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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Full Text of Joint Mechanism (P-TOMS)

LankaWatch: EXCLUSIVE: Full Text of Joint Mechanism (P-TOMS): Memorandum of Understanding ('MOU') for the Establishment of a Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure ('P-TOMS')

Preamble
WHEREAS the tsunami that struck Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004 (the "tsunami") destroyed human lives and property on an unprecedented scale;
WHEREAS there is an urgent need for all communities, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and others, to cooperate on humanitarian grounds in the face of this common adversity;
WHEREAS the equitable allocation of post-tsunami funds to all parts of Sri Lanka struck by the tsunami will be based on accepted needs assessments;
WHEREAS in recognition of this urgent humanitarian need and in a spirit of partnership, the Government of Sri Lanka (the "GOSL") and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the "LTTE") (the "Parties") have resolved to work together, in good faith and using their best efforts, to deliver expeditious relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development to the coastal communities in the six districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Trincomalee ("the Six Districts") and to facilitate and expedite the process of rebuilding the affected areas;
WHEREAS there is a need for establishing P-TOMS to facilitate such cooperation among communities, and between the Parties;
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing the Parties have entered into this MOU and agreed as follows:

1. Structure
a. An integrated operational management structure shall be established for the purpose of planning, implementing and coordinating post-tsunami work. Such structure shall consist of: i. The Post-Tsunami Coastal Reconstruction Committee (the "High-Level Committee"); ii. The Post-Tsunami Coastal Reconstruction Committee for the Six Districts (the "Regional Committee"); and iii. Post-Tsunami Coastal Reconstruction Committees for each of the Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, and Trincomalee districts (the "District Committees").
b. The High-Level Committee, the Regional Committee and the District Committees shall discharge of their functions in such a manner as to address the concerns of all persons in the Tsunami Disaster Zone (the "TDZ", as defined below) and shall do so without discrimination against any person on grounds such as ethnic origin, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, birth or other status.

2. Scope
a. The scope of the High-Level Committee, the Regional Committee, and the District Committees shall be limited to performing the functions defined in Sections 5(b), 6(b), and 8(b), respectively, and having effect exclusively within the TDZ (as defined below), as further specified by Section 6(a) in the case of the Regional Committee and by Section 8(a) in the case of the District Committees.
b. The Tsunami Disaster Zone (the "TDZ") shall be defined as the area affected by the tsunami.
c. The TDZ shall include all that tsunami-affected land area of Sri Lanka, which is adjacent to the sea, lying within a limit of 2 kilometres landwards from the mean low water line.
d. The High-Level Committee may decide to bring additional land areas within the TDZ; provided, however, that all such land areas must have been directly impacted by the tsunami or directly affected by the displacement and resettlement of persons as a result of the tsunami.
e. New proposals for measures to be adopted in, or affecting the coastal areas covered by seawater, shall be undertaken under the aegis of an international agency. Such proposals might include measures to recover material lost to the sea during the tsunami, the cleaning up of shores and beaches affected, even when covered by seawater, and the repairing and construction of jetties or commercial fisheries harbours affected by the tsunami.
f. The Ceasefire Agreement, dated as of 23 February 2002, between the GOSL and the LTTE, shall continue in full force and effect, and nothing in this MOU shall be construed to prejudice such agreement or alter its terms in any way.

3. Period of Operation
a. This MOU shall enter into force from the date it is executed by both Parties (the "Commencement Date"), and continue in operation for a period of one year from the Commencement Date. b. The Parties shall by consensus have the option to extend this MOU for an additional period or periods.

4. Cost and Expenses
The donors shall be requested to cover all costs and expenses incurred relating to the establishment and functioning of the P-TOMS.

5. High-Level Committee
a. Geographic Scope. The High-Level Committee shall act exclusively in relation to the TDZ.
b. Functions. The High-Level Committee shall perform the following functions: i. Formulation of policies for the equitable allocation and disbursement of donor funds in the TDZ based on needs assessments submitted to the High-Level Committee, guided by the principle that funds should be allocated in proportion to the number of affected persons and the extent of damage;ii. Provision of advisory services; and iii. Monitoring of the functioning of P-TOMS.
c. Composition. The High-Level Committee shall consist of the following members:i. 1 nominee by GOSL; ii. 1 nominee by LTTE; and iii. 1 nominee by Muslim parties.
d. Alternates. Each nominating party shall designate one alternate, who will be authorized to attend meetings and act on behalf of the member only in the event he or she is unable to attend due to illness, necessary travel or other exigent circumstances.
e. Chairperson. The High-Level Committee shall select one of the members of the High-Level Committee to serve as the chairperson to conduct and coordinate its meetings. The role of the chair shall rotate among the members, with each chairperson serving for two months.
f. Observers. The High-Level Committee shall have one observer representing multilateral donors and one observer representing bilateral donors attend its meetings. The observers shall be nominated by the multilateral donor community and the bilateral donor community, respectively.
g. Decision Making. i. The High-Level Committee shall strive to make decisions based on consensus. All members shall work together in good faith and use their best efforts to reach a common agreement before the High-Level Committee makes any decisions. ii. In the event that consensus cannot be reached, the members shall immediately enter into an extensive consultation procedure with their nominating parties and the donor community with the aim to reach an agreement and to ensure continued cooperation in the High-Level Committee. iii. In the event that consensus can still not be reached the nominating parties may, after having followed the consultation procedure laid down in Section 5(g, i and ii) and after having given 14 days notice, suspend the cooperation in the High-Level Committee.
h. Location. The High-Level Committee shall be located in Colombo.
i. Procedures. The High-Level Committee shall determine its own procedures for the discharge of its functions.
j. Servicing Secretariat. The High-Level Committee shall establish a small, independent secretariat with adequate staff.

