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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Monthly archive

Rev Bro Dr Rene Stockman

Narayansamy made MoS Culture

By Gopal Ethiraj

V Narayansamy, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning, has also been given the charge of Culture Ministry in the same rank. There is no Cabinet Minister for Culture Ministry and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be looking after it, official sources said. In the previous UPA government, Ambika Soni was the Minister for Culture when it was clubbed with Tourism. The Ministry of Culture has now been separated from Tourism.

Sri Lanka: Advantages and disadvantages of the New Electricity Law

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

It is ridiculous and meaningless that certain groups discuss conservation of electricity, in broad day time with hundreds of electric lights on, and in shivering cold where the air-conditioners are on, whereas these discussions could be held under natural light and without air-conditioning, which saves lots of energy. This was stated by Y P Dassanayake, Coordinating Officer, Viduli Paaribhogika Samithi Sammelanaya (Federation of Electricity Consumers) at the Forum of “An Analysis of the New Electricity Reform Act and Policy Recommendations” organized by the ‘Pathfinder Foundation (Sanvada), at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute this week.

Sri Lankan navy attacks fishermen, off Katchatheevu

By Gopal Ethiraj

When the annual 45-day ban on fishing resumed on Saturday on the eastern coastline of Bay of Bengal, it began on a sad note for the Rameswaram fishermen who accused the Lankan navy of attacking them and seizing their prized catch. The Sri Lankan government’s war against the LTTE has just ended; the attack on Indian fishermen by the island’ navy seems to continue. The ban on deep-sea fishing is enforced to create smooth breeding environment for marine species.

Plots on to make Bangladesh a failed state, says opposition BNP chief Khaleda

M.A. Qader-Our Correspondent in Bangladesh

The main opposition BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Monday warned that a conspiracy was going on against Bangladesh‘s independence and sovereignty to turn the country into a 'failed state'. Speaking at a feeding programme to destitute, marking the 28th death anniversary of BNP founder and former president Ziaur Rahman, the BNP chief said, "A conspiracy is going on against the country's independence and sovereignty at home and abroad and all have to be alert to it," she said on Monday.

Defamation case: Jayalalithaa dispensed appearance before court

Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

JayalalithaaThe Madras High Court on Monday ordered for dispensing AIADMK supremo Ms J Jayalalithaa from appearing before the Principle Secessions Court on June 2, in a defamation case filed by the state government on behalf of the Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. While admitting a petition filed by Ms Jayalalithaa, Vacation Judge Mr. Justice R S Ramanathan, in a special sitting, also ordered notice to the government returnable with in two weeks. The judge also declined to grant stay for the proceedings of the defamation case.

Time to reap the peace dividend

By Nimal Fernando

Even as the end of the Cold War brought a global sigh of relief, it raised expectations of a peace dividend. And the peace dividend was mentioned like a mantra after some other hot wars -- such as the world's longest-running civil war in the Sudan -- ended. Such expectations have been, at best, only partially met. That need not be the case for Sri Lanka. A nation that had so much going for it soon after independence from British rule in 1948, Sri Lanka found itself preoccupied with a seemingly intractable ethnic question a few years later. And as the ethnic issue slowly grew, it was decidedly unhelpful that the country's energies too were dissipated by half-baked experiments with economic models by successive governments.

Bharathiraja plans film of Lankan Tamils

Gopal Ethiraj from Chennai

BharathirajaLeading filmmaker K Bharathiraja is to make a film on the Sri Lankan conflict highlighting the plight of Tamils caught in the war. "The film will focus on the role of LTTE... against the Sinhala regime," according to Bharathiraja, who has several hits to his credit. He is very much inspired by the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The script is yet to be finalised and he would be using fresh faces for the film, sources say.

Sweden launches the website for Swedish EU Presidency

Cecilia MalmströmIn exactly one month, Sweden takes over the Presidency of the EU. On 01 June, Swedish Minister for EU Affairs Cecilia Malmström presents the Presidency website. The overall aims of the Swedish Presidency are that it should be transparent, efficient and results oriented. These goals have also guided the development of the website. The ambition is that the website will be the most comprehensive source of information for those who want to follow the Presidency. "The website is more generous than those of previous Presidencies, for example in terms of contact details. This is a concrete way to demonstrate accessibility and transparency", says Minister for EU Affairs Cecilia Malmström.

Who should the President listen to - Can Federalism or Devolution elevate the people?

By Shenali Waduge

The very people whose formulas failed to bring decades of terror to a close are now pressurizing the Government to implement a solution. These “experts” have little right to demand anything of the Government for their peace formulas failed and Sri Lanka’s loss through 3 decades is estimated at a whopping USD200billion worth of opportunities. The President has solved the primary problem – eliminating terrorism that too in just 2 years and 10 months. This fete has alone given the right to the President to nullify some of the unreasonable demands placed by the LTTE over the years and accepted by previous Governments. Thus, essentially we need to start afresh by identifying if there are problems exclusive to Tamils in the present context before we move forward to drafting solutions.

