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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1471

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Provincial Council for the East, a starter for a decentralised state structure - Paul Willms

While welcoming the establishment of a Provincial Council in the East through the electoral process, Paul Willms, the Ex-MP of the Third Chamber of The Netherlands said that this move could convince others to join the democratic process instead of executing unacceptable violence and tactics of terrorism to pursue their goals. He added dialogue and participation of all groups trough an electoral process is the only way to achieve a democratically established framework that can realise a sustainable peace settlement within a maximum decentralised state structure to fulfil the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil speaking community.

Board of Investment approves eight new projects

Sunil C. Perera in Colombo

The Board of Investment has approved eight new projects involving agriculture, steel products, readymade garments, assembling of motor cars, housing schemes, and ornamental plants. Accordingly, a proposal to set up a motor vehicle assembling plant has been initiated by Frontier Transportation Solutions to produce vehicles. Sunagrow Farms Pvt. Ltd is to begin growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and ornamental plants. Similarly Derena International Pvt. Ltd will also start a similar venture in Wennappuwa area, while Lanka star Style Pvt Ltd invests to produce steel rods in Damunugolla.

Qurei Urges Israel to Acknowledge Palestinian ‘Right of Return’: ‘We Persist Now on Fighting a Fierce Battle of Peace’

By Nicola Nasser

Agreeing to the Israeli neo-historian Ilan Pappé’s interpretation of the term "Nakba," Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmad Qurei said that peace and peace negotiations with Israel "could not hang on forever," warned that "the horrible alternative option could not but be the total collapse of the dreams of coexistence and the resumption of the bloody struggle," urged Israel to reach a solution for the Palestinian refugee problem "based on the principle of acknowledging the Right of Return, and compensation for the sufferings of the Palestinian people," and to adopt a "culture of confession" and "apologize" for what happened, and "to uphold the responsibility for all that happened" in 1948 as "a necessary first step that would pave the way to achieve a just and lasting peace, which makes room for all on the land."

UN Member States elect 15 countries to serve on UN Human Rights Council

Fifteen countries have been elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for three-year terms starting next month after one round of balloting today among Member States at UN Headquarters in New York. Six countries contested for the four positions available for Asian States, with Japan, Bahrain, the Republic of Korea and Pakistan winning the most votes to join the panel, and Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste missing out. According to the polling Japan received 155 votes, Bahrain 142, South Korea 139, Pakistan 114 and Sri Lanka 101

US Justice Department Report Reveals Government Officials Knew of Interrogation Abuse of Terror Suspects

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

United States Justice Department investigation released Tuesday May 20 reveal that officials at the highest level of United States government — including the White House — received reports on the abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody overseas as early as 2002. Congress called on the department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conduct the investigation after documents made public through an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed FBI agents at Guantánamo had raised concerns about methods used by military interrogators. May 20 government report is the first to identify that then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice received complaints of torture.

The University of Melbourne Meets Friends in Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera in Colombo

The University of Melbourne, ably supported by Austrade held a function for alumni, parents of current students and friends recently in Colombo. The University attracts outstanding students from Sri Lanka, including students at the graduate level on Australian Government Scholarships such as AusAID, Australian Leadership Awards and Endeavour Scholarships. The University of Melbourne has had a long term association with Sri Lanka, the first students coming under the Colombo Plan post the Second World War. Attendees at the function included Colombo Plan scholars.

Sri Lanka and IHRC membership to be determined today in UN?

Sunil C. Perera and Chithralal Jayasighe in Colombo

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says there is a growing favorable indications for Sri Lanka to receive membership in the International Human Rights Council. There are 192 member states at the UN. The election for council will take place at 9.30 pm Sri Lanka time today at New York. He said six Asian countries are contesting for this council to receive membership for four vacant seats. They are Japan, South Korea, Bahrain, Pakistan, East Timor and Sri Lanka. 192 countries are eligible to vote this election. Voting is conducted by secret ballot, he said.

Heading for Myanmar, Ban Ki-moon pledges to do ‘utmost’ to speed aid efforts

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

As he prepared to leave for Myanmar Tuesday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he will do all he can to reinforce the immediate relief effort in the cyclone-devastated country and will also draw attention to the need for long-term reconstruction and development. “I will do my utmost for the people of Myanmar,” Mr. Ban told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. “I want to see the conditions under which relief teams are working and I intend to do all I can to reinforce their efforts in coordination with the Myanmar’s authorities and international aid agencies.”

The Right to Food is a Fundamental Human Right, Says Sri Lankan UN Envoy

Prasad KariyawasamAddressing special meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council on the current food crisis, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam siad the right to food is a fundamental human right. Food is a primary necessity for the very survival of the human race. It is our common responsibility to ensure that no human being is denied this basic right. But as manifested in any crisis affecting the global community, the food crisis too will mostly affect the approximately one billion of the world population living in poverty, and the most vulnerable sections – women, children, old people, and those with disabilities.”

Senator Obama: Don’t settle for what is but Fight for What Might be

By Philip Fernando in LA for Asian Tribune

Senator Barrack Obama addressing a massive crowd in Iowa, the state that marked his entry with a bang in January, made it clear to everyone that he was certain of the delegate count to be the party nominee. Only three primaries remain with 86 delegates to be won, putting the race out of reach for Senater Hillary Clinton. She had a great win in Kentucky today and Obama was winning Oregon big.

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