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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2858

Monthly archive

The Silent Killers in the World's War Zones

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

When mortars and rockets fall silent in the world's battle zones, the killings do not necessarily end with ceasefires and peace talks. The reason? Myriads of unexploded ordnance -- including deadly cluster bombs, booby traps and anti-personnel landmines -- left behind by warring parties. According to the United Nations, up to one million pieces of unexploded ordnance are "leftovers" from the war in southern Lebanon last August. And, so far, more than 58,000 cluster bomblets have been cleared and destroyed.

Sri Lanka Government promises to probe un charges that elements in the army helped Karuna to recruit child soldiers

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri Lanka’s Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government would immediately order a high level probe by the security forces into the United Nations allegation that some elements of the security forces were helping to abduct children as soldiers to the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) led Colonel Karuna. Alan Rock Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka brought forward the allegations and said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also vowed to immediately probe the allegation and punish if some body was found responsible.

Ceylinco Homes offers affordable luxury space

By Quintus Perera -Asian Tribune

Ceylinco Homes International (CHI), is developing another luxury housing property in Battataramulla, just 8 kilometers away from Colombo, consisting of 12 exclusively designed homes. CHI is encouraged to offer high quality standard products due to the trust and confidence their customers have placed in them. CHI is reputed as a total solutions provider from the selection of ideal locations, to using only the finest materials, to custom designing interiors and fixtures, to providing complete maintenance services.

Sri Lanka: TMVP leader Colonel Karuna recruits 142 boys - UNICEF report

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The LTTE rebel faction Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) led by Colonel Karuna Amman has been accused of recruiting at least 142 boys below 18 years of age, a newly released UNICEF report states. "As of 31 October 2006 there are also 142 outstanding cases of under age recruitment by the Karuna group, all of them boys," the report said. However this United Nations organization estimates that its database only reflects a third of the actual number of children, because often parents do not report abductions in fear of being harassed by these rebel cadres.

UN official calls on Myanmar to release Suu Kyi; says 'concrete actions' expected

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari before wrapping up his four day visit to Myanmar on Sunday, met on Saturday with Senior General Than Shwe, Head of the ruling junta and delivered a letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan reiterating his call for the release of democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and stressing that the international community expects "concrete actions" from the Government in opening up the political process and other areas.

Sri Lanka's hard-line parties oppose United Nations intervention in the country

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has lodged its vehement opposition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa against the possible United Nations intervention to bring an end to the ongoing Jaffna food shortage. JHU spokesman Nishanth Sri Warnasinghe told the "Asian Tribune" that Sri Lanka was not suffering to a situation similar to Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan or Ethiopia, and so UN intervention was not necessary.

No Arab, Palestinian Cheers for U.S. Democrats

By Nicola Nasser

Arabs, at least at the non-official level, were quick to hail President George W. Bush’s mid-term electoral defeat and the humiliating downfall of his war architect Donald Rumsfeld, but cheering the Democrats’ victory has yet to wait and may not be voiced at all. Why hailing Bush’s defeat? Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, Jim Hogland, of The Washington Post had part of the answer: "Bush lost more than a midterm election and a cantankerous defense secretary on Tuesday. He also abandoned any lingering chance of remaking U.S. foreign policy into a radical force for democratic change in the Middle East and elsewhere," thus dumping his "new" and "greater" Middle East plans as well as regime change schemes for the region to the dust pins of history at a high cost for Arab and American lives and billions of wasted dollars of U.S. tax payers.

Paul Murphy MP, Chairman of the British Intelligence and Security Committee, to visit Sri Lanka

Paul Murphy MP, a former Northern Ireland Minister is expected to visit Sri Lanka between 14 and 16 November. Mr Murphy was the Cabinet Minister responsible for Northern Irish affairs between 2002 and 2005, and was closely involved in the Northern Ireland peace process. He previously served as Political Development Minister for Northern Ireland. He is currently the Chairman of the British Intelligence and Security Committee.

Hosting the Refugees: Need for a National Law

By Saumitra Mohan

India has been a major Third World country of concern in the context of refugee movements. Almost all the refugee generating factors have been active here and have impinged on the refugee situation in the country. But the Indian State has shown remarkable capacity and resilience in absorbing and dealing with these refugees and this is perhaps one reason that the refugee situation here does not seem to be alarming. But it remains a fact that over two lakhs of refugees including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Tamils, Chakmas, Afghans and other categories assisted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who are still in country, do strain an already overburdened economy, sometime even inviting hostility from the local population. Apart from straining our economy, it also has implications for the security of the country. The pressure of hundreds of thousands of refugees has often created conditions for destabilization and disruption of political, economic and social systems in the country.

Taj Exotica wins Quality Award

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Taj Exotica Bentota was recently awarded the National Quality Merit Award 2006, thus making it the only hotel in Sri Lanka to win such a prestigious award. Commenting on this accolade, General Manager of Taj Exotica Ranjan Stanislaus said, "Quality is a way of life and is embedded in the organizational culture of Taj Exotica. In embracing Business Excellence we have provided ourselves, with world-class systems and processes and have created an environment of agility and innovation while upholding our values and business ethics. This award is yet another recognition of our ongoing journey of quality and continuous improvement. It also helps us be globally competitive in the rapidly changing business scenario."

Lights out

By Chandra Mohan - Syndicate Features

People in India, long used to long and frequent power cuts, are probably surprised and amused when an outage hits the headlines in Europe as it did on November 4 when many West European countries like Italy, Spain, Belgium, France and Germany, were plunged into darkness--for nearly two hours. The central heating system stopped functioning and high-speed rail traffic came to a halt. In Delhi, the capital of the rising India, a two-hour power cut will probably not find even a mention in the next day’s newspapers, no matter how extensively it affects life, and, as for any suspension of rail traffic, well, that makes news when it lasts 12 hours or more.

Lanka Bell Trico team up to connect Sri Lankans in the Middle East

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Lanka Bell today announced a tie-up with Trico Maritime (Pvt) Ltd whereby over 300,000 Sri Lankans working in the Middle East will be offered both pre-paid and post-paid connections. Managing Director Lanka Bell Suren Goonewardene said, "As the only fully Sri Lankan owned telecom company in this country, this is our commitment to our fellow citizens working in the Middle East ….. giving their families the opportunity of calling their loved ones at special rates and thus more frequently than earlier."

Israel: Olmert brings Lieberman’s far-right party into government

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has brought Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right Israel Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) party, into his cabinet as deputy prime minister. Lieberman has been given the specially created post of minister of strategic affairs, dealing with threats against Israel, with a focus on Iran. As a member of the foreign and defence committees and other "security cabinets," and reporting directly to the prime minister, Lieberman will be one of the inner circle making Israel’s key decisions. He will be more powerful than either the defence or foreign ministers, Amir Peretz and Zippi Livni, both of whom are from the Labour Party.

Raviraj's Funeral Rally 2

Raviraj's Funeral Rally 1

Rupesinghe’s anti-war movement with TNA and UNP converted Raviraj’s funeral into a highly politicized rally

By Walter Jayawardhana

Activists of the National Anti-War Front led by Kumar Rupasinghe collaborated mainly by the Tamil National Alliance, the United National Party and the new Left Front shouted slogans accusing the Mahinda Rajapaksa government for the murder of Nadaraja Raviraj in a highly politicized slogan shouting funeral procession. The demonstration organizers said although various political parties were invited to participate, the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) were not invited to represent themselves at the slogan shouting and placard carrying funeral procession turned political demonstration.