Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One third of all pregnancies in Sri Lanka end in abortion, with an estimated 600 to 700 abortions carried throughout the country daily...!!!

A shocking 700 abortions a day in Lanka

Approximately one third of all pregnancies in Sri Lanka end in abortion, with an estimated 600 to 700 abortions carried throughout the country daily.

Addressing the joint commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), UNPF Representative for Sri Lanka, Lene K. Christiansen, said while the population trends in Sri Lanka were mainly positive, abortion is an area holding major concerns.

Abortion being illegal in Sri Lanka, hard data is unavailable. However according to a report released at this occasion, studies reveal that the majority of abortions were among married semi-urban and urban women of the ages of 25 to 39, with two or more children.

Monday, December 7, 2009

VAW: all forms and acts( verbal, non verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, social, cultural and political) which violate the rights to life...!!!!

Break the silence...

Sumana (her name has been changed to maintain confidentiality) who had been married for the past eight years was facing severe marital problems due to her husband’s addiction to drugs. In addition to this he also suspected her of having an extra marital affair and she was mercilessly beaten up on several occasions.

One day while she was washing clothes he threw a white substance at her from a bottle. She felt a burning liquid running down her neck to her chest. Little did she realize that he had thrown acid at her. She was rushed to the hospital by her neighbors where she was warded for three months where the doctors performed several skin grafts. Meanwhile, her husband who was taken into custody was granted bail within two weeks. After returning from the hospital Sumana decided to stay with her mother in Dambulla. Her husband came to her mother’s home and forcibly brought Sumana to Colombo and started battering her again...

Sumana is not alone...this is not the story of one woman....but of many like her, who suffer in silence

What is violence against women?

The scope of violence against women (VAW) includes all forms and acts whether verbal, non verbal, physical, sexual, psychological, social, cultural and political, which violate the right to life, liberty, dignity, equality and bodily integrity of women and girls.

Most women have become used to tolerating violence due to the prevailing social system within our country. They prefer to endure the violence and do not come forward to find ways and means to minimize it, as they believe that taking action could destroy the family foundation and would be deemed as being disloyal towards the family. However, this behaviour ironically erodes the strong foundation of the family unit, as it negatively affects a woman’s mental, physical well being and affects her relationship with her children and everyone else around her. There are quite a few instances where the acceptance of this behaviour results in irreparable physical damage or even death.

While the term "gender-based violence" includes violence against women and men, most of the victims are women. This is a reality, not only in Sri Lanka, but in many parts of the world. In Sri Lanka the most prevalent types of violence against women are rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, forced prostitution and trafficking. These crimes are not particular to a certain region, but are widespread and cut across class, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. In many cases these violations are hidden, this is especially true of domestic violence, which according to the UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women is reported to have been experienced by 60% of the Sri Lankan women (Wijayatilake, K., 2004, Study on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in selected locations in Sri Lanka, Colombo: CENWOR and UNHCR).

Official records reflect that the levels of violence against women has consistently risen, particularly over the past two decades. Whether this is due to increased reporting or to an increase in the crimes themselves has not been established, but it is probably a combination of the two factors. Service providers to survivors of domestic violence have alarmingly observed that the types of violence are becoming more brutal.

16 days activism against gender-based violence

The efforts of several agencies working together to end violence against women has enabled women to break the silence and access services and resources that could enable them to live a life free from violence. One such national effort, "the Forum against Gender-based Violence", was set up in 2005 in order to facilitate greater coordination, understanding and sharing of information and resources and strengthen multi-sectoral responses to GBV and includes local NGOs, International NGOs, UN agencies, donor agencies and Government representation. The Forum seeks to create public awareness and advocate on the issue of GBV specifically during the 16 days of Activism against gender-based Violence which begins on 25th November, the UN designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) and ends on 10th December which is International Human Rights Day. This year, the forum’s theme is : We CAN end violence against women: Commit – Act - Demand

The light at the end of the tunnel

An important step in the right direction was taken in 2005 when the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was passed. The act provides victims with recourse to protection orders against those who mete out violence to them within the household. Recourse is also available to women within relationships to those who are married and to even children living at home. Other legislation such as the Penal code and the Torture Act also provide relief for women who face violence not only at home but within society including the workplace in the form of sexual harassment.

Women can seek free support and care from Women and Children’s desks that have been established at police stations across the island and from other service providers, such as Women in Need (WIN) and Women’s Development Centre (WDC). These organizations provide counselling, legal support and shelters for those experiencing domestic violence, or any form of violence. The bottom line however is that it is up to the individual to seek help for themselves.

Fortunately, Sumana’s story does end with hope. After deciding enough was enough, Sumana reached out to WIN to obtain relief for the constant abuse she was facing. She is at present living at the WIN shelter receiving counselling from the WIN counsellors. The WIN lawyers are also preparing papers under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act to obtain a protection order from Court. Sumana now has hope of living a life free of violence and humiliation.

Violence against women can be reduced significantly if victims and society take a strong stand against it.

We CAN end violence against women: Commit – Act - Demand

24 Hour Helpline : 011 4718585

Kamani Jinadasa,

Facilitator- Forum against gender-based violence,


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Murderer Mohideen who killed Mary Welikala had been stabbed to death by a fellow prisoner five months back over an argument whilst he was in prison!

Passionate desire led him to gallows

Ananda JAYASENA Senior Supdt. of Police (Retd.)

From Wadduwa, I was transferred as OIC Aluthgama Police and took charge of the station from Inspector Carlyle Dias who after retirement from the Police was killed in a bomb in Jaffna, whilst he was working for a private organization.

I liked Aluthgama very much because it was only 38 miles to Colombo and 12 miles to my home at Ambalangoda.

Two friends of Aluthgama Police right-throughout were Bawa brothers, Bevis and Geoffrey. They visited the Police Station at least once a week and took OIC and his Sub-Inspector to their home for a chat and a beer.

On 12th February 1967, which was a Sunday and when I was at the Police Station, around 10.30 a.m. a case of a double murder was reported from a village close to Kalawila. The deceased had been the lady of the house and her maid servant.

The lady was Mary Welikala.

Beautiful lass
Mary Welikala, a very fair, beautiful lass of eighteen years had met a young planter Harold Jansz. He was 12 years older to her and the meeting had been at the Sacred Heart Church, Elpitiya. Both of them attended the 7.00 a.m. Sunday mass together. Harold had first thought that Mary herself was a Burgher. Time went by and after a long standing love affair they both said "I do" in the same Church ten months later.

Harold Jansz was a very hard working planter and rose fairly fast in his profession. At fifty he became the Visiting Agent for a group of tea estates in Badulla. With the passage of time Harold and Mary had two sons and a daughter. Both sons were employed abroad and were doing extremely well, and the only daughter Wilma was happily married to a planter named Ebert Kretser and lived in an estate at Maskeliya.

After retirement Harold bought two acres of land close to Major Bevis Bawa's "Brief", built a beautiful house, laid an equally lovely flower garden and both of them lived here very happily for over eight years.

Heart attack
At the age of sixty eight Harold Jansz suffered a massive heart attack one night and died before admission to a hospital.

Mary was now fifty six years of age. She was well off even after her husband's demise. She had plenty of free time and helped poor villagers, started a Montessori School free of charge for the small children in the village. She also helped the poor neighbours who needed help. Her daughter Wilma wanted the mother to come and stay with her, but she was reluctant. So Wilma sent her a nanny named Charlotte to be with her.

Charlotte was in her mid-thirties, a spinster and a buxom woman.

Mary was a methodical woman. She did everything to a plan. She got up at 5.30 a.m. daily and said her prayers for thirty minutes. Had her breakfast attended to her daily needs and left to the market with the maid in her car driven by her chauffer. She always bought things from traders known to her. After marketing she went to the beef stall, every other day and bought beef from a butcher named Mohideen.

Mohideen was a young, aged about 30 years strong and well built.

Lonely area
On receipt of this information of the double murder I left the Station on inquiry with Sgt. 4777 Ariyadasa.

This house was situated in a lonely area in the village and the closest house was about three hundred yards away and was of one Shelton Perera who was a widower.

The main door was found forced open Charlotte's body was in the second room which was said to be her's. The body was sprawled on the ground head turned to side. She was dressed in a plain skirt and a loose jacket. She had bled profusely. There were no marks of a disturbance in the room or on the bed. The body of Mary Welikala was in her bedroom. The bed had been disarranged indicating that there had been a struggle. The pillow had been fallen off the bed. There was a noticeable cut mark on her night dress on the centre of the chest. She too had bled profusely.

The culprit or culprits had entered the house by forced opening the main door.

Medical evidence
I kept Sgt. Ariyadasa at the scene and went and met my Magistrate in his residence at Kalutara North. I explained to him the nature of the double murder and requested of him to order Juridical Medical Officer, Colombo to hold the post-mortem examination on both bodies as a lot of this case will have to depend on medical evidence as there appears to be no eye witnesses.

Magistrate allowed this application and he directed Mr. Vernon Fernando J. P. U. M. to hold the on the spot inquest.

Same afternoon Mr.Fernando visited the scene and gave a verdict of "homicide" and told us to remove both dead bodies to the office of the JMO at Colombo for him to hold post-mortem examinations.

