Tag Archive | "sri lanka"

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The World Bank country strategy for Sri Lanka for 2012-2016

Posted on 14 June 2016 by TSL

Working for a World Free of Poverty NEWS RELEASE

World Bank

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2012 –Today, the Board of Directors of the World Bank Group (WBG) discussed the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the FY 2012-2016, dramatically increasing the resources available for Sri Lanka to achieve its ambitious development goals as a Middle Income Country (MIC).

The CPS captures key development goals identified by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and identifies three pillars that encapsulate these goals: facilitating private and public investment, supporting structural shifts in the economy and improving living standards and social inclusion.

“It is a privilege for the Bank to be part of the development efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka. It is also encouraging to partner with a government with a well articulated development vision. The task now is move from vision to actions on the ground. The road ahead in achieving the ambitious goals and growth targets set in the vision is not going to be easy. It will require important policy changes, modernization efforts and innovative strategies. It will also require a consolidation of social inclusion, peace and security. The World Bank has worked with many countries in the world which have transitioned from a lower income country to a middle income country that have faced similar challenges. We are more than happy to share those experiences,” said Diarietou Gaye, Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The World Bank identifies some challenges as constraints for the country to achieve its growth ambitions. One important area identified in the CPS is improving the investment climate and increasing the efficiency of the public spending. This is seen as an area that needs urgent intervention if the country wants to achieve its investment targets

Achieving the planned growth and development will also require structural shifts in the economy. Boosting international competitiveness and supporting the internal integration of the economy will also require a series of policy changes.

From a social stand point improving living standards and social inclusion warrants increasing the quality of services to be at an expected level of a MIC. Ensuring equitable access to high quality services is essential.

“The CPS was produced after conducting extensive consultations with diverse groups of stake holders who belonged to different sectors, regions, gender and ethnicities. The summation of all these consultations helped us to identify what the country’s needs are and the challenges to achieve them too. It was a very satisfying experience for us and we hope World Bank can partner Sri Lanka to greater prosperity in the years to come,” said Susan Razzaz, Country Economist and Task Team Leader for the development of the CPS for Sri Lanka.

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Luxury resort lets you get away from it all

Posted on 04 May 2016 by TSL

UKMemoirs of a tourist couple to Sri Lanka:

Our first introduction to Sri Lanka was warm, traditional and rather formal. As we stepped out of our taxi at the beautiful Cocoon Resort and Spa, we were presented with flowers, invited to light the oil lamp that symbolises homecoming and wished “Ayubowan” – Sinhalese for welcome.

Our second was more of a rude ­awakening. As dawn broke over the jungle behind our room a series of ear-splitting thuds on the roof sent us leaping out of bed. A falling tree? A burglar?

We raced on to the veranda and peered over the railings to investigate. Suddenly my husband Les was eyeball-to-eyeball with a hairy face hanging upside down from the roof edge.

It turned out to be the alpha male from a resident troop of monkeys checking out the new ­neighbours. And he must have decided we were all right because they dropped in nearly every morning.

After a few days our monkey visitors felt like a normal element of the Cocoon Resort experience – part hotel, part home-from-home, part nature reserve. There are so many breeds of birds in the grounds, the management have employed a naturalist to identify them all.

And pretty soon you think nothing of seeing a 3ft monitor lizard stroll past your sunbed. The staff’s favourite is known to all as Puppy. It’s a gentle ­introduction to the wild, ancient landscape of the Sri Lanka beyond the hotel’s landscaped grounds where just 26 rooms and villas are dotted around an eight-acre site, creating an aura of peace and privacy.

The Cocoon Resort is in Induruwa, an idyllic village a mile inland from the inviting unspoilt beaches of Sri Lanka’s south coast, a 10-minute tuk-tuk ride from watersports centre Bentota. A shuttle service runs to the hotel’s beach club partner where there are loungers, umbrellas and a nice restaurant.

While this area is a few hours’ drive from Sri Lanka’s cultural trail, there is plenty to do and see here in the Southern Province. For just 2,000 rupees (about £11) you can take the Jayantha Boat Service tour of the Maadu Ganga River estuary and its dozens of islands.

We passed through tunnels of mangrove thickets and spotted cormorants diving for fish and sea eagles riding the thermals. We visited Cinnamon Island and saw how the spice is farmed. The tour is free but you can buy their products.

