The hooded Tiger saying no to being photographed with a wave, is one of the many time bombs waiting to explode. The photo shows some of the LTTE’s dreaded suicide cadres, at the beck and call of Velupillai Prabhakaran, ready to unleash terror any where at any time. The suicide cadres took part in LTTE’s ‘Heroes Day Commemoration’ for the first time last week, in Kilinochchi. If the peace talks fail, these cadres will no doubt be exploding themselves all over Sri Lanka taking many an innocent victim with them. Photo by Buddika Weerasinghe

Political  games at Bribery Comm.

By  Frederica Jansz

Commissioner, Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, Kingsley Wickremasooriya has in a special note to the director investigations and the director general on November 15, 2002, called for a list of parliamentarians, politicians and high officials in government against whom complaints have been referred to for investigation.

The note is seeking information on such individuals against whom statements have been lodged from the inception of the present government in office.

Wickremasooriya in his strange missive is seeking confidential details of members of parliament, members of local government bodies such as provincial councils, municipal councils and pradeshiya sabhas.

He has demanded that the list provide particulars of names, names of the person, persons against whom the complaints have been made, status and designation of the complainant and the date on which the file was referred to the director investigations.

He has also asserted that the date of commencement of the investigation as well as the present status of the investigation must be indicated. Wickremasooriya wanted this list made available to him by November 25, this year.

In the run up to last year’s general election, Wickremasooriya, it was alleged smuggled out details in the investigation files on Minister S. B. Dissanayake and secretly met with President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Wickremasooriya’s wife Sunila, is an employee of the Presidential Secretariat and Wickremasooriya has been perceived to be loyal and partial towards the President. 

In March this year, the government sought the Attorney General’s advice on the possibility of nominating fresh members to the Bribery Commission. The AG however, was of the opinion that all members appointed to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption will according to the relevant laws specified continue until the expiry of that period as stated in the law.

Third round of peace talks tomorrow

 The third round of peace talks between the government and the LTTE will begin tomorrow (2) in Oslo, Norway and will focus primarily on the de facto establishment of police stations and judicial courts in Tiger territory.

The next rounds of peace talks in January and February 2003 will take place in Thailand while another round of talks in March is scheduled to take place in Japan. Subsequently, towards the latter part of next year, another round of discussions between the government and the LTTE is scheduled to take place in South Africa with an input from former South African President Nelson Mandela also expected.

Japan meanwhile, is playing an increasingly active role in the ongoing peace process with Ambassador T. Akashi serving as consultant to the Sub Committee on Humanitarian Relief.  Akashi is expected once more to arrive in Sri Lanka next month.

Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Minister Milinda Moragoda left for India last week to brief the Indian government on the outcome of the mini aid donor conference held in Oslo on November 25.

LTTE courts operative from 1993

Following the recent controversy over LTTE courts and police stations being opened in the north and east, the Defence Ministry on November 28 has submitted to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe a complete list of LTTE police stations and judicial courts established before  Operation Riviresa in mid 1995, establishing the fact, it is not a development that has taken place after the signing of the MoU between the government and the LTTE in February 2002.

The first district court for the LTTE was established in Chunnakam on August 21, 1993. Three judges, K. Thesigan, S. Poovantan and S. Oppilan were appointed to this court.

Thereafter, eight more courts were systematically established in Jaffna and the Wanni which were areas all under LTTE control at the time.

On August 28, 1993 a LTTE district court was established at Chavakachcheri followed by another court at Point Pedro in September that year and another in Jaffna on October 23, 1993.

On January 5, 1994, the LTTE established a district court at Kilinochchi  with another opened five days later at Mullaitivu.  On December 5, 1994 a Tiger court was opened in Vavuniya.  

An appeal court was also opened in Jaffna on March 19, 1994 and another district court in Mannar on January 14, 1995.