Same evening we dispatched both bodies to the General Hospital Morgue under Police escort.

By this time Registrar of Finger Prints visited the scene of murder in consequence to message given by me that day morning.

They dusted the entire place but there were no prints found in the room where Charlotte's body was found. But there were two prints found in Mary's room, a finger print and a palm print.

The palm print was on the electric torch used by Mary and the finger print was on a three quarter empty shampoo bottle which was in Mary's bathroom kept on the window still.

Both these objects were photographed by the CID Photographer.

Injuries fatal
Dr. Chandra Amarasekara Deputy JMO held the post-mortem examinations on both bodies. He stated in his report on Mary Welikala that she had been raped before her death.

With regards to Charlotte the AJMO indicated that there was no evidence of having had a sexual intercourse. Her private parts had been washed and cleaned.

A stab injury had been traced by the Doctor and the back of the chest and this had damaged the heart.

Injuries of both women would have been caused by one and the same weapon and both injuries were necessarily fatal.

Time went by. There was no information forthcoming in this double murder.

P.C. 229 Alwis who had served Aluthgama Police for five years had now gone on transfer to Maradana and had come to Aluthgama to attend one of his earlier cases, and he had met one Sirimal who had been an informant of his and Sirimal had told Alwis that butcher Mohideen was seen riding a pedal cycle on the night of this murder and when he questioned him he had told that Mohideen had gone to see some heads of cattle for slaughter.

He did not believe him as the time was just past mid-night, also Alwis told me that on the first or the second month of his arrival at Aluthgama Mohideen was convicted for a case of stabbing and was bound over for a period of six month by the Magistrate Kalutara.

I contacted the Office of the Registrar of Finger Prints and told them to compare the finger prints of Mohideen accused in M. C. Kalutara case No. 21691 convicted on 17/3/62, with the finger prints found at the scene of double murder at Aluthgama on 11th night of February 1967.

Identical prints
Two days later R. F. P. reported that finger prints of accused Mohideen was compared with the prints found at the scene of double murder on February 11th, and both prints are identical.

Accused Mohideen was arrested and he admitted having killed both women. Also he admitted that he hid the weapon of offence in his house amongst the coconut thatched leaves of the root.

According to Mohideen both the lady and the maid servant came to his stall every other day and he noticed that maid was giving him the glad eye. But he wanted to have sex with the lady of the house, and this was tormenting day by day. He also stated that he went to the house in question around 11.00 p.m. and the front door was locked.

He quietly broke opened it and entered the second room on the left. He found to his astonishment that it was Charlotte's room and she was fast a sleep. He put her up and she told him that lady sleep in the bedroom which was third from the right.

He had set with her came tip-toed to madam's room and found her reading a book. He went back to Charlotte's room and waited till she came out to the bathroom stabbed her once killed her and left the room. He entered Mary's room and on seeing him Mary raised cries. He went to the bed tried to stop her shouting by keeping his cupped hand on her mouth. In the meantime, her torch fell down.

He picked it up and kept on the bed. He had sexual intercourse forcibly with her twice and stabbed her too, to death.

When he went to her bathroom to wash he saw an expensive bottle of shampoo on the bathroom window sill. He wanted to give this to his wife and when he lifted it he saw a very little amount of shampoo hence he did not take it home.

Knife recovered
After recording his statement I went to his house with him and recovered the knife in consequence to the statement made by him.

On the following day I produced the accused in Magistrate's Court Kalutara and got him remanded to fiscal custody for 12 days and filed plaint against accused Mohammed Mohideen under Section 296 for committing a double murder.

After four months of non summery proceedings the Magistrate committed this case to be heard in Supreme Court.

In the latter part of 1968 this case came up for trial in Supreme Courts Kalutara before an English speaking Jury.

At the commencement of the trial the State Counsel explained to the Jury, Section 27 of evidence Ordinance where it says, any production recovered in consequence to a statement made by an accused is admissible in law if the police officer had not used force, threat or intimidation or no promises had been made.

The first witness to be called by the prosecution was Dr. Chandra Amarasekara Deputy J. M. O Colombo. His evidence was brief and to the point. He emphasized that the knife produced would have caused all three injuries on both Mary Jansz and Charlotte.

Accepted fact
The second witness to be called was Registrar of Finger printer. He stated that no two people in the world has identical finger prints and the finger print and the palm print found on the shampoo bottle and the torch respectively was of accused Mohammed Mohideen.

The Defence did not cross examine the R.F.P.

The third witness to be called was Sirimal. His evidence was very short.

The fourth witness to be called was yours truly. The Defence Counsel tried to excite me but I had put in about nine years of Police service and had sufficient maturity to face a cross examination.

The Defence tried to show Court that I had introduced the weapon of offence. At this stage Lordship the Judge asked the accused Counsel, in a lighter vein whether finger prints too were introduced.

The Defence did not call the accused to the witness box as if he gives evidence from the witness box he could be subjected to cross examination by the Prosecution, State Counsel.

At the conclusion of the trial the Jury brought the unanimous verdict of guilt and as the death sentence had been abolished the accused was sentenced to twenty years and fifteen years for murder and rape respectively.

After about ten years when I went to attend Kandy Courts I met Ebert Kretser in Kandy.

He recognized me and told that murder suspect Mohideen who killed Mary Welikala had been stabbed to death by a fellow prisoner five months back over an argument whilst he was still serving the sentence.

Names of the two deceased persons and the accused are fictitious.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just how big is the issue of child abuse in Sri Lanka?

Let us stand up against child abuse

Yearning for protection and love. File photo

Just how big is the issue of child abuse in Sri Lanka? Obviously, a topic like this will always be in the shadows and one may have even look at the definition of ‘child abuse’ before giving an answer. But the figures are startling. According to the Head of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), reports of child abuse and infringements of child rights in Sri Lanka have tremendously increased in the past few years. Another recent report said that over 4000 cases are currently pending in courts for child abuse.

What does this mean? Does it mean that our moral structure is breaking down?

Let us face the reality. Authorities believe that child abuse may actually be more prevalent in Sri Lanka than in USA. There are valid reasons for this assumption. In Sri Lanka the child abuse is carefully hidden from outsiders by both abusers and victims. The victims are afraid to speak about their abuse because of the shame it will bring to them and their families, and therefore the abusers continue to get away scot-free.

At least in the Western world, victimized children today are more and more encouraged to speak out, and society is more apt to take their accusations at face value rather than automatically condemn such victims. This action is opposed to the situation in our country where family tradition is more prominent, and the words of children more often ignored.

For instance, I know of one Sri Lankan woman born over forty years ago into a very highly-respected family. In our discussions about child abuse, she told me that she had been a victim of abuse; she had been sexually molested as a child by a close relation of the family.

This was not something that she casually revealed to me; it was a terrible secret between her and her abusers which gave her great pain and torment, even 30 years after the event had ended. She knew she wouldn’t be believed by her parents or elders if she revealed what happened. And this woman was not born into a poor family; no, her family members were university-educated high-society people who became quite prominent and influential.

When we talk about child abuse, generally we mean physical and sexual abuse. We forget about emotional abuse, which is the cruelest and most destructive of all types of abuse. It means, ridiculing and verbally abusing a child, ignoring a child’s emotional needs or isolating a child from the family.

Government Action
These abuses generally do not end up at courts but the child grows up with an inferior complex or destructive tendencies or with mental disorder. Recent research has found that more children suffer from emotional abuse than from physical and sexual abuse combined.

What have successive Governments done about the child abuse? Two decades ago, we ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols. 36 percent of Sri Lanka’s population is children under 18 years of age. 20 percent of the population is of school going age.

Thanks to the free education policies from the primary to university levels, we have a literacy rate of 93 percent comparable with developed countries.

Today, we are already on par with the MDG’s for primary education, school gender parity and reproductive health services. Yes, we can be happy of our progress.

The Government has implemented many programs to combat abuse of children. For example, the Children and Young Persons Ordinance create offenses and imposes heavy penalties for exploitation of children for pornography, sexual exploitation, begging and trafficking. The Penal Code has been amended to provide for enhanced punishments in respect of offences involving sexual exploitation of children. A strict legal procedure exists to protect children’s rights upon adoption.

Sri Lanka as a State party to the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoptions has put in place the necessary substantive and procedural safeguards to prevent any abuse of the process.

Our criminal justice system is geared towards the rehabilitation of child offenders. The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) was established a decade ago to serve as the apex body that focus attention and provide institutional leadership to the efforts on preventing child abuse, prosecuting offenders, fostering national awareness of children’s rights and providing advice to the government and in assisting victims of abuse.

We have also strengthened our laws in child trafficking by electronic media, in accordance of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

So, what went wrong? Why is child abuse increasing?

Although, there are lawyers and child rights activists who are ready to spell, explain, and act against child abuse, they are still not a critical mass and their views are not strong enough to be able to impact consciousness of the policymakers, police, lawyers, judges, teachers, schools, mental, physical and sexual health professionals, and all those who could take up the issue.

Although the issues of shame, family honour and plain depravity mean that not enough statistics are available, it also means that every statistic available speaks not just for itself but for a lot many others in the shadows. Eventually the children who are invisible will, because of the abuse and betrayal they have faced, retreat further into the darkness and possibly out of reach of help.

