Car loans scheme stuck in political jam The interest-free car loan scheme announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa is going on a slow gear with only a handful of journalists benefiting from it while hundreds of others are left dreaming of their dream car. The scheme was announced by the President in November 2010 when he presented [...]


Car loans scheme stuck in political jam


Car loans scheme stuck in political jam

The interest-free car loan scheme announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa is going on a slow gear with only a handful of journalists benefiting from it while hundreds of others are left dreaming of their dream car. The scheme was announced by the President in November 2010 when he presented the 2011 budget. In November last year, presenting Budget 2012, he said Rs. 200 million had been allocated to facilitate the scheme to provide interest-free vehicle loans to senior journalists and artistes.

It was following a Café Spectator expose last year that the President mentioned the loan scheme in the budget speech and ordered the Media Ministry to implement the scheme.
Subsequently those who applied for the loan were called for an interview by the Media Ministry but only a handful of journalists were given the cheques at a Temple Trees ceremony. Others were sent letters which said they had been selected for the loan scheme and would be informed about the process in due time. That was in October last year.

But the matter now appears to have stalled at that. When the recipients of the letters made inquiries from the Media Ministry, officials there said the ministry had done its job and the delay was on the part of the state banks.

Not a green saree, please

Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Hearth was the chief guest at the opening of a handloom textile shop in Kuruvita last Thursday.  After the opening, he made some purchases including a sarong for himself. He wanted to buy a saree for his wife too.

“Apey mathiniyta geniyanna mata sariyak thorala denna. Mata therenne nehe sari thoranna. Hebai kolapata ekkak nam epa.( Could you please select a saree for my wife. I don’t know how to select a good saree, but don’t select a green one),” the Chief Minister said. He was worried that his wife would be identified as a member of the United National Party (UNP).

Wimalpura: Glory at public expense

Patriot turned sharp shooter against anyone whom he thinks is not right, Minister Wimal Weerawansa, the Minister for Construction among other portfolios is doing a first.
He is constructing a ‘Wimalpura’, a new village in Hanguranketa. He wants to make sure his name remains popular in the area.

What better way to spend public funds?

No CBK pic at Vijaya show

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was the Chief Guest at the 25th death anniversary commemoration of her husband, popular actor cum politician Vijaya Kumaratunga who was murdered in 1988.  Ms. Kumaratunga was seated between Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Vijaya’s sister Rupa Kumaratunga.

The hall, where the event was held, was decorated with images of Vijaya’s trip to Jaffna and his movie shots with popular actors during his time.

“Mamai Vijayage birinda, ko magei Vijayagei eka photo ekakwath methana nehe ne? (I am the wife of Vijaya. Where are the photographs of me and Vijaya? Why is that?),” asked Ms. Kumaratunga.

Rupa Kumaratunga was seen whispering a few words by way of explanation. It seemed she did not want others to hear it. Wonder what the secret was!

Mobile phones in the wilds

Senior Wild Life Conservation Department officials are mulling over a proposal to ban mobile phones inside national parks. With the proliferation of towers, the use of mobile phones is within easy reach.

As one official explains, when some people spot an animal, they ring others in the same party to come over to that point. He argues that this has become a regular feature.
However, a wild life enthusiast says if the mobile phones are used carefully, there would be no hindrance at all. After all, there is the noise of the waves from parks that abound the sea. Then, there is also the case of elephants trumpeting. How do you ban these noises, asked the enthusiast?

First all women Bench in SC

For the first time in the Sri Lanka’s judicial history, a panel comprising three female judges sat on a Supreme Court Bench last Thursday. They heard 17 appeal cases at the Court room No. 502. The Bench comprised Justices Shirani Thilakawardane, Eva Wanasundara and Chandra Ekanayake.

The trio also hold several other records in Sri Lanka’s judicial history individually. Justice Shirani Thilakawardane was the first female attorney-at-law recruited to the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel and was later the first female High Court judge of Sri Lanka.

Eva Wanasundara was Sri Lanka’s first ever female Attorney General before being appointed as a Supreme Court judge. Chandra Ekanayake was the first woman Supreme Court judge from the Southern Province. Justice Thilakawardane and Ekanayake were both from the same batch of the Sri Lanka Law College.

Sudharshini could not say what she wanted to

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne presided at Monday’s Government Parliamentary group meeting.  Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa proposed that Sudharshini Fernandopulle deliver a speech when Parliament takes up the condolence vote on former UNP minister Wijeyapala Mendis, who was a UNP MP for Katana.

Fernandopulle said she would do so only if she was allowed to speak the truth. It is known that Mendis had regularly intimidated her husband and his supporters. The proposal was immediately dropped.

Kaduwela mayor calls for action against Weerawansa

Kaduwela Mayor G.H. Buddhadasa on Friday called on President Rajapaksa to take stern action against Minister Wimal Weerawansa who is repeatedly lashing out at Finance Ministry Secretary P. B. Jayasundera as an economic assassin.

In a hard-hitting speech at Kaduwela, Mr. Buddhadasa who has for years been on a collision course with Mr. Weerawansa said the minister was causing serious harm to the Government and damaging the reputation of the President who was also the Minister of Finance.

The Kaduwela mayor, a senior member of the SLFP, said Mr. Weerawansa was making such statement because he was not properly educated. He reminded Mr. Weerawansa that he was part of the JVP when it virtually killed the economy of Sri Lanka during the reign of terror between 1987 and 1989.

Mr. Buddhadasa described the National Freedom Front, which Mr. Weerawansa leads as a threewheeler party and called on the President to act effectively against Mr. Weerawansa.

Youth seeks fundamental right to smoke ganja in Kataragama

Uva Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa meets the public in his province on Tuesday or what politicians now call their “clinic day.” Just the week before last, among many others, a youth arrived with a letter to meet him. When he opened and read, he turned red in the face. Here was another complaint about human rights being violated.
The youth said the violators were none other than the Kataragama Police. The reason: they were not allowing him to smoke ganja (local cannabis!!)
He protested that he required two ganja cigars a day to survive but the Kataragama Police were violating his fundamental rights.

Chief Minister Rajapaksa was to tell him that the best way to protect his fundamental rights was to see a physician. Whilst smoking ganja is illegal, the Chief Minister said, it was also not good for the youth’s health.

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