World Affairs








Beware of Hepatitis A

Prevention is easier than cure


More Review Articles...

The N.U. Jayawardena saga

Cruelty to animals at the Dehiwela Zoo

In memory of Brother Dhinakaran

Security programme to protect
our school children

An American experience with a
herbal cure





By Shezna Shums

An increasing number of Hepatitis A patients has been reported from the Colombo District in the past few days, sources at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said.

Chief Medical Officer, CMC, Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam stated that there has been an increase in many mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. But more alarming is the fact that several cases of  Hepatitis A have been reported especially  from the Mattakkuliya area. A notable feature in these cases is that many of the patients are from homes situated close to garbage dumps.

 He went on to say that the CMC has now reactivated its pest control services by spraying chemicals and fumigation of high risk areas.

Investigations have revealed that people living in Mattakkuliya and the surrounding areas have been forced to use contaminated water. Some households however are not aware of the state of the water that they are using.

Use only boiled water

The CMC emphasised that it is very important that only boiled water should be consumed and food ought to be thoroughly cooked before being consumed. A warning has also been issued on the eating of fresh leaves during this high risk period.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Although not usually as serious as other types of viral Hepatitis, Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver seriously compromising its functions.  The usual cause for the spread of Hepatitis A is the consumption of contaminated food and water.

Medical personnel advice that the public should practice good hygiene by washing the hands before cooking or when touching food and drink.

Another notable feature is that in some cases the infected persons do not appear to be ill at all, while several others may develop symptoms similar to severe influenza or flu.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A may include fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of the liver on the right side beneath the lower ribs, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, dark  coloured urine, muscle pain and itching.

Another symptom is the skin of the patient turning yellow and this colouring is also reflected in the eyes of the patient.

No visible symptoms

Patients suffering from Hepatitis A may also feel healthy after their symptoms disappear but the doctors advice that the patient ought to get as much rest as possible. The recommended period of rest is one or two months.  A relapse of the disease can be fatal if the patient has not recovered fully.

The liver is primarily located on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath the lower ribs.

The liver performs many functions, including processing most of the nutrients absorbed from the intestines, removing drugs, alcohol and other harmful substances from the bloodstream, and manufacturing bile, the greenish fluid stored in the gallbladder that helps digest fats.

The liver also produces cholesterol, blood-clotting factors and certain other proteins.  The liver also had the capacity for regeneration; it can heal itself by replacing or repairing injured cells.

It's also constructed so that healthy cells will take over the function of damaged cells, either indefinitely or until the damage has been repaired but the liver is prone to a number of diseases, including viral Hepatitis.

Hepatitis A virus is usually transmitted via the faecal-oral route.

This is when someone with the virus handles food without first carefully washing his or her hands after using the toilet.

Avoid green leaves

Hepatitis A can also be contracted by drinking contaminated water or by coming into close contact with a person who is  infected even if that person shows no signs or symptoms.

Medical officers at the Colombo Municipal Council advice that people for the moment should avoid eating green leaves which is a common everyday dish in Sri Lankan homes. The public are also advised to  drink boiled water.

The main focus should be on making sure a patient gets adequate nutrition and avoid any permanent liver damage which is why complete rest is crucial.

In the case of nausea it is advised that the patient consumes small snacks and not large meals.

Soft, easily digested foods, such as soup or broth, yoghurt and toast  are the recommended diets. Patients  also find that eating in the morning may be more tolerable than at night.

Hepatitis A is highly contagious and preventing the spread of the virus involves protecting both yourself and others from the infection, by practicing good hygiene and resting properly.

It is advised that you should wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Scrub vigorously for at least 10 seconds and rinse well.

Use clean utensils and a Hepatitis A patient's utensils should be kept separate from those used by other members of the household.


The N.U. Jayawardena saga

N.U. Jayawardena

Neville Ubeyesinghe Jayawardena (NU) was a controversial financial colossus who strode the country's corporate and banking sectors as no other Sri Lankan did during the last century.

Like most Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, he was from the south, having very modest origins and was a Dick Whittington who made it good in Colombo. NU, however, was an exception in that while others made their mark through industrial development projects and other businesses such as road transport, he was a financial genius cum buccaneer who built his financial empires by the sweat of his brow and also lost them probably because of his flamboyant and irrepressible ways. The edifices he built - Mercantile Credit and Sampath Bank still stand as monuments to his financial genius - which he maintained were taken away from him unfairly.

This writer was not a confidant of NU and had met him briefly only on a few occasions, but as a journalist for more than four decades, was quite familiar with the achievements and vicissitudes of this entrepreneur. The material collected for this article is from other contributors to various journals over the years.


NU, whose father was a rest house-keeper, had his early education at Hambantota and Matara. Like most schoolboys of families with modest means he walked long distances to school, at times seven miles a day, to and fro. He later studies at St. Aloysius College, Galle and at the age of 16 years passed his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1924  with three distinctions.

