Health sector strike action continues
The health sector strike by the Health Services Trade Union Association entered its eleventh day today as negotiations between the Health Ministry and the Trade Union having failed to reach a consensus.

The HSTUA plans to stage a mammoth demonstration in front of the Fort Railway Station tomorrow, at which they expect the participation of more than 100 trade unions.

Rigging row in Norway over Baskaran's election to council
Sri Lankan born Mubarak Ali has been re-elected for the fourth time to the west Norwegian Municipality of Stavanger amidst rising allegations that have rocked the country's Labour Party for fielding a known LTTE activist Yogarajah Balasingham for the Oslo City Council.

Norwegian newspapers are frying the Labour Party for Mr. Balasingham's (alias Baskaran) election victory saying that vote-rigging dominated his campaign. The party is reported to have obtained fewer votes at the local elections and shared the Sri Lankan Tamil vote with the Social Left Party of which Norwegian peace facilitator Erik Solheim is a frontline leader.

Solheim's party is trusted by the Sri Lankan Tamil voters to grant equal rights to recent immigrants to Norway. The Red Alliance, the party to which Mr. Balasingham hitched his political star at the 2001 elections faced a drubbing at the polls. The Red Alliance supports the setting up of a separate state of Tamil Eelam.

The Norwegian newspaper, Dagsavisen, had a detailed account from two of its reporters indicating how pre-arranged Labour Party votes already had Mr. Balasingham's number - No. 21 - marked lightly by a ball-point pen, enough to catch the vote counting computer's eye.

Pre-arranged voting is permitted in Norway, but only for the party. The voter is permitted to mark his or her preferential vote only at the polling station. Several voters said that Mr. Balasingham's number had already been marked in their ballot papers, according to the newspaper.

EPRLF man shot dead
A suspected LTTE pistol gang shot dead a former EPRLF member, Velupillai Yogendran (39), on Friday night at Pandiruppu in Kalmunai area.
Mr. Yogendran had been associated with the Varathar faction of the EPRLF and worked as a labourer at the Research Laboratory of the Batticoloa Government Hospital.

Controversial death of another child
By Athula Bandara
In another controversy regarding deaths and religious doctrine Anuradhapura magistrate has ordered the exhumation of a child's body for a postmortem.

This came in response to complaints that the child had died because his father had allegedly objected to the doctors giving a blood transfusion to the child Anushka Namal who was said to have been suffering from a liver ailment.

The father had allegedly said that it was against their religion to give another's blood to his child. The doctors have said they feel the child may have lived longer if the blood transfusion had been done on time. The Police are carrying out further investigations.

Meanwhile an Avissawella court had ordered police to conduct fresh inquiries on a similar death of a child in Hanwella.

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