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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2739

Monthly archive

Steve Hutchins

Peace Talks in Geneva a Step Forward- Australian Senator Steve Hutchins

Steve Hutchins Success at this week’s peace talks in Geneva between the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE is crucial to the stability of Sri Lanka, Australian Senator Steve Hutchins said. "The two parties meeting for talks is already a major step forward, and I congratulate them on agreeing to sit down at the peace table." Steve Hutchins, a Federal Senator for New South Wales, Australia who has shown greater interest in Sri Lankan affairs, visited Sri Lanka in 2002 with a group of federal parliamentarians.

Sri Lanka's electricity board engineers warn of imminent power cuts

Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting from Colombo

The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) has warned of imminent power cuts next year and the year after, following the failure by the government and other responsible institutions to commence the crucial 300 MW combined cycle power plant in Kerawalapitiya. "We are now in October 2006, and the power plant due for 2007 in the latest plan is nowhere in the horizon. This is that Combined Cycle Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya, bragged about in some of the Ministerial press releases," the union claimed in a news release.

India's main opposition against military aid to Sri Lanka

By M Rama rao reporting from Delhi

GanesanBharatiya Janata Party (BJP), India's main opposition has voiced its opposition to providing military aid to Sri Lanka. This criticism appears to be linked to the party's efforts to make some in roads into Tamilnadu, where it has been swinging from one Dravidian party to the other in recent years. Lanka's ethnic issue makes tempers raise in the south Indian state as it is the first destination for the Tamilians uprooted whenever violence breaks out in the island nation.

Tigers pass legislation on child protection on the eve of Geneva talks

From our Political Correspondent

PararajasinghamThe Tamil Tigers have passed legislation titled Tamileelam Child Protection Act 2006 (Act No. 03 of 2006), making education compulsory up to grade 11, mandating registration of all child births, outlawing enlisting of children under 17 years in Armed Forces, making participation of under 18-year olds in armed combat illegal, and proscribing all forms of child labor, according to yesterday's TamilNet. Political analysts read this as a last minute move to ward of any possible attacks on issues of child protection being hurled at the Tamil Tigers in the scheduled talks in Geneva. Tamil Tigers have also been consistently accused by human rights organizations for exploiting and abducting Tamil children for decades. It had reneged on agreements with the UN in the past and mounting international pressure has failed to stop them from abducting and recruiting under aged children.

"Hold elections now" - Sri Lanka's marxist party demands

Munza Mushtaq -- Reporting from Colombo

Following its recent victory in the Supreme Court with regard to de-merging the North and East provinces, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is expected to pressurize elections commissioner Dayananda
Dissanayake to immediately hold local government elections for the two provinces. According to the party's propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawansa the JVP hierarchy has taken a decision to make repeated memoranda to the elections commissioner outlining reasons why he should call for immediate elections in the two provinces.

Lack of human rights caused the failure of Ceasefire Agreement -- Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch has pin-pointed in letters to the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers that "the failure to fully incorporate human rights concerns into the ceasefire process was a contributing factor to the renewal of major hostilities" It states that "the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement and the resulting Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission gave inadequate attention to human rights issues. Large-scale hostilities largely ceased from 2002 until mid-2006, but serious rights abuses, including numerous killings and abductions, continued."

Lieberman Is Not an Israeli ‘Internal Affair’

By Nicola Nasser

The absence of a proportionate Palestinian reaction to the ascendancy of Israel’s far right leader, Avigdor Lieberman, into the mainstream strategic decision-making in Tel Aviv has indicated of how dangerously the inter-Palestinian divide is overshadowing the Israeli threats and encouraged the visiting European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, to legitimize with a public meeting the only man who could abort not only the mission of his visit but all prospects of regional peace.

Memoirs of an anti-LTTE undercover agent in London - PART IV: Oh what a Friday it was….

By Glen Jenvey - Exclusive to "Asian Tribune"
Edited By Joseph Thavaraja

1998 March… The Sri Lankan government armed forces were in the midst of one of their major military operations in Jaffna and Vanni areas–an operation 'dedicated to victory' as they called it –or, Operation Jayasikurui. Casualties had been mounting on both sides. Any hopes for peace were almost nonexistent– in addition to the government imposed food and medicines embargo to the Jaffna area, the aerial bombings depressed the helpless northern civilians and at times, displaced them. LTTE were in no mood to 'give in'…In fact, to their credit, they were resisting albeit with considerable casualties. In addition, it tried to draw international attention to the situation at its best.

A silver line in Sri Lankan politics…..?

By Para Kumarasamy

Stuttgart (Germany): There seems to be a silver line at the end of the dark clouds of bloody violence on the political sky of Sri Lanka. The Government and the LTTE are meeting in Geneva on the 28 and 29th October; the Sri Lanka Freedom Party ( SLFP) and the United National Party ( UNP) have reached an agreement on peace, good governance, development and just political solution acceptable to all communities. These are healthy developments that may, hopefully, have a positive impact in the short to medium term. Whatever may be the pessimism we may have about the Geneva talks, the SLFP - UNP deal, undeniably has a positive side.