To administer the judicial system, the LTTE established a department titled “Tamil Eelam Department of Justice and Law” on July 3, 1994.  This was ceremonially inaugurated by S.P. Thamilchelvam in Jaffna, and the first appointee as its head, Eliyathamby Pararajasingham alias Para, who was then and still is a member of parliament of the EROS Group, named as the head of the LTTE Judicial Department.

The LTTE introduced the “Penal Code of Thamil Eelam” on December 1, 1994 consisting of 439 “penal sections.” These provisions were practised in the courts established. The provisions according to the Defence Ministry, are based on the Penal Code of Sri Lanka though some clauses have been deleted and others freshly introduced.

A Tamil Eelam Law College was also established in 1994 at Pasilan, Mandapam and Jaffna. Therefore, the concept of a law college too is not novel in the present day context.

With the commencement of Operation Riviresa to regain the peninsula, the LTTE had no option but to abandon the judicial system established by them in Jaffna and most parts of the Wanni which were regained by the security forces. However, they continued to maintain the district courts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, since these areas remained under their control.

Interior Minister John Amaratunga insists that the LTTE’s present trend of establishing courts and police stations is confined to uncleared areas.

This policy he points out is similar to what they practised before mid 1995, which was to establish such institutions in areas controlled by them.

The LTTE have established 33 police stations in the north and east with the two most recent being opened in Batticaloa on November 5, 2002 and another, three days later, on November 8, at Trincomalee.

Seven LTTE judicial courts are at present functioning with two opened recently on November 23 at Palugamam in Batticaloa and another to be opened tomorrow, December 2, at Kattaparichchan in Trincomalee.

Danish aid for peace in Sri Lanka

The Danish government has pledged DKK 150 million (approximately Rs. 1.5 billion) to support the peace process in Sri Lanka.

The monies are being given as grant assistance over the next three years, subject to approval from the appropriate authorities.  In addition, a soft loan of up to DKK 450 million will be made available during the next two years.

This was announced at the aid donor meeting on November 25, in Oslo, concerning support for the peace process in Sri Lanka. 

The Danish support will concentrate on clearing of anti-personnel mines, support for a reconstruction fund, support for the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, support for human rights and democracy projects, support for the reconciliation process and conflict prevention activities and continued support for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission.

No pressure on refugees to return home

Constitutional Affairs Minister and Head of the government's peace delegation, Prof. G.L.Peiris has said that the government would not bring any pressure on the refugees languishing in India to return.

Addressing the press after the Sri Lanka Development Forum meeting held in Oslo last week, the Minister had said the 200,000 refugees living in camps in South India are welcome to return but the state would not bring any pressure on them.

He has also said that the government would give an assurance to the refugees that they could settle down in the places of their origin, provided the security climate is conducive.

ILO Workshop to discuss poverty reduction

The ILO has said that involvement and participation of non-government actors in strengthening national development policies is now recognised to be fundamental for achieving ambitious targets of reducing the current levels of transitory and permanent forms of poverty.

An ILO a statement says Sri Lanka with funding from the Dutch government has made a significant step involving trade unions and employers in the government's poverty reduction strategy.

Many development analysts have observed that continued poverty in important pockets of the country have catastrophic implications for the growth prospects of the country.

ILO, the oldest agency of the United Nations, maintains that the creation of employment that significantly improves the quality of living standards, is the most effective way of reducing poverty. " It is significant that 95% of the poor in Sri Lanka are working - already employed in some sort of occupation and yet their standards of living are low.

Meanwhile, the statement adds that a workshop will be held in Colombo tomorrow to discuss this issue.

Swiping machines costing Rs. 2m.
in the House not working

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti

Swiping machines fixed  at a cost of Rs. 2 million in the parliament complex are no longer working.

During the past week the swiping machines did not work, and at the security check point, visitors and employees passed without swiping their cards, which is also a form of parliamentary identity card.

Swiping the card is mandatory for parliamentary staff, officials and media personnel.

Parliamentary sources said that machines that were lying around for months after their purchase were fixed after complaints were allegedly received by the former secretary general about their non-fixation, and that they were still not being used for the purpose they were meant for - to maintain formal records of staff attendance.

