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Government and Politics

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Government and Politics/Law and Order
Prof. Michael Newton, Professor of the Practice of Law, Vanderbilt University School of Law 1. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide my expert assessment regarding the widespread use of civilian human shields by LTTE forces in the final stages of the Sri Lanka civil war, which ended in May 2009. In particular, this opinion focuses on the intentional use of artillery fire directed to specifically respond to LTTE artillery fire emanating from within civilian areas. As you know, the LTTE refused to permit some 330,000 fellow Tamils to flee towards safer areas away from the zone of conflict, and in essence used them as human shields to deter offensive operations by the Sri Lanka Army. The Government of Sri Lanka previously declared the entire area as a safe civilian or no fire zone (NFZ) in order to protect the innocent civilians, which had the incidental effect of incentivizing international organizations to remain in that area. Aside from refusing to agree to the creation of such a safe zone, which itself constitutes prima facie evidence of its intent to use civilians and civilian objects as an impermissible extension of its military campaign, the LTTE embedded its heavy artillery within the NFZ and intentionally shelled Sri Lankan positions from the midst of the civilian population.
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 | 2199 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
Wars are today considered 'commercial opportunities' for economic success and define political power in today's competitive political climate. It was these American MNCs that turned US into a great power so naturally all successive American governments end up governing the most liberal country according to the dictates of the businessmen who run the foreign affairs of mighty USA!
Thursday, 08 September 2011 | 733 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
"The human being says that the beast in him has been aroused, when what he actually means is that the human being in him has been aroused." - James Thurber, Lanterns and Lances (1961) From the early days of the American Republic, US governments have shown themselves to be very adept at creating their own virtual reality about having always respected ‘human rights’. American scholar Noam Chomsky in Understanding Power, published in 2002, made the point that "the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel has been bad, but in comparison to the treatment of the native population here by our forefathers, it’s been a paradise," adding that "throughout American history this genocide has been accepted as perfectly legitimate." [Chomsky noted that in his history of Columbus, leading Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison, after referring to him as a great man, "then had this little line saying, of course Columbus did set off a program of ‘complete genocide’ which, in Morison’s view, "was only a minor flaw as he was really a terrific seaman."]
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 | 770 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
Not surprisingly, the US economy is currently grabbing the headlines on account of its lingering doldrums, but it is the Chinese economy which needs to be watched more closely. For a few years more maybe, global economic dislocations will continue to be made in the West, but the world would do well to shift its focus to East Asia in general and China in particular, because the growth centres of the world have shifted very clearly to Asia and the next world economic crunch could very well originate in China, South Korea or India – so drastically has the global economic balance shifted to the ‘East’. The US is no longer ‘a land of promise’ and the present global economic recession is in the process of proving this beyond dispute. For instance, US unemployment is continuing to be a major problem and present surveys indicate that the rate of unemployment has been remaining ‘steady’ at 9.6 percent over the past few months. More and more workers are being rendered jobless, while average households in increasing numbers are struggling to stave off mounting economic misery. A favourite slogan at street demonstrations by the US unemployed these days is, ‘The American Dream is Over.’
