MonitorsPublished on Aug 24, 2012
The naming of Navy chief Vice-Admiral Nyan Tun, 58, as the Vice-President of Mya nmar has come as a rude surprise as well as a pleasant shock. Given the nature of this development, the nation itself would be examined under many lenses.
Myanmar: Navy chief as VP, what does it mean?
< class="heading1">Analysis

The naming of Navy chief Vice-Admiral Nyan Tun, 58, as the Vice-President of Myanmar has come as a rude surprise as well as a pleasant shock. Given the nature of this development, the nation itself would be examined under many lenses.

First and foremost, the new Vice-President has the reputation of being a moderate in the Myanmarese context. He would be replacing Tin Aung Myint Oo, whose resignation was under the scanner for the better part of the Asian summer. Oo’s exit from all matters of governance was first speculated in April, but finally confirmed when he turned in his papers in July.

The official reason for Oo’s resignation was his fragile health, but then it is a widely held belief that President Thein Sein welcomed the hard-liner’s exit, so as to propel the on-going democratic reforms. It is in this light that the elevation of Nyan Tun gains significance. Admiral Tun is considered to be moderate and as an individual who would not stall the reforms in what is otherwise a rigid and isolated nation.

At the same time, Admiral Tun was not the first choice for the job. The preferred man was Yangon Chief Minister and former General, Myint Swe. His candidacy was invalidated since his son-in-law is a citizen of Australia. The Myanmar Constitution of 2008 explicitly states that individuals who are citizens of another nation or whose family members are citizens of another nation cannot hold high offices. It also states that people not born in Myanmar too cannot hold high offices in the nation. At same time, the Constitution reserves the office of one of the two Vice-Presidents to a military nominee. Thus the replacement for Tin Aung Myint Oo is one who has to be from the ranks of the armed forces.

This decision to elevate the Vice-Admiral to his new posting is significant in a number of ways. The first and foremost is the rigidity of the State on issues that are core and close to its heart. The State as an institution does not bend backwards even for its blue-eyed boy. At least, the Army has reiterated that even one among them will not be spared or allowed to drift away from the fundamental principles of the State, nationalism bordering on xenophobia.

The second is the evolving system of the rule of law, if one can call it, where what is written is not just a simple collection of words but is a law that is being enforced. This is important as the military since the days of Nu Win in the 60’s, has been a law untoitself. For a changing Myanmar it is but imperative for institutions to function by a set of rules and regulations and not at the whims and fancies of individuals.

The third factor that needs to be appreciated is that a naval personnel being elevated to such a high office in what has been otherwise an Army-dominated State structure. The rationale for this is a matter of speculation. But none the less if one is to go be symbolism this development is indeed significant.

The symbolism largely lies in the fact the Myanmar’s Navy and the Air Force have been at the receiving end of what can be dubbed as step-motherly treatment, with limited resources and capabilities. The Navy finding a political role in the o-going political reforms has indeed raised a number of questions. This includes, as to whether the Army (Tatmadaw) is undergoing an image make-over, wherein the Navy can deflect the bad publicity of yesteryear or is it that the Navy is being groomed to be the sacrificial lamb, if and when the reforms process hits a dea- end and needs to be backtracked.

Besides politics, the role of the Navy merits further appreciation even otherwise. Myanmar has a 1900-km coastline with vast offshore mineral wealth. This has already attracted the attention of a number of big players of the world. Its geographic location is projected as an Asian highway that can link the Indian sub-continent with South-East Asia, and China with the Indian Ocean. It is in this light that the prospective role of the Navy in the future in terms of Myanmar’s economic, political and security as well as the geopolitics of the region gains importance.

Besides the generous dose of speculation and guesswork, Vice-Admiral Nyan Tun’s candidacy for Vice-President clearly states that only a citizen of Myanmar who meets all requirements can aspire to hold high offices. This is a pointer for political parties to be choosy about their candidates in the 2015 polls if they hope to form a government or be a part of one.

