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Columns News - EDITORIAL

Is nothing sacred anymore?  


Kataragama Devale's early morning pooja which starts at 4:30 a.m. daily except on Saturdays was delayed for the first time in its history on Tuesday.



Ceylon Today on Tuesday reported that Sri Lanka is having the third highest prevalence of wasting, or low weight for height which is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five according to a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Wasting is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease.

Let’s celebrate Travis Sinniah  


Rear-Admiral Travis Jeremy Liyanduru Sinniah's appointment as Sri Lanka's first Tamil Navy Commander after 47 years is an example that the country treats its citizens equally, without discriminating against them on racial, linguistic and religious lines.



While disasters and their financial and humanitarian consequences cannot be predicted, regardless of which religion or beliefs one has, it is the responsibility of those affected and those who are socially and politically obliged to find solutions in the aftermath. Not necessarily during the aftermath, but take the appropriate proactive steps to prevent similar disasters and threats from taking place.



Sri Lanka's drought like conditions, which have been more the norm than the exception, affecting the island since January of last year in the current context, show the helplessness of man against the vagaries of the weather, despite making vast technological strides in the past few decades.

Be consistent in taxation  


The Ministry of Finance announced several tax cuts and relief programmes on Thursday (17), which would have a direct impact on the ordinary citizens of the country. Accordingly, the telecommunication levy imposed on internet services has been done away with while the duty on motorcycles, single cabs and mini trucks has been reduced.

Postponing Polls  


The country's laws allow for either the President or the Minister concerned, as the case may be, to either extend or limit the term of office of a Provincial Council (PC) or a Municipal Council (MC) or an Urban Council (UC) or a Pradeshiya Sabha (PS).

A State which does not learn from its own mistakes  


"Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it," or so Karl Marx once wrote. According to Mark Twain, history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. While the rest of the world might witness variations of both these instances, Sri Lanka might be the first and only country to have them both happening at the same time, at any given time, all the time. We have transformed (one cannot say that we have always been this way, history itself stands witness) into a State which does not learn from its own mistakes and continues to repeat them over and over again. Then again, we never come across a dull day where things cannot be any different because even if it's not the same people, it might as well be the same story.

More Space For Buses  


The Government has begun implementing a 'bus priority lane', seemingly mainly targeting certain busy roads in Colombo such as the Galle Road (A2), Sri Lanka's busiest, but certainly not the biggest roadway, from yesterday.

Great Escape?  


The mandate of the three-member Presidential Commission appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena on 27 January is to inquire into the issuance of Treasury (T) Bonds from 1 February 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Misleading attempts   


As the three decades of separatist war has devastated the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the country at large, fears of the resurgence of the LTTE will emerge with the incidents which occur frequently in the North and the East threatening the hard-earned peace and creating a fear psychosis among the people not only in the North and the East but in the whole country as well.



Philosophers, hedonists, idealists, et al have through the ages tried to sift this evil called crime in an effort to understand every single thread in its vast canvass...and they find that crime is at best an invisible DNA element that runs in the blood of men and women born with that element. It's extensively pervasive in human nature, be it manifested as rape, graft, bribery and all manner of corruption, abduction, incest, whatever else that comes under the broad definition of crime.

Ravi K’s resignation – a cosmetic farce!  


On Thursday (10) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed Parliament that the No-Confidence Motion against MP Ravi Karunanayake will not be taken up in Parliament due to the MP's resignation as Foreign Minister. The Speaker said that since MP Karunanayake had relinquished his Ministerial portfolio there was no basis for a No-Confidence Motion being moved against him in the House.



North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un's threat of a preemptive strike on the US base Guam just hours ago at the time of writing, in what was broadly seen as a knee-jerk reaction to US President Donald Trump's threat to unleash "power as never before seen in the world" against North Korea for its aggressively dangerous development of the ICMB, has led to a flurry of meetings across the globe of national security councils, with Guamese and Philipinians bound to respond to the threat with intense fears. Kim's threat of course was first born of Trump's order for US bomber sorties to fly directly over the Korean peninsula ten days ago, beginning to infuse fears of a potential major war scenario among Americans and the rest of the world.

When Children Play Adult Politics  


We all have that unfortunate moment when we all have so many expenses to cover with so little revenue and funds to allocate.

‘Aava Dead’ A Red Herring?  


With Tamil terrorism instigated by the then Opposition Leader, TULF Leader and Kankesanthurai MP Appapillai Amirthalingam elected on the separatist ticket, after the July 1977 Parliamentary Poll getting bad, complemented by the killing of three CID officers and their driver in the Vanni Jungles in April 1978, followed by the destruction of the Avro civilian aircraft four months later, President J.R. Jayewardene appointed his wife Elena's nephew Brigadier Tissa (Bull) Weeratunga as Jaffna Security Forces Commander with orders to rid the peninsula of terrorism in 'all of its forms.'

