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Saturday, 15 October 2011






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Decriminalizing politics

President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not mince his words during his meeting with newspaper Editors recently when he said that some of those who run for election today are from the same social background as those whom they recruit to their private armies and goon squads. In this no-holds-barred session he further said that those violently feuding over 'Manapes' or preferential votes, from the same political party, could very well be sons of the 'Choppe and Pala Aiyas'; the country's underworld bosses. Therefore, how could one expect our elections to be free of violence?

These are shameful legacies that this country has been saddled with over the past few decades and it would be difficult to deny that they are proving a great embarrassment. Nevertheless, these blights cannot be tolerated indefinitely and decisive moves need to be made towards ending them. We hope these considerations would be addressed by those charged with amending the election laws of this country.

We believe that these problems should be eradicated at their roots. It is to the extent that violence is removed from the larger society that politics would be rendered violence-free. The country's woes in this respect began from the time power politics swamped as never before value-based politics. That is, roughly from 1977 and after. Power was sought for its own sake in the main and it is this broader tendency that brought in a species of politician whose agenda was to 'fight fire with fire.' And those who could do this most efficiently were those politicians with links to the underworld or the dregs of society themselves. This paved the way for the criminalization of local politics, perhaps, as never before.

All this came into being somewhat before the preferential voting scheme came into existence and it could not be unreservedly pronounced that the preferential vote as such is the single most crucial factor in polls-linked violence. But it could be said to be a factor in the aggravation of such violence because of the intensifying scramble for votes among candidates from the same party. So deeply entrenched is such violence currently that not even our Local Government polls are free of it.

While it is up to the Lankan polity to decide whether the preferential vote should go or remain, it should be sufficiently clear to all concerned that nothing very much has been done to bring into politics more and more of the public-spirited, the good-charactered and those who could contribute substantially to the common weal. By saying this we do not intend to imply that politics are not having the services of the good and noble but only wish to underscore that we are not short of persons who are giving politics a very bad name.

Therefore, electoral laws and regulations need to be amended so that party managers would be obliged to bring into their parties only those with good reputations and exemplary dispositions who could make a constructive contribution to the politics of the country. That is, those joining political parties and those running for election in particular should be exemplary persons whose devotion to public service cannot be questioned.

All this and more has been debated and discussed over the years but the country has stagnated in Square One with regard to these matters. The increasing costs of polls-related violence should compel all sections of local society to come together to address the issues at hand and to find answers to them once and for all. In other words, we need a national consensus on these thorny issues and the search for such broad agreement should begin right away.

Generally, local politics should be value-based and this broad issue too must be discussed and made the subject of a national consensus, so as to enable politics in this country to be completely re-oriented in a positive direction. Competition is the stuff of politics but the task before us to have competition without murderous violence. Politics need to be both rule and value-based.

Towards an efficient Police

The Police Department must increase the number of police stations, staff and vehicles and provide them with more modern and recommended systems to solve crime. Today like in the past, a police officer is exhausted working sometimes 24 hours with the same salary, no overtime and rest. The Department must be strengthened with proper trained staff properly equipped and motivated to solve crime, not use them to work long and strenuous hours and naturally they are harassed by the superiors, politicians and are exhausted then they take it on the poor public,

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Europe in the spotlight at weekend G20 talks

Slowing growth and slumping financial markets have created strain within the Group of 20 rich and developing economies that makes up 85 percent of global output, in contrast to 2009 when the group launched a coordinated stimulus to pull the world economy back from the brink,

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Conditions for violence-free polls

The election has also apparently sealed the fate of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the enfant terrible of mainstream politics. It secured a handful of individual seats scattered across the island. Its biggest humiliation came in Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte, where it failed to win a seat, although it had been represented in the council since 1997,

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Farewell, beautiful people!

It was I believe in January 2000. I received an email from a friend, copied to others including some close friends. Ayca Cubukcu, then an undergraduate at Cornell University, addressed the recipients as ‘Beautiful People’. She wrote in indignation and with hope.

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