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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2552

Monthly archive

Nepal elects new Prime Minister

Kosh Raj Koirala – Asian Tribune Correspondent in Nepal

Madhav Kumar NepalSenior leader of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal on Saturday was elected unopposed as new Prime Minister of a Himalayan country Nepal. Nepal was elected unopposed as 21 of the 24 political parties representing in the Constituent Assembly backed him and two other parties including Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the largest of all other political parties, boycotted the election process. A fringe party called Nepali Janata Dal stayed also away from the election process. Girija Prasad Koirala, President of Nepali Congress, the second largest party, had tabled a proposal in the House in favour of Nepal as the new Prime Minister. The proposal was seconded by the CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal.

Commonwealth Secretariat to assist SL trade facilitation

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Trade facilitation is very important for the economy of Sri Lanka and the exercise undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) is appropriate and timely, said Prof G L Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade speaking at the press briefing held at Taj Samudra Hotel to explain the purpose and modalities of the Trade facilitation. Kosala Wickramanayake, President, FCCISL making the welcome address said that trade facilitation is an essential component of trade promotion and such facilitation involves many systems and processes. He said that Sri Lanka has been one of the pioneers in introducing facilitation way back in 1980s, but the interest on this key subject suffered and have fallen behind in the efforts to introduce new methods and facilities that would ultimately enable the speedier movement of export and import cargo.

Post-War Racial Reconciliation– a Recipe from Punjab

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London……

The war, that we thought, would never end, did end against all odds while making a few layers of experts redundant all over the globe: some predicted that the war would never end; some said about a bloodbath, a reference, perhaps, at the prospect of placid Nanthikadaal lagoon turning to red; certain media implied the macabre spectacle of genocide of Rwanda calibre. As vast majority of civilians who were lucky enough to be alive breathe a sigh of relief at being rescued, those who have been depicting the picture of doomsday along the Mullathive coast may have to live with their own headlines in the years to come – to save what is left of their credibility.

Bangladesh to investigate whether German’s Siemens slush fund diverted to the banned outfit

M.A.Qader-Our Correspondent in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Telecoms Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu on Saturday said the government will constitute a committee to see if the bribed money given by German company Siemens was diverted to fund the banned outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh. Raziuddin Ahmed Razu told reporters yesterday that the committee would be formed in a week to investigate irregularities in the telecoms sector during the 2001-2006 BNP-led coalition government, the period Bangladesh was ranked the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International.

The Vanquished and the Victors

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Vellupillai Pirapaharan could have become the saviour of his people. The LTTE could have won for the Tamils a substantial degree of devolution up to and including federalism. Instead he brought an all consuming devastation on his people, his organisation and ultimately himself because of his fatal and irredeemable addiction to maximalism. Like Adolf Hitler, he did not know when and where to stop; like Adol Hitler he believed in ‘going for the broke’; and like Adolf Hitler he ended up an ‘epitome of suicide and murder’ for himself and his people. Intoxicated by the heady brew of fanaticism, he gambled with the future of an entire community, and lost. History of the Lankan conflict did not begin with the LTTE. Two extremist mindsets, which, at differing times, became the dominant ideological dynamic of Sinhala and Tamil societies, created a language issue, exacerbated it into an ethnic problem, paved the way to a devastating civil war and rendered a negotiated solution impossible.

Blast at a Roman Catholic Church kills 2, injures 14 in Nepal

Kosh Raj Koirala – Asian Tribune Correspondent in Nepal

At least two persons were killed and 14 others injured Saturday morning when a pressure-cooker bomb went off inside a Roman Catholic church in Lalitpur, a district adjoining to capital city Kathmandu. A little-known Hindu fundamentalist group, Nepal Defense Army, has owned up responsibility for the gory incident at the sacred site, according to police. The armed outfit formed after the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly last year declared Nepal a secular state and abolished the 240-year-old institution of monarchy. It has been carrying violent activities in religious sites for what it said re-establishment of a Hindu kingdom in Nepal.

