Power of CHOGM?

Published : 12:00 am  July 27, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  350 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  |  577 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  |  563 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... 


Protecting a second chance

Published : 12:00 am  July 24, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  438 views  |  

Sri Lanka’s recent history is dotted with gory anniversaries, some of which like the Victory Celebrations religiously observed every May, are kept with much pomp and display of military hardware even though the human tragedy of the war remains a painful reality. This week, another anniversary with as ghastly a past is being remembered – Black July. 30 years ago, tensions boiled over between the Sinhalese and Tamils resulting in the deaths of thousands, displacement and eventually, a fracturing that took another 27 years to partially heal. Many observers of those horrific events including the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) had noted in their official report that the attacks on Sri... 


Centre of attention

Published : 1:15 am  July 23, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  613 views  |  

The writing is on the wall. The world is depending on the Government to ensure that the upcoming polls in the north are conducted in a free and fair manner. Last week, both Japan and the European Union (EU) made it clear that they viewed the elections as a cornerstone to greater reconciliation and full implementation of the 13th Amendment, putting Colombo on standby to claim responsibility if goes awry. Japan, being a strong ally of the Rajapaksa- regime, donated a Rs. 11.4 million grant to People for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) to educate northern people of the democratic process and urge them to use their vote to elect leaders they really want. In a statement, the embassy made it crystal... 


Strangling illegal immigrants

Published : 12:14 am  July 20, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  740 views  |  

No illegal migrants who arrive in Australia by boat will be allowed to settle there, the Australian government decided on Friday in a landmark move that is aimed at stopping boatloads of people, including Sri Lankans, arriving at its shores. But will it really stop Sri Lankans from risking their lives on the high seas? Under the new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee, will be settled there. This means arriving in Australia by boat will no longer mean settlement in Australia. Under the new arrangements, regional processing arrangements in Papua... 


Cricket chaos

Published : 4:20 am  July 19, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  586 views  |  

WHAT with ministerial offspring trying to open aircraft doors and being denied international tournaments by the International Cricket Council (ICC) till 2023, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has had a rough few weeks. By the looks of it they are about to become even worse with the cancellation of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) amid allegations that SLC sold some of the franchises to Indian bookies. The storm erupted on suspicion that two of the seven franchises during the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) may have been owned by bookies. According to reports, SLC officials were quick to distance themselves from the accusations, stating that the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit had to notify them... 


Amnesty alternatives

Published : 12:00 am  July 18, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  536 views  |  

Over 3,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers with expired visas have returned under a special amnesty granted by the Saudi Arabian government, which is the first instalment of an estimated 14,000 people. These 14,000 others have registered at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh expecting to return home but according to reports, are being delayed due to difficulties in obtaining temporary visas. Also, since the earlier deadline of 3 July has been extended by the Saudi government to 4 November, it is likely that more people will sign up for the chance to avoid fines, deportation or, in extreme cases, prison. Since most of those who are returning home are housemaids, it is unlikely that the Sri Lankan economy... 


Tackling CoL

Published : 12:00 am  July 17, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  316 views  |  

COST of living is the undisputed kingmaker in a democracy and with elections coming closer every day, the Government could pay dearly for letting inflation spin out of control. Recently, the Census and Statistics Department revealed that the expenditure of households, particularly in urban areas, is seeing an increase that is growing faster than the growth in income. While most people on the streets would have told this to the pundits of the department for free and with increasing vehemence, they would have continued to fall on deaf years without numbers to verify the same. Now it would seem that those results are in and they do not paint a very positive picture for the Government. According... 


Turbulent industry

Published : 1:28 am  July 16, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  667 views  |  

SRI LANKA’S aviation sector is getting more blessings courtesy of the Government but at the cost of the taxpayer’s sweat – a usual tale. It was reported over the weekend that the Treasury has stepped in to bail out SriLankan Airlines and pay up Rs. 25 billion of the national carrier’s Rs. 36 billion fuel arrears to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. A Treasury bond would be given to the CPC – and this means the airline would have to pay the arrears to the Treasury. However, early this year, the national carrier had worked out a deal to buy a fleet of Airbus aircraft costing more than Rs. 315 billon. This included four brand new A 350-900 and six A 330-300 aircraft. The Treasury’s... 


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