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Monumental blunders paralysing Sri Lanka

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The late JR Jayawardena: Accomplished a disastrous programme of attacking the basic principles of democracy

Sri Lanka was hailed as a potential paradise, at the time it gained independence from British rule, in 1948. Sadly, after 73 years of misrule by the homegrown leaders, we are languishing as one of the poorest countries, on the verge of bankruptcy. It is worth probing into the past to identify what went wrong, and see whether even belatedly a course correction can be attempted. I will confine myself to the post-independence era, being born a “free man” just an year after that landmark event, but now just one of over 22 million citizens fully in debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of rupees each. The leaders that guided us towards this sorry state should bear the blame.

We are a nation with a rich heritage, an incomparable mix of multi-ethnic and multicultural diversity, adding colour and variety to the societal landscape. Our natural resources are known to be enormous, in proportion to the relatively small land area. Unfortunately, it appears that these are the very virtues that make the nation languish without progress on all fronts. By boasting incessantly about the glories of the past, without basing our efforts on those achievements for future progress, the nation is in an unenviable position. Bad economic planning with no long-term policies, political brinkmanship, and communal disharmony, created by shortsighted actions of the leaders, have been mainly responsible for our sorry plight. Unlike many other developing countries we have not had long-term plans, like a five year or a ten-year plan. With change of government, every few years, an entirely new “development plan” is instituted, discontinuing all good that was done by the predecessors.

From the very beginning, Sri Lankans were unable to reach a consensus for peaceful coexistence with the minorities. It is true the majority community had to re-establish its rightful position, after prolonged discriminative policies, during colonial rule. It is also true that the minorities all over the world tend to ask for more than their fair share. Yet our leaders were not far sighted enough to control popular sentiments, giving into majority demands to the dismay of others. The Sinhala Only policy after 1956 turned out to be one of the most disastrous. It showed the minorities, in no uncertain terms, that they will forever be second class citizens in their land of birth. That can be singled out as the most harmful event that initiated ethnic disharmony.

Free education has failed to adapt to present day needs, producing graduates and others who are not suited for productive employment. Educational reforms, to keep pace with the ongoing technological advances, are slow to come by. The arts stream, taking in a large proportion of undergraduates, continues to produce graduates with little prospect of employment. Eventually, the government is compelled to employ them in pensionable posts with little in return for development.

 

Masses in poverty

Democracy is considered as one of the best forms of governance. This is so only with an electorate with high literacy, good quality of life, everyone if not the vast majority above poverty line, and future prospects for peaceful existence guided by leaders with foresight and without greed for self-aggrandizement. In the absence of these vital components, democracy could be a recipe for chaos. This unfortunately has been the curse of Sri Lankans. Successive governments have failed to improve the quality of life of the people. Instead, it appears that the leaders would prefer to keep the masses in poverty, allowing the politicians to rule forever exploiting their misery. Though called a paradise blessed with vast natural resources and a manageable population, the country situated in a strategically important position in the Indian Ocean, all features ideal for rapid development, is cursed with a corrupt self-seeking leadership over so many decades since gaining independence.

The attacks on democracy started seriously with the postponement of elections in 1975, for two years. However, it was the advent of JR Jayawardena, as President of the Republic, in 1978, that was a watershed in the politics of the country. Here was a man people looked up to as a great democrat, with maturity, education and an upbringing in a respectable and economically sound family background. He had long term experience in politics, had actively participated in the independence struggle, and could stand shoulder to shoulder with any world leader. He did not have to worry about perpetuating a family dynasty and had only about 10 years to fulfill the great expectations of his people. He was given a thumping majority at the elections so that he could usher in an era of prosperity, a free and just society — his slogan for the election campaign, without any significant hindrance from the emasculated opposition.

Paradoxically, what he accomplished was a disastrous programme of attacking the basic principles of democracy. Those changes laid the groundwork for ongoing corruption and fraud by the politicians to this day, which we find almost impossible to extricate ourselves from, nearly half a century later. A new constitution, concentrating power in the hands of a president who could function above the laws of the country with immunity, was instituted in 1978, with hardly any public consultation. Removing the civic rights of the respected and well-loved lady Prime Minister, was an act of unimaginable vengeance, which could be considered as one of his worst acts. Removing Tamil members from parliament on the pretext of them not honouring the constitution, thus denying them the forum to air their grievances, was a major step that led to the escalation of terrorist activity. Obtaining signed but undated letters of resignation from the people’s representatives made them dummies, with no chance of giving independent opinions. He amended the constitution at will to suit his immediate petty needs. The Parliament, elected on the first past the post system was treated as if it was on proportional representation. The highly questionable referendum in 1982, to extend the life of the Parliament for another term, remains as one of the biggest black marks in parliamentary history.

