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Love story puts greedy cops in remand

A couple who say they had had parked their vehicle close to the Parliamentary grounds last week and were having a chat were interrupted when a police constable in uniform tapped on the driver's side shutter.

The constable was accompanied by two other policemen in uniform. When the driver lowered the shutter he was told that they wanted to take action against the couple for 'indecent behaviour.' The policemen claimed they were making love. The couple denied the claim.

But the policemen insisted that they would be taken to the Mirihana police and action would be initiated against them. Then the policemen demanded a bribe if they were to settle the matter without going to the Police. The young male offered to pay Rs. 2,000 and he was told it was not sufficient. He agreed to increase it to Rs. 2,500.

But, the policemen insisted they wanted at least Rs. 20,000 to settle 'this type of case'. He said he did not have the money in hand at that moment and would give them the money on the following day. The next day the youth accompanied by a friend handed over the Rs. 20,000 to the policemen.

However, they had taken note of a part of the name tag of the policemen. With the help of a Superintendent of Police known to them they made inquiries and traced one of the policemen who was attached to the Mirihana police. He admitted taking the bribe and confessed that two other policemen from the Homagama police station too were present with him.

All three policemen had not been assigned for any duties close to Parliament on that particular day and should have been present in the respective police stations. They now face charges of extortion in courts. The cops have been remanded till May 4.

Trouble at Thanthai Chelva meetings

An event had been organized in Jaffna to coincide with the 35th death anniversary of Tamil political leader S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and former Hindu Affairs Minister S.Rajadurai was invited to speak at the event last week.

At least one who was unhappy that Mr. Rajadurai was invited to the event was former TNA MP M.K.Sivajilingam. He decided to show his protest as the event began at the Chelvanayakam Square in Jaffna by carrying a black flag.

Sivajilingam said he was angry that Rajadurai had been a Cabinet Minister in the UNP government from 1977 onwards and continued to hold office when the PTA was enacted and the 1983 riots took place.
Other legislative enactments unfavourable to the Tamil people, he charged, were made but the latter had not objected to any of these moves.

There were some eyebrows raised at the Thanthai Chelva Memorial lecture held in Colombo where Prof. S. Pathmanathan was the keynote speaker. Both the professor and TNA Parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan chose to address the audience in English but this did not go down well with everyone present. Soon a translator was called in to overcome the situation.

JVP quotes Sunday Times disclosure

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna's Political Bureau met at the party office in Pelawatta last Wednesday to discuss the current political situation. Among other issues, Vijitha Herath explained the 'Secret Action Plan' External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris wants to present to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

All details he referred related to the issue were exclusively reported in the Sunday Times political commentary last week. He quoted references in the commentary, a JVP source who attended revealed. "Mey anduwa karamin inne pahath ganaye videsha prathipaththiyak mey anduwa kohomatath janathwata aththa kiyanne nehe.(This Government is doing a low kind of foreign policy.This Government never says the truth to the public)," Herath concluded in his remarks.

Ranil gets money from President for Jayalath

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week to seek financial assistance for UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena, who is undergoing treatment at East Surrey hospital in Britain.

Jayawardena has been recommended for heart surgery and is now waiting for the operation. He had sent documents related to his medical expenses to UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake.

Wickremesinghe spoke to the President after sending all documents to the President's Office. The President has reportedly promised to extend fullest support through the President's Fund. Jayawardena was informed accordingly by Attanayaka after Wickremesinghe's telephone call to the President.

Wildlife officials detect animal skin racket at Munneswaram Kovil

A group of 20 trainees and eight instructors of the Wildlife Department were heading to the Anavilundawa bird sanctuary in Chilaw as part of a field training programme.

The officials from the Giritale, Polonnaruwa Training Centre had decided to stop at the Muneswaram Kovil at Chilaw on the way. While they were there, some of them had noticed a man walking into the room of the 'pusari' with a parcel in hand and leaving it there.

Suspecting that something was amiss, they had wanted the parcel opened and true to their suspicion, they had found a leopard skin inside.

When they attempted to arrest the 'pusari" he had said the man who brought it had done so as part of a vow he made and called up that man and asked him to come back to the Kovil. When the man returned, the Wildlife officials had apprehended him and through him gathered information of a man in Negombo who had sold him the leopard skin.

Wildlife officials believe they have got a lead on a bigger racket that involves trade in animal skins and are questioning some others who have been involved in the case.

Sirikotha work on kachcheri wall

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe chaired a meeting with electoral organizers last week to discuss several matters. One of the organizers said,"Api Sirikotha pawarana ewa okkoma puluwan uparimayen karanwa.Namuth apata kisima agayeemak nehe. Sirikotha ewa pradarshanaya karanna puluwan karamayak hadanawanam hondai" (We do our best when Sirikotha assigns any task to us. But there is no appreciation. If they can be displayed in Sirikotha, that would be better).

Wickremesinghe quickly replied."Api obathumanalage sewaya agaya karanawa. Namuth obathumanla karana ewaye pragatheeya satahan wenna oney. Sirikothe nemei, kachcheriye biththiye thiyena kolaye" (We appreciate your work. But the progress of your work should not be displayed in Sirikotha. It should be displayed on the paper posted on the walls of the kachcheri).

UPFA members go for long hair and beard

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa attended the opening of an SLFP office in Kelaniya last week. When he met Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekara, he asked "Moko me rawula wawagena?" (Why have you grown the beard?)

"Nikam, Sir" (Just doing it, Sir) Wijesekara replied. "Den me mathi amathiwaru rawul,konda wawana eka style ekak welane?" ( Growing hair and the beard by MPs and Ministers has become a style now) Minister Rajapaksa said.

"Ai sir, Pandu amathithumath konde wawala thiyenne? (Minister Pandu also has grown his hair, don't you see sir? ) Wijesekara replied. "Meya me Wimalwa copy karanna hadanawa wage?" (He is trying to copy Wimal Weerawansa), Rajapaksa said.

Buddhist Flag for marathon

It was a New Year festivity organized by a Sunday School of a temple in Kaduwela. Minister Wimal Weerawansa was invited to flag the start of the marathon at the event.

He was given a Buddhist Flag. Instead of requesting for another flag to flag off the marathon Minister Weerawansa waved the Buddhist Flag.

Cabinet reshuffle star-stuck

The widely speculated Cabinet reshuffle is likely to be put off for at least a month, according to UPFA insiders. The reason: astrologically it was not advisable.

Top Pentagon post for one-time VOA, ICES man in Colombo

Vikram Singh, who managed a Ford Foundation project on South Asian minority rights at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo and later served as reporter for Voice of America (VOA) in Colombo, has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence in the Pentagon for South and Southeast Asia (SSEA).

"Vikram will be responsible for overseeing the development of policy for South and Southeast Asia, to include key relationships with allies such as Australia, Thailand, Philippines and strategic partners such as India and Singapore," acting Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, James Miller wrote in the note, obtained by The Cable, a news outlet. "Vikram will play a critical role in leading defence engagement with multilateral institutions in the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

Singh is already hitting the ground running. This week he is leading the U.S. delegation to the ASEAN defence senior officials meeting (ADSOM) in Cambodia.

Since October 2011, Singh served in the Pentagon policy shop as a senior advisor for Asian and Pacific security affairs, where he led an internal review on the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prior to that, he had been detailed from the Pentagon to the State Department as a deputy special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, serving under ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and Marc Grossman.

Pistols like mobile phones

The pictures below show why security officials place mobile phones on the scanner when checks are carried out at airports. Some of the mobile phones have turned out to be handy pistols as these photographs show.

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