He commenced life working as a government clerk at the age of 17, drawing a pay - only Rs. 5 less than a peon. But the man, who in later years became legendary for his commitment to work, worked hard, and while being a junior clerk obtained a degree in Economics, Bsc (Econ) London and commenced progressing in his career. In 1932 he assisted in setting up the Commercial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Labour and Commerce and made a mark in his public service career when appointed as assistant secretary to the Banking Commission which recommended the setting up of the Bank of Ceylon.

Banking Commission

The Banking Commission was appointed by British Governor, Edward Stubbs comprising: Sir Suraj  Pochankawala (Chairman), Marcus Fernando MD and  B.B. Das Gupta from the University College as secretary. N.U. Jayawardena was appointed as the assistant secretary. This was in recognition of the potential of NU. He was always known as an ardent nationalist and even in colonial times pushed for the country's independence from the shackles of financial colonialism.

The Bank of Ceylon's commemorative issue of  its 50th anniversary speaks of the restrictive credit the Sri Lankans had at the time (in 1925)  and that the Chettiars were the only non Ceylonese group that provided credit. But following developments in India resulting in restrictions of credit for the Chettiars, there were many Ceylonese business failures and many Ceylonese were declared insolvent.

Despite objections from the predictably European  controlled interests such as the Exchange Banks Association and the Ceylon Chamber of  Commerce the commission concluded the establishment of an indigenous bank with powerful resources as it would place Ceylonese borrowers and non Ceylonese borrowers on a footing of equal exchange.

NU was even in colonial times known as a nationalist who advocated an indigenous bank for Sri Lankans. I have not come across records of his advocacy but as an additional secretary to the banking commission he would no doubt have contributed much to the cause. Late in life, when those of his age would have retired to the hansi putuwa he established Sampath Bank. His nationalist fervour was so well known that those  in anglicised banks called it the 'Sinhala Buddhist Bank.' But NU was not as stupid as the progress of the bank has shown.

In the immediate pre-independence period he headed the Exchange Control Department (1948 to 1950) and was instrumental in assisting the Central Bank. In 1950 he was appointed the Deputy Governor, and in 1953, succeeded the American, John Exter as the first Sri Lankan governor.

NU as the Central Bank Governor was close to J.R. Jayewardene who was the then finance minister and accompanied him to London on many official visits. Commentators at that time noted that Sri Lanka's sterling assets were being dwindled not for economic development but for import of consumer goods which were not absolutely essential. NU served as an advisor to many ministers who knew little of the economy of the country, commentators have noted.

Cooked the goose

NU, a commentator noted, burnt his boats soon after J.R. Jayewardene had quit the Finance Ministry portfolio. At a dinner hosted by Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawala for the visiting governor of the Bank of England, Sir John in his characteristic, irrepressible manner had said it loud and clear: "I say NU, I hear you made money through devious means."

NU who also was not known for his reticence even though he was the Governor of the Central Bank, had come back: 'Sir John, I as Governor of the Central Bank understand the provisions of the Exchange Control Regulations Act and can ask you to reveal your assets abroad." At that time it was known among inner circles that Sir John was making moves to purchase a farm in Kent which he eventually did. A guest at that dinner had noted: 'NU has cooked his goose.'

Nonetheless, a commission was appointed to inquire into the conduct of NU and he had to quit the post of governor of the Central Bank. He was eventually exonerated by the commission that was appointed to inquire into the charges made.

NU on his exoneration had vowed he would make a come back. And this he did when he was appointed as chairman of Vavaseurs, one of the biggest British firms in the country purchasing coconut products and fibers. He opened many subsidiary companies which collapsed and resulted in NU's reputation taking a nose dive.

Financial empires

However, he established Mercantile Credit which for many years was considered the best and most stable finance company. He was unfortunate in that the prospering company was severely hit by the 1983 communal riots where funds lent could not be recovered. Like most other financial companies they had to seek help from the Central Bank. Unfortunately for NU the governor of the Central Bank had an antipathy for NU and this developed into a visible vendetta. It is reflected in a court case where  the former governor of the Central Bank was convicted by the High Court and the Supreme Court, and sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment (suspended for five years) for having criminally trespassed on NU Jayawardena's family property.

The fortunes and misfortunes of Sampath Bank are too well known to be recounted here. But NU, despite vehement opposition when he formed the bank had its shares over subscribed. NU lost Sampath Bank but it still stands as a monument to his prowess as a financial genius and entrepreneur.

He was not considered as an angel for those in financial distress. But he was a Sri Lankan who could establish financial empires out of virtually nothing, but in doing so, treading on the toes of good and bad men is inevitable.

- Gamini Weerakoon


Cruelty to animals at the Dehiwela Zoo

Deer in their enclosures at the Dehiwela Zoo

By Risidra Mendis

As children I am sure we all remember the day when our parents told us we were going to the zoo. The excitement and thrill of seeing so many rare and endemic animals in one large area cannot be described in words.

