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Grade Five exam: What is the answer?

Education Minister Bandula Gunewardena’s sudden announcement at the end of last month that the Grade 5 All Island Scholarship Examination would be abruptly stopped has sparked a heated national debate – mainly protests. The discussion, particularly as a new school year was about to begin has become so contentious that, when asked about it by [...]

Heroes, heroines and heroin

Last Wednesday was the International Day of the Migrant Worker. Sri Lanka has more than a million migrant workers, many of them women, toiling mostly in West Asia, but also in countries like Italy and South Korea. They must surely be the unsung heroes and heroines of this country today. Their foreign exchange remittances total [...]

Law is King or King is Law?

The legal fraternity, or at least most Colombo-based lawyers and judges, enjoyed a convivial evening on Friday at the annual Voet Lights Society dinner as the year draws to a close. Those present could reflect on the good humoured barbs, especially at the expense of the judiciary. They might be left with the thought if [...]

Nelson Mandela

The passing away of Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday night is a merciful end to the life of one of the 20th century’s, nay, history’s most iconic personalities. He was the face of resistance to one of the worst forms of racial discrimination the world has ever seen [...]

Poaching crisis: Haul India before ICJ

With the recently concluded CHOGM we saw that multilateralism nowadays is a fading concept in international affairs, and bilateralism — issues between nations, enveloped in the domestic compulsions of political parties — is now the order of the day. The excitement in the corridors of power in Canada, Britain and India demonstrated that even when [...]

CHOGM: Where do we go from here?

CHOGM 2013 is done and dusted. The event has been proclaimed as a resounding success; the re-launch of Sri Lanka and the rebirth of the Commonwealth; but let us get down to a realistic post-mortem examination, not so much of the organisation of the event but of the organisation itself, and Sri Lanka’s foreign policy [...]

The Commonwealth’s raison d’etre

As the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) concludes today in the host city of Colombo, the future of Britain and its former colonies as a united body must surely be on everybody’s mind. The presence of the Prince of Wales representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the Commonwealth was [...]

PC polls: Bitter-sweet outcome for Govt.

“Two States; Two Parties” exclaimed a wag punning on yesteryear’s famous quote of a famous man, Dr. Colvin R. De Silva – “One Language; Two States/Two Languages; One State” to describe the North-South divide of the time. What the wag was referring to, of course, was the overwhelming electoral victories in the South by the ruling [...]

Finance Companies: The same old story

That this country has suffered several rounds of finance company collapses is a published fact. Each time one falls, and thousands of families are left in the lurch, the role of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), which purportedly regulates these institutions, comes under intense scrutiny. Industry experts have repeatedly highlighted the weaknesses of [...]

Ghosts of the past

As the campaigning for the Northern Province Provincial Council election builds up steam in this final week, the front-runner for the post of Chief Minister is sending smoke signals that are going to cause serious alarm. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)’s chief ministerial candidate C. V. Wigneswaran is going around praising the LTTE’s slain leader [...]

Pillorying Pillay

The bombshell that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights left behind last week on the eve of her departure after a week-long tour ought not really to have been a great shock. That the Government made a mess of her visit, not entirely, but in part is even admitted by the highest in the [...]

Dealing with the world’s dictator

The situation in Syria has brought the world once again to the brink of war. The United States, the self-appointed world policeman, says it has “credible evidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people in what — whoever did it — was a despicable act and indeed a crime against humanity. [...]

Welcome Ms. Pillay

Today’s arrival in Sri Lanka of the Geneva-based UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) bears testimony to the stark reality that the modern world is framed in such a way that countries that dare stand up to the economically and militarily more powerful Western nations, especially the US, are condemned to be scrutinised down [...]

Food and drink: State must ensure quality

The imported milk food crisis that is playing all over the media these days has now been elevated to a cabinet-level committee with doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, sports medicine specialists, public health inspectors, milk producers, exporters and importers, Health Ministry officials, GMOA frontliners all in the fray. The bottom line seems to be that one of [...]

Mining the family silver

Doomsday scenarios have been predicted for the Sri Lankan economy for some time.  Yet to descend from the high of the victory over terrorism to the ridiculous low of having to cut trees to pay EPF/ETF is a sorry indication of what the Government has climbed down to from 2009 to 2013. That the country [...]

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