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Consumption of Coconut: Myths and truth

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By H. A. Aponso

Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, University of Peradeniya

It was reported a few weeks ago that a Professor of Nutrition and his Research team had reported that consumption of coconut had harmful effects. This news item seems to have caused a scare which I believe was not the intention of the researchers. Perhaps this is not their final report on the topic.

Coconut

is incorporated into most Sri Lankan food preparations in many forms -grated kernel, coconut milk, coconut oil, etc. Sri Lankans get most of their energy requirements from the coconut fat; also small amounts of protein, calcium and iron, from the kernel and milk. After squeezing out the milk from the grated kernel, the left over is often thrown away, or fed to the chickens or pigs, which thrive on it. It is referred to as coconut refuse (pol-kudu), a derogatory term in Sri Lankan parlance; a better term is low-fat coconut. Poonac, which is the left-over after obtaining the oil from dried coconut kernel (copra), is excellent fodder for cattle. Coconut refuse contains significant amounts of carbohydrate and protein; it is actually low-fat coconut. Can coconut refuse be used in human diet? Is it digestible? If sambol and mellun (made with grated kernel) is digestible, why not coconut refuse, which is grated coconut from which some carbohydrate, fat, protein, and water has been extracted? It is not suggested that coconut refuse should be a principal article of food in our daily diet! However, considering the escalating cost of coconuts, the time has come for us to incorporate it into our food preparations rather than throwing it into the garbage. It can very well be added to sambol, melluns, (together with some fresh grated coconut), without interfering too much with the taste or flavour. Coconut refuse can be used entirely or mixed with grated coconut in preparations such as roti and pittu . It is specially useful in the diet of those who should avoid the fat in coconut, as explained below. It also contains dietary fibre, which is known to bring down the level of cholesterol. Thus, it is of value for the overweight and those whose cholesterol levels need watching.

 

The fat in coconut has a high level of saturated fat. The P/S ratio, the ratio of polyunsaturated fats to saturated fat is very low. [When the saturated fat content is high, as in coconut fat, this ratio becomes low; when the saturated fat is low and the unsaturated fat is high, as in corn oil or soya oil, the ratio becomes high.] This has caused an unnecessary fear and controversy about consuming coconut. However, it should be noted that the coconut fat consists largely of “medium chain fatty acids”, such as lauric acid. These fatty acids are metabolised to produce energy. They have beneficial effects on the heart, in view of their function of reducing triglycerides,Total and LDL cholesterol, increasing HDL, and improving blood coagulation factors and antioxidants. They are reported to be useful in managing Alzheimer’s disease. Lauric acid is also claimed to kill harmful germs, and thereby to prevent infections. Coconut kernel, as pointed out earlier, contains carbohydrates, proteins and fibre, in addition to the fat. Recent studies in Sri Lanka and abroad indicate that when coconut oil is consumed, along with coconut kernel in any form, HDL the ‘good’ cholesterol is increased, and LDL the ‘bad’ cholesterol — reduced. It is reported from Kerala ( India ), that an amino-acid, arginine, which is present in the protein of the kernel in coconut, counteracts the harmful effects of a high cholesterol diet by manipulatng the levels of free radicals. It has been reported that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil, have a curative effect on diseses such as Alzheimer’s Dementia, Parkinson’s Disesae and even Schizophrenia

Considering the above-mentioned facts regarding coconut, it can be said that coconut is a nutritious food about which there should be no fear of causing an increase in the levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), except in those who consume large amounts of animal fats, such as fatty meats (pork, bacon, etc), milk and milk products (butter, ghee, curd, yoghurt, cheese, etc) and egg yolk, all of which are high in cholesterol. Those who are unable to cut down the regular use of high-cholesterol foods are well advised to cut down their intake of coconut fat / oil. It is the cumulative effects of the intake of such foods, very often in the form of fast foods, which have recently become a part of our food culture, and the increasing tendency to a sedentary and stressful life style that is causing a concern about the consumption of coconut, as opposed to the earlier era when these adverse conditions were minimal.

