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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2039

Article

Is third force inventible in Bangladesh?

By Peter Snowman

Political situation in Bangladesh is warming up every day. Gap between the ruling alliance and the major opposition is also increasing. People are now, quite often predicting emergence of third for in Bangladeshi politics. Meanwhile, international press is seeing Bangladesh in different perspective. They predict emergence of pro-Al-Qaeda as one of the biggest threats to the country’s democracy. In a recent opinion editorial in one of the most prestigious dailies in US, journalist Gabriel Oppenheim, commenting on Bangladesh wrote: “In Afghanistan, the Taliban has re-emerged in several areas since our Armed Forces turned their attention to Iraq. And in Bangladesh, a nation of 144 million, a gator of terrorism seems to be creeping out before our very eyes.

India-Pak talks another inconclusie round

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

India and Pakistan have agreed to carry out a five-month survey, from November 2006 to March 2007, in the Sir Creek area, which, it is believed, will pave the way for demarcation of the boundary in the big marshy-cum-desert area that separates Gujarat from the Pakistani province of Sindh. Officials of the two countries expressed optimism about ending their differences over Sir Creek after a two-day meeting in Delhi late in May. But such is the history of Indo-Pak relations that no hope of a final resolution of the differences over Sir Creek should be entertained till it is actually achieved.Just before the hydrographers of the two countries met to discuss the Sir Creek issue, a ‘dialogue’ took place to resolve the differences over the Siachen border. Both sides had failed to arrive at any mutually acceptable solution. The Siachen disagreement remains, and at the moment looks unlikely to be resolved in the near future, despite another round of bilateral talks that is scheduled in Pakistan.

Tigers stab Erik Solheim, their best friend, in the back

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

When the two delegations of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the LTTE arrived in Oslo for their latest round of talks Erik Solheim, the Norwegian facilitator who had gone out on a limb to save the LTTE from international pressures and opprobrium, had grand visions of being in the smiling centre of the two parties shaking hands and informing the media that the LTTE had agreed not to target Nordic Truce Monitors. But the LTTE had other plans for him. Even before they left Sri Lanka they had planned to scuttle the talks like all other talks which were not going go their way. If the talks got off to a new start the LTTE would have to face the flak from all quarters, including Norway, and agree (at least nominally) to adhere to the Ceasefire Agreement and guarantee security for the Truce Monitors. But from the LTTE point of view there was nothing to be gained at the talks that were going to restrain them. Earlier, they refused to go to the Tokyo Conference of international donors which had pledged $4.5 billion because the aid was tied to guaranteeing human rights and democratising of the one-man regime in the Vanni.

‘Mahinda Chinthana’, Maximum Devolution & Mannar

By Dayan Jayatilleka

I was too little to witness the 1958 riots, but was barely in my teens when the 1971 insurrection took place, and was therefore able to register the atrocities. For the past 35 years, most of which I spent in Sri Lanka, I have, like the rest of our citizens, absorbed many horrors, committed by all sides in our several civil wars. However, in those 35 years, never have I seen such evidence of unmitigated evil as I did in the photographs of the Mannar massacre, with its hanging, disemboweled children. I do not know who did it, but I know enough about my country to be aware that both sides are capable of this; and capable of it in order to pin the blame on the other. The Sri Lankan state however has an unavoidable duty to swiftly induct international forensic expertise to conduct the investigation. The FBI would be best. There is a precedent: no less a patriot than President Premadasa brought in experts from Scotland Yard to investigate the killing of Lalith Athulathmudali (and Scotland Yard sent in a brilliant young Sinhala woman, a former Visakhian, who was perhaps the inspiration for Michael Ondaatje’s book ‘Anil’s Ghost’.)

National Savings Bank – income up but profits down for 2005

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

The income of the National Savings Bank (NSB) grew by 9.6 percent to reach Rs 21.2 billion in 2005 even tough the net profit for the year was down to Rs 2.1 billion compared to the Rs 3.1 billion registered in 2004, reveals E Narangoda, General Manager/CEO in the recently released 2005 Annual Report of NSB. The decline in the net profit is attributed to the increase in interest expenses and corporate taxes.

Sri Lanka should strive to gain additional garment export market

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Human development and improved market access are musts to develop the garment export industry in Sri Lanka in the face of heavy competition from countries like India and China which have performed excellently well said Dr Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies making a presentation on "The Garment Industry in a Non-Quota Trade Regime” held at the Sri Lanka Association of Advancement of Science Auditorium, this week. He said there should be make or break situation for the weak and vulnerable economies until 2008; address supply side constraints requires innovative approaches, beyond conventional issues like trade facilitation, creation of EPZ, improving access to finance and improved delivery of technical assistance; need to reduce dependence on developed countries for market, capital, technology and training and South-South cooperation and public –private partnership could be useful instruments.

Thailand’s political crisis continues to fester

The decision of Thailand’s Constitutional Court last month to annul the April 2 general election has failed to settle the country’s political crisis. While anti-government protests in Bangkok have ended, temporarily at least, a standoff continues between the judiciary and the National Election Commission (NEC). Fresh elections are now not likely before October. Political tensions again sharpened after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to his caretaker post on May 23 and hinted that he would fight to retain power. Amid mass protests, Thaksin had promised on April 4 to step aside once a new cabinet was formed. He and his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party now argue that annulling the April 2 poll ended any obligation to honour that pledge.

Untold story of powerful ministers in Bangladesh

By Peter Snowman

Bangladesh is gradually approaching towards another general election, which stories of misdeeds by the members of the ruling party are becoming public everyday, which might not be very good for Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s political fate. Now-a-days, some of the ministers and their siblings have become desperately aggressive and they are continuing to commit numerous types of crimes and corruptions. Just here we will get a few.

Terror in Toronto or Tempest in a Teapot?

By John Chuckman

The arrest in Toronto of seventeen men, mostly quite young, for conspiracy to bomb places in Southern Ontario has raised a storm of comment. Unfortunately, much of it has been either premature or wrong. A Congressman from Northern New York, uninformed but still generous with his opinions, declared that Canada was thick with al Qaeda cells owing to its liberal (a truly filthy word in the United States) immigration and refugee laws. Sadly, the Congressman’s big red-nose talents are appreciated only in Canada, his ignorance being taken for insight in many parts of the United States.

Sri Lankan court allows limited resettlement of evicted villagers

More than two years after fundamental rights petitions were filed, the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka ruled on May 8 that 7,456 Tamil families evicted from the Palaly High Security Zone (HSZ) on the Jaffna peninsula be resettled in their village Valikamam. Onerous conditions apply, however, which mean that the villagers must be vetted and supervised by the military, which will remain entrenched in the area.

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