billows from Iraq's Planning Ministry in Baghdad. Missiles fired by US
forces targeted government buildings including the Planning Ministry (AFP)
abandons armed struggle
Lasantha Wickremetunge in
LTTE on Friday (21), announced that it has now abandoned the armed
struggle for separation and also abandoned violence, but accused the
media of creating paranoia in the south of an arms build up by the
organisation to help
'racist' parties like the JVP.
such disinformation the LTTE's Chief Negotiator, Balasingham charged the
people do not want a breakdown of the peace process since they would not
be happy with the prospect of bomb explosions in Colombo in such an
speaking to The Sunday Leader further said the ceasefire agreement has
placed the organisation at a disadvantage, but that the media was
portraying a false picture and creating paranoia that the LTTE is arming
itself. "We have not brought anything. A merchant vessel carrying
fuel was destroyed. There was only one small cannon. There is no
evidence of weapons being smuggled. It is mere propaganda and
organisations like the JVP flourish through these utter lies and false
information," he said.
said there is a definite move by the government to modernise its
security forces with no substantial reduction even in the defence
budget, whilst also getting training facilities from India and the
then is the balance of forces as contemplated by the ceasefire
agreement? The government has also put in place an international
security net with the support of India and the US. We are aware of it.
But it is the LTTE that is criticised for bringing in weapons. During
times of war, we amassed a large amount of weapons from the security
forces and also purchased in the international arms market. Now we are
deprived of these advantages due to the ceasefire agreement while the
government continues to strengthen its forces. But a wrong impression is
created in the south that it is the LTTE that is arming itself in a bid
to help the forces opposing the peace process," Balasingham
also criticised the SLFP-JVP alliance and said it proved the President's
opposition to the peace process. "The President is the leader of
the SLFP and the SLFP has linked up with the racist JVP to oppose the
peace process. Therefore, it is clear the President is opposed to the
process whatever her public posturing," he added.
Head of the LTTE delegation also said the JVP has no clear vision about
the future of Sri Lanka despite articulating Marxist and socialist
principles, and was a communal and LTTE abandons...
party. "This peace process is crucial for the economic prosperity
of the country and this link between the SLFP and JVP make us wonder the
policy orientation of the SLFP," he also said. He said the
President speaks not with two tongues, but three.
also said the LTTE was seriously considering a government proposal to
hold local authority elections in the north-east and added they would
show the international community how democratic elections are held.
Balasingham said all parties would be welcome to contest the polls and
urged EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda also to do so if he had the guts.
priority to Lankans in the Middle East
plight of Sri Lankans employed in the Middle East has been placed as
high priority by the Sri Lankan government in view of the outbreak of
war in the Gulf.
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe on Friday (21) assured that tens and
thousands of Sri Lankans employed in the Middle East would not be left
in the lurch if they are posed with serious security threats, following
the decision taken by the US to launch military attacks on Iraq.
Minister allaying fears told The Sunday Leader that necessary steps have
already been taken to evacuate every Sri Lankan if his/her life is in
Minister has already nominated 15 MPs from the consultative committee in
parliament from his Ministry to visit the Middle East to ascertain the
actual condition of the Sri Lankan migrant workers there and provide
them with whatever relief that is required.
to the Minister, there is a general evacuation programme in
collaboration with international organisations that would be put in
motion when the necessity arises.
however said that there is no need for immediate evacuation as almost
all Sri Lankans working in Iraq have already been evacuated to safe
areas except one Sri Lankan who the Minister says is married to an Iraqi
to the Minister only 28 Sri Lankans have been employed in Iraq, of which
27 have already been sent out.
Minister was also scheduled to meet with government agents and
divisional secretaries yesterday (22) to discuss the plight of the
migrant workers and instruct them to disseminate actual information
regarding Sri Lankans to relatives who would be thronging their offices
to inquire about their loved ones.
Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) has also opened a special
unit operational all 24 hours under a deputy general manager in order to
provide information about the plight of the migrant workers to their
are constantly in touch with our officials in the Sri Lankan missions
there and they are taking every step to ensure the migrant workers are
safe. We have already found the necessary funds to commence a possible
evacuation programme with other international organisations.
cannot be done by Sri Lanka alone. Therefore, it would be a concerted
effort by various international organisations," he told The Sunday
force pushes into Iraq
and British troops advanced deep into Iraq early on Friday (21), seeking
to secure Iraq's southern oil fields against attack by Saddam Hussein's
one convoy of US Marines which crossed into Iraq overnight had come
under fire from Iraqi forces.
Adam Mynott, who was travelling with the marines, said the convoy was
attacked with small arms fire and missiles just a few yards inside the
has been much stronger resistance in this sector of the battlefield than
many in the coalition forces had expected," the correspondent said.
artillery was called in from northern Kuwait to bombard the Iraqi
positions, while the convoy was forced to retreat.
reconnaissance unit is said to have advanced about 200km (125 miles)
through open desert to the west of the river Euphrates.
have reported seeing towering flames and smoke in southern Iraq, but it
is unclear whether this came from burning oil wells.
the marines met little resistance as a long convoy of vehicles,
including tanks and artillery, snaked its way across the Iraqi desert.
Western forces suffered their first fatalities of the campaign when a
CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopter crashed in Kuwait.
Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was tense, but quiet at daybreak on Friday,
after sustaining two air raids within 24 hours.
Friday morning, two of the three main buildings in the Tigris complex of
ministerial offices were reduced to burnt out shells, not actually in
rubble, but completely unusable.
correspondent in Washington, Justin Webb, says it appears that the
Pentagon is willing to pause at least for some hours before putting into
action the planned devastating aerial bombardment of Baghdad, the
so-called "shock and awe strategy."
the risk of civilian casualties that strategy entails, America would
plainly prefer to prevail by other means if possible, the correspondent
Iraqi President's main palace and government offices were among targets
struck in the second wave of attacks.
correspondent says the hope in Washington is that Saddam Hussein's power
structure has been significantly weakened and his ability to co-ordinate
a strong response to the US-led ground attack has been damaged.
says it is still thought possible that Saddam Hussein's sons or some of
his closest aides were killed in the surprise attack which began the
ground assault began after an intense artillery bombardment in which
more than 100 shells were fired on Iraqi positions across the Kuwaiti
of thousands of troops of the US Third Infantry Division and 1st Marine
Division poured into Iraq.
American units pushed northwards, British marines of Three Commando
Brigade backed by tanks mounted an amphibious assault on the
strategically important al-Faw peninsula in south-eastern Iraq.
say their destination is unclear, although it could be the southern city
explosions were reported from the direction of Basra, 70km (44 miles)
north of the Kuwaiti border, and unconfirmed reports say several oil
wells in the area are on fire.
not a war - it's a unilateral show of muscle power to the whole world.
The Arabic television station al-Jazeera also reported explosions in the
northern city of Mosul.
after the troops crossed into Iraq, the Kuwaiti news agency, Kuna, said
US and British forces had captured the southern Iraqi city of Umm Qasr,
a key oil shipping terminal, although Iraqi television denied this.
the ground campaign unfolded, Australian defence officials said their
special forces were operating deep inside Iraq, identifying troops
movements and military targets.
FA-18 Hornets - part of a 2,000-strong Australian force sent to the Gulf
- have also been protecting US aircraft on missions over Iraq, the
Australian defence minister said.
the Iraqi capital, huge explosions were heard during the second raid
amid Iraqi anti-aircraft fire.
television said four Iraqi soldiers had died and five wounded.
International Red Cross said one person was killed and 14 others were
injured in the first attack.
is no word of casualties from the second assault.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the nation. He says he is aware
that many British people are against the war, but it is necessary and
Israel radio said US forces are operating in western Iraq to try to
thwart the potential for missile attacks on the Jewish state.
