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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2403

Monthly archive

Fiji’s economic conscripts: tragic victims of the war in Iraq

The death of three Fijian security guards in Iraq on June 9 brought the Fijian death toll to 11 over three months and highlighted the little known involvement of more than 3,000 Fijian nationals as soldiers and contractors in the US-led occupation. The tragic deaths have had a terrible impact on the tiny island state of 893,000 people. The Fijians are economic conscripts sucked into the Middle East war through their desperation to escape poverty and unemployment at home. The three latest casualties—Vilisoni Gauna, Penaia Kanatabatu Vakaotia, and Mikaele Banidawa, along with Australian Wayne Schulz—were killed by a road-side bomb 300 kilometres north of Baghdad while escorting a convoy from Basra in the south to northern Iraq. They were contractors for the British security firm ArmorGroup Ltd, which supplies soldiers, security guards, drivers and labourers for the war-torn region.

Pak may support Jayanatha or Suriakiart for UNSG post.

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from India for Asian Tribune

Pakistan has given up plans to field a candidate against Shashi Tharoor for the post of UN Secretary General. The decision has some thing to do with the internal power equations as also cross currents in Islamabad and not because of any outside factor. For the record, however, it is said that Pakistan never intended to go in for a ‘tit-for-tat’ nomination, and that “Pakistan has a national agenda, not an anti-India agenda”.

Gap Between West and Muslim Worlds Further Widens: A Disturbing Revelation by Global Opinion Survey

By Daya Gamage – US Bureau of Asian Tribune

After a year marked by riots over cartoon portrayals of Prophet Muhammed, a major terrorist attack in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners are convinced that relations between them are generally bad these days. Many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and as lacking tolerance. Meanwhile, Muslims in the Middle East and Asia generally see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy – as well as violent and fanatical. Above was the gist of the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center’s Pew Global Attitudes Project released here on Thursday June 22.

Pak-India talks on Wullar Barrage deadlocked

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

The talks between Pakistan and India on Wullar Barrage ended without any breakthrough with both sides reiterating to continue the talks during the next round of Composite Dialogue with a view to resolving the issue in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Basin Treaty of 1960. At the end of the two-day talks held between Pakistan's Secretary Water and Power Ashfaq Mehmood and Indian Water Secretary J Hari Narayan here on Friday, they acknowledged that the stalemate continued.

Bata on treasury stock process: Residual return offered for the existing shareholders of the de-listed company

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Financial Correspondent

Bata Shoe Company of Ceylon Ltd. (BSCCL) which was de-listed from the Colombo Stock Exchanges during the latter part of last year has made an offer to its existing shareholders to exit from the company stock. BSCCL in a communiqué to its shareholders have stated that each share would be offered a buy back price of Rs. 13.50 by the major shareholder of Bata (BM) B.V. of Netherlands. The offer will be open for acceptance from the shareholders until June 26, 2006 and is requested to contact the Stock Brokers for further clarifications.

Sri Lanka: Training-workshops aimed at the ‘Social and Economic Empowerment of Women’.

Three Training workshops were held for nearly 200 Tsunami affected women in 10 coastal districts of Sri Lanka. The workshops was designed to instill n participants a sense of their self-worth, helped women understand their potential and provided basic training in activities such as cooking, sewing, beauty culture, sari printing, bridal dressing and fabric painting. According to a press release by the Food and Agriculture Organization, “The tsunami killed over 35 000 people, displaced 1 000 000 and affected over two thirds of the island’s coastline. Following the tremendous loss of life, several women, in addition to having to cope with their individual grief, assumed the role of sole nurturers, providers and community spokespersons. It was of paramount importance to empower this group to help them make decisions that would positively affect their lives and those of their families.”

Australian Government funds UNICEF supported projects in Sri Lanka.