(The writer is a Research Assistant at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Nepal: The Prime Minister vs. the President

Akanshya Shah
The caretaker Government’s efforts lately to run the state administration through ordinances and in the process drag the President’s office into controversy will invite further confrontation with the Opposition parties and further disrupt the consensus building in Nepal. The United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has come down heavily on President Ram Baran Yadav for his refusal to endorse two election-related ordinances. President Yadav has, reportedly, turned them down as the chances of holding the next elections in November is very slim. He has said that such ordinances are meaningless when the Election Commission has already ruled out any chances of the scheduled November 22 polls at the given date. The president is right in this as it is the EC that conducts the polls not the government.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has even warned Yadav not to overreach his constitutional bounds. But the ordinances seem to have been introduced in the first place to get President Yadav into controversy as the President’s decision does not cross any constitutional bounds. The Bhattarai government is hell bent on ruling the country through ordinances instead of clearing the way for formation of a national consensus, which is vital to break the current political and constitutional logjam.

Bhattarai has put conditions before the opposition to step down. He has said that a settlement must be reached at on all remaining contentious issues of constitution writing before his resignation. But any compromise on the ethnic restructuring of state will not be acceptable to the Maoists, Madhesis and the Janajati alliance at this point. Chairman Prachanda has clearly stated that nothing short of ethnic division will be acceptable. He said, "There will be no compromise on this (the ethnic basis of federalism)."Consensus will surely not emerge from such stubborn positions and negotiations cannot be initiated on pre-conditions.

The United CPN (Maoist) has also announced formation of a new alliance of 26 parties as a long-term strategic partnership to endorse federal agenda in the country. Maoist Chairman Prachanda announced the newly-formed ’alliance of pro-federalists’ last week. The alliance called the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) would act as a coalition for the attainment of objectives of federalism and state restructuring, but will also remain active as a long-term strategic partnership.

While announcing the formation of the FDRA, Dahal said that the immediate objective of the alliance was to create an environment conducive to end the ongoing political stalemate. But he added that restructuring of the state based on ethnic identity was the only way to end the stalemate. Dahal criticised the opposition Nepali Congress (NC) for allegedly creating hindrances during inter-party negotiations. Dahal described NC President Sushil Koirala as the major ’obstruction’ in consensus building among the major political parties.

The alliance has clearly proposed two options as solutions and the roadmap forward. The alliance’s first priority is to hold fresh elections for the Constituent Assembly (CA) and legislature-parliament. The second option is to reinstate the dissolved CA for a few days, mainly for two purposes -- to promulgate a new constitution and to hold elections for a parliament. Thus the UCPN (Maoist) is talking about consensus on one hand and taking hardened position over key issues of national concern. Such attempts and words are bound to sound contradictory to the opposition, which is already accusing the Maoist of attempting at "absolute state capture.?

The NC is of the opinion that Bhattarai should immediately step down to make way for the formation of a national consensus government under NC’s leadership. Unfortunately, however, given the intra-party feuds the NC has not been able to give a prime ministerial candidate. It is divided in to two factions led by Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba respectively. While Koirala is urging Bhattarai to step down, Deuba wants the dissolved CA to be revived for a short period to preserve the gains achieved in four years. But in absence of internal understanding, NC has no candidate for the PM’s post at the moment. In such a situation, the CPN-UML, the third largest party, could propose a name for the PM’s post. Two of its senior leaders, Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal have led two governments in post-2006 period. It could now endorse K P Oli as the candidate.

It has clearly emerged that the President is the only legitimate authority now in Nepal who is in a position to act. By exercising his constitutional authority, he could call for an all-party conference, which should pave the way for a national consensus government. Such a government could then decide the future course of action on holding the next polls.

(The writer is an Associate Fellow at Observer Research Foundation)

< class="heading1">Country Reports

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Govt proposes amnesty for rights violators

The caretaker Government has proposed amnesty to perpetrators of conflict-era human rights violations in the draft ordinance on transitional justice mechanisms under consideration in the cabinet.

The ordinance provision states that a commission will recommend to the government to give amnesty to the perpetrators of serious human rights violations if they strongly regret the crime they committed. The draft of the ordinance has been kept secret and the Ministry of Law, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and Office of the Prime Minister have declined to share the contents to the media.