6. Regional Committee
a. Geographic Scope. The Regional Committee shall act exclusively within those areas of the TDZ in the Six Districts.
b. Functions. The Regional Committee shall perform the following functions: i. Development of strategies for implementation and prioritization of post-tsunami emergency relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development measures; ii. Project approval and management, with respect to projects for post-tsunami relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development; iii. Overall monitoring of projects; andiv. Fund management, with respect to the fund specifically defined in Section 7.
c. Composition. The Regional Committee shall consist of the following members: i. 2 members nominated by GOSL, out of which one will serve as Deputy Chairperson; ii. 5 members nominated by LTTE, out of which one will serve as Chairperson; iii. 3 members nominated by the Muslim parties, out of which one will serve as Deputy Chairperson; iv. The Regional Committee shall have a proper gender balance.
d. Observers. The Regional Committee shall have one observer representing multilateral donors and one observer representing bilateral donors attend its meetings. The observers shall be nominated by the multilateral donor community and the bilateral donor community, respectively. Other observers may be invited to attend the meetings of the Regional Committee.
e. Decision Making. i. The Regional Committee shall strive to make decisions based on consensus. All members shall work together in good faith and use their best efforts to reach a common agreement before the Regional Committee makes any decisions. ii. In the event that consensus cannot be reached, decisions shall be made by a simple majority of the Regional Committee. In the event of equality of votes, the Chairperson can exercise a casting vote. iii. Notwithstanding paragraph iv below, in the event that a decision is taken on an issue having an adverse effect on a minority group, acknowledged by at least two members of the Regional Committee, approval will require two thirds majority (seven members) of the Regional Committee. iv. In the event that a proposal from a District Committee does not get a simple majority in the Regional Committee and at least two members of the Regional Committee request redressing of the decision relating to the proposal, the rejection will require two thirds majority (seven members) of the Regional Committee.
f. Location. The Regional Committee shall be located in Kilinochchi. g. Procedures. The Regional Committee, in consultation with the High-Level Committee, shall determine the procedures for the discharge of its functions.h. Servicing Secretariat. A small Secretariat for the Six Districts shall be set up and may draw staff from the Secretariat for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN). The Secretariat shall be named as the Regional Secretariat for Post-tsunami Coastal Reconstruction and Development (RSPCRD), and shall provide secretarial and administrative services to the Regional Committee. i. Project Management Unit. A Project Management Unit (the "PMU") shall be established to manage the projects approved by the Regional Committee.j. Accounting. The Regional Committee shall appoint a suitably qualified, independent accountant.

7. Regional Fund
a. There shall be a Post-Tsunami Coastal Fund for the Six Districts (the "Regional Fund"), consisting of unspecified (program) and secretariat funds. The unspecified (program) funds shall consist exclusively of foreign funds while the secretariat funds shall consist of both foreign and local funds.
b. The Parties shall appoint a suitable multi-lateral agency to be the Custodian of the Regional Fund.
c. The purpose of the Regional Fund shall be to expeditiously make available funds, following proper approved procedures, to facilitate and accelerate the relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development program in the tsunami-affected areas of the Six Districts.d. The Parties and the Custodian shall agree on a mechanism for the establishment and operation of the Regional Fund.

8. District Committees
a. Geographic Scope. Each District Committee shall act exclusively in relation to those areas of the TDZ within its district.
b. Functions. Each District Committee shall perform the following functions within its district: i. Identification of needs; ii. Prioritization of needs; iii. To generate, receive, appraise and prioritize project proposals from various stakeholders and submit recommendations to the Regional Committee; and iv. To monitor and report on project progress to the Regional Committee.
c. Composition and Decision Making. The Districts Committees, already established and well-functioning, shall continue their work. The District Committees may further discuss and decide on issues relating to their composition and decision-making. Adequate Muslim representation shall be ensured. The District Committee shall also have a proper gender balance.
d. Location. Each District Committee shall be located within its district.
e. Servicing Secretariat. A small Servicing Secretariat shall provide secretarial and administrative services to the District Committees.

