They forgot political differences when it came to the 70th birthday bash of John Ameratunga, UNP Parliamentarian for Gampaha District and one time Minister of Internal Security.
It was a gala party at the Intercontinental Hotel. The choicest liquor and cocktails were served and a five course dinner followed.
Naturally, the high and mighty in the United National Party were all there. They included leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and deputy Karu Jayasuriya.
So were some VIPs from the UPFA Government. They included External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The guest list made the party a heavily secured event. The band played both golden oldies and baila.
When the beleaguered UNP leader Wickremesinghe ran into the newly appointed Ceylon Petroleum Corporation chairman and business magnate Harry Jayawardene, the UNP leader asked him, "I say, Harry, why don't you give up the CPC and take over the UNP?".
The CPC Chairman was heard to mutter that the UNP was a "hell-hole".
But a UNP reforms committee member who happened to overhear all this did not see the banter in it. He told a guest seriously they were going to make further proposals to pre-qualify persons who can be the UNP leader. Not every Tom, Dick or Harry can be the party leader was the gist of his thesis.
Moonshine in the floods
The Katunanayaka police were busy helping flood victims on Friday using small motor boats to reach victims trapped in water.
Two photographers of the Sunday Times sought their assistance to do a photo coverage of the flood affected areas. The police readily obliged. As they moved, they noticed two men riding a canoe and the photographers, assuming they were distributing flood relief, wanted the two policemen to approach the canoe so that they could get a few pictures.
When the Police approached them, they realised the two were transporting ingredients for kasippu (illicit liquor). The Police arrested the two men and brought them to their station with the production. It was also on the spot coverage for the good cops.
The story behind Ravi's redda
The late Wijayananda Dahanayake, a Prime Minister who was most loved by people, walked into Parliament in 1959 wearing only a loin cloth. This is usually worn by farmers when they till their land.
That was to show his protest at the rise in cloth (cheeththa) prices. He drew a lot of publicity.
This week, it was different. At a meeting in the Yatinuwara electorate, , Sajith Premadasa, a contender for the UNP leadership, waxed eloquent. He said he was not one who chided the Army's victory at Alimankada (Elephant Pass) by equating it to Pamankada (a southern part of Colombo).
That was a direct shot on UNP's Colombo district parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake.
It was Karunanayake's turn to do some damage control. He donned the national attire and wanted to turn up at a JVP-sponsored religious event at the Vihara Maha Devi Park to honour war heroes. He wanted to show that he was one of those who were very much with the troops.
The rain gods decided otherwise and the event was not held. It was too late for him to change into his suit. So he turned up in Parliament in a national dress provoking a thumbs up sign from retired General Sarath Fonseka, the forgotten war hero.
Though media reports spoke of his switching from suits to national dress, it is not so. He will revert to his suits sans of course, the bowler hat and an umbrella that makes him the pukka sahib he is.
The battle with the blogger
The war of words at the United Nations between Matthew Lee, a blogger operating from the world body, and Sri Lanka's deputy UN envoy Bandula Jayasekera continues.
This week Mr. Jayasekera wrote a letter to Mr. Lee. This is what it says:
It seems that you are at it again, what you know best is to insult and discredit people and small third world countries. One may ask for what? The answer is very simple, for personal gains we all believe. But, the tragedy is that you also try to drag the respected press covering the United Nations in New York towards what you sadly describe as "Blogging Privilege - Matthew Lee, Inner City Press style".
Many believe that you are a disgrace to all respected bloggers. Please pardon me for not giving you the respect due to honourable journalists.
Your motive and agenda is very clear. You really live in a glass house and remember the age old saying "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others". I would like to ask you if intimidation, insult and threats are Inner City Press ways? Appreciate if you would publish this in your blog.
Deputy permanent Representative
cc : Mr. Giampaolo Pioli. President UNCA Executive Committee "
A witty Sri Lankan UN diplomat, who wanted to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, quipped "it's time the Government appoints an expert panel to advise Jayasekera."
Tough task for
Prof. in US
The professori leaves for the US to meet his counterpart Hillary Clinton in a bid to patch up differences between the two countries.
He will also meet UN Chief Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials in New York prior to his talks with Clinton.
Washington reports indicate that the US is ready to give the benefit of the doubt to the newly re-elected President and his Government in Sri Lanka that there will be delivery on undertakings. It is heard that given previous experiences (such as with the IIGEP - the Eminent Persons Investigation that came a cropper), the time frames on delivery will be very short with the newly appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
In the meantime, the Government here should take note of the statement of United States UN ambassador Susan Rice with Samantha Power pushing hard at the National Security Council for human rights violations and war crimes issues in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, there is no news as to whether the professori will meet with Senator Leahy, a powerful senator and chairman of the Justice Committe. He is a Democrat from Vermont which is a 100% 'red neck' (white American) state with no Tamil diaspora lobby there. He introduced a damning amendment to the FY 2010 Senate Appropriation Bill on foreign operations against providing any aid to Sri Lanka.
The Leahy Amendment prevents, by specific language, the US voting for any IMF loan to Sri Lanka at a time the Fund is considering whether to give the third instalment of its loan. The yankees will be voting against the yakkos, it would seem. The Congressional reach of the Foreign Office here does not seem to extend to Vermont.
There is also the committee to Protect Journalists. It is pressing for media issues and one wonders what 'Patton&Boggs', the firm hired to deal with the media at USD 600,000 a year and paying a yankee USD 9,200 (more than the salary of the head of mission) per month is doing.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Crisis Group are hard at work in Washington DC with Madame Clinton all ears too.
The professori has a tall order; we wish him good luck.
Principal’s royal principles
Gaja is a good young fast bowler who played in the big team of the school where they not only learn of books and men but learn to play the game while he was still under 15. But, the man at the helm does not want Gaja to play in the junior side so that it opens the door for another to lead the Under 15ers.
The matter was referred to the OBU’s games advisory committee (GAC) which includes the likes of Wijaya Malalasekera and Ranjan Madugalle. The committee felt that Gaja should play in the junior side although he represented the First XI. But the man at the helm still has stuck to his stance. What a principle and we wonder why? Now the members of the GAC are thiking of quitting, we hear.
Ironically the lad who is lined up for the position by the man at the helm wants Gaja to play Not cricket, Sir.