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Hassaan Shazuli

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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About Hassaan
Hassaan Shazuli is a freelance journalist based in Sri Lanka. He has written for publications in the likes of Al Jazeera, Mongabay, VICE World News, and The New Arab. His stories on print, broadcast and digital media platforms, focus on issues affecting the society, economy and environment.

A storyteller at heart, Hassaan loves simplifying complex stories for audiences. He is a strong advocate of using simple words and stunning graphics to help people understand stories.

Check out his portfolio on - www.hassaanshazuli.com
English Sinhala Tamil
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Business Finance Politics

Bombs to buzzing beaches: Sri Lanka sees tourism surge after long crisis

19 Dec 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka's tourism industry is experiencing a significant resurgence after years of crises, including the 2019 bombings, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic and political turmoil. The country recorded over 1.3 million tourist arrivals by December 2023, the highest in four years, with India and Russia being the top sources of tourists. Despite the positive trend, industry stakeholders emphasize the need to attract high-spending tourists to boost revenue. Challenges such as increased taxes, mounting debt, and outdated infrastructure remain, but the government and tourism authorities are optimistic, launching global marketing campaigns and offering incentives to attract more visitors. The sector also faces a brain drain, with many skilled workers migrating abroad. However, efforts are being made to train and retain local talent to support the industry's growth.

Sri Lanka's crisis unites communities as country faces economic despair

09 Aug 2023  |  The New Arab
Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe economic crisis, exacerbated by political corruption and mismanagement. The crisis has united Sri Lankans across ethnic and religious divides, as they collectively face hardships such as food shortages, power cuts, and a lack of essential supplies. Community kitchens, like those run by the Voice Foundation, have become hubs for solidarity. The crisis led to the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, with Ranil Wickremesinghe taking over as the new president. However, Wickremesinghe's ties to the former regime have led to skepticism and continued protests. The country is facing a long road to recovery, with experts suggesting it may take until 2030 to achieve economic stability. The World Food Programme has reported widespread food insecurity, and the IMF's support is seen as crucial. Despite the challenges, there is a sense of hope as communities come together, moving past ethnic divisions that have long been exploited by politicians.

One elephant a day: Sri Lanka wildlife conflict deepens as death toll rises

01 May 2023  |  news.mongabay.com
Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe human-elephant conflict, with an average of one elephant death per day in the first three months of the year, many due to human intervention. The Department of Wildlife Conservation recorded 151 elephant deaths, with at least 67 attributed to human causes such as shootings and electrocutions from electric fences. The conflict also resulted in a record number of human fatalities last year. Conservationists and experts criticize the government's ineffective strategies, such as elephant drives and electric fences, and call for urgent solutions, including proper land allocation, increased staff for the Department of Wildlife Conservation, and implementation of a national action plan to mitigate the conflict. The government's failure to allocate sufficient budget and political interference are also highlighted as obstacles to resolving the issue.

In Sri Lanka, activists push for ban on using human contraceptive jabs on animals

01 Mar 2023  |  Mongabay Environmental News
Sri Lankan authorities are considering banning the use of the human contraceptive injection Depo-Provera on animals following criticism from animal rights activists and veterinarians. The injection, intended for humans, has been used in a pilot project to sterilize stray dogs, raising concerns about its safety and practicality. The Veterinary Drug Control Authority has not yet banned the injection for animals, but proposals are being considered. The Public Health Veterinary Services office initiated the project to reduce rabies deaths, but funding constraints have limited clinical sterilization efforts. Animal welfare groups and veterinary associations have called for a ban, citing severe health risks for animals.

‘We’ll be left without a home’: A family struggles in Sri Lanka

23 Nov 2022  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sri Lanka's economic crisis has severely impacted working-class families like the Rizwies, who struggle to make ends meet with rising inflation and costs. Rizwie, a taxi driver, works long hours to support his family, while Maryam, who had to quit her job due to health issues, manages household expenses on a tight budget. The family faces challenges in affording basic necessities such as rent, food, fuel, medicine, and electricity. Despite their efforts, they often rely on financial help from relatives and make significant sacrifices to ensure their children's well-being.

Sri Lankans make crypto Ponzi scam claims

15 Aug 2022  |  Al Jazeera
In Sri Lanka, a fraudulent cryptocurrency investment scheme named 'Sports Chain' has conned numerous individuals, including professionals and those from lower middle-income backgrounds, out of millions of rupees. The scheme, which operated like a Ponzi scheme, promised high returns and attracted investors who were struggling amid the country's severe economic crisis. Despite hosting promotional events and using a mobile app to manage transactions, the scheme collapsed as new investor numbers dwindled and payouts ceased. Victims, some of whom invested life savings and are now facing financial ruin, have filed complaints with the Sri Lankan authorities. The central bank has stated that it has not authorized any cryptocurrency operations, and running such schemes is illegal under Sri Lankan law. The article includes personal accounts from several defrauded investors and details the lack of response from the alleged scammers.