The Government proposed the amnesty provision in the ordinance despite calls from national and international human rights community not to include such a provision in laws related to transitional justice, saying such a provision does not meet international standards.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 24, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">President rejects ordinance

In a setback to caretaker Government’s plans to hold early polls, President Ram Baran Yadav has rejected two election-related ordinances, saying they have become irrelevant. A press statement issued by the Office of the President said the Head of the State took the decision to this effect referring to the announcement by the Election Commission on July 30 that the ordinances, even if they were approved, would not be enough to hold the polls on November 22 as promised by the Prime Minister.

The Cabinet on July 27 had forwarded the two ordinances - Some Election Laws Amendment Ordinance, 2012 and Constituent Assembly Election Ordinance, 2012 - seeking to clear legal and constitutional hurdles to conduct the polls.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 18, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ripples of exodus from Bengaluru

As their facial features resemble those from the northeast people in India, Nepalis living in the Indian cities like Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad, mostly as semi-skilled workers in the hospitality sector and students, have been affected by the recent exodus of students and semi-skilled workers from these cities, who are fleeing in large numbers following circulation of SMSes and updates on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

These rumours allegedly spread from across the western border carried warnings of possible attacks on people from the North-East India as revenge for ethnic clashes in Assam. Though there are no details, reports in Nepali newspapers and websites claim hundreds of Nepalis have fled from Bangalore and other cities in south India, fearing attacks.

Since India and Nepal share an open border and there is no restriction on movement of citizens, there is no record of how many Nepalis reside in India. Some estimates put the figure between 5 and 8 million.The Indian g\Government has, however, assured Nepal on the security of its citizens and the Indian embassy in Kathmandu has also appealed to Nepalis in India not to panic. But the fear remains.

< class="text11verdana">Source:The Hindustan Times, August 22, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Indian charge denied

Pakistan has rejected as baseless and unfounded, charges from New Delhi that it was behind the mass exodus of students and workers from India’s northeast who continue to flee from different cities for fear of being attacked by Muslims.

The false rumours of Muslim revenge attacks were fuelled by threats posted on social media websites and spread through text messages. Migrants were also alarmed by misleading images that purported to show victims of mass killings.

Subsequently, the Indian Government has banned bulk text messages. Using the social media appears to be the new challenge faced by India and Pakistan, in their bilateral relations. The Indian charges have irked Islamabad which cautions that once again New Delhi is using the media to conduct diplomacy instead of acting in a responsible manner and sharing information.

< class="text11verdana">Source:The News International, Dawn, August 20, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">US diplomat summoned

The Foreign Office summoned a senior US diplomat and protested against the US drone-strikes in the country. The Foreign Office stated that drone-strikes are illegal and are against international laws.

There has been a dramatic increase in US drone-strikes in Pakistan since May, this year. At least nine suspected militants were killed on August 22, when US drones targeted a vehicle in the Sheen Khwar area on the outskirts of the Humzonee village. Pakistan has repeatedly called for an end to the strikes, calling them counter-productive.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Express Tribune, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Government blamed for sectarian strife

Taking notice of the recent sectarian strife in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B),the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) accused the Kashmir Affairs minister and chief minister of G-B for not taking steps to implement the Mosque Regulation Act, adopted with consensus by the Legislative Assembly.

PML-N Chief Coordinator, Mohammad Siddiqul Faeooq held the Kashmir Affairs Minister, Interior Minister and Chief Minister of G-B responsible for the killings of the nineteen Shia passengers at the hands of over a dozen armed men in Naran Valley. He further stated that so far 200 innocent people have lost their lives in the violence, but the local leadership has taken no concrete steps.

Despite a heavy deployment of the Army, Frontier Constabulary and police officials in G-B, terrorism and sectarian violence was an ongoing menace that has not been rooted out so far.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Express Tribune, August 24, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Petrol and CNG prices increased

The prices of petroleum products have been increased once again. According to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) notification issued here, the price of petrol has been increased by Rs 3.21 per litre, high octane blending component (HOBC) Rs 4.85 per litre, kerosene Rs 3.52 per litre, high speed diesel (HSD) Rs 4.40 per litre and the price of light diesel oil ( LDO) by Rs 3.19 per litre. The price of petrol has risen from Rs 93.57 to Rs. 96.78 per litre, kerosene from Rs 92.83 to Rs 96.35.

