Odds and Ends

Eternal City on VIP’s next travel itinerary

The big man is to fly to Rome and meet the Pope. He is expected to spend a day in the Eternal City, and the cost is estimated at US$150,000 (excluding travel expenses). He will travel on a special UL flight. The minister’s entourage will comprise about 50 persons (including ladies-in-waiting, etc, etc).

Meanwhile, the FM is “smuggling in” about 10 persons, most of whom will travel commercial (so as to avoid being part of the main entourage). The ministry secretary was dropped at the last minute.
After Rome, the Turkey leg of the journey (two to three days) will cost close to double the cost of the Vatican jaunt (monies have already been forwarded to our envoys in Italy and Israel).

Because meetings with the Italian president and the French prime minister were denied, the FM had to settle for the Vatican. This came about through Bishop Malcolm Ranjith, who enjoys a senior post under the Pope.

The person accompanying the FM on both visits is the “himin” guy, the person who decides who attends what meeting and just about everything else. The agendas for both visits are still being fine-tuned. According to accounting personnel within the establishment, the final cost of the whole outing (board, lodging, security, cars, special planes, commercial tickets, special entertainment, costs for ambassadors, etc) could come a round ballpark figure of US$1+6 zeros.Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the Big Guy on the FM’s upcoming trip:

“Arun dennagen kisi wedak naney” – when appointments with the Italian and French leaders were not coming through (both ambassador appointees being his personal choices);

“Ara Bishopta pin sidda wenna thamai paap wahanse balanna labenne” – Bishop Malcolm having arranged the papal audience;

“Sure ekata amathiya minihage rela kohoma hari geniyanawa” -– RB will certainly take along his folk.

Official loses appetite in Parliament canteen

The Acting Secretary General of Parliament paid a surprise visit to the Parliament staff canteen last week and found it in a highly unsatisfactory state. He summoned those in charge of the canteen maintenance and told them it was their duty to make the canteen a pleasant place to have a meal. Staff are looking forward to improvements and a more appetizing dining ambience.

Karuna was life and soul of the party

There was a birthday party last week for non-Cabinet Power and Energy Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

One of the guests at the party was TMVP Parliamentarian Vinyagamoorthy Muralitharan, popularly known as Karuna.

The rebel-turned-politician surprised everyone with a show of musical talent by singing a medley of Tamil songs. Needless to say, the guests were delighted.

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