Young blood, new look for STF
By Shanika Udawatte
DIG Nimal Lewke, the newly appointed commandant of the elite Special Task Force, is drawing up plans to give expert training to his personnel by specialists from the US, Italy and India.

He said the command structure too would be changed and more opportunities given to young people. DIG Lewke said 10 STF personnel have been sent to Vavuniya for training in demining.

He said the STF needed young blood and also modern technology to act fast and effectively. He said that since the STF was operating in the sensitive multi-ethnic east, the personnel would need to be given training in all languages and in winning hearts and minds.

He said he hoped to increase the strength of the STF from 5000 to 6000. He said that along with increasing the strength of the STF a welfare scheme will also be implemented to look into the needs of the STF families as it would keep the morale of the STF men at a high level.

“We are playing an active role in curbing underworld activities as well, “DIG Lewke said. Speaking of the reported emergence of various armed groups in the East he said that taking to arms was not a solution for problems and that the formation of any illegal army in any part of the country where the STF is responsible for security will not be allowed.

100 school heads under bribery probe
Over 100 school principals and Vice principals - some of them from leading schools in Colombo are under investigation for allegations of amassing a large amount of wealth in a short period, a Bribery commissioner said.

Dr. Kingsley Wickremasooriya told The Sunday Times they were continuing investigations into the complaints already received and more complaints were flowing in about allegations connected with bribery.

He said among the allegations was a case where a principal had built a large house on the outskirts of the city. Mr. Wickremasooriya said pending investigations had been given approval by the Commission, before the demise of one of the members in February this year, but the investigations have been slow as they had to collect a large number of documents and needed to carefully monitor some of the activities of these principals or vice principals.

He said most complaints referred to receiving bribes for year one admissions. He said some of the leading schools in Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Badulla, Moratuwa were implicated in the complaints.

SLFP- JVP go their separate ways, no joint action
By Harinda Vidanage
The SLFP and the JVP have decided to go their separate ways after the collapse of the alliance talks- but a high ranking faction in the SLFP is reportedly planning to challenge President Chandrika Kumaratunga on this issue.

In the meantime most of the proposed joint demonstrations have been abandoned while both parties are organizing separate political activities. The JVP also is organizing separate political programmes and on the top of its agenda lies another peoples march from Kandy to Colombo similar to the recent Galle- Colombo march.

While one SLFP faction led by Anura Bandaranaike is likely to continue pushing for a link with the JVP, another faction led by opposition leader Mahinda Rajapakse and most of the old guard are preparing separate political activities led by the SLFP.
Meanwhile some leading SLFP members including Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Mangala Samaraweera, Dilan Perera and a group of back benchers are reportedly moving to bring about a change of President Kumaratunga's decision to suspend talks with the JVP.

The Communist party which had expressed serious reservations about a link up with the JVP responded cautiously to the breakup of talks. CP General Secretary Raja Collure said his party was insisting that the PA should support the devolution of power- the issue on which the JVP-SLFP talks broke down. The LSSP also had opposed the linkup with the JVP and its leader Batty Weerakoon said they were reviewing the situation now.

Desert experience for Sabaragamuwa campus
Insufficient lecturers, shortage of water and the lack of a laboratory has severely curtailed the functions of the Sabaragamuwa University, says its vice chancellor Prof. I.K. Perera.

He told The Sunday Times that shortage of water was one of the most serious problems affecting the functions of the university, which accommodates some 1500 students.

The matter had been discussed with the authorities at the University Grants Commission, the Water Board and the Provincial Council since January but no action has been taken to alleviate the situation he said.

The university authorities also say that the UGC has paid little interest in recruiting new lecturers for the university. There had been a shortage of 34 lecturers and the UGC had only recruited 10.

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