Our brave and valiant Security Forces and Police Personnel are making
the utmost sacrifice with a lot of commitments in fighting the ruthless
LTTE to safeguard our noble motherland day and night regardless of their
kith and kin and personal belongings.
They too are Government servants. But do they ever go on strikes?
What a big and tremendous task they are doing for the entire nation!
Have we ever thought of their dedicated service? Have you ever seen them
resorting to strikes or picketings or work-to-rule campaigns or protest
rallies anywhere? But we the Government servants always tend to launch
so many anti-Government campaigns demand salary-increments, which are
really bad and unfair in terms of other soldiers whose lives are at a
big risk and threat, in the battlefront.
It's pleasant sight, each morning to see a flock of Spot Billed
Pelicans (Grey Pelicans) landing smoothly and safely on the brackish
waters of Hamilton Canal, adjacent to rows of fish venders' stalls
erected along the banks of the canal at Elakanda in Wattala. These huge
birds fly all the way from the Zoological Garden in Dehiwela where they
abode, fish vendors use to generously feed these birds with small fish
and stall waste by tossing into the canal.
The presence of these exotic birds which are naturally swift in their
movements and diving deep to pick up whatever food from the bottom,
offers free entertainment for some time, till they take off by mid-day.
These huge birds dominate their marked territory, being a section of the
canal, by not allowing any kind of intruders during their revelling
sessions, such as crows and white cranes (Kokas), but although Diya
Kawas, a not so attractive black and physically much smaller bird,
capable of staying submerged for longer period and freely swim and dive
to feed on all kind of marine life and plants, are the only feared
opponents these huge Pelicans fear.
It's amazing to watch a bit of bio-diversity and nature exists here,
although the canal is highly polluted with materials like plastics,
polythene and emission of oils and smoke.
Many hope to see these Pelicans are left alone undisturbed, but not
killed and eaten, as reported recently from Mahawewa area, where a
drunken businessman, had shot and killed a lonely and beautiful Pelican
which had lived within the surroundings of the wetlands for a long
The closure of the Swarnabhoomi Airport in Bangkok recently due to
the political unrest which prevailed in Thailand for nearly one week
affected very many foreigners who happened to visit the country during
this period. Travellers all over the world suffered severely in many
I too was among them, but was fortunate not to have been affected
severely because I was with Professor Carlo Fonseka, the eminent medical
professor, I had the fortune to stay at the residence of the Ambassador
for Sri Lanka in Thailand until we returned home safely in a special
flight. We will never forget the hospitality of the Ambassador,
Professor J. B. Dissanayake and Mrs. Dissanayake and even their support
staff. Everybody who listens to this witty, kind and simple Ambassador
could realise that he is indeed suitable to that position not only
academically, but also as a human being with fine qualities.
We saw how vigorously and tirelessly he went to see the Sri Lankans
stranded there everywhere in Bangkok and tried to mitigate their
suffering and relieve them by dispatching them to Sri Lanka as early as
possible. We saw how he visited the tentatively arranged airport and
looked into the problems of our own people.
The drop in the Farm Gate Price of coconuts needs immediate attention
of Ministry of Plantation Industries (M.P.I.). The Farm Gate Price of
coconuts has dropped to about Rs. 13 per nut. Whilst the global economic
conditions melt down, which precipitated a crash of all commodity
prices, export of Coconut Kernal product had resulted a negative impact
to the coconut growing industry. To add insult to injury, import of
excessive quantity of Palm Oil at low duty have had created a major
setback to the coconut oil industry and therefore temporary ban on
import of Palm Oil is extremely necessary.
Although President Mahinda Rajapaksa intervened and requested Sri
Lanka Tea Board to arrest the sharp decline in prices of Tea at the
Colombo Auction M.P.I. is unable to resole this issue and it is time
that we seek the assistance of President to solve the problem faced by
coconut growers. If the current situation is not arrested the growers
will have no option but to forget or neglect the routine agricultural
practices which will lead to sharp drop in the production in years to
come. Two important issues that need immediate attention:
a. Step up the Farm Gate Price to about Rs. 22 per nut.
b. Establish a subsidy scheme for coconut fertiliser so that a metric
Ton of Coconut Adult Palm Mixture will be about Rs. 35,000.
There are misconceptions in the minds of some physicians that persons
who develop very low levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol following treatment
with statins develop cancer following the publication of an article in a
recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology by Alsheik - Ali
(volume 50, 2007). Above report also has caused some fear and
apprehension among patients who are being treated with statins which is
a group of cholesterol lowering drugs commonly prescribed by physicians
for elevated LDL cholesterol.
