medical school says it's ready to meet standards
school, in the centre of a controversy over its dispute with the
Sri Lanka Medical Council, has said that it is well equipped to
meet the required standards.
The medical school in Piliyandala - the Vignan Education Foundation
(VEF) - has come under a cloud after a series of attacks on the
SLMC office and its members. But its head Olga Herath refuted allegations
saying they had no reason to attack the council.
The SLMC had
earlier this month said it suspected the VEF involvement in the
attack as the SLMC had been telling inquiring parents that the school
was not recognised.
H.H.R. Samarasinghe said that although the medical school was approved
under a BOI project, the Council had not recognised it as yet, because
the school had neither furnished the required details nor invited
any SLMC official to prove that it had adhered to the SLMC standards.
But Ms. Herath
said the VEF had furnished all required details to the SLMC though
it was yet to call officials for inspection.
of this school got delayed due to late approval of the project until
July this year. Therefore, the funds were released by our Indian
counterpart only after approval and it took some time for us to
establish ourselves. This is why we couldn't invite the SLMC for
inspection," she said adding that they would invite the SLMC
for inspection in a week's time.
Prior to BOI
approval, the VEF issue had been before the Human Rights Commission
for eight months on a petition filed by Ms. Herath. "It was
following HRC recommendations that we received approval," she
parents who had sent their children through Ms. Herath to a VEF
medical school in Guntur in Andra Pradesh, India, for a pre clinical
medical degree, are insisting that the SLMC recognise the Indian
institution. Students are expected to leave for Tanzania after following
one and half year pre-clinical course in India. However, parents
are reluctant to send their children to Tanzania due to the AIDS
scare in Africa. They want their children to complete the degree
But Ms. Herath
said it was impossible for the students to continue their degree
in India, because they had been registered with the Tanzanian university.
alleged that the VEF advertisements did not state that the students
will have to complete their degree in Tanzania. Ms. Herath said
the parents who made such allegations are those who had not paid
the course fee in full or who had problems with the institution.
At present, there are some 50 students studying at the Indian school,
hit by double strike
By Faraza Farook
A strike by nurses which crippled services at all
state hospitals for nearly 12 hours yesterday was called off last
evening after a government assurance that their demands regarding
a salary anomaly would be looked into within 72 hours.
The striking unions held discussions with Minister Karu Jayasuriya
and were later given a written assurance by Health Minister P.Dayaratne
that their grievances would be looked into.
Some 14, 500
nurses went are on strike from 7.00 a.m. yesterday demanding the
Government to rectify a salary anomaly in keeping with the Kodagoda
Salaries Commission recommendations.
hospitals, maternity homes, the Cancer hospital and the Jaffna General
Hospital, all other hospitals were crippled due to the strike.
matters worse, hospital clerks, who were on an overtime protest
campaign, also launched a one-day trade union action yesterday demanding
a salary increase.
Salaries Commission has put us on par with the para medical services
salary scale and it is just a matter of implementing it," Nurses'
Union Administrative Secretary Hector Francis said.
that the Cabinet Sub Committee appointed to study the issue had
failed to submit a report within 14 days as promised.
at the National Hospital and the Accident Service were badly affected
with only serious cases being attended to.
strike is on, nurses have volunteered to attend to emergency operations
and critically ill patients, nurses union leaders said.
is not normal," National Hospital Director Dr. Hector Weerasinghe
said adding that patients services were severely disrupted and routine
operations scheduled for yesterday had been cancelled.
Director Dr. Anil Jayasinghe said all operating theatres except
one had to be closed down due to the trade union actions by the
nurses and the clerks.
Dr. Jayasinghe said that patients with minor injuries were turned
away and only emergencies attended to. The strike was called off
at 6.30 p.m.
Speaker chides Opposition MPs
Speaker Joseph Michael Perera yesterday requested Opposition
MPs not to flout the privilege accorded them to ask questions from
members in the House by being absent during oral question time.
came up in Parliament last morning when four Opposition MPs - Nimal
Siripala de Silva, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Wijitha Wijemuni Zoysa
and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene - were not present to raise the questions
they included in the Order Paper.
is a privilege for the MPs to ask supplementary questions as well.
If the members are not here they cannot ask the questions on behalf
of the people," the Speaker said.
Government Whip Mahinda Samarasinghe said this must be the first
time in history that a member who wanted answers to the questions
was not present in the House.
