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21st June 1998

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Public Lecture

A Public Lecture on the 'Potential for Growing of Bio-Mass and Usage in Energy Production in Sri Lanka' will be held at the SLAAS Auditorium, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7 tomorrow at 5.00 p.m.

The Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Nalin Walpita, Energy and Engineering Consultant, and former President of Sri Lanka Energy Managers Association

Protect human rights of civilians

Excerpts of the speech given by Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar at the commissioning parade of the Sri Lanka Military Academy Diyatalawa on June 20.

Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar has said the country was not merely fighting to vanquish an enemy, but also to build a lasting peace in the country.

Addressing the gathering at the Military Academy at Diyatalawas Mr Kadirgamar also added it was the duty of the Armed forces to protect and assert the sovereignty of the State,

The Minister also said 'I have been reminded this morning of the famous words of wisdom that have come down to us through the ages from the celebrated discourse between Arjuna and the Lord Krishna, as expounded in the Bhagavad Gita, on the eve of the great battle on the plain of Kurukshetra. Arjuna was the most illustrious warrior of his time. But on the eve of that battle he fell into deep despondency. He knew he would have to kill his friends and kinsmen on the other side. He contemplated fleeing the field of battle. He asked the Lord krishna, his divine charioteer, for advice. The Lord Krishna said to him: "It is a noble duty for a warrior to fight a just war." Arujuna should not grieve. He should protect righteousness. His bounden duty was to maintain law and order. He should not waver, for there is nothing greater for a warrior than to answer the call of duty.

The Sri Lanka Army is no longer a ceremonial corps. It is a fighting Army, second to none in the world. The young men and women who are going forth from this parade ground today are the future leaders of our Army. To know how to lead one must know how to serve. Leaders in any walk of life must first be proven and trusted servants. The young Cadets who are being commissioned as officers today will soon have in their hands responsibility for the lives of others. They will be responsible for the training, the counselling and the well-being of the soldiers under their command. They will have to be role models to their men. For officers in turn must earn the trust and respect of their men. Trust and respect will not be earned unless the officers possess moral qualities that are admired by their men. An officer whose character is flawed or compromised will forfeit the trust and respect of his men. Without that trust and respect there cannot be loyalty among men who have to stand together in battle. They will fall apart in disarray.

An officer who robs or cheats the State robs or cheats the very men he is supposed to lead, for his men are citizens, like all civilians, who wish to see our Armed Forces led by honest men.

We are immensely proud of the magnificent officers and men who have, in recent years, died in battle. Some of these officers were leaders of the highest calibre whom every country in the world would be eager to claim as their own. They were brave, they were able - and above all they were gentlemen. They embodied all the attributes of a good officer that I have spoken of today. They have set examples that the young officers passing out today should strive to emulate. An officer must not only be a man of valour, he must be a man of honour.

In times of war within a State, of the kind we are experiencing now, the strain on the Armed Services is very considerable. They have to fight effectively, they have to fight a ruthless enemy, they have to fight an enemy that is often difficult to find, they have to fight an enemy who is inextricably mixed up with a civilian population, they have to fight an enemy in a battle that is not frontal. All these are complex and difficult problems that the Armed Services have to face daily at the battlefront.

But an addition the Armed Forces have to make an effort - an almost superhuman effort - to observe the distinction - the difficult line - between combatants and non-combatants. We are fighting not merely to vanquish an enemy, we are fighting ultimately to build a lasting peace in our country that can only come about by welding our different communities together, not by driving them apart, by seeing to it that the war does not leave permanent scars on the psyche of its innocent victims.

It is internationally agreed that modern conflict should be governed by certain rules. While it is universally recognized that the Armed Forces of a State have a duty to protect and assert the sovereignty of the State, to fight the battles of the State, they also have a duty to protect the human rights of non- combatant civilians. The line between combatants and non-combatants is clearly drawn in international law.

I say with pride that our Army has shown in recent years that it has learnt to treat civilians who live in the battle zones with courtesy and care. As new officers in the Army I say to the Cadets this morning that they must guard and build on that excellent tradition that is now enshrined in the philosophy and practice of our Army.

Aitken Spence share issue put on hold

By Mel Gunasekera

The international share issue of Aitken Spence Company Ltd., has been put on hold, due to turbulence in the regional markets and the bearish trend in the Colombo bourse, a top company official said.

The asset rich company is seeking new capital injection from local and foreign investors to finance its future expansion programmes.

The open/offer placement issue would raise US$ 25 mn (Rs. 1.6 bn), he said.

The price at which the proposed issue is to be made will be decided by the Aitken Spence Board based on the market value of the shares at the time of the offer determined by a "Book Building Process" to be carried out amongst the prospective investors. The directors will conduct an international road show jointly with the placing agent, with a view to obtaining an attractive price and thereby enhancing proceeds.