In a very recent report in the same journal (volume 52, 2008) same
authors say that statins, despite producing marked reductions is LDL
cholesterol are not associated with an increased risk of cancer. The
authors now say that the previous reports of patients getting cancer had
nothing to do with statins and the authors are of the opinion that
statins are quiet safe for patients having high LDL cholesterol.
Low LDL cholesterol and cancer:
It is noteworthy that cancer cells are reduce the level of LDL
cholesterol in the body long before the appearance of the clinical signs
of cancer and the low LDL cholesterol level is due to tumour cells
catabolising LDL at a higher rate than normal rate. Thus this low LDL
level is the result and not the cause of cancer. Subjects with latest
cancer produce low LDL cholesterol irrespective of whether they receive
statins or not. Anyway most of the physicians do not prescribe statins
to patients with normal or low cholesterol-levels.
Low LDL cholesterol levels have been observed for as long as 10 years
before signs of cancer are detected clinically. Other chronic diseases
such as alcoholic dependence (addition) are also associated with low LDL
Every person with very low LDL cholesterol is not a potential case of
cancer and a very rare condition called hypobeta - lipoproteinaemia does
very nicely with LDL levels as low as 10mg to 20mg and these people
sometimes have long lifespans.
To conclude neither statin treatment itself nor the low LDL levels
induced by statins increases the risk of cancer.
With due respect to Mohamed Zahran (DN November 8) the ethics of
Sharia Laws as applied to animal slaughter does not diminish the fact
that the animals do suffer pain unnecessarily however sharp the knife
One cannot ignore the fact that these laws were devised over fifteen
hundred years ago and they desperately need revision to bring it in line
with modern culture. Recently a 13 year old girl in Nigeria was raped,
yet she was found guilty of having sex with a man who was not her
husband and stoned to death while buried up to her neck in a pit. All
this was under the direction of Sharia Laws and alas completely
When I was warded in Government Hospital an unconscious patient with
a fat belly was admitted to the Ward and he happened to be in the bed
adjoining my one. The following day, when he regained consciousness
revealed that the reason for his admission to hospital was due to the
consumption of a bottle of liquor and smoking about 10 cigarettes a day.
When I inquired from him whether these facts were brought to the notice
of the doctor, the reply he gave would be of interest to all and sundry.
He said "You must not hide facts in front of a doctor or a lawyer."
Do all patients who come before a doctor reveal all the facts behind
their sickness? Will the doctors take it for granted that whatever
spoken in front of him is correct? Being a regular visitor to doctors, I
feel that they have their norms, as very few of the patients do not
divulge the truth. The very important question a doctor asks on visiting
him is whether the patient consumes liquor or smokes. The replies they
get must surely be of interest to them, and hence the assumption leads
to the norm as they are being supposed to be advised at the professional
training and through experience. The behaviours of indoor patients are
of very much interest when doctors do their normal rounds. Some cough
intermittently or shout in pain so as to get the attention of the
doctors. These modus operandi somewhat look awkward to ordinary patients
like us, the doctors and the medical staff must surely be conversant
with such attitudes. I remember when I was reading a story about a
Higher Medical professional, a doctor asked for advice from a higher
professional regarding a patient who was giving unnecessary trouble even
though he is to be discharged. The reply given to him was 'Give him ADT'
(Any Damn Thing).
I refer to the letter from G.H.I. de Zoysa, (Oct. 6) and I wish to
confirm the following: Gold Coins: At present, gold coins known as
English Coin and Middle East Coin are available at authorised jewellers.
Central Bank does not mind gold coins, but decides only the gold prices.
I admit that gold coin operations are concentrated in Colombo, but I am
aware that some authorised dealers have branches in our stations as
well. Some jewellers also make local coins with engravings.
Treasury Bills: At present, there are three types of dealings,
Treasury Bills, Bonds and REPOs. In the case of Treasury Bonds, which
has a maturity period of more than one year, is available only at a
minimum value of Rs. 5 million. Though Central Bank had published the
Colombo address of the dealers, due to the availability of islandwide
network operation, you could purchase them from any bank in Sri Lanka.
Tax Deduction: The Department of Inland Revenue has instructed
the Banks and Finance Houses to accept the declaration from the deposit
holder that his total income (including interest income) is less than Rs.
300,000 to grant exemption from withholding tax deduction. If his total
income is between Rs. 300,000 and Rs. 600,000 the deduction rate would
be 2.5 per cent only. If his income is more than Rs. 600,000 or no
declaration is given, the rate would be 10 per cent. In addition, if he
is a Senior Citizen, that is, if he reaches the age of 59 on April 1 of
the year assessment, then, he is entitled to a further Rs. 200,000
exemption, provided the deposits are made in Government Banks. Treasury
Bill income is exempted from tax without any limit. In passing, I would
like to mention here that several concessions/facilities are made
available to our people and you should obtain proper advice to secure
maximum and safe income.