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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2648

Monthly archive

South Skeptical of North Korean Assurances

By Thalif Deen, UN Bureau Chief, Inter Press Service

When the six-party talks on the denuclearization of North Korea ended recently, there was plenty of skepticism in neighboring South Korea: to what extent can the reneging North be trusted to keep its pledges and promises in the future? The talks in Beijing -- involving Japan, China, the United States, Russia and the two Koreas -- failed to set a firm deadline on ”disabling” Pyongyang's nuclear facilities because of continued demands for political and economic concessions.

United States Does Not Prescribe Political Solutions to Sri Lanka Declares Steven Mann before US Congress

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Steven Mann“Our top policy priorities for Sri Lanka remain restoration of good governance and respect for human rights leading to an eventual negotiated settlement. We believe that finalizing a credible devolution of power proposal, together with ending human rights violations and improving government accountability, are essential steps towards a lasting peace”, said Steven R. Mann, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of U.S. State Department.

UN-backed meeting aims to foster ways to eradicate female genital mutilation

Dozens of experts from around the world - including representatives from United Nations agencies, religious and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), law enforcement agencies, Government and research institutions - are meeting in Addis Ababa on ways to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C). More than 100 million women and girls worldwide have undergone a form of FGM/C, which has serious physical and psychological effects.

To US Congressman Pallone, Sri Lanka Conflict is between Sinhalese and Tamils

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Frank Pallone“The military of the Government of Sri Lanka and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have resumed a two-decade ethnic conflict in which nearly 70,000 people have been killed since 1983. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed and more continue to die in Sri Lanka as a result of the violence. Both sides have chosen a military approach, to the detriment of civilian distress. It is clear that neither side is committed to peace” said Congressman Frank Pallone in a written testimony before a special session on the situation in Sri Lanka before the House Foreign Affairs Committee August 01.

Mystery surrounds the brutal killing of a Tamil journalist

NilakshanA young Tamil Sahadevan Nilakshan (22) undergoing diploma in journalism at the Jaffna Media Resource Training Centre of the Jaffna University was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen around 5.30 am on August 01 in Kokuvil, Jaffna. It is reported that he was fatally shot at by unidentified gunmen, who spoke Tamil fluently and came on a motorbike. The suspected LTTE gunmen stormed into his house and shot him, in front of his family members, a close relative of Nilakshan. According to the report, killers called the victim out of his house at Station Road, Kokkuvil West in Jaffna and gunned him down. He sustained serious gun shot wounds and later succumbed to his injuries at Jaffna General Hospital a few hours later.

Sri Lanka Government has given ‘Free Reign to Sinhalese Nationalist’ - Says US House South Asia Committee Chairman

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

The majority party leading member of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of its Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia Congressman Garry Ackerman, in his opening remarks at the hearing on ‘Situation in Sri Lanka’, declared that the Rajapaksa government has ‘given a free reign to Sinhalese nationalist’ that has ‘led to the acceleration of chaos and drift away from democracy’ in Sri Lanka.

Thondaman and four members resign from government- CWC spokesman

The leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Mr.Arumugan Thondaman and four other CWC members have resigned from the government. CWC is a constituent of the United Peoples Freedom alliance (UPFA) government and its leader Mr.Thondaman is holding minister post in the cabinet led by President Mahinda Rajapakse. Speculation was rife that the CWC would join the new "National Congress" recently floated by Mangala Samaraweera's SLFP (M) wing and the opposition UNP.

CWC still with us! - Lanka President's Office

The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) has not resigned from the government. And the misunderstanding has now been sorted out, said Sri Lanka Presidential Office amidst conflicting reports on the desertion of its minority ally. Earlier, news reports said that the leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) Mr.Arumugan Thondaman and four other CWC members have resigned from the government.

Malaysia – highest foreign investor in Sri Lanka

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Malaysia Business Council was formed in 1994 with the objectives to promote trade, joint ventures, tourism and services between the two countries. The Council functions under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The SLMBC at Press Conference held at CCC announced that it will hold their third Annual Awards Presentation on 21 September at the Galadari Hotel. And the Awards Presentation will coincide with its 13th Annual General Meeting.

Care Taker Government of Bangladesh – Triumph of the ‘good’ against the ‘undesirables’?

