Odds and Ends

Battle ground for politicos
Late night political talk shows on television have now become the latest battle ground for the country's politicians with producers and moderators having to play the role of referees as well.

On the Tuesday night show of a popular private station, first it was Sihala Urumaya national organiser Champika Ranawaka and TNA Jaffna district MP Nadarajah Raviraj referring to one another as 'kotiya' and 'nariya' and then going headlong into a heated exchange of words.

Once that was sorted out and the programme got going, it was Badulla district PA MP Dilan Perera and Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Minister Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene's turn to have a go at each other. One called the other ' hora', then 'maha hora', then 'horungeth hora' until things got so out of control that the show had to go into a break.

However the arguments continued behind the cameras with this time each accusing the other of various liaisons with members of the opposite sex. It was a good ten minutes before tempers cooled and the show was back on the air. At the end of the show, although the former two parted without many courtesies, Mr. Perera and Dr. Jayawardena shared a cup of tea and shook hands before they parted ways. All's well that ends well many would say but those conducting the shows are wondering what will happen in the upcoming rounds.

Toilets in Parliament
With Parliament now being one of the most popular stops in the educational tours conducted for school children, hundreds visit the legislature each day. A group of senior girls visiting from an outstation school thought of taking a peek into the toilets on the fourth floor of Parliament from where they enter the Chambers. "Aiyo, look at the condition of the toilets in Parliament," one of them remarked. They leave a lot to be desired, as any visitor would readily agree.

Matter of privilege
Puttalam district MP Palitha Ranga Bandara raised a privilege matter in Parliament last week in which he said that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption has re-opened an investigation going by an anonymous petition received by it that he accepted a donation of 16 plastic chairs when he was stationed as the OIC at the Wellawa police station.

He said the case was being re-opened as he had criticised the members of the Commission in Parliament during the votes of the Justice Ministry last November. He informed the House that the '16 chairs' were still at the said police station since they had been donated in 1998 and were being used by members of the public who visit the station.

Mr. Bandara queried that if receiving a donation of furniture was illegal under the bribery and corruption laws, what is the position regarding desks and chairs donated regularly to schools.

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