9. Execution
This MOU may be executed in duplicate, both texts being equally authentic.

Download the PDF version

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GoSL, LTTE sign P-TOMS

TamilNet: 24.06.05 : "[TamilNet, June 24, 2005 09:05 GMT]

Norwegian facilitators, Friday noon reached Kilinochchi with the signature of Mr. Mudiyanselage Sumanaweera Jayasinghe, Secretary of Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, who signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) sources in Colombo said. Mr. Shanmugalingam Ranjan, Deputy Head of Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) on behalf of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) signed the MoU, after the Government representative had signed the treaty, sources in Kilinochchi said.
The parties signed three copies, sources said. One copy is kept by the LTTE in Kilinochchi, one by the Government of Sri Lanka in Colombo and a third copy is to be deposited in Oslo, sources added.

The signing of MoU strengthened Norwegian facilitation in the Peace Process, although critics warned that implementation of MoU still can face formidable challenges.

The preamble of the pact states that the MoU is between the two parties, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Muslim community's interests are safeguarded by its representation in the three tiered operational management structure of the P-TOMS.

According to Political observers the legal status of P-TOMS is similar to that of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) of February 2002, as both were signed without explicit passage through the legislative assembly of the Sri Lankan state. This is indicative of the reality that the Tamil national question can be resolved only through extra-constitutional measures, observers pointed out.

Article 7(b) of the MoU lists the creation of a "Regional Fund", the custodian of which will be a multilateral agency appointed by both parties, the GoSL and the LTTE.

"The Parties and the Custodian shall agree on a mechanism for the establishment and operation of the Regional Fund," adds article 7(d).

Full text of MOU on Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (Source: LTTE Peace Secretariat)

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Sri Lanka signs tsunami aid pact with rebels

ReliefWeb - Document Preview : Source: Reuters Foundation
Date: 24 Jun 2005, By Simon Gardner and Ajith Jayasinghe

COLOMBO, June 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government signed a long-awaited pact to share $3.0 billion worth of tsunami aid with the Tamil Tigers on Friday, a senior government official told Reuters, and the rebels are set to sign later in the day.

The signing comes after months of political bickering that threatened to collapse the government. Outside parliament, hardline Marxists opposed to the Tigers skirmished with anti-riot police as Buddhist monks in saffron robes noisily helped derail a debate inside.

The pact, under which committees comprising rebels, government officials and Muslims can recommend, prioritise and monitor projects, has been held up for months because of in-fighting that has split the ruling coalition.

But the rebels say the pact could help jumpstart stalled talks aimed at converting a three-year ceasefire into permanent peace if properly implemented, a move that would likely boost investor confidence choked by two decades of war.

"The government signed the memorandum of understanding," Maithripala Sirisena, minister in charge of the Mahaweli River Basin and leader of the house in parliament, said in his office minutes after protests forced him to abandon a parliamentary debate.

The aid deal will help speed up relief to tens of thousands of Sri Lankans still living in tents, wooden shacks and rudimentary concrete homes six months after December's tsunami killed 40,000 people along the island's shores.

S. Puleedevan, who heads the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) Peace Secretariat, told Reuters he was due to sign the pact later on Friday.

"Norway's ambassador is going to come today. They would like to get our signature today," he said by telephone from the rebels' northern stronghold of Kilinochchi.

Leader of the house Sirisena said M.S. Jayasinghe, secretary of the ministry of rehabilitation, had signed the pact on behalf of the government. Senior government aides said a second-tier official was chosen to play down the political importance of the divisive signing.
Sri Lanka's rupee firmed on the Reuters report.
"It has strengthened the rupee to 99.70 per dollar (from 99.80)," said Marais Fernandez, a currency dealer with NDB Bank in Colombo.

AID PACT DIVISIVE

Parliament was forced to suspend a planned symbolic debate on the pact because of protests by hardline Marxists and Buddhist monk politicians rabidly opposed to the Tigers.
The Marxist People's Liberation Party (JVP) -- which quit the ruling coalition last week over the aid-sharing plan -- and monks in saffron robes, protested noisily in parliament.
Outside, police fired tear gas canisters to disperse about 1,000 of the Marxists' supporters as they demonstrated angrily against a deal they say will legitimise the rebels, whom they call terrorists.
"Down with the Tiger mechanism. Roll up the Joint Mechanism," read the Marxists' banners as jeering demonstrators waved black flags and tried to force their way past police barriers before scrambling for cover amid the acrid white smoke.
The JVP's defection last week reduced the government to a hamstrung minority in parliament, and analysts say Sri Lanka could face a general election in months.
But while political volatility has unnerved investors in recent weeks, economic analysts say markets will take heart from the pact signing because it could help put a long-stagnant process back on track.
That in turn could help boost foreign investment in the $18 billion economy, which has been held back by years of incessant shelling in the north and east and suicide bombs in Colombo.
"I think this is good for everyone -- Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim," said M. Muthiah, a 62-year-old retired government servant, as he bought a lottery ticket in downtown Colombo.
"Now we can start rebuilding the country," he added.
The aid-share pact will last one year, but can be extended if both sides agree.

