Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Of bird flu and suicide vests

Two little articles in today's Daily News caught my attention. One was that a large number of chickens had died in a farm in Bingiriya, Kurunegala. The dead poultry had the symptoms of bird flu but, according to the report they may not have died from it.

This is a fairly serious matter. We have had many fears of a bird flu outbreak before but this is the first time that there seems to be a confirmed case. Adequate precautions need to be taken because if the virus is of a type that spreads to people many can die. China has attempted to cover of outbreaks of SARS, swine flu and bird flu before, resulting in the disease spreading further and claiming more victims. The 'China model' is worshiped in many quarters, lets hope that it will not be followed, in this instance at least.

The other story was that a suicide vest discovered in Kataragama was five years old. When the Emergency Regulations were in place, there was a 'discovery' of a stock of arms on a monthly basis, usually in the week preceding the date when parliament would need to extend the Emergency Regulations. Now that all of the Emergency Regulations (plus a few more) have been permanently enshrined within the PTA there has been no need to extend these regulations and the 'finds' of weapons have also halted. Therefore it is quite likely that this is indeed a genuine find. The question is who put it there and for what purpose? Information is never easy to come by but lets see if any further news develops. Eight people have been arrested, according to the Island, which gave the story more prominence. No arrests were made, according to the Daily News.

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