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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Monthly archive

Erik Solheim

Norway urges LTTE to reopen the water supply immediately

Erik SolheimErik Solheim, Minister for International Development and Sri Lanka’s peace facilitator, in a Norwegian Government’s press release, has emphasized that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must reopen the water supply to prevent further civilian suffering and damage to crops. He has also appealed to both parties’ – Government of Sri Lanka as well as the LTTE to withdraw their respective armed forces to the positions they held when they entered into the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002. Norway’s statement has come at the backdrop where Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE are involved in a pitched battle over of Mavilaru anicut.

War in Lebanon and Some Lessons for Sri Lanka

Professor Laksiri Fernando, Ryukoku University, Japan (Visiting)

If the TV images that came from southern Lebanon (particularly the BBC) during the last three weeks were to represent the way the “war against terrorism” is waged by Israel, backed by the US, many people and countries would at least disagree, including some Western ones. They have already done so. The disagreement is not so much about the objectives of the war, but the way they are being pursued without much consideration for the civilian lives. It was nearly the same the week before when Israel unleashed its wroth against Hamas in the Gaza strip (the tiny little area that accommodates over 1.5 million destitute Palestinians), when Corporal Gilead Shalit was abducted.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress’s : Policy paper on the Peace Process and Constitutional Reform - Sri Lanka Muslim Congress

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) late last month released their policy paper on the Peace Process and Constitutional Reform. The proposal was released to the media on July 23, 2006 at the SLMC's Headquarters 'Dharussalam' in Colombo. The party proposed for the setting up of a non-contiguous administrative unit merging Muslim dominated areas in the North and East, preferably in a model similar to that of the Indian Union of Territories. The policy paper emphasizes that the interests of the Muslim community itself, and those of the wider community of Sri Lanka, as well as the principles of the Muslims' faith are best served by a fresh approach.

“Bring the LTTE leaders before International Court of Justice to face charges for war crimes against Children.”

An organization called ‘Sri Lankan Patriots in the United States of America’ has urged UNICEF to take necessary steps to bring the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before the International Court of Justice to face charges for war crimes against children. The organization has also decided to stage peace rally on 13 August across from the UN Headquarters at 47th &1st Avenue, Manhattan New York to protest against the child exploitation of the LTTE. Organizers have appealed, “As Sri Lankans we need to help our children in the North and East.” Also added, “If you are a Sri Lankan living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut please join the peace rally with all your friends and family to protest against child exploitation of the LTTE. “

Joint effort by Muslim Aid and Oxfam benefits some 100 Sri Lankan

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Come August, a new day will dawn for some 100 tsunami-victimized families hailing from Olikulam in Batticaloa, when Muslim Aid together with Oxfam hand over 100 newly constructed homes each worth Rs. 432,000 to 80 Muslim families and 20 Tamil families respectively. The construction of these houses began in June last year. Each house consists of two rooms, a kitchen, living room, verandah, a small garden area and toilet.

Israel’s latest invasion of Lebanon and western culpability

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

It should be quite obvious by now that Israel’s latest invasion of Gaza and Lebanon had very little to do with rescuing her fallen soldiers. As I write, Israel has killed some 750 unarmed Lebanese civilians - mostly women and children, destroyed mosques, bridges, roads, houses, schools, hospitals and much of the infra-structure of southern half of Lebanon. As in 1996, she has massacred scores of civilians in Qana this past weekend (July 30, 2006). Israel has bombed Red Cross center and ambulances, and a UN observation post killing 4 observers. She has displaced a million people inside the country, some of whom are forced to take shelters in even prisons. Infants have been forcibly separated from their parents, and the elderly from their care-taking children. Relief supplies are difficult to get to the internally displaced refugees. Nothing is immune from Israel’s bombing campaign.

Waste matter converted to wealth

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has undertaken a Rs 800 million housing project to build 400 houses for the Tsunami victims in the areas of Kalmunai, Amparai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. While JICA is awarding these houses to the victims they also have undertaken to train these affected people with some handicraft making skills so that they could earn some income.

Sri Lanka Government to borrow US $ 150 million this month

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Financial Correspondent

Sri Lanka Government is currently looking at the possibilities in issuing US $ 150 million worth of development bonds this month. According to industry sources, these bonds would be issued as the Government is trying to avoid the cash crunch it is currently in, created by the excessive deficit spending and increasing budget deficit. Ceylinco Stock Brokers Economist and Head of Research Division, Inti Mohamed told “Asian Tribune” that the Government issued US $ 300 million worth of bonds at around 130 basis points above 6 months LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offered Rate) in June and is to continue this month.