But as children we only saw the 'good' side of the zoo. We thought it was an interesting place to visit and seeing rare animals was an unforgettable experience. They never told us that an animal in a cage is cruelty, and made us believe that a visit to the zoo was educational and relaxing.But we were only children at that time and failed to realise that animals on display at a zoo is one of the most cruellest acts a man can impose on an animal.

But as adults we realise how wrong and ignorant we were in believing that the zoo is an interesting place to visit. Held in captivity and forced to display themselves to visitors these innocent animals face a dreadful life in the zoo.

Deteriorating standards

The National Zoological Gardens that is supposed to be one of the best zoos in Asia has today become a death hole to many animals. The zoo that promoted the conservation of many rare animals and provided educational programmes to school children is now responsible for the injuries and deaths of many animals. Do we need a zoo, is the question posed by many animal rights activists and nature lovers who feel it is time the zoo was shut down and these innocent animals left in peace.

President, Sathva Mithra, Sagarica Rajakarunanayake has been an active animal rights activist for many long years. During her time of active campaigning for animals she has come across some horrendous experiences of cruelty to animals at the zoo.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader Rajakarunanayake said she had heard about an incident some time ago of an African male elephant, Jacko, who had over 25 injuries on its trunk. "The injuries were due to its mahout hitting its trunk. I went to the zoo and saw the elephant's trunk. It was inflamed and swollen. There was no response from zoo authorities and the ministry officials over the incident," she said.

Then came the incident of another elephant being blinded by its mahout at the zoo. "I heard from one of my sources at the zoo that Ganga was blinded in one eye. The normal practice of mahouts at the zoo is to hit stones at the elephants when they want the animals to get out of the water after their bath. One of these stones hit the animal on its eye and it became blind. This incident took place when Rukman Senanayake was the Environment Minister. I asked for an inquiry into the incident and due to the intervention of the then Minister the mahout was immediately interdicted," Rajakarunanayake explained.


The famous Raja was auctioned because it killed its mahout. "Zoo authorities didn't raise questions as to why Raja killed its mahout. The animal was constantly harassed by its mahout who used to get drunk in the evening. The convenient decision was to auction the animal. A mahout was also seen pricking an elephant on its trunk at an elephant show at the zoo. The animal accidentally hit its trunk on the mahout's eye, and the keeper's reaction was to strike the animal mercilessly," she explained.

During the time Brigadier P. G. Charles was the zoo director approval was given for a crocodile to be sent for the shooting of a film. "Against the advice of veterinary surgeons the animal was sent for filming on the approval of Brigadier Charles. The animal was sent with the film director and his men while no keeper accompanied it.

"The animal was old and questions have been raised as to why a zoo keeper was not sent with the animal. According to the scene in the film the hero grapples with the crocodile. After the crocodile was brought back to the zoo it died within a few days. There were indications that the animal was manhandled and died of stress," Rajakarunanayake said. She added that the film director refused to take responsibility for the animal's death as it died after it was returned to the zoo. "Zoo authorities failed to give a valid explanation for the crocodile's death," she said.

More incidents

The next horrendous incident was that of a black rhinoceros being electrocuted at the zoo. "A loose live wire had come down into the rhinoceros's enclosure during the rainy season. The animal had bitten the live wire and died. This is a sad case as the animal was born in captivity and should have been taken care of by zoo keepers. Negligence on the part of the zoo staff resulted in the death of this innocent animal," Rajakarunanayake added.

No inquiry was held by the zoo authorities and the incident was forgotten.

Most of the rare albino cobras that were popular among visitors have also died. Out of 30 baby Albino cobras that hatched 15 died some time ago. In many cases an animal or reptile dies due to an incurable disease or old age. But sadly, the death of the Albino cobras was not due to old age or disease but starvation.

According to inside sources the baby Albino cobras were not fed for months and had died of starvation. Inside sources say 15 Albino cobras, nine spitting cobras, three green mambas, one Central Asian Cobra, two king cobras and three kadol mapilas among others have died at the zoo in the recent past.

"The largest python (14 feet in length) in the zoo had also died due to starvation. Zoo officials brought down a pair of king cobras from India many years ago. The 10 feet long male king cobra had a growth on its tail when it was brought to the zoo. Zoo officials did not attend to the reptile and it died. At the time of its death this female cobra was still seven and a half feet long - an indication that it too died due to starvation. Thus it remained the same size when it died," inside sources said.


"Certain snake species need to be fed live animals such as frogs, chicken and mice. Zoo keepers are too lazy to go looking for live animals. Their only interest is to display the reptiles for the public. The cobra when fed after a long period of time cannot digest its food. Their intestines enlarge and burst and the cobra dies. The lack of sunlight has also caused the deaths of some species of snakes," environmentalists said.

Former Zoo Director, Brigadier Charles said he was not aware of such incidents. "If an animal or reptile dies it has to be brought to my notice. A post mortem has to be conducted and a report submitted to me within 24 hours. I have not received any reports of dead snakes," he said.

However inside sources say senior zoo officials are unaware of the deaths of the reptiles as the dead creatures are thrown in the dust bins by the zoo keepers and disposed of.

