Johnny To The Rescue
Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando had to recently play the role of saviour of lives – the lives of two pelicans.
The Minister was in his office at Vauxhall Street when suddenly he had heard a commotion outside the building.
He was informed that two pelicans were being strangled by a kite string on a tree just outside the building. The trees outside the Ministry building are frequented by pelicans and some have even built their nests on them.
Fernando had immediately called UPFA CMC Councillor Azath Sally and asked him to help the two pelicans.
Sally had arrived at the venue with a fire engine equipped with a ladder. The rescuers had to treat the pelicans carefully to save them since they had to pass other pelican nests to get to them.
However, by the time the string was removed, one pelican had unfortunately succumbed to its injuries.
The other pelican had immediately been taken and released near the Beira Lake in one of Fernando’s back up vehicles.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a good response to the claims by the opposition political parties about the benefits to the people in the 2012 budget.
He related a story about a farmer who had gone to the market to sell tamarind.
The President has said a farmer had taken a gunny bag full of tamarind to be sold to a trader. The trader had bargained and reduced the weight of the gunny bag, the tamarind seeds and the tamarind skin before giving the final weight.
According to the weight given by the trader, there had basically not been any tamarind left.
The farmer had asked the trader if the gunny bag had been empty without any tamarind at all.
“This is what I have to ask the opposition that says there’s nothing in the budget. Isn’t there any tamarind in the budget?” the President had asked with a smile.
Lesson From The UNP
The tussle between the JVP and its dissidents reached new heights last week due to the party’s move to hold a special convention in Hambantota today (1).
The JVP leadership planned to hold the convention with the aim of resolving the internal crisis and officially removing the dissident members from posts held by them in the party.
However, the holding of the convention was not divulged to the public until mid this month.
JVP dissidents claim that invitations to the convention have been sent to a new list of party members that was handed over to the Elections Commissioner by the party secretary recently.
The dissidents noted that they had not been informed about the convention.
“The JVP this time has planned a UNP style convention,” a dissident group member said.
The dissident members have discussed that the JVP seems to have learnt a lesson or two from the UNP and key among them is the manner in which they deal with the party’s internal matters.
Wimal’s Early Warning
NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa had sent an early warning to the President and the government.
The growing agitation campaigns by students and parents against the country’s education system have become a cause for much concern to Weerawansa.
Given the continuous opposition raised by students and professionals to the introduction of the private universities to the country, the Minister had decided to send an early warning to the President on the matter.
Weerawansa had in writing last week informed the President that his party would have to act independently with regard to the proposed legislation on non state universities to be presented to parliament if the matter is not properly addressed.
He had called for a discussion to be held under the patronage of the President with all governing UPFA leaders to decide on the legislation.
Weerawansa in his usual style has warned that his party would not allow the country’s free education system to be destroyed.
The state owned TV station Rupavahini last week made a massive blunder when it reported that popular Sinhala singer, Sisira Senaratne had passed away.
Soon after the news was telecast fans and friends of the Senaratne family had started calling to express their condolences.
All those who had called Senaratne’s family were taken back when they were informed that the artiste was very much alive. The family had informed that there was no truth to the story telecast on state television.
A journalist who had called Senaratne’s son had been informed that he was in the car with his mother and father and there was nothing wrong with his father.
People had then started to call all the general numbers of Rupavahini to inquire about the basis for the story. Some had even turned abusive towards the persons who had answered the telephones at the Rupavahini Corporation.
The state TV channel had to immediately run a correction on the news bulletin after hearing many comments about the inaccuracy of the stories.
The main opposition UNP last week claimed that the mess up in the A/Level results released by the Examinations Department was due to the pressure by certain VIPs.
UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the mess up was due to the Department’s urgency to release the results in order to enable children of several VIPs to apply to universities overseas.
He observed that the results of the local A/Level exam were needed for the VIP children to apply to foreign universities before the deadline. “The government has pushed for the release of the results to benefit the VIP kids and the Department messed things trying to meet the deadline of these VIPs,” Kariyawasam said.