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

Monthly archive

Under the shadow of Lakegala

UN says: "Target LTTE political and military leadership"

H. L. D. Mahindapala

In one of the biggest blows to the internationally banned Tamil Tigers the UN Secretary-General’s report on Sri Lanka has recommended that that “targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership” for violations of children’s rights. This is the first time that the UN has recommended to the international community that the Tamil Tiger leadership be targeted. The report was submitted to the Security Council on January 11, 2007. Any chance of the banned Tamil Tigers getting a reprieve from the international community was snuffed out with the UN Secretary-General’s report which is due to be discussed on February 9, 2007.

Waiting in the Wings

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Appearances might belie it, but Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently sitting pretty, as the sole possible leader of the UNP. He has, with the generous help of President Rajapakse, warded off the danger of inner-party rebellion and neutralized the Karu Jayasuriya factor (in much the same way he neutralised the Sirisena Cooray factor with the help of Chandrika Bandaranaike). Political circles are abuzz with stories about the imminent cross-over of a number of UNP parliamentarians. But for Mr. Wickremesinghe defections are a blessing rather than a problem as they rid him of uppity troublemakers; and most defectors would loose at the next (timely or untimely) parliamentary election. For Mr. Wickremesinghe the crux of the matter is that his biggest nightmare, the leadership contest in the UNP, is finally over. Ensconced once again as the ‘Sole Leader’, Mr. Wickremesinghe can look forward to the future with optimism. All he has to do is to wait, and the waiting game is something he is quite proficient at.

Sri Lanka Ministry of Defense vindicated ZOA Refugee care of Netherlands

While Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense vindicated ZOA Refugee Care of Netherlands and expressed full confidence in its work, a group of Buddhist monks claiming to be from Jathika Hela Urumiaya stormed into the Colombo office of the Dutch aid group and accused the group of aiding Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. However on Friday 12 January, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense has informed to the ZOA Refugee Care of Netherlands, that reports in the press with allegations about suspected linkages with the LTTE were based on a misunderstanding by the Army’s media centre. Accordingly, Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary has expressed full confidence in ZOA and encouraged ZOA to continue its important work in Sri Lanka.

Worst hit landslides around Nuwera Eliay- 17 dead and 15 more missing, many houses buried

By Walter Jayawardhana

Helicopters of the Sri Lanka Air Force were used to evacuate the injured as some of the worst landslides in recent history amidst torrential rains hit the island nation’s tea producing hill country, killing 17 dead and 15 more missing, where dozens of houses have disappeared under mammoth mudslides. Some of the worst affected areas are Nuwaraeliya, Walapane, Diyanilla, Mathurata, Rikillagaskada, Ragala,Thibbatuwaya, Mahawewa, Udapussellawa and Mathurata.

Sri Lanka's police most corrupt?

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The Commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption has so far netted-in 91 public officials for the first ten months of last year. According to the commission's statistics the police department tops the list with a reported 35 arrests being made by the commission for this year, out of a total of 91 arrests which included several top officials from ministries and public institutions. By October 11, 2006, 91 public officials were arrested for allegedly taking bribes. Accordingly, 35 persons attached to the police department have been arrested for allegedly taking bribes.

Court issues conditional injunction to stop work on a luxury housing complex

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

A luxury housing project in the Ja-Ela area that has so far constructed around 100 houses out of a proposed total of 500 houses, was halted by an injunction issued by the Kanuwana Additional Magistrate, Ms Aruni Attigala, subsequent to an inquiry in Court on a petition filed by a group of people affected by the construction of the housing scheme. The Magistrate in her order indicated that subsequent to considering the evidence led by the affected parties, it was found that the respondents of this case in constructing the drains to flow water have not fulfilled the conditions and standards issued by the Urban Development Authority, when the plan for the Housing Scheme was approved by the UDA.