 

Perks and priviges

Members of Parliament were given all perks and privileges to ensure that they were kept happy without hindering or questioning the President’s programme. Luxury duty free vehicles, residences in Colombo, even to those with private residences in the city, were among them. They themselves decide what their emoluments should be. The palatial official residences given to ministers, in the most fashionable areas in the city, makes one wonder whether we are living in a highly developed first world country. It is unimaginable that a life-long pension is granted after just five years of “service” (rather self-service) in Parliament, when an ordinary citizen has to toil for at least 20 years to earn a paltry pension.

The ex-presidents are given the choice of any residence in any part of Colombo for them and their spouses to live in retirement, until death. It is shameful that at least two of them still enjoy that facility even after they have returned to active politics. Why the government is obliged to provide office facilities and security details to even the widows of ex-presidents is beyond reason.

These measures have burdened our economy to such an extent that is impossible for a debt-ridden country like ours to bear. It is not possible to relieve ourselves from this burden, as current or future incumbents, are unlikely to be patriotic or generous enough to give them up. Opening the economy without any safeguards led to perpetuation of bribery and corruption. Whatever economic benefits from the Accelerated Mahaweli Programme, free trade zones and the like are far outweighed by the ongoing overbearing financial burdens described above. One wonders whether the main function of the Sri Lankan state is to maintain in comfort the past and present politicians and their families.

Interference with the judiciary, while professing a just and free society all the time, was most despicable. Residences of judges who gave adverse verdicts were stoned by their goons. This was taken to new low levels decades later, when a chief justice who gave a verdict unfavourable to the government was removed unconstitutionally, and more or less physically thrown out of her official residence. The one who replaced her was arbitrarily removed later. More recently, the amendment to the constitution that enabled the President to handpick the judges, will turn out to be the last nail in the coffin of an independent judiciary.

Youth unrest was simmering for some time. It was JRJ’s policies that created situations that led to the eruption of armed rebellions, both in the North and the South. The immense damage these did to the nation, on all fronts, domestically and internationally, is too well known to be dealt with in detail here, and is bound to plague the nation for a very long time. JRJ can be labeled as the leader who initiated the downfall of our democracy, despite having the full knowledge of how unbridled powers could derail the nation’s path to progress. The most unfortunate situation is that the leaders who followed, every one of them of a lesser predisposition, intellectually, have had no hesitation in using him as the benchmark to judge their own performance, and giving that as an excuse to justify their own antidemocratic and corrupt activities.

 

Unfortunate events

The unfortunate events of July 1983 were the beginning of the darkest period in the post independence era of this country. The cost in human and material terms of the ensuing civil war over nearly three decades is unimaginable. The Diaspora, that established themselves abroad as a consequence, continues to be an ever worsening international headache for the country. While winning the war in 2009 was a remarkable achievement, successive governments have failed to capitalize on that, and counter the international fallout regarding alleged human rights violations. Lack of a coherent policy in tackling this issue, compounded by very poor amateurish diplomatic efforts, is making the nation a “wanted criminal”. Political expediency blaming each other to remain in power is a continuing destructive saga.

With the entire country giving a sigh of relief by eliminating the terrorists in 2009, immediate action should have been taken to alleviate the suffering of the people in the North and East. A firm policy should have been developed to address whatever grievances that led to the rebellion in the first place. With the overwhelming popularity of the leadership, the Southern populace would have accepted whatever was offered by a hand of friendship to minorities. Most unfortunately, the war-winning political leadership was more interested in making use of the “victory” to perpetuate their dynasty in power forever. Towards this end the Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists were encouraged in their divisive activities, further alienating the minorities. A golden opportunity for reconciliation was thus buried in political expediency.

Billions of dollars obtained as loans at commercial rates of interest, have been used for extravagant projects which do not bring in returns that would go towards paying them back. Now more loans are being taken, purely to service what has been obtained already. Caught in this vicious cycle, the nation goes down an abysmal path towards financial bankruptcy in the near future.

