Diplomatic fishing

Published : 12:00 am  April 28, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,079 views  |  

Sri Lanka’s fishing sector seems to perpetually be caught in stormy waters, so the news that the industry is dusting itself off after decades comes as welcome news. However, the continuing standoff with Indian fishermen continues to make the whole situation smell, well, fishy. The income from the export of fish in 2010 was Rs. 19,834 million while in 2011 the income was Rs. 21,876 million. It rose to Rs. 26,363 million in 2012, with a considerable increase even on that figure to Rs. 31,792 million in 2013, showing a record increase of 21%. According to the Minister, during the last few years the import of fisheries products had gradually declined. In 2010, Sri Lanka imported 80,013 metric tons... 


Transplanting problems

Published : 12:00 am  April 26, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  512 views  |  

The Health Ministry has appointed a one-woman committee to investigate the recent trade of live kidney transplants in the country. But it could well be the tip of the iceberg. Certain organisations have estimated one organ is sold every hour somewhere in the world. This follows a Chinese media exposé of young men selling kidneys for about $ 5,500 in Hangzhou. Organ trafficking is no longer the stuff of urban legend, it’s a grim reality. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global organ transplant report, 106,879 organ transplants were performed worldwide in 2010. But this data doesn’t identify whether the organs were bought and sold. WHO conservatively estimates the proportion... 


Fighting disasters

Published : 1:34 am  April 25, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  871 views  |  

SRI Lanka has become the first country in South Asia to access an innovative form of World Bank financing that provides immediate payouts after a major catastrophe such as a tsunami, cyclone or flood. But it is just the first step in reducing losses during natural disasters. Approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, the $ 102 million Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (DPL with a CAT DDO) is a line of credit that can be drawn on partially or in full if a country declares a state of emergency after a natural disaster. The facility was approved by the Board along with a $ 110 million Climate Resilience Improvement Project (CRIP), which will finance... 


A 10 start

Published : 12:00 am  April 24, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  664 views  |  

The Higher Education Ministry Secretary has told media plans to allow 10 large-scale universities into the country within the next six years. These universities also aim to attract 50,000 foreign students in addition to local youth. After much back and forth, the Government has, largely under the table, allowed private universities to enter Sri Lanka. In this complex web of educational opportunity versus shadowy procedures, the battle rages on an ethical platform. In October 2013 the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) received Parliament approval to build a branch in Sri Lanka. The decision raised little criticism from the Opposition. The UCLAN branch campus, which is identified as a Strategic... 


World Earth Day

Published : 12:00 am  April 23, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  609 views  |  

The first Earth Day was in 1970. It was created in the US to increase public awareness of environmental problems. Now, it’s celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 180 nations. Earth Day is credited with starting the environmental movement in the US and has helped sustainability become the core of development. So dire is the problem that a 2013 report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded with 95% certainty that people are to blame for at least half the climate change in the last half-century. But what can be done? Last year, Earth Day Network launched the Green Cities campaign to help cities around the world become sustainable... 


Plastic politics

Published : 12:16 am  April 22, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  696 views  |  

The attack on a group of United National Party (UNP) MPs while they were engaging in an inspection tour of the Hambantota Harbour and Mattala Airport has gained significant traction as an example of how dangerously wrong the country’s politics have become. On the surface it would seem that the most disturbing aspect of this incident is the ability for an elected official, in this case the Mayor of Hambantota, to be participating in a clearly political protest toting a pistol. He then attempted to explain away the weapon by insisting that he was there to only stop the attack, since the Police clearly could not, but also because he was ordered to do so by the President’s son MP Namal Rajapaksa.... 


A sign of the times?

Published : 12:00 am  April 21, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  498 views  |  

Avurudu festivities symbolise many positive things but unfortunately during the last two weeks they seem to have done little more than prove how irresponsible people are when they consume liquor and take to the roads – with drastic results. At least 94 people were killed and 150 seriously hurt in road traffic accidents during the past nine days and Police attributed most of the tragedies to reckless and drunken driving. In addition, another 243 people suffered minor injuries and were discharged from hospitals after treatment. According to Police, 1,631 motorists were also booked for drunken driving during this same period and the bulk of them were motorcyclists numbering 900 followed by three-wheeler... 


Drastic measures?

Published : 12:01 am  April 18, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  711 views  |  

PAKISTANI tax authorities have published a list of defaulters in a desperate attempt to get people to pay up. In a country where as many as 50% of politicians fail to file their tax returns and there are few resources to track them down, the naming and shaming tactic seems to be the only recourse. Sri Lanka is also struggling with pretty much the same challenges when it comes to taxes. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would likely not be tolerated if it influenced such radical measures here, there is little doubt that the tax imposing and collecting system need a complete revamp. In fact the Treasury is banking on a rise in tax revenue this year to help Sri Lanka reduce its fiscal... 


Wage war

Published : 12:00 am  April 17, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  696 views  |  

Trade unions have submitted nine proposals to the National Pay Commission appointed by the President to assist the Government in formulating a National Wage Policy and provide more security and equitable distribution of wealth within the country. The trade unions have proposed a national minimum wage for private sector employees and to implement an unemployment benefit insurance scheme as well as a pension scheme for Employees Provident Fund members and a social security scheme for the informal sector. Another proposal is to set up a National Wages Commission for the private sector. One of the highlights of the 2014 Budget was the formation of a special commission to formulate a national wage... 


Against the tide?

Published : 1:47 am  April 16, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  730 views  |  

Talks between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s fishermen have been given the nod after months of diplomatic uncertainty. The Indian Central Government has publicly declared the delay was caused by feet dragging on the side of Chief Minister Jayalalitha. The outcome of the talks remain in limbo as frostiness remains between the two sides despite President Rajapaksa’s move to release Indian fishermen in the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) vote. The move had angered some local fishermen who feel without the leverage provided by the fishermen in custody, talks between the two parties will cave in. Another reason for the trepidation is the fact that Indian fishermen continued to... 


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