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What Fonseka gave to prisoner Anura

From the Supreme Courts complex, former General Sarath Fonseka was escorted to the Welikade Jail to complete procedural formalities for his release. When he finished them and was about to leave, there was one man who felt sorry he was leaving.

That was prisoner Anura who was tasked to clean and maintain Fonseka's cell. He told Fonseka he was sorry that the former Commander of the Army was leaving the prison.

Anura said he should leave behind something so he could remember him. Fonseka pondered for a while and said, "I don't have anything." Then he nodded his head, removed his wrist watch and gave it to Anura.
Then Fonseka went to a group of prison officers.

He asked them to pay him the "few hundred rupees" that he may have earned for doing prison work.

They told him he was not assigned for any work groups due to security reasons and hence no monies were accumulated in his name. "ehemada" ('is that so') he said and bid goodbye. One Prison officer was to remark "Sir, we hope you are not angry with us. We were only doing our duty."

Posters for and against SF

Posters sprung up in several parts of the City last Monday, within hours after former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka's release. Some were in support of the release. As our pictures show, others were not.

What happened on the Fonseka bandwagon

The VVIP telephoned his Opposition counterpart whom he had met only recently, both privately and with their respective party delegations. The telephone conversation was over the release of former General Sarath Fonseka. Several members of the Opposition had joined the bandwagon taking the former General around the streets after the remission of his sentence by the President. "What are your people doing in that vehicle taking him around," asked the VVIP.

"I will send them home as well in that same vehicle," was the answer from the irate Opposition leader.
On the subject of the vehicle taking Fonseka around, there was another episode. Beefy bodyguards of a staunch Fonseka backer pulled a former close aide of Fonseka and pushed him away when he tried to board the vehicle. "You are not wanted here," they said.

SMS complaints send heads rolling in service arm

Heads have begun to roll in a service arm. This is after the boss decided on a new scheme to evaluate the performances of some who hold top positions.

He made it known that complaints could be sent to him on a given mobile telephone number. However, all ranks were warned that they could only send in SMS complaints but will not be able to talk to him on that line.

There was a flood of complaints. Some of the top position holders 'went flying' to different positions.
See what a small SMS could do, said one of them. He had to seek the help of another to draft an SMS message since he did not know English.

Sudarshani vents her anger at Seeduwa ceremony

The ceremony to declare open the country's first ever sea-plane launching pad was held in Seeduwa last week. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapksa was the chief guest. When UPFA MP Sudharshani Fernandopulle arrived for the event, she saw that her seat was arranged in the second row. She quietly went and sat. Then she was asked by an event organiser to come to the first row.

"Mata oya histhen purawanna issaraha peliyata enna one nehe. Mata asun panawala thiyenne dewani peliye. Mun ethana innam" (I don't need to fill the vacant seats in the front row. I have been assigned to second row, so I'll sit here), Fernandopulle said, rather sarcastically.

After Minister Rajapaksa arrived he too invited her to come to the first row. She said "Amathi thuma man me asanaye sanvidayaka. Mata me uthsawaye sanvidana kata yuthuwalata mata aradana kaley nehe. Mey wage deyak wenakota asanaye sanvidayaka danuwath wenna one. Mey wage dewal wenna ida thiyannepa." (Mr. Minister, I am the organiser of this electorate.

I wasn't invited for organising work of this event. When an event like this is conducted, the electoral organiser should be informed. Don't let these things happen again). Having realised that Fernandopulle and Minister Felix Perera were not given opportunities to speak, Minister Rajapaksa asked the organisers to do so.

Ex-Army chief sorry his pet Jelfi has forgotten him

After his release from jail on Monday only with a conditional Presidential pardon, Sarath Fonseka arrived for the first evening of his new found freedom at his temporary abode in Kotte, a luxury house with a swimming pool. It belonged to a political family in Gampaha. After more than two years in prison, he was greeted by family members and supporters.

The happy moments were not limited to them. One of his pet dogs 'Tu Tu' quickly recognised him also. As the former General greeted 'Tu Tu' his daughter Apsara was to say, "Thaththa Jelfi lanagatath gihin kathaa karanna" (Father, go near 'Jelfi' also and talk to him too) referring the other pet dog, a Dalmatian who was in a cage.