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FAO warns of imminent over-provision of small craft

Daily News: 23/06/2006"

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources warn that there is a risk of over provision of small fishing boats in seven districts in Sri Lanka. This could contribute to over-fishing and result in long-term damage to the coastal fisheries resource.

FAO urges all actors in fisheries sector to participate in the coordination mechanism jointly with the Ministry in an effort to resolve this issue, FAO Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator for Sri Lanka Mona Chaya said.

Recent data suggests an over-replacement of boats in Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Ampara, Batticaloa and Jaffna districts. These districts will likely see an increase in Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) and traditional fishing boats compared to fleet sizes before the tsunami.

Sri Lanka benefited from a generous outpouring of international support for its tsunami relief effort. An unprecedented large number of actors including local and international NGOs, donor agencies, private sector entrepreneurs, groups as well as individual well-wishers both local and foreign contribute to post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction in the fisheries sector.

Some NGOs have responded positively to Ministry's concerns and have drastically cut down on the provision of new boats. These include Sewa Lanka and the British Red Cross. CORDAID is planning to introduce an awareness raising campaign to inform fishers regarding sustainable resource and ecosystem management as a result of consultations with the ministry.

"The fleet size was already unsustainably large before the tsunami" said G. Piyasena, Director General of the Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. If the pledges by various NGOs and donors are completely fulfilled, there could be an excess of over 2000 traditional crafts and 2,200 FRP boats in the coastal fishery compared to the pre-tsunami situation.

Research had already indicated signs of over-fishing in many coastal fisheries before the tsunami. Fishers had started resorting to smaller and smaller mesh nets to target dwindling stocks.

A study supported by FAO in 2003 shows that in areas excluding north and east, the increase in coastal fish production has been marginal, from 130 000 tonnes in 1989 to 142,000 tonnes in 2002, although the number of fishers in the coastal fishery almost doubled over that period.

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Call to upgrade Peliyagoda rubber testing center

Daily News: 22/05/2005" by Ramani Kangaraarachchi

Small and Medium Entrpreneurs have to be real partners of large scale manufacturers and enjoy the benefits jointly. Large scale manufacturers depend on SMEs to move forward.

Therefore understanding each other properly and building confidence between the two parties is very important, CEO Samson Group Ranjith Hettiarachchi said. He was addressing the Large Enterprises and SMEs in the Rubber Product Manufacturing Sector at the first ever SME Fair held at Hotel Trans Asia Colombo last Friday.

Hettiarachchi said that the SMEs cannot move forward in isolation any more and they could get many advantages such as transferring technology, contribution to financial growth, and uplifting living standard. by linking with the large sector manufacturers.

Executive Committee Member, Association of SMEs 'for Rubber Products Dilan Ilapperuma said that their association consists of about 50 members with a long experience in the industry and they could grow stronger together.

He requested the large manufacturers to assist SMI rubber sector by sub contracting part of their work, and provide necessary technical advice to upgrade their technical skills which would provide opportunity to increase export volumes without an additional investment.

He lamented that SMI companies do not possess modern R and D facilities and testing equipment and they depend on only the three development and testing centres namely Rubber Research Institute, ITI and the Rubber Development Centre of IDB in Peliyagoda.

He proposed the government to upgrade the Peliyagoda Centre in order to have proper testing facilities for the SME sector at reduced rates as the charges at other centres are too costly.

The government of Sri Lanka and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce with the assistance of GTZ identified SMEs as an important strategic sector which can play an important role in economic development through employment creation, income generation, poverty alleviation and reduction of regional disparities.

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Tsunami aid leaves port

Herald Sun: 21/06/2005"

A CONTAINER load of aid from Victorian hospitals and school children has finally reached tsunami victims after being stuck on a Sri Lankan wharf for three months.

The school and medical supplies were released from Colombo port on Friday after Sri Lankan officials agreed not to impose import taxes on the emergency supplies.

Bacchus Marsh volunteers Hugh Esler and his wife Ingrid helped organise some of the material and thanked the Australian High Commission in Colombo helping to have Sri Lankan import taxes waived and the container released.

Some medical supplies were spoiled because of the delay but Mr Esler said other donations, including 2000 back-to-school kits and water bottles, would help desperate schools and hospitals.

"The Dharmavinjaya Foundation (distributing the aid) advised us that this is the largest consignment they have received and had to move the load to their premises at night as some roads in Colombo had to be closed for the truck to get through," Mr Esler said.

"They will be distributing the aid in smaller trucks to tsunami-effected schools along the southwest coast and through Galle."

Mr Esler said Bacchus Marsh Hospital recently donated equipment including an operating table and the Alfred hospital sent two dialysis machines in another container bound for Sri Lanka.