Keen bakers can get a great deal on ground cinnamon, but I didn’t fancy negotiating customs with a plastic bag of unidentified beige powder, so I went for the cinnamon sticks and oil instead.

hen we treated ourselves to a ­pedicure, Sri Lankan-style.

You’ve probably seen those foot spas where you pay about 15 quid to have tiny fish nibble the dead skin off your feet.

It’s the same principle here by the river – except that the fish are twice as lively, 10 times the size and it costs £1.50.

I felt like the lobster dish at a free buffet. Great fun, especially for the fish.

The tour also takes in a Buddhist temple where the monks showed us ancient artworks and holy books centuries old. For a few rupees you can buy a drink or snack from one of the floating shops – basically large sheds bobbing up and down in the middle of the river.

Another popular trip is to the nearby gardens at Lunuganga, the former country estate of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, where £7pp buys a personal guided tour.

For a less manicured but equally enchanting snapshot of Sri Lankan life, the Cocoon Resort runs a guided bicycle tour of the villages around the hotel (£17pp).

We saw workers in the paddy fields watched by wild peacocks, drank tea at the blacksmith-cum-refreshment stall, took evasive action when a mongoose shot across the track and met the local lottery outlet – a man on a bike who travels round selling 40 rupee tickets (about 22p) to locals hoping to win the £60,000 jackpot.

For a few pounds you can visit the nearby Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project, where turtle eggs from the five native species are hatched safely, away from people and predators, maximising their numbers before they are released into the sea.

Arrive as the sun goes down and you might get the chance to help release young turtles into the sea. But after exploring the area we found the tranquillity of Cocoon Resort calling us home.

An absolute must is a visit to the hotel spa, where the treatments all cost less than £20. We both had the anti-stress body massage with herbal oils prepared to local Ayurvedic principles.

It’s a very different experience to a western massage. There’s none of that “I’ll just wrap you in towels and leave you to listen to irritating whale music for 20 minutes” nonsense. The whole 40 minutes is devoted to head-to toe-bliss provided by spa manager Mayura, the man with the golden thumbs.

There’s also a gym, a whirlpool bath and an indoor pool. But the highlight of the Cocoon experience was the amazing food prepared by the talented kitchen team, led by head chef Deepthi. Curry lovers can indulge their spice addiction for lunch, dinner and even breakfast. And we did.

A traditional Sri Lankan breakfast will set you up for the day, but it takes a little getting used to. The main dish is fish or chicken curry served with lentil dhal, coconut and chilli chutneys, milky rice (much nicer than it sounds) and string hoppers – tasty little nests of soft noodles.

And the tandoori marinated prawn kebabs at dinner were pretty special. But the Cocoon offers a wide range of Western dishes too. The motto seems to be “if we’ve got it, you can have it”.

It’s that attitude, promoted by the genial general manager Ernest Blackett, that makes this resort feel like home. Don’t fancy anything on the menu? Tell smiley head waiter ­Indrajith what you’d like and they’ll cook it – beautifully – for you. Want to come back from the beach early? Just ring and Gayan, the friendly tuk-tuk driver, will be there in minutes.

The staff will also suggest good restaurants and drive you there and back. One recommendation was Amal’s, a seafood place where you meet your dinner before eating it. We were warned it was pricey, and by Sri Lankan standards it is, but worth every rupee.

Our banquet of spicy crab and huge prawns included salad, coconut roti, cocktails, wine and dessert and still came in at under £50 for two. Naturally we went back, and this time we had the local para fish, a bit like salmon, but lighter. amal-villa.com

Which was very like Sri Lanka itself – exotic and beautiful, but very easily digested. (Courtesy Mirror.co.uk)

 

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Diaspora Festival for all Sri Lankans – Foreign Ministry

Posted on 25 June 2015 by TSL

The Diaspora Festival that had been planned for the end of this year in Sri Lanka was not specific to any community but a national event, the Foreign Ministry said. Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry Mahishini Colonne said that by diaspora it was meant Sri Lankans of all communities domiciled abroad and not just Tamils. She noted that the festival was aimed at forging national reconciliation in the post war era in keeping with the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which had been established by the previous government.

In the true spirit of reconciliation it was envisaged to make the festival an annual event in which Sri Lankans living aborad could return to the land of their birth at least once a year to renew old friendships and celebrate as one nation, she added.

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19th Amendment shuts out dual citizens & Under-35 presidential aspirants

Posted on 30 April 2015 by TSL

Marking the beginning of a new chapter in the contemporary political history of Sri Lanka, the Parliament on Tuesday night adopted the 19th Constitutional Amendment with an overwhelming majority. The legislation envisages the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency, which had been in force since 1978.

