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Why no Why?

Global terror experts’ contention that the Wikileaks exposures might jeopardize US’ counter terrorism operations raises a paramount question. What is the need for counter terrorism operations in the first place? If the US stops its global hegemony plans as detailed in its Plan for the New American Century (PNAC), then there would be no need for such measures.

Osama bin Laden fought the Russians and in that fight the Americans and the entire Western world supported the Mujahedeen of which he was one of the leaders. Ronald Reagan called them brave freedom fighters and mocked the Russians when they called them terrorists. Today the Mujahedeen (notice how the word Mujahedeen has been dropped out of the discourse after Americas invasion and occupation) are called by other names because they are fighting the American occupation of Afghanistan and so the legitimacy of freedom fighters is now taken away from them. Instead they are ‘terrorists’ better still ‘Islamic terrorists’. See the hypocrisy? Or are we going to go into another bout of harangue with nice juicy words and catch phrases like democracy, freedom, the rule of law, justice.

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PROSPECTS FOR POST CONFLICT RECONCILIATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Are reconciliation and development possible?

In an ambitious pre-election manifesto, the Mahinda Chintana, President Rajapaksa outlined very specific and concrete goals touching on many aspects of Sri Lanka’s political economy and society – subjects included “a land of plenty,” “a disciplined and law-abiding society,” “clean water as Sri Lanka’s heritage,” “houses for all,” “electricity for everybody,” “a clean, green environment” and much more (p. 6). states in the Mahinda Chintana, “is to break the fundamentalist concepts of a traditional homeland and a separate stand and empower the citizens of this country to arrive at a peaceful political solution which would devolve power to all its citizens.”(p. 52)

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Wonders! A Tamil Architect!

Having watched Jamie Metzl’s Asia Society interview with External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris, on the internet, I was left with the feeling that something was not quite right. Of course, the first thing that would strike anyone is the manner GLP fielded the questions. Both the interviewer (Metzl) and GLP acquitted themselves very well and it was a good interview by any reckoning. Metzl prefaced his interview by telling GLP that when mountain climbers clamber up the slopes of the Alps, they may at times take paths that may seem to be the best way to get to the top, but the people hanging around in the restaurants below sipping hot coffee are able to see that the climber has not taken the correct path to reach the top. That set the tone of the interview – GLP was the mountain climber who is unable to see anything but the rock face a foot away and Metzl was the relaxed coffee drinker who could guide the climber and show him the best way to get to the top of the mountain if only the climber would consent to be guided!

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The Chinese Miracle: A Cautionary Tale

Will the 21st century belong to China? For a while, perhaps – but only in the sense that it was said to belong to Japan in the 1980s. Looking back now, that seems ridiculous, but at the time best-selling books were predicting that Americans, not to mention the rest of the planet, would be reduced to virtual serfdom by the relentless high-speed growth of the Japanese economy. Then it stopped growing.

Official data published on 16 August revealed that China’s economy has overtaken Japan’s this year, making it the second-biggest economy in the world. This followed last month’s announcement by the International Energy Agency that China is now the world’s biggest consumer of energy (and burns about half of the world’s total coal production).

Earlier this year China overtook Germany to become the world’s No. 1 exporter, and it now makes more cars than any other country in the world. Indeed, it makes as many as Japan and the United States together.

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UN Panel: Contradictions all over

The three member panel of experts that has been appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon on June 23 to advise himself on “accountability issues relating to alleged violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian law, during the final stages of the war against the LTTE” has created somewhat a crisis situation in Sri Lanka, with Housing Minister and National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa starting a protest and a fast in front of the UN compound in Colombo last week.

With the protest by the NFF on Tuesday taking a violent turn the UN has decided to temporarily close its Colombo office and to take UNDP regional office away from Sri Lanka. The reactions by the leaders of the Government to the UN Secretary General’s move to appoint a Panel on the issue and the counter reaction by the UN officials raise more questions than answers.

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