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DateLine Saturday, 26 May 2007

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Support Forces without criticising them

I write in support of the sentiments expressed in the above article published recently by A. Abeywickrema, a mother whose son is serving in the Armed Forces and defending us from despicable barbarians who have decimated our culture and society in the name of liberation and extort from us bringing fear into our homes.

As explained by Mrs. Abeywickrema, the Colombo set lives in cloud cuckoo land, and huffs and puffs about Sri Lanka not being able to defend Colombo. Mrs Abeywickrema has highlighted how the Americans failed in protecting New York.

What about that German student who flew a LTTE type plane under Russian radar a few years ago and landed it in Red Square in front of the Kremlin?

Considering the performance of the two superpowers in defending their territory from flying barbarians, Sri Lankans have done well.

As Tamils, we are concerned about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. I plead with the Government to crack down on those elements who are heaping upon more misery on Tamil lives, but for a moment do not confuse these beggars with the goal of eliminating the greatest Tamil killers and human rights violators of Sri Lanka, the LTTE.

RAJASINGHAM,
via email

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'Graceful' President of World Bank - Paul Wolfowitz

To reach the highest position in an organisation, it is expected that such a person 'would know one's onions' as the saying goes, before taking office.

In this case, it is Paul Wolfowitz, the President of the most prestigious international lending body - The World Bank who is now embroiled in a controversy of professional ethics. Being a close ally of President George Bush, it was easy for Wolfowitz, to reach that position since the USA usually dabbles in the appointment of personnel to top positions in world bodies like the UN, World Bank and IMF.

Judging by the number of wrinkles on his forehead, one would expect him to count his many years of experience, to have adequate knowledge about the do's and don'ts when holding high office.

Two issues come into our minds - one, whether the World Bank permits husband and wife combinations or male/female and their partner/spouse to work in the same organisation?

Apparently, after Wolfowitz was appointed President of the World Bank, to avoid any conflict of interest, his companion had been transferred to the US State Department according to the BBC news report. Most organisations do not permit such employment possibilities.

Having said that, it seems that Wolfowitz's heart was truly ruling his head when he tried to work out a favourable promotion and pay-package for his sweetheart as a very special favour to her! Whether or not, the World Bank advised him is another matter altogether but the fact that he took a personal interest in such a matter without question, is unethical and unprofessional to say the least.

Before this incident was detected everything seemed o.k. but once found out and it turns into an issue, then Wolfowitz told the board -according to BBC News report, quote: "their decision would affect how the US and the world viewed the World Bank."

Except for Japan that is ever dependent on the USA for their survival, all other G7 countries agreed that Wolfowitz should not continue in office after having provoked a 'conflict of interest' at the bank by breaking its code of conduct and violating the terms of his contract.

It is strange that after the board investigating the issue found that Wolfowitz had violated bank rules, the World Bank is supposed to be 'negotiating a deal' to permit him to leave office gracefully.

An ordinary person unknown to President George Bush would have been dismissed forthwith on disciplinary grounds and with no deals! Misconduct, favouritism, conflict of interest are all accepted when committed by officials of world bodies in the west.

If and when the same thing takes place in a developing country, it is called 'corruption' and 'abuse of power.'

Western powers will even consider 'sanctions' against the developing world. Be an ally of the President of the USA and even if you commit a crime, you get a better deal!

Darmitha,
Kotte

----

Packeted vegetables in super markets

A letter to the editor by a member of the public prompted me to write this for the information of others. Last week I purchased a packet of a certain variety of vegetables when I did not see that item to be picked up loose on the shelf.

I checked with the official whether they are fresh because there was a slight discolouration in a small area (not rotten colour). He told me that it is due to the cold environment and I purchased it. The next day, I found that about five pieces of the packet were ROTTEN (black inside with worms) and they had to be invariably thrown away.

The next day, out of the balance, another six pieces were mature and only the seeds could be used for cooking. So customers beware.

MELANT TISSERA,
Maharagama

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Kolonnawa neglected

The rapid deterioration of the basic services provided to the residents of Kolonnawa by the Urban Council and other authorities is causing anxiety. What is distressing is that despite the inconvenience caused to ratepayers; this seems to be of little concern to the authorities.

Road maintenance is afforded very low priority. Roads are not leveled and dotted with huge pot-holes and covered with slime at certain places. Apart from the damage and wear and tear to vehicles, it is a positive driving hazard.

Furthermore, numerous houses and shops have been constructed protruding onto the road making it difficult for vehicles to pass and for residents to even walk. Nothing has been done about most of these unauthorized structures. In Kolonnawa, most roads have up to date not been given name boards.

Another frustrating experience is the non-collection of garbage residents have to face, where in most instances garbage bags are left rotting and stinking for days.

Kolonnawa is also plagued by mosquitoes. Systematic spraying is not done despite the health authorities regularly warning of Malaria and Dengue.

The ratepayers find it difficult to understand the indifference of the authorities. Kolonnawa will continue to receive Cinderella treatment it has always received? Are not the ratepayers entitled to expect the basic facilities and conveniences? Telephone calls and letters to the Urban Council and related authorities have been of little effect and nobody apparently cares. mr. Mayor, it is time to look into these aspects and also impress upon all officers that they should be receptive to the complaints of ratepayers and deal with them with courtesy.

CINDY FERNANDO,
Kolonnawa

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Sri Lankan missions abroad

With reference to letter by J. Dissanayake we provide the following for your preview:-

The former Consul General has an exemplary service record of 40 years in the foreign service.

There is not even an iota of truth in the allegations as always people of the countries he served has spoken of the excellent work he has done to serve Sri Lanka missions abroad.

As for allegations against two staff members, it is baseless and be considered vindictive due to the unbiased and outstanding service to the Sri Lankan population irrespective of race or religion.

The present DIG/CID Nimal Kulatunga who was the Defence Officer attached to our High Commission in Ottawa, prior to assumed duties in Colombo is known to us that we worked here.

We hope that any disgruntled person would contact us directly to provide any constructive criticism for our action.

CONSULATE GENERAL,
Toronto, via email

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40,000 teachers on leave daily

If this is a fact, then authorities have to look into teachers' leave entitlements also. (Reference DN May 23). For example almost all the Government employees are entitled for various types of leave.

Are teachers exceeding these leave? Do they go on no pay leave? If that is the case, we can accept what Minister is trying to emphasise.

If so, necessary disciplinary actions should be taken against those culprits and also that has to be dealt with case by case basis.

SAGARA,
via email

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