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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1559


U.N. Warns of 650 Million Deaths by Smoking

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

Of the more than 1.3 billion smokers alive today, about 650 million will eventually be killed by tobacco, warns a new U.N. report released here. "Unlike most other causes of death, tobacco kills people during their most productive years," adds the 19-page study by the U.N. Adhoc Inter-Agency Task Force on Tobacco Control. The 20-member task force comprises representatives of virtually all the key U.N. agencies and sister organizations, including the World Bank, U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

More foreign students at OSC

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Overseas School of Colombo (OSC) which caters more for foreign students had their graduation ceremony recently and out of the 25 students from 15 different countries. These 15 overseas students included, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, South Africa, Switzerland, UK and USA. The balance 10 graduated were from Sri Lanka. At the Graduation Ceremony, reflecting on the foreign Sri Lankan mixture, Laurie McLellan, Head of School said that the Class of 2008 really represent the school motto "Unity in Diversity." The opening speech was made by Lavanya Jeyaratnam.

No Talks with Tamil Tigers before they agree to disarm – President Mahinda Rajapakse

No talks with the Tamil Tigers until the organization agreed to disarm, said Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka. "When they are weak they call on the international community to arrange a ceasefire. During this period they train and rearm and then fight back. This time if they want to talk, they should disarm first," he said. In an exclusive interview with 'The Times' – London, Sri Lanka President pointed out that even if the Tigers were to meet his preconditions it seems unlikely that he would ever be able to conclude a peace deal with Velupillai Prabhakaran. "This man and the three or four henchmen around him are blood-thirsty killers," said Mr Rajapaksa. "They have no feelings. It is very difficult to deal with them."

Terrorist Suspects in US Detention in Guantanamo Have right to American Courts – US Supreme Court

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

In a clear set back to Republican President Bush's anti-terror policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday, June 12 that foreign detainees or enemy combatants as the administration like to describe held for years, at US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the right to appeal to U.S. civilian courts to challenge their indefinite imprisonment without charges. The court also recognized the habeas corpus as an important instrument in the discharge of justice.

Sri Lanka calls on EU to list as banned organizations- TRO and other LTTE front organizations

Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona on Wednesday, called upon the European Union to list the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and other LTTE front organizations as banned organizations. He pointed out that these front organizations have been clearly identified, including by the US government, as raising funds for the LTTE. He said a request to this effect has recently been made by the Sri Lankan Government to the European Union. He made this appeal at the Sri Lanka – EU discussion on "The Fight Against Terrorism", in Colombo, following the Sri Lanka – EC Joint Commission meeting.

Thailand and Sri Lanka to enhance mutual ties

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called yesterday on Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, at Government House in Bangkok. The meeting was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The Sri Lanka Foreign Minister is making an official visit to Thailand with a view to promote and strengthen the bilateral relationship which is founded on ancient cultural and religious links and today encompasses regional cooperation such as in BIMSTEC, ARF and ACD as well as bilateral economic, trade, agriculture, science & technology and tourism cooperation.

Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Solidarity with Cuba in Colombo

By Leel Pathirana

The 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Solidarity with Cuba will be held in Colombo on June 14-15 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute with the participation of about 80 delegates representing 18 countries in the Asia – Pacific region, Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana said on Wednesday. The Sri Lankan national preparatory committee and the Cuban Institute of Friendship will be the organizers of the conferenc

The long march in the face of PPP dithering

By Asif Haroon Raja

The PPP has so far followed a policy of ambiguity because of which the whole country is in a grip of confusion and uncertainty. Its leaders are burning all their energies to delay the disposal of judges’ issue for as long as possible. For the achievement of this objective, they are talking in circles. Procrastination, doublespeak, vagueness and making somersaults have become their hallmark. Under the garb of a constitutional package framed by Farooq Naek and Qayum Malik, the PPP wants to shift balance of power from President to PM as well as indemnify all wrongful acts of President, replace deposed judges with PCO judges, and protect NRO from getting quashed.

Italian Aid for the Tsunami Recovery still flows to Sri Lanka

Counselor Gabriele Ferrari, who is in charge of the safety and Civil Protection policies of the Province of Parma, as well as of the International Relations and Development Cooperation Centre, handed over a fully equipped ambulance to Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Italy , to be shipped to Trincomalee in the Eastern Province. Counselor Ferrari explained to the Ambassador that though the tsunami has been a great disaster for the Sri Lankan people, it also has some silver lining within the dark cloud, in the form of the strengthening relationships between Italy and Sri Lanka.

LTTE providing East Muslim youth arms training in Vanni to target TMVP in the East

News reaching Asian Tribune, from local sources, in the East claim that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are training local Muslim Youths from Akkaraipattu, Amparai and Kaathankudy, Batticaloa and other areas. It is said that these youths may be affiliated to the Wahabbist Group that is linked to several murders including members of the TMVP. Agents of the LTTE are clandestinely picking up these Muslim youths locally and dispatching them for training in Vanni.

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