17th February 2002, Volume 8, Issue 31
By Risidra Mendis
The cages will open all over Sri Lanka to free the birds.
Parrots, mynas, sparrows and other species of Sri Lankan birds that have for
many years suffered being cooped up cages will soon have a new lease of
For many people dogs and cats are the common household
pets. However recently, with the increase in the number of pet shops in the
country, people have resorted to having parrots, mynas, doves and other
types of birds in their homes. Irrespective of the welfare of the birds they
are kept in tiny cages to save on space and cost.
Even though the question has risen as to the extinction
of a species of parrot, people still tend to keep the bird for ornamental
and entertainment purposes.
However a recent decision taken by the Department of
Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has prohibited all Sri Lankan birds from been
caged in the country.
This idea was first suggested by a past director of
wildlife. However, the suggestion was not implemented strictly to nab the
culprits at the time. But with the recent decision to put the suggestions
into action, wildlife authorities have devised a procedure whereby any
person can inform the department of a bird seen caged in any part of the
According to Kamal Edirisinghe from the Young Zoologists
Association apart from seven species of Sri Lankan birds the rest cannot be
kept in cages as pets. However people interested in keeping these seven
species will have to obtain special permission from the DWC.
While there is a downward trend in the import of birds
into the country, endemic birds seized from homes and organisations are to
be sent to the National Zoological Gardens. According to a statement made by
Environment Minister Rukman Senanayake one of the government's plan for the
100 day program, is to prohibit endangered birds from being brought into the
country unless special permission is obtained from the DWC. "If extinct
birds are brought down from foreign countries, there is a chance of crops
being destroyed due to their breeding patterns," Edirisinghe said.
According to Sagarica Rajakarunanayake of Sathva Mithra
the reviewing of the existing law under the Fauna and Flora Protection
Ordinance to protect the birds should be commended. However she also said
that a proper plan should be put into action before any decisions in
releasing birds from cages are taken.
"I feel people like Rex De Silva and Dr. Nandana
Atapattu should be consulted when preparing this plan of action. The
Minister has hit upon a very important point and should take a full view of
it. However I also feel there should be awareness programs to educate the
public on this matter first.
"There's also the Buddhist practice of people
releasing birds as a vow. This practice has encouraged us to capture birds
and take them away from their natural habitats to be sold to people in the
city," Rajakarunanayake said.
According to Rajakarunanayake, no good will come to
birds, which are captured and then released
at any place convenient to people who are fulfilling their vows.
These birds will definitely survive longer in their cages than in the open
environment, as they will be attacked by other predators. "The Minister
should look into the possibility of banning the release of birds at official
ceremonies as well. It is also important to note that the bird's habitat
should be found before it is released from its cage. Even though saving the
birds is a very good suggestion I don't think sending the domesticated birds
to the Dehiwela Zoo is a wise solution," she said.
According to wildlife authorities if a complaint is made
to the department it will be investigated, and the birds confiscated. They
also said they have enlightened the public on this issue and advised them to
release pet birds.
"We don't just release the captured birds. Having
obtained a court order we will then decide on a suitable place to release
them. Department officials are also working on increasing the penalty of Rs.
20,000 to a higher figure, once amendment to the Fauna and Flora Protection
Ordinance is completed. If we're lucky hopefully within the next seven to
eight months this act will be amended," H. M. B. C. Herath, acting
director, DWC said.
Heart of the matter
By Ranee Mohamed
All of us like large hearts, but Dr. Krishna Prasad
prefers small hearts.
"They are easy to operate on," he said with a
smile. In his long medical career, this doctor has worked with many hearts
- some good and, some really bad hearts. And his concern is that hearts
are continuing to be ignored, overburdened and taken less seriously by
many overworked and overstressed people all over the world.
After many years of working in Europe, Dr. Prasad is here
to set right a syndrome that is affecting people worldwide - cardiac or
heart problems. Most of us are worried about fats, cholesterol and heart
disease and the very arrival of this heart surgeon in Sri Lanka shows that
Sri Lankans are in greater need of heart surgery.
