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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2992

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Maran Brothers - Kalanidhi & Dhayanidhi

US envoy raises muted concerns about democratic rights in Sri Lanka

During his visit to Sri Lanka on May 8-10, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher for the first time made reference to US concerns over the abuse of basic democratic rights by the government and the country’s security forces. The Bush administration has backed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and his renewed war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the hilt. While denouncing the LTTE as “terrorists” and pressing other governments to ban the separatist organisation, the White House has deliberately ignored the Sri Lankan military’s open breaches of the 2002 ceasefire and the government’s anti-democratic methods.

The telephone is doomed

By Atul Cowshish - Syndicate Features

The mobile phone is knocking out the landline telephone at Mach II speed. This unequal race may be scurrying the 19th century invention of the electro-magnetic telephone by Alexander Graham Bell towards its near oblivion. Maybe, at a future date the once prized possession that was the landline telephone in India will be displayed as a family heirloom in opulent homes. Telephone officials are putting up a brave face in refusing to acknowledge that it is not just the antediluvian nature of the instrument but actually the bad service that may be pushing the landline telephone towards its premature extinction.

Does Siachen have Major Strategic Significance?

By Gurmeet Kanwal

Defence Minister A K Antony visited Siachen Glacier on May 5, 2007 and reiterated the official position on demilitarizing the zone of conflict by saying: "India is ready for a solution. But from the very beginning, our position has been very clear. Before any forward movement, both sides must agree to authenticate the actual troop positions, both on the map and on the ground." With Pakistan refusing to do so, negotiations have floundered. The key question that must be asked is whether Siachen has major strategic significance that justifies prolonged occupation, or are the two nations fighting over an icy wasteland merely for jingoistic and chauvinistic reasons? In his book Siachen: Conflict Without End, Lt Gen V. R. Raghavan (Retd.), a former DGMO, has written: "The (Siachen) theatre of conflict, as is now widely accepted, did not offer strategic advantages… It is clear that neither India nor Pakistan wished the Siachen conflict to assume its lasting and expensive dimensions."

Tamil Tigers spit on India while Defence Minister Antony licks Tiger boots

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The anti-Sri Lankan rhetoric of M. Karunanidhi, the pro-LTTE Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, was toned down after 12 Indian fishermen abducted by the Tamil Tigers in mid-ocean, returned home and were rushed, under Tamil Nadu Police escort, to his office. Their tales of misery and sufferings would not have been music to his ears, especially after his son, Stalin, staged a demonstration accusing the Sri Lanka Navy of killing and abducting the Indian fishermen.

Manmohan Government completes three years, No celebration, only report card released

From M Rama Rao in Delhi

The Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh completes three years on Tuesday. The occasion will mark the release of a 'performance' report. Prime Minister Singh will present the first copy of the report 'Report to the people 2006-07' to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a function at 7 Race Course Road here. Top leaders of the coalition parties and allies will be present on the occasion.

Tamil Nadu chief Karunanidhi to launch "Kalaignar TV channel

The clash between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and his close family ally, the powerful "Sun TV Network " owners, the "Maran Brothers," has deepened. The latest twist in the increasing tension due to the (in)famous family feud has resulted in the arrangement to launch a new TV channel--the "Kalaignar TV". Karunanidhi has now decided to launch his party TV Channel called "Kalaignar TV" on his birthday -on June 03. The new TV channel will be launched with the support of Raj TV, another popular TV station, with Karunanidhi's patronage. Its logo will be the "Rising Sun"—the very logo of Karunanidhi's DMK party.The recent family feud between paternal grandfather Karunanidhi and owners of the powerful Sun TV Network, the "Maran brothers," has led to the parting of ways between Karunanidhi and Marans.

Sanitation advocates lead bowl movement

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

Sim Jae-Duck, a member of the South Korean national assembly, did a quick survey of the urban landscape in New York last week and expressed disappointment over a woeful shortage of public restrooms in a densely-populated city of over eight million people. Sim, who also wears a second hat as chairman of the Seoul-based World Toilet Association (WTA), says every individual is entitled to clean sanitation as a fundamental right. "The responsibility for providing public restrooms rests with local governments -- and they should also pay for them," he insists.