Sonia in no hurry to induct Rahul into big league

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from Delhi

SoniaRahul Gandhi and other young Congress leaders have to 'wait and learn a little more' before taking up positions of responsibility either in the party or government, Congress chief Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, indicated here on Thursday. And added, in the present coalition set up, the numbers are 'restricted' and 'circumstances do not permit me to do so' even if she wanted to promote them. "I am not saying they are not doing very much. But I feel that they can certainly do a little more, wait a little more and gain a little more experience in Parliament," she observed in an interview to be telecast on NDTV when asked why young party leaders were not being made ministers.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister took up the issue of LTTE’s gun running with corrupt Indonesian elements

By Walter Jayawardhana

Visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister has passed information about the illegal transactions of gun running of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam with certain corrupt elements in Indonesia , during his talks with the Indonesian President, informed diplomatic sources said. Diplomatic circles in Colombo believe that the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka has discussed with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the attempts by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE to buy arms and ammunition from various illegal arms dealers in Indonesia.

Two Sinhalese LTTE spies netted in Colombo

Two Sinhalese men operating as spies of the LTTE intelligence network and spying on two Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers Devananda and Mangala Samaraweera, have been netted by the Anti Terrorist Investigations Unit of Colombo Police last week. According to the national Sinhala broadsheet Lakbima published in Colombo, the residences of the Ministers they spied -Mangala Samaraweera and Douglas Devananda's-were already photographed by the suspects.

Ravi Karunanayaka warns JVP to get off their back and says the UNP was doing a favor by signing the MOU

Ravi KarunanayakaBy Walter Jayawardhana

Ravi Karunanayaka, the former Minister who is virulently opposed to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said that his party was doing a great favor to the government by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), at a time when the current administration was in a great difficulty. He told the BBC’s Sandeshaya in an interview that it was a great favor they were doing the government at a time when it was in a great economic hardship. He also reminded the Rajapaksa government that it was the duty of the government to make the full use of the favor done.

U.N. Security Council Edicts Challenged

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

The United Nations Security Council, the only body empowered to declare war and peace and also impose punitive economic and military sanctions, is being increasingly challenged by defiant member states. Despite a slew of recent Security Council resolutions, Sudan is refusing to permit a proposed 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force into Darfur; Eritrea has rejected a call to withdraw from a buffer zone with neighboring Ethiopia; North Korea has threatened to continue its nuclear weapons programme despite sanctions; and Iran is defiant about enriching uranium even in the face of a possible economic and military embargo next month.

State Department ignores ‘Material Support to Foreign Terrorists’ Law to allow Rudrakumaran to give advice to LTTE

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

The United States Department of State seem to have conveniently ignored an American citizen Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, a New York lawyer, providing ‘expert advice or assistance’ to Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger outfit, which is designated by it as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization," explicitly prohibited by federal law U.S. Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 113B (2339 A) Providing Material Support to Terrorists. "Asian Tribune" U.S. Bureau which keeps tab on pronouncements, reactions and attitudes of senior officials of the State Department toward Sri Lanka’s National Question is closer to the conclusion whether the South and Central Asian Affairs Bureau of the department endeavors to facilitate a separate ‘Tamil Homeland’ for Tiger administration - as opposed to a representative Tamil administration - advocated by its assistant secretary Richard Boucher on June 1 at a press conference in Colombo in turning a blind eye on a violation of a federal law by an American citizen providing ‘expert advice or assistance’ for the Tamil Tigers to achieve that goal .

"Send urgent monitoring missions to Lanka, Myanmar and North Korea" - UN experts

United Nations experts today urged the international community to act quickly and urgently send a human rights monitoring mission to Sri Lanka, while also mentioning the country along with countries such as Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). A full-fledged international human rights monitoring mission should be urgently sent to Sri Lanka, where fierce fighting between the Government and Tamil rebels erupted again recently, to ameliorate an impending crisis of major proportions, said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur's on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

European Commission allocates €2.8 million for victims of drought in Nepal

By Sunil C.Perera - Asian Tribune

The European Commission has allocated €2.8 million to assist victims of drought that has affected many regions especially in western Nepal. Food security and nutritional support will be provided to rural populations in the mountainous districts. Funds are channelled through the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department, ECHO, under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. Last winter, Nepal witnessed the lowest rainfall in recorded history. A drastic decrease in the rainfall had an adverse effect on winter crop production. Moreover, in the far west and mid western hills, the 2006 summer rains started later than usual. This sequence of events culminated in severe food shortages.

Lashkar unleashed

By Tushar Charan - Syndicate Features:

Among the many deceptive ways in which Pakistan is ‘contributing’ to the so-called war on terror is to loudly announce to the world that it has arrested or killed a number of Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan but feign ignorance about the vigorous preaching of the philosophy of hate and intolerance by militant organisations and their leaders, and the violent acts they perpetrate in India and now in Afghanistan too. A trailer of this farce was exhibited again recently when the founder of a banned terrorist organisation, Lashkar-e-Taiba, ‘professor’ Hafeez Mohammed Saeed, has been arrested and released two or three times since last April. The bearded ‘professor’, who hides his face further behind dark glasses, had quickly renamed LeT as Jammat-ud-Dawa (JuD) after the US declared the former as a terrorist organisation with links to Al Qaeda. But he remains free to preach the same philosophy of murder and mayhem even after a US ban on the JuD.