Sri Lanka: Why foreign investment should come

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Sri Lanka: Why foreign investment should come

The end of civil war brings fresh opportunities

Foreign investment is a hot topic at the moment. The idea mostly, in the current climate, invokes criticism and anger, such as the recent Guardian opinion piece that lamented the selling off of British and London infrastructure to foreign investors. To compound this, there has been general ill feeling from some quarters due to a view that European, and particularly British, condemnation of the conflict in the Ukraine and Russian aggression has been diluted by the noueau-riche Russians investing and blowing their money across London and other trendy cities.

Nevertheless, foreign investment is capable of garnering some positive headlines with the case of Sri Lanka. Understandably, Sri Lanka does not immediately jump to mind when you are trying to think of where best to spend your money. While it is difficult to compare the post-civil war situation across different countries, it is generally true that institutions weakened by war usually do not have the capacity to handle investments. The economy of Northern Ireland, after a significant period of general peace and stability, is weak. This is partly due to much of the political focus being on identity and violence rather than the economy. So why is Sri Lanka different?

One easy example is that of tourism. A long civil war deterred tourists from flocking to the region and so its rich natural beauty and its breath-taking array of flora and fauna was never truly tapped into. This is now changing. It is also on the door step of India so Sri Lanka can be an attractive pit stop for westerners touring the region. This has a follow on for infrastructure and, as well, Sri Lanka has a view on the long-term as it tries, backed by Chinese money, to become a maritime hub in the region.

Sri Lanka’s proximity to India is another boon because India is enjoying the fruits of heavy foreign investment itself and India has a good trade policy with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka and India are both under stable governments and, thus, there is time and energy to direct towards improving their respective economies without the disraction of a destabilizing civil war in the region.

In addition to the analysis from Forbes, CNBC called Sri Lanka the ‘darling’ of investors as the economy continues to grow and inflation continues to decrease. The economy grew by 8 percent last year.

To temper this positivity, it is important to note that Transparency International has stated that funds earmarked for reconstruction and investment have been misappropriated and the systemic corruption in Sri Lanka is a stumbling block for future investment. It is a common problem in post conflict zones and one Sri Lanka is not immune from. Transparency International used Bosnia-Herzegovina as an example of inherent corruption making investors more wary and reluctant. This is the fate that awaits Sri Lanka, Transparency International fears.

HSBC are another group who are not entirely convinced by Sri Lanka’s economy, citing an over dependence on foreign fuel and a lack of consumer spending as reasons for remaining doubtful.

Overall, Sri Lanka is a place remarkable for its readiness for investment and for the stability of its government. There are obvious problems which persist but, with elections on the way, Sri Lanka can epitomize how foreign investment can be a good and positive thing at a time when this concept of  is receiving a lot of bad press around the world.

By Enda Kenneally

Photo: Dhammika Heenpella

Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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