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Thailand: United Nations mediation: a warning from recent history

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Special to The Nation 

Caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul recently asked the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mediate in the escalating political conflict.

ThaiProtestsKavi Chongkittavorn recently wrote about the dangers of Thailand asking the UN to mediate in the current crisis ("Thailand must be careful what it wishes for", Opinion, March 3). As someone from Sri Lanka - whose Buddhist culture is closely related to Thailand's - I suggest that Thailand look closely at Sri Lanka's experience. In the 1990s, then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga permitted Norway and the United Nations to intervene to help solve Sri Lanka's civil war. That move is now widely seen in Sri Lanka as a monumental miscalculation. 


Sri Lanka: Buddhist countries are natural allies

 By Senaka Weeraratna*

WatadageSri Lanka’s foreign policy must tilt towards extracting the maximum support and assistance from countries that have a shared Buddhist heritage, because these countries are natural allies of Sri Lanka. A shared past acts as a powerful reminder of a sense of duty to one another particularly in times of crisis. This is true in human affairs. It is equally true in international affairs and underlying religious ties and loyalties must be activated to gain maximum advantage. The unity and solidarity that underlies the formation and functioning of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) work on this simple formula – common faith and shared religious heritage.

Myanmar: Religion, nationalism and conflict

BagoToday’s New World Order cannot be understood without considering the role of religion and religious organizations in the affairs of state. During the Cold War, less attention was paid to nationalism and religion as a singular phenomenon. Marxists, liberals, nation-builders and integration experts treated it as a marginal variable. In Western political systems, a line was drawn between man’s inner life and his public actions; between religion and politics.

Bhutan: Going electric


MahindraThe Nissan Leaf electric car launched recently in the country is still making headlines around the world.

The idea appeals to the global media and audience as Bhutan has a strict environment conservation policy, and that it gels with the country’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness.  At a time when an increasing number of cars is interpreted as progress, the government’s initiative to go electric has caught the world’s fancy.  Particularly, when a “tiny” country like ours take the lead.

Sri Lanka: Is an election a ‘village tank’ to monitors and donors?

By Malinda Seneviratne

[Sri Lanka has had elections since 1931.  We got 'monitors' only recently.  The need was produced by palpable election malpractices, many but not all eliminated by the introduction of new laws and adoption of fraud-resistant techniques.  With the need to monitor, naturally, there came 'monitors'.  And there were and are all kinds.  We are not getting ready for Provincial Council elections.  Naturally, there's talk of monitors and monitoring.  This piece was written and published almost 3 years ago. Still valid, I believe]

There’s an old joke about NGO operations in Sri Lanka.  NGOs are said to send identical project proposals to several donor agencies.  For example, money would be solicited to rehabilitate a village tank (weva).  If more than one donor agrees to support the project, the particular NGO would not rehabilitate more than a single weva but would submit the identical final project report to each donor.  Some NGOs, the joke goes, would ‘rob’ the work of another NGO, claiming that the weva that NGO 2 rehabilitated was in fact the one mentioned in the proposal and referred to in the relevant report(s). 

Taiwan: Ending gender discrimination must first begin in the home

Editorial Desk

Individual beliefs do not stay confined to the people who possess them; they can affect how society functions, and this rings true in every culture. Despite the awakening of feminism and the promotion of women's rights, gender inequality is still deeply rooted in numerous cultures and exists beyond the glass ceiling and sexual harassment.

Cambodia: The Temple of Preah Vihear: Respecting and Implementing the ICJ Judgment Should Come First

Pen Ngoeun

Academics in Thailand, including top historian Professor Charnvit Kasetsiri, Morakot Jewachinda Meyer, a lecturer at Pridi Banomyong International College of Thammasat University and Akkharaphong Khamkhun, another lecturer at the Pridi Banomyong College must remember that the Temple of Preah Vihear has been a world heritage site of its own right since its inscription to the World Heritage List on July 07, 2008 and it is absolutely not a source of a “prolonged conflict” as wrote Supalak Ganjanakhundee, in The Nation on November 19, 2013 under the title: “Call to make Preah Vihear an Asean heritage site”.

Thailand: Misbehaving monks need reform, too

By Sanitsuda Ekachai

When the anti-government movement brands its protest as a battle between good and evil, we should not be so surprised to see monks among the protest leaders, should we?

Sri Lanka:UK undressed in glass house of war crimes in Iraq

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The issue of war crimes and Human Rights violations by British troops is now a matter of major concern for David Cameron and the Conservative - LibDem Government of the UK based on extensive studies by legal experts and independent Human Rights activists in Europe.

Vietnam: Middle-class jobs key to economic recovery

By Phu Huynh*

While Vietnamese people still feel uncertain about the country’s economic outlook, they can hope that the rising middle-class workforce may play a role in reinvigorating their vibrant economy.

Sri Lanka: Danger Ahead! - Local Govt. politicians running amok

By  Rasika Jayakody

Four years after the victory of war, the biggest threat to the existence of the Rajapaksa regime has come not from without the administration, but from within.
No, we are not talking about the Casino Bill that earned the ire of religious leaders, nor the recommendations of COPE report that call for monetary transparency and certainly not obtuse statements made by minister on crucial matters concerning people. The biggest threat to regime has been the conduct of local government politicians who represent the government at the ground level, effectively the bridge between people and regime.

Setting up of this website was sponsored by SJ Mets Consultants PTY Ltd of Perth, Australia in memory of J.H.A. Gunadasa & S.T. Jayasinghe, beloved fathers of Sunil and Aruni.
May they attain Nibbana