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29th June 1997

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Lanka wishes well for HK after transfer

Sri Lanka has called for continuing prosperity for Hong Kong after it returns to Chinese sovereignty and wished China a successful completion of the transfer process.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga in a message to President Jiang Zemin said Sri Lanka welcomed Hong Kong's return to China and said the move would be good for both China and Hong Kong.

Ms. Kumaratunga wished for a "successful completion of the process of transfer and for the continuing well-being and prosperity of Hong Kong in the People's Republic of China."

Sri Lanka and China last month agreed to maintain the current visa exemption for Hong Kong even after the territory returns to Beijing's sovereignty from July 1.

Hong Kong passport holders will be able to visit Sri Lanka without visas while China will extend the same facility to Sri Lankans travelling to the territory.


HK handover for alleged murder

By Dayasena Abeylath

The Colombo High Court has ordered that a Sri Lankan be extradited to Hong Kong to face charges relating to the strangling of his pregnant Indian born fiancee in 1995.

Judge Shiranee Tilakawardene gave the order on Friday after hearing submissions made by the Attorney General's Department in support of a request made by a Hong Kong court for the extradiction of the Sri Lankan.

In this case, Ajith Dangamuwa from Kurunegala who now was working at a printing press at Nugegoda, has been charged in a Hong Kong Court with the murder of his fiancee, Sushila Panday, on February 16, 1995.

He is alleged to have left Hong Kong the same day after writing a letter to the police.

The girl who was two months pregnant was found dead in a Hong Kong hotel room. After preliminary hearings, Interpol was alerted and police tracked the suspect down at a Pagoda Road printing press.

When the case up before the Colombo High Court, the suspect denied all charges. But prosecuting counsel produced photographs and other evidence they have received from Hong Kong.

The judge ordered the suspect be detained till he is extradicted.


Hand-held radios: tenderer's views

A supplier of hand-held radios has called on the Army Commander to reconsider a decision to buy hand-held radios from another supplier on the grounds that the units supplied do not meet the technical specifications given the supplier has alleged.

The supplier in a letter to the Army Commander alleges that in accordance with the technical specifications, the radios should have a frequency range 136-174 MHz synthesized and a channel spacing of 12.5 KHz, among other things, but the units supplied do not meet their specifications.

The supplier who had been unsuccessful in the tender, claims that he had offered better quality equipment which meet US military standards at a unit price of US$ 196.65, FOB, Singapore while the purchase had been made at US$ 250 FOB, Singapore.

He also has claimed that his company and another in Sri Lanka are the only authorised Motorola distributors.


OIC shot dead after argument

By Christopher Kamalendran

The OIC in charge of administration of the Eravur police station, Nimal Perera, was allegedly shot at point blank range with an automatic weapon inside the police station following an argument yesterday, a police spokesman said.

The officer on duty was going through the telephone register, the book in which all incoming telephone messages are recorded when police constable, Ashoka attached to the same station entered into an argument with him. The incident occurred around 7 p.m.

The argument had lasted for about five minutes and the constable had allegedly opened fire with a T-56 rifle killing the officer on the spot.

Eravur OIC Nimal Ratnayaka told 'The Sunday TImes' that he was in his room at the time of the incident . He heard the gun shot and came out to find the inspector in a pool of blood. The PC was arrested.

The officer hailing from Wadduwa had been serving as the Acting OIC of the same station until Mr. Ratnayaka took over duties on May 01.


UL technicians protest

Members of the Association of Aircraft Technicians of AirLanka who struck work last Thursday crippling airline maintenance services, have taken a firm decision not to do any overtime in protest against the failure to rectify its salary anomalies.

A spokesman for the association told The Sunday Times that the issue of salary anomalies has been existing for more than four years.

"When the engineers started leaving AirLanka for jobs in the Middle East, AirLanka authorities gave a 400% salary increase to the engineers, ignoring the technicians," a spokesman for the union M.G.A.D Chandrapala said.

As a result, the technical staffers after discussions with the members decided to speak to the authorities who had overlooked their issues and later on rectified their salaries half way. The association is now asking that the remaining anomalies are settled he said.

Maintenance work has been affected by the strike and the decision not to do overtime work.

However, the members said that their intention is not to sabotage the work but to make the authorities value their service, but there is a possibility that other airlines too may be effected as well.


Alexandra parents wait in hope

BY Chamintha Tilakaratna.

