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The new terrorism

Not a week passes without a major accident on our roads and the showpiece of the Government – the new road network countrywide — is becoming the ‘kiss of death’ for many. The facts are telling: Someone dies in a road accident every four hours in Sri Lanka. There have been 738 deaths in traffic [...]

CHOGM: Beware of what happened after 1976

The London meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) last week has cleared the path for the holding of the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) in Sri Lanka as scheduled in November this year. It seems it was, eventually, a storm in a tea cup. The Government made an issue that any doubts [...]

May Day Signals

One would have thought that the President, who is also the Minister of Finance, made a slip when he divulged almost a ‘state secret’ during his meeting with national newspaper editors and electonic media heads this week that had the Government not raised electricity prices, the economy would have collapsed. One must, therefore, assume that [...]

Consumers’ bills topped up for mismanagement

The JVP has called upon electricity consumers not to pay their bills and to get on to the streets to protest against the Government’s decision this week to sharply raise tariffs. Many consumers will have to pay as much as 60 per cent more than their present bills. One might argue that it was the [...]

New Year reflections for religious harmony

The National New Year that dawned this weekend is an opportune moment to reflect on the racial tensions of the times. It’s already late, but better late than never as silence may be taken for acquiescence of what is taking place. The post-Iran revolution (1979) saw an increased manifestation of the Islamic identity around the [...]

Power: People pay for absolute corruption

The Government’s Avurudu gift to the people is all wrapped up and only to be delivered; but it is not a welcome one. The new tariffs on electricity, insiders say, is based on IMF advice just this February on a pricing formula, and is one that is bound to give a shock to an already hard-pressed [...]

A Pan-Tamil axis in the making?

If it was the ousted Chief Minister of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu last week, then it was the turn of the incumbent Chief Minister to kick the ‘Sri Lanka Tamil’ football this week. We will not see the end of this charade for many months, what with the Indian elections due in [...]

LLRC Sri Lanka’s answer to circus in UNHRC, India

The dust is yet to quite settle on the anti-Sri Lanka resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Thursday. The reverberations have been felt, ironically enough, in neighbouring India even more than in Sri Lanka. There is much to be vicariously amused about successive Indian governments continuing to get hoist [...]

CHOGM: Come or get lost

With its focus on the fallout from the ongoing Geneva meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Government, which is straining every sinew to hold the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) here later this year, amidst all odds, appears to have forgotten to put up a show last Monday on Commonwealth Day. [...]

Govt. must act on Tamil Nadu attacks

The two Houses of India’s Parliament have judiciously timed a debate on ‘the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka’ to coincide with the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva. That India will vote for the US resolution against Sri Lanka is now public knowledge. Ironic as it may be, our twin stories elsewhere [...]

Northern fisherfolk in deeply troubled waters

Today begins the week-long festival at Kachchativu, the once contested islet off the coast of Jaffna, now firmly ensconced in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. The annual feast of St. Anthony in the church there enjoys a long tradition as an occasion when seafarers from both India and Sri Lanka together with their families mingle. After [...]

Diplomatic masochism for nationalistic support

Whether we like it or not, Sri Lanka’s economy and therefore the wellbeing of its citizens are inexorably intertwined with the outside world. We might want to be economically developed like Singapore, but fortunately we do not have to wholly depend on the outside world for our existence. And yet, there is no escape from the [...]

Commonwealth rope hangs over Lanka

The Commonwealth Secretary General arrives in Colombo today with the sword of Damocles, so to say, hanging over the head of Sri Lanka; both in terms of hosting the Commonwealth Summit (CHOGM) later this year and even more importantly, our very existence as a member of the 54-member grouping of former British colonies. The fact [...]

Fight for freedom and democracy

As the men and women of the Armed Forces apply ‘spit and polish’ in preparation for the 65th anniversary celebrations of this country’s Independence tomorrow, we thought of referring to what we said on the eve of Independence last year. This is how we concluded our comment: “Only a few years ago, Sri Lanka was [...]

Tragi-comedy in court: Police Raj taking over?

It was quite a sorry spectacle at the Temple of Justice this week; not so much the ceremonial sitting of a Chief Justice, but the presence of the Honourable Justices who had earlier collectively declared the man they had come to welcome, was, a pretender to the Throne, a usurper of that office. The fact [...]

Regime change at Hulftsdorp

The stalemate or confusion continues at Hulftsdorp, the citadel of the Courts of Justice of the island republic of Sri Lanka. Journalists are wondering how to describe Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, who says she remains the legally appointed Chief Justice and Mohan Peiris, who has also been appointed by the President. Despite the veneer of normalcy [...]

The buck stops now with Mr. President

The incessant rains in many parts of the island and the resultant floods, deaths and destruction; the medieval execution of a young housemaid in Saudi Arabia; the assassination of a local level ruling party councillor and the suspicion revolving around a Government Minister in that murder; sand in your sugar purchased from a Government wholesale [...]

It is the people who are supreme; none others

The Supreme Court’s communication to the Court of Appeal this week saying that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has no legal authority to investigate the head of the Judiciary has thrown a spanner in the Government’s works. To use some of the Parliamentary language similar to that which was used at the PSC ‘inquiry’ into [...]

Turn away from this control freak approach

With another year of the Gregorian calendar swiftly coming to an end, it is usually the time to reflect both on the year that has passed and ponder on the year that looms before us. The momentous victory not so long ago over the deadly menace of terrorism is slowly receding into the annals of [...]

Two sides of the same coin

Two contrasting stories appearing in the dailies this week might have caught the attention of the reading public. They may not have necessarily come as a shock, as very little shocks us in this country, but they were nevertheless a vignette of the state of play in the country’s socio-political-economic life. One story was a [...]

Air and food pollution: Doomsday scenario

Amid the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake gripping the nation domestically, Sri Lanka needs to focus attention and take practical action on a potentially catastrophic socio-economic issue – global warming and air pollution. Some 17,000 delegates from more than 190 countries gathered in Doha last week for a 12-day climate change conference sponsored [...]

Are we fit for liberty?

With Sri Lanka facing a multitude of political and socio-economic crises and conflicts within conflicts and democracy itself in danger of a breakdown, this may be the time for all our people to reflect sincerely and deeply on the warning of the 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “A people may prefer a free [...]

Satellites and astronomical deals

Not surprisingly, what ought to have been an hour of great achievement and joy has been shrouded and clouded in mystery. The launch of the country’s first satellite into space on Tuesday is enveloped in controversy. The news of the launch of a satellite with the Sri Lankan national flag on it burst into the [...]

Act before the next Geneva sessions

It was a year ago that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report was submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Commission was not without its share of ‘Doubting Thomases’, especially in the West who felt that it was merely going to ‘whitewash’ the Government of Sri Lanka of accountability, especially in regard to the [...]

Look after women who look after us

Not all examples from India are worthy of emulation, but a recent action merits consideration. In the Budget presented this week, the Manmohan Singh Government has proposed the setting up of a bank of women, by women and for women. That the proposal came during the week of International Women’s Day (March is probably coincidental, though [...]

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