The North is languishing in a multitude of social problems which need political will, much planning and financial investment to be sorted out. Along with high rates of poverty, unemployment and landlessness is the added burden of drug addiction and resultant antisocial activities of the youth. The locals are under the impression that the police or the armed forces do not take any action to control the drug menace or may even actively promote that. While dealing with the civil society should be a function of the police, it is accepted that the armed forces should remain in the North and East at a sufficient scale to ensure the non-resurgence of terrorist activity. It should be kept in mind that the latter objective is best achieved by winning the hearts of the people. As the Northern and Eastern population is an integral part of the Sri Lankan citizenry, one cannot go on ill-treating them as the vanquished in a battle. However, many of the activities of the law enforcement authorities have caused suspicion with the local populace that could defeat the very purpose they are supposed to serve.

The role of the Army along with the Buddhist priests in establishing new places of worship or reviving temples that have remained dormant for many decades in areas with hardly any Buddhist residents is being treated with suspicion. Buddhist monks from elsewhere are being “planted” in these temples. As there are hardly any Buddhists in the vicinity, they are being serviced and provided with security by the Army. It appears that the local non-Buddhist population is coerced by the forces into participating in various religious functions. These activities may give the impression that there could be a sinister long- term plan to colonise the area with Sinhala Buddhists.

 

Rebels in the North

It is known that thousands of Sinhalese and Muslim long-term residents were driven out of the North by rebels at the very beginning of the conflict. They may be allowed to return if they so wish, although such voluntary return seems unlikely in the present circumstances. Although the concept of a Tamil homeland may not be recognized, the fact that Tamil Hindus were the vast majority in the North for hundreds of years should be accepted and respected. Any seemingly state-sponsored attempts to upset that demography will undoubtedly arouse much hostility. It is disappointing that the committee appointed recently to preserve the cultural heritage in the North and East has no representation of the minorities.

The local Tamil population naturally is thoroughly disgusted with all these infringements in their neighbourhood. It will not be possible to go on alienating the minorities any more, making them keep their dream of an Ealam alive. It is inevitable that they seek the help of like minded people in India or the influential Diaspora in the West as the Sri Lankan authorities are turning a blind eye to their grievances. As a result the allegations of human rights violations against the Sri Lankan state would be a continuing problem to deal with at the international forums, like the UNHRC.

The situation in the Eastern Province with demography of sizable proportions of all three ethnicities, poses a different set of problems to be sorted out. The sensitive issue of alleged intrusion by a culture foreign to what we have known so far, has to be solved with much foresight and care.

The way all the warnings about the possible Easter bombing were ignored is inexplicable. The resultant catastrophe should be fully blamed on the leaders in government and intelligence services at the time. Political games played without finding out the actual culprits who planned the massacre, would guarantee another attack in the foreseeable future. It is frightening to note that those close to the current leadership are being blamed, though without proof so far, as the masterminds of the mass murder.

Ignoring the lessons learned by giving overwhelming powers to one party in the past, the electorate has given two-thirds majority to the present government. To make matters worse the 20th Amendment to the constitution has concentrated immense authority on the President. All that was achieved by the 19th Amendment, despite a few shortcomings, by ensuring parliamentary control of presidential action has been reversed. Removal of independent Commissions dealing with the judiciary, public service, police etc has installed an autocratic President, who is not accountable to the Parliament, and hence to the people. With his military background and hardly any experience in politics, the President is increasingly showing faith in the armed forces, and a small group of unscrupulous businessmen loyal to him to rule the country. How even the obvious civilian function of controlling the Covid epidemic is under the leadership of the Army commander is a glaring example. It becomes evident with every passing day that civilian rule in a democracy and international diplomacy, cannot be left in the hands of the armed forces. The details of allegations of many corrupt activities of the leaders and their cronies are already in the public domain. How democratically elected autocrats turned out to be ruthless dictators in many countries in the world is lost on the electorate.

Dismal situation

Having detailed all the blunders Sri Lanka as a nation has committed, is there a way out of this dismal situation? The electorate tired of the corrupt leadership chose to elect “non political” professionals at the last election. Their naivety in politics, with poor knowledge of the suffering of the masses is now fully exposed, making a mockery of governance. The periodic changing of the governing party at successive elections has been an exercise in futility. The civil society, along with well meaning religious leaders of all faiths without any political leanings, should take immediate steps to educate the people on the need to change this way of life. The press and electronic media should shed their political affiliations and work openly towards long term peace and prosperity of the nation. Social media should be fully mobilized and properly regulated, to keep people informed of the need for a radical change in their attitudes. All justifiable grievances of the minorities should be addressed with no further delay, so that they can be taken fully on board to forge peaceful coexistence and progress. The leaders should set an example to the people by being patriotic and truthful. It was exactly such a path that enabled Sri Lanka (and India) to overcome the might of the British Empire and gain independence. No doubt it is going to be an onerous task at a time when our own leaders are subjugating us.

