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Showing posts from May, 2009

Has Peace Finally Come to Sri Lanka?

On Tuesday 19 May 2009, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse gave the news that the country has waited twenty-six long years to hear: the long running civil war with the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE) was over. The end came, not through negotiations, but by victory for the Sri Lankan military. Even Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the LTTE’s chief of international relations, admitted ‘This battle has reached its bitter end.’ Despite some ‘never-say-die’ rhetoric from some quarters, it appears that Asia’s longest running insurgency has come to a close. This should be good news for everyone. Sri Lanka deserves peace!

But the end of war has come at a terrible price. Over 70,000 people have been killed and 265,000 displaced since 1983. The final assault saw so many casualties that some in Europe are talking about ‘war crimes’ investigation.

What was the fighting about? After independence in 1948, the rise of Sinhala nationalism caused the alienation of certain minorities, …

Another Budget, Another Baby

With all eyes watching, the Australian Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered his second budget on 12 May. This is always a major event on the national calendar but even more so during a time of economic meltdown. Mr. Swan said that the government may not be popular with this budget. But apparently, there is at least one area where they will be. It is called paid maternity leave. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who glided into power on the slogan ‘Kevin 07,’ will soon be known as ‘Kevin 11,’ because that is when the government funded paid maternity leave kicks in.

Should the government be offering such an unprecedented provision, especially during a time of economic downturn? What should our attitude to government be in general? Before addressing this specific issue, let us look at some basic principles.
 Government is a God-given institution. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13: 1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from…

From Birds to Pigs: Watch Out for the Swine Flu

The news—and fear--spread like an Australian bush-fire. In April 2009 some late season flu cropped up in Mexico and the United States. A link was made. Then it spread quickly to other parts with 100s of cases suspected. More and more drama unfolded:

 Mexico City shut down its schools, leaving six million students at home.

 Healthy adults in Mexico began to die from the disease.

 A Korean nun who had just returned home from Mexico was diagnosed with the disease.

 Thermal cameras were being used in airports to see if incoming passengers had a temperature.

 US Vice-President Joe Biden made a public statement urging Americans to avoid confined places like airplanes and subways. The travel industry brands his comments ‘inflammatory.’

‘Pandemic’—the word evokes images of white masks, mass deaths, and much dread. But what is it? A pandemic is defined as an infectious disease that quickly spreads over a wide region, even a continent or the globe. It is often a new strain of a disease that …