Narayanan meets Karunanidhi to brief Colombo visit

Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

After his return from Colombo on Saturday, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan first met Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and briefed him on his assigned visit to Sri Lanka along with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. The discussion lasted 15minutes. Narayanan briefed the CM on their meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday, official sources said. The two envoys had gone there on May 20 to take up issues like the devolution of powers to Tamils in the island and their immediate rehabilitation in view of their sufferings undergone during the current war.

Pranab moves to finance in portfolio allocation, DMK intake likely on Tuesday

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh obliged his senior colleague Pranab Mukherjee who wanted to be relieved strenuous foreign office assignment which involves extensive foreign travel. Pranab has been moved to finance in the limited allocation of portfolios announced on Saturday evening. While SM Krishna, former Karnataka Chief Minister filled his slot at the foreign office, Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and AK Antony retained their old portfolios- home, agriculture and defence. Bengal tiger, Mamata Bannerjee, who joined the UPA cabinet for the first time, is made the railway minister. Portfolios of other cabinet ministers will be announced in two or three days. That will coincide with the second intake on Tuesday.

Letter from America – America’s own Al-Qaeda

By Habib Siddiqui

Recently I came across Jeff Sharlet’s article in the Harper Magazine, "Jesus Killed Mohammed: the crusade for a Christian military." Sharlet is the contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine and author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. The article was not the kind of light-reading stuff that you would enjoy on a Sunday afternoon. It was a very disturbing piece exposing hateful, chauvinistic attitude of some of American soldiers, which helps us to understand why American soldiers are still there in places like Iraq and Afghanistan battling local fighters.

Celebrities: 'Slumdog' child stars yet to breathe 'Million' air

By Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

'Slumdogs' don’t make it to Millians; maybe one 'slumdog' out of millions go millionaire. In films, it is possible; in reality making few bucks is sure. Being exploited is more than sure. But the makers of "Slumdog Millionaire" sure made millions with the film. The child stars who fetched them millions are not on their 'pillions' yet. The child stars of "Slumdog Millionaire" which won eight Oscars and brought in more than US$326 million for its makers, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali, are still underdogs. Both of them are in the streets now. The success of "Slumdog Millionaire" has done little so far to improve the lives of the film's two impoverished child stars. The shanty slum house of Rubina Ali was torn down by Mumbai authorities a few days back as they demolished part of the slum where she lived.

SM Krishna is new India foreign face; asks SL to address root cause of ethnic conflict

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

S.M.Krishna As expected, the former Fulbright scholar, S M Krishna was Saturday named as India’s external affairs minister by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who made allocation to six of his nineteen ministers. And in his first media interaction, Krishna, a former chief minister of Karnataka state, urged Colombo to address the "root cause of the conflict" by effective devolution of powers to all communities in the island nation. It is our view, Krishna said, that as the conventional conflict in Sri Lanka comes to an end, this is a moment when the root causes of that conflict will have to be addressed. Elaborating he said, Sri Lanka should take steps towards effective devolution of power within the framework of its Constitution so that 'Sri Lankans of all communities, including the Tamils, can feel at home and lead lives of dignity at their own free will'.

Sorry, no afterlife for Prabhakaran or the LTTE

By Malinda Seneviratne

When gods turn out to be mortal the worshippers are benumbed and languish in disbelief. It is natural for the most naïve to cling on to the flimsiest of hope that the death was fabrication. After all, when those who are immortalized come to take up residence in vast swathes of one’s sense of meaning and being, and pledge over and over again to create for one a private heaven on earth, mortality is insufferable. Prabhakaran’s politics required that kind of deification. Deification alone guaranteed that many if not all adherents would never believe that the deified could do wrong. It would always be shoved under the conscious-carpet or dismissed as vile fabrication by the unbeliever.

