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Sri Lanka

The United States says Sri Lankan security service's focus on possible resurgence of the Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), affected the government's attention to emerging threats such as reports of Sri Lankan foreign terrorist fighters joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


With traffic snarls sounding alarm horns louder than ever before, the National Government has announced long and short term plans to ease the congestion.


Here’s a challenge: Name a country that is mono-ethnic, mono-religious and monolithic in terms of political beliefs.  There are none.  In Sri Lanka we have Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and other communities.  Some are Buddhists, some are Hindus, some are Christians of various denominations and some are Muslims. 


Sri Lanka sought a $1.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund last month after saddling itself with billions of dollars in Chinese loans. This is a reality check for reformers who hoped that last year’s election of the liberal-minded Maithripala Sirisena as President would alleviate fiscal woes.


With smoking now under increasingly heavy fire, Sri Lanka joins the international community today in marking World No-Tobacco Day. The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement has called on all countries to get ready for plain or standardised packaging of tobacco products. The WHO says plain packaging of tobacco products is an important demand reduction measure. 


The bumpy rides experienced as it flew through political tornadoes cost the Sri Lankan  flag carrier a cumulative loss in excess of Rs. 143 billion. Apart from the Rajapaksas who abused and misused the national carrier and did incalculable harm; the rest of the Executive Presidents, who invited family members or cronies to barge in to the cockpit [Excluding JRJ] should take the blame too for the disaster that commenced in the 1970s and continues to-date.  


Sri Lanka’s balance of payments is in dire straits. The country’s mounting foreign and domestic public debt, a huge fiscal deficit and a severe foreign exchange shortfall have led to potentially calamitous economic circumstances. Sri Lanka has not yet secured the means to meet its upcoming foreign loan repayments — US$4.5 billion is due over the next year, to be followed by another US$4 billion in the subsequent year.


If we look at Sri Lanka’s history, we have been subjected to many a natural disaster.  We have heard of famines in ancient times, tsunamis and floods and cyclones in recent times.  But as a people, we have always risen above these calamities, simply because we are always willing to help others in times of distress. Between 1950 and 1980, the Government Agent and his officials were so able to bring such a calamity under control.  


The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) said that soon after floods there is a possibility of an increase in vector borne diseases such as dengue, diarrhea (due to the consumption of unclean water) and fever.


When the civil war came to an end in May 2009, I was still a final year undergraduate at the Peradeniya University. It was many miles away from the war zone. The only avenues that supplied us with details about the happenings in the war theatre were TV channels.


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We owe it to ourselves to take a hard look at the way we conducted ourselves, diplomatically and politically in this entire NSG saga. We have ended up looking rather indigenous, a little immature and a bit desperate to grab things. What about some quiet diplomacy?

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