Stories written by Editor, Sunday Times, Sri Lanka

Bigger constitutional crisis to come?

Musical chairs is a party game but what we see today is a cacophony of voices between supporters of competing political parties egging on two leaders trying to sit in one seat to the derision of the world.

Top Bottled Water Brands Contaminated with Plastic Particles: Report

The world's leading brands of bottled water are contaminated with tiny plastic particles that are likely seeping in during the packaging process, according to a major study across nine countries published Wednesday.

Win-win Solution for Migrant Worker Issues

Last Sunday’s front page lead story in this newspaper on the risk to foreign employment due to the 2017 Budget by raising the minimum wage for skilled labour seems to have caught the eye of Parliament. The Minister in charge of Foreign Employment confirmed the fact that her ministry was rather perturbed that it had not been consulted, and wanted the proposal reversed.

The Government Needs to Be Constructive Rather than Combative

Is the essentially combative tone adopted by the Government to the Juan Mendez report finding that a “culture of torture” is still being practised in Sri Lanka quite wise, one might ask? Of course, we live in an age where, confounding his own advisors and despite solid evidence to the contrary, the President of the United States is on record stating bombastically that ‘torture works’ as an interrogation method.

Colombia’s Example and Our Calamitous Blunders

There is a reason why the peace deal of the Colombian Government with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) became a reality despite formidable obstacles. Credited with brokering the deal and bringing to a close, one of the deadliest and longest-running civil wars in Latin America, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos,Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for 2016 attributes his success to putting the victims at the heart of the process.

Indulging in Sunshine Stories and Taking Foolhardy Risks

If the thinking was that the risks of taking an intelligence chief as part of the Government delegation to brief the United Nations Committee against Torture (UNCAT) recently would be offset as a result of sunshine stories spun by the Government’s policy propagandists living in cloud cuckoo land, then a rude shock was administered this week.

Take Middle Path on Foreign Policy

The Government received a reality check last week in Geneva when the Attorney General (AG) and the chief of National Intelligence (CNI) got a rude shock at a UN committee monitoring torture when they were cross-examined to the point that they had to beat a hasty retreat from the floor.

Trump Trumps: Will He Dump Liberal America?

And so, the American voters have picked the unknown devil (instead of the known devil) to lead them for the next four years. In their somewhat skewed election process, the defeated candidate got more popular votes than the winner who to the much over-rated ‘most powerful job in the world’ – the President of the United States of America.

Fiscal Reforms Imperative for Sustained Growth— Lankan Economists’ Consensus

Economists who addressed the 30th Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association on October 21st and 22nd on the theme “Fiscal Reforms: An Imperative for Sustained Economic Growth” agreed that the country could not go forward without fiscal reforms and fiscal consolidation. Fiscal reforms were imperative to enhance government revenue, reduce the fiscal deficit and provide the fiscal space for developmental expenditure for sustained high economic growth.

Poverty Elimination and Reduction of Inequality: Global Trends and Policy Imperatives

The elimination of poverty has been a popular promise among political leaders in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Despite their repeated promises of eliminating poverty, poverty persists. The rhetoric on poverty elimination has far surpassed efforts to reduce it and not been adequately backed up by policies that mitigate poverty and reduce income inequality. The people left behind by economic growth have not been adequately taken care of by social security safety nets. The global experience provides useful insights on how poverty and inequality could be reduced.

Is This Counter-terrorism in a Far Deadlier Garb?

A draft policy and legal framework aimed at a new law on counter-terrorism to replace Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) may well be a classic case of the cure being far worse than the disease.

Beware the Air We Breathe

Health-damaging atmospheric pollutants, which the World Health Organization warned Tuesday affected nine out of every 10 people, originate mainly from industry, heating and transport.

Has the Notion of ‘Justice for Victims’ Lost Its Singularity?

In the whirlwind of activity that attended the 33rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, Sri Lanka was put on inquiry regarding the non-consultative nature of its ongoing transitional justice and constitutional reform process.

Food Safety Issues Rise in Colombo

This newspaper’s News Desk has been following up on Public Health issues for some time, and their ongoing reports should raise concerns among Colombo residents, both the affluent, and the not-so, because of the declining standards in the monitoring of food establishments, from the humble ‘buth kades’ to the restaurants of five-star hotels.

Will the Next Us President Be the Devil in Disguise?

The world is in serious trouble for superpower America has just fallen down a manhole and is in deep sewage.

China Showing Big-power Attitude

China has been dealt a major setback this week at the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, a tribunal established as way back as 1899 and to which 121 member states are signatories. The tribunal this week ruled in favour of the Philippines over the sovereignty of small but strategically significant and resource rich islands in the South China Sea. The tribunal held that China had “no legal basis” to its claim for “indisputable sovereignty” over these islands and dismissed its “historic rights” argument – something that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (who is making similar claims over the Palk Strait) might take note of.

From Grexit to Brexit: Eurosceptics Claim their -Exit

AFP - It started with “Grexit” -- the long trumpeted but never realised axing of Greece from the European Union. It was then reborn as “Brexit” as Britain started down the -- this time voluntary -- path of leaving the bloc.

Playing Pandu with Politics and Cricket Too

Writing in the British newspaper “Guardian”, columnist Owen Jones gave a succinct reason why politicians in this country are trusted even less than estate agents, a breed that hardly evokes public confidence and respect.

Latest Population Projection of 25 Million Poses Serious Challenges

The most recent population projections expect the Island’s population to reach 25 million by 2042 and 25.8 million by 2062. It is expected to stabilise around the mid 2060s at 25-26 million. This is a significant departure from earlier projections that expected population stability much earlier at around 23-24 million in the 2030s and to decline thereafter.

The Heavens Poured and Atlas Shrugged

Sri Lankan parliamentarians appear to have been moved to unseemly mirth regarding the floodwaters which devastated the country this week, causing more than sixty three officially reported deaths and thousands more missing, with even greater numbers rendered homeless and destitute.

The Crippling Burden of Mounting Foreign Debt Servicing Costs

The massive increase in the country’s foreign debt and its huge debt servicing costs are a severe burden on the economy. They are a severe strain on the public finances and external reserves of the country.

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