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

Monthly archive

Doekle Wielinga

Separation among Israelis and Palestinians even in vehicles

By Mohammed Mar'i*

On 19 January 2007 the Palestinians in the West Bank will add another suffering to their lives by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Beside the Separation Wall that shatters the West Bank and more than 400 roadblocks, the (IOF) will implement the discriminatory Israeli order which prohibits Israelis and tourists from using their vehicles to transport Palestinians in the West Bank without an army permit. Violating human rights and international law, Israel build the separation Wall, prohibited Palestinian vehicles on certain roads in the West Bank, and forbidden Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian controlled areas to separate the Palestinians from Israelis. The new (IOF) order penetrates into the private space of the vehicle to separate its passengers.

China and Russia oppose UN Security Council resolution on Burma

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Draft resolution jointly sponsored by the United States and United Kingdom to the United Nations Security Council calling Myanmar (formally known as Burma) to release all political prisoners including the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 10 years, and to allow the National League for Democracy and other political parties to operate freely was opposed by China and Russia using their veto power.

Pakistan in damage control mode at EU over Kashmir

By M Rama Rao - Reporting for Asian Tribune

Sliding into a damage control mode at the European Union over Kashmir after Baroness Nicholson, vice chairperson, EU foreign affairs committee presented a 'damaging' resolution based on her field visit, Pakistan and its Kashmir allies have bombarded Brussels with hundreds of amendments to the 10-page draft resolution and made a subtle bid for EU mediation on Kashmir as also enlistment of Kashmiri people in the dialogue between Delhi and Islamabad. In all, 452 amendments were presented to the Nicholson report, Majid Trambo, who heads the Brussels based ICHR Kashmir Centre, said. He lobbied 'extensively to alter or amend the unfair' report with the EU's foreign relations committee.

Government to send food to uncleared areas of Vakarai

By Vandana Jayasinghe - Reporting from Colombo

While having discussions with the armed forces to get access to Vakarai, in which a serious humanitarian crisis is looming, the government is awaiting a response from the Liberation of Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) through international organizations to send necessary items to people trapped in the uncleared areas of Vakarai. In Vakarai, according to UNHCR and Ministry of Disaster Management, over 20,000 people are in the brinks of starvation due to lack of access to the area due to fighting. The government has sent 20 lorry loads of essential items including food items and medicine before the Christmas and after that no stocks have been sent to Vakarai.

Sri Lanka's 'historical' political agreement in danger

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The historical political deal sealed between Sri Lanka's oldest two parties, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) appears to be heading towards a very rocky path following the government's decision to accommodate any UNP crossovers. The Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday gave the green light to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to 'get on board' any UNP Parliamentarians willing to join the government. However UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that the UNP-SLFP agreement would be declared void if the government resorts to such tactics.

Police investigate into aircraft parts found hidden inside Maheshwaran’s cargo ship bound to KKS harbor in north

By Walter Jayawardhana

T.MaheswaranSri Lanka Harbor Police in Colombo has discovered with the help of the Sri Lanka Navy parts of an airplane hidden inside a cargo ship owned by the United National Party parliamentarian T. Maheshwaran. The UNP Tamil parliamentarian who is alleged to have clandestine relationship with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for a long time since he became the sole Tamil Member of Parliament in the troubled Jaffna peninsula has reportedly bought the ship to transport goods to Jaffna from Colombo.

India’s position on Sri Lanka's second coal-fired power plant in Sampur – Sri Lanka’s Minister clarifies

Neville de Silva - Diplomatic Editor Asian Tribune

Rohitha BogollagamaHas India formally objected to building Sri Lanka's second coal-fired power plant in the island republic's Sampur area in the troubled northeastern Trincomalee district? No says Sri Lanka's minister for enterprise development and investment promotion who is due to launch the Indo-Sri Lanka Partnership Summit in Bangalore tomorrow. Enterprise development minister Rohitha Bogollagama who was in London last week to attend the internationally-known Wilton Park Conference on "Investing in Peace" told this correspondent that officially there has been no negative communication from New Delhi.

Sadam Hussein’s half brother and former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court were hanged this morning

Already executed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's half brother and the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court were hanged before dawn Monday, 16 days after the former Iraqi dictator was executed in a chaotic scene that has drawn worldwide criticism. Iraqi Government spokesman emphasized that all laws and rules were respected during the proceedings. Earlier Saddam’s execution brought worldwide criticism of the Iraqi government as video of the execution, recorded on a cell phone camera, showed the former dictator being taunted on the gallows.

'Political solution to end war in next two- months' – Minister de Silva

By Vandana Jayasinghe - Reporting from Colombo

The government chief negotiator and Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva said to the Italian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Gianni Vernetti that the government would bring a political solution to the North and East problem within next two- months. He said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two major political parties – United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – would help to get the required mandate from the majority of people of the country to find a lasting solution for the North and East issue.

