Category Archives: elephant tales

A Visitor from Deep Sea via Outer Space

 A bull shark visits Queensland 

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Peregrinations and Hallucinations in the Kumana Wild

DAVID GDavid Graham … a Comment which the Editor considers worthy of Individuated Airing

Interesting post — [that by Stefan d’Silva on  “Legend and Mystery in Kumana National Park”  ]. Didn’t hear about the nittaewo until one of the wildlife trackers told me about them on a trip in Kumana in 2014. My dad took my brother and me on big game hunts for wild boar in Okande in August 1963 and April 1964. Dad’s friend Dr. Guy Paranavitharne and his three sons were among the hunting party. Also along were my dad’s childhood friend Dr. Rajah Beddewela and Dr. Guy’s cousin Claude Abeywardena and his two sons.

47424388.cached editors’ addition from www.thedailybeast.com

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The Call of the Remote Wild: Kumana in SE Lanka

ATW Guneratne, courtesy of Daily News, 12 January 2016, where the title is “Wilderness is calling”

This remote Sinhalese village is situated in Eastern Sri Lanka, in the Yala East wild life park commonly known as Kumana. It is probably the only village inside a national park. Kumana village originated with the arrival of Sinhalese people who fled the upcountry areas following the 1818 Uwa Wellasa rebellion. Groups of people fled along rivers downstream to the Northern coast. Several families came down Kumbukan Oya and settled down close to the sea, near the mouth of Kumbukan oya. This is how Kumana village, Panama village 35 km from Kumana, and most of the Sinhalese villages in the East originated.

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Lavish Five-Star Picture of Sri Lanka as Travel Destination in traveller.com

Lee Tulloch, 8 January 2016 in http://www.traveller.com.au/sri-lanka-island-paradise-reborn-glx7uf

It may not be a case of ‘bye bye backpacker’ – they will still come for the beaches and inexpensive lifestyle – but this island nation now offers some of the finest small hotels and resorts in the world. The first time I visited Sri Lanka, four years ago, I was smitten by the sensuality of this tear-shaped island of terraced tea plantations, dense jungles, empty beaches, vine-covered ancient ruins, king coconut groves, cinnamon forests, and the fragile beauty of its dilapidated colonial-era architecture. I was not so smitten by the roads. Those days (and these) it could still take several hours to travel from Colombo to the highland tea plantations, a relatively short distance by Australian standards, on terrible thoroughfares, clogged with tuk-tuks, known as “three-wheelers” here, local buses blaring jangly music and trucks conveying elephants to new owners. There are new highways, built by Chinese chain gangs, but the hilly terrain still makes single-lane roads the norm. Continue reading

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Enjoy Sri Lanka with Romesh Ranganathan

Romesh Ranganathan, 30 Septmber 2015, courtey of http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/sep/30/asian-provocateur-romesh-ranganathan-in-sri-lanka?CMP=share_btn_tw

Cockney Lanka: Romesh Ranganathan in Asian Provocateur.
Cockney Lanka: Romesh Ranganathan in Asian Provocateur. Photograph: Benjamin Green/BBC/Rumpus Media

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The Sirisena-Wickremasinghe Promises and Schedule

Courtesy of the Daily News, 10 January 2015, where the title is  PRESIDENT MAITHRIPALA SIRISENA’S 100 DAY WORK PROGRAMME”

January 2015

Sunday January 11

A Cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

Monday January 12

In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of representatives of parties represented in Parliament as well as Civil Society organizations.

Monday January 19

Parliament will meet

Tuesday January 20

The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established and their Chairmanship will be given to representatives of all Ministers in consultation with the leaders of all parties represented in Parliament.

Wednesday January 21

The process will begin of abolishing the authoritarian executive presidential system and replacing it with an executive of a Cabinet of Ministers responsible to Parliament, and of repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with legislation to establish strengthened and independent institutions, including a Judicial Services Commission, a Police Commission, a Public Service Commission, an Elections Commission, a Commission against Bribery and Corruption and a Human Rights Commission. This will be through a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will be presented to Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible.

Wednesday January 28

An all party committee will be set up to put forward proposals to replace the current Preference Vote system and replace it with an Mixed Electoral System that ensures representation of individual Members for Parliamentary Constituencies, with mechanisms for proportionality.

Tuesday January 29

A Vote on Account will be introduced in Parliament to implement special measures to provide relief to the people by reducing the rising Cost of Living.

Thursday January 22

A Code of Conduct will be introduced for observation by all representatives of the People.

Wednesday January 30

Salaries will be raised and direct and indirect taxes on necessary goods and services will be reduced.

February 2015

Monday February 2

An Ethical Code of Conduct will be introduced legally for all representatives of the people.