United States has expelled remaining three Iraqi diplomats in the
country, announcing it will freeze all non-diplomatic Iraqi government
Parliament in Turkey voted to allow US planes to use Turkish airspace
for the war on Iraq.
sinks Chinese trawler
persons were feared dead after their trawler was sunk by the LTTE off
the coast of Mullaitivu on Thursday (20) morning.
trawlers FU-YUNG -YU 225 and FU-YUNG -YU 226 were fishing in the general
sea area of Chundikulum about 33 nautical miles off Mullaitivu at the
time they came under LTTE attack, the Defence Ministry said.
incident was conveyed to the Sri Lanka Navy only on Friday (21) morning
by the trawler's agent and naval craft reached the scene soon after,
rescuing nine members from the ill-fated vessel, who were earlier
rescued by the other craft.
have been warded at the Trincomalee Hospital with one being in a
weeks back a LTTE ship was sunk by the Sri Lanka Navy in the same area,
but further into the deep seas. The LTTE may have suspected the two
trawlers of spying.
were no immediate reactions from the LTTE, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission,
Foreign Ministry or the Chinese Mission in Colombo.
at the Mission were reported to have gone to Trincomalee and had also
discussed the incident with
the Foreign Ministry on Friday.
the LTTE denied any involvement in this incident.
to ensure adequate supplies at fair prices
Consumer Affairs Ministry will come up with special plans to ensure
availability of supplies of articles essential to the life of the
community and provide their equal distribution at fair prices and deal
with shortages that may result consequent to the continuing US strikes
on Iraq, Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
Karunanayake said that the Articles and Services (Temporary Provisions)
Act passed with amendments in parliament last Thursday would provide the
structural foundation for this purpose with the appointing of a
Competent Authority who would be charged with the responsibility of
administering and implementing a regulatory system and setting out
procedures relating to collection and distribution of articles.
the opposition charges that the government would not be able to
practically fulfil the targets as there is no infrastructure, specific
financial allocations, a distribution network and the manpower to make
it work clockwork like.
admits that there would be problems when dealing with an islandwide
distribution target, but remains confident that once the Competent
Authority and support staff are appointed, problems could be minimised.
main idea was to prevent black marketing and unfair hoarding, taking
undue advantage of the situation," the Minister said.
Competent Authority will be appointed by the Minister, who would in turn
appoint officers to assist him during the contingency period. A special
advisory committee will also be set up to advise the Minister.
Karunanayake said that a nominee of the opposition leader could be
accommodated as an observer on the advisory committee, a last minute
opposition proposal that was accepted by the government.
bill would enable the fixation of maximum wholesale and retail prices,
specify price structures, specify conditions for sale such as quantity,
and provide the organisation and administration of a system of rationing
if required. It further provides for the acquisition of stocks and by
magisterial order, upon which the Competent Authority is empowered to
compel the sale of articles to him.
the powers of a Competent Authority acting in a contingency situation as
the one anticipated has altered drastically as a state of emergency no
bill, originally meant for regulation and maintenance of supplies had to
be amended as a temporary provision following the Supreme Court ruling
last week which upheld it as unconstitutional and was carried with
enough anti-riot equipment -
Minister John Amaratunga says the country lacks adequate anti-riot
equipment to either curb or prevent mass protests that sometimes end up
in riots and violence.
to Minister Amaratunga, his Ministry has already submitted papers to the
relevant authorities for possible purchases.
told The Sunday Leader that the lack of such equipment could be to the
disadvantage of the government in the event a mass protest march turned
out to be a major riot in the country.
are really handicapped without sophisticated machines that are purely
meant to prevent violence and not to harm protesters. Sometimes, the
methods that are used by our policemen could endanger the lives of
people who take part in protests. In foreign countries this is how mass
protests are prevented from turning into riots," the Minister
also said quotations have already been called and soon the government
would look into the possibilities of purchasing these equipment.
leaders urge early end to war
leaders have called on political leaders to secure a "just, lasting
and secure peace" in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Rowan Williams said war with Iraq could
only be "a limited means to an end."
was joined by five of Britain's most senior religious leaders from three
faiths outside Lambeth Palace as he read out a joint statement.
comments came as the Muslim Association of Britain urged Muslims to use
Friday prayers to pray for peace.
of mosques across the UK were expected to take part in the special
against the war were also expected to take place across Britain
throughout the day.
