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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2619

Monthly archive

East Timor left to flounder in poverty and unemployment

A great deal of hypocrisy surrounded the UN debate on East Timor last month. As Australia and its rivals jockeyed for position in a new UN mission in Dili, all expressed their concerns for the well-being of the East Timorese. Nothing demonstrates the complete indifference of the "international community" for the plight of the local population so much as the deepening social crisis in one of the world’s poorest countries. The appalling conditions facing East Timorese were summed up in the statistics published by the UN Development Program (UNDP) earlier this year in a report entitled "The Path out of Poverty". The title of the document tends to suggest there might be some cause for optimism—in the future at least. Its contents, however, demonstrate that, for all the euphoria about the East Timorese independence in 2002, social conditions if anything are getting worse.

Calls for Definitive Response to Burma’s Military Offensive

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

The international humanitarian agency, based in the United States, which has a 60-year service history and works in partnership with indigenous organizations in more than 80 countries, Church World Service (CWS) is calling on the United Nations Security Council to respond definitively to the offensive of Burma’s military dictatorship against its civilians, including the forcible displacement of more than a million people and the destruction and relocation of more than 3,000 villages in eastern Burma. A UN Security Council meeting on Friday, September 29 will be the first time the council has addressed the increasing deterioration of Burma’s civil life.

Dirty Water Kills 4,000 Children a Day

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

The statistics are mind-boggling: of the more than six billion people in the world today, over one billion have no access to improved drinking water -- a basic necessity for human life -- and about 2.6 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation. And according to the U.N. children's agency UNICEF, polluted water and lack of basic sanitation claim the lives of over 1.5 million children every year, mostly from water-borne diseases.

UN rights expert calls on government of Myanmar to release prominent student leaders immediately

Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, calls on the Government of Myanmar immediately to release Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe, who are prominent student leaders reportedly arrested on 27 September 2006. Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe, who had previously served prison sentences totaling over 15 years since 1988, were arrested at their homes by the military on Wednesday and taken to three different locations.

Bush and Islam: Words versus Deeds

By Nicola Nasser

The wide gap between U.S. President George W. Bush’s words and deeds vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims doomed to failure his speech at the United Nations on September 19, which could neither appease Muslims nor pacify the ever growing Islamophobia. Hardly a week had passed since his speech than Winston Churchill - author, journalist, former Member of Parliament and grandson of the former British prime minister - was speaking at an American university to condemn “Radical Islam” as posing to Western civilization a threat similar to that of the Nazis and the Soviets.

Visiting Indian Minister calls for pragmatic policy to preserve, improve and utilize water resources

Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting from Colombo

Prof. Saifuddin Soz, Minister of Water Resources, Government of India attended the International Conference on Rain Water Harvesting at Kandy held on Wednesday . The Workshop, hosted by Government of Sri Lanka, drew Ministerial level participation from Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. Speaking at the inauguration, Prof. Soz emphasized the importance of rain water harvesting for sustainable development. He said that water is the basis of all living eco systems and is a precious resource which needs to be managed carefully.

Arrests of Burmese political dissidents Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Ko Htay Kywe – AAPP appeals for immediate release

Special Police Force in Burma arrested Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Ko Htay Kywe, leading political dissidents and led them away from their homes in Rangoon shortly after dawn on Wednesday. They were taken to the Ministry of Home Affairs where they are continued to be held. All three activists are leaders of the '88 Generation Students Group,' and are in need of regular medical attention as they have each already spent 15 years in the State Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC's) notorious prisons.

Sri Lanka's Humanitarian crisis in North steadily worsening says Monitors

Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting from Colombo

The humanitarian crisis in many areas in the North is steadily worsening with limited supplies being brought up to Jaffna and into various LTTE areas leaving thousands of people without basic necessities and paralysed economic activity, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission said in its weekly report. "Aid agencies are in general prevented from going into LTTE areas. With the monsoon season on its way it is likely that the conditions of people in general will get worse," the report said.

Is it really a new dawn for Indo-Pak relations?

By Sarla Handoo - Syndicate Features

There is a saying that a blind man was once asked to describe how an elephant looks like. He went on depicting its contours and the structure, depending on the area his hand could reach as he began to feel the animal. Indo- Pak relations seem to be falling in the same category with a lot many blind people perceiving it the same way. There is therefore no dearth of people welcoming the outcome of the meeting between the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Pakistan President Gen. Musharraf in Havana on the margins of the Non- Aligned summit. There is also no shortage of those who have been equally critical of the outcome, particularly the planned the joint initiative with Pakistan against terrorism.

United States Suspends Some Aid to Thailand, Mostly Military

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Reaffirming the Bush administration’s call for "a rapid return to democratic rule and early elections," the United States suspended today nearly $24 million worth of assistance to Thailand for programs such as military financing, military training and peacekeeping operation as a response to Thailand’s September 19 military coup, it was announce at the State Department press briefing by spokesman Sean McCormack. The United States wants to see "Thailand get back as quickly as possible onto the pathway of democracy. They are not currently on that pathway. The coup was a set back, it was a real setback for Thai democracy," said McCormack.