Ranil will have a good ‘political bath’ at Uva PC
Ice Bucket Challenge enters local politics
It seems that the latest world trend - the Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC)
has invaded Sri Lanka politics.
The global phenomenon reached top gear last week, challenging many
world leaders including US President Barrack Obama.
But some reformist group members of the UNP said that Opposition
Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe does not need any IBC to have an iced water
bath as in any case, he will have a ‘wholesale bath’ after an imminent
election defeat at next month's Uva Provincial Council (UPC) elections.
Interestingly, UNP's chief ministerial candidate and former Badulla
district MP Harin Fernando too has been thrown a Ice Bucket Challenge by
his close friend and UPFA Western Provincial Council member Hirunika
Premachandra. The UNP reformists said Hirunika has compelled Harin to
have an iced water bath before he faces a ‘political bath’, shattering
his dreams of becoming the Chief Minister of Uva.
Hirunika had a bath of a bucket full of iced water and named three
politicians from different parties as her challengers - her close
friends Harin, fellow Western PC member Senal Welgama (son of Minister
Kumara Welgama) and former JVP parliamentarian K.D. Lalkantha.
Western Provincial Councillor, Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of
Minister of Posts and actor Jeewan Kumaratunga, first faced the IBC
challenge thrown upon by popular singer Iraj Weeraratne. She later named
fellow WPC member Hirunika Premachandra and Minister Mervyn Silva among
Malsha who had uploaded a video to her Facebook fan page getting
drenched from three buckets of water thrown at her had asked the others
also to do so and uploaded the video while making a contribution to a
“I was challenged by Iraj Weeraratne, who is also my friend. Hence I
took up the challenge,” she was quoted as saying after the bath. The
rules of the challenge permits the person who takes up the challenge to
nominate three people.
“I nominated President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Mervyn Silva and
my colleague Hirunika as I know they would take up the challenge. Even
if they do not they would still join for a good cause,” said Malsha,
adding that her motive was to raise funds for Aranyani, an animal
The original ice bucket challenge was to raise funds for amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Since the ALS is not operational here, Malsha has decided to raise funds
for Aryani, which looks after street pooches.
“There is no point in raising funds for ALS as that is not a disease
in Sri Lanka. Therefore, I decided to use the challenge for a cause
which would benefit our country,” she said.
Aranyani, a local animal welfare trust, to which the funds raised
Malsha’s Ice Bucket challenge were to be donated, has declined the
donation.The Aranyani Executive Committee has said the funds were
declined on ethical grounds.
Popular vocalist Bhathiya Jayakody of B n S fame faced the ice bucket
challenge on Friday and challenged his colleague Santhush Weeraman,
Lankan Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez challenged
parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa. Bhathiya used rain water for the
purpose and made a donation of bottled water for the people in the areas
affected by the recent drought. He appealed to make similar donations to
the victims in the drought-hit areas.
Former US President George W. Bush, Lady Gaga, Tom Cruise, founder of
Microsoft, Bill Gates and facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are some of
the world renowned personalities who took up the Ice Bucket challenge.
Bill Gates commends President Rajapaksa
Founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates has said President Mahinda Rajapaksa
who took effective steps to invest in Information Technology to empower
the people with IT knowledge ‘to ensure speedy socio-economic progress
of the country’, is an example for other world leaders to emulate.
The Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the
presenting the award for the most outstanding rural-based Information
Technology program - to Nanasela of Sri Lanka - President Mahinda
Gates made this presentation at the International Librarians and
Intellectuals Conference in Leon, France last Monday.
“President Rajapaksa, and his government recognised the extraordinary
potential that Information Technology has, to dramatically improve
people's lives in the country, and succeeded in overcoming challenges
faced during adaptation of IT for development”, Gates was quoted as
Gates expressed appreciation of the Lankan leader's commitment and
dedication to transform the lives of underprivileged people by making
use the tools of Information Technology, and emphasised his good
leadership in this important field as an example for other world leaders
President meets foreign correspondents
President Mahinda Rajapaksa hosted the Colombo-based foreign
correspondents at Temple Trees on Tuesday. The electronic and print
media representatives for international and foreign media fired many
questions at the President who frankly answered all.
The Indian foreign correspondents in Colombo were keen to find out
about the long-awaited visit here by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The President said the Indian premier should visit here because Lankans
are eager to host him.
