JVP killed Vijaya, I got no compensation
Chandrika Kumaratunga has told the cabinet that though husband Vijaya
Kumaratunga was assassinated by the JVP, she had not received any
"My father was assassinated and my husband was killed by the
JVP, but I did not get any compensation," the President said.
came a day after the President met JVP leaders in a bid to reach
a common understanding on major national issues.
made the comment when two ministers raised the issue that the UNPers
were not being paid compensation though they were affected in election
violence. The questions had been raised by Ministers Rajitha Senaratne
and Ravi Karunanayake. They had raised the issue about some of the
UNP members not getting compensation though the Presidential Secretariat.
had raised the issue whether families of those affected by the Udathalawinna
violence were paid compensation and the President said yes. Thereafter
Ministers Karunanayake and Senaratne had said that their party offices
were also damaged, but compensation had not been paid.
A recent presentation at the Health Ministry has raised
questions relating to ethics and product promotion.
by a German company based in India showed the latest technology
in tele pathology, provoking questions by concerned parties as to
whether the Health Ministry was getting involved in product promotion.
firm involved is an equipment supplier, and is said to be a bidder
for some of the equipment for which tenders are called for by the
Ministry's Lab services Director Dr. Jayasundara Bandara said he
saw no ethical problem.
the presentation was aimed at increasing awareness of tele pathology
technology and was not a product promotion.
not a propaganda sponsorship, but an educational presentation for
health administrators regarding the introduction of the newest technology
to the field," he said.
crash: Test run to doom
It was just another day at Kadjuduwa Watta in Dodangoda
with people working in the paddy fields and children playing alongside.
p.m. on Thursday, the drone of an air-craft drew little attention
as it was a frequent occurrence.
did the villagers below realise, that the aircraft was facing engine
trouble and would soon crash into the paddy fields in a ball of
it appeared that the pilot was looking for a safe place to land
to avoid injuring any civilians.
An eye witness,
13-year-old Kasun Chamara said he was out playing with his friends
when he heard the aircraft.
I looked up I saw the bottom part of the aircraft was on fire. Then
I saw something flying out of it and there was a loud noise. I asked
everyone to run," Chamara said.
M. Kusumalatha, said that she was in the paddy field with her husband
and grandchild. They were about to tie their cattle, when they heard
a loud bang.
up and saw to my horror an aircraft on fire, hovering above our
house. It was coming down and pieces of the aircraft were falling
on the roof of a house close by.
seconds the aircraft crashed into the paddy field," Kusumalatha
said, adding there was so much of smoke that she was unable to see
what had happened. She fell on the ground as she was hit by a piece
which had exploded from the aircraft.
She said she
found that her husband was bleeding and had also been burned. He
was rushed to Hospital.
villagers flocked to the burning site. Air force personnel were
trying hard to keep the people away while fire fighters battled
to control the flames.
S. A. Piyaratne,
one among the crowd said he had seen the aircraft and heard noises
like crackers. "When I rushed outside, it had already crashed
and the whole area was covered in thick smoke," he said.
When we went
there only one body had been recovered. An Air Force officer said
they were able to identify the victim by his wedding band. The other
four bodies were recovered during the course of the day.
The Pilot of
the aircraft was 36-year old Squadron Leader Thusith De Silva, and
his co-pilot was 34-year old Squadron Leader Marlon Thomas. They
both had approximately 6000 hours of flying experience. The others
in the ill fated aircraft were Flight Lieutenant S. N. R. Rajapakse,
the Navigator, Sergeant D. A. Jayasiri, flight engineer and Sergeant
An Air force
official who was at the crash site said the Y8 Chinese built aircraft
had taken off from Ratmalana Airport, around 12.20 p.m. on a test
run. 15 minutes after take-off they had radioed claiming to have
engine trouble and was asked to return back to Ratmalana.
is normally used to transport cargo to Jaffna and was supposed to
go on a flight on Friday with cargo, prior to the test run.
Ajith Wijesundera, spokesman for the Air force said although it
was engine No. 2, that was replaced two weeks ago, the fire occurred
in engine No. 4. He also said this aircraft has an automatic fire
extinguisher which should put out the fire off. This aircraft was
purchased by the Air Force in 1993.
Air force Commander Donald Perera has appointed a four member team
headed by Air Commodore L. Salgado, Director Operations to probe
is Otunnu not coming?