Among the important features of the Bill are: the reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years; re-introduction of a two-term limit that a person can have as President; the power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years [unlike one year, as prevalent now]; the revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.

Though the abolition of the Executive Presidency was the major electoral promise of Mr Sirisena, the Supreme Court, in its ruling early this month, held that certain provisions, such as those making Prime Minister the head of Cabinet and empowering PM to determine the size of Cabinet, would require a referendum. So, the President remains the head of Cabinet. However, he can appoint Ministers on the advice of Prime Minister.

Three Rajapaksa's shut out

1. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's dream of becoming the Executive President of Sri Lanka for a third time was permanently shut out as one of the clauses included in the 19th Amendment refers to limiting the tenure of Sri Lanka President to only two (02) terms. Rajapaksa has already completed his two terms and cannot come forward ever again as a contender;

2. Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too is ruled out as dual citizens are shut out from contesting a Parliamentary Elections under the 19th Amendment. Rajapaksa is a dual citizen of the United States of America and Sri Lanka;

3. Former president’s eldest son and the Rajapaksa clan’s heir apparent, MP Namal may voted himself out of the 2021 presidential election by supporting the 19th amendment to the constitution.

The latest amendment raised the minimum age of a presidential candidate to 35 years, up from the earlier 30 that would narrowly disqualify Namal Rajapaksa from entering the next presidential election due in January 2021.

Born on 10th April 1986, Namal will complete 35 years of age three months after the next presidential election. The five year term limit on the presidency kicks in only from 2021.

Prime Minister thanked the opposition for supporting the bill that will limit president's powers and ensure the independence of the judiciary and police restoring democracy.

"This is a historical moment. We thank the President, Speaker, Opposition Leader, every parliamentarian and everyone who supported this," the Prime Minister said at the conclusion of the voting. The legislation was a major component of the President's election manifesto.

Editor's Note – The adoption of the 19th Amendment is an unequivocal victory for the people of Sri Lanka. It also brings the Constitution of Sri Lanka on par with most other democratically run countries around the globe. President Maithripala Sirisena must be congratulated for stick handling the passage of this super important amendment with the help of PM Ranil Wickramasinghe and his team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SRI LANKA: Ranked 36 for Senior Citizens

Posted on 07 October 2013 by TSL

 

 

Sri Lanka has been placed 36th in the global index for the Best Countries for Older People, while Sweden is in the number one slot. Afghanistan is the worst country, a study reveals.

 "The survey shows that history counts," the Director of the HelpAge International Advocacy Group, Mark Gorman, said. "The top-ranked countries are what you would expect, but Scandinavian countries were not wealthy when they (introduced) universal pensions," he added. "The older population in Sri Lanka today is benefiting from good basic education and healthcare – those countries made certain policy choices. Everybody faces scarce resources, but they should not forget that when they make investment decisions, they should also address issues of old age," Gorman noted.

 The first global index on ageing, while showing that Sweden is the best country for older people, and Afghanistan is the worst, also states that general affluence does not necessarily mean better conditions for the over-60s.

Along with Sweden's top ranking – followed by Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada which may be predictable, the Global AgeWatch index throws up some surprising results. 

The US, the world's richest country, languishes in eighth place, while the UK fails to make the top 10, residing instead at No. 13. Sri Lanka ranks 36, well above Pakistan at 89, despite similar levels of gross domestic product (GDP). Bolivia and Mauritius score higher than the size of their economies may suggest, while the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are a mixed bag. Brazil and China rank relatively high on the index; India and Russia sit much lower.

 The index, developed with the UN Fund for Population and Development, spans 91 countries and 89% of the world's older people. The survey comes amid a major demographic shift: By 2050, there is expected to be two billion people aged 60 and over, who will comprise more than a fifth of the world's population.

Population ageing – when older people account for an increasingly large proportion of people – is happening fastest in developing countries. More than two-thirds of older people live in poor countries; by 2050, this proportion is expected to be about four-fifths.

 While it took 115 years for the older population of France to double from 7% to 14% between 1865 and 1980, Brazil is likely to make the same shift between 2011 and 2032 – in just 21 years.

The index shows that the fastest ageing countries – Jordan, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Vietnam, where the number of older people is predicted to more than triple by 2050 – fall into the lower half of the ranking, suggesting that policymakers need to tackle ageing head-on if they are to adequately support their populations.

