Of that non-traditional budget
A non-traditional budget they say! With a few nasty asides thrown in about it being presented by a dual citizen. Now, anyone who bothers to read what I write knows my stand on involving dual citizens in running a country run by frogs in the well. Of course, the qualifications, life experience and morals of those dual citizens matter, but not to denizens of the Pearl, methinks. At least not to the 6.9 million of them who voted this mob in. I see this as just another occasion for the Rajapaksa clan, who seem to suffer from collective Attention Deficit Syndrome, to look ‘pretty’ and try to look regal in the public eye.
The incumbent head honcho has made a veiled statement about the 6.9 million needing to look at fresh candidates, should any chance to vote arrive in the near future. Now, this statement, if analysed with probably more insight and intelligence than can be attributed to the perpetrator, could mean that certain realizations are in place. Realizations that the current system, which is entrenched in bribery, corruption and an overwhelming ‘you scratch my back and will scratch yours’ mentality, is the root cause of the predicament that the Pearl is in. If that is the realization, and I sincerely doubt it, there is a rather pathetic ring to those words. A man who started off with the intention and truly believed that he could make a difference has found out that he is simply a puppet, or is it moppet, being controlled by the ‘system’ that overwhelms everything in the Pearl. On the other hand, it can be a masterful move (again am I giving too much credit) to switch tracks and rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the despair that is affecting everyone in the Pearl at present.
The first step towards achieving this is to defeat the budget in parliament. Let me tell something to all the ‘earthworms’ who sit in that island on the Diyawanna and destroy our country each day. All those who vote to pass this litany of lies that passes for a budget, traditional or not, should be aware that they should ‘never’, ever be voted for again under any circumstances. There is talk of the JVP being the saviour in waiting. I say ‘no’ for two reasons. The obvious one being the insurgencies, but a more recent one being the JVP squandering a golden opportunity to stop Rajapaksa senior in his tracks by voting against one of the first budgets tabled at the start of this misrule. That was the time the JVP had their highest representation in parliament and rightfully the people never forgave them for that sin.
Find capable successors who have no connection with the present system. A tall order for sure. Simply bringing in people with foreign qualifications and experience is not the answer either. To govern a country democratically, the rulers should understand the grass roots and be steeped in the different cultural nuances of that land. The obvious need for integrity and moral fortitude notwithstanding, where on earth do we find such people from? That is the question on which the very future of our beloved country depends. It cannot be valued in monetary terms or in anything but the future of our children and the propagation of a 2500 plus year civilization, therefore this task is beyond all value. We need a leader with self-belief and a sterling background. The self-belief should stop short of egoism or egotism. The future leader must be incorruptible and must not give way to the adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. For that very reason we may need to revert to the Westminster system of democracy that ensures no one has absolute power.
An insurmountable task you may say. I tend to agree. But we need to start somewhere, and this is the time for the ‘earthworms’ who have had enough, surely there ‘must’ be some in the Government ranks, to make a stand. Vote against the budget, it may still be passed but at least you would have made your stand. Like Custer in his last stand, you will probably lose your scalp, but you will go down in the history of the land as responsible politicians who had the nous to say, “enough is enough”! It is also time for a new political party. Come forward at least a dozen “good men and true”. Come forward and give us a draft constitution and a manifesto that makes sense and is different to the gobbledegook and utter rubbish that has been tabled as alternatives in the recent past.
Let’s progress into the land of fairy tales and imagine the ‘head honcho’ rounding up a few earthworms who suddenly develop a backbone (biological impossibility), defeating the budget and forming another government without his ‘secret seven’ kinsmen and other assorted idiots holding ministerial portfolios. Even if this desperate dream is realised, are there enough earthworms around who we can trust to break free of the system and build a real future for our country? The answer again is a resounding ‘no’, I believe, but strong leadership may make a difference. However, here again there is many a difference between tough talk and having the character to change a system. There is talk in recent times of catching people by the scruff of their necks, using the armed forces and implementing certain policies but the falsetto voice of the deliverer of those threats lapses when delivering them, leaving the discerning listener with certain doubts in their minds.
