Although Rajapaksa eradicated terrorism and raised living standards, he lost the 2015 elections. He attributes his defeat to resentment against him from Muslims (9.7 percent of the population, according to a 2012 census) and Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils (15.2 percent), and to the Sinhalese harboring unrealistic expectations who took what he delivered for granted. Asked if he had any regrets, Rajapaksa says he trusted people too much. Regarding the scars of war in this traumatized nation, he says that he has promoted reconciliation by returning land to the Tamils and investing heavily in infrastructure and development projects in the northeast, helping them to begin restoring their lives after three decades of war. Asked why the Sri Lankan Navy is operating luxury resorts on unreturned land, he says it is important to give them something to do.Regarding Asian leaders, he says he admires authoritarians such as Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who both boosted the economies of their nations. But he is more skeptical about Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, another devout Buddhist leader presiding over a country troubled by endemic inter-ethnic conflict and religious tensions. I drew attention to her desire to attain freedom from fear, and how Sri Lanka’s lingering culture of war makes this goal elusive. He agreed it made sense in theory, but expressed uncertainty about how to proceed, adding that now she faces the burden of delivering on her promises. Speaking about the war, Rajapaksa said that in his view, LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran misjudged the situation, hoping that international pressure in response to the carnage would force the state to back off. Prabhakaran, in Rajapaksa’s view, was “too full of himself,” failing to understand that this time the state had no intention of allowing the Tigers to regroup. He stopped short of condemning Sri Lanka’s militant monks and extremist Buddhist organizations for advocating and engaging in violence targeting Muslims, but did say that it is not consistent with public sentiments.Asked about continued abductions and the silencing of critics by state forces, Rajapaksa maintained that this is no longer the case. A January 2016 report by the International Truth & Justice Project Sri Lanka — “Silenced: Survivors of Torture and Sexual Violence in 2015″ — provides compelling evidence to the contrary. (Colombo Gazette) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has hinted at the possibility at contesting for the post of Prime Minister at the next General election.Asked by Japan Times about his future plans, Rajapaksa pointed out that now he is barred from seeking a third term as president, but, flashing his signature smile, did not rule out running for prime minister. “Politicians never retire,” he says.
A new study shows that Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) contributed more than $91-million and the equivalent of 307 jobs to Ontario’s economy in 2014-15.Conducted by the management consulting firm MDB Insight, the economic impact study found that investments in CCOVI’s industry-driven research and education are translating into job and business growth across Ontario.CCOVI is an internationally recognized research unit focused on addressing the needs of Canada’s grape and wine industry. The only research centre of its kind in Canada, CCOVI’s activities range from complex laboratory research to in-the-field programs that alert grape growers to imminent threats from severe weather.Its director, Debbie Inglis, says the economic impact is a culmination of the programs and services that CCOVI has developed and transferred to the industry over the past decade.“The size of CCOVI’s impact on the industry demonstrates that the institute’s combination of research, outreach and education activities are not only being used, but also embraced by the industry they were designed for,” she says.Of the $91-million overall impact, CCOVI’s research programs and services contributed an annual economic impact of more than $86 million in 2014-15.To gauge its impact, the consultants evaluated CCOVI programs and services in seven categories: grapevine cold hardiness, ladybugs, new wine styles, Icewine, CCOVI services, workshops and seminars, and conferences. These programs provide both knowledge and hands-on tools or processes that the industry can use.The study also directly attributed more than $4.7 million worth of economic impact to Brock’s investment in CCOVI and government-and-industry supported research and development.For Brock’s senior administration, the results illustrate the importance of partnerships between universities and communities around them.“This report highlights CCOVI’s significant impact on Ontario’s grape and wine industry,” says Brock President Jack Lightstone. “It shows how Brock’s commitment to partnership is transforming the university’s innovative research into real-life solutions that benefit communities across Ontario and Canada.”“At the heart of Brock’s culture of research leadership is our commitment to co-creating new knowledge with our community partners,” says Vice-President of Research Gary Libben. “Together, we mobilize our knowledge, skills and creativity for the betterment of Niagara and beyond.”Local industry organizations have welcomed the report:Patrick Gedge, president and CEO of the Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario: “The new economic impact study carried out by a well-recognized consulting company demonstrates the short and long term importance of CCOVI to the wine and grape industry and community at large.”Bill George, chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario: “Cool climate viticulture has its own unique advantages as well as challenges. This economic impact study validates the importance of CCOVI to Ontario’s economy and the grape and wine industry.”Allan Schmidt, chair of the Wine Council of Ontario: “CCOVI’s newly published Economic Impact Report demonstrates the important role research contributes to Ontario’s grape and wine sectors. This informative report will aid wineries and growers in future business decision-making, which benefits the entire industry.”The entire report can be viewed online here.LISTEN: CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis talks about the work the institute does:LISTEN: Allan Jackson, an industry representative and chair of CCOVI’s Advisory Council, talks about the impact the research work has on the industry: read more
NEW YORK — Cleveland Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson has been fined $15,000 for making an “inappropriate gesture” to a spectator.The NBA announced the punishment Thursday.Thompson’s action came at the end of the Cavaliers’ 99-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday at the Barclays Center. Thompson finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.The Associated Press