Regions and Centre in Constitutional Gymnastics: Italian Lessons for Sri Lanka

Rajan Philips,  courtesy of The Island. 4 December 2016,where the title reads “Constitutional Reform: Complacent government, carping contrarians and Italy’s referendum” … Emphasis added b Editor, Thuppahi

As Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform proposals are making their way from the backstage into public view, Italy held a referendum yesterday on a constitutional reform proposal to significantly emasculate the Senate in the country’s bicameral system. Coming on the heels of British Brexit and American ‘Trumpit’, the Italian referendum has morphed from being a narrow constitutional question into another occasion for testing the rise of western populism. Like David Cameron in Britain, Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, has quite unnecessarily turned the referendum into a plebiscite on himself, vowing to resign if the constitutional proposal were defeated at the referendum. A majority of Italian voters might just take their PM on his offer and throw him out. That would be a huge victory for Beppe Grillo, national comedian turned populist (political) outsider, and an equally huge setback for the increasingly shaky European Union.

rajans-map    aa1982-referendum

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USA and the World: Donald Trump’s Three Trumps

Thomas Wright, courtesy of The Atlantic, 7 November 2016, where the title is How Donald Trump Could Change the World”

Last week, Thomas Wright, an expert on U.S. foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, made a bold claim on Twitter about the presidential race in the United States. “Pretty clear this is the most important election anywhere in the world since the two German elections of 1932,” he wrote, in reference to the parliamentary elections that ultimately resulted in Adolf Hitler coming to power. “No other election has had the capacity to completely overturn the international order—the global economy, geopolitics, etc.”
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Constitutional Issues via Architectural Form: Sharp Interest from People, Somnolence from Politicoes

Sanjana Hattotuwa, courtesy of The Island, 3 December 2016, where the title is “Corridors of Power” … with highlighting emphasis inserted by Editor Thuppahi.

I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember a time when I was so frustrated with the Rajapaksa regime’s blatant disregard for the constitution that I wondered how best I could communicate a critique of power to even those who would vote for, and loved him. This was after the 18th Amendment, late 2010. I was interested in a way to engage with what I hated to see come about, in full knowledge, at the time, that those opposed to what Mahinda Rajapaksa did were in a minority. I had one relatively successful previous attempt which suggested when instead of presenting a contrasting opinion, which can be variously, violently and immediately dismissed, a way to debate the substance of a contentious issue is created, a rather different timbre of engagement ensues.

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Bosoms Galore

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… and Bosoms PLUS the-bosom-and-the-pope

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Appreciative Assessments of Fidel Castro: Wight and Jayatilleka

ONE: John Wight:Breaking the Chains of Empire: the Enduring Legacy of Fidel Castro,” in Counter Punch, 28 November 2016, 

Fidel Castro dedicated his life to the resistance of empire and the ocean of injustice and oppression inflicted in its name. Though his death may mark the end of the man, it gives birth to a legend that will endure for centuries to come. Such is the legacy that Fidel leaves behind it is impossible to fully comprehend the sheer magnitude of the role he played in breaking the chains of millions across the Third World, both literally and figuratively, in defiance of the racist conceit of apologists for imperialism. From leading a revolution that succeeded against the odds in toppling the pro-Washington dictator, Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he went on to not only make history but mold and shape it thereafter.

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The Union of Pakistan and India: An Unique Moment in Cricket and Politics

in  Cricket Country, 13 February 2016, where the title is “World Cup 1996: India and Pakistan combine to beat Sri Lanka

“This is the first time that India and Pakistan are playing as one team its history.”

aa-wasim-sachin We have all speculated what would have happened had these two played together. It happened that day © Getty Images

February 13, 1996. Australia and West Indies cited security reasons and declined to visit Sri Lanka for their league matches. India and Pakistan, co-hosts of World Cup 1996, sent a combined team to Sri Lanka to play against the hosts, thereby sending a message to the sceptics. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at a surreal day of cricket when India and Pakistan took the field alongside each other. Continue reading

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The Muslims in Sri Lanka: Trends, Dangers, Failures

ameer_ali-140x150ACL Ameer Ali,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is Paranoia & Paralysis: The Buddhist-Muslim Tragicomedy” …  Note that the highlighting emphasis below is that of the Edito , Thuppahi

The military victory led by an overwhelmingly Sinhala-Buddhist army over the tyrannous LTTE in 2009 has, among other things, injected in the minds of certain sections of the Buddhist community that Sri Lanka belongs only to the Sinhala Buddhists and others are permitted to live here only at the behest of the Buddhists. This twisted ideology which is now developing into an anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-Tamil paranoia is totally contradictory not only to the noble teachings of the Enlightened Buddha but also and more significantly to the millennial historical tradition of ethnic and religious tolerance indelibly engraved in the long legacy of the island’s Buddhist monarchs. To deny this historical truth is to court intellectual dishonesty.

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