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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2552

Monthly archive

Indian prime minister ignores opposition to Narmada dam extension

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Indian Supreme Court have both refused to halt construction on raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam from 110.64 to 121.92 metres, despite clear evidence that the extension flouted resettlement procedures and will leave tens of thousands of families homeless. Singh has ignored an internal report by his own Group of Ministers (GoM), who visited the affected areas and found that the Narmada Control Authority’s (NCA) claims about the successful rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families were “largely paperwork”. His decision to go ahead is a measure of the powerful business and political interests pushing for the dam’s construction.

U.S. Gun Lobby Blasts U.N. Arms Meet

By Thalif Deen - - Inter Press Service

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful pro-gun lobby in the United States, is leading a campaign to literally flood the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations with letters and postcards protesting an upcoming conference on small arms. Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka, president-designate of the two-week long conference beginning Monday, told IPS that the NRA campaign is totally misguided because the meeting is "not aimed at banning small arms or controlling weapons that are legally manufactured, purchased or traded in conformity with national laws".

Lanka Foreign Minister to brief Indian PM on Thursday

By M Rama Rao in New Delhi

Mangala SamaraweeraSri Lanka's foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera will be here in Delhi on today (Thursday) on a brief visit, Navtej Sarna, spokesman of Indian foreign office announced. "The main purpose of the visit", Sarna said, "is to apprise the Indian leadership of the situation in Sri Lanka. Naturally, the peace process will dominate the agenda". He added that the Samaraweera visit might be seen as part of the continuing high level political dialogue between India and Sri Lanka on "matters of mutual interest".

Four feared dead in military chopper crash in Pak

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

At least four people are feared dead as military helicopter in Pakistan crashed in dam in the South-eastern part of the country, a government official said. Soldiers and paramilitary militiamen were on board the helicopter when it came down on Wednesday at 7:17 am (local time) in a dam in the tribal region, some 10 kilometers west of Bannu, a major city in the region, said Mohammed Iqbal Khan District Police Officer (DPO) Bannu. Four soldiers in the helicopter are missing and believed to be in the dam water while three others were rescued, he added. He said one soldier received minor injuries. The helicopter came down apparently due to a technical fault in Barani Dam, Iqbal told reporters.

Sri Lankan bridges at great risk owing to sand mining

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Vehicles and pedestrians travelling on several bridges, which runs over the Deduru Oya and Maha Oya rivers, are facing great risk owing to the weakening structures of some of these bridges, due to over mining of the river bed for sand. The Nikaweratiya Bridge, which runs over the Deduru Oya, tops the danger list due to excessive sand mining in that river. "There is a threat, but it does not mean that the bridge would collapse anytime soon, still chances must not be taken, one cannot predict when it will come to such a state for they are like the climate change," Achala Navaratne, Environmental Scientist attached to the Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL) told the “Asian Tribune.”

Vajpayee 'blesses' Shashi Tharoor's bid

By M Rama Rao in New Delhi

Shashi TharoorDiplomat- writer Shashi Tharoor rounded up his first visit of New Delhi after India announced his candidature for the top UN job by getting the blessings of Atal Behari Vajpayee, a former Prime Minister and BJP patriarch. Tharoor told Vajpayee that he had come to seek his blessings "and he gave it to me unhesitatingly." Vajpayee's Krishna Menon Marg residence was the last port of call for the UN Undersecretary General for communications. Since his arrival on Sunday night, he had been meeting a cross section of political leaders and the egg-heads in the foreign policy establishment while obliging the byte hungry Indian electronic media.

Sri Lankan Authorities frown on housemaids

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Sri Lankan housemaids who are one of the biggest foreign exchange earners to the country maybe sidelined in the future, following a decision taken by the Labor Relations and Foreign Employment Ministry to promote skilled labor instead of illiterate women traveling to the West Asia and other parts of the world to work as housemaids. A top official attached to the Ministry disclosed that special attention has been drawn towards promoting male migrant workers and also females in specialized fields including nursing and in the hotel sector.

