Odds and Ends

Customs gets all excited about old book on LTTE

An attempt by an Indian journalist based in Colombo to send a copy of the late LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham’s book “War and Peace” to his editor in India hit a snag when Customs seized the book.

The journalist and the courier who was to deliver the book were both told they would have to attend a Customs inquiry scheduled for tomorrow.

The journalist then called the Director General of Customs to ask on what grounds the book had been seized. He threatened to take the matter up with the highest authorities. Within an hour of the telephone call, the book was released.
The journalist in question said the book was more likely to be seized in India, where the LTTE is a banned outfit; he also wondered why the Customs should have an issue with the couriering of a book that was freely available in local bookshops.

Balasingham’s “War and Peace – Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers”, which came out in 2005, describes the evolution and history of the LTTE, and includes details of India’s intervention in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990 and the various peace initiatives, starting with the 1985 Thimpu talks held in Bhutan and Norway’s role in recent years as peace process facilitator.

FM’s unhappy deputy given a trip to Europe

Whenever Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was out of the country on his numerous overseas trips, his deputy Hussein Bhaila would have to face the music in case the President’s wrath was incurred on matters relating to foreign policy and sundry administrative problems at the ministry. It was reported that the head of state had told the deputy that he did not know “a d-mned thing”.

An unhappy Minister Bhaila had complained to persons close to the Presidential Palace that he was tired of taking the flak while the FM was away globetrotting. It is understood that Bhaila had even hinted that he was beginning to have second thoughts about the administration. Not long after, a special travel itinerary was organised for Minister Bhaila, who left on Friday for a 10-day “embassy inspection” tour of Europe.

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