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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2343

News

Manmohan Singh assures Koirala full support, agrees to visit Kathmandu soon

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accepting an invitation to visit Nepal, promised his counterpart Girija Prasad Koirala India's full support to the his seven-party alliance government in ushering in 'a stable, peaceful, democratic and prosperous Nepal'. He also expressed confidence that the people of Nepal have the inmate ability to overcome the challenges that lay ahead.

Sri Lanka imposes fresh security measures in Colombo

By Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Stringent security measures have been enforced in Colombo with immediate effect, police sources told the “Asian Tribune.” The measure comes in the wake of a breakdown in talks, scheduled to take place in Oslo between the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Government representatives, Norwegian facilitators and the five contributing nations to the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission where issues concerning the Mission was to be taken up.

Advani accepts Nepal's new secular credentials

By M Rama Rao - Reporting for Asiantribune from Delhi

A gain for Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala from his India visit is an endorsement from Hindu- Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) ideologue and former deputy prime minister L K Advani of his government's decision to declare Nepal as a secular country. After a 40-minute meeting with Koirala here on Friday, Advani said "It's just like India... a Hindu-majority but a secular country" when asked for his reaction to the Nepal government's decision and the protests it had invoked from the Hindu groups in India.

India announces Rs 1000 crore economic package for Nepal

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from Delhi

The first visit of Girija Prasad Koirala to India as Prime Minister of a resurgent Nepal hurtling towards a constitutional monarchy ended on an upbeat note both for him and his hosts alike. He will carry home a Rs. 1000 crore economic package (about 15 billion Nepali Rupees). All issues bedeviling defence cooperation also were 'sorted out' in a one-on-one meeting with defence minister Pranab Mukherjee, who dons the mantle of Man Friday for his government and for his Sonia Congress party. New Delhi waived the dues outstanding as on date on account of defence purchases, But on the crucial question of India's direct involvement in the talks with the Maoists, Koirala doesn't appear to have carried a favorable nod from Manmohan Singh and his colleagues.

Essential items must move to North & East without restrictions

Sunil C. Perera , Reporting from Colombo

President Rajapakse has instructed government officials to ensure that daily activities of the civilians in the North and East are not to be hampered and the essential items to North & East must move without restrictions. The Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga made this clear at a high-powered meeting held at the Reconstruction & Development Agency [ RADA ] convened by Mr. Saliya Wickramasuriya, its Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Asian Tribune backs Bangladesh Journalist Salahudin Choudhury

Dear Dr. Robert Ray Hill

We regret to note that you have failed to respond to the issues raised in our open letter to you.. Instead you tried unsuccessfully to digress from issues in a desultory manner which is of no concern to Asian Tribune. We wish to state at the outset that we do not want to get involved in your private battle with Mr. Salahudin Choudhury of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since of late we have been subscribing to the Independent News Service (INS) run by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and we have made use of his news releases.

Sri Lankan government “dismayed” by the “distinct” LTTE bias of the truce monitors

By our Colombo Correspondent

Sri Lankan government today contradicted a report released by the Scandinavian truce monitors and said it was dismayed by the “distinct bias” towards the Tamil Tigers displayed by the chief ceasefire monitor. "GOSL is dismayed by the attempt by the Head of the SLMM through the said report to cast aspersions on the conduct of the GOSL,” the government said in a media statement referring to the truce monitors expressed lethargy at ruling against the assassination attempt on the army commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka, at the same time blaming the government for not fulfilling its commitment made at the first round of Geneva talks."

Norway admits failure in Oslo

The official press releases on the failed Oslo talks between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the LTTE convey the clear message that Norway has lost its grip on the Sri Lankan peace process. Norway’s frustration is expressed in its press release which says: “After having accepted the Norwegian invitation, and after having arrived in Norway, the LTTE raised objections to the previously communicate intentions and modalities for the meeting. This was the reason for the meeting not being held.” This is also an admission of Norway’s failure as a “facilitator”. After giving the LTTE diplomatic cover, after giving financial and technical facilities, after giving a full licence for the LTTE agents to operate freely on Norwegian soil to terrorise Tamils in rival parties, after providing a safe haven in Europe for LTTE agents to raise funds and make Norway the conduit for laundering money collected in Europe and after adopting the LTTE as its protected protégé LTTE has turned round and kicked Norway in the teeth.

Lanka IOC operations runs to a standstill

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Financial Correspondent

Fuel retailer Lanka IOC Ltd. (Lanka Indian Oil Company Ltd.) filling stations began running out of petrol yesterday, with the Government delaying the subsidy payments. The government absorbing the shock of increasing oil prices to keep the cost of living down, went on subsidising petrol, diesel and kerosene oil. With this subsidising the total dues to Lanka IOC Ltd. (LIOC) has gone up to Rs. 7.67 billion as of April this year. Denying possibilities of winding-up of its operations in Sri Lanka predicted by observers, LIOC Managing Director R. Ramakrishna told “Asian Tribune” that the company will be looking at a diplomatic settlement soon.

New War of Words in U.N.'s North-South Battle

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

The growing North-South battle between the politically powerful nations in the industrial world and the economically weak countries in the developing world is threatening to escalate in a new war of words.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has remained supportive of his deputy Mark Malloch Brown for his critical remarks about the United States and Western powers, told reporters Thursday that the United Nations is suffering from a shortage of democracy in its own backyard.

"I myself have had the chance to say that the U.N., in terms of power structure, is too narrowly based, where most member states believe that five countries call the shots," he said referring to the five veto-wielding, permanent members of the Security Council: the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.

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