Commonwealth Secretariat Director General Don McKinnon has again relented under pressure from Australia and Canada and reversed his own previous decision to upgrade the representation for a high-powered ten-nation committee to join the global campaign against terrorism.
The committee, which was to be at ministerial level, has now been downgraded to official level after Australia raised objections saying that it was unable to participate at ministerial level due to parliamentary elections in that country.
Earlier, too, Australia objected to the committee being of ministerial-level on the footing that it was necessary that officials map out the strategy to be adopted by the 54-nation Commonwealth before it was brought to the political level. Mr. McKinnon, a former New Zealand foreign minister, has over-ruled the original objections and proceeded to invite ministerial representation from the ten-nation committee only to reverse the decision after Australia renewed its objection at the preparatory meeting held in London Friday, comprising high commissioners of these countries.The ministerial-level meeting scheduled for November 19 in London will now be held on the same date at officials-level with a later fixed for ministerial-level representation.
A Sri Lankan has had the dubious distinction of becoming the first lady lawyer to be struck off the roll in Hong Kong for professional mis-conduct.
Ms. Rajee Sabaratnam, now resident in Toronto, Canada has been found guilty of abandoning her practice in Hong Kong in October 1999, and of issuing 19 cheques of her firm, which were subsequently dishonoured.
She was also found guilty of allowing drawings on her firm's client account in excess of the monies available and for failing to reply to correspondence from the Hong Kong Law Society.
The three-member tribunal which heard the complaint by the Hong Kong Law Society fined Ms. Sabaratnam HK dollars 475,000 and costs while ordering that she be disenrolled.
The tribunal comprised Lin Mang Wah Paul (Chairman), Robin Nelson Egerton and Prof. Chang Kai Ming. Colin Cohen of Messrs Boase Cohen & Collins appeared for the Law Society.
Ms. Sabaratnam was absent and unrepresented.
Eight people including two children were killed in two related LTTE attacks in the Muttur area of the Trincomalee district yesterday, military officials said.
The LTTE first attacked a security force check point in the Pahala Thoppur area of Muttur, killing two soldiers and another. Reinforcements who were rushed into the area were also attacked.
Subsequently when the security forces were removing three of the injured soldiers, rebels set off a claymore mine killing four more soldiers including an officer. Two children who were standing in their compound on the side of the road were also killed.
In separate attacks by the security forces six rebels were killed in the Jaffna peninsula on Friday and yesterday, a military statement said.
By Tania Fernando
The Ceylon Tourist Board will spend around Rs. 19 million for the World Travel Mart (WTM) exhibition to be held in London this week but the government has been unable to field a delegation for the crucial World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting in Doha due to lack of funds.
Some 53 Sri Lankan companies representing the travel and hotel trade will participate in the WTM exhibition which is regarded as one of the world's biggest tourism shows. Among the Sri Lankan delegates is Mervyn Fernandopulle, a cousin of Tourism Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, representing his firm Airwing Tours, Negombo.
The cost of a booth at this exhibition is about Rs. 400,000, and in the common area Rs. 115,000, and in the business lounge Rs. 25,000 per participant, a Tourist Board official said.
The Ceylon Tourist Board will meet the total cost of Rs. 19.1 million. In the previous years, 50% of the cost was paid by the participants. The Tourist Board decided to meet the full cost following appeals from industry representatives to the minister, Tourism Ministry secretary P. Ramanujam said. He said the minister advised the board to meet the cost because the participating firms were in a financial crisis that was precipitated by the July 24 terrorist attacks on Katunayake and the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.
Dr. Ramanujam said that the Minister told the delegates that such concession would not be granted in the future.
Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting which began in Doha on Friday is being poorly represented by Sri Lanka due to lack of funds.
Trade Minister Ronnie de Mel who was scheduled to go, pulled out at the last minute citing election work. Officials from the Foreign Ministry also could not attend due to lack of funds and election work.
Sri Lanka was due to be represented by the Permanent Secretary to the WTO in Geneva, R J Weerasekera who is also the Deputy Director of the Department of Commerce (DOC), his deputy, another deputy director from Colombo and a representative of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. According to sources, the Treasury has been maintaining that the 2001 budget is under control, which would have included the WTO meeting in Doha. The meeting is schedule to go on till the 13th of this month.
Upto 30% of patients may be taking the wrong drugs and their ailments getting worse instead of better due to the lack of properly trained pharmacists and the dangerously large number of drugs in the market, a senior pharmacist warned.
A spokesman for the Society of Government Pharmacists and the Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka said statistics indicated that thousands of pharmacies were functioning without properly trained pharmacists.
He said a fully trained pharmacist was a bridge between the physician and the patient. The prescription issued by a physician is a scientific document though it is often seen today as something like a grocery list because most pharmacies are also grocery stores. The situation is as bad as having a fish market in a hospital. The spokesman for the pharmacists said the prescription as a scientific document, could be interpreted, understood and properly dispensed only by a trained pharmacist.
Instead sales people were doing that in hundreds of pharmacies posing a grave danger to the well being or even lives of patients.
Another key area in providing good safe and effective medicine to people is quality control. But the Health Ministry's main quality control unit itself is headed by only a half qualified pharmacist while the number of staff is also terribly inadequate.
Though pharmacists should play a key role in proper health care for the people, Sri Lanka today has only about 4000 pharmacists with the requirement being at least five times as much as that.
According to the pharmacists, Sri Lanka is one of the few countries which do not have a university degree course for pharmacists.
Despite several appeals by the WHO and others, only an extension diploma course is now conducted at the Colombo University's Medical Faculty and that too has only a few students because the cost is a prohibitive Rs. 30,000.
The pharmacists are calling for the introduction of a fully fledged three-year university diploma course in all aspects of the science of pharmacy, leading up to a degree course in the long term.
They point out that the ill-treatment of the science of pharmacy has had serious effects in various areas as drug quality assurance laboratories, hospitals, wholesale and retail drug companies and the pharmaceutical industry. Besides the lack of pharmacists, illegible prescriptions issued by many doctors are making matters worse for patients.