Williams, who has been a vocal opponent of a war against Iraq, said the
rights of civilians innocently caught up in the conflict had to be
pray that early efforts to achieve a just, lasting and secure peace both
in Iraq and throughout the Middle East may follow swiftly in the
footsteps of war.
urge those with the power to help make real this vision to remain true,
amid the clamour of conflict, to that noble and vital purpose," he
he called for unity between religions.
is a conflict neither about religion nor between religions."
was joined by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O'Connor, Three Churches Moderator, the Rev David Coffey, Chief
Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks, Chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams
UK, Dr. Zaki Badawi, and Co-president of Churches Together In England,
the Rev Esme Beswick.
PA prepare for provincial polls
the UNF government threatens to impeach President Chandrika Kumaratunga
to prevent dissolution of parliament as the opposition bides its time
for a beneficial dissolution, both parties are preparing to grease the
first election that would be due is the Wayamba Provincial Council poll,
due in April 2004. Within another two months, three other provincial
elections become due.
government sources told The Sunday Leader that the party machinery has
been alerted to start working at grassroot level. While specific plans
are yet to be discussed, the organisers have been instructed to sell
memberships, hold pocket meetings and to particularly educate the public
on the ongoing peace process.
Party Spokesman Gayantha Karunathileke said that the party is continuing
with its general grassroot level plans and said that finer details of an
election have not been discussed yet.
cancels all flights to Kuwait
Airlines has cancelled all its five weekly flights to Kuwait via Dubai
and will instead terminate in Dubai.
the outbreak of war in Iraq the national carrier however said it would
maintain all its other Middle Eastern destinations to Saudi Arabia,
Qatar and Bahrain.
airline official said the flight paths for European destinations will be
changed and SriLankan Airlines will take the Russian or Northern African
flight routes to Europe. This route is marginally longer than the route
via the Middle East.
of Corporate Communications, SriLankan Airlines, Chandana de Silva said
the airline's underwriters have requested that if SriLankan is to resume
flights to Kuwait then there will be an insurance surcharge or a war
risk cover the airline will be forced to take. De Silva added that in
the event of a protracted war in Iraq, "there are some contingency
flight paths the airline will take as and when required to European and
Far Eastern destinations." Beyond this aspect he said there would
be no changes to the carrier's flight schedules other than its cancelled
flights to Kuwait.
anticipation of the war, Senior Media Relations Executive, Manuela Motha
said the airline only added a fuel surcharge this month at the rate of
US $ 10 per one day journey and US $ 5 for those flying the Indian
re-routing of flight paths she said would mean extra fuel costs for the
carrier which may in the long term have to also make extra stopovers
which would add to landing and parking fees. A day after the war broke
in Iraq, Motha on Friday maintained that there had been "hardly any
cancellations both into and out of Colombo."
on Indian fishermen extended
District Judge, M. A. Mohideen ordered Thursday that the remand for 26
Indian fishermen who were arrested by local fishermen and handed over to
the police on March 5 for trespassing into Sri Lankan waters, be
extended until April 3, sources said.
the fishermen were produced in court Thursday, legal sources said that
the judge ordered their extended remand, saying that the Attorney
General has not yet submitted his instructions on the case.
the judge refused permission to release the 31 boats being held by the
Sri Lankan officials to representatives of a fishermen's union in India
on behalf of the Indian owners of the boats.
