Monday, February 24, 2014

A drama from Sri Lankan prisoners at state drama festival

A scene from Rajitha Disanayaka's Weeraya Merila
Sri Lankan prisoners are to present a drama for the state drama festival this year.

The Prisons Department says that the drama that is staged in Tower Hall on February 28 is acted out completely by the prisoners.

The drama is named as Weeraya Merila Nehe, meaning the hero is not dead.

The title of the drama is an antonym of Weeraya Merila that means the hero is dead of renowned dramatist Rajitha Disanayaka.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why is arresting Kurunegala principal important in education

The principal and the victim
The special police investigation team of Sri Lanka Child Protection Authority arrested the principal of Sir John Kotalawala College of Kurunegala for child abuse.The principal was later granted bail by court.

The principal was accused of cruelty against a girl student of his school over a photo in Facebook that ultimately led the depressed girl commit suicide.

The principal was arrested over abusing the child mentally and verbally.

Fifteen persons have given evidence to the special police unit of Child Protection Authority over the mental and verbal abuse and humiliation done by the principal against the child.

The police unit said that the principal had been arrested after thoroughly studying the evidence.

This arrest can be considered historic in the pretext most of the inhuman acts of the school teachers and principals go unheeded in the so called respect to the teaching profession. The teachers and principals must be discouraged of physical and mental torture against children which they unleash in the guise of discipline.

First and foremost, the teachers and principals must be directed to respect the rights of the children. The dignity of the child must never be underestimated.

The school eventually must be a place where love and care prevails. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Sri Lanka nabs illegal export of scrap copper to Singapore

Sri Lanka Customs today arrested two containers of scrap copper which was on the way to be smuggled to Singapore.

The arrest was made at Colombo port. The Customs media spokesman Lesley Gamini said that the two container loads of scrap copper had been attempted to smuggle declaring them as equipment needed for garment factories.

He further said that the confiscated stock of scrap iron is worth of Rs. 22.5 million. Two persons have been arrested in relation to the smuggling attempt.

30% Cess Tax has also been imposed by Sri Lanka government to discourage copper scrap exports. Export of copper comes under heavy scrutiny from Customs Department and exporters need to obtain a special license from the government to legally export copper scrap. Sri Lanka imports 6.2 billion worth of copper annually for various local industries that need copper as raw material. It is estimated that 70 percent of the country's annual copper requirement can be balanced if Sri Lanka can halt the illegal export of copper.

(Colombo Page)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

How credible is Sri Lanka's Department of Census and Statistics?

Director General, Department of Census and Statistics, D.C.A. Gunawardena, Deputy Governor, Central Bank, Nandalal Weerasinghe and an official of the department. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe (Sunday Observer)
Director general of Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka D.C.A. Gunawardena re-assured that all national data and statistics are compiled and issued according to international standards.

Speaking through national radio Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, he further said that well trained and highly qualified officials had been deployed to prepare statistics. Therefore, no one could demean the quality of information issued by the department, he argued.

His statement came in the backdrop of the Department’s Account Division Director H.S. Wanasinghe alleging in December that the Director General of the Department of the Census and Statistics had advised him to ‘massage’ Sri Lanka’s economic growth rate.

Wanasinghe has been transferred out of the Department and faces a disciplinary inquiry by the Department. He made a detailed statement to an investigating officer during an initial inquiry leveling the charge.

The Department of Census and Statistics announced last week that the report of the census on human death and property damages during the three-decade long conflict would be released next month just ahead of the challenging United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva in March.

The major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance expressed doubts on the survey saying that the census conducted by the government on human and material losses due to the war will attempt to play down the number of casualties. 

The statement by Mr. Wanasinghe was read out in Parliament last week by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

“On June 14, 2013 I presented the national accounts for the first quarter to the Director General by way of an email at 4.53 p.m. Thereafter I went to my home in Kandy because it was the weekend. I was not present at the office on June 17 because I was not well and I informed the Deputy Director General Nigamuni. Half an hour later Ms. Nigamuni called me and told me that the Director General had insisted on the Economic Growth rate being changed to 6.0%,” Mr. Wanasinghe’s statement said.

The statement then details the process under which the calculations are done and said the economic growth rate was calculated at 5.5% following extensive discussions and expert analysis and opinion.

“On June 13, 2013, we had extensive discussions with the participation of the head statistician, assistant statistician, officials of the statistical department, senior statisticians, and the Deputy Director on the summary of the quarterly national accounts. It was thereupon calculated that the growth rate was 5.5% with a 0.1% difference from the previous. I thereafter e-mailed the Director General at 3.30 pm the same day the details,” the statement said.

The Director in his statement reveals that Ms. Nigamuni, the Deputy Director General had insisted that the necessary amendments were made as the Director General D.C.A Gunawardena was insisting on the matter being looked into immediately.

“When I told her that I will come the following day to office and make the necessary amendments according to the advice given to me, the Deputy Director General insisted that it be done immediately as the Director General was insisting on it. Thereafter I had to ‘Skype’ my colleagues and suggest that if we are to change the Economic Growth we would have to look at the primary data that was collected,” he said.

The Director said the previous figure derived for the Economic Growth was 5.4% and was forwarded to the Director General.

“On June 6, 2013, the Director General called me at around 8.30 p.m. on my mobile phone and asked me about my wellbeing and other such trivialities. Thereafter said he had looked at the estimates I sent him (of 5.4%). He wanted me to re-check the Agriculture, Banking, Internal Trade, Electricity, Food and Tobacco divisions. He said I should be mindful of the interpretations already released by the treasury and the Central Bank,” he said.

We have several questions:

  • Can Wananasinghe's statement be rejected based on the Director General's argument that it was mere personal conflict?

  • Now, an investigation is underway against Wanasinghe on disciplinary grounds. Is there any investigation about his allegation?

  • What steps will the government take to build up the lost credibility of the Department of Census and Statistics?

Life in Galle Face Sri Lanka -Xinhua

Xinhua News Agency published five photos depicting scenes at Galle Face with the title 'People's daily life in Colombo, Sri Lanka.&...