Fonseka walked towards the cage but the response was not positive. Seems he couldn't identify him."Masa visi atak giyane…uta mawa andunaganna beri una. Mang odokkuwe thiyagena hadapu sathata mawa anduna ganna beri vuna. (28 months had gone. He could not recognise me though I kept him in my lap and brought him up) lamented the old soldier.

Iran hails JVP move

It was a reception at the residence of the Iranian ambassador attended by among others, politicians from both Government and Opposition. JVP MP Vijitha Herath was among those present. While the function was under way, the Ambassador found time to have a chat with Herath, the International Affairs spokesman of the party.

"I met your party leader (Somawansa Amerasinghe) recently. He told me if America attacks Iran, it will be your party that is going to lead the protest against it. He told me that the JVP would launch protest in front of the US Embassy. We are pleased with his remarks," the Iranian ambassador said. Herath maintained a diplomatic silence.

Diplomatic tamasha at Diyatalawa

At first, it was members of the Government Parliamentary group including ministers who enjoyed the comforts of the Army's large cantonment in Diyatalawa.

Now, envoys representing Sri Lanka -- some 59 of them -- are to be summoned for a conference at the same venue in July this year. They are from High Commissions, Embassies, and Consulates worldwide. Of the number that will attend, only 15 are career Foreign Service officers whilst the rest are political appointees.

Needless to say the cost to the exchequer would be as high as running a couple of diplomatic missions for a couple of years. External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris who returned home after an 18-day tour that took him to the United States, Qatar and Russia is busy making the arrangements.

Whilst most envoys travel in standard E class Mercedes Benz vehicles, there is at least one head of mission who has been fortunate. He has won a S55 4matic Mercedes Benz to travel. That certainly is better for him than the days when he travelled in buses and taxis.

President at Ratnapura wedding after returning from Qatar

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was invited for the wedding of a leading gem businessman's daughter in Ratnapura. He was supposed to sign as the witness on behalf of the bride.

However, he could not do so since he was on an official visit to Qatar last week. The wedding fell on the very day he returned to the country. Having realised that he might miss the auspicious time, he asked the first lady Shiranthi to attend the wedding.

Hence, no one thought the President would attend the event. Guests were surprised when he did turn up just when they were getting ready for lunch. He had taken a helicopter from Katunayake direct to Ratnapura for the occasion.

Galle Face show and political parachute jumpers

One of the main attractions at this year's Victory Parade was the parachute jumping event by Sri Lanka Air Force personnel. Those gathered at Galle Face Green were eagerly watching. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake who saw it happen remarked "Ochchara uda balan inna deyak nehe.

Oyita wada daksha parashut karayo tikak methanath innawa. Hariyata ilakke balala parashut eken anduwata aapu aya kochchara methana innawada?" (There is need to watch the sky so much. There are so many smart parachutists seated here. They para-jumped right on to the designated mark in the Government from the Opposition.)

Several VIPs including Minister Dullas Alahapperuma and Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene burst out with laughter. They had some fun spotting those who crossed over to the Government from the Opposition, many holding important portfolios. They were not looking up at the Air Force para-jumpers but sideways at the many UNP turned PA politicos. "Ara inne parashut karayek..anna thawath ekkenek.."(There is a parachute jumper....and there is another), while the laughter continued.

While this was going on, when the announcers over the public address system announced that it is the last para-trooper who is just about to jump. "Aa..a..ara balanna..eya thamai anthima parashut batayaa.." (See...that is the last para trooper), Karunathilaka pointed his finger at Mohan Lal Grero, Colombo District MP, the most recent UNP MP to cross over to the Government.

Deputy Minister Nandimitra Ekanayake, a parachutist in his own right also joined the discussion. He said "api eda anduwata eddi hina una aya ada parashut eken evith oya lassanata inne" (see how those who laughed at us when we crossed over are today sitting nicely after parachuting themselves to the Government) showing a Cabinet minister.

Four became 50 for Qatar tour

A four member entourage on President's tour of Qatar rose to over 50 when the departure date neared.
Originally it was External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and EAM Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena who were to accompany him, officially. They flew direct to Doha from Washington D.C.

Parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer was to make a plea to President Rajapaksa that he be included in the delegation. The reason - he wanted to visit his son who is working in Qatar. The request was allowed.
As one UPFA parliamentarian remarked, at least for four days there were only a handful of UPFA Muslim Parliamentarians left. Others have all joined the delegation. Among them: Ministers A.H.M. Fowzie, Rauff Hakeem, Rishard Bathiuddin and Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapha.

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