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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2829

Monthly archive

Minalakshmi Temple

Obama’s War

By Adnan Gill

About a half a century ago, a young, ambitious and charismatic American president inherited a confined war. Soon after his inaugural, he owned the war! His name was John F. Kennedy and he owned the disastrous Vietnam War. About 50 years later, another young, brilliant and charming president owned yet another inherited war. His name is Barack H. Obama and he is on way to own the Afghan War. Could it be a classic case of history repeating itself? Time will tell.

JK Consumer Foods to handle Railway catering

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

John Keells Consumer Foods is now entrusted to handle the catering to Sri Lanka Railways. The Railway Catering Service provides food and beverage services to several thousands of railway commuters at all leading stations and on board trains on selected routes around the country. J&P Catering Services managed by a professional hotelier -Chef Jilan de Silva, has taken over the Railway Catering Service, has tied up with the John Keells Consumer Foods Sector to upgrade the standards and quality of the service provided and thus Sri Lankan railway commuters will soon enjoy Elephant soft drinks, Elephant House ice creams and Keells and Krest food products through the network’s restaurants at all leading railway stations and also on Buffet Cars on selected routes.

Pakistan gets second tranche of $848m from IMF

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune correspondent in Pakistan

Pakistan has received a second tranche worth $848 million of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan approved last year to avert a balance of payments crisis, the State Bank of Pakistan said on Thursday. "We have received the second tranche of $848 million," said Syed Wasimuddin, chief spokesman of the State Bank. The IMF approved the second tranche on Monday, saying Pakistani economy was gradually recovering from the macroeconomic and external imbalances of 2007 and 2008, and a programme aimed at restoring financial stability while protecting the poor was firmly on track.

G20 will give world $1 trillion boost

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 03April ( Leaders of the G-20 nations at their second meeting in London, have agreed on a $1 trillion dollar boost for the world economy. They also accepted radical reforms of the global banking system designed to reduce the risk of future market meltdowns. The Leaders of the G-20 nations resolved that , "We are determined not only to restore growth but to lay the foundation for a fair and sustainable world economy. We recognize that the current crisis has a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable in the poorest countries and recognize our collective responsibility to mitigate the social impact of the crisis to minimize long-lasting damage to global potential. They also added , "we reaffirm our historic commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and to achieving our respective ODA pledges, including commitments on Aid for Trade, debt relief, and the Gleneagles commitments, especially to sub-Saharan Africa;."

Bangladesh anti-corruption commission chief resigns

By M.A. Kader- Asian Tribune Correspondent in Bangladesh

The Anticorruption Commission (ACC) chairman Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury resigned on Thursday without clarifying any reason for the resignation. Without replying any questions from the attended reporters on the ACC office, he stepped into his car and left for his residence in the afternoon. Earlier, the ACC chief met with his officials at the headquarters after 3pm and bid them farewell. "I think you all know the situation prevailing at present; no need for me to explain," the former army chief briefly told reporters before leaving the ACC headquarters in the city at around 4pm.

Security beefed up in Pakistan amid reports of terror attacks

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Security has been tightened in Pakistan including federal capital Islamabad after intelligence reports warning possible terror attack. Additional contingents of security personnel have been deployed on Constitution Avenue and Red Zone Islamabad. Additional check-posts have also been established in some areas. Security organizations and officials on entry and exit pickets have been directed to be vigilant. Similarly security measures across NWFP province including provincial capital Peshawar have also been beefed up, police sources said Thursday.

Vital UN Food Enroute To Displaced Persons In Northern Sri Lanka

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is providing about 1,000 metric tons of critically-needed food assistance to a designated “safe zone” in north-eastern Sri Lanka, where more than 100,000 people have been displaced by fighting. The items were sent aboard a ship chartered by the Government of Sri Lanka, sailing under the flag of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and was due to be unloaded later today. WFP said the food aid would be sufficient to feed approximately 100,000 people for 20 days.

Pak agencies involved in interfering in Afghanistan: Minister

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

Information Minister of North West Frontier Province Iftikhar Hussain on Thursday termed Pakistan's problems and Talibanization as a result of interfering in Afghanistan and involvement of Pakistani intelligence agencies. The minister said 95 per cent of Pakistan’s problems could be resolved if the country 'stopped interfering in Afghan affairs', adding that Talibanisation is a 'foreign-funded agenda supported by Pakistani agencies which has facilitated blood bath across Pakistan.'

Lanka sets new benchmark in global transport/banking history: Banking in mobile railway compartments

By Ravi Ladduwahetty – Sri Lanka Editor – Asian Tribune

In what could be described as a novel and unprecedented worldwide benchmark in the annals of global banking and transport, Sri Lanka will launch the first ever mobile banking system inside railway compartments today. This is a joint venture will be between Sri Lanka Railways and the Lankaputhra Bank. The inaugural and promotional service will be inaugurated in the Kandy bound train leaving Colombo Fort at 9.35 am today. "This is indeed a novel system which will be run on all outstation trains where people in distant and remote areas on the route who do not have access to banking will have access to banking in their areas without having travel vast distances inconveniencing themselves," Sri Lanka Railways Commercial Superintendent Wijaya Samararasinghe told Asian Tribune very late last night.

Sri Lanka Gains duty free access for 4,000 products under Pakistan - Sri Lanka FTA.

