The forces of nature repeated their wrath for a second time in three weeks in the North Central Province, the country's largest and an important 'food basket', and the Eastern Province. If the surging floods last month left thousands homeless and destroyed vast extents of food crops, the remnants that escaped were badly hit while the homeless number has now risen to nearly a million people. The worst affected areas from a second bout of floods are Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts.
Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about independence?”
“Why, Bindu,” Bindu’s father Percy explained, “we are celebrating the freedom we won after being under British rule for over a hundred years…”
“But thaaththa,” Bindu asked, “are we really free?”
The country is heading for a massive trade deficit of over 5 billion US dollars in 2010. Nevertheless there will be a balance of payments surplus. This has been the experience of recent years: large trade deficits yet balance of payments surpluses. The last time there was a small trade surplus was in 1977, when it was achieved under a tightly controlled import regime.
In discussions with a group of colleagues from a provincial Bar this week, one question provoked spirited and at times, heated debate. In admitting that there are serious flaws in the working of Sri Lanka’s legal system, are we providing avenues for internationalists who have their own agendas, to intervene in the internal affairs of this country?
A story doing the rounds in Colombo’s Arab community last week related how Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, besieged by hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding his ouster, had telephoned Tunisia’s deposed leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali seeking his help. Ben Ali politely said he was a little constrained as he himself was in Saudi Arabia.
The government struck a thorn in holding elections in two phases-- rural pradeeshiya sabhas followed by the cosmopolitan municipal and urban councils. If both were held together, the wins and losses would have evened out the final result. On an election graph, held separately, a dip in the rural ballot can turn into a dive in an urban vote.
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