Beating ISIS Through Refugees

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For all the US Republican tirades about being tough on ISIS, they’re missing the best thing they could do. Take in refugees. As many as possible. Welcome them in. That’s how you actually hurt ISIS. ISIS as the Islamic State depends on having a population to tax, recruit from, and to lend it legitimacy as an actual state. 50% of ...

Debt And Taxes

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I recently got a letter from our Company Secretary stating that we owe the government Rs. 60,000. For existing – just for having a registered company. The government has also introduced a Capital Gains tax (tax on profits for sale of shares or property) and they’re increasing VAT and income tax. Basically, taxes are rising, in a way that affects ...

National Anthem

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The national anthem issue was weeks ago but I’m commenting on it now, in the video above. Broadly – if you don’t have four minutes to watch a discussion that includes the Macarena and Crazy Frog – people should live with an anthem in multiple languages (like Canada, Switzerland and South Africa have). The point of the video is ...

Yoshitha In Jail (Video)

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I’ve been doing this weekly show on an almost weekly basis now. The latest one covers Yoshitha Rajapaksa’s recent arrest (for money laundering connecting to the TV station CSN). You can watch it here: My broad point here is that the days of political sons being above the law should be over and that it’s fair that Yoshitha is facing ...

Free The Labor (Why I Support CEPA For The IT Industry)

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People are freaking out about a trade agreement with India that would allow IT professionals to work (relatively) freely across the border. The main argument seems to be that INDIANS ARE COMING and that they’ll steal our jobs. I think they’re wrong. Open borders and immigration are an ethical and economic good. If we want Sri Lanka to be globally ...

The Sinhale Scene

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Sinhale is a sticker and a word, which shouldn’t be that bad. However, given Sri Lanka’s recent history with racism and war, it quickly brings to mind pitchforks and war. In the video here I did a one-take on it for YAMU’s new Weekly Show: I won’t repeat the script here, but suffice it to say that the Sinhale movement ...

Bad Governance 2015

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Here are a few examples of how our vaunted Yahapalanaya government has sucked over the last year. If you are wondering whether I have buyers remorse, I would say no. These guys are better than the last guys. Unfortunately, they still suck. In detail: 1. Bros Before Telcos In one of his first moves, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed his brother ...

ISIS And The LTTE

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The closest analogy to ISIS is probably Sri Lanka’s own LTTE. Not in terms of religious zealotry or gleeful brutality, but in terms of being a terrorist group that controls land. It’s a rare phenomenon that bears comparison. LTTE The LTTE, at one point, controlled 76% of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. They had a police force, ...

A School Time Traffic Plan

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Traffic has been wonderful these days – because schools are closed. Couldn’t we have traffic like this all the time? As a visual, here is traffic when schools are closed: And here’s traffic on a typical day: Those red and orange marks are sadness and despair. How To Have This All The Time It’s pretty simple. School buses. Right now ...

The Folly Of Terrorism

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I enjoy reading the news, but ISIS has ruined that for a week now. All the stuff I read is 70% ISIS and contains 0% new information. At this point it’s honestly just advertising. Which is how this whole terrorism thing works. Terrorism is a media phenomenon more than anything. The West, also, has not been inoculated by its experiences ...

YAMU.tv

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We just shipped a new thing at YAMU. It’s called YAMU.tv. As the name implies, it’s a place to watch video. Basically, it’s a page that will always have something fresh to watch, everyday, all from a Sri Lankan perspective. Design wise, YAMU.tv is a shameless Devour clone. Where we’re putting our effort is into curating and creating the content. ...

Colombo Vehicle Statistics (2015)

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How many cars enter Colombo everyday? 170,000 actually. How many people enter Colombo overall? That would be 1.8 million. Find this and more answers by scrolling down. These are 2015ish statistics for car/vehicle use in Colombo. The source is this Daily Mirro [sic] infographic, which itself cites the National Transport Commission and Central Bank. Shout out to Thilina Weerawansa. Vehicles ...

BuzzFeed Busts The Rajapaksas

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7 Things You Don’t Miss About Mahinda… BuzzFeed News, which has really invested in investigative journalism, has interesting coverage of international dodginess involving the Rajapaksas. It’s interesting because it shows the wasteful and rent-seeking way that government operated. In this case, SLT was forced to invest $10 million in a shell company which did little besides pay a Rajapaksa nephew ...

Public Transit For Colombo

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Here’s an idea I haven’t thought through completely. It’s a public transport system for Colombo. 1. Use Existing Rail Colombo has existing rail lines that could serve as a metro. There are two parallel north/south lines (along the coast and along Baseline/High Level Road). There’s also one line connecting east/west from Fort through Dematagoda. If you run another line along ...

Sri Lanka: The Water Nation

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While you were sweating through our power cut, you may have wondered where your electricity comes from, and where it went. Sri Lanka is a water civilization, going back 2,300 years. In modern times, the massive Mahaweli Project produces enough electricity for about 50% of our needs. For the rest, however, we use fire, which we’re not good at. Everything ...

Dear Media: Please Report Police Brutality

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Read this in the Daily Mirror today: “The man arrested… was injured when he is said to have slipped on a wet stone while being taken to the metal quarry where he is believed to have hidden the weapon.” Well, really? Strange, he just slipped and fell. This is just the latest example of people being beaten or dying in ...

The Blackout

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There’s something uncanny about an all-island blackout. Everyone’s in the dark, together. Except people with generators. The weird thing about Sri Lanka is that we’re all essentially on a generator anyways. If you read your electricity bill there’s a clause that says “More than 60% of the electricity distributed among our customers is generated by thermal power stations operated on ...

Sri Lanka Approves UNHRC Resolution

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As far as I can tell, Sri Lanka is going to co-sponsor the re-worded UNHRC resolution on itself. Here’s what Ranil said via News First. We will have a judicial mechanism, a Sri Lanka judicial mechanism, which will include office of a special counsel to inquire and investigate into it and there we will certainly have the help not only ...

Sri Lanka’s Rising Sea Level (With Maps)

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Climate change is happening – as much as US politicians deny it – and the changing environment will hit Sri Lanka hard. How, exactly? Sea Level It would actually take a sea level rise of 8m for coastal Sri Lanka to be literally underwater, but a projected range of 0.2 – 0.6m would still wreck havok. For all this stuff ...

Sri Lanka’s Weird Gravity

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There’s been this picture going on of what the earth would look like without oceans, except it isn’t true. The picture is actually a map of the earth’s gravity. Blue is lower gravity, orange is higher. Guess which spot has the lowest gravity in the world, by far? It’s Sri Lanka. What this image shows is the density of whatever ...