The machines, according to the source, is a mere security concern at present.

The source said that parliamentary authorities have suggested that the swipe machines should be replaced, again costing a cool sum, to introduce an easier system where a button has to be pressed instead of swiping a magnetic coded card.

The congress system too, installed at a cost of Rs. 55 million to record the voting in the House is not being used as the Chair reportedly believes in the accuracy of a manual count.

Wildlife Dept. raid leaves three deer dead

By Risidra Mendis

A recent raid conducted by officials of the Wildlife Department headed by Dr. Tharaka Prasad in a private residence in Colombo has left three deer dead and the rest in a traumatised situation.

According to eyewitnesses the raid conducted by the Wildlife department was one similar to a movie. A number of policemen armed with T 56 rifles, batons and handcuffs together with wildlife and zoo officials numbering around 20 to 25 had entered the house, while the owner was out.

According to information received by The SundayLeader this is the normal procedure followed by the Wildlife Department when conducting a raid.

The owner, The Sunday Leader learns had the animals for over 22 years and had treated them like his own offspring and it was he who had informed the department that he had these animals and requested special permission to keep them. The original pair of deer was obtained from the Dehiwela zoo during a special programme of lending excess animals to animal lovers on the condition that they are returned when requested by the zoo.

"However due to the rash judgement in keeping with the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance the raid conducted by the Wildlife Department has helped in reducing further the deer population in the country," an animal rights activist pointed out.

Dr. Prasad had administered three animals with tranquillisers but says the animals died of  shock. He also said one animal had knocked its head against a glass door in the house. However, he had told the domestics at the house the animals were sleeping and taken them away. The rest of the animals were caught in nets and taken to the Dehiwela zoo.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader Dr. Prasad said there was no other option than to resort to the method adopted by them to catch the animals.

However , The Sunday Leader could not contact wildlife Director, Dayananda Kariyawasam for comment. The Director, The Sunday Leader was repeatedly was told was always at a meeting, in parliament or on sick leave for the past two days.

According to senior officials at the Wildlife Department, the director has also given them strict instructions not to divulge any information to the press. "While serious blunders are committed by the department, with a vet who has a past history of mistakes regarding animals, the director is conveniently not making himself available for comment," the animal rights activist charged.

When The Sunday Leader made attempts to contact the flying squad, the telephone numbers of the squad were out of order and so were many other lines in the department.

Meanwhile some animal rights activists say the zoo director having found the animals were suffering from an  an infectious disease had ordered them to be sent to a national park. However Zoo Director Brigadier H.A.N.T. Perera denied such allegations saying the animals are presently at the zoo. He further said a batch of deer was released a few weeks back to a national park as a routine programme of getting rid of excess animals in the zoo.

People's Bank insolvent

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti

The People's Bank has been declared insolvent, according to a joint International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank financial sector assessment.

It has transpired that People's Bank is not only insolvent, but has a negative net worth of Rs. 6 billion and accumulated provisions for loan losses amounting to a staggering Rs. 14 billion as at December 31, 2001.

Following the disclosure, the government is planning to restructure/privatise the Bank, an authoritative government source confirmed.

The source said that the World Bank and the IMF missions have been repeatedly identifying certain problems in the state banking sector since 1990, and held the view that structural adjustments were mandatory to resuscitate the state banks which were more popular with the public.

Accordingly, the People's Bank has had capital infusions from the government in 1993 and 1996 and the bank is said to be needing a further capital infusion by the state for the third time.

The source said that the assessments have also revealed that the bank has failed to meet performance targets  and failed to achieve the desired results expected.

The authoritative source told The Sunday Leader that the government was now keen to arrest the deterioration of the bank and to prevent further loss, and that meant a 'speedy and well-planned' restructuring programme.

The source explained that besides being cash trapped, the problems have intensified with overstaffing, lacking appropriate skills and even union related actions - the third having thwarted many management level decisions from time to time.

