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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2400

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At Asia Society

TNA delegation returns without meeting Indian PM

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from New Delhi

The five-member Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation led by R Sampanthan left here for home via Chennai without meeting the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Notwithstanding this 'disappointment', these MPs, who are known to be supporters of the Tigers, appear to have succeeded in their mission to some extent. They met the National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, who is generally considered as the government's points man on Tamil ethnic issue. This session was preceded by a meeting with Mr E A Ahmed the minister of state for External Affairs who is given charge of SAARC region, and discussions with the Left parties and other opinion makers.

Sri Lankan Government going for substantial issues when proposed peace talks resume

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

With still no official date fixed for peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, the government is hoping to take up substantial issues including the working out of a formula which would devolve power within a unitary state, if proposed talks resume with the LTTE, government's defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He emphasized that the government was of the opinion that peace talks have now been dragged on for 'too long' and thus it was important that the more serious matters should be taken up, instead of mediocre issues such as the amending of the four-year-old ceasefire agreement.

Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Maha Thera says that President is now leading the country on the correct track

By Walter Jayawardhana - reporting from New York

New York Buddhist TempleThe Nayaka Mahathera of the United States told the visiting President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he was tackling the country’s terrorist problem cleverly. Venerable Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Mahathera said in a reception accorded to Preesident Mahinda Rajapaksa at the New York Buddhist Vihara that he felt for the first time after a long a period of time, the Country’s President was on the correct track in solving the terrorist problem that has been agonizing Sri Lanka and he was leading the country properly. He said his actions were reminiscent of another leader who hailed from Rajapaksa’s native Ruhuna, namely the Great Dutugemunu.

U.N. Takes Beating from World Leaders

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

The United Nations took a severe political beating during the opening week of the 61st session of the General Assembly as several world leaders chastised the organisation -- specifically its 15-member Security Council -- for its failure to assert its authority in some of the world's battle zones. "It is sad that the Security Council dithered and failed to take timely action to stop the massacres and wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure in Lebanon -- all because of the misguided national interests of one superpower," complained Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

President Rajapaksa reaffirms in New York his commitment for political solution to Sri Lanka’s national question

US Bureau - Asian Tribune

At Asia SocietySri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the Asia Society New York Chapter on Wednesday, September 20 reminded his ‘all sold out’ packed audience of U.S. lawmakers, policy makers and those who influence policies at federal level that 54% of minority ethnic Tamil community live outside the so called predominantly Tamil provinces of north and east and that he stand by the commitment that his government will talk to the separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE) despite they are not the sole representatives of the Tamil People. He assured his influential audience that all elected governments in Sri Lanka, including his, have recognized that the genuine grievances of the minorities in different regions should be addressed and resolved through devolution of power to the periphery.

No Open Visas issued by Norwegian Embassy in Colombo

There is no such thing as ‘Open Visa’ and Norwegian Embassy in Colombo is not issuing any so called ‘Open Visas.’ This clarification was made by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo. In a press release, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Colombo informed that the Embassy is receiving numerous inquiries by telephone and those who call personally with regard to open visa. "The Embassy reiterates that, apart from the standard Schengen Visa, there is no category as ‘open visas.’"

Sri Lanka's electricity board losing big time despite massive hike

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) continues to lose approximately Rs. 2 for every unit of electricity it sells, despite the 22% tariff hike it imposed on the consumers early this month. Energy expert Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya told the "Asian Tribune" that the CEB was still to break even despite the tariff hike. "Before the tariff hike, the CEB sold an unit of electricity at an average Rs. 8.30, however, following the hike, the CEB now sells a unit at approximately Rs. 10.80. But it costs the CEB around Rs. 12.50 to generate a single unit of electricity mainly because the board relies on oil-based plants which are the most expensive," he said.

Indian major general jailed for smuggling liquor

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from New Delhi

In what is certainly a first of its kind for the Indian army, a top officer of the rank of Major General, has been court martialed and given a three-year jail term. He is held guilty of smuggling liquor and misappropriating funds of the canteen. G I Singh, whose sentence needs to be confirmed by the Army chief to become effective had commanded a Division. Army officials said the case was a sequel to the seizure of four liquor laden trucks some time ago. The allegation is that these liquor stores meant for supply to soldiers at low rates was sought to be sold in the market.

Amnesty International says international commission should investigate rights abuses of government, Tigers and Karuna group

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Welcoming the official announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to invite an international independent Commission to inquire into abductions, enforced disappearances and unlawful killings in all areas of the country, Amnesty International (AI), in an announcement released 21 September 2006, says that the Commission should be mandated to fully investigate the most serious violations on international human rights and humanitarian law whether by government forces, separatist Tamil Tigers (LTTE), Karuna Group or any other armed group or individuals operating on their behalf.

The Ujjain murder

By Tukoji R. Pandit - Syndicate Features

The way Prof H S Sabharwal who taught at a college in Ujjain was beaten to death by a mob led by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad was a chilling reminder of how ugly student politics have become in our colleges and universities. The sheer arrogance of the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh which dismissed it as an ‘accident’ at the very outset shocked the consciousness of the nation.
Around the time of the Ujjain incident (Aug 26), Lucknow was witness to the attack on a senior woman teacher by a student. The lady lodged a complaint with the police and also approached the chief minister. What next?

The Pope and Islam Ratzinger’s Crusade

The Vatican has gone to some lengths to dampen down the controversy following the lecture given by Josef Ratzinger, alias Pope Benedict XVI, at Regensburg University in Germany. Ratzinger’s remarks provoked violent protests by Muslims across the globe. The Pope expressed his regrets over "the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address," but he did not address the passages themselves. Instead, the Vatican instructed its ambassadors in Muslim countries to "explain" the contents of the speech.The press, particularly in Germany, tried to explain away the angry responses to the Pope’s speech as some sort of misunderstanding.

Dr. Swamy

Kurunegoda Maha Thera

Venerable Kurunegoda Piyatissa Nayaka Mahathera

New York Buddhist Temple

News commentary: What next for the LTTE after the Indian snub?

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Dr. SwamyIt's official. The LTTE played its last remaining card and lost yesterday when the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh refused to meet the five Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs led by R. Sampanthan. The TNA MPs, who are known proxies of the LTTE, packed their bags and flew out of Delhi yesterday after hanging around for days, hoping to get through the closed door of the Indian Prime Minister. In a desperate bid to win back the favor of India the TNA MPs tendered an abject apology for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE. Even that card failed to soften the heart of India. Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said on Wednesday that he could not believe that the Dr. Singh he knew for the past 40 years would do such a "crass thing" as meeting "stooges" of the LTTE, which he described as a "murderous terrorist outfit,." The Hindu reported.