The proposed new constitution will give Buddhism the foremost place while a council established by law in consultation with the Maha Sangha will act as guardians to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, Minster G. L. Peiris has said.
Dr. G. L. Peiris, who as Minister of Constitutional Affairs is playing a leading role in drafting the reforms, told a Colombo seminar the government would give prominence to Buddhism under Chapter 11 of the new constitution which would be ready as soon as possible.
He said that since 1972, Buddhism had enjoyed a special status in Sri Lanka.
He said the new constitution would emphasise on the fostering of Buddhism in non Buddhist areas. The draft in its present context if construed literally indicates that regional administrations in non-Buddhist areas will also be under obligation to promote and foster Buddhism.
Meanwhile. Catholic sources have expressed some concern over Chapter 11 in the proposed Constitution. Anton Fernando, a Catholic lawyer and founder chairman of the Christian Professionals Association, criticised the proposed Chapter 11, saying he felt that state funds should not be used for the propagation of a religion.
Senior law lecturer Rohan Edrisinghe said the ethnic conflict had arisen from inequalities. The state should be secular, not holding any particular allegiance to any religion while rejecting the principle of majoritism. He said the state should not allow a situation where any person is subject to discrimination because of Buddhism.
The Chief Incumbent of Golden Pagoda Temple, Singapore, Ven. Shi Fazhao Thera is expected in Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
The Ven'ble Shi Fazhao has given alms to over 8500 Sri Lankan monks in the past years as well as organising alms for 1000 monks in Kathmandu and in 1996 for 1000 monks in Myanmar.
The King of Thailand has recently honoured Ven. Shi Fazhao with the title "Chakkum", and an honorary degree has been awarded to Ven. Fazhao by the Malwathu Maha Vihara in Sri Lanka.
Ven. Fazhao has numerous social services in Singapore to his credit and has helped in the development of the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy and the Sri Jinaratana Vocational Training Centre at the Gangaramaya.
The Jaffna Mothers' Front (JMF) will meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga on July 7 to tell her the high incidents of human rights violations allegedly caused by the security forces in the wake of the military operations.
JMF, comprising relatives of persons who have disappeared in the Jaffna peninsula in the aftermath of the military operation 'Riviresa', has stated that about 600 persons of varying ages had disappeared.
The meeting follows an appeal made by JMF and the Guardian Association for Persons Arrested & Later Disappeared (GAPALD) comprising 15 members from all parts of the Jaffna peninsula.
JMF claims that although a number of persons arrested had been later released, the fate of many is still unknown.
The GAPALD has appealed to all Tamil political parties to express their protests emphatically in Parliament as well as at meetings with government and higher authorities on behalf of the persons arrested and find where they are being kept.
The JMF and GAPALD have planned to meet Human Rights organisations as well during their stay in Colombo.
A top level inquiry is being held by the military into the desertion of Forward Defence Lines by certain soldiers of the 'Guard Battalion' when the LTTE launched a massive attack at Periyamadu last Wed-nesday.
Preliminary investigations revealed the police personnel manning the defence line next to that had followed suit and this made it difficult to repulse the attack.
A senior military official told The Sunday Times the commanding officer of guard battalion who is now under house arrest was being grilled in this connection.
According to army sources, the soldiers of the Guard Battalion have been completely withdrawn from the forward defence lines and replaced by another battalion after the incident.
Opposition and UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe will leave for Hong Kong tomorrow as a guest to attend the functions of the official handover of the British colony to China.
Before Mr. Wickremesinghe leaves the country he will visit former President, D.B. Wijetunga who is ailing and undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Kandy.
Earlier Mr. Wickremesinghe was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Premadasa commemorative meeting organised by the Premadasa Centre to be held at the Sugathadasa Stadium today.
The final round of the All Island Interschool Sinhala drama contest organised by the YMBA Colombo was held at the YMBA Hall in Borella yesterday. Picture shows a scene from one of the plays in the finals. - Pic by Ranjith Perera
The Attorney General's Department has set up a special unit to assist investigations into sexually exploited children, Deputy Solicitor General C.R. de Silva said.
Accordingly, in child-abuse cases a team of state counsel will step in at the very outset of investigations thereby helping the police on legal implications involved, at the initial stage itself.