The forgotten Sinhalese Thai Pongal festival - Alootsaulmangalle

Thai Pongal – a harvest festival and it is celeberated to thank Sun God for prosperity. The celeberations is used to be held on the First day of the Thai (January) month in the Tamil calendar. A similar festival was celeberated by the Sinhala Buddhists in the ancient days. It is called Alootsaulmangalle. - the Festival of new Rice, which is held in the month of January. Today it is a forgotten festival in the midst of the Sinhalese.


Rohitha Bogollagama

Pakistan’s double faced diplomacy

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Statements aimed at India wafting from Islamabad suggest that Pakistan has been pursuing a two-track policy towards India. One, driven by PR motives, is directed more at the US and other patrons of Pakistan rather than aiming a serious response by New Delhi. The periodic release of ‘formulas’ by Gen Pervez Musharraf to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio falls in this category as they appear to be clever permutations to meet the Pakistan desire to annexe the state. The other affirmations often conveyed through the media and statements of Pakistani public figures are in conformity with their traditional approach towards India—one of unfriendliness, if not downright hostility. It acquires an official tone whenever Pakistan has the urge to reassure the Kashmiris of its support for their ‘freedom struggle’ against ‘Indian occupation’, which is to say continued export of terror into India.

Income recovery program of the ILO continues to provide technical assistance for tsunami livelihood development projects

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Income Recovery Technical assistance Programme [IRTAP]of the International Labor Organization will continue to provide their technical support to the Reconstruction and Development Agency [RADA] Livelihood Unit in 2007 to cater for the outstanding livelihood needs of the tsunami victims. Chief Technical Advisor of the IRTAP, Doekle Wielinga says that RADA and the ILO are conducting a micro finance needs assessment to find out is micro enterprises have already been served or that more credit is need. As part of RADA's lobbying that led to the requisition of 70 Million Euros of fresh funds. This fund t will be disbursed though the Central Bank (20 Million euros) and the DFCC Bank (50 million euros). "We will monitor this project closely", Doekle Wielinga said.

The pragmatic solution

By Sadiq Ali

Kashmir continues to be on the front burner. With the peace process temporarily stalled, a lot of rhetoric has once again started to emanate from Delhi and Islamabad. While Delhi claims it has evidence about ISI involvement in the Bombay bombings, Islamabad has overtly accused India of fomenting trouble in Balochistan. The Havana-handshake not withstanding, have the hawks once again taken over or is there still a hope that the two countries will see the reason and resolve their differences amicably? While the world was bi-polar, both the super powers played it to gain footholds in India and Pakistan. Taking advantage of the super-power rivalry both the countries went nuclear. You did not hear the kind of loud noise when India and Pakistan detonated their atomic devices compared to how some western countries are making loud noises about North Korean or Iranian nuclear capabilities now.

Bank of Ceylon increases its profits

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Bank of Ceylon (BOC) increased its annual profits before VAT and income tax increased to Rs 5.93 billion from Rs 3.59 billion in 2005. At a press briefing held at its Head Office to announce its financial results for last year indicated that its income grew by 32 percent from Rs 26.78 bilion in 2005 to Rs 35.39 billion in 2006. Its subsidiaries showed an increase in annual turnover (up to November) of 26 percent from Rs. 1.91 billion in 2005 to Rs. 2.40 billion in 2006 and their profit after tax (up to November) showed an increase of 13 percent, and dividends from subsidiaries (up to November) showed an increase of 98 percent from Rs. 0.13 billion in 2005 to 0.26 billion in 2006.

Sri Lanka: Large scale exodus from LTTE controlled areas continue unabated

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

The large scale exodus from LTTE controlled areas continued unabated with more than 200 civilians fleeing several Tiger controlled villages during the past few days alone. A spokesman attached to the media centre for national security said that about 97 displaced persons who were living in LTTE controlled Vaharai had escaped to the government controlled area on Friday evening.

Waiting for new dawn in Burma

By Zin Linn

Burma keeps title of the most repressive regime in ASEAN, despite the military junta's promise for political reform, economic transformation and national reconciliation. The State Peace and Development Council, (SPDC), the all powerful apex power centre in the country, has severely restricted the basic rights and freedoms of people from all walks of life. It has not spared the ethnic tribal minorities, many of whom are up in arms in their native forests and are therefore singled out for more atrocities.

Crucial meeting between Sri Lanka government and main Muslim party tonight

Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo

A crucial meeting between two high ranking delegations representing the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the government will be held tonight (Monday). The meeting also comes just hours after the SLMC's high command gave the green light to its leader Rauff Hakeem to go ahead and seal a deal with the government if it agrees to four main points forwarded by the Muslim party, which currently has six seats in Parliament.