Sri Lanka denies: Nambiar did not contact about the surrender of Nadesan and Pulidevan

Sri Lanka Governmnet denied that no one approached regarding the surrender of LTTE's political chief, B Nadesan, and 'peace secretariat' head, S Pulidevan. Also Government sources told "Asian Tribune" that Nadesan and Pulidevan were killed in the battle, when they fought the Sri Lankan soldiers. PTI news story says that Vijay Nambiar, the UN Secretary-General's envoy and chef de cabinet, passed the message to Dr. Palitha Kohona but was told the safe surrender of the men could not be guaranteed and that "it may be too late". When "Asian Tribune" contacted Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary, he categorically denied and said Mr. Nambiar did not contact him either about Pulidevan or Nadesan.

Air cleared over "stand-off" : DMK decision today

By Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

The standoff between the Congress and the DMK over the number of cabinet berths could end soon. This indication is available as the DMK Chief and Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi on Saturday said the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on the issue of induction of two ministers from his party has cleared the air. Responding to Dr. Singh’s invitation to the DMK to participate in the Ministry, the DMK chief, in a three-line statement, thanked the Prime Minister and said, “Our high level action committee will soon take a decision." "We thank Manmohan Singh for the clarification on the two DMK Ministers in his previous cabinet, T R Baalu and A Raja, who had been the target of some Delhi-based satellite television channels," he said and added that the Prime Minister's statement had cleared the air on two DMK Central Ministers.

Military assault launched on Mingora city

By Farzana Shah, Asian Tribune correspondent in Pakistan

Operation in Swat and Malakand division in NWFP province in Pakistan has intensified as infantry has launched assault on militant’s strong hold, Mingora city. Fierce clashes are reported in streets of Mingora. Mingora is main urban centre and district headquarters currently under Taliban control. Tough resistance by militant is expected. Clearing Mingora will be probably slowest phase of whole Malakand operation as city is densely congested and intense close quarter combats are expected in houses and buildings.

Prabhakaran’s satellite cell phone a fountain of secret information

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Satellite cell phoneThe satellite cell phone found beside the dead body of LTTE leader Prabhakaran is said to be a fountain of secret information said National Security spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella today. Police have unraveled several secrets about international connections of the LTTE by listening to the conversations Prabhakaran had with several persons in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Italy just before he was killed.

Government working on a plan to resettle IDPs within 180 days – Sri Lanka President

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

Mahinda Rajapaksa receiving Bank Ki-moonSri Lanka President assured UN Secretary General that the internally displaced persons will be settles within the shortest possible time. In the meantime, UN Secretary General Bank Ki-moon pointed out that Government has to concentrate on three critical areas - immediate humanitarian relief, reintegration and reconstruction, and a sustainable and equitable political solution in Sri Lanka. When UN Secretary General met Sri Lanka President he said, "The Government was already working on a plan to resettle most of the IDPs within 180 days".

Sri Lanka President pledges to usher in a righteous society

Hilary Rajakarunanayake, Editor – Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune

President Mahinda Rajapaksa felicitated"As much as I treasure and cherish this highest honour bestowed on me by the Maha Sangha on this historic occasion, for having defeated and swept off terrorism from the soil of my land of birth, and for once again unifying my country under our National Lion flag, I also solemnly promise the nation that I will do my utmost to establish a righteous and virtuous society free of vice and corruption in my motherland, Sri Lanka".This was stated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the historic ceremony held in Kandy at the 'Magul Maduwa' (Ceremonial Court) in the premises of the temple 'Dalada Maligawa' where the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined. The Mahanayake (Chief) monks of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters bestowed the title
"Vishvakeerthi Shree Sinhaladhishwara" on the President at the solemn ceremony held today (23)

Sri Lanka Showcases Diverse Orchid Collection At Chelsea Flower Show

Sri Lanka Tourism is sponsoring the Orchid Society of Great Britain (OSGB) stand at the Chelsea Flower Show held from 19 to 23 May 2009. This is the country’s first appearance at Chelsea. Two Guard Stones, replicas of ones standing at the gateways to the ancient Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka, forms the centre-piece to the exhibit with flowering vanilla hybrid orchids, cultivated on plantations in Sri Lanka, cascading in profusion alongside other rare and beautiful hybrid orchids flown in for the Chelsea Flower Show.