Rice shock: 40 percent drop in production, huge imports soon View(s):Rice production in Sri Lanka is expected to drop by 40 percent compared to last year, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned in a joint report. A total production of paddy in 2017 was estimated 2.7 million MT, a forty percent less than last year’s paddy production and a 35 percent lower than the average for the previous five years. Meanwhile, the Government has planned to import 300,000-500,000 MT of rice in view of the sharp decline in production. Commerce Ministry Secretary Chinthaka Lokuhetti told the Sunday Times rice imports would begin within three weeks and discussions were being held with Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. He said rice imports would only lead to drop in local prices and millers would be able to buy paddy at lower prices, in a further blow to farmers.
Return of Transformers View(s):‘Transformers; The Last Knight’, the latest Hollywood action thriller, the fifth installment of the live-action Transformers is now being screened in theatres in Colombo and the outstations. Directed by Michael Bay, the film series is based on the toy line of the same name created by Hasbro. The film revolves around a fierce war between humans and Transformers and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci returning from the last ‘Transformers’ joined by Josh Duhamel, and John Turturro reprising their roles from the first three films and Anthony Hopkins joining the cast.
Qatar embassy assures Sri Lanka View(s):The Qatar Embassy said yesterday that all Qatar Airways flights had been rerouted through international airspace and the airspace of regional countries such as Iraq and Iran due to the ongoing diplomatic rift with a Saudi Arabia and a few Gulf and Arab countries. The embassy was responding to last week’s Sunday Times story headlined “Qatar crisis: Lanka unlikely to be affected.”It also said the current diplomatic rift would not affect Qatar’s economic and trade relations with Sri Lanka and other friendly nations.
GMOA suspends strike, claims President agreed to demands View(s):Government doctors yesterday called off a strike that had paralysed public hospitals after they reached an accord with President Maithripala Sirisena. The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) claimed that the President had agreed to accept several demands made by the doctors relating to the controversial South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM). The GMOA said it would launch a token strike if there were indications that the Government was going back on promises made to the doctors by the President. The GMOA initially launched a token strike on Thursday to condemn attacks on university students by police after they stormed the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, thousands of patients were seriously affected by the doctors’ strike.
This was following appeals filed by citizens against the Road Development Authority (RDA) and the Panadura Urban Council among other public authorities. Pending appeals before the commission include an appeal filed by a citizen against the Governor’s Secretariat of the NPC. This was on a request made by the DOs to the commission citing the complexity of the issues involved. The commission’s website also features two draft guidances on pro-active disclosure applicable to all ministries as required under the RTI Act. It has also been announced that the commission will seek the views of PAs through a series of public consultations.
Tackling dengue: Unity in diversity View(s):A powerful video doing the rounds in Sri Lanka these days is a statement by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong denying accusations by his siblings over a house he inherited from their father, the legendary Lee Kuan Yew. Openness and peaceful engagement with all sides on whatever issue, is not happening in Sri Lanka. National calamities follow one after the other and now at our doorstep is the deadly dengue epidemic which is threatening the fabric of society. A Business Times-RCB poll this week (see Page 4) on the dengue issue reveals a sad side of Sri Lanka – the inability to work in unity to resolve a national issue that affects all and sundry. Eke apey yuthukama (Those days, garbage was dumped in one’s own garden and done properly.
A platform for young actors By- Joshua Surendraraj The Mirror Magazine takes a recap of the recently concluded Inter-School House Cup organised by Cold Theatre 7 View(s): View(s):It’s quite hilarious, when a peaceful vicarage ends up in complete chaos in a short span of time. As we watched them in character, what struck out was the energy that the youngsters brought to the stage. Portrayed by SaranieWijesinghe (21), ‘Ida’ is, perhaps one of those characters, who keeps the momentum throughout the play. These exceptionally talented actors, managed to bring out the best in their roles whilst on stage, we observe. This is just why the comedy, despite being written almost 50-60 years ago, will still have today’s audience in stitches.
The Tortoise, the Korawakka – and the Depath Naya View(s):I was musing during this month of June about that famous journalist of yesteryear, Varindra Tarzie Vittachi. In describing the doings of these aptly named animals, Tarzie allowed himself to satirise these folk without actually mentioning any of them by name. He named Dudley Senanyake the Tired Tortoise because Tarzie felt that that Dudley was tired of the role which had been thrust upon him by his powerful father D.S. But the best name Tarzie coined, in my opinion, was that of Depath Naya for Dudley’s cousin Richard Gotabhaya Senanayake. Of all the animals in the present jungle, he is the one that the people are most laughing at – the warbling Depath Naya of 2017!
