Kumaratunga off to London for New Year holidays
[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 April 2005, 10:03 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga left for London on Saturday night to spend the forthcoming New Year holidays with her children, Yashoda and Vimukthi. According to reports, Ms Kumaratunge before undertaking her private trip to UK has appointed her close confidante, Ratnasiri Wickremenayake, as the Minister of Defence and Dinesh Gunawardene as the Minister of Education until she returns back to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, Ms Kumaratunge has issued strict instructions to her cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers to obtain prior approval from her before undertaking foreign trips, whether it is official or otherwise, sources close to the President said.
Ms Kumaratunga, in a bid to control her ministers, who have undertaken frequent foreign trips, specified a sample application form at Thursday's cabinet meeting, the sources added.
Ms Kumaratunga, who is on a war path with the main coalition partner of the ruling UPFA coalition, the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on various issues, is yet to agree on a Joint Mechanism with the LTTE to carry out the post-tsunami relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in the war ravaged, tsunami devastated NorthEast.
The New Year, which usually falls on 14th of April when the sun astrologically enters the zodiacal house Medam (Aries), has come to be known as "Tamil Sinhala" or "Sinhala Tamil" New Year in Sri Lanka as both peoples, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, celeberate the New Year Day.
Many regions of South Asia, the people of Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal and the Indian State of Kerala celeberate the New Year based on a traditional solar calendar.