Milk matters

Published : 11:01 pm  August 4, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  839 views  |  

IS imported milk powder safe for consumption? Disturbing reports have brought questions of reliable testing and transparency to the fore putting consumers on their guard. Over the weekend international media reported that New Zealand has warned international health authorities of exported dairy products, including infant formula, containing a bacteria that could lead to botulism — a potentially fatal illness. The government has said the contaminated whey protein concentrate, or products using this ingredient, had been exported to Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam. Dairy giant Fonterra, which manufactured the product more than a year ago, said eight customers had... 


A dastardly act

Published : 12:27 am  August 3, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  556 views  |  

Images of army and police fully armoured and holding sticks surrounding an old woman and driving her away, hit front pages in the latest demonstration of Government excess. Media personnel were attacked and 29 people were hospitalised as a result of the clashes that brought brutality to the fore. Come the next day morning, residents in Weliweriya were collecting casings of live bullets after they were used to quell civilian protesters demanding clean water on Thursday evening. The allegations point at a heinous act that has to be condemned in the most vehement of terms. Such actions pull any vestige of decency from the Government and show its true attitude towards dissenting public. The use of... 


Unfair taxation

Published : 12:00 am  August 2, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  796 views  |  

Sri Lanka’s quest for an equitable and simple tax policy is a long one and perhaps the reason for this is that the people who guide such policies are not honest in their intentions to reduce the inequality seen in society. This was further underscored by Wednesday’s tax increases that focused on dairy products and vehicle spare parts. The Finance Ministry defended the move by insisting it was protecting the domestic dairy industry but disregarded the fact that average families do not have access to locally produced milk. Moreover, products such as cheese are not only of lower quality than premier international cheeses but are also priced higher than average due to protectionist policies. Senior... 


Provide answers

Published : 1:11 am  August 1, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  626 views  |  

PROTESTS are a daily staple of Sri Lankan life. Every member of society has at one time or the other been beset by protest rallies by either groups or an individual. The latter has taken centre stage in the last few days, opening up new quagmires within the public system. A teacher of Royal College stunned many when she chose to protest her transfer by climbing onto the roof of a school building on Tuesday. While many, including Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene, condemned the act as “degrading the profession of teaching,” fairminded people will argue that the protest was a symptom of much larger issues plaguing the education sector. According to the teacher, her transfer papers had... 


Protect the people

Published : 12:00 am  July 31, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  732 views  |  

The village of Noori in Deraniyagala has stayed in the headlines for the last few weeks as the venue of a plantation manager’s death but it will enter history as one of the few places where the people have decided to stand up against criminal, repressive and violent rule. The superintendent of the tea estate, Nihal Perera, 71, was hacked to death by a group of people who were reportedly against the measures taken by the estate manger to curtail corruption and wastage. The Police believe a group of five assailants backed by a local politician had attacked Perera and two others. Perera died of his injuries and the cap was blown off years of criminal and violent activities in the area. Reportedly,... 


Reconsidering goals

Published : 12:25 am  July 30, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  500 views  |  

Numbers can drive home a point as no words can. Sri Lanka Tourism believes that tourism arrivals for 2013 will slow down from the expected 1.25 million arrivals ambitiously targeted at the start of this year to 1.1 million, which is just marginally higher than what was experienced in 2012. The inevitable has happened in the sense that arrival numbers seem to be bottoming out. Given the increasing challenges it is imperative that the industry and Government set aside trading brickbats over high room prices and lack of subsidies to focus on the sustainable development of a significant revenue earner to the country. This is all the more important as exports continue to dwindle and tourism becomes... 


Get the best from regulations

Published : 12:00 am  July 29, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  580 views  |  

UNDER fire after the death of Rizana Rafeek and worsening conditions for Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East, the Government plans to introduce fresh regulations that aim to prevent underage or unqualified people from seeking employment. However, recruiting agents are up in arms over the move, insisting that the Sri Lanka’s most lucrative foreign exchange earner will hit the rocks thanks to fresh red tape. According to reports from the start of this month, female domestic workers will have to pass an exam conducted by the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) known as the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ3) if they are to qualify for employment in any of the Gulf countries. Recruiters... 


Power of CHOGM?

Published : 12:00 am  July 27, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  353 views  |  

PRESIDENT Mahinda Rajapaksa’s stunning decision to appoint a commission to investigate thousands of abductions and disappearances during the war has given a much-needed boost to Sri Lanka’s international reputation. Many will argue that the move was pressured by the impending visit by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’, which is tabled to happen next month and also, brush up the Government’s track record ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. But whatever the reasons, hope will spring to the hearts of thousands of family members that have been begging for investigations from the authorities. Showing that in today’s globalised... 


A political comedy

Published : 12:00 am  July 26, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  581 views  |  

WHEN elections roll around, crimes are unwound. In the last few days, a slew of arrests and investigations have been ordered on provincial politicians around the country, showcasing the deep level of corruption in the system. Puttalam Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Nimal Bamunuarachchi’s arrest has been ordered by the court on suspicion of stealing a lorry load of illicitly felled timber. What is even more amazing about it is that he is accused of sprinting off with the lorry after it was detained by the wildlife officials. Compounding the offense, Bamunuarachchi had then refused to appear in court, provoking the judge to order his arrest. The Kotte Mayor has also gotten caught in legal crosshairs... 


Call it out

Published : 12:27 am  July 25, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  567 views  |  

The inevitable has happened. The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has released a damning report on the results of a corrupt and mismanaged Government system that has been allowed to lumber along for too long without any sort of financial accountability. So bad has the situation become that COPE Chairman called out President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament to address COPE findings and recommendations because political will is the only antidote. COPE Chairman, Senior Minister and veteran Leftist politician D.E.W. Gunesekera said massive losses were threatening the collapse of key State institutions, including the country’s electricity supplier and national carrier that could have a ripple... 


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