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Fees for dual citizenship

I refer to the article by Dr. Tilak Fernando in the Daily News of October 11.

He is complaining about the fee of Rs. 200,000 to obtain dual citizenship. This fee which is about US $ 2000, is a very small amount for any expatriate who has obtained citizenship of another country.

These are people who have been educated free by Sri Lanka and who have emigrated to greener climes. Surely, why should they grudge paying a small fee to get back their heritage.

I am one of them who is enjoying this beautiful land and smiling people. It is worthy much more than the fee.

NIMALA JAYASURIYA -
Rajagiriya.

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Joyful Ramadan festival and Islamic stamps of the world

LET me make a few corrections to Francis Gunasekera's (DN, Oct. 25) interesting article on Eid-ul-Fitr.

Islam is not a new faith. It is as old as Prophet Adam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

The essence of Islam had existed from time immemorial, but the name 'Islam' was first coined in the Holy Qur'an.

Islam simply means peace - peace with Almighty, peace with oneself, and peace with the creations of God - through wholly giving oneself to God and accepting His guidance.

Prophets Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many more (peace and blessing of Allah be upon them all) were all following the guidance of God.

Therefore, in essence they had all embraced Islam. The only difference between teachings of different Prophets is that some of the Divine Laws (Gospel, Torah etc.) progressively changed through time with the maturity of mankind till the final complete revelation came about in the form of the Holy Qur'an.

It is widely reported from many sources that the Muslim population is about 1.2 billion, than what Mr. Gunasekera had reported.

TUAN RIZA RASSOOL -
USA

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Maintain quality standard in advertising

I admit that at present the advertising has reached a high professional standard and more attention is paid pertaining to the quality and the training given to personnel. The advertising is considered very essential for the commercial world. It should have the following requirements:

A clear message be given about the product;

Should not slander any other product either directly or indirectly;

Must not be misleading;

Should not violate any laws of the country (Drugs Ordinance, Tax Laws etc.);

Could be watched by all including children;

I quote below the following, which I feel are violating the above requirements:

Body Spray - A girl gets attracted towards a man who is using a perticular Body Spray and intimate scenes are shown directly or indirectly. Are our girls so cheap to get attracted and lose their dignity?

Exposure - A nice pair of legs are exposed for a Leather Product advertisement which is displayed at junctions. I am concerned this may result in road accidents.

Long time back in the '60s, I remember that there was an advertisement pertaining to a Sinhala film (Patachara) and the Police had requested the authority to remove it. Posters exhibiting female nudity should not be placed in public places.

Ayurvedic Massage - Health massages are advertised (I wonder whether they are bogus or not). However semi nude girls are shown exposing their backs to us which means even medical treatment are offered with sex appeal.

Drugs - Advertisements are shown that diabetes, blood pressure etc. could be cured using drugs. To my limited knowledge, I understand that blood pressure, diabetes, heart ailment etc, cannot be cured but only controlled.

Therefore, I appeal that the Medical Authority should interfere and stop these types of bogus information. I am of the opinion that the usage of drugs should be under the supervision of your doctor. I presume the above particulars come under the scrutinity of the relevant authorities.

S. R. BALACHANDRAN - Council Member,
The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka

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Prayers for peace

I refer to the article titled 'Please Mr. Minister (DN Aug. 16). I am writing this not to be critical of the article but just to let you know some facts.

But before I do that, let me state that if the opening para of your article bears even the semblance of truth, then our beloved Motherland won't be in this sorry state.

You yourself in para 3 query this, asking "do we really live the precepts we claim to practise?" etc. Further down in the article you state "it is not enough to have or belonged to a religion, if one cannot live up to the spirit of that religion."

You also state that Sri Lanka gives pride of place to Buddhism and it is almost the religion of the State.

If, approximately 70 per cent of the population who are adherents of the State Religion begin and end their day according to para 1 of your article then it is reasonable to come to the conclusion that there should be very little hatred, violence and crime and more of love, understanding and civilised behaviour among all our people.

Just take a look at the rising incidence of crime in our country - rape, incest, murder, drug abuse, robberies, abductions, etc. - what effect do the teaching of the great religions have in the majority of our people?

I belong to the minority religion, viz. Catholicism - we are only 5-6 per cent of the population and so it is difficult to influence this behaviour of the rest of the population. This could certainly be done by the adherents of the religion of the majority.

However, in an effort to bring about peace in this country, some action was taken by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in the mid-1980s to arrange for the formulation of a prayer for peace.

Since then, this prayer is recited with devotion regularly after almost all masses - daily and Sunday Masses - in most churches throughout the island. It is also recited in many Catholic homes after prayer sessions.

Also, recently the devotion of the Holy Hour on Fridays, has been recommended with the central theme of peace in Sri Lanka.