Snakes are released from the zoo for various snake awareness programmes conducted by hotels catering to tourists in many parts of the country. "These reptiles undergo tremendous stress when transported," says well known herpetologist, Anslem de Silva.

"Within the last two weeks a cheetah and a jaguar died at the zoo. According to information I received the jaguar died when it was sedated by veterinary surgeons at the zoo. However, zoo authorities say the jaguar had cancer and had to be euthanised. The cheetah had died due to a growth in its stomach and salmonella poisoning," Rajakarunanayake said. Meanwhile six deer paid with their lives when zoo officials tried to catch them to take them to the Deyata Kirula exhibition that concluded on February 11 at the BMICH.

According to zoo officials many animals were injured when zoo keepers tried to capture them prior to the exhibition. "Four animals died on February 7 and another two of the injured died on February 8. Environmentalists have accused zoo keepers of negligence when capturing the animals and questioned zoo authorities as to why the carcasses were burnt without a proper post mortem being conducted.

"Zoo authorities in a news item have said they were not aware of the incident. If permission was granted for the release of these animals for the Deyata Kirula exhibition how can zoo authorities say they were not aware of the incident," Rajakarunanayake stressed.

She added that it is bad enough that these innocent animals are confined to cages, and criticised zoo authorities for permitting the animals to be taken for the exhibition.

When The Sunday Leader contacted the zoo, an assistant zoo director who refused to give her name said she cannot comment on the incident of the deer and suggested we speak to the director.


"In the past during the drought animals are not provided with water. I once saw a white polar bear keeping its back against a running water tap. These animals need a cool environment and air conditioned enclosures. If the zoo cannot provide such facilities these animals shouldn't be brought to the zoo. All the penguins brought to the zoo have died. Why impose cruelty on animals in this manner?" Rajakarunanayake questioned.  Should the zoo continue to function or should it be shut down permanently? This is a decision for the public to take. It is only the public who can voice their protests on the cruelty to animals by not visiting the zoo and creating an awareness among their friends and family.


In memory of Brother Dhinakaran

Brother Dr. D.G.S. Dhinakaran, the apostle of love who prayed for millions of people for 25 years entered into glory on February 20.

Brother Dr. Dhinakaran travelled all over the world praying for people from all walks of life. Those ailing, in anguish and distressed by various problems in life were touched, comforted and healed by Brother Dr. Dhinakaran's prayers.

Brother Dr. Dhinakaran who was in Sri Lanka recently prayed for the country and for its people. He radiated love, concern and God's glory to all, irrespective of caste, creed, race and financial status.

He sought God earnestly for seven years and on October 10, 1962 the Lord Jesus appeared to him personally and had spoken to him for three hours. The Lord  had shown Dr. Dhinakaran how He had recorded everyone of his prayers and that because he had sought Him diligently, He had come personally to bless him.

The Lord also told Dr. Dhinakaran that he was His chosen vessel to carry His love and compassion to the broken-hearted people all over the world. His mission was to console millions around the world, and to prove that God cared for them through his message, songs, and prayers.

People from all over the world sought Dr. Dhinakaran's prayers to get relief from their problems. Wherever Dr. Dhinakaran addressed, a huge crowd, sometimes exceeding 300,000 gathered. The message of love and compassion preached by Dr. Dhinakaran was broadcast throughout India and in 16 other countries from three radio stations. The programme goes out 10 times each week and is broadcast in five different languages - English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. Millions listened to his programmes.

The  mortal remains of Brother Dr.  Dhinakaran were kept for public homage at Royepettah YMWC Grounds,  Chennai from Thursday, February 21. The funeral service was held on Friday, February 22 at  Kilpauk Cemetery.

Messages of condolences can be sent to dgs@jesuscalls.org

- Ranee Mohamed


Security programme to protect our school children

How safe are our school children?

By Nirmala Kannangara

Children are the future of a nation. It is the sole responsibility of a government to protect this future generation. Considering the deteriorating security situation in the country the Education Ministry was compelled to close schools within city limits and other vulnerable areas a few weeks ago, leaving parents in two minds - whether to send their precious children to school or not, in fear of their safety - once they reopened.

Since the terrorists have now started targeting innocent civilians resulting in many school children being killed in the recent past - at Nugegoda, the Fort Railway Station and in Buttala, the Education Ministry along with the police and the three armed forces have started a pilot project to protect our future generation by educating school children, principals and staff on how to act in case of an emergency.

Pilot programme

In order to give better protection to children and the schools the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the police and the National Cadet Corps initiated a programme in 2006 to educate school authorities to gear themselves to face crisis situations in the event of a bomb scare or a natural disaster.

The pilot project - Kumara Pawura was initiated to create awareness about precautionary measures and all schools have by now been covered under this programme according to sources at the National Cadet Corps. The prime objective is to educate principals and staff on their responsibilities with regard to security measures which have to be instilled in children as well. Parents and guardians are also to be familiarised on the guidelines to be adopted.

