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Fonseka at Florida cricket

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The first ever Twenty20 cricket match in the United States between test playing nations was played on May 22 and 23 in Florida -- Sri Lanka Vs. New Zealand.

Sri Lankans used the opportunity to convey a message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. An aircraft carrying a banner said: "SRI LANKA FREE GEN. FONSEKA & RESTORE DEMOCRACY".

The problem is General

The Cabinet at its weekly meeting on Wednesday had a knotty issue to discuss - deciding on a nominee for a post that did not exist in the State sector.

The new Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had recommended that Wasantha Priya Ramanayake be appointed Director General of Information. In effect, he was proposing a change in the current title of the Director of Information, the man responsible for Government's official media work.

It was a former Media Minister, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who pointed out that such a post did not exist. So, how would one appoint such a nominee to a non-existent post and what is the salary structure available, he asked.

A witty President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared: "all these problems arise when there is the word General.

We will therefore take out the word General and everything would be okay, he said. Thus, the Ministers decided to have a new man for the old post; Director of Information.

From highway to byway

Having created a political record as the shortest serving Deputy Media Minister, Mervyn Silva was an unhappy man.

After he was sworn in as Deputy Minister of Highways, he realised there was another incumbent in the same post - Nirmala Kotelawala. The latter has found himself a comfortable office in the upper floor of Sethsiripaya at Battaramulla.

Silva protested to senior bureaucrats in the Ministry of Highways. Soon a luxury office for him was being built in a ground floor area. However, he could not occupy that costly enclave. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who learnt of the developments, told Silva he should be in an office in Colombo. That was a location where he could be reached easily. Silva had no choice but to oblige. One has to make some sacrifices after all.


Sri Lanka's pedestrian "information officers'', who were assigned to overseas missions, have apparently gone high tech -- and elitist. A statement put out by our embassy in Washington is signed by someone who carries the title: ''Information Technology and Information Administrator.''

Information Administrator? That's like calling barbers ''tonsorial artists" and grave diggers ''underground engineers'' -- as some Sri Lankans claimed when they held ''menial jobs'' in London many moons ago.

GL’s famous train mate

Whenever former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogallagama went to New York on his annual pilgrimage to the United Nations, he was usually accompanied by an entourage of officials, security officers, and of course, his ever present wife, and at times, his kith and kin. And his trip from New York to Washington DC was invariably either in the comfort of a luxurious limousine or on a commercial jet.

But when the new External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris arrived in New York last week, the contrasting lifestyles were evident. Peiris, who had an appointment with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, was accompanied only by his Coordinating Secretary.

No security officers and no relatives as hangers on. And to make it even more down-to-earth, Peiris also commuted by train, the Acela Express, to Washington.

While Peiris was in the waiting room at New York's Penn Station, Sri Lanka's deputy permanent representative Bandula Jayasekera noticed several police officers hovering around in the vicinity. Was a VIP scheduled to take a train to Washington DC that evening?, he asked.

Yes, said the cops, they were waiting for the arrival of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger -- long steeped in controversy but still consulted by American Presidents. And arrive he did.

So Jayasekera took the liberty of walking upto Kissinger and asking him whether he would like to interact with the Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister who was also taking the same train. And Kissinger graciously agreed. So, Peiris had a travelling companion on board that train — and all the way to Washington DC.

Did Kissinger, one of the key players of the failed US war in Vietnam, ask Peiris how the Sri Lanka military decimated the LTTE? Peiris can tell us.

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