We need ‘new’ people. People who are capable of unrelenting, round the clock work and uncompromising morals and ethics. People with no connections to the existing system. How will such people, even if they do exist, win a democratic election? How will they convince a voter base used to voting for people who promise the greatest number of ‘freebies’ to vote for them? Another impossibility but a clear indication that our woes are created by ourselves, and the only salvation lies in changes to society and the education levels of our voters and ourselves.
ICC arrest warrant; a setback for authoritarian rule
As should be expected, the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes allegations has given rise to a widespread debate on how effective it would be as an instrument of justice. What compounds the issue is the fact that Russia is not obliged to cooperate with the ICC, given that it is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which outlaws the crimes in question and envisages punitive action for signatory state representatives who act in violation of its provisions.
Predictably, the Russian side has rubbished the ICC allegations and its arrest warrant on the basis that they are totally irrelevant to Russia, considering that it does not recognize the ICC or its rulings. However, the fact remains that important sections of the international community would be viewing Putin and his regime as war criminals who should be shunned and outlawed.
The possibility is great of the Putin regime steadily alienating itself from enlightened opinion the world over from now on. In other words, Putin and his cohorts have incurred a heavy moral defeat as a consequence of the ICC’s arrest warrant and its strictures.
Morality may not count much for the Putin regime and its supporters, locally and internationally, but the long term consequences growing out of this dismissive stance on moral standards could be grave. They would need to take their minds back to the white supremacist regimes of South Africa of decades past which were relentlessly outlawed by the world community, incurring in the process wide-ranging sanctions that steadily weakened apartheid South Africa and forced it to negotiate with its opponents. Moreover, the ICC measures against Putin are bound to strengthen his opponents and critics at home, thereby boosting Russia’s pro-democracy movement.
However, the Putin administration could earn for itself some ‘breathing space’ at present by proving the ICC’s allegations wrong. That is, it would need to establish beyond doubt that it is not guilty of the crime of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia and other war-linked offences. It could liaise with UNICEF and other relevant UN agencies for this purpose since it does not recognize the ICC.
A wise course of action for President Putin would be to pick up this gauntlet rather than ignore the grave allegations levelled against him, in view of the long term consequences of such evasive behavior.
Besides, the Russian President would need to restrict his movements from now on. For, he is liable to be arrested and produced before the ICC by those governmental authorities who are signatories to the Rome Statute in the event of Putin entering their countries. That is, Putin’s head is likely to be increasingly restless as time goes by.
However, the gravest consequence flowing from Putin and his regime ignoring the ICC and its strictures is that later, if not sooner, they could find themselves being hauled up before the ICC. There is ample evidence from recent history that this could be so. All the alleged offenders need to do is take their minds back to the convulsive and bloody Balkan wars of the nineties to see for themselves how the ICC process, though slow and laborious, finally delivered justice to the victims of war crimes in that tempestuous theatre.
All those war criminals who have lulled themselves into believing that it is possible to escape being brought to justice before the world’s tribunals, need to recollect how former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevik and his partners in crime Rodovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the early years of this century and required to pay the price for their criminality. So confident were they initially that they would never be brought to justice that they agreed, tongue-in-cheek, to fully cooperate with the ICTY.
It is pertinent to also remember that the criminals mentioned were notorious for their ‘ethnic cleansing’ operations and other war-time excesses. Accordingly, those accused of war crimes the world over would be only indulging in wishful thinking if they consider themselves above the law and safe from being held accountable for their offences. Justice would catch-up with them; if not sooner, then later. This is the singular lesson from Bosnia.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping has considered it timely to call on President Putin in Russia. He did so close on the heels of being elected President for a third straight term recently. This is a clear message to the world that Russia could always depend on China to be a close and trusted ally. It is a question of two of the biggest authoritarian states uniting. And the world they see as big enough for both of them.
Interestingly, China is having the world believe that it has a peace plan for Ukraine. While in Russia, though, XI did not spell out in any detail how the crisis in Ukraine would be resolved with China’s assistance. However, China has drafted what is termed its ‘Position on the Ukraine Crisis’. It contains 12 points which are more in the nature of a set of principles.
