Supreme Court’s opinion on the President’s Reference Image courtesy Asian Tribune At last, the Supreme Court’s opinion on the President’s reference has seen the light of day, albeit unofficially, and it makes for miserable reading. The feature that stands out in the opinion is not only the unctuous tone which the Court has adopted in responding to the President’s request for an opinion, but also the sanctimonious ...

The political need of  the hour: Transformational approach to constitution making Photo courtesy the Daily Beast A long awaited concerted action has now been initiated by the opposition parties in their identification of a common candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, and the agenda for action. Understandably, the opposition needs a simple yet mass rallying slogan for their campaign. The abolishing of the executive presidential system has been designated by ...

The Tamil Elephant in the Green (Blue?) Room Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief Kalana Senaratne’s characteristically perceptive article on the implications of Maithripala Sirisena’s common candidacy for the upcoming Presidential election flags the Tamil question: what role do Tamils and issues of concern to them play in the politics of the election? Kalana deems the Tamils the ‘forgotten other’ of the upcoming campaign, noting that the contest ...

Critically Supporting the Anti-Regime Campaign Photograph via VOA News It had to happen that way, and the break was only possible with a serious split within the regime. The moment had come for members of the SLFP to take the plunge. And when finally Vasantha Senanayake, MP, crossed over (the first member of the brave ‘suicide squad’) and mentioned that he knew who the ...

Social Responsibility in Universities in Unstable Times Photograph courtesy Vikalpa Guest lecture delivered at the international conference, ‘Revisiting Social Responsibility in Contexts of Crisis: Challenges and Possibilities in Sri Lanka’ at Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, 17 November 2014 Vice Chancellor, the dean and colleagues, let me wish all of you a very good morning. When the Dean, Faculty of Arts wrote to me some ...

THE SIRISENA SURGE: WHY MAHINDA IS STILL WAY AHEAD Photo by AFP, via AsiaOne Two cheers then for Maithripala Sirisena whose act of resistance and rebellion is truly heroic. Why cheer at all? And why two cheers instead of three? Hearty cheers are entirely warranted because Maithripala Sirisena has produced a Black Swan event; a real game changer. Having argued in the print and electronic media for years ...

Synthetic development, commodification of the body and the vote under neo-liberal economic policies: Where to now? Photo credit Marvellous Sri Lanka In modern day governance, there are certain principles that peace-loving people expect the rulers to implement. One of them is accountability. Accountability for the actions, expenditure, decisions, and appointments that governments make. In advanced democratic societies, there are mechanisms to ensure accountability with vested powers to seek and collect information, summon officials before parliamentary ...

Do we enjoy universal adult Franchise? Image courtesy SBS We did enjoy full adult voting rights in our island for 18 years after the far reaching Donoughmore reforms of 1931 (reaching further than many of our leaders, Sinhalese Tamil and Muslim asked for or even wanted). But two Acts of 1949, among the earliest post-independence legislation, took away citizenship and voting rights of about a ...

Koslanda landslide: Before and after images now on Google Earth Groundviews was able to obtain from Digital Globe imagery around the aftermath of the Koslanda landslide. The following image was the area as it was on 30th May 2012. The following image was taken after the landslide by Digital Globe satellites. A rough Google Earth based measurement puts the length of the landslide at around 855m. Download the KML here. ...

President’s reference to the Supreme Court It is reported in the media that President Rajapaksa has referred to the Supreme Court for its opinion the question of his own competency to contest a further term, and that the Registrar of the Court, on the instructions of the Chief Justice, has written to the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka inviting submissions in writing ...

Kaleidoscope of Desire Photo by Dominic Sansoni It’s really weird to live in a place and then to come “home” and feel like a stranger there too. It’s unusual to be thinking utensils are superfluous and that all this air-conditioning is making me cold. Yet, throughout the summer to early fall – from Texas to New York to Maryland – the utensils ...

The Journey of Content: Instagram Unplugged IRL We are discussing a photograph. It was taken by the camera of a smartphone. It has been viewed by thousands, engaged with by hundreds, and is now being exhibited at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. @colombedouin is Abdul-Halik Azeez. Colombedouin is the title of the exhibition that is ongoing at the time of conducting this interview. It is a strange ...

The Koslanda landslide: Photos around the aftermath The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday (29th October) morning. Part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers’ homes in 9m (30ft) of mud and debris. An estimated 100 people are still listed as missing, the ...

Ensure and protect the rights of people who survived the landslide Image courtesy Colombo Gazette Memorandum to the Ministry of Disaster Management  Ensure and protect the rights of people, especially women and children, who survived the landslide which occurred in the Haldumulla DS area on 29th October 2014 As the Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the people who perished in the ...

NOT SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: SARATH SILVA AND THE LEGALITY OF MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA’S THIRD TERM Image courtesy Newsfirst In the flood of commentary that has followed the former Chief Justice Sarath Silva’s public intervention regarding the potential illegality of President Rajapaksa seeking a third term, many have joined debate to remind us of Silva’s unsavoury behaviour on and off the Bench. One of the implications of these reminders, some of which have a rather ...

In conversation with Thaji Dias The gifted Thaji Dias is the Principal Dancer of the Chithrasena Dance Company. We begin our conversation, unsurprisingly, by getting Thaji to recall her first memories of dance, given the family and company she grew up in (including being chased away by her grand-father, Chitrasena). Pegged to an interview with the mainstream press, Thaji is asked what she considers ...

In conversation with Selyna Peiris Selyna Peiris is an Attorney-at-law and Director at Selyn Handlooms. She is also President of the Sri Lankan Liberal Youth organisation and was elected Chair of the Asian Liberal Youth Caucus. We begin by talking about Selyna’s work around entrepreneurship and fair-trade certification, looking at what the future for traditional industry is in post-war Sri Lanka, with an economy ...

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