7:20 AM

27 politicos got money from the LTTE

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy claimed he had ‘official evidences’ that 27 political leaders belonging to various parties in Tamil Nadu received money from the LTTE.

Speaking to reporters in India, he said he would go to the court with the evidence if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to take action against ‘those leaders’.

‘I have received official and authentic evidences from Sri Lanka that 27 political leaders in the State received money from the Tigers. I am ready to unveil the details in the court if the Prime Minister of India failed to initiate action against them,’ he said.

Swamy also named some leaders, including some popular ones, and alleged all of them were paid by the LTTE seeking their support.

7:15 AM

‘Four hundred babies born at Menik Farm every month’

‘Four hundred babies are born every month in IDP tents at Menik Farm, Vavuniya, and they are in need of considerable assistance and care’, Sarvodaya leader Dr A.T. Ariyaratne said yesterday while making a commemorative address in honour of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, at the SEDEC centre, Colombo.

Ariyaratne said that at the request of the health authorities at the Farm, Sarvodaya was able to put together and supply some 800 cots for the infants in a short period of time, although the initial requirement was 400 cots. ‘If Mother Theresa were alive today, she would have rushed to the IDP tents in Sri Lanka, to help the inmates there’, he quipped.

Stressing that Mother Theresa served the poorest of the poor in India, irrespective of communal and religious differences, Ariyaratne explained that the Mother mostly served Hindus and Muslims and that she ‘wanted them to practise their religions better.’ She never sought to convert them to Christianity, he pointed out. ‘This notorious act of converting people by giving them handouts or all kinds of favours is a shame and has led to many religious conflicts and violence in many countries. We should oppose and do away with this evil practice and help people to practise their religion better’, he explained.

In an informal exchange with this journalist, the Sarvodaya chief said that the situation of the Northern IDPs had improved over the months, although conditions were difficult when they rushed to the camps at the closing stages of the military conflict. Sarvodaya is helping out in the camps at present, he said.

7:13 AM

30,000 IDPs to be resettled

All arrangements are in place to resettle 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 35 villages in the Vavuniya District, Northern Province Governor G.A Chandrasiri said.
The Governor, who was on an inspection tour in those villages pointed out that, 7,795 families will be resettled in 35 villages on the directions of the Chairman of the Uthuru Vasanthaya Task Force, Senior Presidential Advisor MP Basil Rajapaksa.

The Governor inspected the Grama Niladari divisions in Maruthankulam, Norochchchimodei, Pranddikal, Salampaikulam, Pampemadu and Salampaikulam village and addressed the officials on the needs of the people.

Meanwhile, the government has taken steps to clean up these villages and provide water, electricity and roads. These villages have been affected by the LTTE for nearly 20 years.

Major General Chandrasiri also said the resettlement programme will be completed within the next few weeks and expressed his gratitude for the officials and the security forces for their cooperation.

Brigadier Priyantha Napagoda, SLFP Chief Organiser in Vavuniya, Premarathna Sumathipala, Vavuniya DIG and relevant government and security forces officials participated in this event.

7:05 AM

Visa-less passenger had won UK court ruling against eviction

The British High Commission last week explained the circumstances under which Ms. A. Krishnapillai had been assisted by its staff to travel to the UK without a visa.

She had won a UK court ruling about her previous eviction from that country under its immigration procedures and the (UK) Court of Appeal ruling in her favour had asked the UK Border Agency to reconsider the case.

This agency instructed that Krishnapillai be returned to the UK. She traveled without a visa because there was no category of visa that could be issued to her and the high commission had facilitated her return through the BIA with the full authority of Sri Lankan immigration officials to whose satisfaction the matter had been explained.

The high commission said that there is discretion within UK legislation to allow the visa requirements to Sri Lankan nationals to be waived in certain cases and this was one of those.