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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 73

Monthly archive

President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka President to Hold Bilateral Meetings with World Leaders at UN

Mahinda RajapaksaWhen President Mahinda Rajapaksa addresses the UN General Assembly on Wednesday September 24, he will be doing so not only as Sri Lanka's head of state and head of government but also as chairman of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) representing over 1.5 billion people. The Sri Lankan president will be the first speaker during the morning session of the General Assembly. As of last week, over 150 world leaders were expected to address the General Assembly September 23 through October 3. US President George W. Bush will speak on the opening day, September 23. It will be Bush's farewell appearance before the 192-member world body.

Five Activists Win Human Rights Watch Awards

Five brave and selfless advocates of human rights from Burma, Congo, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan have been awarded the prestigious 2008 Human Rights Defender Awards, Human Rights Watch said today. All five have been persecuted and threatened for their work. One winner, Saudi lawyer Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim, is under a travel ban, which Human Rights Watch urges the Saudi government lift so that he may receive his award in person in London.

Indian sleuths clueless to Saturday blasts, knives are out for Home Minister Patil

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Indian sleuths are still clueless to the five serial blasts that rocked capital Delhi on Saturday. And the Home Minister Shivraj Patil is on the firing line with a section of media particularly TV channels conducting SMS polls on calling for his scalp. In fact, speculation in the capital's cocktail circuit is that Patil is being axed to 'refurbish the image of the Congress and the government. Patil himself denied the speculation, which was sparked off by his absence at a security review meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi held with her close aides and senior leaders earlier in the day.

UN staffs to leave from Kilinochchi today

UN and the humanitarian Agency staff remaining in Kilinochchi are leaving today to Vavuniya. This was revealed in a press release by United Nations Office of the Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator in Sri Lanka. The statement dated 15 September, revealed that The UN has received assurances from the LTTE that UN and humanitarian agency staff remaining in Kilinochchi can leave. The statement further said, "We intend moving those staff in a single convoy at 10 AM tomorrow (today 16 September) morning.

Sri Lankan troops inching towards Tiger-held Kilinochchi

By Ruwan Weerakoon in Colombo

Sri Lanka’s troops are closing in to LTTE’s stronghold Kilinochchi. Troops attached to the 57 Division operating on the Vavuniya front yesterday advanced six kilometers east of Akkarayankulam tank amidst heavy resistance from the LTTE. Security Forces and the LTTE were earlier engaged in a pitched gun battle from the morning of 15th September in the general area of the Akkarayankulam. Fierce fighting erupted between troops and Tigers during the capture of the area that killed 18 Tigers and injured a large number of other cadres.

Somchai Wongsawat named as People Power Party’s choice for premier.

Moves are afoot to patch up differences within the ruling Peoples’ Power Party of Thailand, which has suddenly emerged threatening the dissolution of the Thai Parliament over the choice of the new prime minister. Earlier Executive Committee of the ruling PPP decided on its Deputy Leader Somchai Wongsawat, 61, who has been the top contender for the post which became vacant after Thai Court evicted Samak Sundaravej from his position as prime minister. Reports reveal that there are lots of reasons why Somchai Wongsawat would be good at succeeding as the new Prime Minister. His wife Yaowapa is the younger sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was a member of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party and lost her voting right when the party was dissolved. His daughter Chinnicha is the youngest female MP in the current House of Representatives.

Prachanda tells Delhi: Don't worry about Nepal's ties with Beijing

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Nepal's Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal told India on Monday not to worry about his country's ties with China. Prachanda as he is known at home and abroad, he arrived in the Indian capital on Sunday evening on a five –day visit determined to carve out a new relationship with the southern neighbor. Manmohan Singh government went out of its way to give a red carpet welcome to the 54-year –old leader, who chose Beijing for his first overseas foray. This is his second visit abroad since he took over the reins of the new Himalayan Republic.

UN Agency Decision in Wanni is Questionable

Professor Laksiri Fernando - University of Colombo

The 'Sunday Times' (14 September 2008),has gleefully reported "UN agencies and International Non Governmental Organizations (INGOs) have temporarily halted the withdrawal of their staff from the strife-torn Wanni region following protests from civilians for the consecutive day yesterday." The story may be correct, but the news paper claimed to be a ‘national one’ has terribly failed at least to comment on the implications the purported decision has on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty protected by the UN Charter.

