Changing trends

Published : 12:22 am  October 1, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  480 views  |  

Is cheap really the best option for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry? The week began with a report that gauges the countries that offer the most in return for tourists’ holiday cash, rating Sri Lanka as an expensive destination for tourists. But should the industry be really worried? According to the latest Post Office Travel Money Long Haul Report, the Indonesian island of Bali has toppled Sri Lanka from the top spot as the ‘best value’ long-haul travel option in a new list of popular holiday destinations. Sri Lanka has slipped to the fifth place behind South Africa, Vietnam and Thailand and the decline is attributed to a 45% price rise in costs at Sri Lankan resorts. Resort costs have fallen... 


A wakeup call

Published : 12:37 am  September 30, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  479 views  |  

The obvious has been said. Humans are the main cause of global warming. In fact 95% of the fault is with humans and the news is bad – very bad. Leading climate scientists said on Friday they were more certain than ever before that mankind was the main culprit for global warming and warned the impact of greenhouse gas emissions would linger for centuries. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) played down the fact temperatures have risen more slowly in the past 15 years, saying there were substantial natural variations that masked a long-term warming trend. It said the Earth was set for further warming and more heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels as greenhouse... 


A double-edged FTA

Published : 12:00 am  September 28, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  814 views  |  

Fast-tracked diplomacy can be a dangerous thing. Yet Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is determined to push ahead and sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China by November regardless of the need to have a strong negative list and transparent discussions with the local business community. As positive as an FTA with the world’s fastest growing economy would be, it can also bring mixed fortunes. Discussions on negative lists are a key point that remains to be resolved, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana has already admitted to the media, adding that the Government was attempting to promote Sri Lanka’s vibrant apparel industry, which is targeting revenue... 


The battle ahead

Published : 12:48 am  September 27, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  661 views  |  

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay’s speech has given a definite deadline to the Government and could result in serious repercussions if Sri Lanka does not pull out all the stops in engagement for reconciliation. Asserting that no new or comprehensive effort has been made to independently or credibly investigate the human rights allegations in Sri Lanka, UN’s Rights Chief Navaneethan Pillay said that Sri Lanka should use the time between now and March 2014 to engage in a credible national process with tangible results. The shocking part was the insistence that in the absence of such steps she believes the international community will have a duty to establish its own inquiry mechanisms. Pillay... 


Cricketing lessons

Published : 12:00 am  September 26, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  514 views  |  

IT took some time, but it has finally happened. Former Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi has been banned for life by the BCCI, which, despite their many shortcomings, finally acted. By comparison the oversights that keep taking place in Sri Lanka remains in the shadows. Shortly after the Supreme Court dismissed suspended Modi’s plea seeking a stay on BCCI’s Special General Meeting (SGM), the Indian board slapped a life ban on him. Reports indicate Modi was found guilty of bid rigging, trying to favour two particular bidders in 2010. Modi, who has been in London for the past two years, has also been found guilty on charges of arm-twisting and threatening the Kochi consortium... 


Hard truths

Published : 12:00 am  September 25, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  539 views  |  

ELECTIONS in Sri Lanka have to endure some hard punches, as was demonstrated over the weekend. Commonwealth and SAARC monitors who were in the country have highlighted serious blows to democracy, especially in the north, and emphasised on the need to improve the powers of the Polls Chief if real progress is to be made. Excessive use of the military including possible involvement on voter intimidation and attack on a female candidate, unethical campaigning promoting development projects headed by none other than the Head of State, assault of two monitors, massive abuse of public resources, undermining of the legal framework by the 18th Amendment, limited powers to the Elections Commission, misleading... 


Challenges galore

Published : 12:00 am  September 24, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  551 views  |  

WITH victory come promises of cooperation. Following the landslide victory of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Government tried to eat humble pie with dignity insisting that it would support their rival as long as it was within a constitutional framework and unconvincingly taking the stance that the ‘Uthuri Wasanthaya’ program was not used to drum up votes. Equally forthcoming was the TNA which accepted the olive branch but balanced it with the observation that working “with” the Government should not be confused with working “for” the Government. This has significant meaning as most of the key issues that the north is burdened with, including demilitarisation, land and Police... 


Listen to the people

Published : 12:32 am  September 23, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  410 views  |  

The people have spoken. But what they have to say not all politicians will be keen to hear. In the north the message was loud and clear with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) bagging 30 out of the 38 seats and the Government only managing a humbling seven. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) managed to get a toehold of one seat but other political parties including the JVP have now become a non-entity in the north, delivering a decisive blow to any involvement they may wish to have in future discussions on power devolution. One could argue that the Government staged its democratic “fight” with the north on the wrong foundation, preferring to ignore long-made promises on power devolution... 


Let the people decide

Published : 12:00 am  September 21, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  721 views  |  

SOME 38,000 public employees and 24,000 Police are ready to hold elections in three provinces in Sri Lanka including the former war-torn north, in what is poised to be a crucial test for the Rajapaksa regime. The first provincial council elections, which will be held in the north for the first time in over 25 years, will show whether the Government’s development policies have been successful. It could also open the door to rolling back the 13th Amendment or conversely put paid to the Government’s intention of strengthening the centre. With India and the international community keeping a hawk eye on proceedings, the Government will have to go the extra mile to make sure that the elections... 


Show the numbers

Published : 12:30 am  September 20, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  383 views  |  

Corruption in arms procurement shows the gap in local legislation to promote financial accountability, after Sri Lanka was pegged among 14 worst countries in the world on weapon import accountability. A study done by Transparency International shows how parliaments and legislatures can improve oversight of defence. Fourteen countries were placed at the bottom of the banding, exhibiting critical risk of corruption due to lack of legislative defence oversight. These countries are Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen. Two-thirds of parliaments and legislatures fail to exercise sufficient... 


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