Showing posts from April, 2010

Setting up of 'Sri Lanka Sea Police'; a far-sighted decision

(April 30,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   Sri Lanka Coast Guard Department has decided to set up coast guard units in each fisheries harbor of the island, said the Director of Department Rear Admiral Daya Dharmapriya. Sri Lanka is an island that has a large sea area in its control. The country's sea is now seven times bigger than the land area and after 2027 Sri Lanka will own a sea area of 25 times of the landmass. The island has made requests to the UN authorities to claim for the sea above the continental shelf of the island and the request will be considered after 2027. The island communities were seafarers since ancient times. However, the sea around the island was a dangerous place in past three decades since the activities of the Sea Tigers of Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam and the counter-terrorism measures of Sri Lanka Navy. Fishing was also thoroughly restricted for many years before the end of war. But, in the post-war era Sri Lanka government seems und

A corpus for Sri Lankan English

(April 28,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   In linguistics, a corpus (plural corpora) or text corpus is a large and structured set of texts. They are used to do statistical analysis and hypothesis testing, checking occurrences or validating linguistic rules on a specific universe. Now, a corpus for Sri Lankan English is being compiled under the International Corpus of English project (ICE). The International Corpus of English (ICE) began in 1990 with the primary aim of collecting material for comparative studies of English worldwide. Twenty research teams around the world are preparing electronic corpora of their own national or regional variety of English. Each ICE corpus consists of one million words of spoken and written English produced after 1989. For most participating countries, the ICE project is stimulating the first systematic investigation of the national variety. To ensure compatibility among the component corpora, each team is following a common corpus design, as well as a

Re-'regaining Sri Lanka', LTTE and the JVP

(April 28,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Tamil nationalist politics appears to moving towards a further distant goal that is apparently building of a Tamil nation in a broader perspective in a global context. What is the reason for this drastic shift? Do the leaders of the Tamil nationalist movement think they were betrayed by Sri Lankan Tamil polity? The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea, Mao Tse-Tung said. Were the slain leaders of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) among people in their last phase of struggle? If they were not, was it a fault of the people? If the answer is yes, who decided the nature of this polity in the last thirty years? Tamil polity of Sri Lanka is in the most pathetic situation of their history now. No need to mention the harsh conditions they undergo in the present context. The remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) that are well-secured in the economic and social fortitudes in the green pastures o

Police coming before growth in Sri Lanka

(April 27,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Two news stories that were published in media today can be outlined to show an aspect of the path the Sri Lankan rulers are taking now in the post-war period. In the first story Sri Lanka Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says that the police have been directed to launch an operation to eliminate the crime network that erupted through terrorism and spread island wide. The first and foremost question that arises is this. Are the authorities targeting only the crime network that erupted through terrorism? What about the crime network that was fed by the politicians to maintain politically motivated terror or sheer state terrorism? Anyway, when the police actions are initiated the goons will have a difficult time. We can expect more incidents of arrested suspects trying to escape when they have gone to show weapons to be shot dead by police in the middle of the night. One cannot isolate and safeguard the politically influenced crime netwo

Upeka Nirmani; Sri Lanka's first woman 'Super Star'

(April 26,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Many TV stations of Sri Lanka run various kinds of Super Star programmes. Tens of thousands of ambitious youth take part in them and many of them toil for the TV channels without any kind of payment for around a year. However, the finalists get a good training and an experience in entertainment industry while one or two Super Stars become instant millionaires. Many of these Super Stars have failed to continue their career as creative artists. But many of them sing other artists' songs appearing as the original singers and earn some money before they disappear into nowhere where they came from. Upeka Nirmani Silva, the Derana Dream Star of the Season 2 is a highly talented young girl from Negambo. She is the daughter of Chandu de Silva, a singer popular as Jolly Seeya (grandfather). Her stardom is significant since she is the first young woman in Sri Lanka to crown as a Super Star. In Derana Dream Star Season 1 as well, a brilliant female

Giving powers to an unwanted lot; the dilemma of Sri Lanka President

A cartoonist's view on the previous cabinet of Sri Lanka (April 25,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  'Epa waheta hodi bedanna wage' is a Sinhala proverb that means serving curry to the husband that the wife is no more in love. Traditional  Sinhala housewife was bound to treat the husband well although she no more liked him. The husband could be either too old or weak since usually there was a wide age gap between husbands and wives in the past. In such circumstances, she showed her resentment either by serving curry insufficiently or overwhelmingly, inconvenient in both cases. Sri Lanka President also behaves like that housewife when allocating powers to his Ministers. First of all, he helped himself with a huge spoon retaining defense, finance and planning, highways, ports and aviation for himself in addition to media subject a Minister has not been appointed so far. Hair to the throne President's son will be trained to run the country via these ministries. One of the

Some notable features of Sri Lanka's new cabinet

(April 24,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Sri Lanka President has appointed a new cabinet. As promised, he has pruned the jumbo cabinet at least for the moment. The number of cabinet portfolios have been slashed to 39 and the number of Deputy Ministers are 37. It can be easily speculated several additions to the panel of Ministers in recent future. Previously there were 51 cabinet Ministers and the final number can be close to it. Several opposition MPs are too eager to strengthen the hands of the President who is desperate for two third majority in the parliament. Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa retained several most powerful Ministries under himself. The cabinet portfolios that are in the President's hand are Minister of Defence, Minister of Finance & Planning, Minister of Ports and Aviation and Minister of Highways. Significantly, a Minister of Media and Information has not been appointed. As a result the subject has automatically come under the purview of the Presi