“People want him to come here. If the Japanese Prime Minister and the
Chinese President can come here, why the Indian Prime Minister can’t
come, people ask,” Rajapaksa told the members of the Foreign
“I had invited him when I met him last. And I will be meeting him at
the next SAARC summit in November. Modi is keen on strengthening ties
with SAARC countries,” the Lankan President said. Asked if he was
troubled by Tamil Nadu leaders’ opposition to any dealings with the
Lankan government, he said: “It’s all politics. I don’t take it
When questioned about the allegations that the panel of advisers may
be biased in favour of the government, President Rajapaksa said that
such allegations will be there against any step taken by the government.
“There are loads of allegations against the advisers on the UN
investigation panel too,” he said, adding that the commission had
requested the appointment of advisers because it was lacking in
expertise in certain aspects of international law.
Criticizing the UN panel, he said that government will not allow it
to come to Lanka as it does not think it has jurisdiction over Sri
Lanka. Furthermore, the UN Human Rights Commissioner had said it is not
necessary to go to Lanka to collect evidence. “I am committed to finding
the truth. I want to have the allegations of forced disappearances
investigated,” he said.
Responding to a question whether Sri Lanka is ready to face possible
Western sanctions, the President said that no Western country has
threatened to impose sanctions. “Britain and the US have explicitly
stated that they do not intend to impose sanctions,” he said.
The President said that the TNA is behaving as a “proxy of the LTTE”
in clamouring for an international investigation. It is also not
utilising the powers under the 13th amendment to improve conditions in
the Northern Province because it wants to get more powers through
international interventions. He categorically rejected demands for grant
of police powers to the provinces saying that there is still a threat of
the revival of the LTTE. “National security cannot be compromised,” he
President expands advisory panel
President Rajapaksa has appointed two more international experts to
the international panel of experts advising the Presidential Commission
to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons in Sri
Lanka.Accordingly, an Indian human rights activist, Prof. Avdhash
Kaushal and Pakistan Law expert Ahmer B. Soofi have been appointed to
the panel, the President tweeted.
In July, the President appointed three eminent persons of
international repute-British lawyers Desmond de Silva and Geoffrey Nice
and U.S. law professor David Crane-to serve on the Advisory Council.
The Advisory Council will advise the Commission, at their request,
and may include other experts appointed by the President as and when
Prof. Kaushal is the Chairperson of Dehradun-based non-governmental
organization (NGO), Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK).
President Rajapaksa expanded the mandate of the Commission -
originally set up to look into complaints of enforced disappearances,
directing it in July to probe the roles of Sri Lankan army and the rebel
Tigers during the battle against terrorism.
Sri Lanka will not grant visas to UN investigators probing war crimes
allegedly committed during the island's decades-long LTTE terror, the
Modi to visit SL next year
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may visit Sri Lanka early next
year, according to Dr. Subramanian Swamy, head of the Bharatiya Janata
Party’s Strategic Action Committee.
Swamy told select journalists on the sidelines of the Sri Lankan
Army’s Defence Seminar in Colombo on Monday, that India’s policy on
Lanka is being decided by the Government of India, and not the states,
though the latter may be consulted.
Elaborating, Swamy said that he is in Lanka attending the army
seminar, despite protests by certain sections in Tamil Nadu, because
both Prime Minister Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah had given him the green
signal to attend.
“In November this year, the Indian National Security Advisor will
visit Sri Lanka and Prime Minister Modi may come early next year,” Swamy
said. The BJP has a majority in parliament. We will not surrender to the
States. There will be no knee jerk reactions as a result of protests in
Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Asked if Lankan military personnel will be trained in Indian military
establishments in TN, Swamy said: “in due time they will be.” On the TN
government’s demand for the retrieval of Kachchativu from Lanka, the BJP
leader said that the matter has been settled.
“It is not true that Tamil Nadu was not consulted before the
agreement on the island was signed. Indira Gandhi had consulted
Karunanidhi,” he said.
Asked how the Modi government can resist pressure from Tamil Nadu
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the Lankan issue, Swamy said that
Jayalalithaa is a patriot who will uphold the national interest.
“I had addressed meetings in Coimbatore and Madurai and the Tamil
Nadu Government had given me full security,” he said.
Fonny tries to grab common title
Defeated presidential election candidate in 2010, Sarath Fonseka
appears to become the self-appointed ‘common candidate’ at the next
Presidential elections likely to be held next year.