Anyone wishing to assist or donate can contact Hugh and Ingrid Esler at hook@bigpond.net.au

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Tsunami rebuilding; low-cost or just cheap?

Daily News: 22/06/2005" by Tharuka Dissanaike

Sri Lanka's biggest construction challenge lies ahead. Rebuilding homes for the hundreds of thousands left homeless in the tsunami, six months ago.

The rebuilding exercise will pose a grave challenge to the construction industry which certainly is short of skilled masons, carpenters, workers, craftsmen to undertake such a massive exercise in many coastal districts. The process of building so many houses and the demand for construction material like wood, sand and bricks will also impact adversely upon the environment. These are issues that need resolving before launching head-first into the reconstruction phase.

The trouble is, in many districts permanent house construction has already begun. On the one hand it is necessary and good to expedite the process of rebuilding so that people can move into their permanent homes fast and resume their lives. But in many areas, the need to build quickly and cheaply has led to a compromise of quality. In many areas the products of this haste are very low quality.

The news media has highlighted many instances where houses rebuilt by NGOs, donors and other organisations are ill-designed and constructed worse. Some houses are structurally unsound, with walls already cracking and concrete grills and windows collapsing even before the tsunami victims had moved in. Low-cost building has been erroneously translated into building cheap and building careless.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to housing. Since we are rebuilding from scratch in many of the cases, we can capitalise on the advantage offered therein. We can design homes that are climatically suited, takes up less environmentally harmful material and are practical and easy to maintain.

We can improve our social and health indicators by ensuring that the population moving into new homes, will have toilets, clean water supply, good drainage and well planned waste management. We can ensure that energy efficiency is inbuilt in terms of allowing natural light into the building, natural cross ventilation and even incorporate energy efficient stoves in village areas where wood still provides the main cooking fuel.

It is yet unclear whether acceptable alternatives are being promoting in place of scarce river sand and local timber or if there is a policy on the art of the state to encourage the importation of alternatives that will not impact upon out river beds and forests.

One aspect that has become very popular with the gurus of rebuilding is the introduction of rainwater harvesting tanks in the new homes. This is a very good move in the dry zone and intermediate areas where there is seasonal drought and water scarcity. In urban wet-zone settlements too these tanks work because often the water in such areas are not fit for consumption, due to pollution or salinity. But again, water harvesting tanks are not a blanket solution for water stress.

In fact, if they are not maintained and used regularly, the tanks could become a breeding place for mosquitoes and vermin. So the planners have to be careful and communities should be ready and trained to maintain and look after their tanks throughout the year.

An important quality-control role has to be played by the State, local or district authorities in supervising these resettlement areas. There is little use in rebuilding a huge number of homes that have no real life span and will leave the tsunami affected people believing that someone else got rich upon their tragedy.

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Grief Turns to Anger on Sri Lanka's Coast

The Moscow Times: 21/06/2005" By Tim Sullivan The Associated Press
PERALIYA, Sri Lanka -- It was different, people here will tell you, in those first few days after the ocean came roaring over the horizon and slammed into Peraliya, driving trees and boulders through the village at 80 kilometers per hour and leaving behind more grief than anyone would have thought possible.

Tsunami survivors shared water, food and what medicine they could scrounge. Some passed shovels back and forth, searching for survivors. Others stared at bloated corpses, trying to figure out which body belonged to which family.

It's how things ought to work in places like Peraliya, a community of fishermen and small traders with an intricate social web. "The whole village was like one family" in those early days, said Sriyawathi Malani Gunathilaka, who lost her only son to the waves.

But six months later, the community that has inhabited this sandy land for generations is coming apart, its social networks snapped by jealousy over which family gets how much aid money -- and competition over how soon they will get it. The resentment is magnified by officials who have left villagers desperate for any scrap of information about what will happen to them. The Dec. 26 tsunami killed about 450 people from Peraliya and an adjoining village, and more than 31,000 across Sri Lanka. Hundreds of villagers here, and some 900,000 people elsewhere on the tropical island, were left homeless. It is the aftermath, though, that may destroy Peraliya.

"Everything has changed completely," said Sriyawathi, sitting on a water-stained easy chair, one of the few pieces of furniture left after the waves knocked down most of her house. The cushions smell of mold and dirt. "It's all about the jealousy."

Peraliya still looks like a battle scene, with piles of wreckage and spaghetti-like coils of wiring strung haphazardly. On some days, there are only a few dozen people lolling around a village where more than 1,500 once lived. Hundreds of villagers have moved in with relatives, or found cheap shacks to rent elsewhere, or become squatters in the island's interior. Even some of the new homes remain empty much of the time.

But even the poorest villagers now have somewhere dry to sleep, though sometimes it's just a wooden shack. Everyone gets a few dollars a week in rice and other essentials. Real homes of concrete and brick are finally going up.

Promises of more to come dance around the village. Politicians talk of land, and visiting foreigners talk of engines for fishing boats. Always, there's talk of cash.