Apart from the legal dimension, child abuse also has pronouncedly psychological and emotional elements. Worldwide surveys point out that such abuse negatively impacts a child’s physical, emotional and mental well-being, leading to severe behavioral and psychiatric disorders. Suicidal tendencies and drug abuse are common long-term effects.

A World Health Organization survey also points out that there is an unambiguous behavioral and emotional pattern in the abused. Usually the child hardly talks about the incident. And, even if he or she does, no one takes it seriously. That in turn triggers feelings of self doubt and guilt, worsening the child’s feeling that it is his or her fault. As the child matures, compulsive behavior reinforces this guilt.

So, where does the solution lie? If we first talk about the physical child abuse, most sociology experts advocate of a total ban on physical punishment against all forms of punishing children. In fact, the use of any kind of force against children as a disciplinary measure is illegal in 24 countries around the world.

Until such time the Government makes a decision, I believe that, NCPA with the cooperation of law enforcement and other government agencies should implement firm protocols that commit those agencies to activate four important functions.

First, to conduct prompt and thorough investigations of child physical abuse, endangerment and neglect cases, secondly, to reduce trauma to victimized, thirdly, to cooperate effectively to prosecute and prevent physical abuse and neglect to the children and finally, to train the staff on scientific investigation of child physical abuse. These actions will definitely help.

On the subject of sexual abuse, educating and enlightening children about such issues, helping them distinguish between “good” and “bad” touch is a partial answer. Children also ought to be made aware of impulsive decisions they may make under pressure from peers, bullies and abusers. Sex education in schools is also productive.

The Netherlands, a country where teenage pregnancy rates plummeted from 60 per cent to about 25 per cent through aggressive sex information campaigns in schools, is an example. In our country, I remember how a nationwide furor resulted after somebody’s suggestion to introduce sex education in schools.

The subject has divided opinion between camps who felt such a step would lead to unnecessary experimentation by curious teenagers and others who believed it would help whittle down cases of sexual abuse by creating widespread awareness.

We also have to talk about emotional abuse of children. At some time, most parents or teachers, find themselves feeling frustrated and angry with children. This is normal. Occasionally they say things they regret - to the children.

This, too, is normal. But if they find that they are routinely having angry outbursts or that whenever they are frustrated they lash out at those around them in abusive ways - then they need professional help. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

The family Doctor, psychotherapist, or mental health professional will suggest some ways to begin helping calm down.

Child abuse is attracting so much scrutiny and public debate today. It is time the government begin to adopt strong and unequivocal measures to contain these heinous crimes. For a country with over a third of its populace consisting of children, such measures are long overdue.

Cooking in aluminum utensils is one of the main reasons for the increase in kidney patients...!!!

Use clay pots to prevent kidney ailments

Cooking in aluminum utensils is one the main reasons for the increase in kidney patients in the North Central Province, the Information Department website said, quoting the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine.
The Ministry has warned NCP residents to refrain from using aluminum utensils and instead to use clay pots which are to be provided to them from Ministry funds.

At present some 10,000 kidney patients seek treatment at government hospitals.

Meanwhile the government has allocated Rs.2.5 million to carry out research on kidney ailments and 151 ayurvedic specialists have been assigned the task of treating serious kidney patients.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thousands of brides in India are being abandoned by their British Indian husbands after they are married....!!!

New Indian brides abandoned by British Asian husbands.......By Poonam Taneja
BBC Asian Network

Thousands of brides in India are being abandoned by their British Indian husbands after they are married.

Despite this, there is evidence to suggest that Indian women are continuing to fall for British suitors.

In a dusty village in the Jagraon district of Punjab, northern India, 35-year-old Suman (which is not her real name), lives with her widowed mother in a small room in a crumbling building.

Four years ago, the secondary school teacher married a British man in a wedding arranged by relatives.

Shortly after the ceremony, her husband, who is in his 50s, left for London with the promise he would send for her. At first all appeared to go well.

"He would visit two to three times a year.

"Whenever he came to India, we had a good time," she said.

However, on one visit he claimed her application for a spousal visa to the UK had been refused.

"He told me he had applied for an appeal.

"But he has never shown me a copy of that appeal. He’s never shown me any documents."

The visits and calls ended, and for the past six months Suman has had no contact with her husband.

"In hindsight, it was like being a prostitute you take along and have a good time with and then leave behind.

"When he returned to England, there would be no communication. A month before he was due to come back, he established contact again.

"Many a time I let that pass, thinking he might be busy, but now I get the feeling that I was being used all this time."

In the bustling city of Chandigarh, lawyer and women’s rights activist Daljit Kaur has dealt with many similar women who have been deserted by their husbands who live in the UK, Canada and the US.

"There are 15,000 to 20,000 abandoned brides in India," she said. In India these women are called "holiday brides" and Mrs. Kaur believes British grooms account for a third of all such cases.

In the village of Rurka Kalan, in the Doaba region of Punjab, an area that has strong links to Britain’s Indian community, I was taken to a local community centre, a bare single-storey concrete building.

There I was staggered to discover up to a dozen women huddled together, clutching their marriage documents and wedding photographs.

The youngest of these "holiday brides" were barely out of their teens.

A pretty girl dressed in a shalwar kameez (tunic and trousers) had married a man from Coventry, central England.

She said: "He did not give me any reason, why he did this.

"I came to know later through relatives that he did not want to stay married to a girl from such a poor background."

The eldest was a 41-year-old lady who was deserted by a Glaswegian man more than 20 years ago.

She handed me a scrap of paper with an address scrawled on it, urging me to trace him for her.

Not one of these women had re-married. They said their lives had been ruined in this socially conservative part of India, where divorce is frowned upon. Many are forced to depend on relatives for financial handouts.

But Indian women are still falling for British suitors.

Jassi Khangura, a businessman from London and now a politician in the Punjab Legislative Assembly, says Indian families are obsessed with immigrating to the UK.

"People are desperate to migrate, because they don’t think this land gives them the opportunities they need, particularly for girls," he said.

Rani (not her real name) is one such 25-year-old is hoping for a better life in the UK. She got married in January.

"When the marriage date was fixed he asked for around £12,000 so my parents sold our house, to give him the money," she said.

In India, paying and accepting a dowry - a centuries-old tradition where the bride’s parents present gifts of cash, clothes and jewellery to the groom’s family - has been illegal since 1961.

But the practice still thrives in rural areas, and a British Indian groom can command a dowry of up to £20,000 in Punjab.

After Rani’s marriage, her in-laws demanded more cash, but her parents could not pay, and she was dumped.

"After marriage, they physically and mentally tortured me.

"He made me abort my baby, then they threw me out of their house."

Rani still wears her wedding bangles in the hope that she will one day be reunited with her husband in England.

I managed to trace Rani’s husband in England. He claims to have left her after discovering she had a boyfriend who she continued to see after they were wed.

Another "runaway groom" I located in England claimed he was duped by his Indian bride, who only married him for a British passport.

UK matrimonial expert Tahir Mahmood helps arrange marriages, and believes British men are the victims.

"Anyone from back home (India), they want British, British, British... the girls over there, don’t care if someone has been married twice before, they don’t care how he looks like or what his background is."

The British government’s Forced Marriages Unit says it has been dealing with a rising number of forced marriage cases involving British men.

In India, legal action against missing British grooms is a complex and lengthy process.

Clampdown sought

Inspector General Gurpreet Deo, from the Punjab police force, said: "If the person is residing abroad, one has to seek recourse through the extradition treaty.

"The expertise and knowledge of the police officers themselves in this area is so restricted, I don’t think any case would reach that level."

But politician Balwant Ramoowalia, of the Lok Bhalai party in Punjab, believes both India and Britain should clamp down.

He said: "If there is any misconduct, cheating or fraud, the husband should be sent back to India.

"There should be a provision that maintenance should be given to the girl till the case is final."

The Home Office in the UK says it has not received a single extradition request in relation to abandoned Indian brides.

Meanwhile the Indian government has set up a department to provide assistance to the thousands of women who live in hope of being reunited with their husbands.


When I think of my dad on this day the 100th anniversary of his birthday...!!!

J. Willie Aiyadurai (Dec.1909-Jan. 1998):
An Appreciation on his 100th Birth Anniversary

When I think of my dad on this day the 100th anniversary of his birthday, many vivid memories come into my mind. I remember most of all his great sense of humor when he was with people. He was the convivial raconteur par excellence. He regaled us with stories of his school days at Trinity College, Kandy, where he excelled in cricket (won his Trinity Lion and captained in 1928 and 1929), in rugby (won his colors) and in college athletics, and served as head prefect. But the best school stories were about his antics when boarding at Napier House at Trinity, where he caused flutters by his penchant for pranks that left his dorm mates (some of whom were co-conspirators) laughing even decades later.

Many of these antics are recounted in his article that appeared in the Ceylon Observer July 30, 1995. I am happy that they were published, for the sake of my own three sons who were growing up physically distant from their grandpa when I chose to live permanently in Canada in 1974. No one could help but feel at ease in dad’s presence because of his wit and genuinely affable manner. He taught me that friendliness begets friendliness and that genuine interest in a neighbor invites reciprocal interest. The friends he made remained his friends for life.

