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

Monthly archive

Neer Mahal beckons you to a bygone Tripura era

By P. Dev Kumar - Syndicate Features

Tucked away in a far corner of Tripura is a floating castle that makes even the famed Jalmahal in Udaipur look ‘small’. For the locals it is ‘Neer (water) Mahal’. Migratory birds of all hues flock to it besides an occasional wanderer like me. Believe it or not, the ‘Mahal’ is a beauty in stone. It stands as a lasting testimony to the ‘elegant’ taste of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur. Whether he was inspired what he had seen in Europe or nearer home in Rajasthan is not known but local folklore tells that he had wanted to perpetuate the memory of the Manikya dynasty for ever.

Sri Lanka High Commission strongly condemned acts of vandalism against Buddhist Temple

By Walter Jayawardhana

Sri Lanka High Commission in London a statement issued to the press, "strongly" condemned the "cowardly acts" of vandalism targeted against the Saddhatissa International Buddhist Center, in Kingsbury, London. The statement said, "The High Commission firmly believes those who took part in this act of destruction do not believe in religious pluralism and tolerance which are basic tenants of liberal democracy today." The Buddhist monks in the temple said they suspect the crime had been committed by elements connected to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers in the area.

The Great Debate

By L. Jayasooriya

It could be argued that to refer to the present US presidential debate as “The Great Debate” is not an exaggeration because unlike previous such debates if the wrong decision as far as it affects the American people as a whole is taken, especially with regard to Iraq and Iran, America would irrevocably lose not only its number one position in the world but it will also bring in an unending trail of hardship, insecurity and for the first time in her history a trend towards the lowering of the present standards of living of the average American. These problems arising out of war would be far more severe if a solution to the Wall Street crisis that does not affect the American citizen could not be found.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree – and in Broad Daylight!

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London……

Judging by the number of temples, churches, mosques in every corner of our land and the corresponding attendance to these places of worship, an unsuspecting western visitor may think that we are a pious nation, with our souls solidly being focused on the spiritual goals, as set out by respective religions. If the bewildered westerner, say in a Colombo street, ask a mere mortal like me to account for the co-existence of that ultimate spiritual goal and the growing avarice for material stuff, I would dig deep my pocket while looking for my mobile phone to pretend that I got a sudden text message, in order to distract the man from the embarrassing question. I may never win the argument – and it is plain and simple.

Ananda Wickremasinghe, the new Consul General of Los Angeles

Ananda Wickramasinghe is the new Consul General of Los Angeles. He has succeeded Jaliya Wickremasuriya who is presently Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington. The new Consul General Ananda Wickramasinghe has assumed duties on 15th September, 2008. According to a press release, the consular jurisdiction of Wickramasinghe will extend to cover the western states of USA, viz. California, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.

Majority of those sat for Sinhala language proficiency exam are from Wanni

In the recently held language proficiency examination, 5,700 Sinhala public servants sat for Tamil language proficiency examination and 1065 Tamil Government servants sat for Sinhala language proficiency examination. According to a spokesman, out of the total Tamil government servants who sat for the Sinhala language proficiency examination, majority of them are those who serve in government departments in the Wanni region.

U Win Htein - Senior Assistant to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Released on September 23, Rearrested on September 24, 2008

On September 23, 2008, the Burmese military regime announced that it has released 9002 prisoners from various prisons. We learned that only seven political prisoners were included among those released. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, Mr. Tomas Ojea Quintana issued statements, welcoming the release of several political prisoners and calling for the release of all remaining political prisoners. Those released mentioned in their statements [1] are U Win Tin, Dr. May Win Myint, U Aung Soe Myint, U Khin Maung Swe, Win Htain, Dr. Than Nyein and U Thein Naing.

Government of Denial

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

The signs are unpropitious and they point to a financial scissors crisis looming ever closer. Sri Lanka’s increasingly politicised Central Bank has taken on Fitch Ratings (and not for the first time), disputing the agency’s gloomy economic prognosis for the island. Last week Fitch Ratings cautioned Sri Lanka about her weak macro economic conditions, drawing particular attention to high inflation and increasing levels of bad bank loans (including unprecedented amounts of dishonoured cheques) – classic symptoms of a developing financial crisis.

SAARC countries to harmonize Customs Procedure and Documentations

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

To facilitate intra-trade flow among the SAARC countries, SAARC secretariat is trying to harmonize Customs Procedures and documentations to supplement other such mechanisms like SAFTA Committee of Experts and Group on Customs Cooperation. SAARC Secretariat has requested the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) to ascertain views of various stakeholders in the region and in turn SCCI has requested the SCCI Desk at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) to collect such information from the private sector in Sri Lanka.

Asoka Chakra, Chanakya and RAW

By Janaka Perera

In all probability those who caused the horrifying bomb explosion at the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad and those behind the bomb blast in several Indian cities this month share the same extremist politico-religious objectives even if they are not members of the same group. The nature of the explosions – especially the one at the Marriot clearly reflect the technical expertise that only a mafia gang like the LTTE can provide – may be on payment because the Tigers seem to be running short of funds nowadays.

America at Crossroads: Free Enterprise versus Intervention

Sunday Discourse by Philip Fernando for Asian Tribune

President George Bush brought together Barrack Obama, John McCain and the congressional leadership of both parties, to signal rapid passage of legislation authorizing Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to spend at least $700 billion in taxpayer money to purchase the depreciated or virtually worthless financial assets from banks and other financial institutions. The bailout at the expense the tax payers would enable them to offload their bad debts. The House of Representatives, the Republican minority leader, Rep. John Boehner, had joined with the Democratic speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, to issue a statement pledging support for a bipartisan bill. Things did not go on as planned.

Market struggles to gain momentum

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

HNB Stockbrokers in their review indicated that indices could not hit the green zone as stocks tumbled further this week on very thin volumes extending their losses for the eighth straight week. The two indices fell throughout the week while reaching their lowest for the year at Friday’s close. The All Share Price Index (ASPI) shed 41.3 points or 1.8 percent to close at 2209.1 points while the more liquid Milanka Price Index (MPI) fell 43.0 points or 1.7 percent to end at 2484.3 points on Friday.

Call for presidential executive order to stop torture, degrading treatment under U.S. watch

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Evangelicals for Human Rights, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Center for Victims of Torture have drafted a declaration of principles its members want to see the next president include in an executive order on prisoner treatment, torture and cruelty. Officials who have signed the declaration released September 25 include two former secretaries of state—George Shultz and Madeleine Albright—as well as three former secretaries of defense—William Perry, Harold Brown and William Cohen.