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

Monthly archive


Sri Lanka: 51 New Cabinet of Ministers sworn in: 18 UNP parliamentarians joined Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government

Sunil C. Perera, Reporting from Colombo

The first cabinet reshuffle under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapakse took place on Sunday morning at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. Fifty one Members of Parliament were sworn in as Cabinet Ministers before the President at the assembly hall of the Presidential Secretariat. The new Cabinet of Ministers will include 10 members from the Opposition United National Party (UNP) who have crossed over to the Government. The former Deputy Leader of the UNP, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya was sworn in as Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. In all there are 10 members of the UNP in the new Cabinet. While it was reported that 20 MPs from the UNP crossed over to the Government side.

The Palestinian Internal Crisis: 86.9% of Palestinians aren't safe, 53.5% see it a civil war

By Mohammed Mar'i*

A recent Palestinian public opinion poll shown that the majority of Palestinian people are concerned with the deteriorating internal security and bloody confrontations between Fateh and Hamas, due to the failure of forming a national unity government. Whereas ?86.9 % of respondents, of the 25th Palestinian Public Opinion Poll conducted by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University during the period from January 22-24, 2006, did not feel safe neither for themselves nor for their families and properties under the present circumstances, 53.5 % of respondents believed that Palestinians have entered in a civil war after the armed confrontations between Fateh and Hamas.

Sri Lanka’s ineffective Global Public Diplomacy contributes to Congressman Pallone’s confusion on National Question

Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune US Bureau Analysis

The United States, Winston Churchill once noted, can always be relied upon to do the right thing – once it has exhausted all the alternatives. In the eighties, when the government of Sri Lanka was facing two battle fronts, the insurrection in the north by the Tamil Tigers, and the insurrection in the south by the nationalist-Marxist JVP (peoples liberation front), the Sri Lanka-based American diplomats viewed the political/military turmoil as an exercise by the ‘Sinhalese army’ to kill the ‘Tamils’. Someone had to convince them that the same ‘Sinhalese army’ is also killing the JVP insurgents who happened to be all ‘Sinhalese’.

Child Soldiers – A Contagion?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Fredrick the Great was correct; it is not in the nature of man to learn from his own mistakes; or from anybody else’s for that matter. The Tigers would not have had to face so much international odium if they did not engage in child conscription. The LTTE was banned by the EU and Canada mainly because of its use of child soldiers; it is facing UN sanctions solely due to that crime. Whatever the military gains from child conscription, these are obviously dwarfed by its heavy political costs. Child conscription is not just an abomination; as the experience of the LTTE demonstrates, it is the kind of stupid crime that boomerangs on the criminal. This self-evident truth should have motivated anti-Tiger Tamils to steer clear of such destructive and self-destructive practices. Unfortunately there are indications that Col. Karuna’s TMVP too is conscripting children in the cleared areas of the East. The evidence comes from, among others, two unimpeachable sources – the UTHR and the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Avian Flu contingency and UNDP assistance

To prepare for and activate a disaster management plan in the event of an avian influenza outbreak in Sri Lanka, UNDP in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has set up a project to create awareness among poultry farmers and the public. The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza (HPAI) virus first emerged in 1997. Flocks of wild birds, domestic poultry, and some humans were affected in parts of Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe. The exact roles played by migratory birds in the spread of avian flu to domestic poultry and humans remain uncertain and continue to be debated. Sri Lanka cannot afford to be complacent because a wide range of migratory birds arrive every year from far away lands to their favorite roosting places on the island.

Under the Shadow of Lakegala : Of their Funerals

By Sudath Gunasekara

A funeral is one of the best occasions where they display their openness, oneness and sense of togetherness; an excellent social value system prevailing in traditional village life. Death is commonly referred to as ‘netivenawa’ (netiuna=past tense), ‘antarawenawa. (antarauna=past tense) by these people. When some one dies in this village the entire village get together to share the family bereavement of the dead. Some volunteers to take the message to the neighbouring villages if the diseased, has any relations living there. Funeral arrangements are made on the advise of the village priest and elders. The activities connected with the funeral like preparing the burial yard and making the coffin are shared between the villagers.

Investors profit booking dampens the share market

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

The HNB Stockbrokers in their weekly market review indicated that while the market started the week off on a favorable note, with both indices picking up Moderately during the week, however indices dampened as investors booked in profits. Indices slid on both Tuesday and Friday, while holding ground showing little movement on Wednesday. Comparing Week on Week (WoW) however both indices moved higher this week. The All Share Price Index (ASPI) picked up by a noteworthy 26.7 points, to close at 2937.6 points, while the Milanka Price Index (MPI) rose by 33.6 points closing the week at 4088.7 points.

Drawing the lesson of the coup in Thailand: workers and peasants need their own political party!

By Alison Thorne

On 19 September 2006, the Thai military staged a coup, ousting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The coup was the 18th since the country changed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy in 1932. Mainstream media showed pictures of smiling Bangkok residents posing in front of tanks. While most commentators failed to think outside the square — presenting events as a choice between the corrupt government of Thaksin or the coup —Thai socialists raised the demand, “No to Thaksin, no to the coup!”

Senok launches Kobelco Acera Geospec Excavators

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Senok Trade Combine, the first Sri Lankan Company to introduce Kobelco heavy-duty Japanese original machinery to the local construction industry, launched the latest Kobelco giants, Acera Geospec hydraulic excavators, at a function held at the Water’s Edge Hotel, Battaramulla. Senok has been marketing Kobelco machinery for the last 28 years.Kobelco and has proved their versatility since Senok introduced them for the construction of Sri Lanka’s irrigation and hydropower dams of Victoria, Kotmale and Randenigala and thus has achieved a strong market leadership with national prestige.

Asian Tribune - Colombo Correspondent

Study finds substantial rise in cigarette nicotine content

Newly published research from the Tobacco Control Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) documents a substantial increase in nicotine content in major brand name cigarettes over the past decade. The findings indicate that, in the face of numerous legal defeats and a declining national market, the tobacco industry has focused on increasing the addictiveness of its products. The Harvard analysis substantiates earlier conclusions, based on data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, that US cigarette manufacturers have hiked so-called nicotine yields of cigarette smoke by implementing a combination of chemical and manufacturing design modifications.

Avian Flu

Sri Lanka: 33 Non-Cabinet Ministers and 19 Deputy Ministers sworn in: MOU between ruling SLFP and opposition UNP comes to end

Thirty Three Non-Cabinet Ministers and 19 Deputy Ministers were also sworn before the President today. Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksas' Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the opposition UNP in October 2006 agreed to work together to hammer out a political solution to the long-running ethnic conflict. However, UNP Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the deal would be over the moment their members were accommodated on the government side.
"From the time the defectors are given portfolios and taken to the government side, our MOU (memorandum of understanding) will be over," Attanayake said