I also remember him for his writing talents that had taken him into journalism when he left school. In my growing years in Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Observer, Times of Ceylon and Sunday Observer were the platforms for his story telling. I remember especially the weekly serials on his unique street characters like Pasthol Moosa or the king of beggarland that put smiles on our faces. Early in his journalistic career he had shown a knack for poetry in the several years that he courted his "Princess Golden Heart," my Mom, via the columns of the Times and Observer using the pen name Wilver Arden. And the clippings of these poems filled a locked cabinet in his bedroom as I discovered one day.

Then there was his fine poetic piece "The Kandyan Love Song" that he dedicated to Mom (and to "Romance that sweetlier grows with Time") which was set to music by Alesandra Castilleno. Ruth, my wife enjoys playing it today on the piano. And in those courtship years before their marriage, he systematically showered Mom with beautifully bound classics of English Literature which filled the bookcases of our home in Schofield Place, Kollupitiya, and which I avidly read in my teenage years. Each book was inscribed in his bold hand on the inside cover "To Princess Golden Heart from Prince G.H"; those initials my Mom told me stood for "Great Heart". He was a prince of a man to her.

Their long romance was the prelude to a solid and happy marriage. A related memory is a family home constantly open to a steady stream of friends, relatives and even former domestic servants who tasted of my parents’ warm hospitality whenever they dropped in to visit. It must also be said that my Dad who was openly given to joviality had a manly reserve to openly showing grief. The prime example was when Mom died suddenly following complicated surgery for a bad hip fracture in April 1983. My brother-in-law, Hubert Aloysius, told me of Dad spending many a moment, several times inside the home bathroom, shedding tears for her during that fateful time.

Today, I keep and re-read his letters to me and to my children written in their early primary and secondary school years in Canada before he passed away in 1998. All his letters were hugely positive and inspiring. He encouraged my children on to self-accomplishment and to having good character qualities, a reflection of his own mould formed during his school days at Trinity College. So also were his letters to me encouraging me to complete my graduate studies and later to move on in life when I decided to settle permanently in Canada.

Looking back, although in my early teen years I did not follow in his large footprints and show prowess in sports at school (for which I was teased at Royal College by teachers who knew my dad), I still feel I have many bits of him in me— especially the importance of being positive and resilient, of cultivating good friendships, of having a sense of humor and the gift of community with anybody you meet. I do also keenly follow the game of cricket which he played and was an ardent lover of; his enthusiastic interest affected me in my growing years as we discussed matches and players together.

It was super having him as my dad and I love him always for the wonderful memories he has left me.

Mark Aiyadurai
Victoria BC, Canada


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why Suicide.....???!!!


At present in Sri Lanka, the increasing number of suicides is a major social problem. Intellectuals, millionaires, politicians, poets etc have committed suicide all over the world. The main reason for this is as follows:

a. Frustration

b. Fear of punishment

c. Fear of insult, abuse etc

d. Fear of torture, rape etc

e. Poverty

f. Scandals

g. Continuous torture (sexual or otherwise), mental agony

h. Neglect (old and sick people)

i. Not wishing to be a problem to others

j. Incurable disease

k. Financial loss, inability to settle debts

l. Death of a beloved relation

m. Self pity - punishing themselves for sins committed.

I give below some signs that parents of young people should watch out for.

1. Watch your children's change in behaviour (silence, sudden anger, refusal to eat, preferring to stay alone especially in a dark room)

2. Never compare your children with others and insult them in public.

3. Discuss things with your children. If necessary, obtain proper medical treatment or counselling.

4. If he is an addict (liquor, drugs etc) extra affection should be shown. If necessary take him to a suitable asylum.

5. Teach your children about the importance of a balanced life. Please discipline yourself so that you could be an example to your children. This is important.

S. R. Balachandran


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The most common things couples argue about are money, sex, work, children and housework ...!!!

What are you arguing about?

Common conflicts

The most common things couples argue about are money, sex, work, children and housework - roughly in that order.

Most rows start because of differences of opinion, but with patience and basic communication skills you should be able to negotiate a compromise.

If you find the same old issues come up over and over again, or as soon as one issue's resolved another crops up, then there's more going on than meets the eye. Below are some common reasons.

Unresolved issues

Sometimes people find they're fighting battles that have far more to do with the past than the present. Feelings of rejection or betrayal in childhood can create hot buttons that partners press without realising. For example, a partner who's parent left suddenly in childhood may find themselves overreacting to a hastily arranged business trip. Or a partner who was always forced to do gardening as a punishment when a child may become irrationally angry when asked to mow the lawn.

Sensitive subjects

If there are taboo subjects in your relationship that always cause a storm, you need to mention them more often. If you don't, they can become time bombs.Taboo subjects can include things such as a forgotten birthday or a time when you felt your partner wasn't there for you. Often it's something that represents a serious breach of trust such as an affair or a breaking of confidence. Burying old relationship problems is OK, but you have to make sure they're dead first.

Fighting for your deeper needs

Couples often use topics such as money, sex or housework to fight for their deeper needs within a relationship.For example, an argument over who should pay for what may really be about where the responsibility lies and who's got the power in this situation. Rows about housework are often about unfilled needs for respect and worth. And arguing about how often to have sex is nearly always about feeling loved and cared for and deeper needs for connection and affection.

Hidden pay-offs

For some couples arguing actually plays a beneficial role, as it may be the only time they get to share their feelings. It can also add excitement to a relationship or be a way of getting attention.

Arguing can be worth the pain because of the joy of making up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is Child Abuse............???

What is Child Abuse?

Child Abuse consists of any Act or Failure to Act that endangers a child's Physical or Emotional Health and Development.

No matter what the abuse the result will be an imbalanced scarred individual who would in the long term pose serious problems to oneself and society.

As in the slogan "Today's Abused become tomorrow's Abusers"

Taking society as a whole who is most accountable for child abuse?

•Parents are responsible for at least 80% of child abuse and negligence. •Reporting is done by only a few who have the courage to do so. For each abuse reported thousands go unreported.
•Taking children as a whole majority of the victims are children under six years who account for at least 85% of abuse, negligence or abandonment.

What are the root causes and contributing factors for Child Abuse?

There are many different underlying causes ranging from individual to social factors.

•Marital Discord and Separation. •Domestic Violence
•Alcoholism or Drug addiction
•Unemployment and Poverty
•Low levels of Tolerance and Frustration
•Unable to control Anger or Stress
•Lacking necessary Coping Skills •Immaturity of adults or Caretakers
•Unrealistic Expectations of Children
•Isolation from Family or Community
•Physical or Mental Health Issues
•An adult’s own negative childhood experience
•Absence of a Strong Religious Foundation
What message do you have for those guilty of abuse?

•Seek necessary help - Professional, Medical, Religious, Counselling etc.

What are the reasons and failure to report abuse?

There are many reasons that could outweigh the decision to report abuse

•Victims may be unaware that they are being abused.
•Victims may feel responsible for the abuse.
•Fear of possible repercussions and retaliation from the perpetrator •Fear of consequences could be even worse than being victimized again. •Fear of dealing with law enforcement authorities. •Fear of embarrassment, Discrimination, Stigmatization and Shame
•In the case of child prostitution - many are bought over by material things and parents who are paid for the services of their children most often condone the abuse.
Actions one may take to help

•The most important action is to report abuse even if you suspect it, keeping in mind that just one phone call could save a child's life.
Physical Abuse

•Any act which results in a non-accidental trauma or physical injury" •Is the most visible form of abuse (an injury resulting from physical aggression) •This represents unreasonable, severe corporal and unjustifiable punishment. •It usually happens when a frustrated or angry parent, care giver, teacher etc. unaware of the magnitude of force strikes a child.

•Frequent acts of physical violence - burning, biting, beating, kicking, punching etc.

•Injury or death
•Lifelong health problems
•Delinquency (criminal behaviors)
•Antisocial behavior
•Substance abuse
•Aggressive behavior
•Spousal and child abuse later on in life
Sexual Abuse

•Any sexual act between an adult and a child and or any misuse of a child for sexual pleasure or gratification.
•Is the most under-reported form of child maltreatment because of the secrecy or "conspiracy of silence".

•Indecent exposure or exhibitionism
•Exposing children to pornographic material
•Sexual intercourse and its deviations
•Incest or rape
•Engaging a child for the purposes of prostitution
•Using a child to film, photograph or model pornography.

•Behavioral problems
•Posttraumatic stress disorder
•Over compulsive behavior
•Development of fears and phobias
•Development of tension symptoms (stomach aches and skin disorders, excessive bathing etc)
•Deep depression
Emotional Abuse

•The systematic tearing down of another human being" •It is the cruelest and most destructive of all types of abuse. It leaves hidden scars that manifest themselves in numerous ways.
•Due to the absence of marks or other physical evidence, this becomes the most difficult form of child maltreatment to identify and stop.
•Many times the parent is physically present but emotionally unavailable.