Seen against the backdrop of the developments in Ukraine, some of these principles merit close scrutiny. For instance, the first principle lays out that the sovereignty of all countries must be respected. Besides, International Law must be universally recognized, including the ‘purposes and principles of the UN Charter’. However, ‘double standards’ must be rejected. Hopefully, the West got the hint.
Principle 4 has it that ‘Dialogue and negotiations are the only viable solution to the Ukraine crisis.’ Principle 8 points out that, ‘Nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be fought’.
Needless to say, all the above principles are acceptable to the international community. What is required of China is to evolve a peace plan for Ukraine, based on these principles, if it is in earnest when it speaks of being a peace maker. The onus is on China to prove its credibility.
However, China could be said to be characteristically pragmatic in making these moves. While further cementing its alliance with Russia, China is placing the latter on notice, though in a subtle way, that its war in Ukraine is proving highly counter-productive and costly, both for the states concerned and the world. The costly economic consequences for the world from the war speak for themselves. Accordingly, nudging Russia in the direction of a negotiated settlement is the wisest course in the circumstances.
In the limelight again…Miss Super Model Globe 2020
Those who are familiar with the fashion and beauty pageant setup, in Sri Lanka, would certainly remember Shashi Kaluarachchi.
Three years ago, she was crowned Miss Super Model Globe Sri Lanka 2020 and then represented Sri Lanka at the Miss Super Model Globe International, held in India.
Shashi won two titles at this big event; she was placed second in the finals (1st Runner-up) and took the title of Best National Costume.
Very active in the modelling scene, in the not too distant past, Shashi went silent, after dazzling the audience at the Super Model Globe contest.
Obviously, those who are aware of her talents were kept guessing, and many were wondering whether she had prematurely quit the fashion scene!
Not quite so…and I had a surprise call from Shashi to say that she is ready to do it again.
The silence is due to the fact that she is now employed in Dubai and is concentrating on her office work.
“When I came to Dubai, I was new to this scene but now I do have some free time, coming my way, and I want to get back to what I love doing the most – modelling, fashion and beauty pageants,” she said.
Shashi indicated that she plans to participate in an upcoming beauty pageant, to be held in Dubai, and also do some fashion shoots, and modelling assignments.
“Dubai is now buzzing with excitement and I want to be a part of that scene, as well,” said Shashi, who had her early beginnings, as a model, at the Walk with Brian Kerkoven modelling academy.
“I owe my success to Brian. He made me what I’m today – a top model.”
Shashi, who 5’7″ tall, says she loves wearing the sari for all important occasions.
“The sari is so elegant, so graceful, and, I believe, my height, and figure, does justice to a sari,”
Shashi has plans to visit Sri Lanka, in April, for a short vacation, adding that if the opportunity comes her way, she would love to do some photo shoots, and a walk on the ramp, as well.
* Shorter Showers
If you have dry skin, do not take long showers, or baths. Staying in the water for a longer time can dry it out more. You should also use warm, instead of hot, water, when you wash. Hot water can strip your skin of the fatty substances that give it hydration. As soon as you finish cleansing yourself, apply a body lotion, all over your body, to moisturize. Don’t wash yourself more than once a day
Applying a daily moisturizer can do wonders for dry skin, and there are products in your kitchen you can use which are natural and effective. Try coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, or sunflower seed oil
Olive oil and brown sugar have amazing properties for the skin. Both of these substances deeply hydrate. Olive oil is also a known wound-healer, while sugar contains glycolic acid, which allows it to have anti-aging. You can make a natural scrub, using these ingredients which can be as good as the best anti-wrinkle creams.
* Mix one tablespoon of brown sugar with a teaspoon of olive oil.
* Blend them, and spread the mixture on your face, and neck, using a circular motion, for a few minutes.
* Then leave it to sit for another couple of minutes, and wash it off with warm water.
You can do this twice a week for amazing results
Taking care of your lips is important. Lips can also get dry and chapped, which is why you need to keep them hydrated, daily. If you’re looking for a natural balm, try sugar and lemon, or honey, sugar, and butter.
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