Police officers and members of the National Cadet Corps, in collaboration with the Education Ministry, are to introduce Kumara Pawura from March 1. In order to  make the programme effective they are now holding special discussions and seminars regularly with the assistance of principals, teachers, parents and students.

According to the Police Media Unit seminars have been conducted in selected schools and they have received tremendous support from the parent teacher associations as well as concerned citizens. The police sources further said that the children are now  aware about the present security situation and have been educated on how to identify a suspicious person or object, not only in schools but also in the neighbourhood.  

Well received

"This has become very successful as the principals and the staff together with the students took part in these seminars very enthusiastically. We showed them how to protect their school and surroundings while taking precautions to protect themselves as well. In addition, programmes were being held on disaster management, recognising bombs or any other dangerous object and first aid in case of an emergency," the sources told The Sunday Leader.

The Sunday Leader meanwhile spoke to a cross section of schools in Colombo to ascertain their views and some of them said that although the government has started a programme to educate school authorities and pupils on how they should face any unexpected situation by issuing certain guidelines, there are many lapses in providing security to children when they are out of  school.

On grounds of anonymity school principals told The Sunday Leader that although security personnel provide security near schools they cannot be certain that the measures in place could protect children before and after school hours from the lurking danger. "How can we be sure that our children will go home safely? There is severe traffic congestion before and after school hours. If terrorists want to create mayhem these times would be the easiest for such attacks. How are we to protect the innocent children from such a situation? We cannot keep  schools closed till the situation becomes satisfactory either but at the end of the day we are putting our children's lives in danger," said a few principals of Colombo schools.

A scare

Meanwhile sources from a leading girl's school in Nugegoda told The Sunday Leader that the school authorities were angry when the Education Ministry refused to grant permission to close the school following the detection of a bomb nearby a fortnight ago.

"We were surprised as to why the Ministry did not accede to our request. When we agitated we were allowed to close. The government should know that we are doing the best to save our children. It is not as though the staff don't want to teach. If that is the case they will take leave and stay away from school. But our concern is the safety of our children," added the school sources.

Another concern

Meanwhile, school vans have become the latest threat to security as there is a possibility that these vans could be used for terrorist activities. Principal, Ananda College, B.A. Abeyratne told The Sunday Leader that all vans that bring children to Ananda College have been placed under scrutiny. "The school authorities are on the alert for any suspicious vehicles. The regular van drivers help us to carry out these checks," added Abeyratne.

Meanwhile some parents at Visakha Vidyalaya told The Sunday Leader that although they are satisfied with the security measures taken by the school they are still worried about their children's safety before and after school as the traffic congestion near the school could pose a problem.

"There are barricades near the school premises. But still, once children leave school anything can happen. There is no proper vehicular traffic system. The congestion is so bad that both students and parents are stuck in the traffic jam for a long time," alleged these parents.


An American experience with a herbal cure

Dr. Werner E. Gregg

By  Ranee Mohamed

An American businessman who used a herbal remedy from Sri Lanka claims that he had never felt so healthy, and has taken steps to register and import this  ayurveda oil with a view to helping his ailing friends in the USA.

When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Dr. Werner Gregg, speaking from Arizona said "It is like a miracle drug and I believe it primarily boosts the body's immune system and helps the body to fight off many of the diseases. I feel better than I did without the medicine," he said.

"My first introduction to this medicine was while watching a documentary film on Link TV about traditional medicines in Southern India and Sri Lanka. I was particularly impressed with a segment where a man from Boston, MA, had a problem where his cancer kept coming back and after he exhausted all options available to him in the USA, he went to Sri Lanka for treatment an remained cancer-free for the past 15 years at the time of filming," says Dr. Gregg.

History of illness

On a more personal note, Dr.Werner Gregg went on to say: "I had a problem with cancer. After some surgery, everything looked great with PSA readings of 0.07. However the new problem was that my PSA reading doubled every three months and my Urologist, Dr. Doug Tiedjen recommended that I subject myself to radiation treatment, with a method practised by Dr. Sheldon, an Oncologist at Research Hospital in Missouri.  He surgically implants gold markers in the area where the beam is to be directed and then with alternating X-ray and beaming the rays go to a precise defined area."

"A friend of mine had radiation treatment in Singapore with terrible results and advised against it, so I was at a loss what to do because the alternative was the injection of female hormones with bad side effects. So I contacted my friend in Sri Lanka, David Ranasinghe, a retired air force group captain, a customer who had two medical doctors in his immediate family. I asked him for his opinion about this traditional Sri Lankan medicine. He responded that he had a positive experience recently when a  close member of  his family needed bypass surgery, but was too old and frail for the operation. By taking Pranajeewa oil she had been cured and was fine ever since. David has a sharp mind, is fit and absolutely trustworthy, and so I was eager to hear from him when he said that he would contact the guru who helped the member of his family, tell him of my situation and will get back to me," explained Dr. Gregg.