•Displaying terrorizing acts •Ignoring a child's emotional needs
•Ridiculing, criticizing, verbally abusing •Manipulating a child for selfish motives
•Depriving a child from own family

•Mental Disorders
•Poor self-esteem and self confidence
•Destructive, angry and cruelty acts

•Type of maltreatment which fails to provide needed age-appropriate care" •More children suffer from neglect than from physical and sexual abuse combined. •Neglect is a type of abuse that is an act of omission (of not doing something) •It is usually an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is detected by individuals in close contact with the child.

•Child abandonment
•Depriving a child of school and education
•Displaying extreme spousal abuse in the child's presence
•Neglecting a child's medical needs or withholding medical care
•Inadequate Supervision

•Severely impacts a child's development
•Compounded medical problems . Injury or Death
•Low self-esteem or suicide . destructive behaviour
•Repeat negative behaviours as an adult

Monday, November 9, 2009

Learning a lesson from nature....!!!

Learning a lesson from nature
V. Santhanam

The undergraduates of today will be our nation builders of tomorrow. Our educational processes, therefore, should mould them into thinking, responsible citizens, capable of living in peace and harmony and solving our Motherland’s multitude of problems. Our curriculum should, therefore, be holistic, instilling in them knowledge, skills and attitudes that will equip them to make the right decisions at the right time.

Nevertheless, what do we experience in reality? Disgruntled and unemployed graduates are clamouring for jobs, taking to street violence, becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, losing their traditional values and, in-short, leading a meaningless life, feeling frustrated and hopeless. Instead of being the cream of our society, they turn into mindless reactionaries and desperadoes, throwing our country into chaos and turmoil.

University system
We, as teachers, will, therefore, be failing in our duty if we do not take the initiative to stop this present trend of events. As a lecturer in Zoology for about fourteen

Educational system should help children make right decisions at right time. File photo

years in the university system, I have been noticing with growing concern the lack of interest on the part of our students in offering Biology as a major subject for their degree.

Living in a materialistic world which is used to weighing all its decisions in terms of costs and benefits, our students are, perhaps, made to view Biology as a subject meant only for those living in ivory towers, far removed from the demands of the present age of knowledge based economic societies.

This article is, therefore, an appeal to our undergraduates and future nation builders, to change their perspectives of life and to understand the manifold lessons Biology can teach us. The study of Biology, I feel, can certainly create an awareness of the goal and purpose of life on earth, making our strife torn life a little bit easy to bear with!

The ubiquitous tree stands testimony to one of the most important, interesting and practicable lessons in life to be learned from nature - ‘The philosophy of life.’ Conventionally, the biologist defines the tree as a living organism with true roots, erect woody trunks, branches and leaves. It grows and reproduces, bearing in most cases, flowers and fruits which leave behind seeds that sprout into a new generation.

Recycling energy
The tree is also a habitat, offering a variety of homes (niches) to insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals which through the food webs they create help in the recycling of energy on earth. To the conservationist, the tree is a part of the forest ecosystem that contributes to the maintenance of ecological balance on our planet. The tree is a cornucopia of limitless supply of economically valuable products to both the agriculturist and the industrialist.

However, to the common man, be he a road weary traveller or vendor, the tree provides shade and shelter from the harsh weather. It offers a soothing sight to their tired eyes, lulling them to sleep with the gentle breeze produced by its ever fluttering leaves. From time immemorial, the trees have also been a source of inspiration to both the artists and the scientists, producing thought provoking works of art and, at times, ideas which have given birth go great theories such as the world famous theory of gravity!

Spiritual realization
In religious scriptures and practices too, the tree has assumed a prominent role as an object or place of worship and meditation. It is a well known fact that the Buddha attained Nirvana (spiritual realization) under the sacred Bo tree. Furthermore, in every nook and corner of most Sri Lankan and Indian villages, it is very common to see, under the trees, statues of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom.

It is very likely, therefore, the tree has been, over the ages, whispering somehow the secrets of the philosophy of life to our psychic spiritual teachers.

The vedantic philosophy of life as extolled to the world by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his disciple Swami Vivekananda, simply states that our life is a constant struggle to realize and bring out the god (or super-consciousness) within us, in order to develop a worldview on life. We may achieve this, according to our talents, through four major pathways or margas as follows: selfless action (karma yoga); unselfish devotion (bhakti yoga); soul searching pursuit of knowledge (gnana yoga) and intense spiritual practice and meditation (raja yoga).

These four yogic practices serve to calm down and discipline our minds so that we can listen to the voice of our atman or conscience which guides us to make the right decisions at the right time. To a discerning person, this philosophy of life can be seen to be reflected in the functioning of a tree as it grows from a sapling in to a mature fruit bearing plant.

Good values
Just as the sapling tree absorbs nutrients and water from the surrounding soil through its ramifying network of roots, a growing human child absorbs good values, morals and virtues from his/her society through a network of relatives and friends.

Just as the conducting system of the tree serves as a vehicle to distribute the absorbed nutrients and water throughout the plant, making it grow a heavy truck covered with a protective bark, the values a child absorbs are established through the constant performance of his/her duties to himself/herself, his/her family and the society. This act concentrates the human child’s mind, developing as he/she grows, the power of discrimination which helps to ward off the company of evil people and evil thoughts.

Having developed a healthy trunk with a protective bark, the tree begins to support a network of sprawling branches carrying innumerous leaves that flutter constantly in the air and obtain oxygen and food to the growing tree. Likewise, the adult human being too is expected to choose, with discrimination, a ranch of life or occupation in which he/she is supposed to be active constantly both mentally and physically in order to lead a productive life.

Mature human being
As the tree matures it develops buds which blossom in to often attractive, colourful and pleasant smelling flowers full of nectar. In a mature human being with a disciplined and discriminatory mind too intellect buds and later flowers into wholesome personality. Just as bees flock to the flowers in search of nectar and in the process facilitated the cross fertilization of gametes, wise men are automatically attracted towards persons of great virtues and intellect. The cross fertilization of minds that follows gives birth to a new born person with great wisdom and creativity.

Such a new born mature and wise person continues to serve the world just as the fruit serves as a source of food to many and at death, like the fallen fruit, disappears from earth leaving behind only seeds of great thoughts to be immortalized in the following generations.

If a person fails to acquire good virtues of fails in his/her duties, he/she will develop in to a mentally indisciplined and confused person with no power of discrimination. Without a goal in life his/her intellect will be blunted and his/her personality will be stunted and uncreative.

The rapid rate at which forests are being wiped off the face of our planet may be symbolic of man’s refusal or inability to understand the philosophy of life embedded in the so called tree of life. The ensuing global climatic changes may be a harbinger of doom that will very soon fall on a decadent immoral society driving itself to the brink of its own extinction.

Hence, its time for us to wake up and learn a lesson from Mother Nature before it is too late!

The writer is a Senior Lecturer in Zoology

World Science Day - November 10: Peace and Development....!!!

World Science Day - November 10:

Peace and Development
Dulshani Gunawardena

In 2001 UNESCO declared November 10 as the World Science Day for Peace and Development. Today, eight years later, with the world plagued with a multitude of disaster and destruction, we have to look back and wonder how much we have come, and how far we have to go... This context could not be more timely to Sri Lanka today, where the blossoming of peace heralds the potential and opportunity for development.

Defining Science:

The ABCs

In today's world both science and technology is often taken as synonymous, yet they could not be more different!

Research and Development (R&D) Statistics of Sri Lanka (2007)

GDP 0.00-0.25
Researchers per million 0-100
Female researchers 30.1-40.0
Funding received

Govt. 65
Private 20
Foreign 5
Other 10
R&D conducted by
Government 50
Higher Education 30
Business Enterprises 20

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics


Is knowledge gained on a particular subject through observation, study, and experimentation carried out to determine the nature of what is being studied



Is putting the knowledge gained through science to practice

Nuclear Science

The Scientific Method

How did all these laws and theories we hear of today come to existence? It all starts with a simple question and develops through the scientific method into a conclusion.

The steps of the scientific method are to:

Ask a Question

Do Background Research Construct a Hypothesis (Assumption)

Test Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment

Analyze Data and Draw a Conclusion

Communicate Results

It is important for an experiment to be a fair test. A "fair test" occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same.

Mathematics: the blood of science

Mathematics is essential to the sciences. One important function of mathematics in science is the role it plays in the expression of scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of mathematics. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, for example, all are essential to physics. Virtually every branch of mathematics has applications in science.

Statistical methods, which are mathematical techniques for summarizing and analysing data, allow scientists to assess the level of reliability and the range of variation in experimental results. Statistical analysis plays a fundamental role in many areas of science.

Whether mathematics itself is properly classified as science has been a matter of some debate. Some thinkers see mathematicians as scientists, regarding physical experiments as inessential or mathematical proofs as equivalent to experiments. Others do not see mathematics as a science, since it does not require an experimental test of its theories and hypotheses.

Science in the Ancient Indian Subcontinent
Any science textbook today would teach us that Galileo first declared the earth as round, that gravity was discovered by Newton: but these facts held no novelty to the Indian subcontinent as far as four millenniums ago!

Computer labs in schools, play an important role in advancing science education

As far as the second millennium BC, the Rig Veda stated that the Earth was a globe and the Yajur Veda that it circled the sun.