Before 1970, coconut oil was freely used in the USA and in Europe for baking and frying food without any health complaints. However, starting in the 1970s, some very powerful groups in the U.S., including the American Soybean Association (ASA), the Corn Products Company (CPC International), and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) began to categorically condemn all saturated oils used for food preparation on the grounds that they are not safe for human health. Unsubstantiated stories were used to convince the public that all saturated fats were unhealthy, when in fact saturated fats rich in medium-chain fatty acids like Lauric acid have been scientifically proven to be exceptionally healthy. Such baseless propaganda was carried out with the intention of undermining the salient position held by coconut oil in the edible oil market and in the minds of the people around the world. Learning blindly from them, even doctors in Asia who were not aware of the real benefits of coconut oil restricted people from consuming coconut oil on health grounds.The result was that most people switched to soya oil and sunflower oil for food preparation ratherthan coconut oil which contains Lauric acid, and as a result the main source of Lauric acid from tropical oils in the European and American diet was lost. However, wrongly accused of being the factor responsible for increasing harmful cholesterol and health disorders by the Westin 1990s, coconut oil is now revered, held in high esteem, and is in fact used by doctors in the treatment of a variety of disorders. Clinical studies have shown that coconut oil has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, and is now even used in treating AIDS patients. There are companies in Europe and the USA that sell coconut oil for medical applications such as incorporating into antibiotics given intra venous. However, they never call it “Physically Refined Coconut Oil’/ virgin coconut oil containing a high Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) value, and instead call it “MCT” and sell it for pharmaceutical applications at very high prices. Contrary to their earlier theory that coconut oil contains ‘cholesterol’, now, the TNT spray given as a first aid to heart patients to improve oxygen supply to the heart, produced in the UK and marketed at a very high price under the trade name JPN spray, contains coconut oil as the solvent. The reason for that too is the dilation effect caused by MCT in the coconut oil by relaxing muscles; which promotes free flow of blood.

The US medical journal writer, Dr. Bruce Fife, a naturopathic doctor and the author of the book “The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil” says that Coconut oil is the healthiest edible oil on earth. Modern scientific research backs this bold statement.”More than 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut fat is Lauric acid, which is a medium chain fatty acid. It has the additional beneficial function of being converted into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal body to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, influenza and various other pathogenic bacteria. Some studies have also shown the antimicrobial effects of free lauric acid. In nineteen seventies, unsubstantiated stories were used to convince the public that All Saturated Fats were unhealthy, when in fact saturated fats rich in medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid were scientifically proven to be exceptionally healthy. US scientists agree that unhealthy Low Density Lipids (LDL) are not found in coconut oil. Instead, coconut oil has health safe HDL (High Density Lipids).HDL removes cholesterol and carries it back to the liver, which flushes it from the body. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because having high levels of itcan reduce the risk ofheart diseases and stroke.

If coconut oil actually helps reduce cholesterol and if it’s healthy, how can we get the health benefits of coconut oil? Most of the coconut oil producers in Sri Lanka do not follow quality and food safety procedures. Even the specifications given in the SLS standards are not defined to identify the “Chemically refined” or “Physically refined” process. What should the SLSI talk about or specify in their standards? They should set standards in such a way that those brands which carry SLSI logo should be free of toxins, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and high peroxide values, which are the main causes of health problems attributed to coconut oil usage. A clinical and laboratory survey carried out by a group of eminent scientists and doctors in Sri Lanka found that of branded and non-branded coconut oils commonly sold in super markets in Colombo, only physically extracted coconut oilhad peroxide levels and chemical residue levels within the accepted health safe limits. Rest of the branded oils, some of them even with the SLS mark, had those parameters at the high risk level. The paper was published at the annual sessions of the Institute of Chemistry in 2013. The report is also available in the Medical Journal of Sri Lanka. Subsequent to this study, the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) too has been keen on revising the SLS standards including the above parameters which are useful to the consumer in selecting an oil for food applications. Taking a step forward, CDA also carried out a study. The results showed that even some of the brands which carry the SLS mark contained harmful D1-Toxin in them. Now the standards for coconut oil which is commonly used by the general public are under review. Subsequently,the CDA recommended SLSI to do necessary changes in standards and it was also communicated to the Health Ministry. Even though SLSI (Sri Lanka Standard Institute) accepted the proposal to revise the standards, it still hasn’t been done.

