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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2958


Children at War: Young Soldiers Used in Conflicts Around the World

By Daya Gamage – US Bureau of Asian Tribune

"Children are recruited through all sorts of means. Some are abducted. Typically, recruiting parties from rebel groups of the like are given conscription targets that change according to need and objectives. Some, like (Sri Lanka’s) Tamil Tigers, even use sophisticated computerized population databases to direct recruiting efforts, so they target the communities that have the most children. All children are not automatically taken, but only those who meet certain criterion. Those judged too small are often killed in order to intimidate both the local populace and the new recruits.Once caught, children have no choice; usually they must comply with their captors or die.”

U.S. Gun Lobby Blasts U.N. Arms Meet

By Thalif Deen - - Inter Press Service

The National Rifle Association (NRA), the most powerful pro-gun lobby in the United States, is leading a campaign to literally flood the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations with letters and postcards protesting an upcoming conference on small arms. Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka, president-designate of the two-week long conference beginning Monday, told IPS that the NRA campaign is totally misguided because the meeting is "not aimed at banning small arms or controlling weapons that are legally manufactured, purchased or traded in conformity with national laws".

Pak President Musharaff quite strategy for his re-election

By M Rama Rao - Syndicate Features:

While two former prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are busy cementing their new found alliance to take on President Musharraf, he is quietly consolidating his position to ensure his ‘smooth re-election’ for another term. His plan is to have the re-election by September 2007, if not much earlier. In other words, he wants to deny time and space to his political rivals to put their act together. Both the News International, the Karachi based daily known for its leanings towards the establishment, and the Daily Times, the Lahore based Left leaning English daily, reported on June 7, as if in tandem, that political managers of President Musharraf have opened ‘back channels’ with Jamiat Ulema –e-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Indian prime minister ignores opposition to Narmada dam extension

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Indian Supreme Court have both refused to halt construction on raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) dam from 110.64 to 121.92 metres, despite clear evidence that the extension flouted resettlement procedures and will leave tens of thousands of families homeless. Singh has ignored an internal report by his own Group of Ministers (GoM), who visited the affected areas and found that the Narmada Control Authority’s (NCA) claims about the successful rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families were “largely paperwork”. His decision to go ahead is a measure of the powerful business and political interests pushing for the dam’s construction.

War and Peace in Sri Lanka

By R.Gunaratna

Optimists believed that the Oslo talks, which were scheduled in the wake of the EU ban on the LTTE, would break the impasse between the two contesting parties viz. the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. However, those who were familiar with the tactics of the LTTE and the politics in Sri Lanka never expected resolving of such a complicated issue with a simple move. Ultimately, Oslo talks failed and undeclared war is being waged between the Government and the LTTE. A cursory overview of the events took place during the history of the conflict suggests that the present scenario is simply a repetition of what happened during the 30 years of conflict in Sri Lanka. The uniqueness of the present situation is that all the fronts such as world opinion and Europe countries are against the LTTE today, at least temporarily.

BJP: 'Pity and Sympathy'

By Tukoji Pandit - Syndicate Features

A recurring theme in the speeches of the ‘Lauh Purush’ (iron man) of the Bharatiya Janata Party, L. K. Advani, is the ‘terminal’ illness of the Congress party and so, says he, it deserves some ‘pity and sympathy’. His touching gesture has to be seen in the background of the BJP leadership’s tradition of taking recourse to hyperboles, exaggerations and falsehood in the fond hope that it will improve their own and their party’s fortunes. Today, it will appear that it is the BJP which deserves ‘pity and sympathy’, what with it’s never ending internal squabbles and personal tragedies striking the ‘divine’ party one after another.

"Mahinda Chinthanaya", Peaceful Government and failed Country

By Manoj Lanka Hettige

Mahinda Chinthanaya, a manifesto presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksha made the millions of peace loving Sri Lankans hopeful of a bright future in Sri Lanka. The same manifesto helped him to become a unique leader in the Sri Lankan political history winning a remarkable mandate. Both presidential candidates of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha & Mr. Ranil Wikramasinhe became the political heroes in the manifestos as well as countrywide public stages portraying their competencies to handle the country’s main burning issue. But, by that time, with the bad experience gained from former president Mrs. Chandrika Bandaranayaka’s stubborn decision to come into an agreement with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eela (LTTE – Tigers) for sharing the Tsunami donations, people in Sri Lanka have already decided not to allow any body to capitalize the country’s main burning issue and become the President. As a result, any candidate who wished to be the next president had to enter into an agreement with country’s third political force of JHU/JVP and Mr. Rajapaksha did so while Mr. Wikramasinghe declined.

Who represents the people of Jammu and Kashmir…?

By Sarla Handoo - Syndicate Features

Who are the real representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir? Is it the National Conference who is having a political base in the state even today after being routed in the last elections, the first ever defeat it faced in 55 years? Is it the Congress, which is in power today in alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Is it the PDP which headed the coalition government in the state till just six months ago? Or is it the Hurriyat Conference, which never ever participated in any of the elections, held in the state but is courted at home and abroad?

Fighting continues to escalate in Sri Lanka

While neither the Sri Lankan government nor the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has formally torn up the 2002 ceasefire agreement, an undeclared war is escalating in the North and East of the island. Since the killing of 64 Sinhalese villagers near the northern town of Kebithigollewa early Thursday morning, there have been four days of open warfare. The Sri Lankan government immediately blamed the LTTE for the Kebithigollewa bombing and ordered reprisals by the armed forces. Two days of air strikes and artillery barrages followed on LTTE positions near Kilinochchi, Mulaithivu and Muttur. On Saturday, a major naval clash took place off the northwest coast near Mannar, in which the military claimed to have sunk eight LTTE vessels and killed 25 to 30 LTTE fighters. Both sides accused the other of initiating the battle, which also resulted in the deaths of 11 sailors. The LTTE acknowledged the heavy fighting, but insisted that only two of its fighters had been killed.

Emerging Trends in International Force Levels

BY Gurmeet Kanwal

With economic power gradually edging out military power as the key determinant of national strength and geo-political status, international force levels have witnessed a downturn since the end of the Cold War. In planning future force levels and equipping these forces, most modern armed forces have taken their bearings from the transformation process that is underway in the United States (US) as well as the lessons of the 1991 and 2003 Gulf Wars and the intervening campaigns like the ones in Kosovo in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001. A number of emerging trends, some clear and certain, other nascent or incipient and some others that are still hazy are discernible in international force levels.

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