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DateLine Monday, 28 May 2007

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Sri Lanka's fight against terror

If the British or the allies can negotiate a peaceful settlement with Osama and his merry band of Al Qaeda terrorists then they can show the way for Sri Lanka to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the LTTE terrorists.

The point is that the Brits or their allies are in no position to instruct us to negotiate a settlement with terrorists - they gotta practice what they preach first. (Our attitude should be "Walk the Talk man we don't want your double talk").

The British are heavily involved in the debacle that is Iraq and they are also bogged down in the Afghan quagmire. They had to even beg the Iranians to let go of British soldiers taken captive. There are terrorists attempting to play merry hell in the British isles.

What a pathetic show for a once great country! The Brits sure have enough problems, so I am surprised that their officials have time to poke their snouts into the internal affairs of other sovereign nations.

Do the British give Sri Lanka any military assistance to fight terrorism? Are they our allies? If the answer is no on both counts then they should go mind their own business without interfering in ours.

I don't think we Sri Lankan's should even waste any time writing or talking about this babble from nationals of countries like Britain which probably harbours many resident LTTE terrorists and is probably one of the biggest financing bases for the LTTE terror.

Why even bother about comments from the likes of Mr. Chilcott. Our attitude to folks like this and their superiors and governments should be "If your country is not directly involved in helping us fight terrorism then we have no time for what you have to say about that subject". So please Mr. Chilcott go poke your nose somewhere else where your government is actively involved in fighting terrorists (Iraq or Afghanistan maybe).


Elders' privileges

I hold an elder's card, but the Agency handling visa to UK refused to honour it and allow me to hand in my application without being in the queue.

An agency representing a country where elders enjoy a lot of privileges, this is uncalled for. (Reference DN May 24).

Over to you the Ambassador for UK.


Osu Sala for Dehiwela

There have been numerous letters from time to time regarding the high prices of drugs prescribed by doctors for various ailments and the financial embarrassment poor patients have to undergo resulting from the prohibitive prices of most of these drugs.

Sometime ago Minister of Health promised to formulate a 'national Drug Policy' but it has still not got off the ground.

Had the late Professor Senaka Bibile been living today, the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation would have been completely re-vamped and Osu Sala outlets opened in every town in the country dispensing generic drugs thereby helping that lower and middle income groups.

I believe he would have even started the manufacture of drugs locally in collaboration with Indian Pharmaceutical giants like CIPLA, CADILLA, Himalaya Drug Company etc.

It is the responsibility of the Minister of Health to see that patients have access to affordable and effective drugs. As Dr. K. Balasubramanim in his article 'Unethical promotion of drugs.....' published in a daily newspaper on March 16, 2007 states "The expenditure on drugs in the Government sector was Rs. 56 million. On the other hand, consumers paid Rs. 16.88 billion out of their pockets for drugs prescribed to them in the private sector.

Had there been generic prescribing, there would not have been such a staggering waste of money.

Of course, as Dr. Dennis J. Aloysius says in his Dr. A.D. Premaratne oration "Generic prescribing is said to be disable, since it is presumed that it is less expensive, but the generic drug should be of quality. Strict quality control is the answer to this problem."

Will the Minister of Healthcare see that the Quality Control Laboratory adheres to very strict quality control of drugs?


Road railings at Wellawatte

We see railings being put up, at great cost no doubt, along the boulards at Wellawatte.

The way they are being erected looks as if some numskull makes the final decisions. If they are put up to prevent people from crossing from one side of the road to the other, then there should not be any breaks in the continuity, except at pedestrian crossings. But at the centre of every stretch of railings, there is a break allowing people to crossover, which in turn allows people to cross roads wherever they want to, even if there are no pedestrian crossings, causing a great inconvenience to the motorists.

This defeats the very purpose of the railings being put up all together.

On the other hand, if they are being put up for beauty, then this purpose too is defeated.

As the railings have been made according to standard measurements, and because of the gaps, this wise guy has decided to leave the railings are placed at an ugly angle at the ends.

If they must leave the gaps, why not make smaller railings to be put at the end? Someone is going to say the red tape will be too long, but these actions reflect what our nation's attitude to our own country and speak a lot about what our officers are about.

This sort of stupid alterations are going on, at an important measure regarding road safety right under the nose of the authorities and the citizens walking round in broad daylight. But does anyone care? Does not seem so.

RDA, where are you?


Sexy Malinga

So this guy Malinga continues to keep us enthralled, this time around by not bowling a single ball but just by being a thorn in D. V. Perera's side.

I wondered if this D.V.P. belonged to my BellBottom and Afro Hair era or my Father's Buck and Tan Period?... or whatever it may be, my advice to D.V.P. 'Get a life' let the young people of Sri Lanka make their statements in any way they please. After all, we have all got 'but one life to live' (as the late Lou Rawls said).


Spitting in public places - disgusting!

In some countries, spitting is prohibited in public places and some other countries, it is not prohibited but people never spit in public places!

I really can't understand why our people have the habit of spitting everywhere they go, especially on the roads, bus stops etc. It's disgusting to see people spit phlegm and large mounds of spit when they walk or even when they travel in buses through the windows and shutters.

Many have met with difficulties with the spit thrown out of the travelling vehicles. It will be sickening too, if you tread on somebody's spit or phlegm with your barefoot.

Why our people practise this bad habit which is very unpleasant to any viewer? This makes people feel nauseating especially early in the morning when you start the day by looking at this disgusting throw out of another person's.

It is better if there are laws to ban spitting in public places like they have already done for smoking.


Protect Hikkaduwa Coral Gardens from local visitors

Apart from the sand sediment on corals and seaweeds the greatest threat to the Hikkaduwa Coral Gardens comes from local visitors damaging, destroying and removing corals as seen each weekend and on public holidays.

Nearly, everybody walks on the corals even if informed about the disastrous consequences not only for this eco-system but also for the protection of the coastal region.

On countless occasions during my annual three months' stays I have informed local tourists about this problem but often get angry reactions (being a German national) like: "This is not your country. It's my country - I can do as I like. Keep your mouth shut." Or statements like "I like these corals and I want to take them home." Or I'm ignored completely and people just carry on jumping around on the corals, laughing at me.

So, the Hikkaduwa coral reef and its marine life is doomed to disappear sooner or later anyway, be it due to the sand sediment, the recklessness of its visitors, and also the carelessness of glass-bottom boat operators.

The latter, for example, often chase the two sea turtles in the reef till complete exhaustion, damage corals with their boats, or cover the waters in the reef with a film of kerosine/diesel. There are also enormous amounts of plastic waste, etc., to be found in and outside the reef.

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