The advise from David's guru had been for Dr. Gregg to go ahead with the radiation treatment and then start taking the Pranajeewa oil. "I scheduled the implants, then tried to find a way to get the oil to me. We concluded that it would be easier to ship it to Germany as all attempts to ship to the USA were denied. David found a creative way to securely pack and mail a small bottle to Germany which was waiting for me at German customs when I arrived in Kassel. When I explained my situation to  the customs official he had compassion and told me to take my parcel and wished me good luck," said Dr. Gregg.

Wonder oil

"I started taking it immediately although the taste is not habit-forming. David warned me it looks like used engine oil and tastes worse. The daily dose of two tablespoons followed by a glass of warm water got just a little easier to tolerate as time went on. I returned to USA and began my radiation treatment. I was warned that the 33 treatments, five times per week, will take a lot out of me and I would soon feel the side effects. However, to everyone's surprise I never experienced the hot flushes or fatigue that was to come. In fact I felt great throughout and I accredit it to the Pranajeewa oil. I was happy to have it and I needed more.

"The problem then had been that  David was refused acceptance by couriers because it was medicine and liquid. The only option was for someone to carry it as personal baggage. David had tried to get a visa but was refused.

"Then David thought of a relative, Prem Kasturi, who owns and operates a Best Western Hotel in Munich, Germany. I contacted him and he invited  my wife and me to come to Munich as his guests. When he took us to our top floor suite, there were two bottles of Pranajeewa oil waiting for me on the night stand, all courtesy of Kasturi. As I have said many times, if you let them, Sri Lankans will smother you with sincere kindness. At that moment I was so happy that my wife had initiated a private international donation campaign to directly help tsunami victims in Sri Lanka a while back," said Dr. Gregg.

Humanitarian gesture

"Well, my supply was secure now. I thought I had all I would ever need. Before I finished the first bottle, I felt so good and my PSA values were so good that I stopped taking it and gave the rest of my first bottle to an old friend, Al, who had been taking chemo treatment for cancer for a long time, which process  had sapped  his energy. After he checked with his doctor he started taking it and immediately started to feel better. We gave what we had left to an employee because his brother had serious diabetic problems causing him to be in and out of hospitals with related issues. This patient too had remarkable improvement and said he would like to get some for regular use."

Dr. Werner Gregg goes on to recall of a 35 year old  lady, the sister-in-law of a friend who had terminal cancer. Doctors had given up on her and she had only a few months to live. Dr. Gregg had desperately wanted to help her. "Once again I called my new friend, Kasturi, who was able to get one more bottle and shipped it to my friend in Kassel, who had agreed to drop everything and hand carry the bottle to me in Kansas City," said Dr. Gregg.

The lady had initially experienced problems taking the medicine due to nausea. But they had found a way to mix it with fruit. "Although she had been taking less than two tablespoons, she started feeling better right away. Her quality of life improved and a surgery to remove a suspected tumour was no longer needed. I  called the gentleman last week and he told me they are very happy with the product not only because she feels so much better and she outlived their best or worst case prognosis, but because everybody in the family was happy at her progress," he added 


Dr. Gregg goes on to say that after he stopped taking the oil for several months he began to feel fatigue in the afternoon. "I attributed it to the fact that I had stopped exercising due to a foot injury. I  did a lot of yard work lifting heavy boulders which I thought could be the reason for the sudden pain in my lower abdomen. I saw my urologist and he thought my reasoning made sense, but he scheduled a blood test, and I found my PSA levels kept creeping back up." And then Dr. Werner Gregg had begun to take the oil again. "After two weeks I started to feel great again. The oil enabled me to eat chocolate cake and all those things I should avoid."

Dr. Werner Gregg who had been in touch with USA customs seeking guidance for importing the oil from Si Lanka was referred to the Food and Drug Administration website. "After reading about 700 pages and over a dozen phone calls to the FDA, who were very helpful, and many hours of trying, I was able to register as an Official Food Facility. With just a little guidance from me Dr. Sujeewa Vithana was able to do the same thing in Sri Lanka. These were the first major steps to overcome the obstacles to help people with problems to which there is a solution in herbal medicine," he said.

"We are now preparing to set up a new company for the distribution of Pranajeewa oil in North America. Initially we will offer it as a dietary supplement. Later, we plan to classify it as a drug. But this requires scientific data from approved labs in the United States. Unless we can substantiate these, we are not allowed to make claims of what it does and can do," pointed out Dr. Werner Gregg.

We must appreciate our own cures...

Dr. Sujeewa Vithana of Sethsuva Ayurveda Hospital in Batalanda, when contacted by The Sunday Leader said that this oil is an ancient recipe and has been passed on from generation to generation. "Over 200 herbs go into the making of this oil which is intended for cholesterol and ischaemic heart disease and blockages. But it is an exceptional remedy for cancer, strokes, skin problems, gastritis, etc., and boosts immunity.  It's a pity that we in Sri Lanka have no time to appreciate our own traditional medicine," said Dr. Sujeewa.


On this week's show...

This last week has been pretty spectacular. At the end of the week before, the banks were in trouble. The nervousness over the share market showed, and first the bank that my flat mate has accounts with and then my own, announced that they had been insured with US companies against damage in certain deals and investments.