The Parent- Teacher Association of Alexandra College, the centre of controversy few weeks ago, which climaxed with the sudden closure of the school, yesterday claimed that authorities are ignoring orders given by the president and the minister of education and higher education to acquire the land and reopen the school.

'Students are still without a school and thus on the street' a member of the association said.

The decision to acquire the land under emergency regulations was taken two weeks ago in order to accommodate the students who have been without a school as a result of the sale of the school.

They said that so far they have not received the gazette to use the land which according to a local newspaper has been gazetted some time back.

As a result, the association members or the students have not been allowed to enter the premises and therefore work which was supposed to start two weeks back has not yet begun.

The association members said that they respect and thank the president for her co-operaton and efforts in looking into their needs but regret that no action has been taken so far and that the implementation of the regulations has not been looked into.

The parents and teachers of the school are prepared to pay the staff and to put up sheds as classrooms for the students till they can find a permanent place as the school premises, within the one year period, as soon as they acquire the land.

Presidential Secretariat officials were not available for comment about the delay in implementing the orders given.


USIS library no longer lends

The United States Information Service library will leave the American Resource Centre to better the services and reduce expenditure.

The American Centre was reorganized and remodified and has adopted a new format and a new name.

The changes have been necessitated by budget and staff cuts imposed by the U. S. Congress, said Director of USIS, Ms. Anne, Barbaro.

The library will henceforth not operate as a lending library but only as reference and information resource centre only.

It will also provide electronic information as well.

Thus, members are expected to bring a borrower's card when visiting the AIRC while temporary membership cards are also available but you will not be allowed to borrow material.


Set himself on fire as rice had stones

By Kumaradasa Wagista

An estate labourer Muttiah Premachandramani (33) set himself on fire as the plate of rice served by his wife contained stones. The incident occurred at Sapugaskanda estate Ratnapura on Thursday night.

The dead man's wife Manomani told the City Coroner that her husband came home after playing a games with some neighbours and asked for his dinner. When it was served he refused to eat it as it contained stones.

He went out for the second and third time to play and finaly returned home at about 10.00 p.m. By now she had examined the plate of rice and picked a few stones that were in it. But he objected again that there were stones, took a mat and went to the verandah to sleep. Later she saw him pouring kerosene oil and set himself alight.

He was taken to the estate dispensary and then to the Ratnapura Hospital. From there he was transferred to the National Hospital Colombo where he died.

After recording the evidence of Muttiah's brother, M. Ananda Kumar, the City Coroner Edward Ahangama returned a suicide verdict. Ratnapura Police led evidence.


Child abuse case: SC to examine treaty

By K.M. Weeraratne

Is there a valid extradition arrangement between Sri Lanka and the United States?

Sri Lanka's highest judicial body, the Supreme Court will take a decision on this issue which has international consequences, following a case involving a Sri Lankan who had been convicted in California on charges of abusing his step daughter.

In this case, Channa Priya Ruberoe had in 1992 been convicted by a federal court in California on charges of abusing his Californian wife's daughter from her former marriage. He evaded the law there and fled to Sri Lanka. The State of California, through the US embassy in Colombo, made a formal request for his extradition and Mr. Roberoe was detained by the Sri Lankan authorities last year.

Mr. Ruberoe's lawyers then went to the Court of Appeal which in December last year ruled there was no formal extradition treaty between the two countries.

Appealing against this decision, the Attorney General told the Supreme Court there was an extradition treaty signed between the King of England and the President of the United States in 1931.

Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) being an English colony, was covered by that treaty which even after independence, was renewed through an exchange of notes between the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and the US.

Attorney Dr. Ranjit Fernando, appearing for Mr. Roberoe challenged the interpretation of the State. He said that after independence in 1948 all colonial treaties were null and void. Yet since this was a matter of international significance and warranted a full examination by Sri Lanka's highest court, he would not oppose the Attorney General's appeal for the case to be heard and finally determined by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court bench which heard the Attorney General's application for leave to appeal comprised Chief Justice G.P.A. De Silva along with Justices P. Ramanathan and Priyantha Perera. The case will be taken up on September 23.

Continue to the News/Comment page 4 - * SLANA run on July 20, * Born again in love, * Shortages in Mullaitivu, * Ex-hotel chief acquitted, * Rise above pride says NDP, * "I have not been muzzled"

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