Sources also stated that petroleum product prices would be revised every week instead of every fortnight.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The News International, The Express Tribune, August 23, 2012

Sri Lanka

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Forces in North reduced: Gota

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the presence of security forces personnel in the North had been reduced with 28 battalions being moved to the East and the South. He said the overall number of troops had been reduced by more than 21,000 since 2009.

Rajapaksa said the Government would compensate the owners of the properties within the Palaly cantonment and provide them with alternate lands."It must be stressed that civilians have not occupied these lands for the past 20 to 25 years and it should also be noted that lands that had been forcibly taken from the people and occupied by the LTTE for many years have also been released to the legal owners,"he said.

Rajapaksa said the Northern residents enjoy their democratic rights and have equal and unrestricted access to the services offered by the state but there are a few pro-LTTE elements amongst the residents and within narrow ethnic-minded political parties.

"They may try to destabilise the peace if given the opportunity, the people in the North no longer have any reason to feel isolated or disfavoured,"he said speaking at the 5th Annual Symposium organised by the Kotelawala Defence University. The theme for this year’s symposium is, ’Ensuring National Security Through Reconciliation and Sustainable Development’.

"It is our duty as Sri Lankans to put the past behind us and build a bright future for our nation. In this regard, it is essential that there is no longer any suspicion of discrimination or unequal treatment that might encourage people to follow an undemocratic path and bring back the divisions of the past,"Rajapaksa said.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Daily Mirror Online, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Land law to be amended

Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said today the Land Law in the country would be amended with regards to the Law on Prescriptive rights by excluding the 30-year conflict period.In discussions with the Japanese Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi, Minister Hakeem said there were a number of issues faced by the government in resettling people due to loopholes in the law.

"When we try to resettle some people we find that their lands have been occupied by others, who have resided in these areas for more than ten years, during the conflict. Therefore we are in the process of amending the law to exclude the conflict period,"the Minister said.

< class="text11verdana">Source:Daily Mirror Online, August 22, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Japan offers help in damage-control

Japan’s special envoy Yashushi Akashi has said that the Japanese Government is willing to aid in repairing the relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community. "I informed the Sri Lankan Government that the Government of Japan was willing to assist in the efforts to develop a relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community."However, he noted that assistance from Japan would never be imposed on Sri Lanka.

"We will never impose ourselves on this country. Only after consultation with the government and all parties involved will we try to be helpful."He also said that he would be visiting India tomorrow in order to discuss the Sri Lankan issue.

< class="text11verdana">Source:Daily Mirror Online, August 25, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammed operative

A top operative of Pakistan based militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) was arrested in the week from capital Dhaka. Arrested JeM cadres Moulana Mohammad Yunus, working as a madrasa teacher had been the local coordinator of the militant group and was recruiting Rohingya refugees for the group. The existence of the JeM network was discovered following arrests of Rohingyas arrested from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka who were trying to leave the country with forged passports. Sources from the law enforcement agencies revealed that Yunus had been carrying out his activities at the instruction of one Saber Ahmed, ex-principal of the same madrasa where Yunus was teaching, who has been living in Pakistan for the last few years and financial support for the group’s activities in Bangladesh came from Pakistan.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Independent, August 18, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">JP to contest next JS polls independently

In a major development Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad declared that his party would contest the next general elections independently to test its popularity. He made this statement on his returns home after a five-day visit to India.

This statement is significant as the Jatiya Party is an influential member of the Awami League-led ruling grand alliance.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Jamaat leader arrested

ATM Azharul Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami acting secretary general, has been arrested this week in connection with crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War of 1971. The Jamaat leader is accused of having direct involvement in the killing of 1,200 unarmed Bangalees in Badarganj of Rangpur on a single day during the Liberation War. It is claimed that Azhar was the chief of the Al-Badr force in Rangpur and had committed murder, genocide, rape, looting and other crimes against humanity during the war.

The Al-Badr was a force that collaborated with the Pakistan army. It was formed mostly with members of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the then student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Reacting to the arrest Jamaat acting ameer (chief) Maqbul Ahmed claimed that the government arrested Azharby filing cases based on false allegations as part of a conspiracy to destroy the Jamaat-e-Islami by eliminating the party leadership.?

