Arrest child exploitation
The disturbing disclosure that some
70,000 Lankan children are at risk of exploitation in a multiplicity of
revolting forms, should jolt everyone concerned, including the State,
into acting fast to stop this terrible blight.
After all, those at risk are future generations and emotionally and
physically maimed persons could not be expected to take Sri Lanka into
the future. This bleak possibility,nevertheless, would have to be faced
if the country's children are exposed to multi-dimensional exploitation.
However, much heart could be taken from the fact that President
Mahinda Rajapaksa had taken the initiative to name 2006, the Year of the
Child in Sri Lanka, thereby clearly underscoring the State's role in
making Sri Lanka a better place for our children.
This development intensifies the note of urgency in ILO findings,
highlighted by us yesterday, that the Sri Lankan case as regards child
exploitation, just could not be glossed over or ignored but swiftly
In fact the legislation is already in place in line with ILO
Convention 182 on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour and
what is left to be done is to rigorously implement this and allied
pieces of legislation to contain the evil of child exploitation.
As it is, the indications are that some worst forms of child
exploitation are already rampant in this country. One such prospering
evil is child soldiers of the North-East, in which the LTTE specializes.
Besides, we are not short of child trafficking for labour and sexual
exploitation, the abuse of children in pornography and child-bonded
labour, to name a few such flourishing child-centred evils.
The enormity of the problem prompted ILO officials into emphasizing
the importance of another Sri Lankan child survey.
Thus is the lid blown off a cess pool of evil which most responsible
sections seem to be turning a blind eye on.
Now that President Rajapaksa himself is focusing on the problem, we
urge the State to lose no time in clamping down on child exploitation in
its multifarious forms. May be, the problem has not received the
attention it deserves so far merely because a "voiceless" and invisible
section of our population is at the heart of it.
If so, this is a cause for deep shame and searing self-censure. After
all, we are not short of persons and groups which proudly proclaim their
profound care for children and the innocents. May be such concern is
merely for "public consumption" and is no more than a vainglorious,
empty boast to impress the world outside with their projected moral
The truth, however, is that the rot of child abuse has been setting
in. It is time to stamp it out vigorously.
The road to Berlin
Costa Rica and Germany may be thousands of miles away, but tonight
they will meet in Munich. And the whole world will be watching them. It
is only the beginning of a month-long fiesta that will enthral
practically the entire planet. Welcome to World Cup Germany 2006.
Thirty two of the best soccer teams in the world will play a total of
64 matches in the World Cup, undoubtedly the most popular global
sporting event. It is a spectacle that invades our living rooms once
every four years, as we follow the progress of an eight-inch diameter
ball in and out of goals.
When the final is played on July 9 in Berlin, a city that symbolises
the power of unity, nearly half the world's population will be united in
scrutinising every move, every kick of the players in the world's best
two teams. And one of them will walk away with the most coveted trophy
in world sport, the solid gold FIFA World Cup.
Brazil are favourites at the moment, though the uncertainties of the
game mean that any other equally capable team could be holding the
trophy. England, Argentina, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Italy, Croatia and
France are among the teams worth watching on the road to Berlin.
Let us also cheer on the newcomers such as Angola and the Asian teams
- Japan, Iran, Korea and Saudi Arabia. Australia, the leading force in
world cricket, are playing in a World Cup after 32 long years. They too
deserve our cheers as does the USA, which is fast becoming a power in
All eyes will of course be on Germany, where the matches are being
staged. Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Leipzig,
Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund and Kaiserslautern will be the host
cities apart from Munich and Berlin. All the stadia are state-of-the-art
architectural masterpieces, some brand new and others renovated.
Each city tells a story in the history of Germany, a fact which has
not gone unnoticed by German tourism authorities. A win by Germany will
be the icing on the cake. It is certainly not impossible - France did it
Football, like any other sport, is all about star players and their
fans. The world of football will be dull without the likes of Ronaldinho
and Ronaldo. Each team has a star or two whose progress is followed
keenly by supporters. Whole economies will practically grind to a halt
as the stars shine brighter and brighter.
Let us also hope that the World Cup would be a 'clean' affair. The
fewer the number of yellow and red cards, the better. Playing the game
honestly matters even in this age of commercialisation of sport.
As the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared. The sound of 'Gooaaaaaaal' will
assail our ears for one whole month. We too will be caught up in the
agony and the ecstasy of the Greatest Show on Earth. Let the games
Local expertise for mega projects
The President is reported to have delved into the
subject of feasibility studies on mega projects, carried out by
foreign consultants resulting enormous costs, which could have been
avoided or minimized if the local consultants had been engaged.
The Last Frontier
It was set in what was clearly Tibet, in a
monastery called Shangri La where the secret of eternal life had
been discovered. The repository of the secret was a Catholic priest
who had reached the monastery a couple of centuries previously. The
hero (played in the film by I think James Mason) suddenly realizes
that he is dealing with the famous Father Perrault of the distant
The Indian who revived Catholicism in Sri Lanka
In the second half of the 17th century, two
important developments took place in Ceylon as Sri Lanka was then
called. In 1658, the Dutch replaced the Portuguese as the European
military, political and economic power; and Calvinism or
Protestantism, displaced Roman Catholicism as the religion of the
Christians in the island.
The actor and the activist
'Fanaa' may have set new box office
records across the country. Its first week collections have been as
high as 95 per cent in some pockets. But it has exposed the dark
underbelly of the Hindi film industry.