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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2528

Monthly archive

Mahinda with McKinnon

Pro pocket Kashmiris and self determination

By Dr Shabir Choudhry

Unlike other nations, we Kashmiris have to be pro something. We have to identify ourselves as pro Pakistan, Pro India, Pro independent, Pro Kashmir, Pro struggle, Pro Jihad etc. A new term has entered a political dictionary of Kashmir to explain those people who don't fall in to any of the above categories, and that is 'Pro Pocket Kashmiris'. I have respect for all those who sincerely conduct their politics, be it pro Pakistan, pro India or pro independent, even when they interpret right of self determination as accession to India or Pakistan.

Sri Lanka President recalls LTTE to a peaceful settlement renouncing

By Ashwin Hemmathagama - Our Financial Corespondent

MahindaPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated his call to LTTE in renouncing terrorism and to enter into negotiations to promote peace and development. President addressing the opening ceremony of the 60th Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ Meeting held in Colombo said: "We are proud to be members of an organisation that upholds principles and tries to promote democracy and good governance, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, and sustainable economic and social development. Peace and security is of paramount importance, and as the world is united on the need to combating terrorism, I reiterate my call to the LTTE to renounce terrorism and to enter into negotiation table in promoting peace and development for the benefit of all segments of our citizens."

Sri Lanka: Construction of tsunami houses suspended

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

The Red Cross Red Crescent Society, one of Sri Lanka's biggest tsunami funding agencies, have temporarily suspended the construction of tsunami houses in Jaffna, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. According to the organization the temporary suspension is the result of the recent fighting in the North and East. "But we are unable to give an exact date as to when work would recommence," information officer to the organization Patrick Fuller said.

A step forward for the health of Sri Lanka’s children – UNICEF

Sri Lanka UNICEF has taken measures to improve the health condition of one third of women in the country who are anaemic and undernourished and around 17 per cent of Sri Lankan babies are born with low birth weight. One in three children under five years of age is underweight. According to a press statement released by UNICEF in Colombo, "The Japan Committee for UNICEF has contributed US$2.3 million to help boost children’s nutrition, as well as improve water and sanitation for families and thousands of school children in Sri Lanka."

Tamil Tigers block humanitarian aid to Jaffna on ICRC sponsored ships

From our Political Correspondent

Tamil Tigers block humanitarian aid to Jaffna on ICRC sponsored ships In a letter to Toon Vandenhove, Head of ICRC in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have refused "to provide protection to ICRC sponsored ships" ferrying humanitarian aid to Jaffna. Instead S. P. Tamilselvan, Head of the Tiger Political Division, is insisting that ICRC should use A9 road running through Tiger territory. This new tactic of playing politics with humanitarian aid to the people trapped in Jaffna is bound to add to their hardship, according to aid workers.

Investment round table a timely event to bring more FDI

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Financial Correspondent

Commonwealth – Sri Lanka Investment Roundtable which was held yesterday in showcasing Sri Lanka as a destination for investment to the larger business contingent accompanied by the Finance Ministers of the member states of the Commonwealth has been considered as a timely measure taken by the Government in attracting more investment to the country. Commonwealth Business Council Director of Programmes, Gregor MacKinnon stated this addressing the delegates highlighting the importance of Sri Lankan effort to attract more investment.

Millennium Development Goals: “Sí es posible!” – UNDP’s Miguel Bermeo

"Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Sri Lanka is a responsibility that the country has towards its people, especially the poorest, the most vulnerable and marginalized," said UNDP Resident Representative Miguel Bermeo. He was addressing the Multi Stakeholder National Conference on MDGs in Colombo at which he was Special Guest. "This responsibility is not of one party alone, but rests upon a multitude of stakeholders, including the government as the leading force, civil society, the private sector, the UN system and development partners, as well as the people of Sri Lanka," he added.

Sri Lanka: Compulsory arms training for O/L and A/L students in LTTE areas

By Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting from Colombo

Students sitting for Ordinary and Advanced level examinations in uncleared areas have to undergo compulsory Tiger combat-training for three months, the media centre for national security claimed. "Students who refuse to undergo training are not allowed to sit for O/L and A/L examinations," the Centre, quoting sources, said. Accordingly, selected school children are directed to LTTE camps for training. Tiger terrorist agents who are also attached to education offices in Mullaitivu have threatened students that they will not be able to sit for exams or pursue higher education if they do not undergo LTTE combat-training.

Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in Anuradhapura

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House is to go on stage tomorrow in Anuradhapura. The play is to be staged at Swarnapali Balika M.V. in Anuradhapura.The performance is directed by Prabhath Warusamanna and Damayanthi Fonseka and presented by Foundation for Theatre at Roots. Damayanthi Fonseka and Kamal Addharachchi will play the main characters of Nora and Helmer. The translation is made by Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardhana.

Pakistan importers need best quality betel leaves from Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

The Export Development Board of Sri Lanka [EDB] says that further efforts should be made to identify the best quality betel leaves required by Pakistan importers. The Pakistan importers need large, dark, thick, matured leaves with power, which are plucked after 21 days in adequate quantities. Directress of the EDB Ranjani Thudugala says the Betel leaves should be packed properly to ensure that on arrival in Pakistan and betel leaves are not rotted / damaged and not consist of too much of moisture and consist of leaves of required quality.


Keheliya Rambukwella

Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Erik Solheim

Director of Baghdad museum goes into exile

Donny George, the former director of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad and a leading conservator of Iraqi antiquities, has resigned as president of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and left Baghdad for Syria. In an interview with the British television station Channel 4, he said his reasons for departure were threats to his family and the impossibility of working with the current government. George has been an important figure in Iraqi archaeology for the last 30 years. He served as one of the officials of the National Museum under the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein when he supervised Iraq’s archaeological digs as well as the collection and study of archaeological artifacts. During the UN-sponsored sanctions after 1991, he maintained international connections with archaeologists and historians. He was responsible for safeguarding many of Iraq’s artistic treasures on the approach of the American invasion.

Ulfa dilemma: to talk or not

By Vinod Vedi - Syndicate Features

With the Assam Government, with the concurrence of the Centre, stating categorically that the proposed dialogue on all issues with the banned outfit United Liberation Front for Asom (ULFA) would be "within the ambit of the Constitution of India" it leaves little doubt that the promised release from jail of the five members of its executive committee will depend on a written communication to Delhi indicating its willingness to hold direct talks. The Government of India thus put paid to any ambitions nurtured by ULFA or any other insurgent group that sovereignty of its constituent components is negotiable. If Assam (or Asom as ULFA prefers to spell it) is to remain within the Union of India then what option does ULFA but to fight to the bitter end?

Sri Lankans fight to defeat fuel prices

Sunil C. Perera- Reporting from Colombo

Sri Lankans are now engaged to defeat the fuel price increase, while two local fuel distributors increase their fuel prices regularly. However local researchers say using of alcohol would minimize fuel cost, but motorists are fear to use these new fuel varieties. Recently the government has introduced alcohol mixed fuel to run three wheelers, but three wheeler drivers say it will reduces their engine's life span. Meanwhile worlds leading auto manufacturers use fuel cell concept to run vehicles. A number of auto giants say that they could switch on their new fuel cell vehicles without any trouble.

The Junta's Road to Democracy

By Dr. Tayza

Since they first came to power by a coup, after crushing down 1988 people power movements, the State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) military junta of Burma had promised that they would restore democracy in Burma. To make good of their promise, the junta held a multi party democracy general election in May 1990. The then junta chief General Saw Maung again and again confirmed at that time that power would be handed over to the elected civilian government after the election and the army would go back to their barracks. But it seemed that they under-estimated people’s support for the main pro-democracy party National League for Democracy (NLD). They hoped that pro-military Union Solidarity Party would win more than 50% or at least almost 50% of the seats.

Peace talks off to bad start: Lanka Government blasts Solheim for tactless handling

From our Political Correspondent

Keheliya RambukwellaTamil Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) have agreed to meet for talks in Oslo "without any preconditions" in early October, according representatives of the Co-chairs who met in Brussels yesterday. But Keheliya Rambukwella, the government spokesman denied that GoSL agreed to "unconditional talks". He told the media that GoSL will put forward their own conditions which will be announced later. He blasted Norway for making announcements on behalf of GoSL about the dates and venues. He told AP: "The government has not been consulted on any future discussions. Norway, or anybody, can't announce dates and venues," Rambukwella said.