Foreign woman brutally killed
The body of a foreign woman was recovered from a shrub jungle in the Hanwella police area last morning, police said.

Police added that the victim had wounds on her head and shoulder.

The victim said to be between 40 to 50 years of age has not been identified so far. She is believed to have been killed elsewhere and her body dumped in the Wanahagoda, Dadawella area of Hanwella.

The body was first spotted by villagers who had informed the Grama Niladhari.

The body is at the Avissawella hospital.

Police are conducting further investigations.

JVP accuses minister of copying
By Chandani Kirinde
A row broke out last week between JVP legislators and Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe over the appointment of a select committee of Parliament to investigate and report on the difficulties faced by Sri Lankans employed abroad.

The issue came to a head on Monday when Mr. Samarasinghe moved for Parliament to adopt the motion amidst shouts of protest from JVP legislators who said it was a proposal brought by them in February this year but could not be moved by them due to back tracking by the government.

JVP Gampaha district MP Vijitha Herath who handed over a similar motion signed by six other fellow legislators in February to the Speaker to be included in the Order Paper of Parliament told The Sunday Times that his proposal had been deliberately pushed back so that the Minister could bring a similar motion.

He said he had queried several times about why the motion was not included in the Order Paper but there had been no positive response to his query.

He claims that the matter had been brought up at several party leaders meetings as well by the JVP's representative but to no avail.

Mr. Samarasinghe however told Parliament that he had got Cabinet approval for the appointment of the select committee in July and was moving for it's appointment now. "The JVP had time between March up to now but did not move it," he said.

He claimed that the motion was similar but not identical.

However, the JVP MP said the Minister had rushed to put the motion on the Order Paper after he (Mr. Herath) had given notice of an adjournment motion on the same subject on November 30 due to the delay in the appointment of the select committee. This was to have been taken up for debate on December 2 (Monday).

However the motion was later disallowed stating that it violated the "anticipation" rule under Standing Orders as Mr. Samarasinghe's motion had already been included in the Order Paper of Parliament for that day. The anticipation rule states that an order of the day, notice of motion or amendment of which notice has been given, shall not be anticipated in a debate upon a motion for the adjournment of Parliament or any other debate.

Both the JVP motion as well as Mr. Samarasinghe's motions have 13 issues which are almost similar in nature with some slight differences in wording, to be examined by the select committee .

For example, the JVP motion states that the select committee be appointed to examine and make recommendations on foreign employment agencies that direct people overseas for employment while the government motion states that the select committee investigate and report on foreign job agencies/ their role/ problems.

One difference between the two motions is section 2 (b) in which the JVP motion had suggested that 30 members be appointed to the committee while the government proposal has suggested the appointment of 19 members.

London Lankans assess federal solution
From Neville de Silva in London
Sri Lankans reacted with mixed emotions to the joint announcement from Oslo that the Colombo government and the LTTE had reached broad agreement on settling their two-decade old conflict.

While some persons from the two major communities involved in the conflict were happy that a settlement was definitely on the cards, others were critical of the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE for yielding too much to their opponents.

While disagreement seemed to mark the response of several Sri Lankans who were willing to speak their minds on conditions of anonymity- for obvious reasons-, a leading British quality newspaper The Times, was sharply critical of the Tamil Tigers in its editorial on Friday which accompanied a four-column news report on its front page.

The news report by South Asia correspondent Catherine Phlip adduced reasons for the relatively quick deal that was struck between the two sides.

"With the Sri Lankan economy in ruins and both sides almost bankrupted by the civil war, neither had much choice than to seek a settlement. September 11 also appears to have marked a turning point in the Tiger's thinking as international attitudes towards violence for political ends hardened and funds from overseas dried up".

Some Sri Lankans who dub themselves Sinhala patriots, argued that the Wickremesinghe government appeared to have cleared the way for a future state of Tamil Eelam.

"International and domestic conditions might have made the Tigers climb down from their demand for independence. But by granting them a federal state the seeds have been sown for a later claim by the Eelamists to full independence.

It is internal self determination now and external self determination later", said a strong critic of the current negotiations who had more than once publicly displayed his opposition in London.

However another prominent Sri Lankan hailed the announcement and said that sanity had at last manifested itself as both sides realised the consequences of continued conflict.

Among the Tamils there were several strands of thinking, depending on their economic position, length of stay in the UK, their social status earlier in the north and whether they came from the northern or eastern provinces.

An LTTE-er, who is now a refugee in London, denounced the leadership for succumbing to international pressure.

