Take a holistic approach

Published : 12:00 am  August 27, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  600 views  |  

Taking a positive step, the Government has decided to rehabilitate drug offenders rather than condemning them to long prison sentences that at times worsen their dangerous habit. However, clamping down on drug lords still requires priority. Recognising that drug addiction has become a huge problem in the society wasting the energetic young generation, Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms has proposed the establishment of rehabilitation centres under the Bureau of Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. According to Government statistics, 78% of imprisonments in 2011 are drug users. The number of imprisonments due to drug addiction reached 10,568 in 2011 while 6,165 persons had been imprisoned... 


Empower ITI

Published : 12:00 am  August 26, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  988 views  |  

Hinting that the milk powder crisis in Sri Lanka is easing up, the enjoining order banning all Fonterra products from being distributed, sold and advertised was lifted last Friday. However, the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) came under a fresh round of heavy fire from Maliban milk that has even offered a reward of Rs. 1 million if the presence of contamination can be proven in any batch of its milk. So sensitive has the tiff become that the Australian company has even hinted of diplomatic repercussions if the presence of DCD (dicyandiamide) in a batch of Maliban non-fat milk powder is not transparently proven. The ITI had ruled out the presence of DCD in Maliban full cream milk powder... 


Fishermen vs. diplomatic relations

Published : 12:00 am  August 24, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  732 views  |  

India and Sri Lanka are on the cusp of a major standoff over illegal fishing. While both are treading softly to avert a potentially disastrous standoff, they may not be so lucky despite all their trying. According to Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the industry loses an estimated US$ 78.9 million worth of fish from illegal poaching from South India. The Government has targeted $ 500 million in revenue for 2013 but has had to keep its expectation low due to the significant losses from poaching. Sri Lankan studies estimate that an average of 1,056 Indian boats cross into Sri Lankan waters illegally, which means $ 19.72 million is lost from their shrimp catch alone.... 


Deal with core problems

Published : 12:00 am  August 23, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  582 views  |  

The draft of the new education policies, which were presented in Parliament, gives some positive insights on steps that may be taken to improve the education system, but does little to offset its biggest issue – political interference. Among the proposals are recommendations for preschool education to be monitored by a central authority, education to be made compulsory for children from five to 16 years and for children to have the right to learn and practise their religion in school. The syllabi, learning, teaching process, timetables, etc. should be updated every five years in keeping with global trends and the teachers trained, classifying schools in various ways should be stopped, schoolchildren... 


Protect democracy

Published : 12:00 am  August 22, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  887 views  |  

Clashes between candidates were expected far before the election dates were even announced and these predictions have come true, showing yet another disappointing trait of Sri Lanka’s ‘democracy’. On a Poya day, the National Workers’ Union (NWU) alleged that its political offices in Hatton, Norwood, Bogawanthalawa and Talawakelle had come under attack in the wake of clashes between its supporters and members of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), at the Commercial Junction in Kotagala. Readers will no doubt know that the CWC and NWU are both constituent parties of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. NWU Leader P. Digambaram had told the media... 


Grappling with NCDs

Published : 12:00 am  August 21, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  671 views  |  

WITH an aging population to contend with, Sri Lanka now has to find sustainable ways to deal with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to ensure a healthy future. Earlier this week, the World Bank loaned the Sri Lankan Government US$ 200 million to improve its health services to combat NCDs. It is rather ironic that as a developing nation, Sri Lanka has to deal with health problems plaguing both rich and poor countries. On one hand, malnutrition levels in children under five are very high in the island, as with a poor country, but on the other hand, 85% of ill-health can be traced back to NCDs such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and kidney diseases among others, mirroring a developed country. Given... 


Liquid solutions

Published : 12:00 am  August 20, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  616 views  |  

IN the wake of yet another contamination scandal in Fonterra products, this time from China, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet appointed subcommittee will meet today to make sense of this udder-mess. Needless to say, they have a tough task ahead. When news of the high nitrate milk products hit the local public, the already high confusion could hit panic levels. Already, there is a shortage of local milk in certain shops, which will be exacerbated with the new find. The Mahinda Chinthana has outlined plans to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in liquid milk by 2020. To this end, policymakers have increased taxes on powdered milk imports, creating challenges for urban consumers but also funnelling funds into... 


A bushel at a time

Published : 12:00 am  August 19, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  552 views  |  

The numbers have been in for a long time but it is only now that a Parliamentary Consultative Committee has recommended a range of recommendations including banning advertising pesticides and establishing a Technology Council to promote environmentally friendly agriculture. But are the measures adequate? With the committee report in, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has sought ministerial approval to give effect to several recommendations. They include strengthening the legal framework to authorise State officials, including those in the health sector and Grama Niladharis, to enable them to take legal action against those resorting to indiscriminate use of pesticides and those supporting... 


Tsunami of abuse

Published : 12:00 am  August 17, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  551 views  |  

The tragedy of sexually abused women and children in Sri Lanka has finally hit international headlines, driving home the desperation caused by economic constraints that lead to so many Sri Lankans being left powerless. They are made victims a second time around by a callous system that denies them justice in a timely manner. Time magazine on 13 August published the harrowing tale of thousands of children who have been abused in Sri Lanka. The well-researched article details how more and more children are being left vulnerable as increasing economic constraints push mothers towards the Middle East. Children are then easy prey for fathers or male relatives who sometimes abuse them for years. Even... 


A tough job

Published : 12:00 am  August 16, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  633 views  |  

THE much awaited Commission to investigate disappearances during Sri Lanka’s tragic three decade war will be received with optimistic trepidation – optimistic because thousands of families will finally hope to have some level of justice after years of silence, trepidation because they have a weighty task ahead of them. The Commission is chaired by Attorney Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama and includes Director General of Census and Statistics Priyanthi Suranjana Vidyaratne and former Deputy Legal Draftsman and former member of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka Manohari Ramanathan. It has been observed that two of the members, notably Paranagama and Ramanathan, were members of the Lessons Learnt... 


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