Most of the senior party leaders are now in jail over their alleged involvement in crimes against people of Bangladesh during the war. Former ameer Ghulam Azam, incumbent Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Nayeb-e-Ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee, assistant secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Mollah and working committee member Mir Quashem Ali are facing war crimes charges.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Daily Star, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Transfer power to neutral admin: Khaleda

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Begum Khaleda Zia this week had asked the government to hand over power to a non-party administration for holding the next general elections. Otherwise, the consequence for the government will be disastrous, she threatened. Demanding the government to ensure participation of all major parties she warned that no force other than people could keep this government in power.

The BNP chief also urged all political parties and the people from all walks of life to wage a vigorous movement to oust the government.

< class="text11verdana">Source:The Daily Star, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Diplomatic ties with Swaziland

The Government of Bhutan has established diplomatic relations with Swaziland. A joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two Kingdoms was signed at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan in New York on August 21, by the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of the two countries to the UN.

The two Ambassadors shared the view that though geographically far apart, as two small kingdoms with similar aspirations and challenges, they expressed the readiness of the two governments to cooperate closely in the bilateral and multilateral fields.The Ambassador of Swaziland reiterated the commitment of his Government to support Bhutan’s candidature for the UN Security Council for the term 2013-2014.

Bhutan began substantive interactions with Swaziland when former Ambassador to Kuwait, Dasho Tshering Wangdi paid an official visit to Swaziland in 2002. The latest high-level interaction took place when Lyonchhoen called on Swaziland’s king during the Rio Summit in June. Swaziland is the 40th country with which Bhutan has established diplomatic relations.

< class="text11verdana">Source: August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Debt-GDP ratio goes through the roof

As of June this year, Bhutan had borrowed more than what the economy worth, in terms of gross domestic product, was two years ago, according to data maintained by the central bank. The country’s total liability or external borrowings today stands at Nu 76B (billion) and the country’s GDP, which is the total value of goods and services produced during the year minus imports, was Nu 72B in 2010.

In the 2010-11 fiscal year Bhutan’s total external debt stood at Nu 58.6B, the debt to GDP ratio, which measures the economy’s total liability in relation to its total production, was 80 percent.

The economy’s debt is expected to further increase in the next few years, as huge investments continue in the hydropower sector that aims to harness 10,000MW by 2020. The hydropower sector earns around Nu 10B, but of this around Nu 3.1 B goes to pay loans taken from India to build them. The new hydropower projects like Punatsangchu I and II and Mangdechu have a timeline of 12 years to clear the loans.

They are being built with 70 percent loan and 30 percent as grant from India. The 60MW Kurichu, built at a cost of Nu 5.6B and commissioned in 2002, and Tala, built at a cost of Nu 40B and commissioned in 2007, are still repaying the 60 percent loan component. It was Nu 387M for Kurichhu and Nu 2.6B for Tala hydropower projects as of March 2012.

Meanwhile, the country’s gross international reserve stood at USD 782M, more than enough to meet import of essentials for 12 months.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 22, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Ad ban on critical newspapers

The media at present is facing tough time, with the government pulling out advertisements from private newspapers that carry a negative/ harsh coverage of the Government. This factor is accentuated with state advertisement accounting to 80% of newspapers’ revenues.

According to the editor of Business Bhutan, a weekly, Kinley Tshering, the publication receives provide around seven pages of government advertisement until about five months ago, but now it has reduced to two pages.

This has resulted in media houses finding themselves in a position of fold up unless the government advertisement resume or new sources of revenues are found.

However the Information and Communications Minister, Nandalal Rai has blamed the cut in advertisements on a need to minimize government expenditure

< class="text11Verdana">, August 24, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">BoBL launches credit cards

The Bank of Bhutan Limited (BOBL) has launched three types of credit cards. The BOBL VISA International Gold Card has credit worthiness up to US$ 3,000. The card can be used in countries other than India, Bhutan and Nepal.

The other two variants will serve to carry out transactions in domestic market, including India and Nepal. The BOBL VISA Domestic Gold Card has credit worth of Nu. 1, 50,000 and the BOBL VISA Domestic Silver Card have a credit worth of Nu.60,000. The total amount of credit will depend on the income and other assets available to back the credit.

According to the officials of the bank, the credit card facility will reduce cash transactions and increase the life of notes. The Bank of Bhutan’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Pema N. Nadik, said with the VISA credit card, funds will be available to the clients and the transaction undertaken with it will be transparent.