Hence, it is high time that we set proper standards for coconut oil and execute them in the market as many of parties are manipulating within the current legal framework in place. Historically, we have been a healthy nation and it’s time to set proper standards to make sure that the consumers are protected when buying coconut oil. Coconut is gaining confidence and acceptance around the world and as a result the same countries that undermined coconut oil are today embracing it back as they have realized the true value of coconut. — Misconception about health benefits of coconut oil — Dr L.M.K.Tillekeratne, Retired Professor of Chemistry, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, December 2015.

Note that it is not the consumption of coconut that has given rise, in recent times, to an increasing incidence of coronary heart disease, (due to increasing levels of cholesterol ), but the change in lifestyle (from the healthy physical activity of earlier times to sedentary habits) and diets heavy laden with fat and cholesterol

Those who have diseases due to atherosclerosis, such as coronary heart disease or strokes, or those who have a strong family history of such diseases, should also cut down the coconut oil, unless it is taken together with significant amounts of coconut kernel. Such people should get used to preparations made from soya, soya oil, corn oil, etc.

Warning: It is reported that coconut oil is often adulterated with cheaper vegetable oils, such as palm oil, which are saturated and do not have the beneficial effects of pure coconut oil; virgin coconut oil, which is a little more expensive, is not adulterated

Also, if the same coconut oil is used over and over again in frying, the fatty acids would be converted to tranfatty acids

 

(The writer has had a training in Nutrition at the International Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad)

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Most Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa Uttareethara Maha Nayaka Thera turns 88

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It was in the year 1803 that there was a renaissance within the Maha Sangha (the Great Community of Buddhist Monks) in Sri Lanka thereby adding a fresh chapter to the history of the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. This was when the Most Venerable Welitara Sri Gnanawimala Thera, the Great Prelate received the Upasampada or the Higher Ordination in Burma, returned to Sri Lanka and established the Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaya. (The name of this monk is embellished with traditional appellations such as Bodhisattva Gunopetha or being imbued with the qualities of a Bodhisattva or Buddha-Aspirant, and Preacher to King and Emperor.)

Thus the Amarapura Nikaya, which began with this Most Venerable Thera, later spread itself very rapidly down five generations of the Sangha spanning the entire Island. These generations of the Sangha organized themselves into 22 Nikayas. This was with the blessings of each of the Mahanayakas. They also preserved the identity of each such Nikaya.

In Sri Lanka, Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha was formed in 1952 with the concurrence of 15 of these subsidiary Nikayas. Presidents of the Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha have been;

1. the Most Venerable Prelate Beruwela Siri Nivasa Thera

2. the Most Venerable Mapalane Pannalankara Maha Nayaka,

3. the Most Venerable Uddammita Dhammarakhita Maha Nayaka,

4. the Most Venerable Balangoda Ananda Maithri Maha Nayaka

5. the Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Maha Nayaka.

In the year 1962 all 22 Sub-Nikayas came together to form a more organized and properly constituted Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha. It was the Most Venerable Agga Maha Panditha Balangoda Ananda Maithri Thera who was installed as President and has been succeeded by;

1. the Most Venerable Dhammavansha Thera,

2. the Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha,

3. the Most Venerable Ahungalla Wimalanandi,

4. the Most Venerable Kandegedara Sumanavansha,

5. the Most Venerable Boyagama Wimalasiri,

6. the Most Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa and

7. the Most Venerable Dodampahala Chandrasiri.

The Most Venerable Chief Prelate Ganthune Assaji Thera is the current chair.

In terms of the Constitution approved in 1992, an Office of Supreme Prelate (Uttareethara Mahanayaka) was created, and the first to hold this office was the Most Venerable Madihe Pannaseeha Mahanayaka Thera who was succeeded by Most Venerable Davuldena Gnaneesara Thera. After his demise the Most Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa Thera, who turns eighty-eight today assumed and continues to be the Uttareethara Mahanayaka.

He was born on 26th January 1933 and ordained as a monk with the permission of his parents, on 17th August 1948. He received his Higher Ordination on 10th July 1954 at the Udakkukhepa Seemamalakaya set up on the River named the Kalu Ganga in Kalutara.

