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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

Monthly archive

Vickramabahu Karunarathna

Is Radhika playing footsy with Allan Rock at the UN?

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Adviser on Sri Lanka to Radhika Coomaraswamy- the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict recommendations to the UN on recruiting and deploying child soldier are like the curate’s egg – good only in parts. To begin with, he has recommended to the Security Council that it should consider targeted measures against the Tamil Tigers which would include travel bans, asset freezes and an arms embargo. There is, of course, nothing new in this because these sanctions against the Tigers are already in place in most of the Western countries. The problem is that the Western countries, including Canada, are not implementing the laws that are in place. (More of this later.) Leaving this aside, a global imposition of these sanctions may help to drive some sense into the intransigent heads of the Tamil Tigers.

President sacks strongman Mangala Samaraweera and weak man Anura Bandaranaike

President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday sacked Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera, National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike and non-Cabinet Ports Minister Sripathi Sooriarachchi. All three Ministers are aligned to the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Even before the reshuffle of the Cabinet all three of them had been sniping at the President and his brothers, Gotabaya, the defence secretary and Basil. After the reshuffle, their portfolios were reduced or given less important Ministries, they stepped up their attack on the President. Aura Bandaranaike targeted Gotabaya Rajapakse in his speech in parliament yesterday.

UN refugee agency calls for 400 people adrift off West Africa to be allowed to disembark

The United Nations refugee agency has expressed serious concern about the situation of some 400 people of various nationalities on a ship drifting off the West African coast, who have not been allowed to disembark for several days. "At this point in time, the main priority should be to help these people and not let them drift on the high seas in precarious conditions," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Director for Protection George Okoth-Obbo said. "UNHCR urges on humanitarian grounds that people on board this ship be allowed to disembark as soon as possible."

Sri Lanka: Ambassador Allan Rock report urges imposition of targeted sanction against LTTE

Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Adviser on Sri Lanka to Radhika Coomaraswamy - Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, in his report to the Working Group of the UNSecurity Council has emphasized for target sanctions against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Earlier, the Report of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka Ref. No: S/2006/1006 was released on 20 December 2006, to the UN Security Council. Though the report was submitted by the UN Secretary General, in fact, according to sources, the report was actually prepared by Radhika Coomaraswamy, and by her Special Advisor on Sri Lanka, Ambasador Alan Rock.

City & Guilds comes up with advanced International Vocational Qualifications

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

City & Guilds, recognizing the importance of properly qualified teachers and trainers to the success of any organization has now come up with a new International Vocational Qualification (IVQ) in teaching, training and asessing learning has been designed to provide a flexi ble and progresive approach to the latest skills and global best practice. City & Guilds is one of the largest international vocational awarding bodies in the world, based in London and delivered through approved centres in more than 100 countries and the present training the trainers is designed to provide a flexible and progressive approach to the latest skills and global best practice.

Dialog Satellite TV Launched

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Asset Media (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Sri Lanka’s flagship telecommunications company, Dialog Telekom Ltd, has launched Dialog Satellite TV - a premier satellite television service set to revolutionize Direct to Home Television in Sri Lanka. Reaching out to Sri Lankan audiences through quality television programming, Dialog TV features world class entertainment and the widest spectrum of channels with a special focus on News, Entertainment and Knowledge based programming.

Is the love hate relationship between Mahinda and Anura entering into its final stages now?

By Walter Jayawardhana

In an obvious reference to his estranged cabinet colleague Anura Bandaranaike President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is not a heritage of few individuals but of the people. He made the statement at a function held at his official residence, Temple Trees, to hand over letters of appointment to newly selected electoral organizers of the SLFP of which he is the President.

Burma denies religious freedom violations, as Chin and Kachin delegation complete visit to Washington

A delegation of Chin and Kachin activists from Burma will today finish a week-long visit to Washington, DC, where they briefed senior US Government officials on the continuing violations of human rights by Burma’s military regime. The visit follows the launch of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) report, Carrying the Cross: the military regime’s campaign of restriction, discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma and is the final phase of a tour which included visits to London, Brussels and Berlin.

The Rajapaksa strategy: Will it become a double edged sword or is it the beginning of a new political era?

