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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 112

Monthly archive

Talking with the Satan

By Tukoji R. Pandit - Syndicate Features

At last some influential Americans have started to question the Bush administration’s aggressive posture against Iran. The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, a Republican member, has said that he would like the US to engage Iran in direct talks over the thorny issue of Iranian nuclear programme. He also wants the US to talk Iran with both Russia and China, the two veto-armed members of the UN Security Council who have openly announced opposition to the US threat of getting the Security Council to impose sanctions against Tehran.

SLMM Chief leaves for Norway to attend crucial meeting

By Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Head Ulf Henricsson will leave for Norway today (Saturday) to take part in a meeting, which will be attended by the five nations, which contributes to the Mission. The Mission's Spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir told the “Asian Tribune”that the meeting which would be attended by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden will be a 'regular meeting' where the ground situation in Sri Lanka would be discussed and internal matters concerning the Mission will be taken up.

UNDP constructs over 200 houses for the tsunami victims of Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera, Reporting from Colombo

The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] said that it has planned to handover 236 housing units for the tsunami victims who lost their houses in the 2004 Asian tsunami. UNDP spokesman Sanaka Samarasinha says these houses have been built in Galle, Moratuwa, Kuchchaveli and Point Pedro.The total expenditure exceeds US$ four million.

Bangladesh: Kuwait emir arrives next month

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will visit Bangladesh next month at the invitation of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The Emir's visit is taking place less than a month of the Prime Minister's official visit to Kuwait on May 7-8. The Emir is expected to lead an 80-member high-power delegation, which will include all the important cabinet ministers, Foreign Minister Morshed Khan told the diplomatic correspondents.

World Bank pledges continuous support to Sri Lankan peace process

By Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 20 May, ( The World Bank (WB) has pledged its continuous support to the Sri Lankan peace process, the country's enhanced economic growth, and the harnessing of community empowerment and local initiative for poverty reduction. This was intimated to President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government's chief peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva by Praful Patel, Regional Vice President of the World Bank for South Asia at a meeting this week. Patel, who ended a three-day visit to the country yesterday emphasized that the Bank's interest in Sri Lanka achieving peace was not political but rather a relationship to the prospects for sustainable development and poverty reduction

Swiss recalls diplomatic staff from Pak after visa scam

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

Switzerland has recalled its entire diplomatic staff, including the ambassador, posted in Islamabad and Karachi mission, following the confirmation of massive visa fraud at its Islamabad Embassy. The issuance of visas to Pakistani nationals has been stopped forthwith for an indefinite period till the process of replacement was completed. However, the Swiss government has not given any date by which process staff replacement will be completed and visa section re-opened in Islamabad.

EPDP condemns “the irresponsible” statement of the Amnesty International.

Douglas Devananda, General Secretary of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), has condemned the latest statement of Amnesty International (AI) linking its cadres to the recent attacks on Tamil civilians in Kayts as an “irresponsible” utterance. Urging the AI not to issue such statements without going through a proper investigation into incidents Devananda states that “irresponsible” statements by AI would encourage the LTTE to wipe out alternative voice of the voiceless people and unarmed people who dare to dissent.

Sri Lankan welcomes EU engagement, pledges commitment to peace process

By Our Colombo Correspondent

Colombo, 20 May, ( Sri Lankan government on Friday welcomed the “constructive engagement by the EU,” a day after the EU parliament recommended a freeze on the LTTE assets in the Europe and the local EU Presidency , Netherlands, announced that a formal ban is “under active consideration.” The government in a statement said it remained committed to talks with the LTTE, on both the ceasefire and substantive issues relevant to the peace process.

International Community needs to tell its exact role on Sri Lanka crisis: Cabraal says in Washington

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse’s economic adviser and the Secretary of the country’s Ministry of Plan Implementation Ajith Nivard Cabraal told a distinguish and representative gathering here that it is important that the international community seek to specify its role, avoid trying to balance their comments which becomes quite irritating to the victims and seek to understand the completely different framework within which the Government and the LTTE operate.

Bangladesh Biman suspected as 'alien' at New York

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Fakhrul Islam Alamgir Thursday said the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) did not allow the Bangladesh Biman flight in New York as they suspected it as an alien flight similar to that like the evil-fated 9/11. At a press briefing held at the PID auditorium, the state minister said they were discussing with the US lawyers for demanding compensation from the FAA. But the assessment in this regard was yet to be completed.

High powered Chinese delegation in Sri Lanka to explore investment and business climate

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Colombo, 20 May, ( In a bid to explore business opportunities and joint ventures in Sri Lanka, a high powered Chinese Trade Delegation comprising of 13 members of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) led by Yu Ping, Vice Chairman, CCP has met a delegation of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) last week. The Chinese delegation was interested to have a good understanding of the investment climate and investment incentives available to foreign investors in Sri Lanka. FCCISL and CCPIT meeting at FCCISL office signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in providing information and consultation services, receiving visiting groups from the either country, organizing member enterprises to attend large scale economic and trade activities held in two countries and annual mutual visits for high-level personnel to discuss mutual trade matters.

Controversial Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Muslim turned atheist, to resign from Dutch Parliament

BY Sohail Choudhury

Just in less than two weeks of receiving prestigious ‘Moral Courage Award’ from American Jewish Committee, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has decided to resign from Dutch Parliament when the Dutch government had abruptly threatened to revoke the citizenship of the most prominent Somali-born member of Parliament, who arrived as a refugee 14 years ago. The minister of immigration, Rita Verdonk, said that Hirsi Ali had provided inaccurate information when applying for political asylum in 1992 and seeking Dutch citizenship in 1997. As a result, the minister said, both applications were invalid. Hirsi Ali has been given six weeks to respond.

Indigenous Light Combat Aircrafts for Indian Air Force

By Raymond R Kharmujai - Asian Tribune

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal S.P.Tyagi said on Friday, that he has already signed a contract with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the delivery of 20 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). "They (HAL) have made an offer for 40 aircraft, but we decided to have 20. The first lot will come with GE engine and hopefully the next lot will come with the indigenous Cauvery engine," said Air Chief Marshal while interacting with newsmen over a cup of tea at the Eastern Air Command headquarters here.

Educating children on disaster risk mitigation vital

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

After the tsunami devastation in December 26, 2004 the need has arisen to educate the younger generation on natural and manmade disasters and also risk management methodologies from an early age in Sri Lanka. As a result, it was decided to activate the disaster awareness and risk management methodologies in the school curriculum through teacher training and project implementation at school level during seminar organized by the Ministry of Education, National Institute of Education (NIE), GTZ ESC.

Bangladesh Editors’ Forum Chairman opposes tele bugging

Chairman of Bangladesh Editor’s Forum, Shahidur Rahman Tapa asked the government to immediately abandon the telephone tapping law, which he termed as a gross violation of human rights and freedom of expression. He was addressing a special meeting of the organization held on Friday morning. Commenting on the recent rule issued by The High Court Division of the Supreme Court, which asked the Bangladesh government to show cause as to why the provisions of tele-tapping under the Telecommunication (Amendment) Act 2006 should not be declared ultra vires of the constitution.

Pak rejects Karzai’s charges of backing insurgency

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

Pakistan on Friday rejected allegations by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that it was training militants for violence and infiltrating them into Afghanistan. Karzai blamed Pakistan on Thursday after some of the fiercest fighting in Afghanistan since the former Taliban regime was toppled in a U.S.-led invasion in 2001 for sheltering Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. "There is no truth in this," Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

British High Commission in Colombo declares 'traveling to Sri Lanka safe'

By Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 20 May, ( The British High Commission in Sri Lanka has emphasized that their country has not enforced a travel ban against their citizens traveling here to Sri Lanka, but has only cautioned their nationals against traveling to the North and East unless the trip was 'entirely essential'. Addressing a news conference in Colombo yesterday, John Culley, the High Commission's Second Secretary in charge of political and public diplomacy disclosed that on an average about 100,000 British nationals travel to Sri Lanka for holiday, business and other purposes and this number is growing.

Indian Air Force revitalizing up for long-range engagements: Tyagi

From: Raymond R Kharmujai – Asian Tribune

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is gearing up for long-range engagements in air, while considering India's long term security needs, said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi. "Our aim is not to engage in inter-continental warfare. But we do want to increase our operational capabilities to longer distances and we don’t wish to go and attack a different country”, Air Chief Marshal Tyagi stated

Crisis in Karen State, Burma, continues to escalate as thousands more face attacks

The Burma Army is continuing its attacks on civilians in Toungoo District, Karen State, Burma, as it appears poised to unleash a fresh offensive against civilians in Papun District. Tens of thousands more could be displaced. The total number of Karen people displaced in Western, Northern and North-western Karen State is now over 16,000, according to the Free Burma Rangers.

Prodi government takes power in Italy: a right-wing regime with a left fig leaf

Five and a half weeks after parliamentary elections, a new Italian government was sworn into office Wednesday. The governing coalition stretches from moderate Christian Democrats to liberals, Greens, social democrats, the Democratic Left (the successor organization to Italy’s Communist Party), and Communism Refounded (Rifondazione Comunista). In order to satisfy all eight governing parties the head of the government, Romano Prodi, distributed a total of 25 ministerial posts, one more than the cabinet of his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi. When deputy minister and state secretaries are added, the total of government ministers exceeds well over one hundred.