The representatives, Juwani Fernando Arulanantham and Anton
Fentinklaus from the union who sought the release of fishermen and
operate from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, were present in the court.
sought the release of the boats, but the judge said that the owners of
the boats should themselves appear in court to seek the release of their
imposes fine of Rs. 700,000
on Colombo Swimming Club
Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has imposed a fine of nearly Rs. 700,000
on the Colombo Swimming Club for an unauthorised structure the club has
Director, City Planning, CMC, in a letter sent to the club has stated
that the area constructed and completed without approval is at the rate
of Rs 1000 per meter.
of the members of the club who were against the decision to put up the
unauthorised structure told The Sunday Leader that the President of the
Club, Victor Castelino, an Indian national has acted contrary to the
constitution of the club.
say the requirement according to the club constitution is that three
bids should be submitted to the club committee for evaluation before any
plans are made to construct buildings.
charged that it was almost on completion of the building that they were
made to understand of the construction.
constitution of the club states that approval from the committee has to
be given for any building to be put up but according to the members this
had not happened.
Castelino has been the president of the club for almost six years and is
contesting for the post again next year.
Castelino in a letter to all the members has said that consensus was
obtained from the general membership at the AGM before embarking on the
construction of the new restaurant and a gym.
procedures of calling for tenders were strictly adhered to," he has
regrets lack of UN sanction
LTTE has criticised the US led war on Iraq charging it has marginalised
the United Nations.
Negotiator of the LTTE, Anton Balasingham told a press conference in
Hakone, Japan, Friday that while the Tigers are against the dictatorship
of Saddam Hussein and acknowledges the fact he is heading an evil empire
in the Middle East, the war to disarm Hussein should have been carried
out with UN sanction. "Regrettably the US has launched an attack
without UN approval. We are concerned at the plight of the innocent
civilians in Iraq," he added.
to PM on monitoring
Weerakkody has been appointed as advisor to the Prime Minister on
monitoring and implementation. The new unit is charged with monitoring
and assessing the progress of projects undertaken by the government.
Razik Fareed to be remembered
All Ceylon Moors Association is sponsoring the Sir Razik Fareed memorial
lecture to be held at the Mahaweli Centre, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Colombo
7 at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, March 28.
keynote speakers will be Dr. Gamini Corea, Sri Lanka's former
Representative in the UN and Secretary - General of UNCTAD and Desmond
Fernando P.C. and former president and secretary general, International
will speak on 'The Life of Sir Razik Fareed' and on 'Peace and Peace
Dividend and Solidarity of the Moor Community towards Sri Lanka.'
procedure to sell Pinnawela elephants
rights activists protest
recent request by the Private Elephant Owners' Association to permit
private owners to obtain elephants from the Pinnawela orphanage has
earned the wrath of environmentalists and animal rights activists while
the Environment Minister intends moving fresh legislation to replace the
annual licensing system of elephants in private ownership or custody.
elephant owners took this matter up with Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe a few weeks ago, and told him that if the orphaned
elephants at Pinnawela that are to be auctioned are not released to
them, they would refrain from paying the annual licensing fee of the
animals currently in their custody.
Association headed by Kataragama Basnayake Nilame, Nilanga Dela Bandara
has requested that they be permitted to purchase the orphaned elephants
up for auction.
told The Sunday Leader that these elephants are required for temples and
devales for cultural pageants and other events, and as such the demand
We do not abuse animals and these are orphaned animals that need to be
looked after. It is also a cultural requirement. What harm is there if
we own them?" argued the youngest Basnayake Nilame in the country.
activists say the move is aimed at increasing the number of animals
owned privately, as most owners are landed proprietors who are also in
the timber industry.
