Last week’s Café item headlined “Norway diplomatic position raises questions”, has now taken a new twist. The hapless Sri Lankan envoy to Oslo is being given the run-around and asked to sign an agreement prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he will serve only a two-year term after he reaches the age of [...]


Oslo envoy victimised again to make way for political appointee


Last week’s Café item headlined “Norway diplomatic position raises questions”, has now taken a new twist.
The hapless Sri Lankan envoy to Oslo is being given the run-around and asked to sign an agreement prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he will serve only a two-year term after he reaches the age of 60. His two-year term after he reaches the age of 60 happens to be next month.

This turn of events occurred despite the envoy, Jayantha Palipana, a widely respected career diplomat who was deprived the top job of Foreign Secretary and sent to Norway instead of being originally on a three-year contract.

Mr. Palipana, a one-time ambassador to Germany, has been the victim thrice over now. Apart from an early set back when he was not recruited to the Foreign Service even when he scored high marks at the entrance examination, he faced the wrath of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government when he was ambassador in Japan and refused to endorse a sleazy Osaka based operation that was to bring questionable Buddha relics from Sri Lanka under the patronage of the Sri Lankan Government.

It was on this occasion that the then Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake was temporarily detained at Narita airport and Minister Basil Rajapaksa attended the Osaka con-show of Buddha relics from Sri Lanka. It was said at the time, the Japanese conmen who organised the exposition of the hitherto unknown relics from a Ratnapura temple were to fund the dagobas the Rajapaksas wanted to build in the nine provinces to herald the defeat of the LTTE. Poor Mr. Palipana paid the price for doing his job by his country. He was sent to Qatar instead.

Having been singled out for unjust treatment by the Rajapaksa regime, then came the stab-in-the-back by the yahapalana lot to deprive him of the top job in the ministry. He was overlooked and sent to Norway. Now comes this. All this while political appointees who know next to nothing of diplomacy – the diplo-mutts, bat on till well past into their septuagenarian years.
All this is to make way for a lady academic who has one foot in Australia and one foot in Sri Lanka and the “right connections” to become an ambassador.


Controversy over CID’s move to quiz journalist
A twitter message that appeared on the official twitter account of the President’s media was at the centre of an investigation by the CID.
BBC’s Colombo based journalist Azzam Ameen who had re-tweeted the message was initially told to appear before the CID on Thursday to make a statement, but he was subsequently told he need not call over.

This was after news got around that there may be a protest by media groups near the CID headquarters. Mr Ameen was informed by the President’s Office that his presence before the CID was not required.

However, Mr Ameen said that since he had received a call from the CID, the matter could be dropped only if the CID said so. It was only then that he got a call from the CID that there was no need to show up. The Police then went further to make sure Mr Ameen did not show up despite the telephone call. So on Wednesday night two policemen called over at the journalist’s residence and handed over a message saying that it was not necessary for him to call over at the CID head office on the following day.

It was all over a reply to a tweet which appeared in the President’s official twitter account saying “You are a wonderful speaker. But how do you ensure they turn into action. Show by doing!” Advice to President Sirisena from his own @PMDNewsGov.
But, the PMD itself had found the answer. In another tweet it said ‘It seems for a brief moment the @PMDNewsGov twitter was compromised. The account has now been recovered and PMD is investigating the matter’.

The question among the journalists was when the President’s Office itself had acknowledged that the twitter account had been ‘compromised’ , why was the CID going the extra mile to question a journalist who re-tweeted the message.

‘Keep places clean’ slogans in wrong places
The purpose of the anti-dengue campaigns has been to create awareness to keep the places clean and thereby minimise dengue breeding areas.

But, these sign boards put up in the Beruwala area seem to give a negative message to the campaign.
When the authorities are trying to get Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s message across to the people, they should be more careful to keep at least the surroundings of the hoardings clean.

Rajapaksas delighted by Mahathir’s comeback
The re-election of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister of Malaysia after a lapse of 15 years has been received with much delight by those in the former regime. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is vying to come back to power was quick to congratulate the 92-year-old Malaysian leader.

Mahathir Mohamad

He wished the new Malaysian leader via his twitter account sending out “warm congratulations to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on his historic victory and being sworn in as Prime Minister of Malaysia once again.”

His son, Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, too, was quick to congratulate Dr. Mahathir. He congratulated him on his “remarkable win” and wished the very best for the new leader and the Malaysian people.

Maharagama UC: What was the chairman doing at 2 a.m.?
The Maharagama Urban Council, which was in the centre of a controversy after an independent group backed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Permuna (SLPP) won the recent local elections, still remains in the spotlight.
One of the reasons is that a majority of the members who ended up on the winning side are reportedly from the Badalgama area in the Gampaha district and do not turn up for meetings.

But, at last week’s meeting, the council’s chairman was asked by Opposition members as to why he obtained the keys to the Council’s chamber from the Maharagama Police around 2.00 a.m recently.
The chairman had sent one of his drivers to obtain the keys and open the premises.

Opposition members raised the query as to what official duty the chairman had to enter the premises at that ungodly hour.
The answer was that he was checking whether the workers “were performing their duties to serve the people”.
But, opposition members were not satisfied and pointed out that there were important files in the council and opening the premises at 2 a.m. was something that had never happened in the long history of the council.

They have now got an assurance from the chairman that he would not repeat what he did. On Friday, Maharagama area community leaders were called for a meeting at the council– it was the first after the February 10 election. The chairman arrived well after the scheduled time, that too in a track-bottom and deck-shoes showing all the tell-tale signs he was coming after his exercises at the gym.

Meanwhile, residents are in a quandary over several unsettled issues, including the piles of garbage on the roadside.
The SLPP’s initial plan had been to get the member of the independent group it supported to resign and get its members appointed, but that has not worked out so far.

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