A point to protests?

Published : 12:00 am  October 25, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  985 views  |  

DESPERATE times call for desperate measures, or so the Sabaragamuwa University students feel, as they defied a Court order to march in protest of what they say is the Government’s attempt to damage free education by opening up to private universities and cutting back on funding for their public counterparts. Private universities have long been a thorn of contention between the Government and student unions, which has resulted in allegations of repressive actions by the former. Police have now taken to banning marches, effectively refusing the right to gather, a tactic that was also recently used in Weliweriya to quash down on important issues that need an open dialogue. After much back and... 


Implement reforms

Published : 12:00 am  October 24, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  412 views  |  

THE Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), which spearheaded the arrival of the largest-ever business delegation to Sri Lanka, also undertook an interesting study on how business between the two countries can be improved. The highly-useful report based on the survey titled ‘Needs and Strategies for Japan-Sri Lanka Business’ was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and contains useful if not revolutionary suggestions. The objective of the survey was how best to attract foreign investment in the manufactured exports sector, which is essential for diversifying Sri Lanka’s export products base and reducing the trade deficit. It is also crucial for Sri Lanka as it looks to become a developed... 


Unjustifiable imports

Published : 12:00 am  October 23, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  701 views  |  

Sri Lanka’s Government is oft quoted praising its agriculture and self-sufficiency, but a report suggests that attempts are underway to import vegetables from Iran, possibly to counter high prices at home. Iranian and Sri Lankan officials on Monday have agreed to boost export of agricultural products from Iran’s Southern Hormozgan Province, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency. The report also noted that Sri Lankan Ambassador to Tehran Mohammad Feisal Razin and Deputy Hormozgan Governor General Latif Sadeqi had agreed to export the excess produce in the Province to Sri Lanka at a meeting in the Southern city of Bandar Abbas. The Deputy Hormozgan Governor has said that the province has... 


India should engage at CHOGM

Published : 12:15 am  October 22, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  675 views  |  

A NO-SHOW by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the looming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) less than two weeks away would not only seriously damage Sri Lanka’s relations with its closest neighbour, but could also derail attempts to push Colombo further down the road of power devolution. Analysts fear that if Singh capitulates to Tamil Nadu politicians, it will result in irreparable damage to the struggle for political rights launched by the Sri Lankan Tamil community decades ago as well as gains that could be implemented through a Northern Provincial Council that has a strong relationship with the Sri Lankan Government. Effectively, as columnist Dayan Jayatilleka put... 


Credible capital market promotion

Published : 12:00 am  October 21, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  2 Comments  |  6,065 views  |  

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has found novel ways to spreading the word on investing in Sri Lanka’s capital market – donating money to Tharunyata Hetak. Tharunyata Hetak, which as everyone knows is under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son MP Namal Rajapaksa, was given Rs. 5 million to conduct awareness programs. The SEC defended the move, insisting that even though it was very much a political organisation, Tharunyata Hetak given its extensive reach was good enough to have their proposal seriously considered. The handout has raised questions about the transparency and ethics of allocating cash for awareness programs and a dialogue on whether evaluation processors in place... 


Challenging CHOGM!

Published : 12:00 am  October 18, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  560 views  |  

More and more doubts are emerging about the attendance of key Commonwealth members at the organisation’s Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled in Sri Lanka. As the days tick down, more concerns are being raised about the island’s human rights record, with Colombo having few adequate responses. The decision, somewhat expected, of the Canadian Prime Minister’s decision not to attend and cut funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat, has pushed doubts from other nations into the limelight. Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has come in for major criticism by members of the UK’s House of Commons, who have called the Government’s position on allowing Sri Lanka to host CHOGM... 


One healing spark

Published : 12:00 am  October 17, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  6,764 views  |  

One person, or in this case one hospital, can make a difference. The Ampara Base Hospital has clinched the National Quality Award, giving a shocking wakeup call to Lankan private and manufacturing sectors. It has also shown that with passion and dedication Sri Lanka’s sickened health sector can be turned around into a productive system that citizens can not only use, but be proud of. Those that are familiar with the Ampara hospital will know that this was not an overnight achievement. It came slow and hard with the hospital staff providing exceptional service year after year. Among its remarkable achievements was assisting the injured during the 2004 tsunami that claimed the lives of over 30,000... 


Empower Commissions

Published : 12:00 am  October 16, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  431 views  |  

COMMISSIONS are established to promote law and order, but two key institutions in Sri Lanka, namely the Bribery Commission and the Human Rights Commission (HRC), have long needed strong powers to fulfil the public’s expectation of them. Presently the latter has taken the step to ask the President for increased powers in what could be a landmark development for the country. According to reports, HRC Chairman Priyantha Perera has said a request has been forwarded to the President to amend the laws that govern the Commission to vest it with more powers. He has explained that laws should be amended to enable the Commission to bring in high-ranking police officers who violate the law since the current... 


A chance for change

Published : 12:00 am  October 15, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  724 views  |  

Rebuilding the United National Party (UNP) has gained unprecedented impetus with the latest defeat at the North Western and Central Provincial Council elections. The mediations, painful at times, have nonetheless yielded a crucial discussion today, which the country will be watching with mixed feelings of hope. Bludgeoned by a record number of elections defeats on a trot, the UNP leadership finally yielded. Wickremesinghe’s view that he is willing to step aside should a competent replacement be found finally brought hope to party stalwarts who have been pushing reforms in vain. But it also sparked fear among a faction that watched the moves of UNP MP Sajith Premadasa and viewed them as being... 


Compensating victims

Published : 12:00 am  October 14, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  624 views  |  

Crimes make for daily headlines. In a positive move the Government is planning to set up a National Authority to compensate victims of crime but serious challenges remain to speeding up justice in Sri Lanka. A weekend newspaper reported the Government will set up a national authority for the protection of victims of crime. This is one of the major highlights of a National Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime (NAPVC) Bill that will be introduced in Parliament. The proposed authority will be empowered to “provide assistance and redress to victims of crime upon an application.” It will be in the form of compensation from a special fund to be established for the purpose and to be managed... 


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