Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne has just returned to Sri Lanka after undergoing treatment in a Singapore Hospital.
Visiting him this week was President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a group of ministers and officials.
Rajapaksa asked Jayaratne what his ailmentwas. He said he had a problem with an ear. The doctors in Singapore had diagnosed it as an infection. They have given him medication.
"Don't start work until you fully recover," said Rajapaksa.
An accompanying official asked Premier Jayaratne whether he had any visitors at the hospital. "Yes, Duminda Silva, who is in the same hospital visited me. He is still undergoing treatment."
Of course, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had also done so.
Little news, more speculation from MEA
Either wittingly or unwittingly, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama let the slip show at a news conference on Wednesday at the Presidential Secretariat.
A reporter said the Ministry did not disseminate "sufficient news". There was a huge gap, he noted.
Replied Amunugama: "We do not respond to speculation. There is the Minister's Bureau which issues press releases when there is an event about him. In this type of event (he was alluding to the recent visit to Britain by President Rajapaksa and an entourage), the Presidential Secretariat issues such press releases."
As a result of this, there appears to be little for the MEA. Other than those two sources from which media statements originate, the rest, it seems, is speculation. That is even if Amunugama did not say so.
National Hospital hails Attanayake's example
Last Monday UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa arrived at the residence of his party's General Secretary Tissa Attanayake with a cake in hand. He had bought it from the popular pastry shop, Fab. "mama seeni wedi kemak aragena awa" (I have brought you something which has more sugar), Premadasa said handing the cake to Attanayake.
"Ekata kamak nehe. Mata seeni prashanayak nehe. Mata thaama pani rasa kema kanna puluwani" ( No worries, I don't have sugar issues. I can still eat sweets, Attanayaka, who is recovering from an operation, replied.
After having a friendly chat, Premadasa left and Attanayake went to the National Hospital to remove sutures he had after surgery. Dr. Jayantha Liyanage, head of the Surgical Unit of the National Hospital, attended on Attanayake.
After removing the sutures, Dr. Liyanage commended him for taking treatment from the National Hospital. "Ape jathika rohala gena vishwasaya thiyala obathuma honda adarshayak dunna. Ekata isthuthiwantha wenwa. Meka jathika sampathak" (You have given a great example by placing confidence in the National Hospital. We are thankful for it. This is a national treasure), Dr Liyanage said.
Dental clinic at Fonseka ward
The "S Ward" at Welikada Jail, also known as the 'Vijaya Kumaratunga Ward' where former Army Commander was held is to be converted to a dental clinic.
The equipment for the clinic arrived last week and the work is to get under way soon, a senior Prison official said.
Fonseka gobbles kalu dodal at wedding
Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka attended a wedding in Ambalangoda last Sunday.
He was one of the signatories to the wedding of the daughter of one of Fonseka's classmates. The other signatory was UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake.
After the signing ceremony, both had traditional sweets prepared for the wedding. Fonseka was enjoying several pieces of kalu dodol (a sweetmeat made from coconut, sugar, jaggery and cashew nuts) "sahena kalekata passé kalu dodol kewe.
Mang podi kale indalama kalu dodol kanna harima asai" (I had kalu dodol after a long time. I liked to eat kalu dodol since my childhood), Fonseka said.
Old women claim they are more attractive than the young
UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa and Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Vijayalal De Silva attended the opening of a trade exhibition by the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce.
As they were leaving, a lady confronted them and said she had started a women's organisation in the district. "Eka man dannawa. Namuth eke okkoma inne wayasaka uadaviyane?" (I know that, but all members are old aren't they?) a smiling young Rajapaksa said.
"Api tikak wayasa thamai. Eth den inna tharuna ayata wada lassanai. Api sir-ge upandinyata cake aragena Carlton ekatath awa" (Yes, we are somewhat old. But we are more comely than the nowadays young. Can you recall that we came with a cake to Carlton on your birthday?), the woman asked.
Meanwhile, another lady confronted Chief Minister Vijayalal and said "Sir-ta mawa mathakada? Mama sir-wa make-up kala Thangalledi photo-shoot ekakata" (Sir, can you remember me? I did your make-up once for a photo shoot in Tangalla.)
"Make-up ekata amatharawa photo ekata inna mawa hinnessuwath oyane..mata mata mathakai…mun thaama pavichchi karanne e photo eka" (You made me laugh in addition to applying make up on me .I can remember that. I still use the same photo), de Silva said.
Eastern polls after Ramazan
Senior Ministers including Maithripala Sirisena, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa met Muslim party leaders to discuss the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council elections.
They first met A.L.M. Athaullah followed by Rishard Bathiuddin. In the afternoon they met with Rauff Hakeem and Hasan Ali of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.
Among other things, all Muslim parties requested that the Government skip the Ramazan period when conducting the elections. The holy Ramazan fast is due to begin in mid-July. Ministers consented to convey the message to the President.