Thursday February 4

Independence Day will be celebrated with re-establishment of Democracy and Good Governance and the Sovereignty of the People.

Thursday February 5

Special Commissions will be appointed to investigate allegations of massive corruption in the preceding period

Friday February 6

A Bill to implement the National Drugs policy will be tabled, following adoption of the Policy by Cabinet.

Wednesday February 18

Independent Commissions will be established and required appointments made

Thursday February 19

The National Audit Bill will be introduced and passed within 3 weeks

Friday February 20

The Right to Information Bill will be introduced and passed within 3 weeks

March 2015

Monday March 2

New elections laws will be prepared in accordance with the proposals put forward by the all party committee

Tuesday March 17

Amendments to change the system of elections will be placed before Parliament and passed as swiftly as possible

Wednesday March 18

The National Drugs Policy will be passed by Parliament

Thursday March 19

The National Audit Bill will be passed by Parliament

Friday March 20

The Right to Information Act will be passed by Parliament

Monday March 23

The Constitutional Council will be set up and the process of making appointments to and establishing Independent Commissions will begin

April 2015

Monday April 20

A Parliamentary system will be put in place instead of the Executive Presidential system.

Thursday April 23

Parliament will be dissolved and free and fair elections held under a caretaker government.

Following that election, the Prime Minister will be appointed from the party getting the highest number of seats at such election, with a Deputy Prime Minister from the party getting the next highest number.

A National Government of all parties represented in Parliament will be established to govern for a period of at least two years.

Under that government a National Policy Framework will be formulated to deal with the principal challenges the country faces, and a political culture will be developed to act in accordance with that Framework.

The nation is suffering from authoritarianism, and decisions taken by a few family members with no consultation of or care for the people.

The destruction of ethical and socio-cultural values has led to grave suffering, through massive waste and abuse and corruption and absolute impunity. We need therefore to provide immediate relief to those who are oppressed, and embark on social and economic reforms that will restore normalcy and lead to prosperity for all.

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1. The salaries of public servants will be raised by Rs 10,000 a month. Immediate relief will be provided by a payment of Rs 5,000 in February. A consolidated salary scheme will be put in place then, to cover all arrears

2. Full relief will be provided on the loans given to public servants for the purchase of motor cycles. Those who have paid previously will be refunded.

3. Graduates from whom virtual slave labour is obtained will be given regular appointments in a systematic fashion, and opportunities for promotion will be provided in accordance with suitable criteria.

4. An allowance of Rs 5,000 will be paid to pensioners, pending adjustment of anomalies in pensions.

5. Rs 1 million of the deposits in State Banks of each pensioner will receive interest of 15%.

6. The Samurdhi Allowance will be increased to 200% of the present rate to a maximum of Rs 2,000.

7. Pregnant mothers will be given an allowance of Rs 20,000 to supplement nourishment.

z_p14-President-02.jpg8. Excessive taxes will be lowered to reduce prices on ten essential food items. At the same time, special provisions will be put in place for protection of those producing such goods locally.

9. The current excessive taxes on fuel, amounting to around Rs 40 billion a year, will be removed and the benefits of this reduction in cost will be passed on to consumers.

10. The efficiency of both state and private transport services for the public will be improved through providing appropriate incentives to the transport sector.

11.The price of a cylinder of domestic gas will be reduced by Rs 300.

12.The guaranteed purchase price for a kilogramme of rice will be Rs 50.

13.The guaranteed purchase price for a kilogramme of potatoes will be Rs 80.

14.The guaranteed purchase price for a kilogramme of tea leaves will be between Rs 80 and 90.

15.The guaranteed purchase price for rubber will be Rs 350 per kilogramme.

16. The guaranteed purchase price paid to dairy farmers for a litre of milk will be raised by Rs 10 from the present Rs 60.

17. Relief of 50% will be provided on loans taken by farmers, and the remainder will be compounded to allow for payment on easy terms.

18. The low quality fertilizer that threatens life as well as soil and produce will be replaced by fertilizer of better quality that conforms to regular standards

19. Instead of low quality fertilizer tea smallholders will be provided with fertilizer of better quality that conforms to regular standards

20. Compensation of Rs 1 million will be paid to fishermen who lose their lives at sea through an insurance scheme with state contributions

21. An insurance scheme for crops will be introduced for farmers with state contributions

22. A new pensions scheme will be introduced for farmers and fishermen.

23. A pensions scheme will be introduced for Three Wheeler Drivers, Masons and Carpenters and those engaged in small scale retail trade and other informal occupations.

24. A pensions scheme will be introduced for migrant workers, and the interest on their NRFC deposits will be increased by 2 ½%.

