That ‘political football’ of the constitutional council View(s):It is a matter for raucous entertainment when Sri Lanka’s opposition Members of Parliament, some with the proud boast of associating with known racketeers and jumping from one party to another while others are taped offering bribes to legislators to cross the floor, accuse the country’s Constitutional Council (CC) of being ‘biased’ and ‘corrupt’. Equalizing the CC under the 19th Amendment with its predecessor under the 17th Amendment is a farcical exercise. So the curate’s egg of the 19th Amendment, which turned the clock back on the 18th Amendment, must be read in its context. Currently Sri Lanka has the good fortune to witness a Chief Justice who holds his office with commendable integrity. For if the present uninspiring political trajectory continues unchecked, the Rajapaksa years will be a mere passing thunderstorm.
S. Thomas’ and Ladies emerge overall champions By Lakshman Ranasinghe View(s): View(s):S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and Ladies College, Colombo won the highest number of Golds in the Junior Boys and Girls categories at the Sri Lanka Junior Intermediate Rowing Championship 2019 concluded at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre yesterday. Nine boys and six girls schools competed in the Junior events and in the Intermediate Men’s Intermediate events University of Colombo, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka Air Force and Bolgoda Rowing Club took part and Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force, the University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa competed in the Women’s Intermediate events. Junior events for Boys and Girls were worked off in Under 14, 16 and 18 age categories while the Intermediate events were worked off for Men and Women over 18 years old in age. The Under 14 oarsmen and women competed in two categories-Single and Double Sculls and for the Under 16′s events were worked off in Single/Double Sculls and Coxed fours.
Dancing in the darkness of a climate crisis By Vidhura Ralapanawe View(s): View(s):Globally, Sri Lanka ranks as the sixth most vulnerable to climate change. This is partly because we do not have sufficient analysis of climate change impacts nor a communication strategy to help public and policymakers understand it better. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, thousands of schoolchildren have been walking out of schools since August 2018 as part of coordinated action on climate change. Human civilisation emerged in an era of stability in the global climate system across 7,000 years. Greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution have already destabilised the climate system, and are triggering changes that are difficult or impossible to reverse.
Foreign debt vulnerability and indebtedness to China View(s):The country’s external financial vulnerability is the most serious economic concern. Chinese debtThere has been much international publicity that Sri Lanka is in a debt trap owing to its large debt to China. Sri Lanka’s debt to China is around 10 percent of the total debt and has been obtained on relatively more favourable terms than other commercial borrowing. Under the circumstances, net of debt settlements, Sri Lanka’s external debt exposure keeps growing. The indebtedness to China is a low proportion of foreign debt that has been borrowed at low interest cost and with a long period for repayment.
Cricket’s captain dilemma — the ugly patchwork nobody likes View(s):It is rare–even unheard of–in the cricketing world for a team to have had five captains in two years. But Sri Lanka has not only shuffled its deck at will, it has changed captains fast and often in search of the elusive quick fix. Apart from five Test skippers, Sri Lanka has had six different captains in ODI cricket. So we must look at the impact he has made rather than what the final results show.”Ranatunga led Sri Lanka in 56 Test matches and 193 ODIs. But his captain gave him confidence and he retired as one of the greatest all-rounders in world cricket across formats.
Monthly fuel price formula ignites prices of food and COL By Kasun Warakapitiya View(s): View(s):Monthly fuel price increases according to a much-derided ‘“formula’’ continue to ignite the prices of food and living costs. On Monday, in keeping with its fuel price formula, the government increased the price of octane 92 petrol by Rs. 129, octane 95 is Rs 152, diesel costs Rs 103 and super diesel is Rs. On December 21, the government reduced fuel prices after the 52-day political crisis ended. This week’s fuel price increase once again set off another round of price rises.
Kavindu and Shelinda hog the limelight on day two By Susil Premalal View(s): View(s):Kavindu Bandara of Lyceum, Wattala and Shelinda Jansen from Gateway, Colombo stole the limelight on the second day of the 19th Annual International Schools’ Athletics Championships (ISAC) which continued at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday. Bandara put up a splendid performance to set up a new meet record in the Under-20 Boys’ 200 metres while returning a time of 22.08 seconds. He shattered the previous record of 22.28s which was established by Hamzan Aroos of Lyceum, Nugegoda in last year’s championship. Meanwhile, Jansen also had the satisfaction of setting up a new meet record in the Under-20 Girls 200m with a fine effort of 24.82s. She bettered the previous record of 25.27s held by Shermila Jansz in last year’s championship.
Count the birds: Public urged to join global initiative View(s):As the annual initiative, Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) from Febrary 15-18–where birdwatchers around the world are invited to count and report details of birds in the area in which they live– marks its last day tomorrow, a veteran ornithologist here has said it was important to keep a tab on what are regarded as common birds too. Prof. Sarath Kotagama says that while many are concerned about the declining numbers of rare birds, the numbers of common birds, too, could dip towards extinction without anyone realising it and, therefore, it was important to take a count of those birds too. “As the birds around are mostly common ones, even an amateur birdwatcher can identify most of the birds around us. So the public too can join in such citizen science initiatives such as the GBBC and make note of the common birds which can be an indicator of the state of the environment,” Prof.Kotagama explained. The global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a citizen science project conducted annually in mid February.