Battle between Lee and UNCA widens
Matthew Russell Lee, the controversial blogger for Inner City Press facing expulsion from the UN Correspondents' Association (UNCA), is now training his guns at the "pro- Government" news media in Sri Lanka. At least one report in a Sunday newspaper said he could face "a jail term of up to six years."
Lee implicitly accused UNCA of being the source of this erroneous story. But in a letter to members last week, UNCA set the record straight. "The Sri Lankan news reports that UNCA is trying to evict him from the U.N. and that he could face jail time are false and did not come from UNCA. UNCA condemns in the strongest terms all threats against any journalist."
The letter also said: "Matthew Lee has also suggested that UNCA is somehow responsible for threats against him and negative reports about him in the Sri Lankan press. The suggestion that UNCA was somehow behind those reports or in any way condones such threats against him is a false and damaging claim".
But the threats, via e-mail, apparently came from "Sinhalese extremists", according to Lee, who is accused of being in the payroll of the LTTE. A decision to deny renewal of his UN media pass has to be taken by the UN Media Accreditation office, not UNCA. A Board of Examination elected by UNCA will decide whether he should be expelled from UNCA on charges of unethical and unprofessional conduct towards fellow UNCA members.
UNCA President Giampaolo Pioli is accused of having favoured Sri Lanka over the screening of a pro-Government video in the UN media briefing room primarily because he was Ambassador Palitha Kohona's one-time landlord when the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative was Chief of the UN Treaty Section about ten years ago. Pioli admits he was the landlord, but is vehemently denying the charge he was biased in favour of Sri Lanka -- and threatening to take Lee to courts.
Meanwhile, Kohona is quoted as saying he will call off the dogs (Alsatians?) if Lee issues a public apology to Kohona.
Mahipala's perahera shot at UNP elephant
A temple in Kegalle district conducted Mihindu perahera to mark the Poson festival last week.
The perahera had several cultural items and elephants. Wewaladeniye Raja, an elephant, participated in the perahera dressed in a brand new costume. It was worth more than Rs. 200,000.
It was arranged by Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath, through a donation from one of his friends. When the pachyderm walked in the perahera wearing the new clothes, the Chief Minister told others who were around, "Balanna, api dunne neththnam alinta den andum ayiththam ehmath nehe" (Look, if we don't give, elephants do not have anything to wear), implying the fate of the main opposition UNP whose symbol is the elephant.
Why is Sampanthan in India?
Tamil National Alliance Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan left for India last week.
Whilst some say he is there for medical treatment, others say he went to discuss political issues with Indian leaders and officials.
Top cop moved out after clash with judge
Transfer orders to the top cop posted to an important Colombo suburb came barely a month after he was posted.
The move followed a heated exchange of words he is reported to have had with a member of the judiciary over personal security issues.
The judicial officer in question had raised issue with senior political leaders who ordered that the top cop be shifted immediately.
Child unseats deputy minister
Minister Maithripala Sirisena was the chief guest at the launch of a nutrition programme for school children in the Moneragala District last week.
Other Ministers, deputies and MPs too were present. When it came to lighting the traditional oil lamp, all those present rose from their seats and surrounded the brass lamp.
When Deputy Minister Vijithamuni de Soysa returned to his seat, a young kid was seated on it. No amount of persuasion to unseat him worked.
So, de Soysa lifted the kid, kept him on his lap and sat down. The event was far from over when he got up, placed the kid in his seat and withdrew.
Shocking duty-free deal cancelled by angry VVIP
It is not only those in the business of flying people who are talking about it. Politicians and bureaucrats on the ground are among others for whom the news about the recent deal to operate duty free services in the air came as a shock.
It had been okayed by a newcomer bureaucrat after ousting a national carrier which has been performing this task from the beginning in its own fleet. It has been earning additional revenue through sales.
The story came to light after a VVIP, who returned from a trip abroad weeks earlier, asked the bureaucrat whether he was responsible for making the change.
With trepidation he replied "yes". Less said the better about what followed in the presence of politicians, bureaucrats and security staff. It was so explosive and in choice language. Orders went out immediately to reverse the deal.
The miffed bureaucrat is now blaming his boss's enterprising sibling. "When he tells me to do something, how can I say no?" he was heard telling a friend. However, insiders say he was very much a key player in the "negotiations". Though the "front" for the operation was a North American, they say, the force behind is a local businessman of Indian origin.
Mahanayake does not want more parties
The Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter has warned against the formation of new political parties.
This advice was given to Karu Jayasuriya, former deputy leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), when he called on him on the occasion of the Asgiriya Chapter marking its 700th anniversary.
The Mahanayake said, "If we create more parties, we create further divisions. We will never be able to develop the country."
Though he was the Mahanayake, Most Venerable Buddharakkhita Thera said he considered himself a small person. He said that even if Jayasuriya was no longer the deputy leader of the party, he was still a dayaka. "I once told him to join the Government and be a source of support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Having given this support, he rejoined his party. That was his duty," said the Most Venerable Thera.
Now that crude oil prices are down, the question being asked is whether a lot of grease was used to oil palms. A witty flier summed it up by saying "Miniha hondatama kepila" or the man has been 'cut' badly.