25. A programme will be put in place to ensure support and protection for the families of migrant workers in the Middle East and elsewhere who provide an invaluable service to the country through their labour

26. Relief will be provided on the interest and penalties payable on pawned gold items upto a value of Rs 200,000

27. Measures will be taken to provide relief to those caught in a debt trap though falling prey to various promises made by finance companies, credit card scams and pyramid schemes

28. New laws will be put in place to prevent abuse of women, abuse of children and sexual harassment of women and measures taken to ensure that women and children can live without fear in Sri Lanka,

with responsibility undertaken to enforce the laws effectively

29.Measures will be put in place to protect those of all races widowed during the conflict, and their families.

30.So as to increase the participation of women in political decision making, legislation will be introduced to ensure at least 25% of women’s representation in Provincial Councils and Local Government bodies.

31.To fully overcome the unemployment problem that affects our young people, we will put in place a million jobs programme for local and foreign employment and for self-employment

32. We will strengthen provisions that enable young people to hold opinions and express them freely, and illustrate them creatively, and to freely enjoy the rights associated with youth

33. Wi-fi will be made available free of charge in Centres in every town to facilitate Internet access

34. The Youth Parliament will be given financial powers to implement projects relating to youth proposed by the Youth Council and other youth organizations, and will receive an allocation of Rs 250 million for this purpose for 2015.

35. Those engaged in Small and Medium Industries who have fallen into a debt trap and been blacklisted by CRIB, and those who suffer the same because of credit card debts, will be relieved from this through an easy repayment scheme.

36. Instead of the hijacking of the economy by a few individuals engaged in deals with regard to casinos and drugs and ethanol, we will develop a national business sector working towards the prosperity of the country, in particular by establishing schemes of credit on easy terms for Small and Medium Enterprises.

37. To develop more jobs and increase exports we will regain the GSP+ provisions that were lost

38. We will review the current programme to integrate finance companies and banks

39. An institution will be established to regulate and develop micro-finance

40.A Bureau will be set up to protect Small Enterprises.

41. To promote the Trishaw business, a government office will be set up inclusive of Trishaw drivers and the banking sector.

42.We will set out to raise to 3% the current 1.8% allocated for the free Health Service.

43.All drugs needed by patients attending government hospitals will be made available without shortages in those very hospitals.

44.An intensive programme will be implemented to swiftly get through the waiting lists for patients at government hospitals.

45.Government hospitals will offer services to out patients until 10 pm every day.

46. We will put a stop pending investigation into import of fertilizer and chemical substances suspected of contributing to kidney disease, while immediately preparing plans for short term and long term measures to deal with the problem, and ensuring their implementation.

47. Steps will be taken to put in place an effective institution to regulate trade in food items, cosmetics, drugs and other essential items.

48. Steps will be taken to strengthen ayurvedic health services

49. Measures will be taken to efficiently coordinate services in Western, Eastern and Indigenous medicine and provide a unified service to the people

50.We will set in place a programme to systematically eliminate the drug menace, that includes heroin and ganja, and institute with international support a comprehensive, quick and effective rehabilitation scheme for youngsters addicted to these substances.

51. A special consolidated Task Force will be set in place to deal with drug abuse

52. Pictorial warnings with regard to the dangers of smoking will be increased to 80%.

53.Casino businesses which were granted excessive tax relief in opposition to the advice of the Mahanayakes and the views of the people will have their licenses revoked.

54. We will put a stop to the Ethanol scam which avoided payment of required taxes.

55. We will set out to raise to 6% the current 1.7% allocated for free Education.

56. Powers with regard to universities which are now exercised by the Minister will be restored to the universities through the University Grants Commission, and the politicization of the universities will be halted.

57. Mahapola scholarships at universities will be raised to Rs 5,000.

58. Provision will be made for all those who qualify in three subjects at Advanced Level to study towards obtaining a degree or diploma

59. A fair scheme for admission to Grade 1 will be instituted and implemented transparently. Those who have suffered from abuse in this regard will be provided with immediate relief.

60. Delays in admitting students to schools will be stopped and all students will be guaranteed entry to Grade 1 at the beginning of the school year

61. The Circular regarding religious education in schools will be made applicable to all schools, and a committee with representation of all religions will be established to monitor its implementation

62. International schools will be made subject to monitoring by the State.

63. Current excessive taxes on fishing boats, nets, equipment and engines will be removed.

64. We will put a stop to the incursions of foreign boats into our national waters.

65. Measures will be taken to revive the European Union market from which our fish is now being excluded.

66. A Meteorological Inquiry service will be established to provide accurate information immediately to fishermen with regard to storms and other dangers.