Following the disclosure of the bank's state of insolvency, the State Bank Advisory Mission (SBAM) had proposed the privatisation of the bank in May 2002.

According to the SBAM, options have been recommended; including preparation for privatisation even as a single entity; to separate the bank's key functions into three categories such as commercial, savings and rural finance.

Some of the other  options given include the selling of the good loan portfolio, closure of lending operations and full conversion into a savings bank, liquidation and setting up an asset management company.

The source confirmed that the government had agreed to liase with the World Bank to set up a bank-restructuring unit with a view to restructuring/ privatising of the bank.

Mahinda accepts opposition challenge

The People's  Alliance  is planning to bring a no confidence motion against government Chief Whip and Employment and Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, in the event he fails to suspend the incumbent chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau.

Samarasinghe said that he welcomed the opposition's  "threat  of a no faith" against him and said this was promised during last year's budget debate as well.

Kandy District Parliamentarian Mahindananda Aluthgamage who made a series of allegations in parliament last week during the votes on the Employment and Labour Ministry, told The Sunday Leader that there was a petition against the Chairman, Susantha Fernando by a former airport manager alleging bribery charges.

Aluthgamage said that if no action is taken against the chairman and an inquiry initiated against him, the opposition would immediately give notice of a no faith motion to the secretary general of parliament against Minister Samarasinghe.

He further alleged that the Minister has met with foreign employment agency owners on Wednesday allegedly to collect signatures for a petition urging the removal of Suraj Dandeniya from the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agencies' Association(SLFEAA) presidency.

Refuting all charges, Minister Samarasinghe said that he met the agents for an Ifthar  dinner and not to gather signatures as alleged, adding that there were no  allegations or any petition against the incumbent chairman.

Positive response for proposed
ban on polythene

In pursuance of environment friendly practices, the government is likely to impose a ban on the manufacturing of polythene.

Government sources said that cabinet approval would be shortly sought in this regard, as the popular use of polythene has been aggravating the environmental problems of the country.

Dr. Ajantha Perera, a campaigner against the use of polythene, told The Sunday Leader that such a move would be extremely welcome and one that environmentalists have been agitating for in the larger interests of the country.

She said that as a non-biodegradable waste, accumulated polythene would take millions of years to evolve into miniscules of waste, and this was something the already suffering mother earth could not afford.

As an initial step towards the ban, already the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry has held consultations with many polythene manufacturing companies, and according to the ministry, the response has been extremely positive.

Accordingly, 168 small and medium level polythene manufacturers have agreed to considerably reduce the manuf- acturing of polythene, leading to the complete halt of the manufacturing process in a few years.

The companies have agreed that polythene would in the years to come prove a severe problem, especially considering the lack of gathering of discarded polythene and the dislike towards re-using polythene.

A fortnight ago in parliament, Leader of the House and Justice Minister, W. J. M.  Lokubandara, Tissa Karalliyadda (PA), T.B. Ekanayake (PA) and Anura Dissanayake (JVP) have collectively proposed to Minister Rukman Senanayake that some action be taken in this regard before the regular use of polythene creates additional environmental concerns.
 (D. H.)

New series - "Meet The Minister"

The Sunday Leader will commence a new series where the public will be called upon to direct issues concerning them to the ministers through the columns of this newspaper.

Given the public focus on issues linked to defence and transport at this time, we have decided to submit your queries to Defence and Transport Minister, Tilak Marapone  for his responses.

The Sunday Leader invites all your queries to be forwarded to Minister  Marapone to reach us by December 8, 2002.

Queries should be directed to;

Meet The Minister,

C/O The Sunday Leader, First Floor,  Colombo Commercial

Company Building, 121, Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Colombo 2.

Planters club to celebrate 101 years

The Morawaka Korale Planters' Club in Deniyaya will celebrate its 101 anniversary on December 14, at the ClubHouse in Deniyaya.