 

A FREE THINKING

SINHALA BUDDHIST



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Opinion

WHO taken hostage by global corporate network

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by Dr Wasantha Bandara,
The Secretary,
Patriotic National Movement

According to the reports of various independent research institutes in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) is currently contemplating bringing the entire decision-making authority of the global health system under its control. It is also reported that WHO is planning to use two main devices for that purpose: the revision of the International Health Regulation system (IHR), and the signing of a new global epidemic convention to bind all countries of the world to the organisation’s strategic plan and the guidelines based on it.

This process is called “One Health Agenda” and that will give power to make decisions in respect of all areas affecting public health under the authority of the World Health Organization. Accordingly, the World Health Organization will have the power to influence decision making at the global level in relation to many fields such as food, agricultural production patterns, animal production process, environmental protection, population variables, etc. This situation is very serious due to the fact that the big companies that provide funding to the World Health Organization have been given decision-making power over the process and fields of deploying those funds. For example, if funds are provided for a specific project, the organisation does not have the power or ability to deploy the funds according to the priority, no matter how critical the priorities are. As such it cannot be hidden that the World Health Organization currently determines technical decisions and set priorities according to the wishes of funders.

As such, many researchers have revealed that WHO is almost completely dependent on private funds for all its budgetary requirements. According to Dr. David Bell’s research reports, the biggest funder of that organisation is Bill Gates and the umbrella organisations dominated by him. Dr. David Bell accuses Bill Gates of using his funds as leverage to shut down the entire world and introduce mandatory vaccination programmes during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is no secret that a large vaccine market was created and the accounts of large companies were fattened. It has now been revealed that the Bill Gates and Melinda Gates Foundation invested large amounts of money for it even before the pandemic. However, even though the orders are given by WHO for epidemic control, the programmes in every country of the world should be launched with the funds of the taxpayers of those countries.

Accordingly, WHO is accused of having destroyed 200,000 small businesses in the world while 40 new billionaires were created by the end of the Covid epidemic. The whole process has been dubbed by various researchers as “epidemic industry”. Therefore, in the future, it is possible to present an “epidemic package” with measures such as new epidemics control measures and mass vaccination programmes, as well as imposing restrictions on economic and social activities and shutting down the entire world in the end. The cost will be borne by the taxpayers of the respective countries and the profits will be credited to the accounts of Global Corporate network.

Accordingly, the billionaires can ensure that the process is carried out the way they want through the International Health Regulations and the New Pandemic Convention, which gives WHO “global police powers” as mentioned above. New regulations revealed to be currently being drafted will introduce new criteria for declaring a global pandemic and health emergency. Consequently, by creating an epidemic or emergency situation that can happen or is likely to happen, it is possible to recommend actions to be taken in a real situation. For example, it is possible to completely shut down a country and create a global mass market by implementing mass vaccination programmes or preparing for other medical interventions.

According to the new international health regulations, the directives given by WHO are mandatory and all the countries that were parties in 2005 are obliged to implement those directives. Also, the new regulations empower the Director-General of the World Health Organization as an individual to independently declare a health emergency or a global pandemic. As such, the possibility of the independent expert committees to challenge the objectives of the funders is minimal. A mechanism will also be set up to ensure that the relevant orders are strictly implemented by establishing a very comprehensive centralised enforcement process. Accordingly, member countries are constrained in their ability to seek other options other than submitting to the directives of the Director General of the World Health Organization. As an extension of that, the Director General will be empowered to publish any country’s data without that country’s permission, as well as to provide it to the requesting party to be used for any purpose.

Above all, the Director General will have the power not only to deploy the resources of member countries but also to make decisions on intellectual property rights and will also have the power to censor the disclosure of information. Also, it is considered a very autocratic situation to make individual people bound by regulations. Accordingly, the public will have to be obliged as individuals to submit to the closure of borders, the imposition of travel restrictions, to follow the quarantine process, to submit to medical research, to submit to mandatory medical treatment and vaccinations.

