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Government Gazette

Co-Chairs' forthright stance

The Tokyo Donor Conference Co-Chairs have done well to place the stark choice before the LTTE: cooperate with the State in bringing peace or face international isolation.

Coming just after the EU ban on the LTTE, this forthright statement by the Co-Chairs puts the record straight on what needs to be done next by the LTTE to ensure the revival of the peace process.

The Co Chairs have defined the tasks before the Tigers in the most unambiguous terms: "The LTTE must re-enter the negotiating process and renounce terrorism and violence."

Thus has the world community stated its case. The EU has demonstrated in the plainest terms that it would not be brooking any more bestial behaviour by the Tigers.

The entirety of the European Union region is a veritable "no-go" zone for the LTTE. On top of that comes the warning by the Co-Chairs, which amounts to some of the biggest powers of the world making their position clear.

Put very simply, the LTTE would be facing a critical and hostile world if it does not cooperate in bringing peace to Sri Lanka.

Given this background, the LTTE would be only courting a tragic future by turning a deaf ear on the warnings of the world community. Hopefully, the Tigers would end their recalcitrance and terror and return to the negotiating table.

The LTTE can re-enter the political process without reservations because the Government is keeping the door wide open to a negotiated settlement. Besides promising maximum devolution, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged to negotiate peace rather than explore the military option.

The Government premises its position on the belief that war cannot lead to peace. Peace could be sought only by peaceful means. This is an inviolable principle as far as the State is concerned.

The LTTE would do well to seize this opportunity to work towards a political settlement. The Government as well as the international community mean well by the LTTE by calling on it to seek a political solution in earnest. War is simply not an option at present.

This position is based on decades of human suffering. Bloodshed and war have visited untold suffering on all sections of the people. This legacy of unending agony should convince the Tigers that the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people cannot be realised by the force of arms.

The judicious course of action would be to seize the hand of goodwill shown by the State and to work towards a negotiated settlement.

The LTTE should, in particular, consider the plight of the Tamil people. The majority of the Tamil people renounce war and are for a political settlement. The LTTE would be cruelly compromising their well being by continuing with their murderous violence.

We take this opportunity to hail the flexibility and fair-mindedness of the State. Maximum devolution within a geographically undivided Sri Lanka is the soundest recipe for peace.

Hobbits and humans

If you thought that hobbits were a figment of J.R.R. Tolkien's fertile imagination, think again: Such hominids lived among Homo sapiens as recently as 18,000 years ago.

The 2003 discovery of skeletal remains of Homo floresiensis, the one-metre tall hominids has literally turned anthropology on its head. The debate on this separate species of human who descended from Homo erectus, has now intensified. Sapiens too have descended from erectus.

Anthropologists and archaeologists were stunned at the discovery of bones of at least nine 'hobbit' individuals in a cave in the island of Flores, Indonesia.

Near these remains were sophisticated stone tools and butchered animals, including a now-extinct miniature elephant.

But there is a new twist in the tale. Homo sapiens has been around for nearly 200,000 years. This means that we have shared the planet with a another human species as recently as 18,000 years ago.

It also raises another equally tantalising prospect - did H. sapiens and H. floresiensis interbreed, leaving "hobbit" genes in our genetic code ? And why did the shorter species perish ?

These are questions for which there are no simple answers. The scientific journals are having a field day. Some scientists are claiming that the whole thing is "media hype".

Some have gone to the extent of saying that the hominids were not a separate species but quite simply Homo sapiens who suffered from a pathological condition called microcephaly, which results in a small brain and body.

We do not know what the truth is, but one thing is clear. We are far from fully unravelling the mystery of human evolution. The hobbits have only added yet another dimension to this ancient puzzle.

Quest to eliminate bribery and corruption

Director Investigations of the Commission to Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Neville Guruge outlines his plans to minimise bribery and corruption in the country to Daily News staffer Rafik Jalaldeen.

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Global Scrutiny:

NAM needs to get back into contention

As should have been expected, it is the Non Aligned Movement's broaching of a sensitive international issue which has prompted the Western transnational media to cast more than a cursory glance at one of this Third World bloc's fora.

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Colombo Diary

Significance of the abortive 1962 military coup

IN the troubled post-independence history of Sri Lanka, the abortive military coup d' etat of January 27, 1962 may end up being a footnote, given the fact that no shots were fired, no troops were moved, and the bid was nipped in the bud thanks to timely information.

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Between the lines

It's all about profit

POLITICAL parties are utilising parliament like the holy Ganges to purify their dirt and defrauds. They are framing laws to cover up their mistakes and, in the process, decreasing the level of morality in the country.

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A slap in the face

THE decision by the EU to list the LTTE as a banned terrorist organisation is a diplomatic slap in the face for the rebels. Although the United States, Britain, Canada and India have outlawed the LTTE, the EU was reluctant to take harsh measures.

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