Five minds for future Sri Lankans

Published : 12:26 am  August 18, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  5,692 views  |  
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I read the fascinating book titled ‘Five Minds for the Future’ with enthusiasm. It was informational and insightful alike in prompting me to devote a column on its possible relevance to Sri Lanka, particularly to the student population and to the educators. Thus, it is opportune to discuss the five minds for the future Sri Lankans. Overview Howard Gardner earned much reputation for his work on multiple intelligences. He is the Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University. Being an author of 25 books translated into 28 languages, and several hundred articles, this is another feather in his cap. In this book, Prof. Gardner concerns himself with the kinds of minds that people... 

In Jayalalithaa’s letters to Modi, no love lost with Sri Lanka

Published : 12:05 am  August 16, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  1 Comment  |  1,423 views  |  
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  Express news service (New Delhi): It began with a headline, one that got Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to send an angry letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and almost torpedoed India-Sri Lanka ties. On 1 August, an article appeared on the Lankan Defence Ministry website, blaming Jayalalithaa for her “tantrums” and for writing frequent letters against Sri Lanka to Modi. The headline that got her upset went: “How meaningful are Jayalalithaa’s love letters to Narendra Modi?” “Tamil Nadu Chief Minister may learn sooner than later that Narendra Modi is not a puppet to dance to her tantrums or threats. She should not attempt to embarrass Mr. Modi by her unjustified... 

Govt. dismayed over Pillay seeking to influence OHCHR investigation process

Published : 12:00 am  August 16, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,658 views  |  

  The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement yesterday expressed regrets over the comments made to the media by the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay relating to the investigation on Sri Lanka that has been undertaken by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) following the adoption by a vote of Resolution 25/1 in March 2014: In an e-mail interview to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, High Commissioner Pillay stated: “The United Nations can conduct an effective investigation into reports of war crimes in Sri Lanka without visiting the country.” The High Commissioner who is scheduled to leave office at the end of this month making... 

The wonder of a rural bridge

Published : 12:00 am  August 16, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  437 views  |  

Rural bridges countrywide bring villages closer to cities A long-cherished dream of the rural population is at last becoming a reality. The program to build 1,210 rural bridges island-wide in accordance with the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ vision is a step forward from Maga Neguma to Gama Neguma for revitalising the rural sector to which belongs 75% of the country’s population. Today the rural bridge building program has spread to 160 Secretarial Divisions of the island under Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s direction. The projects have benefited nearly six million people in 12,000 villages.    Before the new bridge was built Pichchi Amma crossing the river on the... 

No victors or vanquished in brutal Gaza conflict

Published : 12:00 am  August 16, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,097 views  |  

UNITED NATIONS (IPS): As the dust – and the gunpowder – settles after the month-long devastating conflict in Gaza, there were apparently no victors or vanquished.    A Palestinian searches through the rubble of his home destroyed by Israeli strikes in Khuza’a, southern Gaza Strip on 6 August. Credit: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan Israel, despite its high-tech military force and so-called “pinpoint bombings”, failed to achieve its ultimate objective: annihilate the militant group Hamas. Instead, it killed mostly civilians, while destroying homes, schools, hospitals, universities and U.N. shelters – acts of potential war crimes that may be investigated by the International Criminal... 

How does Sri Lanka rank in terms of corruption?

Published : 12:00 am  August 16, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  2 Comments  |  868 views  |  

The Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) and rankings are the most widely used indicators of public sector corruption worldwide. Compiled annually by the Transparency International, the CPI provides a measure of how a country is perceived by business people and country experts in terms of its level of public sector corruption. The index is a composite index, which takes into account a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption from a variety of reputable institutions. A country’s CPI score ranges from 0-100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean. The lower the score, more corrupt the country is perceived to be. The Transparency... 

COPE can observe and recommend, but Executive must act: D.E.W. Gunasekera

Published : 1:28 am  August 15, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Opinion and Issues  |  2 Comments  |  1,229 views  |  
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Q: What are your views about the recently-presented interim report? A: A similar report will be released in September and the final report is planned to be tabled in December. Our observations will be made only after the final report is out. This report contains findings of examinations carried out by the COPE on 47 institutions during the period from October 2013 to April 2014. Of these 47 there are 18 business ventures and the remaining 29 are non-profit organisations. There are three State institutions that continued to incur heavy losses; Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Mihin Air and Ceylon Fisheries Corporation. Out of these three institutions, Petroleum Corporation has shown a remarkable... 

Checks and balances

Published : 1:23 am  August 15, 2014  |  Category: Harsha Gunasena, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  5,176 views  |  
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The term ‘checks and balances’ is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as follows: “Counterbalancing influences by which an organisation or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that power in political institutions is not concentrated in the hands of particular individuals or groups.” Webster Concise Encyclopaedia elaborates it further as follows: “Principle of government under which separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power. Checks and balances are applied primarily in constitutional governments. They are of fundamental importance in tripartite governments, such as that of the US, that separate powers among legislative,... 

“Call a spade a spade”: Eran

Published : 12:07 am  August 15, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  3 Comments  |  4,437 views  |  
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Q: What are your remarks on the recent COPE interim report? A: In our last annual report we had a proposal to issue quarterly reports. Because when the report comes out it is outdated and there is no point even discussing it. Therefore to include timeliness we proposed releasing quarterly reports. Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekera has assured the next report will be out in September. That is a good development and it means we are catching up. The Government is trying to give an impression that things are improving. In one sense it is correct. According to the Government, there were companies that did not submit accounts to parliament for eight to 10 years. But now those companies are more up to date.... 

All that glistens!

Published : 12:51 am  August 14, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion and Issues  |  16 Comments  |  7,423 views  |  
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Do better roads and a spruced up capital city compensate for lousy prioritisation, corruption and repression in post-war Sri Lanka? Under the glass deck at the entrance to Independence Arcade on Bauddhaloka Mawatha, hundreds of ornamental fish swim hypnotically to and fro, delighting children and visitors to the latest entertainment spot in the capital. The glass is tough enough to walk on and the pond is lit up beautifully at night, making the massive underground tank a major attraction at the 85,000 sq.ft. recreational facility. Every other afternoon, the fish confine themselves to the farthest corners of the tank, and visitors can view a different species half-submerged in the green waters.... 

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