While this is an extremely small effort, yet it is noteworthy that nearly 5-6 per cent of the population engage themselves in such regular devotions in addition to their own personal prayers for peace.

Recently I read in the DN, Sept. 22 an article titled 'Imams and Katheers should guide people towards peace'.

If the clergy of all the religions had initiated such actions at least after 1983, may be this violence and terrifying incidents that crowd our history since then would have been at least minimised and Sri Lanka would not have earned the epithet 'Paradise Lost'.

L. J. PERIES -
Dehiwala

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New train timetable

JUST recently the train timetable was changed supposedly taking into consideration the private sector employees.

However, many of the train times were changed only by a couple of minutes (generally 5 minutes) from the timetable that came into effect after the change in State sector working hours.

Let's take for example the railway line towards Puttalam. Prior to the change in State sector working hours, the train timetable was as follows from Fort.

5:20 pm Negombo

5:35 pm Puttalam

5:45 pm Negombo (A small train with only 4 compartments)

6:20 pm Chilaw

7:00 pm Chilaw

8:20 pm Negombo

After the recent change on October 15.

5:05 pm Puttalam

5:30 pm Negombo (A small train with only 4 compartments)

6:05 pm Chilaw

6:59 pm Chilaw

8:20 pm Negombo

As you may notice after the original timetable was changed, there are only two trains in the 5 pm to 6 pm time slot.

Previously most of the trains in this slot were after 5:15 pm giving ample time for the people in offices to go to the railway station.

But now the train is just 5 minutes after 5:00 pm and most of the people are unable to make it on time.

The train at 5.30 pm is a very unreliable train since the train that is scheduled is usually one that has four compartments that are made out of wood.

This train is highly unstable when it is fully crowded. It was sufficient under the original timetable but after the changes took place many of the private sector employees have to use this train.

During the recent past there have been instances of people fainting or vomiting in this train because it is overly packed.

The only option that the private sector employees have now is to wait till 6.05 pm.

The sri Lanka Railways must be making a bigger loss now because many are now using buses.

The State sector employees are not affected much by this change since the timetable suits them more than the private sector. It should however be understood that the private sector employees also use trains extensively and it is not a commodity only for the State sector.

The authorities could have done better and scheduled the trains to benefit the private sector employees too.

PRADHEEP RAJASINGHAM -
via email

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Well done Consumer Affairs Authority

I purchased a mosquito mat which was price marked by the manufacturer for Rs. 55 and was sold at Rs. 65 by a leading super market at Bambalapitiya. This was 18.2 per cent price increase over and above the manufacturer's retail price.

This was brought to the notice of the Consumer Affairs Authority by me. The CAA on its part wrote to the Supermarket. The Management of this supermarket kept on giving excuses to avoid the issue for nearly four months.

At one stage they offered to pay a refund of Rs. 10 as a redress and the CAA to allow them to close the matter. As the matter was dragging on for months, Directress Consumer Affairs Authority did not waver from her position and decided to forward the matter to Courts.

The complaint regarding overcharging of price marked items was taken up for hearing at Maligakanda Courts on the initiative of CAA and the supermarket was fined for Rs. 10,000.

Against the backdrop of ever increasing consumer good prices, the Government should consider to arm the CAA with more powers to resolve the issues faster.

In this instance the credit should go to the CAA for their efforts to bring the offenders to book and especially the lady Directress Consumer Affairs Information who kept me informed throughout this matter.

I should say well done CAA and as a body it has a vital role to play to protect the consumers from errant supermarkets and other traders.

H. M. TISSERA -
Kandana

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Price increase of bread

THE recent price increase of bread and other wheat flour products has hit the ordinary man hard never felt before. Whatever the reasons could be adduced for an increase twice within a period of one month, it is totally unfair.

The worst affected are the ordinary people particularly in the urban areas. For the past several decades, bread and flour based products have become the stable diet of many at least at two meals mainly for convenience.

It is badly felt particularly where both husband and wife struggle in the mornings hurriedly feeding their children and rushing to their workplaces with no domestic aid. Today due to recent price increases bakeries have fixed prices at Rs. 24 per a loaf or more at their own free will.

One begins to wonder how ordinary people are managing with the ever-increasing Cost of Living in the manner experienced never before.

Even the nearest wayside caterers or tin sized hopper and string hopper sellers have jacked up their prices to their advantage.

It is a pity that people affected or trade unions and politicians do not make a whimper of protests by demonstrations, protest rallies and parading in the streets highlighting the effect of the increase as done in the past other than discussions heard at market places by poor people.

It is certainly accepted that the consumption of locally produced rice products will help the farmers and ultimately the country but until such time as such products are available at affordable prices, how are people going to live?

Added to all this, the unaffordable increase of electricity and water bills from this month has made matters worse and the authorities must take some action immediately to control the rising living costs.

W. KARUNAWEERA -
Nugegoda

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