In that way, it is very clear that in addition to binding countries and individuals by the new international health regulations, the new Epidemic Convention creates many other obligations. According to the draft currently under discussion, the power of the World Health Organization will spread beyond epidemic control. For example, a global supply chain will be created under the supervision of the World Health Organization for health supplies. In addition, each country must allocate 5% of the national health budget to maintain the emergency situation management structure of the WHO. As an extension of that, each country should create a specific governance structure for the health emergency situation management process under the supervision of the World Health Organization.

This new global pandemic agreement will expand the mandate of the World Health Organization indefinitely under the umbrella of ‘One Health Agenda’. Accordingly, the control of climate change as mentioned above is also considered as a health emergency and the power to impose restrictions and orders related to it has been submitted to the authority of the World Health Organization or in other Words the authority of the funders. In this way, the World Health Organization will have the power to impose orders overriding the local laws of a country. In such a situation, in the name of controlling climate change or in the name of controlling a related health emergency, the Director General of the world health organization will be able to take over the power to control the entire world’s food production system.

WHO is not the only organisation that comes forward to confirm the need for this so-called one health agenda. Not only the United Nations Organization, the European Union, the United Nations Children’s Fund, but also the Global Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have come forward to spend money for that and popularise the concept. Even if this organizations invest in the so-called epidemic industry in this way, the operating costs should be borne by the taxpayers of the respective countries. Hence, Dr. Bell states that the public must invest money for billionaires to make profit and ultimately to become victims of exploitation and destruction. The World Economic Forum has introduced a new theory to provide protection for this evil process. It is known as Public Private Partnership. In order to give it further legitimacy, it is termed as the transformation of the process from the dominance of shareholders to the dominance of stakeholders.

It is very clear that the end result of this private-public or private-government partnership is that the profits of the entire process are accumulated in the accounts of a handful of big companies. To facilitate this process, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations signed an agreement in 2019 and thereby impose the business interests of large companies on sovereign countries through this United Nations and its affiliated international multilateral organisation network. It is in the context that the World Economic Forum gathered in Davos, Switzerland in 2020 presented a new theory called “The Great Reset”. A key device in that theory is contractual private-public cooperation. In other words, the global multilateral institutions system is used to re-establish or reset the world according to the wishes of the global billionaires’ forum or the World Economic Forum. In that process, a Global Decision-Making system will be established.

Eventually, that so-called decision-making system becomes a global governance system or a global government of billionaires. The seriousness of the process is hidden by not naming it the global government but created as a technical decision-making system at global level. But the real situation is the creation of a global government above the independent states of the world. The World Health Organization will become the most powerful tool used to manipulate or control states in the way that the global government desires. Accordingly, the ultimate goal of the new International Health Regulations and the new Global Epidemic Convention should be understood and redefined in this greater context or bigger picture.

It can now be clearly seen that the current moment in which the world is undergoing a great economic depression is being used to pass a critical juncture related to the process of re-establishing the world. It is obviously a kind of imperialist operation. Accordingly, the next World Health Assembly will be used to adopt international health regulations. If that operation becomes a success, the relevant amendments will be put to the vote in May 2024. There, only a simple majority is required to pass those resolutions. But according to the procedure of the conference, the member countries will have a period of 10 months to reject the relevant amendments. As such, in March 2025, the process of creating a new world will begin. If a country has the courage to oppose it, only that state will have a limited space to act according to the international health regulations that have been in force since 2005.

Meanwhile, the World Pandemic Convention will also be put to the vote in May 2024, but will require a special two-thirds majority to pass it. After the adoption of the convention, if endorsed by 30 countries, all signatory countries are bound to implement the convention. But global giants are not waiting until then, and will launch an operation in September 2023 to begin a rehearsal through an operation called the Global Pandemic Response Platform. There is no doubt that it is a rehearsal to guide countries to the 2024 Agenda.

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Opinion

Of that proposed ‘Climate Change University’

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by Dr. Ranil Senanayake

With the Sri Lanka country statement to COP21 held in 2015, Paris being ignored by the ‘Climate Change’ bureaucrats for eight years, there is concern that the agricultural community is running out of time. The recent change in management seemed to show some promise by appointing Eric Solheim as the Advisor on climate change. Thus in August of 2022 the Sri Lanka country statement to COP 21 was submitted to him in the hope that he could initiate the urgent actions that need to be attended to. Sadly, there seems to be no acceptance of this statement by the Government up until today. One trusts that the stupid public statements like “Sri Lanka will take the lead in ensuring the developing economies have the resources to mitigate climate change” have been crafted by the bureaucrats and not the advisors.