Asian Security: Need for a Collective Approach

By Gurmeet Kanwal

Asia has been the fountain of the greatest and some of the most ancient civilizations and religions of the world and possesses enormous human and natural resources. However, in modern history, the continent has seldom been at the centre-stage of world politics. Indeed, unlike Africans, for example, Asian citizens have never really had a feeling of oneness. When an African is asked where he is from, he seldom says that he is a Kenyan, Nigerian or Ugandan – he invariably replies that he is from Africa. Though it was first promoted during Jawaharlal Nehru’s time, the concept of Asia as a continent with many commonalties and similar aspirations has gained prominence only in the last 10 to 15 years.

SL needs national programme to manage solid waste.

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

A senior academic Udeni Chularatne proposes that the government must attend to prepare a national programme to manage solid waste in Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka needs community participatory system to launch nation wide project to manage solid waste and earn additional income for local government institutions. Addressing media in Colombo on Wednesday, Mr.Chularatne said that India follows similar programme to clear and manage solid waste.

Mumbai is the rudest city in the world: A survey by Reader's Digest

By Dr. P.L. Joshi

This is regarding a news item titled "Mumbai is world's rudest city: Survey", appeared in Hindustan Times, June 21, 2006. The news item reads "This is one rude awakening. Mumbai is the rudest city in the world according to a survey across 35 countries by The Reader's Digest. With 32 marks out of 100, it is at the bottom of the barrel, just below Bucharest, the rudest city in Europe."

Miracle Technology Brings Hearing to Deaf Children & Adults

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Internationally acclaimed cochlear implant technology is now available in Sri Lanka at Apollo Hospital and Durdans Hospital in Colombo.The technology, developed more than 23 years ago by Australian biotechnology company, and implant industry leader, Cochlear Limited, has given hearing to more than 100,000 adults and children around the world with a severe to profound hearing loss.To date 19 Sri Lankans have received the technology from clinics in Sri Lanka. The first, Mr Lalith Gunawardhana, received his implant in September 2004. For June of this year at least a further three surgeries are planned.

UNDP disburses Rs 5.6 Million for tsunami recovery in Matara

This assistance to Community Based Organizations is part of UNDP’s efforts to support and strengthen local communities in post tsunami recovery activities. The project “Sustaining Tsunami Recovery by Organizations Networking at the Grassroots level through Promoting Local Accountability and Capacity Enhancement Systems” or (STRONG PLACES Project) is being funded by the Government of Germany. The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] formally handed over material and financial assistance worth Rs.5.6 Million, to 79 selected Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Southern District of Matara on Friday June 9th.

Pak President Musharaff quite strategy for his re-election

By M Rama Rao - Syndicate Features:

While two former prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are busy cementing their new found alliance to take on President Musharraf, he is quietly consolidating his position to ensure his ‘smooth re-election’ for another term. His plan is to have the re-election by September 2007, if not much earlier. In other words, he wants to deny time and space to his political rivals to put their act together. Both the News International, the Karachi based daily known for its leanings towards the establishment, and the Daily Times, the Lahore based Left leaning English daily, reported on June 7, as if in tandem, that political managers of President Musharraf have opened ‘back channels’ with Jamiat Ulema –e-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Children at War: Young Soldiers Used in Conflicts Around the World

By Daya Gamage – US Bureau of Asian Tribune

"Children are recruited through all sorts of means. Some are abducted. Typically, recruiting parties from rebel groups of the like are given conscription targets that change according to need and objectives. Some, like (Sri Lanka’s) Tamil Tigers, even use sophisticated computerized population databases to direct recruiting efforts, so they target the communities that have the most children. All children are not automatically taken, but only those who meet certain criterion. Those judged too small are often killed in order to intimidate both the local populace and the new recruits.Once caught, children have no choice; usually they must comply with their captors or die.”