Affairs minister A.H.M. Azwer said that the Chief Opposition Whip
was aware of the sittings and put the blame on what he saw as his
PA MP Sarath
Amunu-gama said the matter was no big deal as the question could
be asked at the second round by another MP.
said the ministers concerned were present in the House with their
answers and therefore those who requested the answers should have
Kanchirankuda deaths: Magistrate
The Akkaraipattu Magistrate giving his judgment on the inquest
held over the death of six people who forcibly entered the STF camp
at Kanchirankuda last month, concluded that no offence has been
committed by the STF.
died following a shoot out at the Kanchirankuda STF camp on October
9. The STF was prompted to fire at the six persons due to forcible
entry to the Kanchainkuda camp and for stoning the camp.
cannot entertain any reasonable doubt as to the cause of these six
deaths. I decide that no criminal act would have taken place,"
the Magistrate said in his judgment.
He said that
the judgment was issued following keen observation of the circumstantial
evidence available at the site of the incident, the evidence led
before him and the post mortem report.
The six people
who died are Manoharan Sathiyanathan who died due to gun shot injuries
to the brain, Mahendramoorthi Ratheeskumar and Vijayarajal Jayapraash
due to damage to the heart and lungs, Nalliah Kulasingham and Nagarasa
Sasikumar due to lung injuries and Arasaralinan Selvakumar due to
heart and brain injuries.
Mathew as Reuter Trustee
Mammen Mathew, Editor and Managing Director of 'Malayala
Manorama', one of India's leading newspapers, has been appointed
a Reuters Trustee. He is the first Indian to be appointed to this
as a newspaper journalist in Britain and the United States, Mr.
Mathew is a former Chairman of the Indian Section of the Commonwealth
He has also
served as the President of the Indian Newspaper Society and the
Editors Guild of India and had been a member of the Press Council
of India for two consecutive terms.
as directors of the Reuters Founders Share Company, which safeguards
the neutrality and independence of Reuters, have the authority to
prevent any group or individual from gaining a controlling share
of the company.
58, was selected by a nomination committee, two members of which
are judges of the European Court of Human Rights and was voted unanimously
by the Trustees.
delighted to welcome Mammen Mathew as a Reuters Trustee. He brings
a strong background in international journalism and we are sure
he will make a valuable contribution to the Reuters Founders Share
Company," Pehr Gyllenhammar, Chairman of the company said.
on the trail of 18 kilo drug lord
By Tania Fernando
Police narcotics detectives yesterday said they were confident
that a drug lord wanted in connection with Thursday's 18 kilo heroin
bust would be arrested.
Bureau Chief Gerard Ignatius said they were questioning a youth
who was arrested in Avissawella with 16 kilograms of heroin.
He was arrested
after police took into custody a heroin dealer from Sedawatte in
a surprise raid.
said the two suspects were the final sellers in the whole network
and their names were not in the PNB list. However, he expressed
confidence that the kingpins behind the drug network would be arrested.
When the PNB
raided the house the youth arrested in Sedawatte, he had in his
possession Rs. 4.2 million in cash and 2 kilograms of heroin.
him, he had informed the PNB that he had bought six kilograms of
heroin from a person in Avissawella and was left with only two after
having sold the rest. The PNB later arrested the person from Avissawella
along with some 16 kilos of heroin. The DIG said that a kilo of
heroin was sold at Rs. 2 million and that the final buyer paid around
Rs. 200 for a 25 mg packet.
media unit swallowing up another?
The newly set up Government Media Unit has begun
recruiting staff from the Government Information Department posing
the threat of a possible closure of the Department.
of a Media Unit was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
soon after the UNF came into power. The Unit got Cabinet approval
two weeks back to officially set it up. It comes under the Policy
Unit was to recruit staff from Lake House and Rupavahini Corporation,
but due to a poor response, Information Department staff were also
Two media officers,
two media assistants, a receptionist, technicians and a computer
operator were transferred to the media unit together with the research
Information Unit which launched the website have also been taken
over along with two computers and the internet connection. Despite
Cabinet approval being given, funds have not been allocated with
all payments being made by the Government Information Department.
have also been taken from the Department.
Times learns that Cabinet approval was granted to recruit staff
from the Government Information Department on a temporary basis.
Although the Media Unit was planning to recruit journalists from
Lake House the response was poor as bonuses and other fringe benefits
would not be available.
Government Information Department Berty Jayasekera told The Sunday
Times that the staff will be recruited only on a temporary basis
and the Government Information Department will continue with the
specific work required of it.
"The work of the Government Information Department would not
be affected in any way and there is no decision to do away it "