Sri Lanka Brief
NewsTIME Magazine Axes MR

TIME Magazine Axes MR

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Sunday Leader that acting on instructions, votes for President Rajapaksa were polled a couple of hundred times from a single computer. This was then repeated from other computers too.

By Maryam Azwer

1) Rain, South Korean pop star, 2) Jay Chou, Taiwanese director, singer, songwriter, 3) Susan Boyle, British singer, 4) Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, 5) Cheng Yen, Buddhist nun and philanthropist, 7) Chris Colfer, actor, 9) Bradley Manning, U.S. soldier, 10) Glenn Beck, Conservative pundit, media entrepreneur, 8) Christopher Hitchens, writer, atheist and 6) Beyoncé, singer

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s name has been left out of the 2011 TIME 100 most influential people list. This came as a shock to some after ill-informed government officials started lobbying people, both  here and abroad, to vote for the President at the TIME 100 poll, presumably believing that this would lead to his inclusion among the TIME 100.

A highly placed source at the Government Information Department, requesting anonymity, confided to The

Sunday Leader that acting on instructions, votes for President Rajapaksa were polled a couple of hundred times from a single computer. This was then repeated from other computers too.
 Sources also said that such voting took place from state institutions such as state banks. Computers had allegedly been set up for this very purpose.

If such efforts were meant to make Rajapaksa one of this year’s TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people, they proved in vain.

The heavy voting eventually resulted in the President securing fourth place in the TIME 100 poll, with 194,480 votes as “influential,” and 44,428 votes as “not influential” out of a total of 238,908 votes – but this was not enough.

Despite the high ranking, when TIME magazine finally revealed its list, compiled by editors, on April 21, President Rajapaksa’s name was nowhere to be seen.

This is because, TIME magazine explained, “The TIME 100 online poll is an opportunity for our readers to weigh in on the debate. As stated on TIME.com, the winner of the poll is then featured on the official list. The remainder of the TIME 100 is selected by TIME editors.”

When official voting closed on April 14, President Rajapaksa ranked 6, and at the time the final list was revealed ranked 4, standing as the only political world leader in the top 10. He was however outranked by British singer Susan Boyle at number three, Taiwanese entertainer Jay Chou at number two and Korean entertainer Rain at number one – who, as promised by TIME magazine, did make the TIME 100.
Although the survey seems to suggest that a larger number of people voted for their favourite singing sensations, the strategically planned votes polled in favour of President Rajapaksa pushed him far ahead of other world leaders.

According to TIME’s online poll, US President Barack Obama only secured 46th position, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at number 80, India’s Congress Party Leader Sonia Gandhi at number 102 and British Prime Minister David Cameron at 130.

However, Barack Obama, David Cameron, and Benjamin Netanyahu are ultimately on the final list among this year’s TIME 100, while President Rajapaksa is not.

SL

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