‘Basil not a green card holder’

Right of reply

Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga has sent us the following response to last week's political column where there was a reference to MP and Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa's visit to the 38th floor of the UN headquarters in New York to meet UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon.

The response is to the paragraph saying; "critics in Colombo, however, said that Basil Rajapaksa's visit to New York was merely to renew his US 'green card' at the tax-payers’ expense, something which could not be confirmed". Mr. Weeratunga says the visit of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa "was not paid for by the Government, or any of its agencies".

"Further", he says, "Mr. Rajapaksa has requested me to inform you that he is not a US green card holder".

Foreign journalists flock to Lanka

Sri Lanka has seen an influx of foreign media personnel in the past two weeks, in anticipation of a final military victory over the LTTE, with the Department of Information issuing about 40 media accreditation cards, Information Director Anusha Palpita said.

The cards have been issued for a period of one month based on the recommendations of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, he said.

However if the accredited journalists and photographers wish to travel to the north and east, they would need additional clearance from the Defence Ministry, he said.

Mr. Palpita said usually for a month, about seven to eight foreign journalists sought short term media accreditation to work here.

Visas for foreign media personnel are issued by Sri Lanka missions abroad following prior approval from authorities in Sri Lanka.

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