The club, one of the oldest planters' clubs in the country has planned a grand celebration with a 'Tea Ball.' Ebony live band,  DJ music, guest artistes, prizes and surprises are all lined up.

North-South children's get-together

An estimated 1000 underprivileged children from the north and south are in luck this festive season - they would be attending a fun filled  get- together  during the festive season.

The Ceylon Hotels Corporation along with the Lions Clubs of Wattala Mid Town and Vavuniya Circle will be organising this unique event.

Hotels Corporation Chairman Bodhi Ranasinghe in a letter says even though the A9 road is now open, many are unable to come to the south from the north and vice versa, simply because they cannot afford the expense.

"This  union of children  of different ethnic communities would assist in building peace, friendship and understanding among them," he has stated.

"We intend to arrange this get together during the festive season to provide the children with lots of fun and entertainment and provide them with gift parcels to make it a memorable day for them," says the chairman.

Porn ban by LTTE

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has warned cinema owners in the Jaffna peninsula to avoid screening 'adults only' films as it violated the "Tamil culture."

Sources from Jaffna said that this was not the first time that a warning has been issued to some 20 cinema halls operating in the Jaffna peninsula.

The warning was issued, the source said, after the LTTE detected 2,000 video cassettes of porn films, all of which were immediately destroyed by owners under LTTE supervision.

LTTE radio celebrates 12 years

The clandestine radio run by the LTTE in the north and east  of Sri Lanka completed 12 years of uninterrupted operation on November 20.

The Voice of Tigers was set-up to popularise the Tigers' viewpoints with regard to politics and culture. Later on, it became an unofficial news channel of sorts that fed LTTE propaganda to the public of the north and east.

The clandestine radio, originally based in Jaffna had to shift  periodically from place to place.

Qatar Airways to fly direct to Jaffna

Qatar Airways will be the first international airline to fly direct to the Jaffna peninsula, according to highly placed aviation sources.

Qatar Air has recently offered to fly both to the Katunayake International Airport (KIA) and to the Palaly airport in Jaffna.

Sources said that the airline has shown interest in helping to develop both airports and has requested for high-level discussions to finalise flying programmes.

A final decision is to be taken when Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returns to Sri Lanka on December 9, after his official visit to Japan.

Website for Namal Uyana

A website has been created for the world famous Namal Uyana.

The Namal Uyana within which Asia's largest rose quartz deposit is also found has received much media attention in the recent past. The website will include details of the geographical, geological and environmental significance of the unique site.

The web address is www.jnu.lk

Depleted ranks in SL Army

By Marianne David

Within the last one year, the Sri Lanka Army has launched three recruitment drives to fill up depleted ranks and to allow retirement of army personnel who have been unable to retire due to the lack of new recruits.

The response to the call to join the army has been very poor - less than 3000 have enlisted. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Spokesman, Sri Lanka Army, Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said, "We can train 5000 at any given time but the response has been very poor. There are many people who should be able to retire but cannot do so because of the low number of enlistments."

The number of enlistments stand at 1249 after the recruitment drive that ended on January 30, 616 after the recruitment drive that ended on June 30 and so far, 1100 during the recruitment drive that started in October and still on.

"People not wanting to join the army is a psychological problem - the fear psychosis. Now the situation is somewhat different, but before the ceasefire, when the war was on, the fear psychosis was among the youth, which was mainly a psychological problem. Another problem is that there is no stability in the army and no prosperous future for soldiers - this is also a sociological problem. The youth have alternate jobs now due to the competitive economy and all these factors contribute to the lack of enlistments," said Sociologist, Professor B. A. Tennyson.

A military official said "the main reason people do not want to join the army is the low pay. That is the bottom line. People are able to earn a better living outside. You can't really blame it on the war because the number of deserters has increased after the ceasefire compared to last year."

"According to our culture, we like to be at home and further, the soldiers are the breadwinners of their families and they have to go home regularly to check on the building of their homes, etc. When they cannot go home for long periods, they tell others not to join saying that you don't get to go home for months."