The UNP has categorically stated that its leader and the Opposition
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will be their candidate for the next
Presidential election. In response, the JVP too has claimed that it
would field its own candidate for the next Presidential polls if the UNP
deviates from the common candidate platform to field Rani.
In this scenario, Fonseka seems to be the trying to grab the common
candidate title abandoned by the main opposition UNP and the JVP. Last
week, Fonseka said the common candidate should not be limited to its
title but he or she should come forward from the aspirations of the
“Anyone can nominate a common candidate but if he is to be accepted
by the people, he should come from the aspirations of the people. He
should not be just a for the namesake,” Fonseka was quoted as saying.
Asked whether he was ready to support a common candidate nominated from
the opposition, Fonseka said his party would support such a candidate,
only if he was prepared to serve the needs of the people with a clear
That was a signal that Fonseka would not settle for any common
candidate other than him.
“He must be daydreaming still, even five years after his humiliating
defeat. He still lives in the political fantasy. He cut a sorry figure
even with the backing of the UNP and the JVP and was convincingly
defeated by the President. How come he makes a lone battle and show any
impact?,” Trade Minister Johnston Fernando queried.
President goes to SSC to greet Mahela
President Rajapaksa made a surprise appearance on the fifth and final
day morning session of the second cricket Test between Sri Lanka and
Pakistan to greet veteran star batsman Mahela Jayawardene who announced
his retirement from Test cricket.
The Sri Lanka Cricket produced a fitting souvenir - a golden bat
worth Rs. 2.5 million, which was presented to Mahela by the President
during the awards ceremony while chairman of selectors - Deputy Minister
Sanath Jayasuriya and parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa watched in front
of the presentation podium. President had personally gone to SSC to
greet Mahela, especially as an Old Nalandian as thousands of old boys of
Mahela's alma mater gathered to greet Mahela in his final day in Test
cricket. Mahela had ruled out any possibility of following former
captains Arjuna Ranatunga, Jayasuriya or Hashan Tillakaratne by taking
Several politicians from both the ruling party as well as the
Opposition were present to bid adieu to the former Sri Lanka captain who
made a half century even in his final Test inning. His team mates gave a
fitting farewell to Mahela by winning the second Test with spinner
Rangana Herath capturing a match bag of 14 wickets. Claiming that next
year's ICC World Cup would be his last international tournament, star
cricketer Mahela Jayawardane, who retired from the international Test
Cricket, has ruled out entering politics and being a cricket coach.
“I will have to go out from home if I enter politics),” Jayawardane
said at the post-match press conference.
Vietnamese legislators visit Parliament
A delegation of members of the National Assembly of Vietnam led by
the head of Justice Committee Nguyen Van Hien visited Parliament and
held bilateral talks with Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody at the
Parliament complex last week.
Van Hien said that his government hoped to expand the bilateral trade
and commerce relations between Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The delegation
also expected to share the Sri Lankan experiences in legal and
parliament methodologies and mechanisms.
Van Hien also mentioned that his government was extremely satisfied
and happy with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to his
country and that visit had strengthened the relationships between the
The Vietnamese delegation comprised of Mr Van Hien, Nguyen Dinh Quyen,
Nguyen Manh Chong, Nguyen Van Hien, Luon Van Thanh and staff members Cao
Man Linh, Phung Thanh Ha and Dao Duy Trung.
NFF suggests new Constitution
National Freedom Front (NFF) said last week that the country's
current Constitution, introduced in 1978 under President J.R.
Jayawardene government, should be replaced, instead of amending it
following the compromise it had reached with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(SLFP) on NFF’s 12-point action plan. NFF spokesman Mohamed Muzammil
told a news conference that there should be a new Constitution as well
as a new economy to develop the country. “Our present constitution is 36
years old. It had been criticized by government and opposition political
The entire society anticipates a new Constitution. Some suggest that
the Constitution should be amended but our opinion is that the entire
constitution should be changed by replacing it with a new one,” he was
quoted as saying. Muzammil said the NFF would launch a house to house
campaign, informing people on their 12-proposals and the proposed
Commenting on the party’s proposed new economic system, he said the
economy should be changed giving prominence to agriculture and
Muzammil said President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLFP had given
their approval to the 12 proposals submitted by the NFF.