisfaction with the

Full Article Sunday, 20 April 2014 00:00

For Sri Lanka, the only relevant resolution at this year’s UNHRC sessions is the one tabled by the United States of America.  It is relevant because it was on (read ‘against’) Sri Lanka.  If, however, the world is serious about the UNHRC and therefore whatever resolutions are tabled, voted on, adopted or rejected, then we would see decent coverage in

Full Article Sunday, 30 March 2014 00:00

It is pathetic, to say the least, when media rights advocates stretch and strain to scratch out some logic when they come out to defend their friends.  The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, the Free Media Movement, and the Federation of Media Employees’ Trade Unions are up in arms about the arrest of two persons who have nothing to do with the

Full Article Sunday, 23 March 2014 00:00

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