A distinguished friend of India
High Commissioner in New Delhi Mangala Moonesinghe was awarded 'The
Distinguished Friend of India" award last Sunday, in recognition
of his services to India.
The All India
Conference of Intellectuals in their annual International Intellectuals'
Honour list conferred upon Mr. Moonesinghe the award at a ceremony
held on January 19 in New Delhi.
was called on to make a short speech on acceptance of this honour.
The All India
Conference of Intellectuals is a non-political organization. Some
of the patrons include former Prime Minister of India, Inder Kumar
Gujral, former Elections Commissioner of India G. Krishnamurthy,
Chief Justice Ashok Desal and Film Director Ramanand Sagar.
beneficiaries are advocates of the Supreme Court, Governors of Districts
and banking officials.
on free ticket
An inquiry is being held to find out how a senior official
of SriLankan Airlines boarded a flight to Singapore with his family
on free tickets, when more than 20 passengers had been off-loaded
from that particular flight.
The Head of
Service Delivery, Walter Riggans had boarded the flight to Singapore
early this month with his wife and daughter, despite the airline
having to off-load 21 passengers who had confirmed bookings on the
passengers were provided with hotel accommodation, a discount voucher
from the duty free complex and international calls. Normally the
airline would spend approximately US$ 75 per off-loaded passenger.
A source at
the airline said that although paying passengers are given priority,
in this instance Mr. Riggans had boarded the flight with his free
tickets. "Normally if we are issued a free ticket, we can get
on the flight only if there are seats on the flight", the source
commenced after a complaint was made. When contacted SriLankan Airlines
were not available for comment.
still trying for top job
Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando who is on an official
West Asian tour has reiterated his interest in running for the top
post of United Nations Secretary General.
However, his spokesman in Colombo said that newspaper reports quoting
him as saying he was the country's official candidate for the post
has the blessings of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet but it is
too premature to say he is the official candidate," the minister's
media secretary Ranga Kalansooriya said.
He said newspaper
reports to this effect were probably misquoting the minister.
A Foreign Ministry
statement that quoted a popular AE newspaper confirmed that the
minister had spoken of his desire to contest for the top post of
the world body stating he was probably the only candidate from Asia
to bid for it well ahead of time.
had stated that the next Secretary General should be a politician
rather than a bureaucrat considering the problems faced by the UN
such as terrorism and poverty.
of the next Secretary General is not due till 2005 as the term of
the present Secretary General Kofi Annan expires on January 1, 2006.
is needed among the UN body's 189- member General Assembly member
and more importantly the 15 member Security Council members to gain
enough support to win the top job.
It is reported
that candidates from at least five other countries will vie for
the job including those from Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
Only one Asian
- Burma's U Thant - has held the post of UN Secretary General since
the world body's founding in 1945. Asia's turn to hold the post
was scheduled for January this year but with the Ghanaian born Kofi
Annan winning a second term - the continent will have to wait a
few more years to have a its representative heading the world body.
the post rotates every ten years by region.
has won an unprecedented 15 years at the helm with one five-year
term for Egypts Boutros Boutros Ghali and two terms for Mr.
advice sought on faxed letter
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is to seek
the Attorney General's advice on how it should proceed with the
faxed statement sent by former chairman of Thuru Saviya Rohan Illangaratne,
in connection with the alleged fraud at the Rubber Manufacturing
The CID was
seeking the assistance of Interpol to trace the whereabouts of Mr.
Ilangaratna, son of former Minister T. B. Ilangaratne consequent
to a statement made by former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake,
on the alleged fraud at the Sri Lanka Rubber Manufacturing and Export
A source at
the CID said that Mr. Ilangaratne had faxed his statement from Canada.
The CID commenced investigations after it was revealed that money
amounting to Rs. 2. 5 million was released to the Corporation, when
President Kumaratunga was Finance Minister. These monies were allegedly
released for the purchase of lands for constructing factories.
Corporation has no deeds to back up any of the transactions.
The former Chairman
of the Rubber Manufacturing Corporation along with the accountant
and factory manager were remanded in connection with the massive
fraud in the Corporation and later released on bail. Statements
of several leading opposition politicians were also recorded in
connection with the alleged fraud, along with those of several VIPs
and officials in the plantation industry.