In the eight century BC, the mathematician Baudhayana in his Baudhayana Sulba Sutra, contained the general statement of the Pythagorean Theorem as well as many Pythagorean triples (3,4,5/ 5,12,13/ 8,15,17).

Indian fifth century astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata, in his Aryabhatiya and Aryabhata Siddhanta, worked out an accurate heliocentric model of gravitation, including the circumference of the earth, and the longitudes of planets around the Sun. He also introduced a number of trigonometric functions, (including sine, cosine and inverse sine), trigonometric tables, and techniques.

In the 7th century, Brahmagupta recognized gravity as a force of attraction He also lucidly explained the use of zero as both a placeholder and a decimal digit, along with the Hindu-Arabic numeral system now used universally throughout the world.

Furthermore, the systems of Ayurveda, mining and irrigation of the ancient days continue to amaze experts in the field today.

Science: Where do WE stand today?

Sri Lankan forestry students researching bio diversity. Research needs much developement in Sri Lanka.

The quality of science education and technological development vary widely worldwide. While developed countries have more resources for an extensive science education and facilities for technological development, developing countries suffer from a great lack of resources, further isolating them from the development process.

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics measure the quality of Science worldwide through R&D (Research and development). It basically measures the amount of GDP devoted to science and the number of researchers.

According to 2007 statistics, Sri Lanka shows a great lack of researchers, being in the range of 0-100 researchers per million. In developed countries this figure counted as more than 2000 per million. However, Sri Lanka has a significant number of female researchers, in par with developed countries.

The percentage of gross domestic expenditure allocated in Sri Lanka is also extremely low, ranging 0.00 to 0.25 percent. This figure ranges between 2.01 percent and above in the USA, Canada, Australia. Considering the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan and India both show figures of 0.51 to 1.0 percent.

Sri Lanka's R&D is basically funded through the Govt., though there is a significant proportion of private funding. The research conducted by the private sector and for business needs is considerably low, with Govt. and higher education institutions taking the limelight.

Science for Peace and Development
Science is a double edged sword: either to kill or to save. Scientific development today cannot be interpreted as 'development' for humankind in general, as today's wars finely justify. While the manufacture of nuclear and bio weapons have become a topic of much debate today, it is essential to build up a sustainable policy in that regard. Starting at grassroots levels, its essential for the public in general to be more informed on the aspects and destruction of advanced war technology.

Development can be held synonymous with Science and Technology.

Developed countries have better access to the monetary funds needed to conduct and implement research. Developing countries should focus more on cost efficient research. Moreover research should be directed to find cost efficient supplementary technologies.


Science through the ages:


5 million Tools from pebbles in Africa
1 million Discovery of fire
200 000 first weapons-stone hand axes
13 000 weaving and leather making, oil lamps
10 000 sickles, mud huts
8 000 plough and flail, pictorial writings
6 000 weaving looms, scales
3 000 discovery of the wheel, metal articles, calendar
2 600 glassware, soap in Babylonia
2 250 Maps in Mesopotamia
2 000 Abacus in China
1 200 Iron and steel tools, first ocean going ships
250 Archimedes screw, gun in Greece
47 First Encyclopaedia by Marcus Terentius Varro


105 Chinese paper making
150 Water clocks
400 Numeral zero in India
600 Windmills in Syria
725 Mechanical clocks in China
800 Wood block printing
900 Optical lenses
1202 Modern method of counting
1250 Glass spectacles in Spain
1300 Spinning wheel, cross staff for navigation
1350 Printing with metal type in Korea
1550 Quadrant for navigation
1590 Microscope-Janssen, Netherlands
1600 Thermometer, sheet glass for windows and mirrors
1608 Telescope in Netherlands
1712 Practical steam engine in Britain
1745 Chemical battery (Leyden jar)
1769 Steam powered car in France
1792 Volta's first electricity battery, gas lighting
1795 Pencil-Conte, France
1796 Smallpox vaccination-Jenner, UK
1810 Canning process for food-Appert, France
1816 First photographic image on metal plates in France
1820 Mechanical calculating machine-Babbage, Britain
1829 Typewriter-Burt, USA
1831 Electric generator and transformer-Faraday, Britain
1837 Electric telegraph and code-Morse, USA
1838 Photography on paper-Talbot, Britain
1843 Underground railway-Pearson, UK
1844 Anaesthetics for surgery-Wells, USA
The basic tool of evolution

1845 Safety match-von Schrotter, Germany
1849 Safety pin, glider(first winged aircraft to carry a person)
1851 Elevator-Otis, USA
1855 Refrigerator-Harrison, UK
1859 Asprin-Kiolbe, Germany
1860 Pasteurisation of milk
1866 Dynamite, fire extinguisher
1868 plastics, traffic lights, stapler
1870 Antiseptics for surgery
1872 Electric typewriter, jeans-Levi Strauss, USA
1876 telephone, microphone
1877 gramophone, Edison, USA
1879 Electric bulb-Edison, USA
1882 Skyscraper, electric iron
1884 Fountain pen, large steam turbine, heat resistant glass
1887 electric heater, Contact lenses-Fick, Germany
1888 Alternative current electric motor
1889 photographic film, automatic telephone exchange, electric oven
1892 vacuum flask, diesel engine cash register-Burroughs, USA
1895 radio broadcasting, cinema, electric drill, safety razor
1897 cathode ray tube
1900 loudspeaker, paper clip
1901 vacuum cleaner
1905 X-ray machine
1907 fax machine, electric washing machine
1916 detergents
1920 long distance air travels
1925 Motorways, TV camera-Baird, UK
1928 Tape recording
1931 Radio telescope, electric guitar
1932 electron microscope
1938 photocopier, ball point pen
1945 Atomic bomb, microwave oven
1946 electronic computer
1950 Human kidney transplant, credit card
1956 video recorder
1967 First human heart transplant
1970 Factory robots, genetic engineering
1975 Desktop computer, USA
1979 ultrasound scanning
1988 genetic fingerprints
1990 first gene transplant on a human
1997 cloning of Dolly

Those who think well and clear would survive and prosper while those who can not, will perish and decay...!!!

Thinking Cap

Thinking as the weapon of survival

Palitha Senanayake

Man is a ‘thinking animal’ and hence the world today is what man thought what it should be, a few centuries ago. It is due to these faculties of reasoning in man that mankind has been able to assume control of affairs in this planet and regulate it the way it wishes. But having accepted that, the question then is, is the world today the ideal place the human civilization would have wished it to be?

There is enormous physical development, unimaginable prosperity, technology beyond belief in this world. Yet simultaneously there is mayhem, devastation, abject poverty and sheer helplessness in this same world. It is a bipolar world of ecstasy and agony. But then should things be so if it is human thinking that brings this about? Should part of humanity gloat with unbridled consumerism while the rest should languish for want of basics? Is it because some have been thinking well while the others have not been able to think just as well?

Scientific investigators, often in the teeth of ignorance, suspicion, prejudice and even persecution, have, by their laboured thoughts during the past three centuries, immeasurably increased our knowledge of the resources and powers that rule this planet. Moreover this knowledge has been ingeniously and empirically applied in the service of mankind to an extent where we have now taken the benefits of science for granted.

The irony however is that we have not witnessed progress in the same scale as in science, when it comes to a host of other social and economic issues that the world is besotted with. Poverty, internal strife, and catastrophes have been rampant and what is strange is that these have never been successfully addressed with the same logic of reasoning and tenacity.

The important thing to remember of science is that scientists, over the years have been unflinchingly probing into the ultimate truth in their chosen sphere. There is no room for conjecture in science and even a hypothesis will have a limited life. That is to say that there has been clear and purposeful thinking in science and therein lay its secret of rapid success. That then explains why science has progressed while other issues stagnated.

Clear and analytical thinking therefore is the need of the hour if we are to comprehend the nature of a problem, national or global, with the view of overcoming it. What then prevents these decision makers from viewing these issues from a clear and non tendentious perspective? The answer to that will probably explain the difference between the scientists and a politician. It is simply that those leaders who can not solve their own problems are the ones who are incapable of thinking clearly because they allow prejudices, interests, pathos, and ethos to bear and cloud their thinking. That is to say that they bringforth the ‘animal’ part of this ‘thinking animal’ into focus.

Just observe these countries that are mired in some problem or the other; they are led by leaders who are selfish, myopic, whimsical and petty in their thinking. They just can not see beyond the confine of their self, family and friends. That then is the difference between some countries reaching their development goals whereas the others not.

What then of the ‘international problems’ that persist with no end in sight, such as global warming, arms proliferation and cross boarder terrorism? Aren’t those clear thinking leaders of advanced countries capable of solving those for the good of mankind? The irony is that even these ‘global leaders’ do not stretch the limits of their clear and analytical thinking beyond the borders of their nations. When it comes to thinking on international issues they too are prejudiced, suspicious and tie themselves down with their own vested interests. They think nationally and act globally whereas the right thing should have been to think globally and act nationally.

What is even worse is that these ‘international leaders’ are so obsessed in preserving the current world status quo, that they, with the enormous power of propaganda, aid and trade at their command, would not hesitate even to twist the arms of less powerful nations to prevent them from thinking clearly and acting accordingly.

