Fiction set in Sri Lanka is often haunted by the paradox of the island’s obvious physical beauty and its equally present darkness. Amanthi Harris attempts to make sense of both in Beautiful Place.Next to an idyllic beach in southern Sri Lanka, the young and bright Padma lives in a lush villa. Its owner, designer and Austrian expat Gerhardt, adopted Padma when she was young, from her abusive father, Sunny, who had tried to sell her to him. Gerhardt pays Sunny to keep him away from her. After a failed stint at university in Colombo, Padma returns to the villa to open it up as a guest house, and finds her life beginning to commingle with a slow stream of guests who are also searching for purpose.Family trappingsSri Lanka’s beauty is exotic and expansive in Beautiful Place; Harris paints sunsets and frangipani trees, beers by the beach and spicy fish curries, sunshowers and humid nights, in consistently rich detail. This, however, is easier than capturing the country’s … [Read more...] about In the heart of light, the silence: Amanthi Harris’s ‘Beautiful Place’
Inflation how does it affect us
Onion price rise leaves residents teary-eyedThe hike in onion prices has badly affected consumers, with the vegetable in wholesale markets costing as much as ~120-130 per kg. Agriculture experts believe the rates are expected to stay high till February, 2020. Farmers claim that the price is not benefiting them and residents are having a tough time managing kitchen supplies. Is this merely a case of demand and supply gone awry? Should onions be declared an essential commodity? What steps should authorities take to ensure nobody in the ‘farm to fork’ supply chain suffers, not least the end consumer? Have you stopped eating onions?The authorities have failed to control the prices of onion. Their outlook towards the staple is wrong. The government, mainly the ministry of finance and consumer affairs, is taking steps in the wrong direction. They should have made plans in advance and taken steps to ensure adequate supply hits the markets as onion is planted during rabi and kharif … [Read more...] about Onion price rise leaves residents teary-eyed
'As he has no executive track record, so far, he is all talk and hence essentially a braggart and a bigot.' IMAGE: Jair Bolsonaro casts his vote at a polling centre in Rio de Janeiro, October 28, 2018. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters Jair Bolsonaro's election as Brazil's next president demonstrates once again that democratic elections can not only yield unpredictable results but lead to undesirable consequences! Such scepticism about democracy in a self-proclaimed political liberal like me may be frowned upon. But after the bitterness of the Brexit verdict, the chaos caused by the Trump win, and some other alarming fallouts in Europe, there is reason for worrying about electoral outcomes. What has happened in Brazil, the world's fifth largest country in size as well as in population, and Latin America's dominant nation reinforces this feeling. Some readers in this space may recall many of my columns from a decade back romanticising Brazil and extolling its many virtues. I was … [Read more...] about Now a Trump clone in Brazil!
Commentary By Dan Walters, CalMatters Spending on health care in the state now exceeds $400 billion a year — more than $10,000 per person. That has led to an explosion of political attention, just as agriculture and industrial activity dominated California's political landscape in their heydays. Ask Californians to identify the largest single component of the state's $2.6 trillion economy, fifth largest in the world, and chances are they will reply with high technology, agriculture, motion pictures or even tourism. Only rarely will they name medical care. However, over the last half-century, as California's economy transitioned from long-dominant natural resource and industrial sectors into services and technology, taking care of Californians' health has become — by far — the state's single largest economic activity. It's also growing rapidly, creating jobs that are a microcosm of the state's diverse, post-industrial, service-oriented economy. How big is it? … [Read more...] about In California, Medical Care Means Big Money — And Big Politics (Opinion)