By Sujeewa Nivunhella
In an abundant display of the massive influence the Tamil diaspora has over the British government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wished “our fantastic British Tamil community and Tamils around the world” a very happy Thai Pongal on January 13.
Political observers said the Thai Poingal greetings by the British Prime Minister showed how powerful the Tamil diaspora was and the degree of influence they wielded over the UK government.
Johnson also shared a video message, where he said, “As you gather together with your family and friends, I believe there is so much to celebrate and to look forward to.
Showing gratitude to the Tamil community for its contribution towards the UK society, the British leader also highlighted the efforts taken by the community that range from building businesses to boost the country’s economy to treating patients in the NHS.
He also took to Twitter to say, “Your fantastic contribution makes a real difference. And it will be incredibly important – as we continue to forge ahead with our plans to make this country the greatest place on earth to live, work, raise a family”.
Further, Johnson wished happiness, joy and prosperity for the Tamil community. He thanked the “wonderful” diaspora and wished “every enjoyment of the festivities” over the coming days.
“And may your year ahead be just as overflowing with happiness, joy and prosperity as that traditional pot of sweet Pongal”, he continued.
“So, let me say an enormous ‘thank you’ to our wonderful Tamil community and wish you every enjoyment of the festivities”, the British premier added.
The festival of Pongal marks the beginning of the harvest season and the Sun God worshipped for bestowing grains.
Political observers said that it was obvious from the message and the video that the British premier was using a diaspora draft.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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