The former secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association (SLWJA) had told reporters then that he was not satisfied with the investigations into the assault in 2009. A newspaper Editor has been summoned by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to record a statement related to the assault on journalist Poddala Jayantha.The Editor of the Sinhalese language newspaper has been asked to appear before the CID tomorrow to record the statement. Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Poddala Jayantha fled the country in 2010 but returned last year to file a complaint with the CID as he wanted justice.He had said there was suspicion the suspects arrested earlier over the assault on journalist Keith Noyhar may have been involved in the assault on him. (Colombo Gazette) Former media activist Poddala Jayantha appeared before the CID in June last year to file a complaint over the ongoing investigations into an assault on him.
The world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal, and trade unions representing its employees across the globe yesterday signed a new and groundbreaking agreement to further improve health and standards throughout the company. The agreement, the first of its kind in the steel industry, recognises the vital role played by trade unions in improving health and safety. It sets out minimum standards in every site the company operates in order to achieve world class performance. These standards include the commitment to form joint management/union health and safety committees as well as training and education programs in order to make a meaningful impact on overall health and safety across the company.Also included in the agreement is the creation of a joint management/union global health and safety committee that will target plants in the group in order to help them to further improve their health and safety performance. The agreement was signed on June 3 by ArcelorMittal, the European Metalworkers’ Federation, the United Steelworkers and the International Metalworkers’ Federation.Commenting, ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO, Lakshmi N. Mittal said: “This agreement will build on the important work that we have already undertaken to date. Health and safety is our number one priority and in signing this agreement we hope to set a new benchmark for the industry. Innovation and a willingness to make bold decisions have been at the heart of our success. We are pleased to join our union partners and apply that same philosophy to our approach to health and safety”.Peter Scherrer, General Secretary of the European Metalworkers’ Federation, explained “We look forward to turning this agreement into more than just a piece of paper but a reality. Social dialogue and mutual respect are the foundations to any successful initiative and this agreement contains those principles”.Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers, added “Signing this agreement should act as a signal to other companies in the industry that unions are the solution to health and safety concerns, not the cause. Health and safety is the single most important issue for workers. It is satisfying that we have delivered this approach in the world’s number 1 steel company”.Marcello Malentacchi, General Secretary of the International Metalworkers’ Federation, concluded “In signing this agreement we are signalling our commitment to make a meaningful impact on current health and safety standards in the company. The success or failure of the agreement will depend on our continuing efforts to achieve our goal of every worker, whatever their position in the company, returning home safely at the end of each day”.
ALMOST TWO-THIRDS of Europe’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are still afraid to show their sexuality in public and most feel discriminated against, an EU report said Friday, the International Day Against Homophobia.“Fear, isolation and discrimination are everyday phenomena for the LGBT community in Europe,” the director of the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Morten Kjaerum, wrote in the report.The online survey, described as the largest of its kind, questioned around 93,000 people in the European Union’s 27 member states plus Croatia, which is to join the bloc in July.Just over a quarter (26 percent) of the respondents said that they had been physically or verbally assaulted over the last five years.TransgenderTransgender people suffered particularly, with 28 percent saying they had been attacked or threatened more than three times in the last 12 months because of their sexuality, the report said.Some respondents said that even in countries traditionally considered to be tolerant, attitudes were worsening.“My situations of harassment/discrimination/violence are mainly random acts of verbal aggression,” a 27-year-old gay Belgian wrote.The situation is worse now than it was, for example, four years ago.In The Netherlands, the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2001, almost 20 percent of those taking part said they felt discriminated against when going to sport clubs or hospitals, looking for an apartment, going out at night, or dealing with banks.The average figure across Europe was 32 percent, with the highest figures reported in Lithuania (42 percent); Croatia (41 percent); Bulgaria (40 percent); and Romania (39 percent).Many said they were afraid to go to the police, including in France where the beating of a gay couple in April hit the headlines after pictures of the bloodied face of one of the victims spread across social media.“(I am) reluctant to report anything that might indicate that I am gay, as I know (the police) just dismiss everything,” a 42-year-old Frenchman said.And a 32-year-old Czech lesbian said: “For me, the most alarming discrimination experienced is in health.I feel strong enough to deal with street harassment now, but I feel upset about having to justify my lifestyle to every doctor.PublicTwo-thirds of respondents and three-quarters of gay men said they were afraid to show their sexuality in public.The FRA report noted that discrimination often begins at school, where two-thirds of respondents hid their sexual orientation.“Ten years later, I still consider being bullied at school the worst form of homophobic abuse I’ve ever been subjected to,” said a gay Maltese man, 25.The constant insults for being effeminate (‘and therefore gay’) were unbearable at school, and not much action was taken by the teachers against the bullies! Bullying forced me to remain in the closet until I reached the age of 18.“Member states must take care that LGBT students feel secure at school, given that that is where LGBT people’s negative experiences, social prejudice and exclusion often begins,” the FRA said.The United Nations has launched its own education campaign, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reassuring the world’s LGBT community: “You are not alone.”- © AFP, 2013Read: Horrific murder fuels fears of rising homophobia in Russia>