Dr. Prasad said that he is concerned about 'pear-shaped'
people and stressed that one ought to be cautious about diet and ensure
that one gets enough exercise and avoids stress.
Moderate in his views and rather shy , Dr. Prasad often
looked at his able hands before he spoke. They are the hands of a surgeon,
precise, strong and steady.
however does not say that anything was 'bad.' But when it came to smoking
he did say that he would not advocate even moderate usage.
The visit of this heart surgeon to Sri Lanka will make it
possible for hundreds of patients with heart problems to seek remedial
surgery in Sri Lanka without having to go overseas.
Speaking on the Sri Lankan diet, the doctor said that we
are doing fine with our rice and curry.
"Carbohydrates are fine, though coconut oil is not
preferable. It is better to have vegetable oil like sunflower oil and
olive oil. As long as things are in moderation, one can have lean meat and
even chicken with the visible fat cut off. More salads and vegetables and one is less prone to heart problems and
cholesterol," he pointed out.
"Cholesterol is from food mainly of animal
origin," he continued, "and milk also has a certain amount of
cholesterol, but skimmed milk is safe."
Dr. Prasad said that Asians in general have a higher
incidence of heart disease because of their diet and sedentary
life-styles. "Once we get married, we tend to take life easy. We
don't tend to keep fit and engage in less physical activity. We also
undergo much stress. But in the west most people exercise," said Dr.
Speaking of pizza and hamburgers he said that it was bad
for the heart to eat them regularly but said that "having it once in
a way as a treat to our palates is fine."
Chinese food he said is good because of the involvement
of soya and soya sauce. But once must ensure that it is not coated in oil.
"One should use a small amount of oil as we cannot do without oil.
But one should avoid saturated fats at all costs - that is mainly animal
fats. Butter and ghee is not good at all," said Dr. Prasad.
He said that there is a relationship between weight and
the heart and that when one is obese the risk of hypertension and heart
disease is greater.
"There are three basic building blocks in the body,
one is protein, the others are carbohydrate and fat. Fat can be like
cholesterol and related substances like triglycerides. Cholesterol is
mainly produced in the liver and is absorbed in the intestines and reach
the circulation. They stick in the body," he pointed out.
He said that fat is deposited in our bodies and this
deposition depends on the diet and our genetic make up. It will decide how
much narrowing of arteries takes place. Exercise has a beneficial effect
said that doctor as the fatty acids are reduced. The doctor said that
though there are cholesterol fighting drugs, they can be taken only after
cholesterol is formed.
When asked about garlic the doctor said that garlic has
been found to be beneficial, when taken regularly.
The doctor said that women are less prone to heart
disease because of their high oestrogen count and are protected till peri-menopausal
period. "I am not saying that women do not get heart attacks, but
that the incidence is lower in women," he pointed out.
"I will be able to treat more people in a safe way
as I will be doing beating heart surgery. This process reduces a number of
risk factors," he said.
Dr. Prasad said that he had done surgery on the heart by
stopping the heart. The heart is
stopped by using cardio
plegia. This relaxes the heart and stops it so that one has a bloodless,
still heart to operate on. "But now the trend is to do beating heart
surgery and that is what I will be doing," said the doctor.
Dr. Prasad said that the heart beating inside is a sign
of life. The heart it muscular with brown and yellow and muscles. There
are also blue and whitish sections. Dr. Prasad folds his fist and lays it
horizontally across his chest
and says, "This is how your heart looks like."
"I will be doing bypass, aortic valve surgery,
mitral valve surgery and paediatric cases. I will also be doing atrial
septal and ventricular septal defects (commonly called hole in the heart)
surgery," he said.
The doctor stressed that smoking is very bad for the
health but pointed out that a glass of red wine can do wonders for the
health. "Whisky and brandy
are not found to be beneficial, but studies have proven that red wine is
good for the health," he said.
