Prime Minister Narendra Modiis  “not only the leader of the largest democracy in the world, but also a leader with the largest popular mandate in the world,” declared India’s cherubic High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu at a recent lecture. True, there are more attributes to describe Premier Modi. One that did not go unnoticed during [...]


Namal to wed on Modi’s birthday


Prime Minister Narendra Modiis  “not only the leader of the largest democracy in the world, but also a leader with the largest popular mandate in the world,” declared India’s cherubic High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu at a recent lecture.

"Looking like two dolls":Mahinda Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa in the traditional, immaculate white national dress and kurakkan shawl (File pix)

True, there are more attributes to describe Premier Modi. One that did not go unnoticed during his four-hour visit to Sri Lanka last Sunday was his ability to recognise faces.

NamalRajapaksa looked very much a replica of his father Mahinda in the traditional, immaculate white national dress and the kurakkan shawl around his neck. The difference, as one Indian close protection group guy said, was the size. One was bigger and the other smaller. “They look like two dolls,” he joked.

They were gathered at India House, the official residence of the Indian High Commissioner, on Thursday Road.. Also, on hand was the usually smiling Dinesh Gunawardena, the Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna (SLPP) leader in Parliament. They were awaiting the arrival of Premier Modi who was at the JanadipathiMandiraya (President’s House) for President MaithripalaSirisena’s lunch banquet.

The Indian Premier arrived and greeted the trio. He then spoke on a range of issues with Rajapaksa and Gunawardena. Premier Modi remembered meeting Namal when he visited New Delhi together with his father in Septemberlast year. “How are you,” he asked Namal with a broad smile. The young Rajapaksa’s answer was something which many Sri Lankan damsels have been waiting for.

“I am getting married on September 17,” he replied. Premier Modi asked him “Can you tell me why you chose September 17?” Namal appeared somewhat nonplussed and even nervous. “I don’t know. It’s just a date,” he responded. It took Papa Rajapaksa to say that was an auspicious day.

“You know why I asked you that question,” Premier Modi queried and added “it is my birthday.” Mr. Modi was born in 1950.Namal has chosen a good date, he declared to the laughter of many around. By this time, an aide had reminded the Indian Premier for the third time that it was time to leave for the airport.

Who is the lucky lady who is ending Namal’s bachelorhood? She is the only daughter of ThilakWeerasinghe, a well-known sports enthusiast and founder of Lanka Sports Reisen (LSR). The mother is AruniWickremarathna, onetime national sprint champion. The company operates nine different hotels.

CBK gets award for peace building in the UK

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is the recipient of an unusual award – “Peace Building with the United Kingdom.” Whether she built peace, and if so, what she did with the UK has not been explained.

The award is presented by Queen Noor (former Liz Hallaby, stewardess of the now defunct Pan Am Airways), wife of late King Hussein of Jordan.

The award comes as the Queen of England conferred the title MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) on Mathangi Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A. She is an English rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, visual artist and activist. Ms Arulpragasam, who is of Sri Lankan origin, was strongly critical of Sri Lankan troops during the separatist war.


Polls official’s NOTA ends where it began

On Tuesday, the Election Commission called for a meeting of representatives of political parties. The subject was the long overdue in conducting Provincial Council (PC) polls.

One of the Election Commission officials came out with a novel proposal. He wanted to introduce an option of None Of The Above (NOTA) to be mentioned in the ballot paper at the all upcoming polls for those who don’t want to cast their votes for any of the candidates mentioned.

NOTA was introduced in Indian polls in 2009 after Indian Supreme Court recognised that an individual can choose not to vote for any political parties or candidates.

The reason given by the Election Commission officials was that there had been a rejection of a significant number of votes counted in any national poll in the recent past. As such an option should be given to voters.

Since no political parties showed interest in this the topic, the discussion ended where it began – the Elections Office.

Jaffna Mayor’s air ticket request turned down

The Jaffna Municipal Council has rejected Mayor Edwin Arnold’s proposal to buy an air ticket for himself from Municipal funds to attend a Tamil Sangam meeting in the United States.

He told Council members that accommodation expenses were being looked after by the organisers and wanted Council funds for the air ticket.

However, members pointed out that there were no provisions to make such allocation.

SLFP members left out of Modi banquet

Whether it was a blunder by those at the Presidential Secretariat or a wilful act is not clear.

But, none of those in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) were present at the luncheon banquet President Maithripala Sirisena hosted for
Indian Premier Narendra Modi last
week. It was held at the President’s House.

They not only missed a five-course meal, prepared by the Taj Samudra Hotel but also an opportunity to meet the Indian Premier.

John wants more casinos and night clubs

Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga has now come out with a novel idea to induce tourists to visit Sri Lanka – open more and more casinos and night clubs.

He made the proposal when a delegation from the Association of City Hoteliers met him last Wednesday.

Minister Amaratunga noted that more young Indian tourists in particular would visit Sri Lanka.

At least Minister Amaratunga now admits that tourist arrivals have dropped contrary to other officials in his Ministry who speak of an increase. Though weird, he also feels that the natural beauty of the country – the lush green tea gardens, the sandy beaches and historic sites are no longer of much use.

However, with presidential elections due in six months, the question is whether Minister Amaratunga himself will be in a position to declare open casinos and night clubs. This is notwithstanding casino owners and night club bosses backing him.


Police officer prevents temple clash

A former Cabinet minister was so angry that groups of youths were meeting at a temple in Mawanella.

He urged the Police to crack down on this “anti-government” meeting by even taking a court order. Police top brass on the ground obtained the Court order but were warned it could boomerang.

So, a wise police officer decided he would go across and speak to the monk in charge of the temple.

Lo and behold, how wise he was. The event referred to by the ill-informed former Minister was in fact a religious event to pay homage to troops who had died in the separatist war.

That was how the youth had chosen the temple and religious ceremonies to mark the event.

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