The recent terrorist problem in Sri Lanka is a cogent example in sight. They would rather have you in their fold than to let you prosper and become independent.

Therefore, for all that talk about ‘human civilization’, it is the law of the jungle that still reigns in the human world.

The difference is that because the humans out-think the others they have created a concrete jungle for themselves where the weapon of survival is ‘thinking’. Those who think well and clear would survive and prosper while those who can not, will perish and decay.


Laboratory Screening of Diabetes....!!!

Laboratory Screening of Diabetes
by Prof. Upali Gunasekara

Diabetes is considered to be one of the commonest diseases to affect mankind causing a significant number of deaths and debility. It is so common that it causes a death every five seconds some where in the world and each second a new patient is diagnosed. There are nearly 300 million patients with diabetes world wide and in Sri Lanka it could be about a million. Common symptoms of diabetes include loss of weight, thirst, passage of large amounts of urine and skin problems. The complications of diabetes include heart attacks, strokes, ulcers in the legs, amputations, kidney failure and loss of vision.. An important feature in this illness is that in nearly 50% of those affected by it have no symptoms by the time the diagnosis is made some of these patients would be exhibiting the above complications. Therefore it is crucial to identify these patients who do not exhibit symptoms of diabetes so that the dreaded complications could be prevented.. The purpose of this letter is to discuss some important aspects of screening for diabetes to commemorate the World Diabetes Day which falls on the 14th of November . This is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin, the life saving drug used in patients with Diabetes.

There are in fact two types of screening in diabetes. It could be "Screening for Diabetes" and "Screening in Diabetes".

Screening "for" diabetes

This indicates the use of tests for the diagnosis of undiagnosed diabetes. A large number of people who don’t have symptoms of diabetes are not bothered to test for it as they consider themselves healthy or indifferent to their own health. Suitable tests are available for screening and it could be carried out in the whole population (universal screening) or screening when the opportunity arises (opportunistic screening) or screening in high risk individuals (high risk screening). Universal screening is expensive and impracticable to carry out and is therefore not practiced even in highly developed countries such as the United States. However opportunistic screening is more practicable and is the type of screening carried out when a person presents to a doctor or a hospital for any other reason The screening done at medical examinations for insurance policies and employment purposes too could be considered as types of opportunistic screening. However the type of screening that brings about a diagnosis in a large number of patients is high risk screening where a person who is at a high risk of developing diabetes is screened. Those who are at high risk of developing diabetes in the future are shown below.

1. Those with a family history of diabetes

2. High blood pressure and high cholesterol values.

3. Sedentary occupations

4. Over weight persons

5. Those who have been fat (more than 3.5kg) and those who have been very thin (less than 2.5kgs) at birth.

6. Those on diabetes producing medications.

The presence of a family history confers a very high risk for the development of diabetes. Family history includes parents, children, siblings and paternal and maternal uncles and aunts. The risk of a child developing diabetes if both parents have the condition is nearly 60% whereas if only one parent is affected it is about 40%. It is therefore advised that all those who are more than 30 years old with a family history of diabetes should be screened at least once a year.

High blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol are very common among Sri Lankans. Previous studies have revealed that nearly 40% of adults over the age of 30 years have high blood pressure (There is some recent evidence to indicate that those who are just below the blood pressure levels designated as high blood pressure called "prehypertension" too are prone to develop diabetes).

Most white collar occupations in our country are sedentary. There is hardly any exercise carried out by these workers, a fair number of whom become diabetic.

Even though the problem of over weight (measured by an index called body mass index) is not common in Sri Lanka a significant number of our people have increase of weight around their waists and this is called ‘central obesity’. Central obesity is caused by the deposition of excess amounts of fat around the waist. A simple measurement of the waist could identify these people. A non elastic tape held around the waist at the most protuberant part of the abdomen indicates waist size. In a healthy male it should be less than 90cms whereas in a female it should be less than 80cms. All those who have waist measurements above this range should therefore undergo testing for diabetes.

Birth weight of individuals have a profound affect on health. New born babies whose birth weight is less than 2.5kgs or more than 3.5kg are more prone to develop conditions such as diabetes and heart disease in adult life. Since at present most people have their birth weight records all those at the above ranges should be tested for diabetes.

The over use of drugs such a predisolone which could cause diabetes is rampant in Sri Lanka. This drug is used in the treatment of conditions such as asthma and skin conditions. All those who have taken these drugs on a long term basis should be tested for diabetes.

Tests used in screening for diabetes

The commonest test used is the fasting blood sugar where a sample of blood is taken after an overnight fast of 8 to 10hours. An abnormal result does not necessarily indicate the presence of diabetes until the person is re tested three days later. The other tests used include a blood test done 2 hours after ingesting some glucose-This test is done in certain special situation. A urine test for sugar is of no value in the diagnosis of diabetes.

Screening "in" diabetes

Screening in diabetes means identification of complications of diabetes. The patient may or may not exhibit the symptoms of complications. Of these complications now a days nearly all patients are screened for high cholesterol, kidney disease and, eye disease at the time of diagnosis of diabetes. High cholesterol is diagnosed by a blood test called the ‘lipid profile’ and the likelihood of kidney -involvement by a simple urine test called ‘microalbumin’. Eye screening is carried out by an instrument called the ophthalmoscope.

In addition during the course of time some patients need screening for unsuspected heart disease, kidney disease and disease of blood vessels.

A very close association exists between diabetes and heart disease A is mandatory that all patients with diabetes are screened for heart disease under the following circumstances.

1. A typical chest pain. A patient may not exhibit the typical symptoms of a heart attack but instead would manifest with other types of chest pain.

2. Difficulty in breathing

3. High cholesterol and high blood pressure

4. Diabetes of more than 5 years duration

5. An abnormal ECG

The tests used include ECHO cardiography, stress ECG and some times even coronary angiography where a dye is injected into the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle (called coronary arteries) and an Xray taken to identify which vessels are blocked.

Screening for kidney disease is indicated in situations where there is protein in the urine and uncontrolled blood pressure. The tests include urine tests, blood tests as well as X rays and scans-Tests used to determine the condition of the blood vessels supplying the legs include Doppler and arteriography where as in the case of the heart a dye is injected into the blood vessels of the legs to determine their patency.


Ministry of Justice and Law Reform has taken measures to amend the Thesawalame law with necessary changes in line with the present requirements...!!!

Justice Ministry to amend Thesawalame law

By Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Ministry of Justice and Law Reform has taken measures to amend the Thesawalame law with necessary changes in line with the present requirements. The Ministry has appointed a committee headed by Justice Siri Pawan to look into the new provisions of the Thesawalame law. The Media Secretary to the ministry of Justice and law Reform Gamini Sarath Godakanda told the Daily Mirror.

Thesawalame law is applied to inhabitants of Tamils in the Northern Province and has been subjected to many controversies. According to this law, property can be divided into three categories, such as inherited property of the man from his parents; inherited property of the wife from her parents and the acquired property of the man and wife during their lifetime together.

According to this law, daughters inherit the property of the mother and sons inherit the property of the father. The acquired property is divided equally among the sons and daughters.

Critics say that some provisions of the Thesawalame law have not been able to evolve with time and social changes in society.

The Media Secretary said that the recommendations of the committee into the amendment of Thesawalame law had not still been received. He further said that Ministry had also appointed a committee to replace the archaic Prisons Ordinance and to introduce a new act to suit the present requirement. It is aimed at rehabilitating prisoners and to bring a more efficient prison administration structure.

Thesawalame is a territorial customary law of Sri Lanka. Thesawalame, in Tamil literally mean the customs of the land. It is ancient in its origin and has prevailed in Northern Sri Lanka.

Because of its popularity among local inhabitants, the Dutch first codified it in 1706 and the British gave it legal validity by the Thesawalame Regulation No 18 of 1806, Ordinance No 5 of 1869 and the Matrimonial Rights and Inheritance Ordinance of 1911.

The Thesawalame Pre-emption Ordinance of 1948 amended and consolidated the law of Pre-emption relating to the lands affected by the Thesawalame.

This is widely spoken for its recognition to the necessity of women’s ownership to land property for the security of their future.

Thesawalame is still a customary among a good proportion of the Jaffna Tamils.

Fact box

•Thesawalame is a territorial customary law of Sri Lanka.
•Thesawalame, in Tamil literally mean the customs of the land. It is ancient in its origin and has prevailed in Northern Sri Lanka
•The Dutch first codified it in 1706 and the British gave it legal validity by the Thesawalame Regulation No 18 of 1806, Ordinance No 5 of 1869 and the Matrimonial Rights and Inheritance Ordinance of 1911.
•The Thesawalame Pre-emption Ordinance of 1948 amended and consolidated the law of Pre-emption relating to the lands affected by the Thesawalame.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cruelty in Srilanka: A group of persons attacked an unidentified man on the Bambalapitiya beach killing him on the spot. ..!!!

Police look on
as stone thrower clubbed to death

by Shiran Ranasinghe and Akitha Perera

A group of persons yesterday afternoon attacked an unidentified man on the Bambalapitiya beach killing him on the spot.

Police said that the attackers had prevented the man from coming out of water and attacked him with clubs. A senior police official told The Island last night that he had been targeted after he threw stones at a passing train and some vehicles.