He had his training and primary instruction in the Buddha Dhamma from his Venerable Preceptors, later entered the Paramadhamma Chetiya Pirivena for his education. It was at the Maha Pirivena in Maligakanda where he received his Higher Education in three languages, under the shadow and tutelage of the Most Venerable Pandita Baddegama Piyaratana Thera.

With the demise of his preceptor, Dhammavasa Thera became the Prelate of the Dharmapala-arama Viharaya in Mount Lavinia. By this time he had already become very popular by broadcasting and delivering sermons in temples and in private homes, contributing to articles disseminating the Dhamma, and articles on topical subjects through the full-moon day publication entitled “Budusarana”, then to daily newspapers, and to the Vesak Annuals published by M D Gunasena & Co., Dinamina etc.

The Thera was also engaged in social welfare activities of the area by setting up Children’s and Young Persons’ Societies within the Vihara.

With the passage of time and the demise of remarkably eloquent monks such as the Most Venerable Narada Thera, Prelate of the Vajira-aramaya, Heenatiyana Dhammaloka, Kotikawatte Saddhatissa, Pitakotte Somananda, Kalukondayawe Pannasekera and other such classic preachers, Kotugoda Dhammavasa Thera stands out as a prime orator among those who came to the limelight after the days of the erudite monks of yesteryear.

Owing to the ceaseless invitations to deliver sermons extended to our Venerable Thera he travelled to various regions of the Island, yet fulfilling all his duties pertaining to his own Nikaya and to the work of the Sangha Sabha neglecting nothing whatever. With all this he continued to participate in the discharge of the infinite services expected of all erstwhile office bearers of the Sangha Sabha.

Our respected Thera was gradually chosen to hold various posts within the Amarapura Nikaya. Some such are his appointment in 1970 as an ordained member of the Working Committee and to the Post of Honorary Prelate (Maha Nayaka); in 1981 as the Chief Ecclesiastical Sangha Nayaka; and in 1990 as the Deputy Chief (Anunayaka) of the Amarapura Nikaya. At the same time it is because of his quality of being industrious that he was elected the Secretary (Lekhakadhikari).

The Venerable Anunayaka Thera who served the Maha Sangha Sabha of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaya with great dedication, in order to ensure its unity and advancement, was in 1980 appointed its Co-Secretary (Sama Lekhakadhikari) and in 1992 as its Chief Secretary (Maha Lekhakadhikari) It is only appropriate to place on record that during this period of about fifteen years he performed a very special quality of service to the Sasana by updating the Amarapura Sangha Sabha; by setting up a Kathikavata (Ecclesiastical Edict) for the Amarapura Nikaya (whereby ‘rules governing the discipline and conduct of Buddhist monks including matters related to the settlement of disputes’ together with a Sanghadhikarana Panatha (i.e. an Ecclesiastical Act) were drafted and approved; and finally by drafting a strong, formal Constitution and obtaining approval for same.

It was on 17th December 2016 that the Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa Anunayaka Thera became the Mahanayaka of the Amarapura Nikaya, and that on a proposal made by none other than the Most Venerable Agga-maha-panditha Ambalangoda Sumangala Maha Nayaka Thera who, at the time, was himself the incumbent.

On 3rd October 2008 the Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa Maha Nayaka Thera was appointed to the post of Chairman, and it was on 26th May 2017 that he was elected Uttareethara Maha Nayaka or Supreme Maha Nayaka, which is the highest position within the Sri Lanka Amarapura Nikaya.

He has visited many countries in Asia and Europe disseminating the Dhamma and participating in Conferences thereby earning great international fame. Meanwhile he also serves as the incumbent monk of the Sri Lanka-aramaya in Myanmar and of the Charumathie Viharaya in Nepal.

In the matters of national and religious issues in the country he expresses his views in such a calm and collected manner that he has earned the respect of the Supreme Maha Nayaka Theras of other Nikayas and politicians both in power and in the Opposition and of intellectuals.

He has been honored with the title of “Agga Maha Panditha” by the Government of Myanmar. Although other honorary awards were conferred upon him by foreign countries and foreign institutions he does not use them, entirely because of his humble disposition.