 UB40 tour privately funded

The price of bringing down UB40 to Sri Lanka is a closely guarded secret.

Officials in charge of this concert do not want to mention the price being paid to the band because they don't want to get into unwanted complications.

However, no government funds will be allocated for the band to perform. Officials say that all payments will be met by the private sector for the band to perform here.

On the official UB40 website, Sri Lanka is the only country mentioned in the tour details of where the band is performing this year.

At a press conference held at the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry, it was disclosed that tickets for the concert will be Rs. 15,000 per ticket for 500 premium seats. Another 1000 seats for Rs. 5000 and a further 5000 tickets at Rs. 2500 will be available, while the rest of the tickets will be sold at Rs. 300. There will also be 10 giant screens set up at the grounds for people to be able to view the entire show.

An audience of 60,000 to 70,000 is expected at this concert. This will not be the first and only group to be invited to Sri Lanka and according to information from the Consumer Affairs Ministry, the Minister hopes to bring down international groups to the island every three months. Other places of the island such as Jaffna, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Galle and Matara will have access to this mega concert live via satellite.

Celebrations on a grand scale

By Risidra Mendis

With peace and calm prevailing in the country, this year with the approval and encouragement of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the government has decided to celebrate the festive season on a grand scale.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Interior and Christian Affairs Minister, John Amaratunga said, "Lighting up the city of Colombo and bringing people of all religions together during the festive season is our intention."

According to the Minister, for the past 15 to 20 years, people of Sri Lanka lived in fear of bomb threats and didn't have peace of mind to celebrate during the season.

"Despite the negative attitudes by a certain section of the public regarding the ongoing peace process, today many people believe that peace is close by. For us to make this event a success, we need the support and encouragement of the public and I'm thankful to the private sector for putting forward many proposals to light up their buildings and the surrounding areas," the Minister said.

According to Minister Amaratunga, the government coffers are always empty. "This is what Minister    Choksy says. But I can confidently say that for this year's seasonal celebrations, the government will not be spending a cent," the Minister said.

The seasonal celebrations will commence on December 1, with a display of fireworks from a ship at Galle Face, with the celebrations continuing till January 2, 2003. Lighting up of churches, round-abouts, roads, government and private sector institutions, hotels, banks and parks will commence with Minister Amaratunga symbolically switching on the lights at Lipton Circus roundabout, Galadari Hotel roundabout, Liberty Plaza roundabout and the Kotahena roundabout.

According to Minister Amaratunga, a well lit city becomes a huge tourist attraction. "Our aim is to put Sri Lanka on this list in the future. With support from the Colombo Municipal Council with regard to sanitation and the water supply in the city and facilities of public transport for late travellers provided during the season, we feel this plan will be a success," the Minister said. Around 500 to 1000 underprivileged children will also receive free gifts during the season.

48 suspects in police custody
over Samantha's murder

In the murder case of Sri Jayawardenepura University student, Ovitawithanage Samantha, 48 suspects are now in police custody.

Chief Inspector, Mirihana Police, K.A. Premadasa said Thursday (28) that of these suspects about two or three had voluntarily turned themselves in.

According to Premadasa, the suspects identified will be charged appropriately. To date there are 12 suspects identified out of the 14 that were presented at the identification parades where there were 24 witnesses.

On the first day of the identification parade, Harinda Indika Attanayaka, another assaulted student who was critically injured, was present in court as a witness. However, he was not present on other days.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader a doctor from Ward 9, the neurosurgery ICU unit, and another doctor who is treating the assaulted students at the National Hospital, Colombo, said that Indika suffers from deep skull fractures.

"When he was first brought to the hospital, Indika was in a very serious state and if not for the immediate operation carried out, he would not have survived. He was suffering from internal bleeding but his situation improved after surgery and he was able to leave the hospital," said the doctors.

It is obvious by the injuries caused to these students that the attack on them was inflicted in the hope of killing or causing serious and permanent damage physically or even mentally.

