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The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

16th March



Discussion on Dhamma

A discussion on the Dhamma in English will be held at the library of the Colombo YMBA, Borella from 10 a.m. to 11.15 a.m. today.

'Is virtue alone sufficient to realize Nibbana,' will be the subject for today's discussion

Panelists will be Dr. Tudor Senanayaka, Prof. Y. Karunadasa, Prof. Raja de Alwis. The moderator is Mr. Raja Kuruppu.

Minister says no to zoo

The Plantations Minister has rejected an appeal by the owner of the Ahungalla Zoo against the cancellation of his license, Ministry sources said.

The license had been revoked by Minister Ratnasiri Wickra-manayake two weeks ago amidst wide spread protests over the private zoo.

Zoo owner Mizahim Mohammed had appealed against the cancellation but official sources said the minister had found no valid reason to change his decision. Last Tuesday Mr. Mohammed obtained an order from the Colombo District Court restraining the Director of Wild Life from removing any animals from Ahungalla pending the decision on the owner's appeal to the minister.

FRN sold above London rate

The US $50 mn Floating Rate Note of the government had been sold to investors at 1.51 per cent above the London Interbank rate, Deputy Finance Minister G.L. Pieris said.

The funds raised are to be used for infrastructure. Though this first issue was unrated, the government expects to get a credit rating for the country by the end of the year, he said.

Strike follows sacking of doc

By Arshad M. Hadjirin

Over 100 government doctors in the Trincomalee district went on strike on Friday protesting the removal of a top doctor of the eastern province, the GMOA said.

The strike started after the North-East Governor Gamini Fonseka sacked Dr. Paul Ranjith, Deputy Provincial Director of Health Services, Trincomalee, for several alleged corrupt activities.

Mr. Fonseka told 'The Sunday Times' that he was compelled to sack. Dr. Ranjith as a special investigation team charged the doctor with alleged corrupt activities.

"I have every authority to sack him; as I have the powers to appoint, promote, transfer, or take disciplinary action against any public officer in my area of control," said Mr. Fonseka referring to the north-east province.

The GMOA and its Trincomalee Branch have appealed to Governor Fonseka to withdraw his order which the GMOA said was illegal. But the request was turned down, said the GMOA.

'Reject red hands'

'Women for Peace' has called on all its members to reject candidates who have committed violence in the past when voting at the forthcoming local government elections.

The group has stated that it is alarmed at the increase of violence in the run up to the elections. "Incidence of murder, intimidation, assault, arson, etc., have been on the rise.

All political parties and independent groups are guilty of promoting and legitimising violence. The main contestants, the PA and UNP, will have to take a larger share of the blame for this situation, the women's organization observed.

Swarnavahini from today

ETV 1 television channel will operate as 'Swarnavahini' from today with 12 hours of Sinhala programmes daily.

The channel will be launched at the auspicious time of 11.54 a.m.

Rosmond Senaratna will function as the General Manager of the TV station.

' Maintain Madhu as peace zone'

By S. S. Selvanayagam

With security forces, now reported to be at the Madhu Road junction, just eight kilometre's from the hallowed shrine, a Catholic Bishop has appealed to President Kumaratunga that this place of pilgrimage be maintained as a zone of peace.

Mannar's Bishop the Rt. Rev. Dr. Rayappu Joseph, in a letter to the President has said that during the past 14 years of this tragic war, even the militant groups have been prevented from moving into the shrine area and if the Army was allowed to move in, it could be construed as an offence against innocent people. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Bishop said the church authorities had risked their lives in preventing the militants from marring the neutrality and sanctity of the shrine. Thus he hoped the President would ask the Army to avoid the shrine area.

The Bishop revealed there were about 28,000 refugees in the Madhu area with the numbers increasing after the Edibala Operation. Besides there were elders homes, orphanages, seminaries, convents and relief agencies in the shrine area and all these would be adversely affected if the troops moved in.

The Bishop said that according to information available to the church about 15,000 people had been displaced around Madhu by Operation Edibala, while stocks of food and medicine were inadequate. Shelter and sanitation facilities were also terribly insufficient.

The Bishop said he had told the President to make urgent arrangements for farmer families to be re-settled in their fields which wiil be ready for harvesting by next month..

Thanking Govt. authorities for providing facilities to harvest 15,000 acres of paddy land in the Mannar mainland the Bishop appealed that similar steps be taken in respect of the fields along the newly cleared areas.

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