Thousands of Sri Lankan women and children are expected to benefit as Australian Government provides US$1.9 million for UNICEF-supported projects in the North and North West. According to a UNICEF press release, “The new funding will go towards improved health facilities, education for school drop-outs, and protection for vulnerable children.”

Offshore to Sri Lanka: Finding Sri Lanka’s off shoring niche launched this week

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Financial Correspondent

An in-depth report on taking the advantage of the potential benefits of the newly established global trade services, branding as an off-shore destination of choice for international visitors and government policy measures will be launched this week. The 40 paged international report was co-authored by Ismail Radwan of the World Bank and the Gihani Fernando of University of California HAAS Business School. Off shoring, or the process whereby one company delegate responsibilities performing a function or series of tasks to another company based in another country, now represents a US $ 100 billion market that is growing at more than 30 per cent per annum. In India, a global leader in this area, IT exports account for close to US $ 20 billion and almost half of total export revenues. The total number of jobs created in the Indian IT industry is close to one million, many of them filled by women.

Bangladesh: 22 Ahmadi Families in Danger

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

According to Amnesty International (AI) in a press release issued Thursday, “the lives of 22 Ahmadi families living in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, are in grave danger” after members of International Khatme Nabuwat Movement Bangladesh (KNMB), an Islamist group, threatened them with death. In a message published in a prominent Dhaka daily, the group said, “once loss of lives occur in this sensitive issue there is a possibility for the ongoing Anti-Qadianee [Ahmadi] movement to turn into a Qadianee-eliminating movement.” Significantly, the daily that agreed to publicize the KNMB threat is Daily Inquilab—the same paper that had been in the forefront of attacks on pro-peace journalist, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. It also provided an outlet for deliberate—and subsequently proven false—leaks about Choudhury’s case.

Democracy under stress

By Atul Cowshish - Syndicate Features

While the world by and large continues to acknowledge India’s democratic credentials, we appear to be diluting the spirit behind democracy, namely the ability to express dissent without injecting tensions and violence. There has been a visible surge in intolerance and refusal to accept the ‘other’ view across the board in India, says the author.

Children’s Consultation on Education (CCE) in Tsunami Affected Areas

The Tsunami, hitting the shores of Sri Lanka 18 months ago, resulted in immense damage to human lives and physical assets. In relation to the education sector, the damages were enormous with 3,372 student deaths, 6,610 disabled students and 49,230 displaced students. One hundred and twenty six teachers died in the Tsunami, 331 teachers were disabled and 1,689 teachers were displaced. According to June 2005 school statistics, 74 schools were fully damaged, 108 were partially damaged, and 446 were functioning as camps for the internally displaced. Children are the most vulnerable group in such disasters. They are also the silent majority whose voices are hardly heard or rarely consulted even in the context of their basic rights such as education. In developing countries little attention is paid to ensure the rights of a child and also the role of children in educational planning.

Pak-India begin talks on Wullar Barrage

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

Pakistan and India held Secretary level talks on the contentious Wullar Barrage issue talks on Thursday, with both sides hoping for "fruitful discussions". The Wullar barrage is one of the eight issues being discussed under the Composite Dialogue process between Pakistan and India and the two sides have had 10 rounds of talks since 1988. Secretary Water and Power, Ashfaq Mehmood led the Pakistani delegation and Indian Secretary Water J Hari Narayan represented Indian side. Both hoped to hold talks in "goodatmosphere".

Sri Lanka backs Norway and rejects Tamil Tiger move to sack Nordic Truce Monitors

By Our Colombo Correspondent

Colombo, 24 June, ( The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has rejected the Tamil Tiger move to replace the Nordic Truce Monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden with a new team that would receive their approval. The Tamil Tigers claim that the Nordic Truce Monitors have lost their neutrality after the EU countries banned the Tamil Tigers. The Peace Secretariat, on the contrary, has given the green light for the Truce Monitors to continue their mandate “despite the unreasonable stance of the LTTE”. It has also dismissed the reasons given by the Tiger complaints as “superficial”.