The new shares sold through an open/offer placement will be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The official said they hope to get shareholders approval to increase the share capital by 10 mn shares which would first be offered to shareholders and the balance through the IFC (the World Bank's commercial lending arm).

Aitken Spence has an authorised capital of Rs. 750 mn. The changes in the capital structure, as a result of the bonus issue and the proposed new issue would increase the issued capital from 14,553,500 ordinary shares to 29,812,300 ordinary shares.

At present, a due diligence report is being carried out. A major investment banker Lehman Brothers Asia Ltd will structure the new shares.

Aitken Spence shares are traded at present between Rs. 117-120. The new funds would be utilised for plantation investments, a third Maldivian resort, power projects, the restructuring of highly geared existing Maldivian hotel investments, working capital and other non project related routine capital investments, the official said.

Dengue and Cholera invade Colombo city

Dreaded dengue and Cholera have spread in and around the city with medical officers doing regular checks on eating houses and food outlets.

The government last week announced an Anti-dengue week from June 22 to 29, where more than 10,000 are expected to join the campaign.

Director Health Education Bureau Dr. (Mrs) G.L. Hapugoda told The Sunday Times that all health officials, health volunteers and students are expected to participate in the campaign.

"We will educate the public by public address leaflets and posters. We expect the co-operation of Local Government institutions to destroy places infested with dengue mosquitoes," she said.

The campaign will also implement educational programmes to educate the public and students.

Meanwhile 100 Public Health Inspectors will be mobilised in Colombo from the National Institute of Health to control the spread of cholera.

ANCL's GM claims Rs 5m in a rights plea

The Supreme Court last Thursday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights plea filed by the former ANCL General Manager B. A. Jinadasa, Attorney-at-Law, against the Chairman and the Board of Directors of Lake House.

The bench comprised Justices A. Dheeraratne, S. W. B. Wadugodapitiya and A. de Z. Gunawardene.

The petitioner B. A. Jinadasa in his petition has cited ANCL, its Chairman/Managing Director Aloy N. Ratnayake, Editorial Director Janadasa Peiris, Legal Director Ms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, Operations & Finance Director Tilak Attanayake, Director K. P. Dharmawardena, Chief Executive Officer V. R. K. de Silva and AG as respondents.

The petitioner in his Rights Violation plea has inter alia said that due to the fearless and impartial conduct of the petitioner, and particularly, the petitioner's strong views on the discipline within the organisation some of the undisciplined members of a trade union affiliated to the ruling SLFP wilfully defamed the petitioner and schemed with other politicians to remove the petitioner from the first respondent company.

The petitioner pleads that vesting of the petitioner's functional duties and authority in the 7th respondent and appointment of the 7th respondent as the secretary of the 1st respondent, without any reason whatsoever is arbitrary capricious and violative of the petitioner's fundamental rights. .

He has also appealed to award a compensation and/or damages in a sum of Rs. 5,000,000 to the petitioner. The case is to be argued on November 27.

Romesh de Silva PC with Palitha Kumarasinghe instructed by G. G. Arullpragasam appeared for the petitioner while E. D. Wickremanayake for the ANCL and all the respondents.

Steps to counter cholera spread

By Faraza Farook

A special programme has been organised by the Central Province, Director of Health, Dr Nihal Jayatilleke to stop the spread of cholera.

A health education and awareness programme to control the spread of the disease has been organised by Health Ministry officials,

Dr Jayatilleke said.

He said that a total of 17 cases has been confirmed positive in the Central Province. There were six cases reported form Gampaha, two from Kalutara, seven from Colombo, two from Homagama and one from Dehiwela.

Nine suspected cases have been reported from Vavuniya and three positive cases from Matale, District Medical Officers (DMO) of the respective districts said.

A doctor, who was one of the three cases reported in Matale, caught the infection after having eaten in a hotel in Dambulla, the DMO disclosed. Preventive programmes have been implemented such as issuing notices to eating houses and inspecting the preparation of food, a medical officer said.

Few cases of cholera have also been detected in Negombo, Mutwal, Ja-ela, Katana, Agalawatte and Walallawita areas, Dr Jayatilleke said.

Preventive measures have been taken by Medical Officers of Health of these areas.

Peace council slams

The National Peace Council also condemned the assault on Mr. Wickrematunga and requested the government to lift the military censorship and the ban on LTTE.

The organisation pointed out that there are many barriers to media freedom, that surface in Sri Lanka. Some of them include repressive legislation, censorship, physical violence, intimidation of journalists and investigative reporting, a statement issued by the NPC said.

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