On the murder of Nadarajah Raviraj: Scotland Yard Police to conduct further forensic tests in London

A tem of Scotland yard Police left Sri Lanka after a ten day stay in the country providing advice to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sri Lankan Police, who are responsible for investigating the assassination of Nadarajah Raviraj, a Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian. Nadarajah Raviraj, a Member of Parliament representing the Jaffna electoral district was shot and killed by unknown gunman on 10 November 2006 in Colombo. So far the killing of the MP Raviraj remains mysterious. On the request of the President of Sri Lanka, a team of British Police came over to Colombo to help their Sri Lankan counterparts, in the murder case.

Sri Lanka Parliamentary Committee exposed massive frauds amounting of Rs.150 billion

By Vandana Jayasinghe – Asian Tribune

Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) exposed a massive frauds, corruptions and money scandals detected in the midst of state intuitions which led to the loss of Sri Lankan Rupees 150 billion to the state exchequer. The activities of high officials in 26 state institutions, where massive financial losses were recorded due to fraud, corruption and malpractices, came recently under microscopic scrutiny of the Parliamentary Committee. The very first report of the COPE was released at the Parliament by its Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha, who said that they had to fight against corruption in state owned institutions while President Mahinda Rajapaksha was in a struggle to end terrorism in the country.

Stock market picks up as investors shrug off concerns

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

The HNB Stockbrokers in their weekly review indicated that though the market started off on a dull note, managed to pick up considerably during the week, as investors shrugged off concerns and headed back into the market. On Monday and Tuesday the market fell by a total of 24.2 points, as investors became jittery in the back of 2 bus bombings targeting civilians. However the market picked up subsequently, with both indices taking an upward trend, moving up significantly. The All Share Price Index (ASPI) rose by 70.8 points to 2810.4 points, while the Milanka Price Index (MPI) rose by 135.1 points or 3.6 percent to close the week at 3878.2 points.

Strained relationship between Sri Lankan President and senior Minister appears more obvious

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The apparent feud between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera appeared more obvious on Friday during
the oath taking ceremony of newly appointed Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, when the minister was a notable absentee at the ceremony. Minister Samaraweera is reported to have not been in favour of Kohona, who also heads the government's peace secretariat, but had instead proposed the name of a diplomat. However president Rajapaksa is reported to have shot down the Minister's proposal claiming that the diplomat had not performed upto expectations when he was the ambassador to the designated country.

Under the shadow of Lakegala

Under the shadow of LakegalaBy Sudath Gunasekara

Their customs rituals, and beliefs directly reflect the dictates of their environment. The physical, economic and social characteristics of the environment appear to have fashioned their way of life. The isolation from the rest of the world and its inaccessibility, I think, are mainly responsible for its identity and the continuity of some of the unique ancient Sinhala customs and rituals.Elders in this village are highly respected. Young ones always rise in front of elders and usually they do not sit together with the elders. The village monk and the schoolteacher are the most respected individuals in the village.

Appeal to ULFA

By Chandramohan - Syndicate Features

Notwithstanding the latest spurt in violence in Assam targeting the Biharis, Centre is duty bound to appeal to all groups, including the militants to make the forthcoming national games in Dispur a success and incident-free. But will the appeal send the wrong signal of a softening on the part of the Government towards the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) after publicly taking the stand that it will hunt down and wipe them out.

Report details spread of global AIDS epidemic

Last year saw a major spread of the global AIDS epidemic. According to the report “2006 Aids Epidemic Update” published by the United Nations bodies UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 39.5 million people now live with HIV, and in 2006 alone 4.3 million became infected with the HIV virus and 2.9 million died from the effects of AIDS. The number living with the disease is up by 2.5 million since 2004, whilst those newly infected rose by around 400,000 over the same period. Newly acquired infections of young people between 15 and 24 were responsible for 40 percent of the total.

Sri Lanka needs definite political process & vigorous international Public diplomacy to defeat Tamil Tigers – Prof.Hangawatte

Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Devoid of any fresh proposals to lead the way to break the impasse in the serious national dialogue that could help to address the National Question, the one year old Rajapaksa administration has simultaneously failed to undertake an international public diplomacy campaign to match and defeat Tamil Tiger misinformation and propaganda that have found direct links to the policy makers of leading western nations.