Dr. Prasad who is a vegetarian said that he was taken out
to dinner and had been fascinated by the Sri Lankan hopper "I hope
that there is no cholesterol is that," he laughed.
Dr. Prasad will assist Dr. A. Jayakrishnan, Dr. Waikal
and his team at the Nawaloka hospital, Colombo.
The types of
surgery they will concentrate on are coronary, artery, bypass, graft
surgery, aortic valve replacement, mitral valve replacement, ventricular
septal defects, fallots tetrology, atrial septal defects, patent ductus
arteriosus, angioplasty with stents, mitral valveplasty and congenital
Making the condom user-friendly
The Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka
has launched a condom social marketing project in an innovative and
revolutionary manner. The overall objective is to make the condom more
'people friendly' by removing existing barriers as regards the purchase of
During this campaign, one of the primary focuses would be
to project the condom as the best protection against the deadly scourge of
AIDS. The campaign is to take on a multipronged approach and will be
phased out in two stages. During the first phrase, a generic campaign on
condoms would be initiated stressing that the condom is the best
protection against contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted
Despite condoms being easily available to the public,
there have been some reservations as regards public attitudes. This
campaign serves to 'de-mystify' the condom and make it a part of every
sexually-active adult's life; in effect to change social attitudes and
behaviour towards the condom.
There is social stigma attached to the use of condoms -
for example women are hesitant to go to a shop to purchase a condom,
discussion on its use even between two sexually active people is not
easily initiated. However, the unfounded myths surrounding its actual use
are often baseless.
One of the prime thrusts of the campaign will be to
familiarise the condom among groups considered 'high risk." These
would be commercial sex workers, beach boys, members of the armed forces,
homosexuals and migrant workers.
The Family Planning Association has retained the services
of a mobile publicity services company to carry out 105 events in 105
towns covering 19 districts. There are to be 35 night shows and 70 day
events held as a part of this campaign. Banners are to be displayed
prominently in the towns where these events are to be held.
Homespun remedies and proffesional help
Combating sinusitis Every year, more than 31 million Americans spend more than $1.5 billion on medicine to
alleviate the discomfort of sinus infection, or sinusitis. Usually,
sinusitis develops when a cold, allergies, or other respiratory irritation
causes nasal membranes to become so swollen that they can no longer keep
mucus flowing freely. Pressure increases, mucus builds up, and blocked
sinus cavities become a breeding ground for bacteria. Once an infection
sets in, antibiotics usually are the only way to completely rid sinuses of
infection. Sometimes, however, chronic or severe sinusitis requires
surgery to drain sinus cavities, or to repair bone or tissue abnormalities
that keep infections coming back.
pressure or pain in the forehead or cheeks, between and behind the eyes,
or near the upper teeth Yellow or green nasal mucus that may develop a bad
odor or taste Puffy
or difficulty breathing Fever Consult your doctor if:
develop thick, yellow, or greenish nasal discharge or if cold symptoms do
not improve after more than one week.
have pain over the eyebrow, or below the eye, or in the upper teeth,
usually on one side of your face.
of the face increases.
is over 101 degrees F.
changes or becomes blurred.
is no improvement after three days of home treatment.
Home care ideas:
over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays for no more than three days.
an oral decongestant containing pseudoephedrine to help clear nasal
acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
antihistamines unless you have allergies that contribute to sinus
saline sprays may help.
warm compresses over eyes and cheeks periodically to relieve pain.
a hot shower twice a day, or breathe deeply over a pan of steaming water.
air travel, swimming, diving, and high-altitude sports if symptoms
garlic, horseradish, and spicy foods may help drain sinuses.
plenty of liquids, especially hot ones.
alcohol and caffeine drinks.
airborne irritants and allergens such as dust mites.
nose gently to avoid forcing mucus into sinuses or inner ears.
nose with saline sprays or petroleum jelly.
using a portable air filter in your bedroom Use of oral corticosteroids as adjunctive treatment The
most common approach for corticosteroid adjunctive treatment is for
patients to take prednisone for seven to ten days. Antibiotics are begun
along with the prednisone and continued for 3-4 weeks.