At the end of and exposition of the Dhamma (a Dharma Desana) at Temple Trees His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa (who was then the incumbent President of the country) made an offering to him of about 14 perches of land in Wellawatte. Upon this land stands today, the “Office of the Sangha Sabha of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya”, a three-storied building replete with all conceivable facilities. It is a matter of great joy to us that in honour of the Most Venerable Kotugoda Dhammavasa Maha Nayaka Thera it was possible for us to make an offering of this building to the Buddha Sasana, on the 15th of August 2020.

We offer merit to His Excellency the President and the Honourable Prime Minister who are today attending to each and every need of our Supreme Maha Nayaka Thera in a spirit of extending infinite regard and respect to him, in appreciation of the national and religious service the Maha Thera has rendered.

Let us also gratefully place on record that the Honourable Sajit Premadasa, Leader of the Opposition, has provided an elevator as an offering to facilitate the caring for our Mahanayaka Thera.

I also wish to thank the Doctors, the Staff of the Nawaloka Hospital, Members of the Nikaya-abhivrudhi Dayaka Sabha (Organization for the Advancement of the Nikaya) and the Dayaka Sabha of the Mahanayaka’s Vihara and who are all providing medical care.

Arrangements were made by the Dayaka Sabha and the student monks to offer alms to the Sangha to mark the birthday of our Thera when he reached the age of 88, on 26th January 2021.

On 21st January 2021 at 7.00 p.m. a Bodhi Pooja was organized by the Amarapura Nikaya-abhivruddi Dayaka Sabha at the historic Kalutara Bodhi to invoke blessings upon our Supreme Maha Thera.

May the Supreme Maha Nayaka Agga Maha Panditha Kotugoda Dhammavasa Maha Nahimi live a life free from sickness and sorrow.

 

Deshamanya Ajita de Zoysa

Chairman

Sri Lanka Nikaya-abhivruddi Dayaka Sabha

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Govt.’s choice is dialogue over confrontation

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By Jehan Perera

Preparing for the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council cannot be easy for a government elected on a nationalist platform that was very critical of international intervention. When the government declared its intention to withdraw from Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the October 2015 resolution No. 30/1 last February, it may have been hoping that this would be the end of the matter. However, this is not to be. The UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report that will be taken up at the forthcoming UNHRC session in March contains a slate of proposals that are severely punitive in nature and will need to be mitigated. These include targeted economic sanctions, travel bans and even the involvement of the International Criminal Court.

Since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit in May 2009 just a few days after the three-decade long war came to its bloody termination, Sri Lanka has been a regular part of the UNHRC’s formal discussion and sometimes even taking the centre stage. Three resolutions were passed on Sri Lanka under acrimonious circumstances, with Sri Lanka winning the very first one, but losing the next two. As the country became internationally known for its opposition to revisiting the past, sanctions and hostile propaganda against it began to mount. It was only after the then Sri Lankan government in 2015 agreed to co-sponsor a fresh resolution did the clouds begin to dispel.

Clearly in preparation for the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva in March, the government has finally delivered on a promise it made a year ago at the same venue. In February 2020 Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena sought to prepare the ground for Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from co-sponsorship of UN Human Rights Council resolution No 30/1 of 2015. His speech in Geneva highlighted two important issues. The first, and most important to Sri Lanka’s future, was that the government did not wish to break its relationships with the UN system and its mechanisms. He said, “Sri Lanka will continue to remain engaged with, and seek as required, the assistance of the UN and its agencies including the regular human rights mandates/bodies and mechanisms in capacity building and technical assistance, in keeping with domestic priorities and policies.”

Second, the Foreign Minister concluding his speech at the UNHRC session in Geneva saying “No one has the well-being of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural people of Sri Lanka closer to their heart, than the Government of Sri Lanka. It is this motivation that guides our commitment and resolve to move towards comprehensive reconciliation and an era of stable peace and prosperity for our people.” On that occasion the government pledged to set up a commission of inquiry to inquire into the findings of previous commissions of inquiry. The government’s action of appointing a sitting Supreme Court judge as the chairperson of a three-member presidential commission of inquiry into the findings and recommendations of earlier commissions and official bodies can be seen as the start point of its response to the UNHRC.