Friday, 29 October 2010 | 663 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Law and Order
Following its historic victory over terrorism, the government is determined to put the country on the path to national development. The ordinary Sri Lankans want the government to be as successful in its development efforts as it was in its military campaign. The most important factor behind the government’s success in the war on terror was the excellently effective, hard-nosed political leadership provided by the President. The other vitally important factor was the role played by the Defence Secretary, who, being the President’s brother and a veteran soldier himself, formed something more than a live channel of communication between the President (the commander-in-chief) and the armed forces. The third factor which contributed to the final victory was the performance of an efficient military under an experienced no nonsense army commander and other service chiefs and battlefield commanders who were able to inspire all its ranks with patriotic commitment to a well defined target and strict discipline in following proven strategies. An equally important fourth factor was the unequivocal moral support extended to the monumental undertaking by an involved public. The success of the war was thus due to the synergy between the firm direction given by the country’s political executive and the faithful execution of its orders by a dedicated military, both encouraged by a supportive public.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 | 1164 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
A recent ASEAN defence forum held in Hanoi, Vietnam, was graphically illustrative of the landmark changes which are currently occurring in the global political system. Along with ASEAN Defence Ministers, were those of the US, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Korea. No further concrete evidence is needed that the ‘old order’ is indeed changing and that the global balance of economic and military power is shifting in favour of Asia and the Pacific. More substance is added to this manifest truth through India’s consistent push for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC). India’s former Foreign Secretary and High Commissioner to London, Lalit Man Singh, touched on some of the more important issues in current discussion on the unrepresentative nature of the present UNSC when he said that: ‘The Security Council needs reform. Permanent membership went to the victors of the Second World War but so much has changed since then. It should reflect the reality of 2010 not the reality of 1945…..India joining the Security Council takes us a step closer to permanent membership – things are looking hopeful.’
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 | 727 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Law and Order
International economists have advised all developing countries to formalize the land rights to encourage investors. Their aim is to improve the quality, safety and speed of transactions relating to sale and mortgage of lands. Revolutionary concept to stabilize land rights to reach prosperity has been taken up by the United Nations to be included in the Millennium Development Goal Agreement signed in the year 2000 by all nations including Sri Lanka to reach prosperity in the year 2015. Following the advice, the World Bank had introduced technology and a new registration law to stabilize land rights under the name of Bim Saviya http://bimsaviya.landmin.gov.lk/ to Sri Lanka. The law has come into operation under the Act No 21 of 1998. The new system is expected to make all lands readily acceptable to banks, without lengthy searches required for transactions. The electronic services will enable professional conveyancers and mortgage lenders to submit applications and reports online in the future. Currently access to title information can be made at the computer terminals of several land registries in Sri Lanka including Nugegoda and Homagama. The operation will soon be extended to Colombo. Owners will be granted a certificate which is a simple computer print out, known as the Himikam Sahathikaya in lieu of their deeds.
Sunday, 10 October 2010 | 3259 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
Instead of being alarmed at China's growing inroads in the region, India needs to take a harder look at its own role and find new ways to win neighbours and increase influence in the region's growth story. No one would accuse Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of being alarmist. So when, addressing the Heads of Missions last month, he spoke of paying close attention to "global powers exercising influence in the Indian Ocean Region," it was assumed that the Prime Minister was genuinely concerned about China's growing role in the region. When he spoke to editors some days later about his concerns on China again, the assumption was sealed.
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 | 732 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
India has apparently lost its cold war with China, or at least the current phase of it. What is disturbing to India is not only China's superior military power and stronger economy, but also China's intrusion into what was once regarded as India's backyard. The development has rendered the so-called Indira doctrine ineffective or obsolete. The doctrine, formulated during the Indira Gandhi premiership, made it clear to regional countries that they should seek help from within the region — meaning India — before they approached any outside power. In terms of the doctrine, India opposed the presence of superpowers in the Indian Ocean which it regarded as its backyard. Small countries in the region were punished for defying the doctrine. It happened to Sri Lanka in the early 1980s. India armed, trained and financed the Sri Lanka's separatist rebellion. In the late 1980s Nepal tried to defy the doctrine and was punished. New Delhi economically suffocated the land-locked Himalayan nation by closing down almost all the trade routes.
Friday, 17 September 2010 | 1082 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Government and Politics/Foreign Relations
RECENTLY, I had the opportunity to travel through the UK and the US for almost one month. I want to share my assessment of the two countries. It is needless to say that Great Britain and America cannot be compared in economic or political prowess because the latter is literally dominating the world. Yet one thing common I found was the loss of direction in the two countries. There was no vision. Both President Barrack Obama and Prime Minister Cameron exuded confidence when they were talking either to the press or to the people. Nevertheless, I could see that the talks were predicated with many ifs and buts and most of their conclusions were generally made up of wishful thinking.
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 | 854 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more

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