Pledges of $3 billion in international aid and debt relief poured into the country after the tsunami, and despite the half-built, half-destroyed feel of most villages, aid officials insist things will improve dramatically over the next year.

But information is lacking. If the money is out there, no one has told the people of Peraliya -- and most other villages -- how it will reach them. Top regional officials have only visited for a few quick memorial ceremonies.

The people who live within the 100-meter buffer zone have heard that they would be given land in a forest about 10 kilometers away. But no one has seen the land or knows anything about the houses that will be built there.

The government insists things are going well. A recent headline in the government-run Daily News said Sri Lanka's program to distribute foreign relief money had won "global praise," and Finance Minister Arath Amunugama said of the program: "This novel system has eliminated unwanted red tape and is a very efficient system."

Few villagers would agree.

"We don't have anything," said Manjula Jayasiri, a fisherman who lives in a wooden shack built with Danish aid money "We don't even know where we're going, and someone a few meters away already has a house?"

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Rich Countries Set to Get Away Failing Poor on Trade

News Archive - Millennium Campaign: "Oxfam pressrelease

UK, 16 July 2005 - With just three weeks before the G8, rich countries are balking from making
any reductions to their agricultural subsidies and could even increase them unless world trade negotiations change track, international agency Oxfam warned today.
This would have devastating consequences for the developing world and would undermine the important role that trade plays along with aid and debt relief to unlocking poverty. With Blair in Europe this week pushing for more aid, Oxfam is urging rich country leaders also to commit to deliveringpro-development trade reform. Research from Oxfam has shown that just if developing countries got just a 1% greater share of world trade, 128 million people could be lifted out of poverty.
Oxfam's report, A Round for Free, shows that the EU and US have been using loopholes and creative accounting at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to enable them to keep making large payouts to their biggest farmers. This causes overproduction and export dumping, undermining poor producersoverseas.
The current wrangle over the EU budget has put the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the spotlight. The CAP, which costs Europe more than 100bn a year, lavishes money on some of the biggest, richest farmers in the EU and at the same time denies farmers in the developing world the chance to work their way out of poverty. The EU needs to use this opportunity to re-examine the way it supports its farmers.
"Alongside aid and debt, trade reform is crucial to help end poverty in the developing world, and yet this report shows that progress at the WTO is negligible," said Celine Charveriat, Head of Oxfam International's Make Trade Fair Campaign. "Rich countries are dodging the commitments they'vemade to reduce subsidies that hurt poor farmers overseas. At the same time, they're forcing poor countries to open their markets. This duplicity threatens to turn the whole round of talks into farce."
According to the report, rich countries have been redefining rather than reducing subsidies at the WTO. As a result, overall farm support in developed countries has not changed since 1986, and still stands at over $250bn per year in real terms. Furthermore, WTO rules give rich countries such flexibility that in some cases they could even increase payments which distort trade by nearly $30bn in the case of the EU.
The report alleges that despite rich country pledges to eliminate export subsidies, this is unlikely to happen until 2016 at the earliest, and even then large levels of disguised payments will remain. It reveals that the US pays out the equivalent of $6.6bn in hidden subsidies a year to its farmers two hundred times more than it declares to the WTO. The EU pays $5.2bn four times the reported amount.
Charveriat: "This is a scandalous betrayal of the developing countries that put their faith in the WTO system. As we approach the G8 the focus is on aid and debt relief, which are vitally important and could help create the circumstances in which poor countries could benefit from global trade. But while rich countries continue to rig trade rules in their own favour, the developing world will never have the chance to work its way out of poverty."
The report calls for an end date of 2010 for export subsidies, a reduction of other rich country payments that distort trade, and recognition of the right for poor countries to protect vulnerable sectors as long dumping continues. The cotton and sugar panels should be implemented in good faith before the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong at the end of the year.
Download here the Oxfam's report, A Round for Free.

To learn more visit Oxfam website.
Date Created: 6/20/2005, 6:32:45 AM, Copyright 2005"

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How to grow specific vegetables using the hydroponics technique?

Daily News: 21/06/2005" by V. Tharsini

Hydroponics is the method of growing vegetables without any soil. It deals with growing vegetables on a nutrient solution. Crops like leafy vegetables (Lettuce, Kang Kung, Gotukola) and vegetable crops like tomato, eggplant, green bean, winged bean, capsicum, cauliflower, cabbage, bell pepper can be grown by the non-circulating method of hydroponics.

In this method nutrient solution is taken in a container made out of Styrofoam or wooden boxes or plastic buckets or cement troughs except metal containers. Within these Styrofoam is the best one (it can maintain the temperature of nutrient solution).

How to prepare the box?

Take a box of 30 cm height. Cover the inside of the box with black polythene of 0.15 mm thick. A board with holes to cover the box is made out. The board must contain an additional hole to ensure the air circulation. Nutrient solution can be filled up to the height of 20 cm. The above space provides enough air circulation to the root system.