Sources said that he had also thrown stones at a military vehicle. Sources said that the police had not intervened to save the man though they were present at the scene. The man had struggled for about one hour in the water and pleaded with those who surrounded him to allow him to come ashore, sources said.

Police spokesman Senior DIG Nimal Mediweka told The Island that the CDB had been directed to investigate. He said that investigators could obtain video evidence as a TNL cameraman had recorded the incident.


Thursday, October 29, 2009



By Olindhi Jayasundere

It is little known fact that strokes account for 5.7 million deaths a year worldwide and ranks second to ischemic heart disease as a cause of death. Due to the ignorance and negligence the disease has been and continues to be a danger to the lives of humans.

At an event yesterday commemorating World Stroke Day, Dr. Padma Gunaratne, President of the National Stroke Association of Sri Lanka (NSASL), said that strokes are the second most common cause of death in the world and is the fourth highest cause of death in the country. “This is a very serious matter which we have to address the causes effectively,” Dr Gunaratne said.

WHO Country Representative, Dr. Firdosi Mehta said that there are three important things to look for when a person is on the verge of a stroke. Firstly, if you ask a patient to smile when you suspect someone is about to suffer a stroke you can tell immediately because a stroke victim cannot smile. The second symptom you should look for is the inability to speak. A stroke victim cannot speak. And finally you must check the tongue as often the tongue hangs side ways or curls up. If all these symptoms are present in a person then you can be certain that he/she is a stroke victim,” Dr. Mehta said.

There is no known drug that can be used to eliminate the possibility of a stroke, nor is there a guaranteed cure. However, early diagnosis and quick action can reduce the severity of a stroke. For patients suffering from speech loss, movement or other disabilities rehabilitation is possible with the assistance of physical and speech therapy, according to NSASL.

Dr. Mehta explained that strokes are caused by smoking, lack of nutrition and physical inactivity. “If you want to eliminate the chances of getting a stroke, then you must take precautions.” Dr. Mehta explained that this can be done by consuming fresh fruits and vegetable as opposed to excessively oily foods, reducing the consumption of sugar and taking up some sort of daily physical exercise that will ensure good health and the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

In order to highlight the impact of the rising rate of strokes in Sri Lanka, several stroke victims were invited to an event yesterday to create awareness amongst people on the severity of the issue. They received cash donations of Rs.10, 000 and wheelchairs which were presented to them by the Social Service and Welfare Ministry Secretary, V. Jegarajasingham.

Health Ministry Secretary, Dr.Athula Kahandaliyanage, who was also present at the event, said that his ministry will undertake strategies to reduce the ever-increasing number of stroke victims in the country. “We have already taken several policy decisions with regard to this issue and hope to implement them in the near future. It is a challenge of great magnitude, but it is one that must be achieved,” he said.



CMC , WHO release report on 'Urban Heart' project

By Yohan Perera

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said that there was a low rate of enrolment in primary education, high rate of tuberculosis, dengue and highest number of road accidents being reported in the city compared to the rest of the island.

These were revealed by the Chief Medical Officer Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam who released a report of 'Urban heart project' which had been prepared jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday.

According to the data by Dr. Kariyawasam the enrolment ratio in primary education are less than 50 in most of the areas in the Colombo city compared to 97.5 which is the national rate.

He said most of the children studying in schools in the Colombo city are not residents of the city.

When it comes to tuberculosis 42 persons in every 100,000 are having the disease in Sri Lanka while in Colombo City an average of 65 persons out of 100,000 have this disease.

The number of dengue cases in the city is also reported to be high 32 out of 100,000 persons are infected while 50 out of every 100,000 are infected within the city. In some areas over 100 persons out of every 100,000 are affected with the disease in the city.

Another staggering disclosure was the high rate of road traffic accidents compared to the average.

In Sri Lanka 10 persons out of 10,000 meet with road accidents while in the Colombo City more than 30 persons out of 10,000 meet with road accidents. In some areas in the city 100 out of every 10,000 persons meet with accidents.

The aging population is low in the city compared to other areas. Dr. Kariyawasam said a large amount of people within the city might be dying young or might be moving out of the city to spend their retirement.

The population density in most of the other cities in Asia is said to be 6,000 to 7,000 persons per square km while the population density in Colombo is said to be 17,250 persons per square km.

Turmeric:One of the most powerful antioxidants you can consume with amazing health benefits...!!!

C.S Baskaran

The Most Potent Super-Spice Antioxidant in Your Cabinets

Hi everyone: have you ever eaten curry? That yellow color in curry is attributed to a spice called Turmeric, and it is one of the most powerful antioxidants you can consume with amazing health benefits.
Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a dye, as a spice for dishes, and also in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric has some of the world’s most powerful fat-burning and healing qualities of any food or spice. It is a potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial substance.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric grows as a shrub in India and tropical parts of Asia. The roots are ground up to make turmeric. Its active ingredient is a substance called curcumin and it is bright yellow. This bright yellow spice has medicinal properties as well as adding its pungent color and taste to many delicious dishes.
Ayurvedic medicine has used this spice as a whole body cleanser, an aid for digestion, and in treatments for fevers, infections, liver and gall bladder problems and arthritis. It may even help to burn fat, and is also very effective as a preventative for heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
The rich stores of antioxidants are very effective against the free radicals which contribute to premature aging, disease and cancer. Many natural practitioners actually recommend turmeric when a potent antioxidant is needed.
A digestion aid and fat-burning compound
Turmeric helps to digest fats by stimulating the flow of bile in the gall bladder and therefore is very effective as a digestive aid and fat-burning compound. Studies also show it is highly effective at reducing the inflammation from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
For the heart, it contains strong anti-platelet substances which help prevent the blood from clotting too easily, and so is very effective against heart attacks and strokes. In addition, homocysteine, a chemical component in the body, which is one of the primary predictors of heart attacks, is significantly lowered in the presence of curcumin.
The curcumin in turmeric also has been shown to lower and reduce the oxidation of plaque on the artery walls.
As an anti-inflammatory it has been used effectively for a treatment for all types of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and for joint pain.
Turmeric and cancer-risk reduction
Turmeric is a powerful weapon against cancer cells as well. Studies show that this super spice can actually prevent cancer tumors from growing and in those who already have cancer, turmeric slows the growth and spread of cancer. In a research study done with mice injected with cancer cells, the curcumin in turmeric was proven to be more than twice as effective as the cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol).
The curcumin in turmeric is also highly effective when combined with the anti-oxidant quercetin (found in red onions, apples and cherries) against pre-cancerous polyps in the colon. Studies show that polyps were reduced by 60% and the average size of existing polyps were reduced by 50%.
Turmeric and Alzheimer's disease
One of the most exciting new studies has shown turmeric’s value against Alzheimer’s. Studies of the Indian population who have a high intake of turmeric in their curry dishes show a very low incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia in the elderly.
Alzheimer’s victims have a buildup of a certain type of plaque in the brain and turmeric is highly effective at breaking down this plaque and protecting brain health.
Ways to get turmeric into your diet:
One way to get high concentrations of curcumin is to use the spice turmeric in some of your cooking and recipes.
Curry contains turmeric, but is usually a combination of several spices and you may not get as much turmeric as you would using pure turmeric. That's not to say there aren't benefits to curry too, since it is a blend of several spices.
Try to get creative and test using turmeric and/or curry on various foods so you can benefit as much as possible from this potent super-spice...
Turmeric is very yellow and can stain so be careful when using it. This spice doesn’t have to be used just for curries. It is delicious on sautéed apples, or steamed cauliflower, green beans and onions, or any of your favorite veggies.
Try it with raw cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli, or with celery, sweet pepper, jicama or radishes. Turmeric is also a great spice to complement recipes that feature lentils. Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue and a little extra flavor by adding some turmeric powder to them.
Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it's fun to find new ways to use it in healthy recipes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Increase of cadmium in Drinking water, use of pesticides, excessive use of fertilizer & the use of Aluminum vessels contributed to Kidney failures.!!

President orders to open ‘Kidney Centre’ immediately

By Sandun A. Jayasekera

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva to make arrangements to open the ‘Kidney Transplant and Research Centre’ built at a cost of Rs. 450 million at Maligawatte immediately.

Though the construction and installation of machinery and equipment had been completed at the facility more than six months ago the opening had been delayed due to a dispute between the GMOA and the Consultants over the allocation of space at the Centre.

The GMOA vehemently opposed Professors and Consultants using the facility for research work while thousands of patients with renal failure were denied treatment at the state-of-the-art facility.

The Ministry spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayake said as a result Minister De Silva had a meeting with President Rajapaksa on the issue, after which the President has instructed the facility to be opened immediately.

The North-Central, North-West and Uva are the most affected provinces of renal failure with more than 30,000 cases reported.

Medical studies conducted so far have failed to pin point the exact single cause for this health issue.

However, it is believed that the increase of cadmium content in drinking water the use of pesticide, excessive use of fertilizer and the use of aluminum vessels have contributed to cause renal failures.

The new seven-storied centre at Maligawatte is equipped with all modern facilities including surgeries, transplant and dialysis equipment, Mr. Wanninayake said.