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Achieving herd immunity

Achieving herd immunity

Christian Drosten, who directs the Institute of Virology at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, was one of those who identified the Sars virus in 2003. As the head of the German public health institute’s reference lab on coronaviruses, he has become the government’s go-to expert …

Squeezed by foreign lenders

Squeezed by foreign lenders

As Sri Lanka battles COVID-19 with its public health expertise and military might, it is gearing up for another imminent crisis — servicing its mounting external debt, of which $2.9 billion is due this year. Of the many economic side effects of the global pandemic, …

Laws contain references to vaguely  defined offences

Laws contain references to vaguely defined offences

As Governments face the formidable challenge of protecting people from COVID-19, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on them to ensure human rights are not violated under the guise of exceptional or emergency measures. “Emergency powers should not be a weapon …

Treat this as a humanitarian issue

Treat this as a humanitarian issue

The SAARC Secretariat should play an active role in the region’s response to COVID-19, along with “someone in-charge”, according to Sri Lanka’s former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. “I don’t know if it can be handled from Kathmandu alone. If you can, well and good. But …

Federalism and Post-War Reconciliation

Federalism and Post-War Reconciliation

Following his election as president of Sri Lanka in 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has taken a strong stand against federalism and devolution of powers to protect the unitary structure of the state. In February 2020, the Gotabaya-led government also withdrew from the United Nations (UN) resolution …

Pandemic is not only a national issue

Pandemic is not only a national issue

The former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to Palki Sharma, on the global leadership series on WION, about everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to the dire need of global leadership and on a lighter note about how he keeps himself busy with …

Home Brewing

Home Brewing

“DATES, JAGGERY?” asked the grocer, offering the main ingredients for brewing palm wine. His client bought the two, put them away with his onions and lentils before disappearing into a narrow alley in the suburbs of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. On March 21, …

A century ago…

A century ago…

Exactly a 100 year ago, Sri Lanka had the experience of going through a horrendous pandemic the Spanish flu or influenza, which claimed nearly 20,000 lives. The “fIu” claimed 50 to 100 million lives across the globe; hit the poor as well as the rich; …

How to get out of the lockdown?

How to get out of the lockdown?

As the lockdown nears the three-week mark, people want to know when the restrictions will be lifted. But it also matters how they are lifted. Nobody should kid themselves that this can be purely a technical matter left to scientists, doctors and economists. Lives and …

‘History Repeats Itself’

‘History Repeats Itself’

‘And People Stayed Home’ A Famine Poem by Kathleen O’Meara – 1869. And people stayed home And read books and listened And rested and exercised And made art and played And learned new ways of being And stopped And listened deeper Someone meditated Someone prayed …