Sri Lanka's JVP again resorting to anti devolution politics

(April 23,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   Sri Lanka's prominent left movement People's Liberation Front (JVP) that lost a number of parliamentary seats they held since 2004, seems to resort to anti devolution politics once again to find a path to get out of the stalemate they are stuck in now. JVP, that sprang out of village Sinhala youth in late 60s and early 70s inherited a mint of anti Tamil Sinhala chauvinism from its beginning and it widely resorted to anti devolution politics in its second uprising in late 1980s. After the repression in 1989 in which almost the entire leadership was eliminated, JVP re-entered mainstream politics in 1994. Since then, the JVP's political strategies were decided in a fear psychosis vis-a-vis breakaway Sinhala arch nationalist leader Champika Ranawaka. JVP was always in fear that Ranawaka would win the Sinhala radical youth from them and moved in nationalist path in a race with Ranawaka trying to overtake him. This conflict paved way

Upcountry Tamil politicians of Sri Lanka divide and lose in Badulla

(April 20,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   The election result of Upcountry Badulla district of Sri Lanka proves the fact that the minorities may lose when they are divided. Upcountry Tamils failed to win a single seat in Badulla district despite they have a considerable population there. This is notable in the context they have secured this seat since a long time and they had two seats in the previous parliament. In 1994, Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) contested under United National Front (UNF) and both Wadiwel Suresh and M. Sachchiththananthan elected into parliament. Suresh joined the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party first. Later the CWC decided to support the government. Both Upcountry Tamil MPs were given Minister posts. Later Sachchiththananthan quitted quit the CWC and joined United National Party. In 2010, Suresh contested under ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) while Sachchiththananthan contested under UNF ticket. Both lost. In 2010, five Upcountry Tam

The Prime Ministerial musical chair of Sri Lanka

D.M. Jayarathna (April 19,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   In Sri Lanka's history of executive presidency, always the Prime Minister has become the successor to the post sans single occasion. It was when President D.B. Wijethunga, the successor of slain President R. Premadasa, did not contest for a second term. The Premier under a President who is in his second term has always become the next President.  President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to commence his second term this year. Who will be the Premier of the next parliament in Sri Lanka? Whoever he (probably not 'she' under the present context) is, he will definitely be the next President, we guarantee. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is ambitious to change the constitution before the end of his second term and he will try to be the next state head, either President or Premier. He is now training his elder son 24-year-old Namal Rajapaksa to be the hair to the throne.  In 2004, the major partner of the ruling coalition

Minister Mervin Silva's illegal ban of liquor in Kelaniya

Mervin Silva following a brawl with the employees of state-owned national television (April 18,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )   Mervin Silva of Kelaniya has banned sale of liquor in his stronghold Kelaniya electorate. He has announced this through public addressing systems. The ex-Minister of Labor has banned not only illicit liquor but also the sales at licensed liquor shops. Thirty seven liquor outlets in the electorate have now remain closed in fear of Mervin Silva's rogues. This ex-Minister Mervin Silva is famous for his notoriety. He was reported a close associate of a person called Kudu Lal, a top level drug peddler who had to flee the country amidst government's proclaimed war against underworld. Media reported that the ex-Minister personally escorted Kudu Lal to the plane to prevent him from being abducted. Silva was at the bottom of the preferential votes list of Colombo district with just around 2000 votes at 2004 general election. But then President Chandrika

2010 general election of Sri Lanka

(April 10,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Sri Lanka's election is almost finished. Thanks to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's henchmen Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Susantha Punchinilame, the results of Kandy and Trincomalee districts and the final result too is delayed. Re-polling for some stations costs millions of rupees to public coffers. Who cares? No wonder the culprits are rewarded with handsome portfolios. The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) swept into the parliament with a close to two third majority. But, they will need to buy several opposition MPs to achieve two third that they vie for a change of constitution. Who will cross over? Monaragala district United National Front (UNF) MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara can be expected to d so since the UNF leadership campaigned to defeat him since he was accused of deforming the UNF nomination list. The government has promised to slash the cabinet to 35 or 40 heads and half of the Ministers that are re-elected w

Sri Lanka's fertilizer subsidy; Robbing Martin Ayiya to pay Bandayiya

(April 01,  Colombo -  Lanka Polity )  Sri Lanka Minister of Agricultural Development Agrarian services Maithripala Sirisena said proudly addressing a pres briefing held in Mahaweli Center, Colombo that the government spends Rs. 65 billion annually for the fertilizer subsidy. This subsidy goes mainly to the rice industry. The Minister said that the government bore a cost of Rs. 26,065 per an acre for fertilizer subsidy since 2005. Eight paddy cultivation seasons have passed since the initiation of the fertilizer subsidy and the cost for the government for a farmer that owns two and half acres is Rs. 521,300, he said. The cost for a farmer that owns three acres is Rs. 625,560 while the cost for a farmer that owns five acres in major farmer colonies is Rs. 1,042,600. Sri Lanka provides a 50 kilo bag of fertilizer at a subsidized price of Rs. 350 for the farmers while the government purchases the same amount of fertilizer at a price well over twenty times the selling price. Fert