According to the BOBL eligibility requirement for the card is that an individual should have a minimum net take home salary of Nu 5,000. Incidentally the bank invested Nu 25 million to setup the credit card facility which includes Visa’s international membership, equipment and software coast.

The launch of the credit cards was a culmination of the executive order issued by the Prime Minister of Bhutan in November 2009.

< class="text11Verdana">Source:, August 20, 2012,, August 21, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Investment in IT park

ScanCafe, which operates in the US, Switzerland, and India has expressed interest in establishing commercial operations at the information technology (IT) park. The company specialises in digitalising and editing older formats of photography and video.

According to the company’s co-founder and CEO, Naren Dubey, ScanCafe will collaboration with local IT firm, Athang to operate from the Thimphu Techpark (TTP) and will commercial operations within the next 12 months, initially employing between 100-150 Bhutanese.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 22, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">BJP on the back foot, settlement in sight

The deadlock over ’coalgate scam’ is continuing while there are indications that a settlement could be reached early next week between the Government and the Opposition on holding a discussion on the issue in Parliament.

Earlier, the CAG report on coal block allocation continued to haunt the government as the BJP along with its allies disrupted the proceedings of both houses demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation.

Both Houses were adjourned without conducting any business except the tabling of the papers, as Opposition members stalled the proceedings pressing their demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister. "We are ready for any debate. We can give satisfactory answers to all the issues being raised,"the PM told reporters on Tuesday.

While the Opposition is blocking Parliament demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation for alleged failure to go for auctioning of coal blocks, at least four States that were ruled by the Opposition at the time had raised red flag when the Centre proposed the competitive bidding route in 2005.

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Indian Express, August 22-24, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">New Delhi will give all evidence to Islamabad

The Central Government on Monday said it would share with Pakistan evidence of its people and organisations having uploaded inflammatory and objectionable content on the Internet to incite religious sentiments in India, which led to the exodus of northeast people from various States.

Meanwhile, the government blocked 89 more websites on which morphed images and fake videos were uploaded from across the border.

Union Home Ministry Suhsil Kumar Shinde utilised a telephone call from his Pakistani counterpart, Rehman Malik to convey New Delhi’s anxiety over the misuse of social media-networking sites in spreading morphed pictures and concocted tales and vitiating communal harmony here. He urged Islamabad to clamp down on such elements and help restore normality.

Earlier, the Centre on Friday had imposed a fortnight-long ban on sending SMSes in bulk, hoping the move would curb the mass panic among people from Northeast who are fleeing home from cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai fearing attacks by Muslims

< class="text11Verdana">Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express, August 18-21, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">CoNI Report: Waheed for all-party meet

President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has said that invitations will be sent to political leaders to participate in discussions about how to take action about the Report of the Commission of National Inquiry (CONI). The President’s announcement came in a press briefing held in the Sri Lankan Capital of Colombo.

Talking to the Press at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on his return from an official visit to Sri Lanka, the President said that invitations would be sent tomorrow. He also said that the discussions shall begin after the publication of CONI Report, which is conducting an inquiry into the circumstances in which former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned on the February 7 this year.

"My invitation shall be communicated to all political leaders tomorrow, God willing. The purpose of holding discussions among the leaders is to enable all parties to come discuss issues on one platform. We shall see the Report of the CONI very soon. I do hope that we will be able to talk matters over as soon as the Report is published?, said the President.

The President repeated his earlier statement that he did not want to discuss the results of CONI Report before it is published. "I do not wish to speculate on what the consequences of CONI Report would be?, said the President. He appealed all political parties to give their utmost commitment to participating in the discussions about the Report once it is out.

"It is my earnest request that leaders of all political parties should give national interests precedence over all else. I request everybody to go ahead with the nation by finding ways to go ahead as one nation, and that, after the publication of the Report?, said the President. He was hopeful that all political parties would cooperate with each other in the matter.

The President confirmed that he would take part in the discussions. He added that the Government would welcome MDP’s demonstrations if they were conducted within appropriate limits.

CONI’s Report is set to be published on the coming Thursday.