Parakrama, leader of the Green Party and an environmental activist,
alleges that the proposed legislation supports the very thing the
private owners of elephants have been clamouring for - the removal of
the annual licensing fee.
says that opposition need not be construed as being against cultural
practices, but as being opposed to the possible risk of using aged
animals for heavy work such as carrying logs etc;
from the Pinnawela Orphanage claimed that often older elephants are
auctioned, which gives credence to Parakrama's theory about employing
them for heavy work.
is accepted that elephants are costly to maintain and owners need some
income to maintain them. But there should be some restriction on the age
of the animals" he argues.
states that the famous Panamure elephant fought while in captivity, and
this cost the animal his life. " The elephant was shot dead for
causing a commotion in the Panamure private elephant kraal. This
generated much public interest and inspired a popular song at
That is how the country's animal rights evolved and restrictions were
brought on private ownership of elephants by Dr. N.M. Perera,"
animal rights concerns is the legal question. According to Environment
and Natural Resources Minister Rukman Senanayake, auctioning will be
replaced by a tender procedure.
says that tenders will be called in April for five male elephants
currently in Pinnawela. Tenders will be called for and the animals would
be sold to the highest bidders.
There are maintenance and space constraints at Pinnawala. The problem
aggravates when male animals come into musth (heat). They turn violent
and the entire kraal gets affected. The selected five elephants are
Senanayake asserts that the owners will be required as before to
register with the Wildlife Department while the annual licensing scheme
would be replaced by complete ownership, subject to provisions of the
new act pertaining to animal welfare.
claims that the act provides for the immediate confiscation of any
'domestic animal' if not cared for according to requirements.
though categorised as wild or dangerous are also covered by the above
provisions as it extends to all domestic, wild or exotic animals in
lawyer Jagath Gunawardene counters the position and states that new
protective mechanisms are unnecessary as the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act introduced in 1907 already contains such provisions.
penalty for cruelty according to Section 22 of the Flora and Fauna Act
is a fine of Rs.100, 000 to Rs. 200,000 or imprisonment for a period of
two to five years, or both.
argues that the new procedure would exclude open tender where bidding is
immediate. The new scheme would provide for preparation of bidders,
which could be done without transparency.
will open the floodgates as a tender board will finally select who would
own the animals, in stark violation of the previous public auction
procedure" he charged.
numbering plan for telephones
Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) last week announced a
10-digit numbering plan to create a level playing field for all fixed
line and mobile operators, thus stimulating competition.
new number plan will also provide resources to meet the future demand,
the TRC said.
TRC announced that the present telephone numbering plan, developed more
than 30 years ago when there were about 100,000 telephone lines in use
is now outdated. Sri Lanka presently has approximately 1.8 million
telephone lines in use and the demand for new lines is increasing.
TRC said that in this scenario the country needed a comprehensive
numbering plan that will take into account telephone line requirements
and telecom services.
new plan will provide for a uniform 10-digit number across fixed and
mobile lines, consisting of a standard three-digit area code plus a
seven-digit subscriber number for fixed lines and a three-digit operator
code plus seven-digit subscriber number for mobile lines.
important feature will be that all fixed lines (wireless and wire line)
would have a geographic identity determined by the area code.
new number plan will enable the introduction of emerging services like
free phone services. It will make provision for standardised short codes
for all operators; for example emergency services like fire, ambulance
announced that in order to implement the changes smoothly and with the
least possible inconvenience to the user, the implementation will be
undertaken in stages, commencing June this year.
was also announced that the TRC hopes to complete the entire project
during the course of this year.
condemns school closure
Minister Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, one of the respondents in a case
filed by some parents against Kottawa Dharmapala Vidyalaya for deciding
to close down the primary section of the school has condemned the action
taken by the school.
school decided to shut down the primary section thereby depriving
hundreds of primary students of a proper education.