The Muslim community has lost an inimitable adornment Rauff Hakeem Izeth Hussain View(s): View(s):The passing of N.M.M. Izeth Hussain removes one of few illustrious civil servants who embodied great intellectual grasp, exacting personal integrity and consequential professionalism in our nation’s public service. His academic forays covered a wide spectrum including Islam, the present predicament of Muslims of Sri Lanka. He called a spade, a spade, a racist, a racist, regardless of the faith or colour they belonged to, including those from his own community. I remain an unabashed and an ardent admirer of his principled life that made him an inimitable adornment of the Muslim community of Sri Lanka.
Eminent professor who always had time to help others Nelum Gamage Prof Mahroof Ismail View(s): View(s):Professor Mahroof Ismail passed away a year ago on June 13. I came to know Professor Ismail through his wife Deshabandu Jezima Ismail, being a frequent visitor at their residence at Kynsey Road. Professor Ismail and Mrs. Ismail got to know each other as kids. My appreciation on Professor Ismail would not be complete if I do not write about his achievements in his medical career. “Prof Ismail was one of the earliest members of the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists, serving as its 11th President, in 1987.
“In this case, it is unclear if the procedures have been correctly followed by the principal of St. John’s Nugegoda. Even the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) is helpless to take any action or rule on such possible future exoduses. Sri Lanka Rugby has made it a point to avoid such moves termed as player-transfers at Club Rugby level, in their Tournament Guidelines & Rulebook. By adopting the rule, Sri Lanka Rugby has prevented possible confusions and conflicts according to it Vice President Lasitha Gunaratne. However, Sunil Jayaweera was clear and firm that, on such issues that come under the radar of the Ministry of Education, the Sri Lanka Rugby or Sri Lanka Schools’ Rugby Football Association have little or no authority to interfere or make decisions.
Cricket, the law and the importance of being Lasith Malinga View(s):In a country where people seldom challenge the political leadership of the day preferring instead to pay homage to blatant sycophancy, a refreshing contrast emerges from the ‘boy from Rathgama’ (as he identifies himself), one of Sri Lanka’s leading cricketers, Lasith Malinga. Malinga was responding to the Minister’s criticism that the country’s cricketers were too fat after Sri Lanka failed to reach the Champions Trophy semi-finals. Rather the point is that politicians ignorant of the game of cricket should not venture on assessments that do not stand scrutiny. But the overall point concerning politicians and the game of cricket has wider ramifications beyond this discussion. The breakdown of a professional system due to political bungling is reflected elsewhere, ranging from the law to the economy.
No stamp of approval for the Lankan squad By Champika Fernando Sports Minister says 'no-go' unfit cricketers View(s): View(s):Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has delayed approving the 15-man squad for the forthcoming series against Zimbabwe following reports of poor player fitness. The Sunday Times learns that the test results of the national squad were unsatisfactory only meeting the minimum requirement. Sources said the Minister is awaiting the arrival of Sri Lanka Cricket bigwigs to discuss the issue. Following Minister’s public criticism of player fitness, Lasith Malinga compared the country’s Sports Minister to a monkey. “He is now under investigation for making statements to the media in breach of his contract with Sri Lanka Cricket (board),” Jayasekera told AFP last week.
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank – then and now By P. Jayasinghe View(s): View(s):Lajjai, Lajjai, Lajjai. Yes, as a person who had been in close association with the Central Bank (CB), I am ashamed. “Tell him so, will you” and the Governor walked away. One newspaper editorial of 10.05.2009 said “When you have a fool as Central Bank Governor – Disasters keeping happening”. Overall, Sri Lanka had spent over US$ 8 million (Rs.880 million) all CB funds.
It was indeed the return of the prodigal, the wastrel monk who had become the spendthrift of the Buddha’s doctrine which urges all to show tolerance to all faiths and creeds and to pay respect to another’s belief. Defense of the realm was never held by the Buddha – who never condoned war – as the proper function of a monk. If any monk wishes to fight for his motherland, then he should shed the robe and don military fatigues. A person cannot be a Buddhist monk of peace and a soldier of war at the same time. The question now is whether the London inferno has aggravated the situation with potential buyers turned off high rise condos by the fear of ending roast.
June 24, 2017 19:18 UTC