Ideally top 2/3 of young root system must be in the air and the rest must be floating or dipping in the nutrient solution.

Planting pots

Plastic cups with holes on the bottom and sides can be used for this purpose (roots emerge through them and seepage of nutrient solution into the potting material occurs).

Commonly old coir dust is used as potting material. Small pieces of nets are placed inside the pot to prevent fall off of potting material. Seeds can be directly raised on these pots.

The planting pots with seedling are fixed to the holes on the board. During maintenance if the solution level goes down it must be siphoned out and replaced with fresh solution.

Preparation of nutrient solution

Farmers can prepare nutrient solution in their own by dissolving compatible (no reaction between them) water-soluble nutrient salts. In the market different formulations are available to prepare the nutrient solution.

The nutrient solutions must be free from impurities like sand/clay. At the same time urea can't be used as a nutrient solution. Because it doesn't change into ionic forms to absorb by plants.

The followings are the combinations of soluble fertilizers can be used for nutrient solutions:

Ammonium nitrate (AN) can be used with any one of the nutrient salts like Ammonium sulphate (AS) or Calcium nitrate (CAN) or Mono ammonium phosphate (MAP) or Potassium sulphate (SOP) or Potassium chloride (MOP) or Potassium nitrate (PN).

(MOP) can be used with any one of the nutrient salts like AN or AS or CAN or MAP or SOP or PN.

To prepare 1,000 litres of nutrient solution following chemicals are required (the Albert's mixture is locally available in the market)

These amounts are completely dissolved in water and volume is adjusted upto 1,000 litre by adding of pure water.

Training and pruning system can be adopted to provide supports to tall growing plants and heavy fruit bearing plants.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Faultlines primed for new tsunami

Daily News: 20/06/2005"

THE Boxing Day earthquake has increased the likelihood of more devastation in the region, reports Mark Henderson

The vast earthquake that triggered the Indian Ocean tsunami on Boxing Day last year could yet set off repeats of both events because it has destabilised two neighbouring fault lines.

New research by British scientists has revealed that the magnitude 9.3 quake off the coast of Indonesia has dramatically increased stress on the Sumatra and Sunda Trench faults, both of which are now primed to deliver another major earthquake.

Should a fresh quake take place on either of the faults, the regional consequences would be devastating, though not quite on the scale of the December catastrophe, which has claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.

A rupture of the Sumatra fault, which is considered slightly more likely, would generate an earthquake of magnitude 7 to 7.5 close to Banda Aceh, the city that was virtually wiped out by the December 26 event, but there would be no tsunami, as the fault lies on the mainland.

Should the Sunda Trench tail, however, the consequences would be more severe still. The quake is predicted to reach a magnitude of 8 to 8.5 and its location 135 miles (200km) from the Sumatra coast would generate another tsunami.

Parts of Sumatra that escaped the December tsunami would be inundated with similar walls of water and the earthquake would be too close for a tsunami early warning system to raise the alarm.

Waves would also propagate west across the Indian Ocean, although their destructive impact would be less than those generated by the December catastrophe. The orientation of the Sunda Trench fault means the main westbound tsunami would not crash ashore before reaching South Africa, and the great distances it would have to cross would dissipate much of its energy.

John McCloskey, of the University of Ulster, who led the research team, said that the finding show that the region most severely hit by the Boxing Day tsunami to be at severe risk from related events.

"We can't say at this stage how soon these quakes are likely to happen, but earthquakes tend to cluster in time," he sad, "One of the best indications you're going to have an earthquake is that you've just had an earthquake.

"It underlines the need for a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean, and even this wouldn't be much use to the Sumatran coast as the distances are so small,"

In the study, details of which are published today in the journal Nature, Dr. McCloskey's team calculated the extra stress placed on the Sumatra and Sunda Trench faults by the slip on the Sumatra-Andaman fault on December 26.

The Sunda Trench fault is the southern extension of the fault that caused the Boxing Day tsunami, while the Sumatra fault runs parallel. They found an increase of up to nine bars of pressure on the Sumatra faults, and up to five bars on the Sunda Trench. These compare with an increased pressure of four bars before the magnitude 7.4 Izmit earthquake that struck Turkey in 1999.

"You can't draw direct parallels and say therefore the probability is four times more likely than Izmit, but you can get a feel for the increased risk of an earthquake on this fault," Dr. McCloskey said.

He said that the Sunda Trench appeared to pose the more deadly risk. "Earthquakes on this fault triggered lethal tsunamis in 1833 and 1861, and they tend to be big ones," he said.

"Sumatra would be hit hard, but we would expect the propagating wave to do less damage elsewhere than in December. The energy moves mainly laterally, so it would head towards South Africa and the Southern Ocean.

Distance lessens impact considerably: only about 200 people were killed in East Africa in December, compared to more than 100,000 in Indonesia." It is impossible to say how soon another earthquake will occur, but team pointed out that coupled earthquakes in Japan have happened within a year of one another in the past.