Nepal coalition partners finalize CMP to expand cabinet

Kosh Raj Koirala – Asian Tribune Correspondent in Nepal

Coalition partners in Nepal on Tuesday finalized Common Minimum Program (CMP) of the new government, paving way for the expansion of cabinet under Madhav Kumar Nepal. The much-awaited expansion of cabinet was delayed further as top leaders of four major political parties could not give final touch to the CMP due to a general strike called by the Joint Action Committee of Newa Autonomous State in Kathmandu Valley on Monday. The top leaders were scheduled to give final touch to the CMP draft prepared by a task force comprising representatives of CPN-UML, Nepali Congress (NC), Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) and Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) on Monday.

Charges of War Crimes against United States go unprobed

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Bush and CheneyRetired US Army Major General Antonio Taguba, who led a military investigation in 2004 into detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq in the preface to a 2008 report on abuse of detainees in US custody in Afghanistan, Guantánamo and Iraq wrote: "Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors... After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Colombo to officially record end of war

By Prasad Gunewardene in Colombo

Colombo will officially record the end of a 30 year war against separatist LTTE terrorism at a national ceremony at the historic Galle Face Green tomorrow morning. he event will be the last of a series of celebrations on the victory over LTTE terrorism that began on May 18 . his colorful ceremony will witness the Tri- Service Commanders who led the battle against the LTTE to a successful completion, officially conveying the conclusion of the war to their Commander-in-Chief, President Mahinda Rajapaksa. he occasion will be graced by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake, Speaker W.J.M.Lokubandara, Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva, Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentarians and the Diplomats.

India will elect Meira Kumar as First Woman Speaker on Wednesday

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Meira Kumar, a diplomat turned politician will be formally elected as the first Woman Speaker of Indian Parliament on Wednesday. The 64-year old five-term MP and daughter of former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram She will be the second Dalit (untouchable in the caste conscious society) to occupy the chair – Balayogi from Andhra Pradesh was the first some ten years back. On Sunday she resigned as the Cabinet Minister for water resources. And Monday she entered the fray on Tuesday as the consensus candidate of the Congress, opposition BJP and all other parties. Formal announcement of her election as Speaker will be made on Wednesday. Giving her company as Deputy Speaker will be a six-term MP Karia Munda from the tribal belt of coal and mineral rich Jharkhand in Eastern India. He is nominated for the post by the BJP and the treasury benches welcomed the proposal in line with the tradition of letting the opposition get the post of Deputy Speaker. Munda became a minister for the first time in the Morarji Desai government in 1977. He was a minister in the Vajpayee government.

Media Minister condemns attack on journalist

Prasad Gunewardene in Colombo

Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene today condemned the attack on journalist, Poddala Jayantha stating,"I vehemently and unequivocally condemn this brutal attack on a journalist". The victim is also the Secretary to the Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association and has led many demonstrations with other media groups on media issues. Jayantha was reportedly abducted by an unknown gang in a white van on Monday(June 1) at Nugegoda (eight kilo metres North of Colombo),assaulted and dumped by the roadside at Angoda( five kilo metres Colombo).

Students along with teachers kidnapped in Bannu, NWFP

By Farzana Shah, Asian Tribune correspondent in Pakistan

More than 400 students of Razmak Cadet college along with college officials including mentors and principal were kidnapped by militant Talibans in Mireyan area of Bannu. According to Mirza Mohammad Jihadi,the advisor to Prime minister for FATA, "We have information that kidnappers are Taliban from Wazirstan. Govt. will take every measure to make certain that all the students and their mentors are safe. We are in touch with Talibans through tribal elders". Bannu is located south east of restive South Wazirstan Agency in FATA and is a strong hold of terrorist outfit, TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan). Pakistan army started a limited military operation against TTP in Agency last week.

Malaysia, largest foreign investor in Sri Lanka for the fourth year consecutively

By Hilary Rajakarunanayake

"Malaysia was the largest foreign investor in Sri Lanka for the fourth consecutive year last year, with leading Malaysian companies playing a major role in key sectors of the Sri Lankan economy". As of last year, there were 18 Malaysian commercial projects in Sri Lanka, which was valued at RM3.2 billion (US$910 million) Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Rosli Ismail told the media yesterday. "Regardless of the three-decade conflict that concluded recently, Malaysians were keen investors in the telecommunications, manufacturing, infrastructure, property development and garment sectors. Bilateral trade has been also increasing — with Malaysian exports to Sri Lanka amounting to RM1.4 billion last year versus RM1.3 billion in 2007, while exports from the island nation to Malaysia was RM124.73 million (RM110.6 million in 2007).

Bangladesh to introduce daylight saving time from 19 June midnight

M.A. Qader-Our Correspondent in Bangladesh

The cabinet of Bangladesh on Monday decided to introduce daylight saving time (DST) from 19 June midnight in a bid to ensure maximum use of daylight to cope with the crippling power crisis. Under the daylight saving time, clocks will be set one hour ahead at midnight to 1.00am, said the prime minister's press secretary Abul Kalam Azad. A weekly meeting of the cabinet yesterday approved the DST plan with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Around 250MW power can be optimized with introducing the system, according to experts.

J Jayalalithaa

K Bharathiraja