Intranasal topical steroids
Use of topical steroids has been widely advocated for
treatment of chronic sinusitis as one component of a comprehensive medical
treatment program. In one study, Kaliner et al demonstrated a significant
clinical benefit from a medical treatment program that included four weeks
of oral antibiotics, nasal saline irrigations, intranasal corticosteroids
and decongestant nasal spray.
Treatment of Nasal Polyp Disease (Chronic Hyperplastic
Several studies have shown that topical intranasal
steroids help to reduce the size of nasal polyps and prevent their
regrowth after sinus surgery.
A short "burst" of an oral steroid, such as
prednisone, often helps to reduce the size of nasal polyps and may help to
prevent the need for sinus surgery. Nasal polyps typically regrow within a
few months after the steroid burst. To maintain improvement after
treatment with an oral steroid burst, patients should always be advised to
use a topical intranasal steroid on a continuing basis.
Optimum delivery of intranasal corticosteroids and
complications of therapy
For most patients with chronic sinusitis, intranasal
corticosteroids should be used on a continuous basis. Side effects are
generally minimal, although some patients experience nose bleeding from
local irritation of the spray. This type of irritation can be caused by
improperly spraying the medicine on the nasal septum. If you are having
problems with the use of an intranasal steroid, please ask your doctor to
help you insert it in the nostril properly.
Is there a special case for nasal polyp disease
associated with aspirin sensitivity?
In patients with aspirin sensitivity, the sinus membranes
become heavily laden with eosinophils. One of the major substances
produced by eosinophils is leukotriene C4, a "mediator" that
produces bronchial spasm, nasal swelling and excessive secretion of mucus.
Eosinophils are one of only a few cell types that produces leukotriene C4.
Topical steroids are strongly recommended for any patient with nasal polyp
disease, including those with aspirin sensitivity. A new category of
drugs, the leukotriene receptor blockers, has recently become available.
It is too early to know whether these drugs will help to control nasal
Treatment of allergic fungal sinusitis
Allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) is a rare complication of
chronic sinusitis caused by an intense allergic and eosinophilic
inflammatory response to a fungal species, usually one of the class fungi
imperfecti. Surgical removal of the thick secretions loaded with fungus,
which may become impacted, is the mainstay of effective treatment Nearly
all patients with AFS have nasal polyps, and many patients have elevated
levels of blood eosinophils.
Oral steroid treatment
Oral steroids are useful in the management of AFS,
although they should not be viewed as a substitute for surgery. It is
occasionally necessary to continue a low daily or every other day dose of
prednisone to maintain control of allergic fungal sinusitis. It is
difficult to deliver the liquid intranasal steroid preparation to the
sinus tissues. The delivery can be improved by instructing the patient to
use the inhaler in the head-down-forward position.
The patient can be positioned in one of two ways: lying
face-forward on a bed with the head hung over the side or kneeling in bed
with the top of the head on the mattress. The patient should be instructed
to spray the medicine into the nose and then immediately go into the
head-down-forward position. With practice, the patient may be able to
remain in this position for a minute or longer. When used in this way,
intranasal corticosteroids have been reported to reduce the size of nasal
polyps and improve sense of smell (Mott AE, et al. Arch Otolaryngol Head
Neck Surg 123: 367-372, 1997.)
There are no studies yet to determine whether antifungal
drugs help to control allergic fungal sinusitis Computer difficulty - Armageddon?
A local self-proclaimed prophet began foretelling
of Warrington State
College's doom last week while standing on a nearby street corner.
"Woe unto you, Warrington State," shouted the
thickly-bearded man vaguely, kind of in the general direction of the
school, "for the Lord hath looked upon you with disfavor!"