Speaking further, the doctors said that there is a possibility of Indika suffering future repercussions such as fits and behavioural changes.

JVP hoists black flags during Oslo confab

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is contemplating action against the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) for hoisting black flags in Colombo after promising to put up the party flags.

The JVP sought permission from the CMC promising to put up its party flag on November 28, but after the Council granted approval, the JVP had decorated Colombo with black flags at a time when the Sri Lanka Development Forum was taking place in Oslo.

The Sunday Leader learns the JVP had planned to protest against the Oslo parley. However, the CMC having been informed of this development had to deploy its workers to remove all black flags that were planted and destroy banners that were put up.

Meanwhile, last week, when the Council session started, the JVP had made a protest against the chair, demanding that they be allowed to make a statement regarding what was called the “denial of rights,” to put up flags.

As the governing United National Party (UNP) did not grant permission to make this statement, the JVP and other eight members of the People’s Alliance (PA) walked out.

Colombo’s Deputy Mayor Azath Sally said that he confronted the JVP saying that the Oslo meeting was necessary and that the entire country did not like the return of war.


CWC says Indian Tamil representation vital

The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) has in writing informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Joseph Michael Perera that the appointment of the independent commissions without the participation of Tamils of Indian origin would be of no use.

In a letter addressed to both the Premier and the Speaker, the Congress Chief and Housing Minister, Arumugam Thondaman has said that the representation of the Indian Tamils must be taken into consideration when appointing all the independent commissions. He has pointed out that a lack of this would result in this particular community being deprived of many facilities.

The Minister said that the criteria set out in nominating suitable candidate for the commissions were too high and that Tamils of Indian origin could not fit themselves into this. “But it does not mean we should be excluded. We have already informed the authority concerned and we hope the list that is handed over to President Kumaratunga would be reviewed, in our favour,” Thondaman said.

Archbishop calls to find out ways to peace

President, Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerld has said while the ultimate causes of wars are well known, steps must be taken to explore together the ways to peace.

In his message to the Muslims during Ramazan, the Archbishop has expressed concern over the recent conflicts that had taken place between the Christians and the Muslims.

“You are well aware how acute has become the question of peace in our world today. Situations where war prevails are like an open wound in the heart of humanity, above all those conflicts which have been going on for many years whether in the Middle East, in Africa or in Asia. In several countries such conflicts result in numerous innocent victims, leading the population to despair of peace returning to their land in the near future,” the archbishop has said in his message.

He has pointed out that in bringing about peace and maintaining it, religions have an important role to play, one which he says in these days more than ever is being recognised by civil society and by governments. “ In this respect, education is a domain in which religions can make a particular contribution,” he has said.

Point Pedro fishermen demand to
settle down in High Security Zone

Fishermen from Point Pedro and surrounding areas picketed opposite the Point Pedro District Secretariat last week demanding that they be allowed to return and resettle in their own homes located inside the High Security Zone (HSZ), sources in Point Pedro said.

Several hundred residents from the Point Pedro harbour area, Kottadi, 2nd and 3rd Cross Streets and Sinnathoddam, picketed opposite the secretariat preventing the opening of the office for normal duty.

The picketers warned the Regional Secretary, S. Sivasamy, who went to the secretariat premises around 10.00 am that the protest would continue until they receive a satisfactory answer to their predicament.

Sivasamy assured the fishermen that he will forward their complaints to his superiors and that he will obtain an answer within a week.

 The protesters handed over a memorandum to be sent to the minister of defence and suspended the protest, sources said.

Chambers to be streamlined

The Commerce Ministry is to crackdown on all private companies, which are not legally registered under any governing body in order to bring them under a relevant chamber.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake told The Sunday Leader that this would be implemented from January 1, adding that this would make companies operating in Sri Lanka be more responsible and answerable. The Minister said the existing chambers would also be streamlined in order to make them the focal point in governing all companies.  He said all chambers should be made more democratic.




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