My bank in particular has been insured for $200 million dollars worth of damage. This doesn't sound so bad at first but it is the fact that anything to do with the US and financial services seems to be sending everyone into a tizzy at the moment and it has now resulted in what financial analysts are terming a loan loss cycle.

It has also resulted in the banks losing anywhere from 20% to 40% off  the value of their shares in the market. 

Good news

But then there is some good news. BHP Billiton is buying or attempting to buy Rio Tinto - for those who are unaware, these are mining companies. The good news is that with the end of the financial year for Japan looming close, the deal for the new price of iron ore had to be decided soon. And last week the major buyers, Nippon Steel and other companies from Korea teamed up with Brazil's CRD to name a price. Iron ore is now 79 dollars a tonne which is four times the price it was in 2004.

And guess what the mines in Queensland and Western Australia owned by companies like Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton export as part of what supports the nation's economy?  And that was just the weekend. 

Come Monday and the former members of the Liberal Party end up in a special report for the Four Corners programme on how Howard contributed to the loss in the election three months ago. And on Monday and Tuesday parliament was a riot to watch. 

Going back

The week before the Liberal Senators attempted to block the Transition Bill that would end the controversial WorkChoices legislation that they put in place last year while still in power. On Tuesday morning, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party stated that they did not support the WorkChoices policy any more - a complete turnaround. 

It has been a week for high antics as well. Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard was chastised for her use of props because she was quite keen on repeating ad nauseam the fact that they had found booklets about WorkChoices printed by the former Howard Government that had cost over a million dollars of taxpayer's money and that the former Howard Government had not been able to give them away as they had thought, and had to pay more taxpayer's money to have them pulped, just a few weeks before they started their election campaign with one of the core policies they were running on being WorkChoices. Of course she got overexcited and waved booklets around while stating that she had personally attended the recycling of the stacks that they had found. That was on Monday. 

Labour - pluses and minuses

On Tuesday, she had come back with several thousand mousepads that the former Howard Government had created again with taxpayer's money in order to promote the WorkChoices policy - they apparently hadn't been able to give those away either and she taunted the Liberal Party in opposition as to whether they had any ideas as to what to do with them as they would not be as easy to recycle as paper booklets were. She was laughed at again for excessive use of props but she had succeeded at that point at making the Liberals look useless. 

And that would have been fine for Labour had Wayne Swan, the Treasurer, not done what he did. On Monday he was asked for the Labour Government's plan for inflation with exact figures if possible, and he immediately became defensive and was accused of not being relevant with his answers, as he instead started talking about the bad decisions made by the prior government and what it had left the incoming government to deal with. All in all, he looked a right idiot and if there is one thing the Liberals now know, it's that, that all they have to do to make Labour look awful is to ask Wayne Swan a question, any question. 

To make matters worse on Tuesday, when asked a question relating to the projected figures to increase growth in the non mining sector of the economy and what Labour's plans were in that area, he answered Monday's question instead and again was accused of not being relevant. And of course he was defensive right throughout. 

Not interested

And you don't want to know what each side is saying about Fidel Castro quitting and President Musharaff's party losing the parliamentary elections in Pakistan. Except of course that the first thing they think of is terrorism, extremism and national security - the mention of which cannot possibly have in anyway anything to do with any related decisions made regarding these events being the right or best ones possible. 

But at least I am not the only one who finds both what  is happening with the economy and what happens in parliament a tad on the strange and alarming side but also a little like very bad stand up comedy acts in a variety show. So does the Speaker of the House and quite a lot of the reporters and journalists. 

But at least this explains why they run the recordings of the parliamentary goings on so late at night on weeknights. It's Australia's answer to David Letterman, Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show. I guess the only thing they are missing are live band and music acts. They have got the exceptionally bad taste and behaviour part down pat, already. 

- Marisa Wikramanayake


 A delightful Valentine's party

A Secret Admirer delivered a Valentine gift at my doorstep! Early morning, a porcupine was leisurely strolling around the garden. Of course, the minute the doggies saw it, they went charging up, barking their heads off. Being rather cowardly, they stayed a safe distance away. Keeping us in their line of vision, they danced around the fellow. Every time they approached, it quivered indignantly and put out its quills. A truly magnificent sight! So we had to guide it outdoors before it had a nervous breakdown.

Actually, I got a rather nice gift, since I had been broadly hinting about these beautiful shawls I saw for the past two weeks. They were thrust at me on Valentine's Day morning. Unfortunately one of them had something written on it with a permanent marker, that had escaped the eye of the purchaser! I'm hoping the cleaners can get rid of it.

My friends and I had organised our annual Valentine's party, since we were all pretty sure that our husbands wouldn't bother to do anything special. Single friends too joined us. Our classmates overseas were so envious of us, saying in the midst of bloodshed, murder and mayhem, us lowly beings were set to have a good time. They grumpily told us that they couldn't have parties on weekdays.They had all grumbled to their husbands!