When asked by The Gazette for what sins the Lord would
expend his wrath upon this institution of academia, the prophet, who said
his name is John Fegelein, said the reasons were "pyramid." When
asked if he meant the reasons were "myriad," he replied,
The prophet Fegelein went on to expound on the Lord's
"Woe unto you, the students, for they drinketh of
distilled spirits and do not share with the poor, nor do they share with
the prophets. Woe, for they revel in the slaughter of others, in both
`Normal' and `License to Kill' modes. Woe, for they spend the Sabbath
idly, reclining on their luxuriously threadbare Army-surplus-like cots.
Woe for the existence of that which is an abomination in the sight of God:
the Rat steak. Woe, for the day of the Lord is coming."
According to this disheveled street preacher, the
"day of the Lord" will consist of many horrendous events.
"First, there will rain down from heaven a plague of
scabies like never before seen on campus. Scabies, scabies,
everywhere," Fegelein prophesied. "Second, all students and
faculty will be forced to park in freshman parking, that desolate
wasteland, but will be given tickets anyway, because, hey, those guys have
quotas to meet. All Rat food, including condiments and beverages, will
contain a significantly greater amount of those huge orange slabs of
congealed grease. And scabies. Did I mention scabies?"
In addition, Fegelein then explained his own
interpretation of how this great doom would come about.
"It will all begin with a great computer systems
failure, not unlike Y2K. The network will completely crash from every
student attempting to enter their schedules for next semester into the
STEP program. At first, it will go relatively unnoticed, as students will
assume the network has just crashed as it does every day that ends in -y.
But, slowly, they will realize it will never come back, and, cut off from
Instant Messenger, they will lose all contact with the outside world and
lose their sanity! THAT is when the unmanagebale DOOM will start!" he
As of press time, The Gazette staff was unable to check
on whether or not Fegelein's claims were true, as they were all entering
their schedules into the STEP program.
Lest the Gazette be accused of purveying false
information, this reporter asked for some sign to prove Fegelein's status
as an actual prophet. Fegelein then revealed several burn-like sores
around his mouth, tongue, and hands, claiming they were part of a
cleansing ritual much like the one seen in the book of Isaiah. Convinced,
this reporter questioned how Warrington State might escape its ultimate
"A good start," Fegelein said, "would be
giving me five dollars and a ride to the Brown Jug."
No word yet on whether or not the day of the Lord has
Mother and child
By Shalindra Seneviratne
Two years ago a middle-aged
woman ran into the Rambukkana police station in hysterics, crying
that her granddaughter had been abducted by two unknown motorcyclists a
few minutes before. She wept saying she had bathed the little girl and
while she was washing clothes, the two-and-a-half-year-old child was
abducted. In the police report she stated that her girl's mother had gone
to the town on some errand.
While she was making her statement the rambukkana police
station informed the other police stations in the area to find a clue to
track the baby snatchers, but they failed.
There was no place of worship the relatives of Asha
Nilmini had not been to implore the higher beings to return their bundle
of joy. But when that too did not bring back the girl, her mother
Shiromika Damayanthi made another complaint to the Kegalle police.
On ASP Gamini Seneviratne's orders the Kegalle police
crimes investigation division's IP D. N
Dassanayake started the investigation. They took another statement
from the mother, who said that a few years ago she had gone to Oman for
employment, where she met a young man from Bangladesh. After a brief
courtship they entered into marital bliss. They were blessed with a
girl-child whom they named Asha Nilmini Kumari. Once Damayanthi completed
her tenure at her place of employment in Oman she went to the Sri Lankan
embassy with the baby to arrange the papers for their return to Sri Lanka.
Here she met a Sri Lankan couple, who had inquired about her infant and
has asked her if she was willing to give the baby up for adoption.
Damayanthi had flatly refused the offer but she had
continued being friends with them. Once she returned, she kept in touch
with the friendly couple who offered to adopt her baby. They even came to
visit Damayanthi and her child and asked for her baby for adoption again,
but this time too she refused to part with her
Few months after the incident two young men on a trailer
bike had attempted to abduct little Asha while she was playing in the
garden. However their plans were foiled when the neighbours had rushed in
and the would-be abductors fled. That was certainly not the last time they
were going to do this. They tried again a couple of months later. By this
time Damayanthi suspected the Sri Lankan couple she met in Oman. Yet she
didn't really know much about them, she only knew that they lived in
Beliatta, and that was it.
