Foreign Minister’s plan to seek 2040 hot seat on UN Security Council falls through | Print edition

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BForeign Office ureaucrats were surprised by a TPN (third person note) they received.

Noting that Sri Lanka had made known its decision to run for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2040, they sought mutual support for the country, which also planned to submit a candidacy in a year’s time.

Officials investigated and found that Mohan Peiris, Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, made the request after Foreign Minister GL Peiris gave his approval. However, he had not hinted at the move to officials.

Now officials say the matter has also not received Cabinet approval. The reason – the exercise of becoming a member of the UN Security Council, involves a large amount of expenses for lobbying and other related matters, said a local diplomat. This comes at a time when staff at some foreign missions have not received their allowances due to a lack of foreign currency. Perhaps the Foreign Secretary thinks that after the IMF bailout, Sri Lanka will be “paradise regained” and a country dripping with milk, honey and US dollars by 2040.


Politicians hide in their official homes as people take to the streets

As people take to the streets to protest against the rising cost of living and shortages of essential items due to the mismanagement of the country’s economy by the government, ministers, government parliamentarians and supporters of the ruling party are in a difficult situation.

First of all, they should check if the routes they take have long queues near petrol stations or distribution centers for domestic gas cylinders, as they could provoke violent reactions from people angry suffering from the pre-monsoon heat at these places. Secondly, their personal safety is at stake. Given these two issues, many of them are forced to stay in their official residences or bungalows.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Jayantha Samaraweera was turned away in Moratuwa on his way to a ceremony in his electorate.

At least two incidents have been reported this week where angry protesters threw stones and eggs at the vehicles of government ministers and parliamentarians. No one was hurt.

On Friday in Nuwara Eliya, the seasonal festival near Lake Gregory was due to begin with the attendance of Minister CB Rathnayake, Minister of State Jeevan Thondaman and others, but not a single prominent politician was
other than city council officials.

The event was disrupted by a protest organized by private bus operators and passengers stranded in the city due to limited bus services. The police had to intervene and the event ended in advance
of schedule.

In Jaffna, things turned sour again when a group of government supporters staged a counter-protest for the protest march organized by the women’s wing Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by Hirunika Premachandra.

The agitated protesters were furious as the fringe group uttered slogans in support of the government and the president. One of them took off his slippers and started chasing a heckler from the stage.

Police officers who were standing a few meters away quickly intervened and tried to evacuate the attacked. A policeman stopped a passing tuk-tuk on the road and urged it to get on immediately. While the driver was still trying to figure out what was going on at the scene, the policeman himself was driving the tuk-tuk, with the driver still catching his breath.


How can they work from home when the CEB cuts the power?

While the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) imposes blackouts of up to 13 hours a day, the electricity sector regulator – the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) – this week proposed a work-from-home (WFH) scheme for public sector employees, until the current shortage of fuel for power plants is resolved.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa promptly instructed staff in his office and all ministries under his responsibility to work from home while Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa did the same for his ministry.

But the instructions left the staff in a dilemma. Many were facing extended power cuts at home, some even lasting longer than expected hours. The request from the PUCSL and the instructions from the two Rajapaksas seem to negate the purpose when one could not work from home due to the power cuts.


Hurricane lamps, fireplace lamps and charcoal irons are making a comeback

With the fuel shortage and long-time power outages during the day and night, there has been a huge demand for kerosene lamps in the market.

Traders in Jaffna said even hurricane lamps and fireplace lamps were in short supply and prices had skyrocketed over the weeks. Currently, a hurricane lamp is priced between Rs. 3200 and 3500, while chimney lamps are priced at Rs. 2500.

Parents of school children are forced to buy these items at exorbitant prices to ensure their children can study at night rather than spending time with cell phones, one such parent lamented.

Charcoal irons priced at Rs. 1500, has also made a comeback replacing electric irons.

“It’s like the war period before 2009, when we had to endure prolonged power cuts and fuel shortages. We were able to survive amidst many difficulties back then, but I’m not sure we can cope with the current crisis because a lot of things have changed over the years, including people’s lifestyles,” said a parent of three schoolchildren.


Angry Lankans vent their current frustrations via the president’s Facebook pages

In recent months, social media platforms have become the main tool for people, especially young people, to express their political views, frustrations and criticisms of the government.

Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok are full of creative content ridiculing the government for its inefficiencies, failure to ensure adequate essential supplies for the people and mismanagement of the economy.

Earlier this week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official Facebook page made changes to restrict comments under each post, as thousands flocked to the page to ridicule the government, while alleging that the president’s policy decisions had led to the current crisis.

The comments urged the president to “just resign from office and return to the United States.”

Ahead of the President’s Media Division (PMD) press conference on Friday following the Mirihana protest, angry social media users began leaving comments on the PMD’s Facebook page while the press conference was broadcast live. The banner behind the briefing table had the words; “The Truth” in three languages ​​under the state emblem.

Social media commentators even ridiculed the remarks made by the three ministers defending government action during the previous day’s protest outside President Mirihana’s residence.


CEB president says he is waiting for rain to solve electricity crisis. Pictured is the Victoria Reservoir in Teldeniya

CEB President expects rain from God and fuel from CPC to solve electricity crisis

Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Chairman MMC Ferdinando did not hear an answer on Thursday when asked by reporters about the end of the current power crisis.

Ms Wanniarachchi said any increase in hydropower generation would come when the areas where the hydroelectric reservoirs are located experience rain.

“I can’t tell you when it will be. That’s the business of the weather service,” she said.

A reporter pointed out that the Met. The ministry had predicted that the rain might not come before the end of April. This strange exchange happened afterwards:

  • Minister: But it is already raining in some areas of restraint. Don’t try to tell us when it will end. Don’t try to scare people off by saying this is the situation and the power outages could last that long.
  • Journalist: But don’t the people deserve to know?
  • Minister: We cannot say when it will rain.
  • Journalist: I’m not asking you when it will rain. I can ask the Met that. Department.
  • Minister: Water levels in the reservoirs will depend on when it rains.
  • Journalist: So that’s your answer?
  • President of the CEB: When God gives us rain and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) gives us fuel, we can solve this crisis.

Essentially, the government relies on divine intervention for rain. Given how bankrupt the government is, it might as well be praying for fuel, a scribe said as he walked away from a helpful presser.


In times of violent protest, media identification is of little value

Three Cabinet Ministers Prasanna Ranatunga, Keheliya Rambukwella and Dilum Amunugama appeared on Friday during the press conference organized by the President’s Media Division (PMD) following the previous night’s incident in Mirihana.

When asked why some journalists had also been arrested despite identifying themselves as media personnel, Minister Amunugama said that police could not check identity documents during the violence of the crowd and downplayed the incident.

Perhaps the ministers were unaware of what the official ID issued by the Government Department of Information to journalists says. “The department requests to cooperate/assist this reporter in the performance of his duties without hindrance or hindrance,” the ID card clearly states. Many wore their identity cards around their necks to distinguish themselves from the protesters.

Minister Rambukwella, who once held the media portfolio, also scoffed at a question posed by a reporter about huge queues for domestic cooking gas. He said “he has to check with his wife about that.”

One of the main reporters at the briefing was heard saying to his colleague: “Maybe he should also bring his wife to the next briefing so we can also ask about the queues and other things. topics”.

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