All state counsel have been advised to be vigilant particularly in this connection and bring incidents of sexual exploitation of children reported in the print or electronic media to the notice of the unit. If it is found on examination that the sentence given is inadequate, the unit will move Court for a revision, Mr. de Silva said.
Prior to October, 1995 certain offences against children could be tried by Magistrates but now all child-abuse cases have to be filed in the High Court. The unit has written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) requesting that it be informed of such cases at the earliest possible stage.
The public too can feed such information by writing to the unit through the A.G.'S Department.
Meanwhile, a team of investigators has arrived here from Holland to collect evidence of a Dutch national, Dr. Bernard Bos who is alleged to have videoed child pornography in Pottuvil some time back.
The body of a new born infant was all that was seen by aghast passers-by near the Public Library in Colombo yesterday evening.
An unknown person is believed to have dumped the baby in a garbage bin in broad daylight, passers-by said.
Woodcutter Chandrasoma Hettige who flicked out a polythene shopping bag by chance, from the garbage bin to his horror blood clotted body.
What baffled the people who swarmed around the tragic scene was how a child could have been dumped like this in broad daylight opposite the Red Cross headquarters. It is believed the body of the infant would have been thrown into the garbage bin from a moving vehicle.
Beware of Nigerian tricksters who are continuing to dupe gullible Sri Lankans with promises of millions of dollars
His name is Henry Obote (may be it is a fictitious name) and he is continuing to write to various business and professional Sri Lankans with whom he wishes to start a business relationship with funds "which have been floating in the accounts of the Federal Ministry of Aviation Nigeria, for the past five years without being detected by the auditors".
But let's begin at the beginning. Out of the blues comes a letter to some business or professional Sri Lankans, some get excited, some agitated, and others treat it with the disdain it is worth by dumping it into the waste paper basket. But for one and all, initially, it is a more than tempting offer - the sum involved is US$ 28.5 million and the recipient's cut is 30% as commission.
Inquiries have revealed that several people who have received similar letters have got all excited and met their Bank Managers to sought things out regarding what they should do at this end. Fortunately the banks have been wise to the unscrupulous machinations of this group of Nigerians and have nipped further progress in the bud.
But at least two people had gone so far as to agree to meet the Nigerian emissary in Hong Kong, returned sader but wiser men. Whatever the agreement signed, it is useless. On bright Alick however spoke to Henry Obote and asked him to Fax a copy of how the transaction would take place.
That letter is an eye opener of this racket.
The reply states
"The agreement which you will sign with my representative is a very simple one. It is not a complicated type and let it not bother you.
1) No money is involved in the meeting. The only thing is that I have promised to give two pieces of Toshiba Notebook computer Tocra 730 GDT to two Directors in the Central Bank of Nigeria for the release of the funds. Each of the Notebook computer will cost about US$ 5,000 abroad. Therefore you will buy the two pieces of the computer in Hong Kong and give them to my representative. (Rs 60,000 excluding airfare and hotel accommodation).
3) I have made an arrangement for the airfare of my representative. You should make an arrangement for your own ticket and make hotel reservations for yourself and for my representative, Mr. Joseph Obaegheka. I am aware that hotels in Kowloon are better and suggest that you choose any hotel in Kowloon.
"There is need for this meeting to take place before the end of this month (June). Apart from the agreement, other details of the importation of the goods to Nigeria will be exhaustively discussed with my representative. My representative will also explore the possibility of opening a personal account in Hong Kong.
"It may interest you to know that I've already paid the sum of US 40,000 dollars to the Federal Ministry of Finance. This is a payment for an official document for the approval of the funds. My representative will spend about three days in Hong Kong. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
The amazing part of this whole exercise, or rather hoax, is that it does not seem to have been investigated in the country of origin, judging by the open letters sent to so many by these super conmen. It is believed that a few people went up to a point, to accommodate the initial part of this deal and came back poorer but wiser people.
The best place for such letters is the waste paper basket.
Continue to the News/Comment page 3 - * Lanka wishes well for HK after transfer, * HK handover – for alleged murder, * Hand-held radios: tenderer's views, * OIC shot dead after argument, * UL technicians protest, * Alexandra parents wait in hope, * USIS library no longer lends, * Set himself on fire as rice had stones, * Child abuse case: SC to examine treaty
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