67. Immediate steps will be taken to repair irrigation channels that have fallen into disuse.

68. Immediate steps will be taken to clear up reservoirs that have silted up.

69.The heroic members of the armed forces who are deployed in menial work such as cutting grass, sweeping roads and clearing drains will go back to only fulfilling the regular duties appropriate to the forces.

70. The present politicization with regard to promotions in the police force will be replaced with a transparent scheme based on capacity, skills, commitment and efficiency.

71.The seniority of officers of the regular police force will be safeguarded and any irregularities arising from integration of the auxiliary police force into the regular police force will be corrected.

72. There will be an immediate stop to using members of the armed forces for the protection of Ministers and politicians and their family members. Police protection will be provided in accordance with clear specifications, and the practice of Ministers and politicians inconveniencing the public by travelling with security vehicles will be halted.

73. Steps will be taken to provide land ownership and proper housing to plantation workers instead of their current confinement in line rooms

74. Facilities will be provided in schools for the children of plantation workers in the Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Matale and Kegalle Districts to have access to education in the Tamil medium upto university level including in Science.

75. Relief will be provided to all those illegally displaced for various reasons from their homes and lands.

76. The value will be calculated of the housing and land of which residents of Colombo have been deprived, and that will be deducted from the housing loans they are now paying.

77. A programme will be implemented swiftly to provide housing to the hundreds of thousands who have no shelter.

78. A democratic civil administration will be put in place in North and South

79.Through legal and social means steps will be taken to prevent actions and speech that lead to denigration of other races and religions and of religious leaders, and spread hatred between those of different races and religions.

80. Protection will be provided to all places of religious worship.

81. National and Local Councils of religious leaders will be set up to promote reconciliation between those of different religions and work effectively against the spread of religious animosities.

82. Measures will be taken to preserve and protect archaeological sites.

83. Outlets for alcohol will be removed from the vicinity of places.

of religious worship ncluding the Temple of the Tooth, and car races in those areas will be stopped.

84. Proposed amendments to the Buddhist Temporalities Act will be finalized after consultation of the Heads of Buddhist Orders to obtain their advice and guidance and approval.

85. A programme will commence to develop pirivena education and train teachers for religious instruction.

86. The foundation will be laid for an International University which will also work towards raising educational standards at pirivenas to international standards.

87. Laws will be passed swiftly to put a stop to ill-treatment of animals.

88. Hindrances to the work of Civil Society groups concerned with economic and social development, environmental issues, and with issues of Good Governance and Human Rights, will be removed

89. A culture will be established that safeguards and values the independence and artistic integrity of practitioners of the arts.

90. Both immediate and long term measures will be taken to safeguard the independence of media personnel and institutions.

91. The Right to Freedom of Thought and Expression will be strengthened.

92. Parliamentary proceedings will be telecast live.

93. Since Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute regarding international jurisdiction with regard to war crimes, ensuring justice with regard to such matters will be the business of national independent judicial mechanisms.

94. Their positions and rights will be restored to victims of political revenge and punishments, including former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, and 43rd Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.

95. A respected Foreign Service free of political interference will be re-established

96. Areas designated by law as Environmentally Protected Lands will be protected and care taken to safeguard their boundaries.

97. Areas of environmental importance which are now subject to threats of destruction will be further identified and necessary steps taken to protect them.

98. Steps will be taken, using contemporary international technological knowledge, to restore areas of environmental importance that have been harmed or are suffering threats.

99. The Wild Life Protection Ordinance will be effectively implemented without fear or favour.

100. It will be compulsory to have an Environmental Assessment Study at the very inception of any development projects.

See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/president-maithripala-sirisena-s-100-day-work-programme#sthash.6Qs3avfg.dpuf

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Engaging Razeen Sally’s Review of Sri Lanka’s Economic and Political Scenario

Michael Roberts

razeen sallyRazeen Sally is an acquaintance and a reputed scholar attached to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. When I spotted his review of the Sri Lankan economy and its political setting in the prestigious Wall Street Journal in mid-December, I immediately inserted it in THUPPAHI with a feisty title of my own coinage. This was in part because I had reservations about some of his evaluations. These thoughts arose in part from some of the economic indicators emphasised by one Jon Springer of the prestigious Forbes agency in USA.

In part my queries arose from my readings of the political economy of Sri Lanka in spatio-economic terms on the basis of my historical and political researches. Several themes associated with this peculiar respective had already been presented in my review of the issues surrounding the construction of a cricket stadium at Sooriyawewa as one pillar in the Rajapaksa family’s “cultivation” of their “home garden,” viz., Hambantota District — an essay that had earned me a reprimand (private email) from a good friend in Jayantha Dhanapala and attracted sarcastic comments in transcurrents. Continue reading

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