< class="text11Verdana">Source: SunOnline, August 26, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">HRCM says Nasheed’s life was never in danger

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) in a report investigating alleged human rights violations on February 6 and 7 has said former President Mohamed Nasheed’s life was not in danger at the time of his resignation."The investigation did not find that anyone had tried to assassinate President Mohamed Nasheed during the time he spent inside Bandaara Koshi ? the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) headquarters ? on February 7,"the HRCM concluded.

According to the report, the commission was requested to investigate claims that the former president’s life was in danger while he was inside military barracks. The request was made on April 11, 2012 by the chair of parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, MP Mohamed ’Kutti’ Nasheed,

The HRCM report was compiled based on the findings of its own investigations, which included witness statements from the police and the MNDF, media reports, video and photographic evidence as well as eyewitnesses accounts from representatives of all political parties.However, the commission noted that despite repeated attempts, Nasheed refused to cooperate with the investigation, which forced them to compile the report without his statement or account of events leading up his resignation.

The report focused on six areas: the incidents that took place at Male’s Artificial Beach area on the night of February 6; vandalism of the former ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Haruge camp or gathering spot by rogue police officers; the attack on private broadcaster Villa TV (VTV); incidents that took place at the Republican Square on February 7; the storming of the compound of state broadcaster Maldives National Broadcasting Corporation (MNBC) by police and army officers; and Nasheed’s claim that mutinying or rebellious officers tried to lynch him inside the MNDF headquarters.

In another report, the Commission also concluded former President Mohamed Nasheed was the "highest authority liable"for the military-led detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.Along with Nasheed, the report concluded that then Defence Minister, Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, was a second key figure responsible for the decision to detain Judge Abdulla on January 16.

The commission stated that the judge was not physically harmed during the 22-day detention at the military training island of Girifushi. However, the HRCM did claim that the government had "violated his human dignity"and made attempts to manipulate the judge through a psychologist who visited him at the facility where he was detained.These alleged attempts at manipulation were said to include efforts to remove the judge from his senior position, as well as forcing him to leave the country, the commission’s findings stated.

Through a third report, the Commission held that the police had reacted excessively to the violent MDP protests of February 8, a day after President Nasheed’s resignation, claiming a plot behind the same.

< class="text11Verdana">Source: Minivan News, August 23, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Probe into sectarian violence

The Government has formed a commission to investigate the causes of recent sectarian violence in which at least 83 people were killed. According to the President’s website the commission will look into the causes for the sectarian violence that broke out between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in June this year.

The President had rejected calls from the United Nations (UN) and human rights groups for independent investigators, stating that the saying the unrest was an internal affair.

The newly formed commission will have 27 member and will be headed by a Religious Affairs Ministry official and include former student activists, a former UN officer and representatives from political parties and Islamic and other religious organisations.

< class="text11Verdana">Source:, August 18, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">End to censorship

The Government as of August 20 has ended media censorship. The draconian pre-publication checks applied in the past to everything from newspapers to song lyrics and even fairy tales -- were a hallmark of life under the generals who ran the country for almost half a century until last year.

Media reforms have already brought a lighter touch from the once ubiquitous censors, with less controversial publications freed from scrutiny last year. Political and religious journals were the last to be allowed to go to press without pre-approval from the censors starting from Monday. However, film censorship would remain in place and television journalism would be a part of "self-censors" by asking for instructions about sensitive news.

Official Censorship began on August 6, 1964.

< class="text11verdana">, August 20, 2012

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">A mid-income nation by 2030: ADB

According to the projections of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Myanmar could become a mid-income country by 2030. This is projection is based on the fact that the gross domestic product (GDP) has the potential to expand at an annual pace of 7.0-8.0 per cent, while per capita income could triple over the next 18 years.

The ADB has called for greater investment in infrastructure, education, health and social services to put the country on a sustainable recovery path. The bank also said that the nation needs to continue its commitment to reform.

< class="text11verdana">Source:, August 20, 2012

< class="brown12verdana">Contributors:

Afghanistan & Pakistan: Wilson John;
Bangladesh: Dr.Joyeeta Bhattacharjee;
Bhutan and Myanmar: Sripathi Narayan;
India:Dr.Satish Misra;
Nepal: Akanshya Shah;
Maldives & Sri Lanka: N Sathiya Moorthy;

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