 There are gender differences among ageing populations, with women generally outliving men. In 2012, for every 84 men aged 60 and over, there were 100 women. Lack of paid work (hence savings), less decision-making power in the family and vulnerability to violence contribute towards the disadvantage many women face in old age.

However, if appropriate measures are implemented, population ageing does not inevitably lead to significantly higher healthcare spending, according to the report, which highlights the importance of long-term investments in education and healthcare for older people.

 Bolivia, ranked 46, despite being one of the poorest countries, has introduced progressive policies for older people, with a national plan on ageing, free healthcare and a non-contributory universal pension. Nepal, ranked 77, introduced a basic pension in 1995 for people over the age of 70 without other pension income. Though limited in value and eligibility and with uneven coverage, it is an example of how a poor country has chosen to make a start in addressing poverty in old age.

Good basic healthcare introduced decades ago in Chile and Costa Rica has served the ageing populations of those countries. A good education system – basic literacy is crucial for older people as they deal with the pension's bureaucracy – is of great benefit later in life.

In the Philippines, older people have benefited from the educational reforms introduced after Independence in 1946, which made elementary and high school education compulsory. The same is true for Armenia, which, like other countries of the former Soviet Union, benefited from a robust education system.

South Korea, a surprisingly low 67 on the ageing index, performed worse than its peers on a GDP-per-head basis, partly because it introduced a pension only recently.

The ageing index is calculated using 13 indicators under four headings: Income security, healthcare, employment and education, and an enabling environment. All indicators have equal weight, except for pension income coverage, life expectancy at 60, healthy life expectancy at 60, and psychological wellbeing. These categories were given increased weighting because of better data quality, and countries were included only if there was sufficient data.

Prof. Sir Richard Jolly, creator of the Human Development Index, said: "This ground-breaking index broadens the way we understand the needs and opportunities of older people through its pioneering application of human development methodology. It challenges countries in every part of the world to raise their sights as to what is possible."

 

 

(Guardian)

 

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US House Rep says, “Not an easy task to rebuild country devastated by war”

Posted on 23 February 2013 by TSL

 

A member of the US House of Representatives, member of the House of Foreign Affairs and member of the Sub Committee on Asia and the Pacific Rep Fa’aua’a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr. (D-American Samoa) commended the Sri Lankan government for the significant progress it has made in resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction process.

“It is not an easy task to rebuild a country devastated by 30 years of war,” he said addressing the media at Kingsbury Hotel on Thursday.

Explaining post war reconstruction efforts of Sri Lanka, he said the Army demined over 2,000 hectares of land and resettled over 290,000 Internally Displaced Persons.

“Sri Lanka has been able to complete the demining process after the eradication of terrorism in such a short period while the US is still struggling with the demining process, particularly in countries like Cambodia and Laos,” he said.

“In the resettlement process, over 70,000 new houses have been built and more are under construction. The Sri Lankan government has completed a number of infrastructure development projects, rehabilitated former LTTE cadres, providing employment opportunities and reduced military presence significantly, in the North and Eastern regions,” he said.

“The challenges faced by the Sri Lankan government are enormous. Sri Lanka must be commended for achieving tremendous growth in the post war reconstruction process. I invite the Western media and foreign representatives to visit Sri Lanka, visit former war affected areas and see for themselves the dividends of peace being enjoyed by the people in the past three years.

"I held several discussions with all political leaders and TNA representatives during my stay in the country and I recommend that Sri Lanka should bring about efforts to showcase the the true situation in Sri lanka which is very positive.

"I will try to explain the true situation in Sri Lanka when I return to Washington DC, he said. " I think we need to showcase the challenges faced by the Sri Lankan people and its leaders in terms of reviewing the post war progress of Sri Lanka. Since my first visit in 2004, as a representative of US Congress and to date , I was so impressed with the amount of development what Sri lanka has achieved within this period. "Its very interesting to witness the efforts of the Sri Lankan government and its leaders to rebuild the country ravaged by a prolonged war.

The US House Rep praised President Mahinda Rajapaksa's steadfastness and leadership qualities during crisis situations, in looking after Sri Lanka's interests in the face of various pressures brought by the international community .

"The President's leadership helped defeat one of most dangerous rebel leaders of the world. On the other hand, we should not forget that Sri Lankan government fought with terrorist organization which had been banned in 30 countries, including America.

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