Effective from 20th March 2009, Sri Lankan Exporters can enjoy duty free access for about 4,000 products to the Pakistan market under the final phase of trade liberalization of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement.. (PSFTA). This has occurred as a direct result of Prof. G.L.Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade having discussions with Pakistani authorities. The Government of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have concluded this Free Trade Agreement in 2002 that came into force with effect from 12th June 2005. The main objective of these bilateral agreements was to develop further the economic relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan through expansion of trade in Goods, Services and Investment relations.

Manmohan-Obama agree to make India-US ties durable

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting Barack ObamaOn the sidelines of G-20 summit in London, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama held their first bilateral talks on the ‘enormous’ opportunities to strengthen the ties and make the relationship ‘more productive and durable’. Both leaders also agreed to intensify strategic partnership in all areas, including fighting terrorism. Developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan figured prominently in the discussion as also issues related to global financial meltdown, protectionism, energy security and climate change. ‘We discussed development in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We both agreed that our two countries must work together to counter the forces of terror,’ Manmohan Singh told a press conference later.

26 Suicide bombers on the prowl: President cautions Cabinet

By Ravi Ladduwahetty- Sri Lanka Editor- Asia Tribune

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has cautioned his Cabinet that he had been notified by intelligence sources that 16 LTTE suicide cadres have entered the Colombo city. The President had cautioned his Ministers at the weekly Cabinet meeting Wednesday night, political sources told "Asian Tribune." He has also advised Ministers not to hold large scale meetings in the run up to the Western Provincial Council polls billed for April 25 and had asked them to be extremely careful about their movements.

Delhi in touch with Colombo on Tamil issue, Manmohan, Sonia assure Karunanidhi

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

With Tamil Nadu expected to play a key role in government formation at the centre after the elections in May, the Congress is paying increasing attention to the concerns of its Dravidian ally, the DMK. In the span of a week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have sent letters to chief minister Karunanidhi on SL Tamil issue. Message was identical: 'Don't worry. We are in touch with Colombo and Rajapaksa is committed to devolution'. While Singh said, the SL President very recently had affirmed his commitment to a devolution package which would fully satisfy the Tamils, Sonia Gandhi appeared to appreciate local sentiment when she wrote ''the first step' to safeguard Tamils would obviously, be 'cessation of hostilities', to enable 'innocent people to move to safety zones'.

Washington Commentary: G 20 Summit Offers Support Developing Countries AS Part Of Trillion Dollar Packagae

By Ernest Corea

The twenty nation (G20) summit that was convened in London to confront the challenges of economic recession has reaffirmed its commitment tothe Millennium Development Goals which are expected to raise the world’s poorest nations out of poverty. The joint Declaration issued yesterday (April 2) at the end of the meeting pledged that decisions reached by the G20 would make an additional US$50 billion available "to support social protection, boost trade and safeguard development in low income countries," thus lessening concerns – if only for the present – that the hunt for ways to protect the developed economies would leave the poor nations even further behind.

Sri Lanka-UN Good Cooperation – President of the Security Council

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations after the inaugural meeting of the UN Security Council under the Mexican Presidency, the Permanent Representative of Mexico Ambassador Claude Heller told reporters today (2nd April) that Sri Lanka is not on the Security Council agenda and that Council members have nevertheless received good cooperation from the Government of Sri Lanka to share information about the humanitarian situation resulting from the LTTE’s holding Tamil civilians trapped in the safe zone. Mexico presides over the Security Council for the month of April as the Council Presidency is rotated in alphabetical order. Mexico was preceded by Libya last month and Japan the month before.

Absolute support for Government’s efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism from the soil of Sri Lanka - Canadian Tamils

The Executive board members of Canadian Tamils for Peace and Democracy today voted unanimously in favour of an emergency resolution put forward declaring absolute support to the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa to eradicate Terrorism in Srilanka. The resolution, requests the President to undertake "whatever actions deemed necessary" to crush Terrorism and putforth a reasonable political solution to Tamils. It also thanked the Government of Srilanka for the conference in Colombo inviting moderate Tamils – Sri Lankan oversees to consult and discuss the solution. The resolution strongly rebuked some member countries of the United Nations and European Union for launching attack on the rights of the democratically elected Government of Srilanka and for undermining its efforts to eradicate Terrorism from Sri Lankan soil.

U.S. Government contributes an additional $15 million in emergency food aid for Sri Lanka

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated $15 million (Rs 1.7 billion) worth of vital food aid for Sri Lanka to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The food, consisting of wheat, lentils and vegetable oil, will be distributed to a large number of displaced and conflict-affected people in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. USAID, the development agency of the U.S. Government, announced that 19,490 MTs (metric tons) of emergency food relief will be used to support WFP activities in the North and East. The USAID donation will include 14,700 MTs of wheat, 3,750 MTs of lentils, and 1,040 MTs of vegetable oil, enough to provide essential food to 300,000 people over four months. The food aid is scheduled to arrive in June 2009.

Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities surge to $50.9 billion

Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities (EDL) surged to $50.9 billion in the first six months of current fiscal year (July-December) from $46.3 billion in end-June 2008, reveals "Review of Economic Situation", released by the Finance Ministry. The EDL has gone up to 31.2 percent of projected Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of current fiscal year that was 27.6 percent by end-June 2008. According to the review, foreign investment saw a decline of 34.2 percent in first eight months (July-February) from $2.873 billion to $1.89 billion.