The police after an intensive search got to know that a
couple had taken up residence in Gampaha Asgiriya, who fitted the
description and that the wife had gone abroad and a week prior to that the
husband had gone to Nathandiya to settle. On a tip-off the police found
the said suspect along with the child in Kuliyapitiya, Nathandiya. He was
arrested immediately. His spouse had gone to Jordan one month before. They
had sold their land in order to rent out places to hide from the
authorities, the arrested man told the police.
He also revealed that he and his wife abducted the child,
his wife disguised as a man. They had to resort to kidnap as they had both
wanted a child badly.
When little Asha was brought to the Kegalle CID the
little girl rushed into her mothers arms, in a joyful reunio The Mayor and his modern slaughterhouse in Colombn.
Iunderstand that the Mayor of Colombo and his colleagues are about to sign
an agreement with the Dutch Government to build a large, modern
slaughterhouse in Colombo costing about 240 million rupees and that this
can cater for the slaughter of 400 - 500 animals (cattle, goats and pigs)
There does not seem to have been any discussion about
this project with the people concerned, and it appears to have been a
unilateral decision. As this decision affects the majority of the people
in Sri Lanka (70 percent Buddhists and eight per cent Hindus) there should
be transparency and regard for public opinion in this matter. It is
nothing but fair that the Mayor should have ascertained the views the
Buddhists, Hindus and all other people concerned before signing an
agreement with the Dutch Government.
The number of Sri Lankans who eat beef has come down
drastically during the last few years as more and more people have
realised the dangers to health from eating red meat. I understand that
about 150 cattle are butchered per day in Colombo at present, but in
future I anticipate that this number will come down. Then for whose
benefit is the Mayor going to build such a large slaughterhouse? Are we
going to make Sri Lanka the major Buddhist country exporting meat to the
rest of the region?
Is the Mayor of Colombo going to get the required number
of animals for slaughter to make this business a viable one from the rural
areas of Sri Lanka, or is he making arrangements to import cattle, goats
and pigs to Sri Lanka from other countries for slaughter here and for
export of the meat to other countries such as the Middle East?
Is the Mayor aware of the intense cruelty inflicted on
the cattle and other animals which are transported over long distances and
in overcrowded lorries? It is not uncommon to find that some of these
animals transported for long distances in this manner, have died in the
course of transport in these overloaded lorries. Some of the cattle suffer
fractured legs during transport. These innocent, dumb animals are not
given any food to eat or water to drink for days during the process of
Prophet Mohamed had said "Verily there are heavenly
rewards for any act of kindness to the live animals" It is said that
"the animals to be killed should be treated with great
kindness." It is also said, "animals awaiting slaughter should
be given water when they appear thirsty and they should be brought gently
to the place of slaughter."
Nothing like that happens in Sri Lanka and kindness
before slaughter on the part of our Sri Lankan abattoirs is nonexistent.
The only objectives of the people running these slaughterhouses is to make
money. The torture of animals during the transport to abattoirs should
also be stopped.
I would also like to ask His Lordship the Mayor whether
he is aware that a good number of the cattle and other animals transported
to Colombo from rural areas are stolen animals. The short period of 24
hours given for the owners of these stolen animals to claim them is not at
The public may not be against the modernizing Colombo's
abattoirs, but they are certainly against the export of the flesh of the
animals slaughtered in the proposed large, modern abattoirs to other
countries, as Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist country. Public
opinion should be consulted and respected before taking a decision to sign
the proposed agreement with the Dutch government, as this project will
have long - term effects.
We would earnestly urge the President, the Prime Minister
and the Minister of Buddhist Affairs to intervene and stop the building of
this massive slaughterhouse in Colombo.
Dr. D.P. Atukorale
Publication (Pvt) Ltd.
410/27, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07
Tel : +94-75-365891,2 Fax : +94-75-365891
email : email@example.com