Here’s What Happens When Protesters Take Over a Presidential Palace in a Bankrupt Country

11 Jul 2022  |  www.vice.com
Sri Lanka is facing a severe economic crisis, with a significant foreign exchange shortage impacting imports of essential goods and leading to widespread protests. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have agreed to resign after protesters stormed the presidential palace. The country has a foreign debt of $51 billion and less than $50 million in usable foreign exchange reserves, with inflation projected to reach 70 percent. The International Monetary Fund is in bailout negotiations with Sri Lanka, which has defaulted on much of its foreign debt. The article describes the protesters' actions inside the presidential palace and the public's anger towards the government's economic mismanagement and corruption. The speaker of the parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, is set to be the acting president before elections are held, a decision that has not been well received by some protesters.

Toddy duty slashed, taverns open for extra hours

08 Jan 2021  |  newsfirst.lk
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who also serves as finance minister, has directed a reduction in the duty on bottled toddy from Rs 50 to Rs 25 per litre and extended the operating hours of toddy taverns by two hours. The new tavern hours are from 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm. Additionally, the limit of toddy that can be sold to an individual has been increased from 1.5 to three litres, with a pass required for transporting more than three litres.

Ticket cost of entertainment shows, international matches tipped to increase

01 Dec 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
Ticket costs for entertainment shows and international sports tournaments in Sri Lanka's Western Province are set to increase from 2021 due to a tax hike. The entertainment tax on tickets for international sports tournaments will rise from 10% to 13%, and for carnivals, circuses, and shows with local and foreign artists from 10% to 12%. These rates will be in effect until 2022. Cinema, stage dramas, sports meets, and dinner dances will maintain their current tax rate of 10% and 8% respectively. Events such as fundraisers for critically ill artists and final concerts for veteran artists over 75 years old will be exempt from the tax. Local authorities have the power to set tax rates for events in their areas.

Rift between security units foiled intel sharing before attacks - witness

16 Jul 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
A rift between Sri Lanka's State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) obstructed the sharing of crucial intelligence before the April 21 terrorist attacks, according to testimony from former deputy police chief Nalaka de Silva. De Silva revealed that the SIS withheld information from the TID, including details about the arrival of FETO terrorist group members and a suspected Al-Qaeda extremist. Additionally, the TID failed to inform police stations about a warrant for Zahran Hashim, the attack's mastermind. De Silva also alleged that SIS officers were awarded by the former President post-carnage.

VIP's acted to conceal knowledge about April 21st attacks - witness

14 Jul 2020  |  newsfirst.lk
A former deputy police chief, Dushan Priyalal, testified that high-profile individuals acted to conceal prior information about the 2019 April 21st attacks in Sri Lanka. He informed the directors of five security units under his purview about an impending attack on April 10. However, some VIPs were informed, and after the attacks, they asked their security personnel to not disclose that they had been warned. The former DIG received a letter from the police chief, which originated from the then chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis, indicating that

No licence for Australian mineral explorer to explore Mannar Island

02 Jul 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
Australian company Titanium Sands Ltd. does not possess the necessary licences to conduct exploration on Mannar Island, despite their claims. The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau confirmed that the licences are held by five other companies, none of which have declared ownership by a Mauritius company. Titanium Sands Ltd. had acquired shares of Srinel Holdings Ltd. in 2018, contradicting their statement of supervising exploration since 2015.

Titanium Sands Ltd. halts trading amid Mannar Island controversy

29 Jun 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
Australian mineral exploration company Titanium Sands Ltd has halted trading at the Australian Stock Exchange pending an update on a proposed sand mining project on Mannar Island in Sri Lanka. A News 1st investigation revealed irregularities in the company's exploration activities, which included drilling over 3500 holes since 2015. The company plans to mine 265 metric tonnes of minerals, including high-quality Ilmenite, used in aircraft manufacturing.

Sri Lanka's poverty line soars past Rs 5000 in May

16 Jun 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
Sri Lanka's poverty line exceeded Rs 5000 in May for the third time in 2020, with the Department of Census and Statistics reporting that a person needs Rs 5006 for monthly expenses. The highest average monthly expense was in Colombo at Rs 5434, while Monaragala had the lowest at Rs 4713. The government provided a Rs 5000 grant to 2.3 million families below the poverty line during April and May due to the COVID-19 pandemic but discontinued it in June. In 2019, 6.7 percent of the population was below the poverty line.

Government instructs recovery of state employees' loans amidst pandemic

14 Jun 2020  |  www.newsfirst.lk
The public administration ministry has directed state authorities to resume the recovery of loan installments and interest payments from state sector employees' salaries starting June. This decision reverses a previous directive issued on March 26 to suspend these recoveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The circular, issued with the concurrence of the general treasury, has faced criticism for imposing financial burdens on public employees whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic.

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