Though the Kandy District’s one time trouble spots remain calm, the State of Emergency continues. Many are the not-so-good stories that are unfolding, both for the Government and its leaders. The latest is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a visit to Sri Lanka. This was to take place after she attended the international [...]


Kandy unrest and social media ban: German Chancellor calls off visit


Though the Kandy District’s one time trouble spots remain calm, the State of Emergency continues. Many are the not-so-good stories that are unfolding, both for the Government and its leaders.

The latest is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a visit to Sri Lanka. This was to take place after she attended the international solar summit in New Delhi. President Maithripala Sirisena too took part in the same event, but went to Japan on a state visit from the Indian capital.

The thousands of Lankans who work in West Asia were the worst hit by the temporary ban on social media including Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp. They could not keep in touch with their families and friends in Sri Lanka.

As the ban was lifted, doing the rounds was an old video clip of the then Opposition Leader and now Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was then berating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for attempting to ban social media.

All in all, most users were inconvenienced but took the ban in their stride. One of them posted that Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg was now working on a farm. The reason: the ban on the social app by the Government of Sri Lanka.

There was also a response to President Maithripala Sirisena who declared that Sri Lanka Telecom was now making more money. A user declared a prolonged ban would only make the SLT, where his brother is Chairman, richer. Another said that a collective response would only come at the next elections. Of course, many downloaded apps that by-passed the local system providers and enabled them to gain access to different apps.

World Bank chairs for Jaffna Municipal Council

New chairs for Jaffna Council

With the gazette notification issued announcing the newly elected members to local bodies following the February 10 elections, these councils are making final preparations to hold their inaugural meetings by the end of this month.

However, most of the councils face some practical issues such as accommodating all councillors as the numbers have increased significantly.
For the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) which consists of 119 councillors, the sittings are scheduled to be held at a BMICH hall until arrangements are made at the Town Hall Secretariat. In addition to this, councils have to spend millions of taxpayers’ money to purchase resources for the meetings of new councils.

The Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) has used funds allocated by the World Bank under the project of “Strategic City Development” to buy resources for the 44-member council. These included brand new chairs for them to sit on while deliberating, among other issues, on strategic city development.


Namal to observe Russian polls
Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa has been invited as an independent observer of the Russian Presidential election to be held today (18 March).

The invitation has been sent by the Chairman of the State Duma (Parliament) of the Russian Federation, the MP announced through his Twitter account.

“Amazing country, amazing people. Looking forward to the next few days,” he said. The MP this week made waves when he told an Indian newspaper that he is willing to coach the women’s rugby team in Kashmir. The offer has won him much praise from the Indian media.

JVP’s latest protest: Private washing of public dirty linen
In recent months, the Government has been blamed for the sale of public ventures to foreign companies, with the latest controversy about plans to bring in a US company to carry out surveying.

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) keeps protesting over plans to privatise public ventures or to sell them to foreign companies as it believes that such moves cause a loss of foreign exchange.But, their latest protest is not because the country was losing foreign exchange, but because the country was not making use of the best resources.

JVP Trade Union leader Namal Karunaratne is strongly objecting to plans to give the washing of hospital linen to a private company.
“We have the best persons to wash dirty linen. The Government has to look at Parliament. We have three good persons who do the job best.”
Of course, he is referring to a different type of dirty linen washing which the politicians do.

Half a million as pocket money for politico
It is not only year-end hampers with choice goodies that are delivered to the doorstep of politicians by commercial enterprises. This politico sure gets that.

At least one big concern is keen to ensure that the politico who talks with authority is always kept on an even keel.
So there is special treatment for him. Who will refuse when it is half a million rupees every three months? They claim that is pocket money for him.

Diplomatic way to remove top cop
The recent incidents in the central hills have prompted Government leaders to renew their offer of a diplomatic posting to a top cop.
This is because new constitutional provisions prevent them from removing him from office. The only exception is an impeachment in Parliament.

Travails of a political couple
Looking after the family business or, for that matter the family, silver is not always easy when both the wife and hubby are in politics, worse enough holding different portfolios.

This is probably why the lady begins the day with breakfast in her official vehicle. It lies parked as she supervises roadwork undertaken by the family company. Sometimes when the orders she shouts are inaudible, messages are sent to workers a few feet away through bodyguards.

Shortcomings are promptly reported to the hubby for follow up action.


Ven. Gnanasara Thera at the official event attended by President Sirisena in Japan.

BBS chief was not in  president’s delegation
The presence of the controversial monk, Ven. Galagodaatthe Gnanasara Thera, head of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), at an official function attended by President Maithripala Sirisena during his official visit to Japan this week caused much discomfiture to the President and also drew criticism from the public over social media.

Pictures of the event went viral and soon the news spread he was part of the President’s official delegation to Japan. However, the President’s Media Division issued a statement later, saying the thera was not a part of the President’s delegation but had been in Tokyo on a personal tour. He had been invited along with several other monks to an event which the President was attending and hence the two were seen at the same event. In the meantime, the monk had ignored a court appearance in Colombo. And the magistrate has issued a warrant for his arrest.


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