The school requested the parents to transfer their children to
another school in the same area. The parents however filed a case
against the school, and the Supreme Court granted a stay order, thus
preventing the school from implementing its decision.
who is one of the respondents told The Sunday Leader that though he was
representing the state, he sympathised with the students and condemned
the decision of the school.
proper institution where teaching is prime, should not resort to such
acts. This school should have given the parents a choice and also
adequate time for the parents to decide on the future education of their
children," the Education Minister said.
condemned the Western Provincial Council Education Ministry for
permitting the closure.
third South Asian Free Media Conference on 'Media and Democracy' is to
be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 7 and 8.
170 media persons from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
will participate in this conference.
exhibition in Trincomalee
first ever photographic exhibition organised by the North- East
Provincial Council is scheduled for today in Trincomalee. The exhibition
photographs focus on historic places, antiques, cultural identity and
scenic beauty in the north east region.
than 500 photographs are displayed and the two best photographs of each
category will be selected for special awards.
exhibition is being held at the Trincomalee Sri Koneswara Hindu College
Hall. Provincial Secretary to the Ministry of Education, R.Thiagalingam,
was expected to preside over the inaugural event of the exhibition
yesterday, March 22, while Provincial Public Service Commission
Secretary, V.P.Balasingham was to participate as the chief guest.
ultimate objective of the exhibition is to encourage persons involved in
photography in the North-East Province, a spokesman from the North-East
Provincial Council said.
teachers threaten death fast
North East Province Volunteer Teachers' Consortium (NEPVTC) Wednesday
(19) warned the government that it would convert its present sit-in
protest in front of the Provincial Ministry of Education in Trincomalee
to a hunger strike from March 28, if the Ministry fails to grant
permanent status to them before March 27.
sit-in-protest in addition to fasting on a rotation basis entered the
17th day on Wednesday.
medium volunteers selected for permanent appointment following
interviews and after cabinet approval was granted are participating in
the protest campaign.
teachers from Kilinochchi in the Wanni region have joined their
Trincomalee colleagues in the campaign, NEPVTC sources said.
in its statement condemned the latest stand taken by the government to
hold another interview to grant permanent status to the 1000 Tamil
medium volunteer teachers in the North-East Province. This had been
reported in a section of the media quoting the Schools' Education
Ministry Secretary, H.M.Sirisena.
Mayor of Colombo, Azath Sally, last week ordered his council to remove
all unauthorised hoardings that have come up in Colombo during the past
unauthorised hoardings according to Sally have caused inconvenience to
pedestrians and residents.
special operation commenced last Thursday to remove all such
unauthorised hoardings by the end of the week. "Further, all
authorised hoardings must visibly
display the permit number issued by the Colombo Municipal Council and
failure to do so will compel the council to remove such boards as they
would be considered unauthorised," the Acting Mayor said in a
wants DWC leader out of UNF
Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) The Sunday Leader learns has applied
pressure on the United National Front (UNF) to refuse Democratic Workers
Congress (DWC) Chief Mano Ganesan nomination for future elections under
to well informed sources, some members from the CWC have already
requested Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to remove Ganesan's name
from the list in the event of an election being called by President
Kumaratunga. It is believed that with the People's Alliance and the
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna entering into a pact, the President is likely
to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.
DWC leader contested the 2000 election under the UNP and was short of
96,000 votes to be elected to parliament. The following year he
contested under the UNF along with two CWC members and received 55,000
votes whereas both CWC members together received only 30,000 votes. At
this election too, there had been moves by the CWC to block Ganesan from
contesting under the UNF.
the Appliance Energy Labeling Programme, the CFL Energy Labeling
Standard (SLS 1225) has now been published by the Sri Lanka Standards
Institution to support the ongoing Energy Efficient Lighting Programme
of the Ceylon Electricity Board.
this stage of the programme high power factor CFLs with low Total
Harmonic Distortion (THD)
have been introduced. The prime consideration is to provide quality
lamps to customers with minimum effect on the quality of the power
supply, Deputy General Manager, CEB Bandula S. Tilakasena said.
of CFL energy labeling under the CEB
energy lighting programme will help customers make rational
decisions in investing on energy efficient products, Tilakasena stated
in a release.