‘SC Vs IMF’  


International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants tax revenue boosted to 15% of GDP by 2019,i.e. in another two years' time, according to the IMF's then Mission Chief to Sri Lanka Todd Schneider (Ceylon FT of 16 June, 2016).

Jaffna under threat  


Following the assault on two Police Constables in Kopay, Jaffna has become the centre of attention. The notorious armed youth gangs of the city's outskirts have now developed, from being an inconsiderable menace into a large scale national threat. The attack on the two Police Constables, put together with all the previous havoc created by the Aava group and other criminal gangs, have considerably increased in comparison to the previous occasions and has now resulted in the increased security in the area.



The centre of the CB Bond scandal is getting rather crowded these days with the entree of former Finance Minister Ravi K. into the 'witness box' so to say. On Friday, the CEO of Perpetual Treasuries Kasun Palisena handed over his mobile phone to the investigation Officers of the Bond Commission. Palisena is to appear at the Bond Commission on Tuesday (8) for inquiry. The gods alone know how many more witnesses will be called by the Commission before the dust settles on what is the biggest stink ever since its foundation to emanate from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the government's securities market, including a major primary dealer whose owner is the son-in-law of the man who fortuitously was the Governor of the Central Bank, both of whom (no pun intended) have been as thick as thieves with the affable former Finance Minister, with that affability being somewhat subdued these days, and understandably so!

Focus on preventive healthcare a must   


In the recent past, with the rise in the incidence of victims of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) concerns were raised regarding the lack of focus on disease prevention. According to statistics, Sri Lanka's expenditure on health (both public and private) was around 3.2% of GDP, or US$ 89 per head, in 2012, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO). Interestingly, the private sector provides around half of outpatient curative care and around 5-10% of inpatient care. In most instances these expenses are from the pockets of individuals as insurance is not popular in Sri Lanka.

Fate Of Multi-billion Rupee Drug Hauls?  


Newspapers in recent articles reported that last year the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) had seized 101 kilos of heroin, more than double the 2015 seized stock of 46 kg of this drug.

Yahapalanaya! Al Hamdulillah!  


'Deposed' Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif's critics and enemies yelled 'Al Hamdulillah' when the Pakistani Supreme Court kicked him out of the premiership, all the way,( they hope) into political oblivion, and all because he had defrauded the Pakistani Inland Revenue of taxes on a mere Rs 420,000 in Lankan rupees. Apparently he had been receiving nominal monthly salary of UAE Dirhams 10,000, as a partner of his sons' firm in Dubai, or some such arrangement.

AAVA Terrorism  


If the killing of 13 soldiers at Thirunelveli, Jaffna, 37 years ago on 23 July 1983 was the straw that broke the camel's back leading to the July '83 riots, responsible for turning at least Sri Lanka's development clock back, Jaffna is once more in the news due to five terrorist type of incidents that took place in the Peninsula during the past nine months.

Judicial Independence  


Pakistan is a struggling democracy in South Asia.

Ridiculing Democracy  


The chaos that prevailed in Parliament last Friday ridiculed democracy in the country with the Joint Opposition(JO) Parliamentarians even attempting to forcibly take the mace into their hands.

YEAR OF THE Rooster!  


When Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament on Friday that the Government had worked out a better agreement with China Merchant Ports Holdings (CMPH) than the one under which the previous regime brought China into the equation, he was only part right ...but oceans away from the fact that clauses in the new agreement, as far as we are aware of such facts, will have lasting detrimental economic effects too.

Revenue Reforms Indispensable  


The Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to introduce tax reforms, was tabled in Parliament recently. The Bill was presented in Parliament on the heels of sustained pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), part of the pressure being the holding back of the third instalment of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) that helps resolve the Balance of Payments (BOP) crisis.

Wake Up Call for TUs  


What do you call a Nation State that is run by the needs and feels of its major trade unions? A kakistocracy (yes, such a term actually exists. Go Google it.) Then again, a State controlled by the worst, least qualified and the most unscrupulous of its citizens can't be as bad as what Sri Lanka experienced (is currently going through an unfortunate predicament that surfaced with the current political administration coming into power) earlier this week.

‘China Money’  


China and Hambantota are once more in the news, with Cabinet approval having been obtained to grant China Merchants Holdings Company Ltd. a 70% equity stake on the Hambantota Port for $ 1.4 billion, of which 10% 'will be deposited immediately after the official validation, another 30% of the value in three months (October) and the balance in another six months (January).

‘In the name of God, go!’   


If Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake is an honourable man he should resign from at least his Foreign Ministry portfolio till his name is cleared from an alleged bribery scandal.



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