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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

Monthly archive

Tissa Attanayake

Hak-Fan Lau, the new Chief of UN information services in Bangkok

Veteran broadcaster Hak-Fan Lau is the new chief of the UN Information Service in Bangkok. He is to take up his dities effective from 15 January. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Hak-Fan Lau as Chief of UN Information Services (UNIS) in Bangkok, serving the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and acting concurrently as Director of UN Information Centre for Cambodia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Singapore; Thailand; and Vietnam.

Sri Lanka: Displaced in the restive Batticaloa to be sheltered in private and state lands

By Vandana Jayasinghe – Asian Tribune

Thousands of displaced families fled from LTTE control areas now seeking shelter in schools in Batticaloa district will be resettled in private and state lands next week to vacate the schools to commence the new term. A total of 9,063 refugee families are temporary housed in 51 camps including 39 schools. With the commencement of the new term the number of schools has been reduced to 16 and they will be cleaned and re-arranged in next few days before opening of schools.

U.N. Fraud Cases Quietly Fizzling Out

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

When the United Nations launched a probe into "misconduct and mismanagement" in U.N. procurement last January, it moved against eight staffers who were temporarily suspended -- "on special leave with pay" -- pending investigations. The U.N.'s audit documents, the Secretariat claimed, found "the likelihood of fraud" that could have amounted to about 300 million dollars, mostly in peacekeeping procurement. One senior official privately boasted that he would make sure that any indicted staffer would be taken out of the U.N. building in handcuffs. But the threat never materialized.

Political parties to study new power sharing proposal by Prof. Vitharana

By Vandana Jayasinghe - Asian Tribune

The political parties met at the All Party Representative Committee yesterday welcomed the proposals presented by APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana and will continue the dialogue on power devolution based on these fresh proposals. Prof. Vitharana prepared the proposals based not on his own views but giving priorty to proposals submitted by the expert committee. At yesterday's meeting Prof. Vitharana presented the proposals at the meeting where there were all the political parties except the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which withdrew its participation last year.

How far can Indian intervention go in Sri Lanka?

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

Yesterday (Tuesday) the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee came to deliver the invitation for the next SAARC meting to be held in India in April, he saw President Mahinda Rajapakse and delivered the invitation personally and then he flew to Maldives to deliver the same invitation without meeting any other political party in Sri Lanka. The official reason given was that he was running short of time. But diplomatically it would not have been prudent to meet the Tamil National Alliance MPs who are known to be the proxies acting on behalf of the Tamil Tigers.

Sri Lanka's opposition criticizes government for de-merging North and East

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

Tissa AttanayakeThe government has come under severe flak for openly snubbing the 1987 Indo-Lanka agreement, following its decision to de-merge the North and East provinces beginning January 1st, this year. Sri Lanka's main opposition, the United National Party (UNP) has termed the government's 'ad hoc' decision as unacceptable, 'simply because president Mahinda Rajapaksa's administration, has openly flaunted the basic principal of the Indo-Lanka accord by failing to abide by the clauses of this agreement.'

Sri Lanka: European Commission provides emergency assistance to the displaced holed up in Vaharai

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

There is a humanitarian crisis is looming in Vaharai, located in the restive East. Food stocks are very low. Access remains very difficult. While a reported 15,000 people remain in Vaharai, over 20,000 have already fled the conflict region and are being supported by the partner agencies of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) through a wide range of humanitarian interventions—emergency shelter, food and basic non-food relief items, camp management, psychosocial support, water and sanitation.

Air strikes on Somalia: A new stage in Washington’s illegal "terror" war

US air strikes against targets in the south of Somalia have claimed a substantial number of civilian lives. The bombing campaign, begun Sunday night and continued on Monday, mark a major escalation in the Bush administration’s lawless use of violence to achieve Washington’s strategic aims under the auspices of its “global war on terrorism.” The attacks mark the first direct US military intervention in Somalia since 1994, when President Clinton ordered US troops withdrawn following the “Blackhawk Down” episode that led to the deaths of 18 Army commandos during street fighting in Mogadishu. The recent attacks, part of an intensified attempt to establish American hegemony over the entire Horn of Africa, have heightened the threat that the conflict in Somalia will ignite a regional war with unforeseeable consequences.

United States submits Burma Resolution to UN Security Council

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

The United States introduced a resolution in the Security Council on January 9 that would set out key actions Burma's rulers must take to reduce the threat to peace and security in the region and provide a better life for their people, the U.S. State Department said. Emerging from a closed Security Council meeting January 9, acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff said he presented a two-page draft resolution to the other 14 council members. Negotiations on the text will begin immediately, Wolff told journalists. "We expressed our priority and the expectation we will be able to [vote] as quickly as possible, hopefully this week."