Taxpayers frustrated by IRD’s RAMIS system By Bandula Sirimanna View(s): View(s):A 72 year-old taxpaying pensioner with additional income from his consultancy services for a private firm faced an unexpected shock of his life when he browsed online to determine the tax returns to be paid. 9 billion-worth automated tax collection system introduced two years ago by the IRD which is now incapable of administering and operating the automated system giving trouble to tax payers and headaches for tax officers. Updating the automated tax collection system, with the introduction of the new Inland Revenue Act is yet to be completed compelling officials to revert to the manual system, a senior IRD commissioner said. The IRD introduced the automated system called Revenue Administration and Management Information System (RAMIS) two years ago. A Singaporean firm was given the task of implementing the project aimed at creating a more efficient tax and revenue collection system.
Disabled Sri Lankan women twice as disadvantaged as men: UN study View(s):A study by the United Nations Women (UN Women) said that people with disabilities in Sri Lanka encounter multiple barriers in accessing economic opportunities, and women with disabilities are twice as disadvantaged when entering the work force. Although the 2012 Census found that there are more women with disabilities than men across all age groups, the UN study has shown that women with disabilities comprised only 15% of persons with disabilities. In a study that included 400 persons with disabilities, covering four districts, it had been found that they encountered multiple barriers in accessing economic opportunities. A set of recommendations made in the report also promotes creating an inclusive, accessible and enabling social environment for women with disabilities. In addition, the report recommends gender-sensitive key performance indicators in Budget Call Circulars to be expanded to include disability dimensions wherever relevant.
February 10, 2019 10:52 UTC
Angelo Perera – the elegant run machine By Ishan Samaraweera View(s): View(s):Former St. Peter’s College skipper Angelo Perera has been one of the most consistent batsmen in the 1st Class arena, in recent times. As a result of his consistency, he has been included in the Sri Lanka Test squad to play South Africa. He was never given a regular position in the National team. On being selected to the National team after three years, he is optimistic about having a regular position in the team. “It feels great to return to the National team again.
Concerns grow as report shows plastic killing off our fish By Sandaran Rubatheesan View(s): View(s):As Sri Lankan seas become increasingly polluted with plastic waste, contributing to a 500 per cent depletion in fishing stocks, a pollution expert has called for more effective garbage management to avert a man-made disaster. “Only 20 per cent can be accounted as sea-originated wastage, due to fishermen dumping plastic in mid-sea and oil spills from ships,” Dr. Kumara said, citing MEPA research. Dr. Kumara said his department is dedicated to showing people how significantly polythene and plastic contribute to marine pollution and how to think differently about the use of these materials. Initiatives such as creating polythene-free coastal regions and awareness campaigns on reducing domestic plastic usage in homes are underway, Dr. Kumara said. MEPA’s Dr. Kumara said his department lacks the legal powers to punish marine polluters but plans are underway to toughen the Marine Pollution Environment Act No.
Ratmalana Airport in over Rs.800 m upgrade By Sunimalee Dias Civilian operations demarcated from military View(s): View(s):The Ratmalana Airport will be handed over to civilian operations this month, establishing clear cut demarcations as per civil aviation requirements and after upgrading facilities with an investment of Rs.825 million. In two weeks’ time the Ratmalana Airport will be officially handed over by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the Airport and Aviation Services Ltd. (AASL) allowing for clear demarcations between the civil and military operations at the facility, the airport’s Manager Aruna Rajapaksa told the Business Times. The airport has been upgraded with a new taxiway, apron overlay, navigational equipment upgrade, administration complex including the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower through an investment from the AASL. This would be inclusive of the SLAF traffic as well. The Ratmalana Airport is currently receiving about five international aircraft movements (per month) that is expected to continue in the future in addition to the surge in volumes as well.
Probe on Trump’s inauguration bash: Lanka as footnote View(s):Sri Lanka has figured as a political footnote in a major investigation of big-dollar donors who helped finance US President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony when he took office in January 2017. It has transpired that Mr. Zuberi played the role of a middleman and benefited from large amount of moneys paid to these so-called PR firms. The Secretary-General has condemned the attack against Sri Lankan peacekeepers and extends his condolences to the Government and people of Sri Lanka. “The procedures for conducting the screening of UN peacekeepers in Sri Lanka were only agreed to in December of last year. Since then, it is not the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission alone, but the UN together with the Human Rights Commission, that have been jointly screening the personnel nominated by the Government of Sri Lanka.
SOSL’s next concert: Masterpieces by Beethoven and Mendelssohn View(s):The SOSL’s upcoming ‘German Masterpieces’ concert features the music of Beethoven and Mendelssohn in a programme of classical ‘Greats’. The concert at the Ladies’ College Hall on February 23, will be directed by Dushyanthi Perera. The soloist at the German Masterworks concert is Soundarie David Rodrigo, performing the piano solo in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia. The choir is directed by Maryanne David, one of the best-known figures in the field of choral and vocal training. The concert is sponsored by People’s Bank, the SOSL’s Principal sponsor.