By Raj Gonsalkorale

The dawning of the 59th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence could see a watershed in Sri Lankan politics. After many years of single party governments and coalitions, it appears that President Rajapakse has taken Sri Lanka to a new dimension in governance with a large number of UNP dissidents, several Tamil political parties and the leading Muslim political party joining hands to form what is a national government in all but name. The difference with this multi party government is that it is not entirely consensual from a political party point of view and it is a kind of pirated version of a national government, if one can use such phraseology to describe it.

Strategic Alignment of Foreign Economic Assistance with Foreign Policy Goals is U.S. aim, says Sec. Of State Condi Rice

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Bush Administration’s FY 2008 International Affairs Budget for the Department of State, USAID, and other foreign affairs agencies totals $36.2 billion, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee February 8, which has the authority to ratify the Budget, that “this money is a fundamental investment in our national security.” She stressed, “We face a long confrontation, in which military strength is important to our success, but is not sufficient. The defining feature of our world today is its interdependence.

Fading Stars turn to blasphemous slander and scuttlebutt for survival

Dr Dasarath Jayasuriya - Melbourne, Australia

6th of February news reports carried an article highlighting Vickramabahu Karunarathna denigrating Sri Lanka yet again in public. Whilst visiting the United Kingdom, Karunarathna was speaking at a forum on Sri Lanka’s 59th year of independence, curiously organised by alleged LTTE sympathetic fronts Tamil Information Centre, Tamil Community Forum, and a local organisation in East London.

Sri Lanka President condoles the death of Hindu temple High Priest killed by the LTTE

President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent Message of Condolence bereaved family of the Parameshwara Kurukkal, High Priest of Shanthiveli Pillayar Kovil, Batticaloa, who was assassinated by the gunmen belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on 07 February. Parmeshwara Kurukkal garlanded the President when he visited Vaharai on 03 February, to meet civilians freed from LTTE control and thank the security forces for liberating the East. President Rajapakse in his condolence message said, “As a nation and a government we unequivocally condemn with contempt the assassination of this clergyman carried out by the savage and cruel LTTE terrorists, who pose as liberators of the Tamil people.”

World Bank concern over widening economic disparities in Sri Lanka

By M Rama Rao - Reporting for Asian Tribune from New Delhi

For President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a consolidation mode politically, the latest World Bank sitrup on economy will not bring smile. "Poverty reduction at the national level has been slow in Sri Lanka", the high priest of development finance says in its country report. Widening growth disparities across sectors and regions are contributing to this disturbing state, the Bank concludes in its poverty assessment levels in the island nation. Poverty incidence has increased significantly in the estate sector during 1990/91 to 2002.

Are we going to witness accelerated demise of Indian villages….?

By Chandra Mohan - Syndicate Features

Soon after the fiery Mamata Bannerjee ended her ‘indefinite fast’ against the land acquisition for Tata’s people’s car project in Singur, the governments in New Delhi and Kolkata announced that the policy to allow a large cluster of special economic zones to dot the country would be reviewed to save ‘agricultural land’. What role the ‘indefinite Bannerjee fast’ played in the rethink is not clear. Nor is it clear whether the government has said goodbye to the concept of SEZ or banned industrialisation that is synonymous with large-scale land acquisition.

US refuses to sign UN ban on renditions and secret detention

Fifty-seven countries signed a UN treaty on Tuesday that bans governments from carrying out forced disappearances and holding individuals in secret detention. Washington, as well as a number of European governments, including Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, refused to sign. At the treaty signing in Paris, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy commented, “Our American friends were naturally invited to this ceremony; unfortunately, they weren’t able to join us.”

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa speaks of the rights of the Tamils and the flawed Ceasefire Agreement

By Walter Jayawardhana

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he is determined to revert back the democratic rights of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka which were robbed of them by an agreement that was basically flawed. He was speaking about Sri Lanka’s controversial Ceasefire Agreement brokered by Norway that would be five years old on February 22 2007. It was wrong on the part of Sri Lanka to enter into a Ceasefire Agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam depriving a section of the citizens of Sri Lanka their fundamental democratic rights said President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka.