‘Naya Qanoon’ and the 19th Amendment Photo courtesy Bloomberg The draft 19th Amendment reminds me of the story ‘Naya Qanoon’ (New Constitution) written by the late Saadat Manto, regarded by many as the finest writer of short stories in Urdu and as the greatest South Asian writer of the 20th century. Set in pre-independence Lahore of the 1930s the main protagonist of the story is ...

The Bond Issue Controversy: An Analysis Image courtesy Ada Derana By Sam Samarasinghe and Dushyantha Mendis The issue of government bonds on February 27 has raised a huge controversy, involving questions as to the competence of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), and also allegations of insider dealing. The government has been slow to respond to the ...

Photo courtesy EPA/M.A.PUSHPA KUMARA via Sky News As the new administration has begun to unpack promises made during a hasty election campaign, it is clear that they are constrained by their own political capacity, the limitations of a minority government and more generally by what is politically feasible at present. Within the government, ministerial appointments have had to exceed the ...

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM: A LIBERAL WISH LIST Photo via News First The Sri Lankan constitutional reform process has been ebbing and flowing, but in recent weeks, the promise of 8th January seemed to be more ebbing than flowing in the usual morass that our political class is uniquely capable of producing. But if some reports are to be believed, then it seems as if the ‘Troika’ ...

Sovereignty and Colombo Port City Image courtesy Yamu Throughout the world, the owning or holding of and that belongs to another sovereign nation, termed “territories held” have recently been largely returned. The Panama Canal was returned to Panama in January 2000, Hong Kong was returned to China by the United Kingdom in 1997, and Portugal returned Macau Island to China in 1999. The notable global ...

The other side of Narendra Modi’s Sri Lanka visit Photograph via Quartz Ever since becoming the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy, Narendra Modi has concentrated on building strong diplomatic ties with foreign nations. The process began with the swearing-in ceremony of the new Indian Prime Minister when Modi extended a formal invite to the heads of state of neighbouring countries which included Pakistan and Sri Lanka. ...

Nationalism, Ethnicity and Conflict Photo via Sri Lanka Guardian I read with appreciation, the contents of the article of DBS Jeyaraj under the title “Imperative need to support Tamil Moderates in the struggle against Extremists” (Daily Mirror of March 7, 2015), though I have some reservations regarding the title.  I am also happy to read DBS’ report of the two resolutions passed unanimously ...

Post-war reconstruction and women: Has the Indian Housing Project become a debt trap? Photo courtesy Red Cross Following the end of the armed conflict, people returned to their areas of origin in the conflict affected areas with limited, and in some cases no resources, to re-build their lives. This forced them to access new and freely available credit to re-establish a habitable space and restart livelihoods. Due to inexperience managing debt, and ...

The President in the Nineteenth Amendment Photo courtesy Maithripala Sirisena website The Maithripala Sirisena manifesto promised to implement a programme to stabilise the country in two stages, and the first of those stages is the Hundred Day programme which would be devoted to solving urgent issues. Among those matters that were signposted for reform during the first stage is the abolition of the executive presidential system ...

Considerations for the Port City Image courtesy Yamu It is heartening to see our Government standing up for the rule of law and the protection of our rights and health in the face of corrupt deals made my shadowy individuals with no concern or love for this nation.  The Port City project has nothing to do with bi-lateral projects involving the government of China and ...

In the Search for a Domestic Truth and Justice Process in Sri Lanka Image courtesy Justice in Conflict The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) is presently facilitating a stimulating online debate titled ‘Is the International Community Abandoning the Fight Against Impunity?’ The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, argues that the international community is not abandoning the fight against impunity, highlighting successes in national and international courts ...

Beyond Genocide Image courtesy Tamil Diplomat When I heard that the Northern Provincial Council had passed a resolution on Genocide, I put my “head in my hands” again- something I did often during the previous regime. I asked myself, have we gone back to the beginning after all this violence and heartbreak? Tamil politics led by lawyers ( I am a ...

A Short Note on the Historical Legacy of International Women’s Day Introduction In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Its theme for 2015 is ‘Make It Happen’ with a dedicated hashtag for social media. “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture ...

Heroes, Traitors and Tamil Politics: Lessons  (Un) Learnt Photo by AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena via Yahoo Following the deferral of the presentation of the report of the UN Human Rights Council mandated investigation on Sri Lanka (IOSL) conducted by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on 10 February 2015 urging the UN to investigate the genocide of ...

A Fifty of a Hundred Days to Few, or too Many? Image courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian A former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the oft- quoted remark that a week is a long time in politics. What then of fifty days, not to mention a hundred? Half way into the government’s 100 -day governance reform programme, public reaction and that of some political actors in particular, appears to be ...

How Free is Free Education? The Impact of Tuition on Exam Marks Photo courtesy Rose Sri Lanka Sri Lanka’s Free Education Scheme aims to provide each child an equal opportunity at educational success, but there is debate over to what extent it succeeds in this endeavor. Notably, some critics are concerned that private spending on education (for private and international schools, universities, and tuition) may be diluting the Free Education Scheme’s ability ...

TID arrests a Tamil woman and 8 year old French daughter Background Ms. JeyaGanesh Pakeerathy was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Sea Tigers unit for around four years (exact years unknown). She was heavily injured and was discontinued in 2000. After receiving intensive treatment at home, she recovered. However, even today she is unable to do heavy work. In 2003, she married a man who ...

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