He also blamed the leaders for wanting to settle for easier life for themselves, while refugees like himself had to struggle through life here.

Gang strikes at Gampaha fuel sheds
Gangsters robbed Rs. 80,000 from three petrol sheds in Gampaha district on Friday night after driving in on the pretext of pumping fuel, police said.

They said the gang in a white van had struck first at Yakkala robbing more than Rs. 12,000 after pointing a T-56 at the shed worker.

About 20 minutes later they struck at the Nittambuwa shed robbing Rs. 17,000 and the biggest grab came 10 minutes later when they struck at the Kirindiwela shed robbing Rs. 56,000.

A full alert was launched in the district yesterday.

Police Chief wants joint action with journalists
The Inspector General of Police has given a directive to all senior police officers that reports by journalists with regard to corruption and crime should be investigated without delay.

In a circular dated December 3, the IGP states that there should be a mutual exchange of information between the police and the journalists, and that information given by journalists should be looked into and investigated.

He further states that since the police and the media are to serve the public, they should jointly do their job and create an awareness and importance on the police and media relationship.

The circular adds that the Police Department is going to have a data base on all journalists, and that the relevant divisions should have a monthly meeting with the journalists and update them on the current investigations and give any information which can be divulged.

He goes on to say that in the event there are any attacks on journalists, immediate complaints should be made to the IGP or to the Public Relations Division of the police.

Patients suffer as strike continues
Hospital authorities faced immense difficulties as paramedical staff continued their strike for the eleventh day protesting against the proposed salary increase for nurses.
Although arrangements were made to carry out all tests including X-rays and CT scans in private medical institutions and drugs to be collected from the Osu Sala, patients still had to suffer long hours waiting in queues.

Hospital clinics were the most affected with no one to issue drugs or carry out medical tests. The Cancer Hospital and the Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital were also badly affected.

The daily attendance at clinics of the Colombo National Hospital is between 1000 and 1500 patients. Director National Hospital Dr. Hector Weerasinghe said all measures to minimise inconvenience to patients have been taken in consultation with the Director General of Health and the Health Ministry Secretary.

The paramedics have been on strike since November 28 against the recent recommendations to increase the nurses' salary. Both the nurses and the paramedics were on the same salary scale in terms of the recommendations of the Kodagoda Salaries Commission. The nurses union had, however, protested and demanded their salary scale remain as recommended by the B.C. Perera Salaries Commission.

The Junaid Commission report released last week, proposed the nurses receive two increments when the recommendations are implemented. But the paramedics had protest that the anomaly be corrected and they be placed on par with the nurses as before.

According to the new recommendations following the nurses trade union action, their salaries have been increased with the increases ranging from Rs. 130 to Rs. 540.

Con man diddles SLT defaulters
By Tania Fernando
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is probing a fraud where a con man had allegedly cheated telecom users up to Rs. 2 million, with the alleged connivance of a Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) employee.

A CID officer said the man who was arrested by them had been collecting money from unsuspecting subscribers in the Kandy area, promising a reconnection of their disconnected phones.

He would locate those with disconnected phones and on the pretext of being an SLT employer he would tell them that their phones could be reconnected on payment of an initial amount.

He would subsequently present a cheque to the SLT office and obtain a receipt for it.
He would then give the receipt to the customer and collect the balance money.

Meanwhile, the SLT had complained to the CID as the cheques had been issued from closed bank accounts with no funds.

On investigations the CID had found that this man had been doing this for the past three months.

He was remanded after an identification parade was held.

The CID has recorded statements of SLT staff to find out how the man had located customers with disconnected phones.

Hotels scoff at strike threat
A JVP controlled union is threatening to disrupt work in the city's plush hotels during the peak festive season but hotels say they are confident of carrying on as usual.

A senior official at Hotel Hilton said hotel would not be affected by any strike because it had enough experienced casual workers to be employed in case of an emergency.
He said it appeared to be a seasonal practice at this time of the year by the trade unionists to give warnings about strikes but rarely did they actually go on strike.

An official of the Inter Company Employees' Union said they would have no option but to strike if their demands relating to duty hours, payments for breakages and other matters were not met.

AG's report out at last
The reports of the Auditor General on the accounts of the President's Fund will be presented to Parliament on Monday after a lapse of six years.

The last such report was presented in 1993.

On Monday Finance Minister K.N. Choksy will present to the House the reports for the years ranging from 1994 up to 1999, The Sunday Times learns.

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