Now, we are presented with another silly political gundu, a ‘Climate Change University’. In terms of climate change, they are compromisers of our farmers and our fishermen. They are guilty of not putting in place the official machinery, to prepare for the oncoming stress factors, driven by climate change. Heat stress to our crops and the loss of ocean productivity are the most obvious. A nation would respond to such a scenario by having its agricultural scientists focus on breeding heat tolerance into our crops. We do not need a university to tell us that heat is going to be a problem. It was stated eight years ago in the Sri Lanka country statement to COP21. It said:

“(1) We are aware that the optimum operating temperature of chlorophyll is at 37 deg C. In a warming world where temperatures will soar well above that, food production will be severely impacted. We would request the IPCC to address responses to this phenomenon.”

If we are a nation unable to listen to its own voices or even the voices of others. What can be done to penetrate the echo chamber that politicians benefiting from earmarked funds have created around themselves? Globally, the scientific community are warning us that the crisis coming, we can see the wave on the horizon, but most people are still rooted in the dream that life will proceed as normal and are willing to let the corporations and politicians, calm us by moving the deck chairs a bit more, for us to enjoy our ride on their Titanic.

The oceanic levels are going up as a consequence of climate change. In Sri Lanka the current rate is around 3.6mm per annum. However, research published in February 2022 shows that sea level rise is accelerating and projected to rise by a foot by 2050. If there was any coordination on climate change, we should be mapping out the rice-growing areas prone to salinisation. We should be accessing salt tolerant rice varieties into the national rice breeding programme. We should be evaluating alternate crops for saline areas. We have the resources to respond, we do not need to wait for a climate change university to tell us that.

Without awaiting the lucrative construction of a new university, could we not consider the request of the Sri Lankan Country statement to COP 21 to be considered by the line ministries today and action plans drawn up? If we have funds for this new university is it not better to award the funds to existing institutions to respond to the oncoming crisis.

Sri Lanka Position Paper

To the UN Conference for Climate Change (COP21) Paris 1-10 December 2015

Sri Lanka is a vulnerable island in the face of Climate Change. An increase in the intensity of rainfall will erode our mountains and create increased flood damage. An increase in the sea level will render much of our productive agricultural lands saline. An increase of ambient temperatures will reduce our agricultural productivity. We are in agreement with the view that an increase of the Carbon Dioxide concentration in our atmosphere will contribute to this vulnerability.

We are aware of the great difference in carbon dioxide that is emitted from biological sources and carbon dioxide emitted from fossil sources. One has sequestered rates measured in thousands of years while the other in millions of years. Yet the cost is still the same. We would request the IPCC to address the relative costs of each.

We are aware that the optimum operating temperature of chlorophyll is at 37 deg C. In a warming world where temperatures will soar well above that, food production will be severely impacted. We would request the IPCC to address responses to this phenomenon.

We are aware that the critical Ecosystem services such as; production of Oxygen, sequestering of Carbon, water cycling and ambient cooling is carried out by the photosynthetic component of biomass. This is being lost at an exponential rate, due to the fact that these Ecosystem Services have not been valued, nor economically recognised. We would request the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to examine the value of photosynthetic biomass.

Sri Lanka will place her development agenda on a fossil free target and will promote an economic recognition of the ecosystem services generated by the photosynthetic biomass. In this way we offer to act in a globally responsible manner as well as to contribute in creating a cushioning effect for the climate extremes that are before us.

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Opinion

The gold and phone smuggling MP

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A rogue caught with the goods, literally in the act of walking through the VIP lounge at Katunayake. He walks home Scot- free after paying a fine of some millions; and to cap it all, he walks in to Parliament next day, as though nothing had happened! I wouldn’t have been surprised if the govt. ranks clapped in unison to welcome him! At least the opposition could have booed. Maybe it is not parliamentary practice, but they have done worse time and again.

I think Parliament should rethink the moral code for MPs. It is pretty obvious that there is neither moral rectitude nor ethical conduct among parliamentarians. Or else would the culprit have the brass to walk in to parliament the very next day?

It is a sad state of affairs when people don’t understand, that perks and privileges go with responsibilities and a high moral code. Walking into a VIP lounge with contraband gold is the lowest depths an elected official can descend to.

His explanation after the event is almost vulgar. He says he does not know ,who put what in his bags although he has mentioned a golaya who accompanied him and packed his bags. I doubt even his strongest supporter would believe him. Instead he must be cringing in shame. That statement alone should cost him his seat. He is not worthy of the appellation Hon. MP.

Padmini Nanayakkara
Colomo-3

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