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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 915


Sri Lanka ready to commemorate the 60th independence anniversary

Sunil C. Perera in Colombo

Arrangements are being made to celebrate Sri Lanka's the 60th independence anniversary in a gallant manner. The government has announced an independence week from 30 January, till the 5th of next month. The main Independence Day celebrations will be conducted at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. Commemoration ceremonies have also been conducted on the provincial and district level.

U.N. Grapples with Suicide Attacks by Children

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service

The United Nations is expressing "serious concern" over the growing number of suicide attacks involving children, specifically in Afghanistan and Iraq. "This is a relatively new phenomenon, and the United Nations has documented several high-profile cases of children involved in attacks," says a new 45-page report on "Children and Armed Conflict" released Wednesday. Pointing an accusing finger at insurgent groups, including al Qaeda and its affiliated militias in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the study says the United Nations is unable to get any commitments from any of these groups or organizations to end the practice.

Sparks Flew as McCain and Romney Engage in Spirited Debate in California

Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

Republican DebateThe ecstasy of victory and agony of defeat were obvious as the winner of Florida, John McCain and loser Mitt Romney, still fresh from the grueling primary, went at it with gusto. They debated at the picturesque Reagan Library in Simi Valley California, an hour drive from my home. Mitt Romney accused McCain of using dirty tricks, stating that the former Massachusetts governor wanted a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Sparks flew as the other two contenders Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul added fuel to the fire calling such nit-picking unworthy of what Ronald Reagan stood for. t was good theater all the way as millions watched the exchange of blows live.

Burmese Regime Increases Pressure on Democracy Activists, says US

Daya Gamage - US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

The United States condemns Burmese military regime’s decision to press criminal charges against ten Burmese pro-democracy activists, including Generation 88 leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi, for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs, states a USG policy statement issued through State Department spokesman Tom Casey on January 29. "If the regime was serious about engaging in a peaceful transition to democracy, it would stop arresting and prosecuting Burma’s democratic leaders, and instead engage them in a genuine dialogue" the statement further notes.

Up to 300,000 children worldwide recruited to fight in wars – UN official

Radhika CoomaraswamyWhile precise estimates are difficult to come by, some 250,000 to 300,000 children globally are being recruited to fight in armed conflicts in violation of international law, a United Nations official said today, reporting mixed progress in efforts to tackle the problem. Briefing reporters in New York on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on children and armed conflict, his Special Representative on the issue, Radhika Coomaraswamy, voiced hope that the Security Council would take decisive action in response to its findings.

Manpower shortage prompts LTTE to use minors on their defense lines

By Ruwan Weerakoon on Colombo

Sri Lanka Army strongly denied that it did not have any hand in the alleged assassination of eleven school children and twenty civilians in Periyamadhu area, close to the holy Madhu shrine in an explosion triggered by the troops on last Tuesday. According to a press release, Army said that the latest LTTE transmissions, closely monitored and transcribed by members of the Security Forces, now consolidating in and around Mannar areas bringing humiliating defeats to the terrorists, affirmed that many conscripted minors, school-goers and teachers were being sent to the LTTE defense line to the north of Madhu with sinister motives and plans.

LTTE urges UN Secretary General to recognize Tamil sovereignty

Head of the LTTE Political Wing, B Nadesan in a letter written yesterday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has urged to consider recognizing Tamil sovereignty as a constructive approach to end the unending five decades long, large scale, and serious rights violations against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Nadesan also in the letter called UN Secretary General’s attention to the massacre of eighteen Tamils including twelve children traveling in a bus. He alleged that Sri Lankan military Deep Penetration Unit was responsible for the killings by attacking a civilian bus on the Madhu-Palampiddy road in the Mannar district on 28 January 2008 at 2.30pm.

CCC appreciates re-establishment of CC to ensure good governance

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

In a Press Release issued by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has indicated that the turn of events that would lead to the re-establishment of the Constitutional Council, a provision under the 17th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, is a crucial safeguard against the abuse of power and the politicization of public institutions. It generated considerable expectation of Good Governance and the Rule of Law. CCC has, on several occasions, voiced its concern over the undue delay in the appointment of members to the Constitutional Council and has made representations to key parties, endorsing the need for the reconstitution of the Council, which ceased to function and has not operated since March 2005. The Chamber believes that the continuance of the Council is a cornerstone of good governance.

Another 12 Indian fishermen apprehended while poaching in Sri Lanka waters, released

The Magistrate’s Court of Kayts, in the Northern Sri Lanka released twelve Indian fishermen yesterday, who were apprehended by the Sri Lanka Navy on 21st January 2008, for poaching in Sri Lankan waters between Kayts and Nainathievu. The Court has also released their three fishing vessels. Following the arrest, the Government of Sri Lanka and its Deputy High Commission in Chennai received numerous requests from the State Government of Tamil Nadu and various fishermen associations requesting the release of the fishermen on humanitarian basis.

US Elections: Edwards and Giuliani Out, Field Narrows Down to Five

By Philip Fernando in Los Angeles

The Super Tuesday contest in 22 states has narrowed down to five: two democratic and three Republican candidates as John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the primary race. Will any candidate lock up the delegate count for good? Not likely on the Democratic side as delegates are assigned on the basis of the percentage of votes won by each candidate. Most polls show Hillary Clinton with a slight lead over her Senate colleague Barrack Obama. The Republicans have a better chance of getting a winner by next Tuesday as each state assigns all delegates to the winner of each state. John McCain leads now followed closely by Mitt Romney.

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