A chance for all

Published : 12:00 am  March 8, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  340 views  |  

INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. This year’s theme, ‘Equality for women is progress for all,’ emphasises how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development. Sri Lanka’s post-war development has in many ways failed to empower women, leaving them to struggle to win rights and fight for space within the... 


Growing inequality

Published : 12:56 am  March 7, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  474 views  |  

INEQUALITY took centre stage in Parliament recently when it was pointed out through Census and Statistics Department reports the difficulties faced by poor and lower middle income sections of society. According to the Household Income & Expenditure Survey 2012/13 report, Rs. 40,887 is needed by an average family in Sri Lanka to meet their monthly household expenses while an urban household with less than four family members needs Rs. 59,001. However, the Central Bank says per capita income was recorded at US$ 3,000, which allows for a monthly income of Rs. 32,500. Yet the new report has stated the average per capita income is Rs. 11,932 per month. More than 50% of Sri Lanka’s households... 


Multiple fronts

Published : 12:00 am  March 6, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  306 views  |  

Detaining 35 Indian fishermen ahead of talks between India and Sri Lanka over the thorny poaching issue next week and in the midst of the UN Human Rights Council will be crucial. Not only is Sri Lanka out to protect its fishing turf, a prisoner exchange has also been tossed into the arena. Since not much love is lost between emotive Tamil Nadu and the Sri Lankan Government to begin with, the new rise in fishermen arrests is a red flag for action. According to Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, the industry loses an estimated $ 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... 


Shock and deny?

Published : 12:00 am  March 5, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  522 views  |  

The possible takeover of the Norochcholai Power Plant by the Chinese company that built it hit headlines a few weeks ago, only to be refuted strongly by the company. Yet it still raises questions over efficiency and the eventual result that the people will buy at a US$ 1.35 billion cost. Built by China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation or CMEC, the project ran into hitches well before it was even opened. A large fire broke out on 24 October 2010. According to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), there were no casualties but construction had to be sped up to meet the opening deadline. On 22 July 2012, the power station ceased operations due to a leak in one of the thousands... 


Piecemeal change?  

Published : 12:01 am  March 4, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  692 views  |  

It seems that not just investment but prisoners may soon find themselves heading towards Hambantota. The Government is laying out plans to build a new prison fully equipped with a gymnasium, indoor sports complex and better toilet facilities for about 1,000 inmates. The new prison complex will be constructed on a 58-acre plot of land in the Angunukolapelessa area in the Hambantota District. The Cabinet-approved prisons project is to commence next month and continue for 22 months. Stage I of the project is estimated to cost Rs. 50 million and completed in two years. Prisoners from Welikada are also expected to be transferred to the new prison, possibly with the intention of freeing up land in... 


Bring closure

Published : 12:59 am  March 3, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  593 views  |  

As Sri Lanka’s Government begins its third battle at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), there are significant steps being taken at home that bring renewed hope for reconciliation and closure, at least partly. Sri Lanka’s Commission on Disappearances is finally attempting to unravel the numbers of people who went missing the last two decades of the war as well as finally providing a way forward to thousands of family members. President Secretary Lalith Weeratunga meeting with foreign media on Friday noted that what the relatives of the missing want most is to find closure and move beyond the crippling grief that has made their lives stagnate for so long. While admitting the Commission... 


Soul burn

Published : 7:53 am  March 1, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  632 views  |  

THE horrific incident of the sole of a child’s foot being burned by a hot iron while she was illegally working as a housemaid in her teacher’s home underscores the terrible plight of children in Sri Lanka. According to Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karalliyadda, 7,418 children were victimised by various types of abuse in 2012. This makes for a staggering 20 children abused each day in this country. Of those incidents, the highest number – 1,174 – had been reported from the Colombo District. It was also noted that out of all such incidents reported last year, 3,800 were punishable offences under the Penal Code. According to Government records read out by the Minister,... 


Foot in the mouth?

Published : 12:00 am  February 28, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,629 views  |  

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is spreading rapidly in Sri Lanka, raising huge concerns for the dairy industry and the welfare of the public. According to reports, the disease is spreading rapidly around Polonnaruwa, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Puttalam, Ampara and Vavuniya, causing significant havoc. Regional authorities have taken steps to ban the transport and sale of meat as well as attempting to protect the central region where dairy production is at its highest. Experts have also called for the expensive dairy cows imported with the aim of making Sri Lanka self-sufficient in milk to be vaccinated as early as possible to protect their stock. Over 3m600 animals have already been identified as... 


Streamline expectations

Published : 12:51 am  February 27, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  774 views  |  

SRI Lanka is highly dependent on the Government’s five hubs plus tourism strategy to achieve and maintain high growth in the future. Given that the Government has admitted as much, it might be time to listen to the possibility that this is too much for the limited capacity of the island to take within the space of a few years and rationalise by following clear goals with dedicated timelines. The idea that Sri Lanka’s Government has put too many irons, six to be precise, in the fire at the same time was suggested by Private Sector Development Specialist of the Competitive Industries Practice at the World Bank Group P.S. Tewari. While addressing the gathering at the Colombo University MBA Alumni... 


Change saves lives

Published : 12:00 am  February 26, 2014  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  738 views  |  

THE spate of suicides by students due to technology-related reasons has forced Sri Lankan society to evaluate its engagement with mobile phones and social media. It has called for a change of attitudes from adults and an effort to understand and equip youth to use technology responsibly. The first incident was of a 15-year-old female student in Kurunegala, who hanged herself after a photo of her posing with a boy was posted on Facebook. The incident has stirred up considerable controversy and serves as a tragic example of how bad a situation can become when it is not handled with care. The brief facts of the case as reported in the media indicate the girl was summoned by the male principal of... 


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