India asks Lanka to ensure safety of Tamils in LTTE-held areas

Voicing concern over the plight of civilians caught in the Sri Lankan Army offensive against the LTTE in rebel-held areas, India has asked Colombo to ensure their safety and security. "We have already expressed our concern to the Lankan authorities," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters while replying to question on the situation in the island country. "While taking action against the LTTE, steps should also be taken to protect the civilian Tamils in Sri Lanka and ensure their safety and security," Antony said.

U.S. assistance to preserve Sri Lankan film heritage

The United States Government anounced that, it will support the cultural preservation of documentary film heritage of Sri Lanka through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The project is expected to focus on preserving the national legacy of some of Sri Lanka’s finest historical and artistic films. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media and Information and the U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake will hold a ceremony to launch the program on September 17, 2008 in the morning at 11 AM.

Samurdhi Banking Associations will be online within this year

Asian Tribune: Sri Lanka Bureau

Thirteen year old Sri Lanka’s poor masses banking association Samurdhi Banking Association plans to link its rural banking associations effective from 18th of this month. Minister Jagath Pushphakumara said these banking associations would be interlinked within short period. The Asian Development bank has come forward to provide funds to develop this interlink system. Speaking to media, Minister Pushphakumara said around 106 banking associations are there in three districts and would be linked and be online during this year.

Man of Peace Swimming against the Current

By Nicola Nasser

For the first time, since the U.S.-hosted Annapolis conference on November 27 last year re-launched the Palestinian – Israeli negotiations, which were interrupted by the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000 after the collapse of the Camp David trilateral summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas came out for the first time on record in Cairo on September 6 to "doubt" striking a peace deal with Israel "by the end of the year because very little time is left;" on September 10 he reiterated his skepticism in an interview with the Israeli daily 'Haaretz.'

SAARC Trade Fair 2008 meeting place for regional traders and manufacturers

The SAARC Trade Fair 2008 which was concluded recently in Colombo ended in a highly successful note with an extended value of expected orders during the next one year amounting to Rs 46 million. Sri Lankan entrepreneurs also received firm orders amounting to nearly Rs 24 million. The entire organizational aspect of this important regional trade fair was handled by The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL). Rawaz Rajabdeen, President, FCCISL commenting on the successful ending of the SAARC Trade Fair in Sri Lanka said that they have come a long way in the organization of trade fairs.

Success for Sri Lanka as the country launches World Breastfeeding Week

Sri Lanka has achieved a 50% increase in the number of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first six months of life, UNICEF said yesterday as Sri Lanka launched World Breastfeeding Week. A range of Government health initiatives led by the Ministry of Health and supported by UNICEF, have seen the country’s rate of ‘exclusive breastfeeding’ increase from 50% to 75% from 2000 to 2007. The result is fewer infant deaths, and healthier babies.

Pakistan : Unstable politics and Terrorism

By Tanveer Jafri - Columnist and a Member of Haryana Sahitya Academy

A game of lose and win is being played between Nawaz Sharif, chief of Pakistan Muslim league (Nawaz) & former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Asif Ali Zardari, chief of Pakistan people party & now President of Pakistan. These two are the two axes of Pakistan politics. These two are the main two political parties of Pakistan, PPP and Muslim league. But in the last general elections in Pakistan, it was assumed that after the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, P.P.P. will come out as the main political party of Pakistan. And it happened. After the killing of Benazir Bhutto, P.P.P. in spite of sympathetic wave could not get majority but this party of assassinated Begum Bhutto succeeded to win the highest number of seats 124.

US Congress Acts to Prosecute Recruiters of Child Soldiers: US No Safe Haven for Exploiters

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

New legislation adopted on September 15, 2008 will permit the United States to prosecute foreign military commanders who recruit child soldiers abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. The Child Soldiers Accountability Act passed the House of Representatives unanimously on September 8 and was adopted by the Senate September 15. In announcing this passage of the legislation in the United States Senate the New York-based Human Rights Watch singles out Sri Lanka, among several other countries, as one that has used child soldiers. The United Nations and international rights organizations often document and accuse the LTTE and its breakaway group TMVP in Sri Lanka of using child soldiers.