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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 76

Monthly archive

MV Mercs Ruhuna

Sri Lanka Government to resettle displaced families in new villages

By Vandana Jayasinghe

Displaced families in refugee camps in the North and East will be resettled in new villages before the end of this year under a special resettlement program implemented by the government. The resettlement program will be launched in Mannar, Mulaitiv, Kilinochchi, Vauniya and Jaffna Districts and will be coordinated by the District Secretaries. According to Sources, over 700 displaced families are in three refugee camps in Jaffna town and they have been provided with temporary shelter, and other required facilities with the help of the NGOs.

Saddam Hussein's Execution May Trigger U.N. Backlash

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

The swirling controversy over the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is threatening to trigger a backlash at the United Nations. Italy, which has condemned the death penalty as "barbaric", is trying to bring the issue before a sharply divided world body by calling for a "universal moratorium" on capital punishment. If Italy -- which became a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council on Jan. 1 and will hold office during 2007-2008 -- decides to take the initiative, a resolution on the proposed moratorium could go before the 192-member General Assembly.

Leading Muslim party urges Sri Lankan President to 'act fast'

Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo

The country's predominant Muslim party, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government to immediately convene an All Party Conference to discuss the recently released expert panel reports. SLMC Secretary General M.T. Hasan Ali told the "Asian Tribune" that it was also high time that the government responds to the reports, which included a majority, minority and two separate solo reports.

God’s Rottweiler in Jaffna guards enemies of peace and freedom

H. L. D. Mahindapala

All known accounts acknowledge that every Sri Lankans community, without exception, has been victims of a relentless war waged by the Tamil Tigers for nearly thirty years. But the Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev. Thomas Soundaranayagam prays only for his Tamil people in his New Year message. He says: "For my people in this predicament, I pray for a peaceful, secure, and a happy New Year, for all the Tamils of Sri Lanka." The good Christian Bishop hasn’t a kind word for the suffering of the other communities caused mainly by the terror, indiscriminate violence and five wars of the Tamil Tigers. He seems to have glossed over the agonies of other unarmed religionists who were slaughtered when they were praying for their non-Catholic God(Muslims at Kathankudy) or Buddhist pilgrims at the Sacred Bo Tree in Anuradhapura.

Minister Douglas Devananda ships food from India to Jaffna

MV Mercs RuhunaMV Mercs Ruhuna , anchored in Point Pedro sea yesterday, with 3,500 MT of food items purchased in Chennnai, Tamil Nadu for distribution in the Jaffna peninsula through the Multi-purpose cooperative societies (MPCS). Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare told the 'Asian Tribune' that these goods were purchased by the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (Sathosa) on the orders of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Recently Minister Douglas Devananda tried to negotiate with T.R.Balu, Indian Minister of Shipping to get one of the Indian vessels to bring food commodities from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. But this was turned down DMK Minister. Subsequently President Rajapakse intervened and offered him MV Mercs Ruhuna to bring down supplies from India.

Money as lethal weapon used one more time by the LTTE to attack Sri Lanka Army

By Walter Jayawardhana

Two home guards, armed security personnel, who mostly help the police to protect civilian villagers from terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, confessed that they were bribed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to detonate claymore bombs and kill the security forces. The home guards, who belong to the Muslim community of the Eastern Province confessed to the Police that they were bribed after being caught with two claymore mines, a device the Tamil Tigers extensively use to kill security forces in the island’s Northern and the Eastern Provinces.

US Congressman Creates History Taking Oath on Thomas Jefferson Quran

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent, Asian Tribune

History was created in the United States when incoming Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison became the first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress, and the event was even historic on January 4 at Capitol Hill when he took his oath of office on a copy of the Quran that belonged to the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.

Profile: Introducing John Negroponte, likely Bush nominee for Number Two in US State Department

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

John NegroponteThe US president is set to announce on Friday that he will nominate the US spy chief, John Negroponte, currently the Director of National Intelligence, formerly US ambassador to the United Nations, and Iraq after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, to be deputy secretary of state to Condoleezza Rice, a top aide said. Bush was to nominate retired vice admiral Michael McConnell, a former head of the National Security Agency, to replace Negroponte, the aide said on condition of anonymity. Both positions require approval by the US senate. Bush will name the current US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to the top diplomatic post at the UN, a senior State Department official said.He would replace John Bolton, whose controversial tenure ended last week.

Will Indian coal go cold in Sri Lanka?

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The proposed 500 MW Trincomalee coal power plant, a joint initiative by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments, faced its very first stumbling block about the site's actual location, amidst misleading reports that the Indian government had decided to pull out from the project just days after it was sealed. The Memorandum of Agreement for the project was sealed on December 29, 2006. The project would involve an investment of US $ 500 million and would be implemented as a joint venture company to be formed with a stake of 50% each by National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd of India. and Ceylon Electricity Board of Sri Lanka. The power plant is expected to commence operations from 2011.