U.S. to Supply Food with One Hand, Arms with Other

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

As Israel's bombing of Lebanon continues unabated into its fourth consecutive week, the United States says it stands ready to provide food, medicine and humanitarian assistance to the thousands of internally displaced Lebanese caught in the crossfire. But Washington has also decided to accelerate the supply of lethal weapons to Israel -- ''perhaps intended to kill the very Lebanese the United States is planning to feed and shelter,'' says one Arab diplomat at the United Nations.

Reputed Huawei Chinese mobile phones now in Sri Lanka

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Access International (Pvt) Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd have introduced to Sri Lanka the ‘Third Generation’ (3G) Huawei Mobile Phones and data cards that is already used by more than one billion worldwide and the official launch has taken place at the Waters Edge Hotel. Huawei turnover in 2005 exceeded US $ 8.2 billion and has a workforce of over 40,000 working world over. Huawei had a turnover of over US$ 8.2 billion in 2005 of which 58 percent came from international markets where they have a presence in over 70 countries.

Sri Lankan Trade Delegation to Gulf Countries

Sunil C. Perera and Daya Weerasingha - Reporting from Colombo

A three-member Trade delegation led by the Secretary, Ministry of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Thosapala Hewage is to visit Qatar, Dubai and adjacent countries during the 2nd week of August. The objective of the mission to take advantage of the present situation in the Middle East countries where the supply chain from Syria, Lebanon and other neighboring countries have been cut off due to the escalated Gulf war creating the possibility of new market emerging for the Sri Lankan products specially in the fruit & vegetable sector. At present 50% fresh fruit & vegetable exports from Sri Lanka are to the Gulf Market. Sri Lanka exports mainly mixed vegetables to the ethnic market whereas items such as Melon, Tomato, Cucumber, Salad leaves are imported in bulk form to the Gulf Market from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.

Sri Lankan estate unions and employers collision course?

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) will reject a proposal by the estate sector unions for a Rs. 95/- wage hike when negotiations commence between the Federation and the trade unions next month. A high ranking official attached to a leading plantation company, who is also a member of the EFC said, "Although we have not been informed officially about what their demands are, but paying Rs. 300/- as the daily wage to estate workers inclusive of all taxes and a cost of living allowance, will be a definite 'No No', because paying such an amount is utterly impossible by us," he said.

The grand Indian auto show at BMICH

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

India is the fastest growing passenger car market in the world and the second largest two-wheeler manufacturer and the largest motorcycle manufacturer. It is also the fifth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world. The apex body representing leading vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India, Society of Indian Auto Mobile Manufacturers (SIAM) is organizing a 3 day Automobile Exhibition from 18th to 20th August at the BMICH and the event is supported by the Indian High Commission, Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, Ceylon Motor Traders Association and the Auto Mobile Association of Ceylon.

Another 1000 Sri Lankans to be repatriated from Lebanon this week

By Munza Mushtaq- Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

A total of 1600 Sri Lankans working in Lebanon have been repatriated and reunited with their families in Sri Lanka, as the crisis in the Middle East showed no immediate signs of coming to an in the near future. The evacuation process will continue with the assistance of Qatar Airways this week, to bring home another 1000 Sri Lankans currently at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Lebanon, awaiting repatriation. Meanwhile, a batch of 324 Sri Lankans arrived in Colombo on Sunday (30th) evening, via an Air India jet provided by the Indian government from Cyprus. The Sri Lankans were brought from Beirut to Cyprus, via an Indian naval vessel, and from Cyprus flown directly home by Air India. A Foreign Ministry official was sent to Cyprus to coordinate this operation with Sri Lanka's Hon. Consul, and the Indian Embassy officials in Cyprus.

Hezbollah’s Qana Caper: Recent Socialist Rant Places Ideology over Facts

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Once again the world’s gullible and its ideologues have swallowed whole another terrorist claim of an “Israeli massacre.” The world was told that 54 people, mostly women and children, were killed after an Israeli rocket hit a residential building in Qana, Lebanon. And the reactions were swift to condemn Israel. Newspapers and blogs in Europe and the Muslim world called it a massacre. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the Security Council to condemn Israel. But while swift, the response was uncritical, despite the fact that contradictions almost from the moment it was first screamed should have called its veracity into question. As more facts emerge, it is becoming ever clearer that Qana is merely the latest “Israeli massacre” that never was.