As usual, we had the most gorgeous dcor, since one of us is lucky to be married to one of the best interior guys over here. A huge dried branch was arranged in a bower right over our tables, twinkling with little red rice bulbs. Silver hearts and mirrors were suspended from this branch. The tables were set outdoors. Each had a centrepiece of tall red lilies (I didn't know of the existence of this flower) surrounded by little white jasmine flowers floating in a bowl of water beneath this.

Huge wrought iron candelabra were placed around, while some candle-lit lamps hung from above. Breathtaking! As you entered the house, there was a huge arrangement of red lilies, white flowers and exotic green foliage, placed in front of an antique mirror. In their little courtyard garden, a huge cement bowl-shaped urn held water in which floated white jasmines, with red ixoras placed in a heart shape in the centre. The dining table was adorned with a tall vase of purple iris' with thin leaves that looked like the onion leaf. Wow! We were all suitably impressed.

Fun and games

The ladies were served Strawberry Margaritas, complete with huge luscious strawberries stuck on the side of the glass. Yum! These were accompanied by crumbed chicken "tulips." The ladies had been asked not to wear lipstick, but bring it along with them. Then a boxful of extra-large lipsticks were handed to the ladies one by one, and we were asked to apply it without using a mirror. Eeek!

The gents had to judge who had the nicest lipsticked lips. When we opened the tube, a rather fat looking, squashed red lipstick appeared. Then we were asked to push it out, and goodness! They were red thongs with hearts on them! Amidst loud laughter, and lots of ribald comments, we stored them away.

Next we were asked to blindfold the men. They were given a "gadget" and asked to fix it to an appropriate part of their body and do whatever necessary. The hostess said it was permissible to turn away. Whaaat? We all wondered. In a few seconds, one bright man had figured it had to be blown. It was a whistle that rotated whilst it blew. One chap heard the sound and was looking for a switch to turn it on. He had to be enlightened.

Yum yum

Then we sat down to a delicious, hot red pepper soup. The main dinner was a heart shaped salmon mousse, a juicy pink leg of ham, glazed and cloved, served with a tangy mustard sauce, grilled chicken, heart-shaped cheese and bacon quiches, potato and bacon salad, coleslaw and heart shaped cheese and herb bread rolls. Desserts were huge, luscious strawberries, ice cream, chocolate cake and a chocolate caramel sponge. Didn't we pig out!

We wrote something nice about each guest on heart shaped pieces of paper. This was read out amidst much laughter, since you didn't know who had written it. Then a key word associated with Valentine's Day was picked from a set of cards, and we had to sing a tune with that word. We all roared happily away! It's nice to be silly occasionally.

- Honky Tonk Woman



Team work

Five cannibals get appointed as engineers in a defence company. During the welcome ceremony the boss says, "You're all part of our team now. You can earn good money here, and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat. So please don't trouble any of the other employees." The cannibals promised.

Four weeks later the boss returns and says, "You're all working very hard, and I'm very satisfied with all of you. However, one of our janitors has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to him?"

The cannibals all shake their heads 'no.'

After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibals says to the others, "Which of you idiots ate the janitor?"

A hand raises hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals replies, "You fool! For four weeks we've been eating Team Leaders, Supervisors and Project Managers and no one noticed anything, and you have to go and eat the janitor!"

The flood

A doctor vacationing on the riviera met an old lawyer friend and asked him what he was doing there. The lawyer replied: "Remember that lousy real estate I bought? Well, it caught fire, so here I am with the fire insurance proceeds. What are you doing here?" The doctor replied, "Remember that lousy real estate I had in Mississippi? Well, the river overflowed, and here I am with the flood insurance proceeds." The lawyer looked puzzled. "Gee," he asked, "how did you start the flood?"

The man in the house

A mild-mannered man was tired of being bossed around by his wife. So he went to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist said he needed to build his self-esteem, and gave him a book on assertiveness which he read on the way home.

He had finished the book by the time he reached his house.

The man stormed into the house and walked up to his wife.

Pointing a finger in her face, he said: "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then, after dinner, you're going to draw me my bath so I can relax. And when I'm finished with my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"

"The funeral director," said his wife.

Encyclopaedia for sale

Seen in a local paper's "readers sales" sec-tion.


Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

45 Volumes. Excellent condition.

œ1000 pounds or best offer.

Reason for sale: No longer required.

Got married last weekend.

Wife knows everything.

The applause

Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter, ten men and one woman. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one has to drop off, otherwise they are all going to fall. They were not able to choose that person, but then the woman made a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because as a woman she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids, and for men in general, without ever getting anything in return. As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping their hands.

It pays to listen

A man is driving up a steep, narrow mountain road. A woman is driving down the same road. As they pass each other, the woman leans out of the window and yells "PIG!"

The man immediately leans out of his window and replies, "Witch!"

They each continue on their way, and ..... as the man rounds the next corner, he crashes into a pig in the middle of the road ..... and dies immediately.

If only men would listen.


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