What a strange budget. Broadly they are taxing the rich and giving stuff away to the poor. There are a lot of one-time taxes (wut?) on big companies, taxes on people with big houses, vehicle importers, etc. At the same time, prices of a lot of consumer goods are reduced, salaries are increased for government workers, hand tractors will be ...

I guess messing up your judicial system is like getting locked out of your house. You sometimes have to break your own window to get back in. The new Sri Lankan government dealt with the problem of a highly dodgy Chief Justice (Mohan Peiris, number 44) by saying that his appointment was illegal and re-installing the old Chief Justice (Shirani ...

Much of the international press seems unable to grasp that Sri Lankan voters might have determined the recent election. They’re saying that Indian intelligence did it, or only America can push reforms forward. Actually I guess that’s just the New York Times. Let’s look at both propositions. 1. India Did It When Sri Lanka unexpectedly turfed out President Mahinda Rajapaksa ...

This graph shows the price of Lanka Petrol 95 Octane compared to the global price of a barrel of crude. The price of crude is in dollars and the price of petrol is in rupees, but I was just looking at how connected the two lines are. As you can see, it’s a bit of a political lever, but ...

Sigh. Someone needs to tell thugish UNPers like MP Palitha Thewarapperuma that we’re in a national government and our President is Chairman of the SLFP. In the video here, Thewarapperuma is making someone kneel as his supporters assault him. According to SLFP MPs speaking to NewsFirst, Thewarapperuma basically led a mob, throwing rotten eggs (I’ve always wondered how you find ...

So, Maithripala Sirisena is President of Sri Lanka. Still feels weird to say that. Maithri campaigned on an ambitious 100 Days Plan and he’s mostly kept to it. What has he done in his first week? View image | gettyimages.com 1. He Survived Not easy. If Mahinda had won he would have surrounded Maithripala with troops and likely jailed him ...

NDTV published two paraphrased tweets quoting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Those tweets said essentially what Rajapaksa loyalists had been fear-mongering about – that the new government would give ‘full autonomy’ to Tamil areas and that it would engage with the UN on war crimes probes. If you read the transcript (via Republic Square), however, Ranil said nothing like the tweets ...

Above is really awful treatment of the baby elephant at Gangaramaya Temple. This lout of a mahout is beating the elephant until his stick breaks, pulling his ears and yelling at him. This is well beyond the usual torture the poor fellow is put through, chained by two legs and unable to even turn around. I don’t think Buddhist ...

Mahinda was putting up a fight for the SLFP, but it seems like he’s backing down. Really, and why? Mahinda lost the Presidential election, but the general election is only a few months away. If he held control of the SLFP, it would have been entirely possible for him to become Prime Minister. If the current spate of reforms ...

If you’re Tamil and your question is ‘can I have more equal rights and opportunities under this government’ the answer is a qualified yes. It’s possible but we’ll all have to work for it. If your question is ‘can we have a separate racially based state’, the answer is no. There’s no Eelam here, but there is a more inclusive ...

This is a bit late cause, er, today is a holiday (thanks Pope) and I just woke up. But anyways, this is a live YouTube feed of the mass Pope Francis is conducting in Sri Lanka; in Colombo at Galle Face Green. Vatican Radio has amazing coverage (got the link from there) and you can see the Pope’s statements ...

This is the full text of Pope Francis’s speech upon arrival in Sri Lanka. What a wonderful man. You can listen to the address on the Vatican website. Address of His Holiness Pope Francis Arrival Ceremony Colombo, 13 January 2015 Mr President, Honourable Government Authorities, Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, Dear Friends, I thank you for your warm welcome. I have ...

Sri Lanka’s New Cabinet: An Analysis Maithripala Sirisena has appointed his new Cabinet of Ministers, nine State Ministers and eight Deputy Ministers. Who are they and what does it all mean? Terms Ministers In Sri Lanka, Ministers are members of Parliament with a direct executive role. They control staff, budgets and do stuff. State Minister This is new to me. It seems to basically mean junior ...

Maithripala Sirisena has announced his cabinet today, one day behind schedule according to his 100 day plan. But that’s fine. He spent all yesterday actually consolidating control of Parliament so the government could do everything it’s promised to do. The cabinet is being announced. I’ll update it here as I hear. You can watch live on Sirasa here. Anyways, I’m ...

The Sri Lanka Presidential Election (2015) In Maps Maps lie. Most obviously, the world isn’t flat, but more relevant to Sri Lanka, ‘winning’ districts is not the same as winning votes. All weekend I’ve been trying experiment with maps to see how to accurately display the 2015 Presidential Election. I can’t. You can see different levels of mapping above – national, regional, provincial, district and polling division. Each ...

Sigh. I earlier said that Sri Lanka needs to provide a dignified role for retired statesmen. But no one said that Mahinda had to take it. Mahinda is now wandering around Medamulana with a megaphone (literally) saying that he hasn’t lost because he won the south. Nevermind that Maithripala won 49% of the votes outside of the North and East, ...

Oh Mahinda Mama. Why you play me like that. I just got done thanking you for stepping down gracefully when I started hearing rumors. Now it’s out in the media (BBC), that you tried (and failed) to stage a coup. Why you gotta be like that? You could have retired with the respect of the country. Instead it looks like you tried ...

New Year, New President – Maithripala Sworn In Well, so that happened. Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as the 6th President of Sri Lanka. I was there. Main Street, Nugegoda on a Friday afternoon. This is unusual. Until Maithri was sworn in, the streets of Colombo were completely empty. You couldn’t even hear traffic in the distance. It was a great day for street cricket, but no one ...

This is Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 Day Work Programme. It lays out day by day, week by week what he promises to do. I’ve transcribed and formatted it here because I couldn’t find a good English version online. There is some stuff he can do on his own but there is some stuff which depends on him getting a majority of ...

Congratulations, and welcome to Maithripala Sirisena. He has quite a mandate and quite a job ahead of him. I voted for him and within 100 days I expect him to build the political and legislative infrastructure to carry this country into the next 100 years. I also hope he understands what he has won. He himself proposed a fixed four ...

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