UN Special Representative Olara Otunnu has indefinitely
put off his visit to Sri Lanka amidst a controversy over why it
was postponed and whether the LTTE persuaded the government to put
Special UN Representative for Children in Armed Conflict was scheduled
to arrive today for a five day visit but a Foreign Ministry official
said it had been put off because Mr. Otunnu had another urgent assignment
When Mr. Otunnu
came here four years ago the LTTE gave an assurance it would stop
child recruitment. But the practice is widely believed to be continuing
with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission reporting last month there
were 55 confirmed cases and 125 unconfirmed cases of child recruitment
since the ceasefire agreement in February.
said LTTE's Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham may have requested
a postponement of Mr. Otunnu's visit to which the Sri Lankan government
acceded to avoid jeopardizing the talks to be held next month.
is reported to have promised in Oslo during the recent talks that
the LTTE would look into the findings of the SLMM with regard to
child recruitment and other rights violations and take remedial
G.L. Peiris said on Thursday that Mr. Otunnu was expected shortly
and would be welcomed by both the government and the LTTE.
and concerns raised by several international child rights organisations
such as UNICEF and Amnesty International, the LTTE reportedly continues
to recruit as young as 10.
reports and information from the North and East children are brainwashed
by showing LTTE propaganda, successful missions etc. in schools
and refugee camps.
In June this
year Amnesty International suggested monitoring of child recruitment
and other alleged violations of human rights by the LTTE in the
North and East. The organisation said it had information on 26 specific
cases of child recruitment between the ages 13-16 years.
was assured by the LTTE that its current policy was not to recruit
persons under 18. "We have a very clear statement that this
will not continue, but we continue to get cases of that nature"
The SLMM in
its report last month said the practice of child recruitment was
not only a violation of the ceasefire agreement and international
law, but it was also hindering the restoration of normalcy in Sri
over new arthritis drug
published in world medical journals has raised questions about two
new arthritis drugs that are being widely prescribed in Sri Lanka.
Celecoxib and Rofecoxib, are two of the newer drugs for arthritis
sold under brand names in Sri Lanka. Doctors here have begun to
prescribe these medicines in a big way.
The chief claim
has been that these drugs are safer than the older group of drugs
like ibuprofen and diclofenac sodium.
in the Washington Post, subsequent letters in the Journal of the
American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal indicate
that the results of the studies which were funded by Pharmacia,
the company that manufactured celocoxib, may have been misrepresented
to show that this drug is safer than the older drugs.
The full results
of the studies have shown that the older medicines like ibuprofen
and diclofenac sodium are actually safer than celecoxib, the journals
respected BMJ in a recent editorial has expressed serious concern
that the flawed findings which were published in the original JAMA
2000 (Vol 324) article may have contributed to an increase in sales
of celecoxib from 2623 million dollars to 3114 million dollars in
2001, alone! Letters in JAMA that followed this article in subsequent
issues highlighted the flaws.
in which the study involving Rofecoxib was conducted too, has prompted
the BMJ to call for an "industry independent" analysis
of studies invloving selective Cox2 inhibitors (e.g. Celecoxib and
So if you are
a patient who has been prescribed one of these drugs by your doctor
it might be safer to get back to the older drugs till things are
born N.Yorker throws big chips into Lanka
A Sri Lankan-born New York fund manager, who has been buying
into blue chips on the Colombo bourse in recent weeks, says he believes
the peace dividend would boost the bottom lines of companies as
consumer demand revives in the north and east.
there is a genuine desire on both sides to achieve peace,"
45-year-old Raj Rajaratnam, told The Sunday Times before flying
He said his
latest investments in the Colombo stock market were made with his
own, personal funds and not those of Galleon Group, one of the largest
hedge funds in the United States.
Galleon Fund has over five billion dollars in assets, according
to Mr. Rajaratnam who is the founder and owner of the group.
bought Rs 200 million worth of Commercial Bank shares last Wednesday.
Asked why he was taking the risk of putting in so much money here,
when the war was not over yet and many other investors were still
watching the situation, Rajaratnam said, "Being a native Sri
Lankan I have a better understanding of the process here than other
foreign investors. My business is taking calculated risks and I
think the risk-reward ratio is pretty attractive."
said he returned to the island not to make investments but to take
a holiday with his family and began buying shares when the market
fell sharply on fears of a snap general election.
me the chance to buy some very attractive shares at attractive prices,"
He said he
was a "passive and long term" investor and was keen to
give something back to the country of his birth. He gave three reasons
for investing here: the low price-earnings ratios, well-managed
blue chip firms, and the prospect of more tourists visiting the
island and an overall improvement in the economy if the truce holds.
status quo stays, there'll be not only a tourism boom but a huge
consumer dividend as people in the north and east start buying consumer
durables," Mr. Rajaratnam said.
The blue chip
conglomerates stand to benefit because of the diversified nature
of their businesses he said.