 

 

NEGATIVE RESPONSE

 

The government’s setting up of a Commission of Inquiry has yet to find a positive response from the international and national human rights community and may not find it at all. The national legal commentator Kishali Pinto Jayawardene has written that “the tasks encompassed within its mandate have already been performed by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC, 2011) under the term of this President’s brother, himself the country’s Executive President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa.” Amnesty International has stated that “Sri Lanka has a litany of such failed COIs that Amnesty International has extensively documented.” It goes on to quote from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that “Domestic processes have consistently failed to deliver accountability in the past and I am not convinced the appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry will advance this agenda. As a result, victims remain denied justice and Sri Lankans from all communities have no guarantee that past patterns of human rights violations will not recur.”

It appears that the government intends its appointment of the COI to meet the demand for accountability in regard to past human rights violations. Its mandate includes to “Find out whether preceding Commissions of Inquiry and Committees which have been appointed to investigate into human rights violations, have revealed any human rights violations, serious violations of the international humanitarian law and other such serious offences.” In the past the government has not been prepared to accept that such violations took place in a way that is deserving of so much of international scrutiny. Time and again the point has been made in Sri Lanka that there are no clean wars fought anywhere in the world.

International organisations that stands for the principles of international human rights will necessarily be acting according to their mandates. These include seeking the intervention of international judicial mechanisms or seeking to promote hybrid international and national joint mechanisms within countries in which the legal structures have not been successful in ensuring justice. The latter was on the cards in regard to Resolution 30/1 from which the government withdrew its co-sponsorship. The previous government leaders who agreed to this resolution had to publicly deny any such intention in view of overwhelming political and public opposition to such a hybrid mechanism. The present government has made it clear that it will not accept international or hybrid mechanisms.

 

 

SEQUENTIAL IMPLEMENATION

 

In the preamble to the establishment of the COI the government has made some very constructive statements that open up the space for dialogue on issues of accountability, human rights and reconciliation. It states that “the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka is to continue to work with the United Nations and its Agencies to achieve accountability and human resource development for achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation, even though Sri Lanka withdrew from the co-sponsorship of the aforesaid resolutions” and further goes on to say that “the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensure that, other issues remain to be resolved through democratic and legal processes and to make institutional reforms where necessary to ensure justice and reconciliation.”

As the representative of a sovereign state, the government cannot be compelled to either accept international mechanisms or to prosecute those it does not wish to prosecute. At the same time its willingness to discuss the issues of accountability, justice and reconciliation as outlined in the preamble can be considered positively. The concept of transitional justice on which Resolution No 30/1 was built consists of the four pillars of truth, accountability, reparations and institutional reform. There is international debate on whether these four pillars should be implemented simultaneously or whether it is acceptable that they be implemented sequentially depending on the country context.

The government has already commenced the reparations process by establishing the Office for Reparations and to allocate a monthly sum of Rs 6000 to all those who have obtained Certificates of Absence (of their relatives) from the Office of Missing Persons. This process of compensation can be speeded up, widened and improved. It is also reported that the government is willing to consider the plight of suspected members of the LTTE who have been in detention without trial, and in some cases without even being indicted, for more than 10 years. The sooner action is taken the better. The government can also seek the assistance of the international community, and India in particular, to develop the war affected parts of the country on the lines of the Marshall Plan that the United States utilized to rebuild war destroyed parts of Europe. Member countries of the UNHRC need to be convinced that the government’s actions will take forward the national reconciliation process to vote to close the chapter on UNHRC resolution 30/1 in March 2021.

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Album to celebrate 30 years

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Rajiv Sebastian had mega plans to celebrate 30 years, in showbiz, and the plans included concerts, both local and foreign. But, with the pandemic, the singer had to put everything on hold.

However, in order to remember this great occasion, the singer has done an album, made up of 12 songs, featuring several well known artistes, including Sunil of the Gypsies.

All the songs have been composed, very specially for this album.

Among the highlights will be a duet, featuring Rajiv and the Derena DreamStar winner, Andrea Fallen.

Andrea, I’m told, will also be featured, doing a solo spot, on the album.

Rajiv and his band The Clan handle the Friday night scene at The Cinnamon Grand Breeze Bar, from 07.30 pm, onwards.

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