Are the leaders of Latin America delivering to Poor?

By Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz - Department of Political Science, Temple University, USA.

2006 produced some 12 elections in the corner of Latin America and Caribbean from Venezuela to Bolivia, from Chile to Brazil. All this elections gave landslide to left leaning political leaders who employed pro-poor and anti-US political slogans. The political agendas they carried to win the sympathy of poor and disadvantaged were attractive in terms of contents and symbolic in terms of nature. The masses, generally, in the post colonial societies often extend their loyalty to those who represent charismatic and symbolic agendas. This can be simply observed from Sri Lanka to Lebanon, from Cuba to Venezuela and from Somalia to Sudan.

Tamil MP promises sugar and ships cement to Jaffna

The only Tamil MP in the UNP, T. Maheswaram, was given permission by the government to ship sugar to Jaffna. Instead he had shipped 2,000 metric tons of cement. This has caused a stir in Jaffna which is urgently in need for food essentials. At a time when Bishop of Jaffna. Rev. Thomas Soundranayagam, is crying to high heaven about the lack of food, the Tamil MP, Maheswaran, has brought two shipments of cement.

John Negroponte

Libyan court confirms death sentence against medical workers

For the second time in two years, six medical workers—five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian physician—have been sentenced to die by firing squad by the Libyan authorities. The "Benghazi Six"—Kristiana Vulcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka, Snezhana Dimitrova and Ashraf Al Hagoug—have been effectively held as hostages since 1999 on fabricated charges of introducing the HIV virus into a children’s hospital. They were condemned by the Libyan Criminal Court on December 19 at the conclusion of a retrial lasting five months.
Reports indicate that the workers’ mental and physical health is very bad, and at least one has considered suicide.

Pakistan’s new double speak on Kashmir

By JN Raina - Syndicate Features

Now that Pakistan has admitted that it has no locus standi in Kashmir, it should withdraw its ‘mujahideen’ force and pull out from occupied-Kashmir, to allow Kashmiris to live in peace. It is a well-known fact—though lying dormant—that Pakistan does not claim Kashmir as its territory. The reality has remained shelved; may be for public consumption in Pakistan, which has not even laid any claim on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).There is no mention about it in that country’s constitution. On the contrary, India regards the undivided State of Jammu and Kashmir, including Northern Areas, as its integral part. It is enshrined in the Indian constitution, as well as in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which has a separate constitution under Article 370.

Sri Lanka: EC funded UNDP project replants Palmyra in tsunami affected Batticaloa district

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

The European Commission’s Quick Recovery Project (QRP) partnered by the UNDP targeted the immediate restoration of strategic infrastructure vital to the resumption of economic activity and growth in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara Districts. A grant of EUR 2 Million (Rs. 260 Million) was allocated by the European Commission towards this QRP programme which also included the planting of 100,000 Palmyra palms in selected districts. According to the UNDP, Colombo, it has taken steps to grow Palmyra palms along the tsunami affected coastal belt in the Batticaloa district.

Is the LTTE a successful Guerilla Organization?

By R.Gunaratna

The guerrilla belongs to irregular formations of "soldiers" who often operate in small groups or bands against stronger armies in order to overthrow the existing political authority or to create an avenue leading towards establishing a political authority of their own. Guerrilla tactics include use of sabotage and terrorism. Walter Laqueur has mentioned in his book Guerrilla - a historical and critical study," the term guerrilla was originally used to describe military operations carried out by irregulars against the rear of an enemy army and he goes on to say that it has been applied to all kind of revolutionary wars, wars of national liberation, insurrection, peasant wars, terrorist acts such as hijacking of airplanes and kidnapping." Therefore, as the term "guerrilla'' is loosely used on other contexts it may be difficult to distinguish a particular movement as a true guerrilla movement.

Sri Lanka's security forces are taking all possible measures to ease the food shortages in the Jaffna Peninsula

By Vandana Jayasinghe - Asian Tribune -

Over 60 percent of the food requirement of the Jaffna peninsula has been met under the steps taken by the government with the help of the security forces, Jaffna Municipality sources said. The government has sent over 50,000 metric tones of essential food items during the last five months to improve the living standards of the Jaffna people. Over 20 retail outlets have been set up by the security forces to expedite the distribution process.

Economics of Christmas or the adversaries of the foul trader

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Commercialization of festivities is a common phenomenon in some countries including Sri Lanka., whether it is Christmas, New Year or any other festival. It is more apparent during Christmas season and the consumer is at the mercy of all the atrocities of the trader and neither the government nor any other organization effectively workout any solution to reverse the situation, but rather allow to heighten exploiting the consumer. Neither the Church has not taken any effective measures to stall this situation.