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

For years, the political arena in Bangladesh was more like a theater hall that featured monotonous plays where villains kill the good guys, taking control over all their material possessions. Like zombies, we got used to seeing such unpleasant dramas played over and over again. It was simply hopeless! Nothing good could come out of Bangladesh! You ask – why? Is it not the same nation that produced the martyrs of the 1952 Language Movement and the Liberation War of 1971 ? Is it not the same people that toppled the utterly corrupt government of (Jatiya Behaya) Ershad in 1990? Yes, yes, yes. And yet, in the post-Ershad era (1991-2006), under the name of parliamentary democracy what we had settled for was a juxtaposition of political anarchy and unbridled corruption.

Fr. Glen Fernando and Leprosy in Sri Lanka

By Oscar E V Fernando

Appreciation of Fr Glen cannot be disassociated from leprosy in Sri Lanka; he was obsessed with a vision-a dream he had of giving joy to lepers ostracized from society because of physical deformities resulting from bacterial infections that affect the skin and nervous system. Fr Glen, who was intent in giving joy to his leper friends, was very sensitive to the fact that the biblical stigma of leprosy followed them like their shadow—a stigma that is an obstacle to self-reporting and early treatment. He was infused with the idea of spreading the new image whereby patients will not hesitate to come forward for diagnosis and treatment.

Steven Mann

Frank Pallone


Bush-Brown summit: Tensions but no policy shift by Britain

There is a scene in the film Love Actually when the newly elected Prime Minister played by Hugh Grant finally takes a stand against the president of the United States after repeatedly attempting to get him to change policy direction. The denouement takes place at a press conference, in which Grant makes a cringe-worthy defence of Britain as a “small country” but a “great one” before telling the president, “I fear that this has become a bad relationship...a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend.”

Sri Lanka: Abusing Customers, Shareholders and the Government

By Dushy Ranetunge

Within the next 18 months, Directors of Public companies that operate hotels will inform their shareholders that earnings and dividends have been negatively affected because of the prevailing political situation in the country. What they will not inform their shareholders is that the conduct of some directors have contributed to this negative performance. Despite the prevailing political situation, a popular beach hotel in Benthota was filled to capacity over the last poya weekend. Customers trying to secure a room for the weekend were informed of a waiting list for rooms.

Contract Signing for the Pottuvil Water Supply System

On July 22, 2007 at the American Center in Colombo, International Construction Consortium Ltd (ICC), a major Sri Lankan construction firm, signed a $4,756,222 contract with the American firm CH2M Hill to build the wells, raw water line and water treatment plant for Pottuvil. This work is financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under their Tsunami Reconstruction Program. This program focuses on assisting areas impacted by the 2004 tsunami, including Ampara District.

The Legacy of the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh - Part-XV

By Rabindranath Trivedi - for Asian Tribune from Dhaka

Nearly two lakh Hindus have lost 22 lakh acres of their land and houses during the last six years, a Dhaka University Professor says in Dhaka 27May 2007. At the current market price, the value of the 22 lakh acres of land (one acre roughly equals three bighas) that the Hindu families were displaced from is Tk 2,52,000 crore, which is more than half of the country’s gross domestic product, he says. 'This is a man-made problem contrary to the spirit of humanity. We have to get rid of this uncivilized state of affairs to establish a civilised society. Otherwise, we have to face a bigger historic catastrophe,' Professor Abdul Barkat, who teaches economics, insists in his research paper, 'Deprivation of affected million families: Living with Vested Property in Bangladesh'. Some 12 lakh or 44 per cent of the 27 lakh Hindu households in the country were affected by the Enemy Property Act 1965 and its post-independence version, the Vested Property Act 1974.

Sri Lanka – Of Corruption and Anti Corruption

By Geoffrey Evarts

Recently, USAID’s Colombo office unveiled funding for an “Anti Corruption plan” for Sri Lanka, which is good and welcome. But what troubles me is that it does not target political corruption which has been the bane of good ole Lanka since independence. It’s targeting the young generation’s inclination towards corruption - which is a good thing in the long run. But for the immediate future (and importantly, the long run as well) Lankans need the elimination of political corruption and political favouritism. (In other words, the introduction and implementation of Meritocracy)