UPFA won’t talk on CoL


When the meeting of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) was held this week, UNP members raised the issue of the high cost of living.

However of the 20 UPFA members, only eleven were present and they also chose to keep mum.

Finance Ministry goes nuts over paddy

There were some blunders in the Sinhala version of the Finance Ministry’s much-hyped 2011 annual report released recently at a ceremony chaired by the President.

On page 457, Table 1.15 the caption is about paddy and wheat production but in the table its quantities are given in nuts … not in metric tonnes.

Ministers to probe threat to Muslims

A ministerial committee inclusive of members of constituent parties in the ruling coalition is to be appointed to look into the alleged threats to Muslim places of worship.

At a recent Cabinet meeting, Minister Rishard Bathiuddin took up the matter and urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene and allay the fears of the Muslims who felt their mosques and madrasas were under threat from ultranationalist groups.

The minister’s appeal to the President followed incidents in Dambulla, Borella, Dehiwala and Kurunegala where the Muslims were told either not to conduct daily prayers or relocate their mosques and madrasas away from areas sacred to Buddhists.

After Minister Bathiuddin’s appeal, the President agreed to set up a ministerial committee. It is expected that this committee will be named after the President’s return from his visit to Latin America.

Powerful young lawyer’s firm gets big business

There is a buzz in legal circles about a new law firm that has opened for business.
Not that the opening of a law firm is particularly hot news, except that in this instance, there is some mystery as to its senior partner.

Already, a posse of young female lawyers are making visits to government and semi-government establishments and presenting their visiting cards making legal officers stand up from their chairs and take notice. Chairmen, managing directors and directors are scratching their heads and have decided to take the path of least resistance. One of them said a quarter of its cases have been passed en bloc to this new firm.

They are not willing to say who the senior partner of this law firm is but they do say that some of the young lawyers are probably more senior than the senior partner. Your guess is as good as mine.

Soothsayer can’t find police weapon

Two Colombo policemen who had lost a weapon while on duty had decided to consult a soothsayer to find out where their lost weapon was. The men visited a soothsayer in a Colombo suburb and a scribe who was present overheard their conversation.

The soothsayer after completing his study of the occult told the policemen he could not detect where the weapon was. Instead he advised them to seek more earthly ways of finding the lost weapon.

Dentist Minister opens his mouth against PBJ, lady secretary�

Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne allegedly slandered Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera and his own Ministry secretary Damitha de Soysa using abusive language in the presence of around 50 persons including officials at a meeting at the Ministry conference room on Monday.
The two officials, who were abused, were not present.

Dr. Senaratne, who chaired the meeting, launched a violent, vituperative and malicious attack on the lady secretary, those present said. He also reprimanded Dr. Jayasundera for ‘acting foolishly in appointing people’ who have been warming chairs in the Treasury as secretaries.
Dr. Senaratne has failed to realise that it was the President who appoints ministry secretaries. Thus, he was indirectly criticising the President in front of everyone.

UNPers avoid Fonseka at wedding

Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was invited to a wedding of the son of a Muslim businessman at the Convention Centre in Colombo.

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Minister Rajitha Senaratna were seated at a table when Mr. and Mrs. Fonseka walked into the reception hall. They too sat at the same table which had room for eight.

Several UNP politicians present at the venue seemed reluctant to sit at the same table with the couple despite some persuasion from the father of the groom. Finally the host escorted the former General to another section where many of the ladies were seated.

Why didn’t Fidel Castro meet MR?

A question being asked in diplomatic circles is why President Mahinda Rajapaksa was unable to meet the legendary Cuban leader Fidel Castro on his state visit to that country last week.

Yes, he met the widow of the revolutionary icon Che Guevara and was photographed by his photographer son, but what happened to the great Fidel? No official version came out from either side, and one wondered if it had anything to do with the health of the erstwhile Cuban leader. Not many government leaders visit Cuba anyway for Fidel Castro to have been tied up with engagements. Others, however, ask if this was a snub for keeping the ambassadors post in Havana vacant for more than one year.

The ambassador-designate Tamara Kunanayagam was reportedly present in Havana, on the invitation of President Rajapaksa, but then she is refusing to take up the job. The result was the unprecedented faux pas of a country’s Head of State making an official visit to a country where there is no ambassador to coordinate the visit.

No independence at the Square

The newly landscaped gardens and well-paved walks at Independence Square in Colombo are attracting a large number of people almost daily but a couple who went there recently found that there are some obstacles to visitors.

The couple was seated on the steps overlooking the lawn when some men clad in security uniform and one in plain clothes walked up to them and said couples were not allowed to sit on the steps for more than 20 minutes and if they wanted they could sit on the lawn for the rest of the time. After several minutes of arguing with the men, the couple decided to leave the square but only after telling them that there is no independence for visitors at the Square.

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