photographer's impressions of the NE war
people of the north are said to be getting back to normal existence, but
the odd irony is that for the people under the age of 25 who come from
the north, normal existence has been war," observed international
photographer Tim Dickinson.
first came to Sri Lanka last September to visit a friend who had been
here for about a year.
the time, he was to be in the country only for three-weeks during the
ceasefire. It was then that Dickinson thought that this time of peace
was a special opportunity to get a story and felt it would be stupid to
leave without one.
then decided to visit Jaffna with the assistance of a NGO.
plan was to find out the ground situation in Jaffna, take some pictures
for a newspaper story and sell it to either an English or Australian
all this changed when he was approached by an NGO in Kilinochchi, which
invited him to come to the north for a second week and at the end of
this week it was this NGO - Norwegian People's Aid - that first
suggested having a photography exhibition.
I considered to make this a long term project," said Dickinson,
adding that during his stay in the island he has been in and out of the
country to his home in Australia. Although he is British, Dickinson has
made Melbourne, Australia his home.
has also been in Burma. In 1994/1995, he had stayed in Thailand but
travelled across the border to Burma.
Burma, it was the Caren people who were fighting against the government
for an independent state. "It is similar to the LTTE,"
Dickinson pointed out.
the two, Dickinson says that he thinks the LTTE is much more organised,
more financed and better equipped.
now the LTTE is at the negotiating table, but in Burma this is not the
case, and unlike the LTTE, the Burmese are more apprehensive about the
Caren people," Dickinson said.
on the angle he looks at when taking a photograph, he says, "it
depends on each job. In this instance, I have taken pictures that
communicate. What it feels like to be a part of their life and what sort
of obstacles people face when returning to normal existence. Ironically,
normal existence for most of them would be returning to war."
feels that people are happy with the peace process as it has brought an
end to the brutality and destruction they have known for so long.
Families who have left their homes are now returning because of the
says that at the time he was in Kilinochchi, he didn't notice any tense
atmosphere and feels that people want to make the ceasefire work.
impact of the war in the north hadn't really hit him until he witnessed
how schools, hospitals, villages and other places were destroyed. All he
knew of a war earlier was what every foreigner knew - very little.
adds that he admires those affected by the war, especially their spirit,
because it is amazing to see how they come out of war with their spirit
worst place he visited is not in the Wanni, but Chavakachcheri. "There was astonishing damage and the
area has a large number of accidents causing a lot of suffering,"
he observed. The place being small and densely populated with a lot of
mines is the reason behind the accidents.
people had left their homes and were returning because of the ceasefire.
So usually, one male member of the family would return first to see if
the house was intact and whether it is ready for his family to return.
And in most cases, there are mines in the area and unknowingly, this
particular man would step on a mine and injure himself. This has been a
common occurrence in the area," Dickinson explained.
aspect admired by Dickinson is how people can get on with their lives
without a fuss.
emphasised that although the artificial limbs worn by these people are
out of date, they keep using them. "They put the fake leg and just
get on with their life," said Dickinson, adding that this is what
he heard from a person at the White Pigeon, which gets down foreign
doctors for assistance. He went on to say that a worker at the White
Pigeon had told him that a doctor is sued for the slightest discomfort
in other countries, but in Sri Lanka people hardly make a fuss.
have been with a person for more than a month and not realised he was
wearing an artificial limb. It was only when he sat down with his leg
showing a little that I realised he was wearing a fake limb," he
returning to their homes know of the dangers of landmines, but the
question is the level of awareness. Do they know about landmines around
their homes?" he queried. However, he said that a lot is being done
right now, but a lot more needs to be done.
Dickinson's photography exhibition 'The-Fall Out' opened last Thursday
and will continue till April 3 at the World Trade Centre Lobby, Level 3,
West Tower. The title The-Fall Out was chosen to emphasise the side
effects of a war. Dickinson counts 11 years in newspaper photo