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

Monthly archive

Teresita C. Schaffer

Ambassador Schaffer links hands with Dr. Saravanmuttu to promote confederalism rejected by the Americans

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

Teresita SchafferCenter for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is promoted as an independent and prestigious think thank. But its output on Sri Lanka and its activities related to Sri Lanka question the quality of its thinking on strategic and international issues. Its South Asia Program is directed by Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer. She comes to the post with credible credentials. Among other things she was the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka . Rightly or wrongly she has earned the reputation of being a tough cookie at Capitol Hill. During her tenure in Sri Lanka she was influenced heavily by NGO apparatchiks like Neelan Tiruchelvam who, quite contrary to the independent stance of NGOs, wore two hats: (1) as head of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies – an NGO that focused essentially on denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist community and (2) as a card-carrying member of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), which laid the foundations for Tamil separatist politics.

Norway admits loss of 130,000 passports; Interpol and NAT links lost passports to terrorists

A Norwegian embassy press statement released yesterday has confirmed that the Norway has reported the loss of stolen 130,000 Norwegian passports to Interpol. Norway has also admitted that a Norwegian policeman had sold nine blank passports to “a Norwegian national of Sri Lankan origin.” Norway has denied that there is any link between this and the allegation that the LTTE (better known as Tamil Tigers) “has redistributed Norwegian passports to Al Qaeda.” Bernard Goonetilleke, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to USA, told a Washington radio last week that Norway’s stolen passports had fallen into the hands of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

France: Sarkozy concentrates power in his own hands

Newly elected French president Nicolas Sarkozy has used the first days in office to concentrate a broad range of power in his hands comparable only to that possessed by former French leader Gen. Charles de Gaulle. Even prior to the parliamentary elections in June, Sarkozy is undertaking a series of initiatives which will allow him to govern without any effective external control. To this end he is exploiting the constitution of the Fifth Republic to its limits—and beyond. The current French constitution was tailored to suit the needs of its author, Gen. de Gaulle. Upon assuming power in 1958 at the height of the Algerian crisis, de Gaulle imposed a constitution which awarded huge authority to the president and severely limited the power of the National Assembly.

Makkal TV clarifies it is not related to PMK, says tie up with Tharisanam is a distribution arrangement

Responding to our news item on Europe's second Tamil pay TV channel, and its redistribution of Makkal TV programmes, the promoters of Makkal TV have clarified that their network has no connection with PMK founded by Dr. Ramadoss. "Dr. Ramadoss, founder of PMK is not the proprietor of Makkal TV as alleged but it has been promoted by a Limited company, namely Makkal Tholai Thodarbu Kuzhamam", a communication received by Asian Tribune said. "The political activities of Dr. Ramadoss and the PMK cannot be clubbed or compared with the activities and the programmes of Makkal TV", the statement pointed out. Its point is "PMK is a political party. The stand taken by the party is its prerogative" and therefore Makkal TV has nothing to do with them.

Act Now or Regret Later with the Unholy Alliance

By Prof. Kanbawza Win

Menachem Begin, the then Prime Minister of Israel (1981) watched apprehensively for two years as Saddam Hussein appeared to be nearing a nuclear weapons capability. The centerpiece of his effort was a French-built Osirak-type nuclear reactor turning out plutonium at Tuwaitah. Then in June 1981, he ordered his aircraft to bomb it to derail the Iraqi nuclear bomb effort without any declaration of war or hostilities. Looking back this two and a half decades one could not stay applauding his decision for without it, the Middle East would have been dominated by Sadam’s men. No doubt Begin had to make a very tough choice in making military decisions because he was once a guerrillas operating from relatively weak military positions.

Indigenous people in Hennanigala lack food and face hardships

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Hennanigala, Sri Lanka

Indigenous people in Hennanigala, Dehiattakandiya say , that they face a number of problems and also suffer from lack of sufficient food. Thapal Bandiya –leader of the Indigenous people of the Ampara district said the authorities never hear of their prevailing problems and the indigenous people need intervention of the President Mahindha Rajapaksha to solve their grievances. We lack traditional medicine and food items .Earlier we obtained these food items and medicine from the government forest. At present most of our community members lack permits to enter the forest, he said.

Sri Lanka: WFP express satisfaction over IDPs resettlements

Anthony Banbury, WFP Regional Director for Asia paid an official visit to Sri Lanka from 14-18 May 2007. On 15 March 2007, at a meeting with Foreign Secretary, Dr Palitha Kohona at Mr. Banbury’s request, while expressing sympathy for people who have suffered from the conflict in Sri Lanka and strongly condemning the LTTE’s continuing atrocities on the civilian population, commenting on the Government programmes of IDP settlement in the East, Mr. Banbury stated that the recent reports in this regard were positive. He reiterated WFP’s continued commitment to address the needs of affected civilians.

Thailand: Burmese Resettlement Offering New Opportunities and Creating Complications

The ongoing resettlement from camps in Thailand is giving Burmese refugees a chance at a durable solution for the first time, yet the policies of some countries resettling the refugees are creating complications for those who will remain in the camps. An estimated 150,000 Burmese refugees, largely from the Karen ethnic group, have lived in camps in Thailand, often for more than a decade. The refugees fled to Thailand to escape fighting between the Burmese military and ethnic insurgent groups. During the conflict they were frequently targeted by the military seeking to cut off any links between the insurgent groups and the civilian population. Refugees in camps represent just a tiny fraction of the estimated two million Burmese in Thailand.

Krishan Chander and Lahore

By Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed - Syndicate Features

Many of us are hugely in debt to veteran writer Krishan Chander for inspiring in us a humanism, which has survived all the traumas of the late twentieth century. At the beginning of the twenty-first century we are still convinced with quixotic zeal that the pen is superior to the sword, and therefore it should be wielded on behalf of those who have no means to defend themselves against armed bullies and their patrons. Krishan Chander died working at his desk in Mumbai on March 8, 1977. He had just started to write a satirical essay entitled Adab baray-e-Batakh (Literature for a duck), and wrote just one line 'Noorani ko bachpan hi sey paltoo janwaron ka shock tha. Kabootar, bandar, rang barangi chiriyaan…' (Noorani was fond of pet animals such as pigeons, monkeys, multi-coloured birds…') but before he could complete the sentence he succumbed to a massive heart attack.

Lebanese army lays siege to Palestinian refugee camp

At least 60 people have died in fierce fighting over the past two days between Lebanese troops and the Sunni extremist Fatah al-Islam militia based at the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near the northern city of Tripoli. Security officials say that the dead include 27 soldiers, 15 militants and 24 civilians, but the actual toll could be much higher as there are no accurate figures for casualties inside the densely populated camp. According to Lebanese officials, the clashes broke out early Sunday after police raided suspected Fatah al-Islam hideouts in Tripoli, searching for men involved in a bank robbery the previous day. Fatah al-Islam responded by seizing army posts outside the Nahr al-Bared camp, resulting in sharp gun battles as troops fought to retake the positions. Fighting continued yesterday, apart from a short ceasefire.

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Feud and Firebomb in Toronto: Sri Lanka’s Crisis Spills Over to Canada

Canada’s leading newspaper Toronto Star in its May 22 edition carried a description of the overflow of Sri Lanka’s two-decade old civil disturbance into the Canadian territory. The narration gives the pathetic reflection of the strife the Sri Lankans faced in their motherland. The twenty-year old ongoing civil disturbance to which both the separatist Tamil Tigers or the LTTE and the uncompromising successive Sri Lankan governments are responsible has almost torn the social fabric of this South Asian nation. It has sent the dreams of millions of Sri Lankans who belong to all ethnic groups up in the smoke.