Dr. Richard Teeuw, of the University of Portsmouth, said: "If another Indian Ocean tsunami were generated in the near future, there would still be great loss of life close to the earthquake epicentre. However, in regions where the tsunami will take hours rather than minutes to arrive, this time round there would probably be fewer fatalities."

Courtesy: The London Times

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Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka: Swindlers Hold Sway

The Lanka Academic, the official newspaper of LAcNet: "Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Saturday 14th May 16:30GMT

Courtesy of Economic and Political Weekly, India

Rehabilitation of the tsunami-affected has been beset with numerous problems in Sri Lanka, especially in its North and East Province. This article takes an in-depth look at such efforts in the LTTE-controlled provinces, where relief and compensation has been undone by corruption and used as strategies by different stakeholders to assert their dominance.
[ Discuss this article]

The tsunami that struck Asia on December 26, 2004 left between 30,000 and 40,000 dead, displaced half a million people and destroyed/damaged thousands of houses, schools, hospitals, hotels, public buildings, roads, rail lines, power supplies fully or partially, in Sri Lanka. Geographically, the North and East Province was the worst affected, followed by the Southern and Western Provinces. In terms of deaths and displaced population Eastern Province was the worst affected followed by Southern and Northern Provinces. About 30 per cent of deaths were in Ampara district in the east.

The North and East Province of Sri Lanka comprises eight districts, three in the east (Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee) and five in the north (Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya). All three districts in the east and three districts in the north (Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu) were affected by the tsunami. However, Kilinochchi district was only marginally affected.

The worst affected sectors are fisheries, tourism, and small and medium enterprises in the south; fisheries and tourism in the east; and fisheries in the north. The total cost of physical damages caused by the tsunami in Sri Lanka is estimated to be about 1 billion US dollars. The replacement value of these physical damages is expected to cost around $ 1.5 billion. Out of the expected total rehabilitation and reconstruction cost 41 per cent is for the Eastern Province, 29 per cent for the Southern Province, 17 per cent for the Northern Province, and 13 per cent for the Western Province [ADB/JBIC/JICA/WB 2005:22]. By sector, housing is expected to cost 33 per cent of the total, followed by roads (15 per cent), tourism (10 per cent), railways (10 per cent), fisheries (9 per cent), water and sanitation (9 per cent), health (7 per cent), power (5 per cent) and education (3 per cent) (ibid).

The Peoples Liberation Front (JVP) in the south and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) in the north and east took early action to rescue, and support the victims in emergency relief operations. JVP through its volunteer force largely drawn from the universities, and the LTTE through the Sea Tigers and its NGO arm, viz, Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), swung into action immediately after the disaster struck.

The purpose of this research note is to document and disseminate widespread corruption taking place in the delivery of post-tsunami relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction aid in the north and east so as to facilitate exploration of ways and means to combat or at least minimise such corruption. Several stakeholders, including the government, LTTE, and NGO personnel, are involved in corrupt practices, which is very disturbing.

This research note is based on data derived from existing literature, information collected from secondary sources, and fieldwork carried out in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu districts of the North and East Province of Sri Lanka. Fieldwork in LTTE-controlled areas of the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts were carried out between March 10 and 14 and in government-controlled areas of Jaffna district between January and March. Roughly 60 households in Kervil, Kattaikadu, and Maruthenkerny refugee camps in the LTTE-controlled Jaffna district and Kallaru refugee camp in Kilinochchi district were interviewed for this purpose.

Discrepancies in Data

There have been at least three damage and needs assessments undertaken after the tsunami in the last three months: the Task Force for Rebuilding the Nation (TAFREN) of the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), North-East Needs Assessment (NENA) undertaken by the Planning and Development Secretariat (PDS) of the LTTE, and the Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) undertaken by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank (WB).
From the very beginning the number of affected people, and numbers and values of destroyed/damaged assets have been fluctuating over time and by source of information. For example, according to the district secretariats, the original estimation of affected people in Batticaloa district was estimated to be 1,75,000, which was later upwardly revised to 2,54,000; in Galle district the original list of affected people added to 94,000, later upwardly revised to 1,23,000; in Trincomalee district additional 10,000 families were added to the original list of affected families (Sunday Observer, February 6, 2005: 2). It is important to note that these upward revisions were made after the government announcement that each affected family would receive Lanka rupees 5,000 per month for at least three months.

Another startling discrepancy in data pertains to the number of houses destroyed or damaged. For example, in Ampara district 29,000 houses were destroyed (completely damaged) according to the JNA, whereas according to the NENA only 19,000 houses were destroyed (fully damaged). Similarly, in Jaffna district 12,000 houses were destroyed according to the JNA but only 6,700 according to the NENA. In Kilinochchi district 3,400 houses were destroyed and 4,250 damaged according to the JNA but only 246 destroyed and no damaged houses according to the NENA. In Mullaitivu, according to the JNA 10,600 houses were destroyed and 5,300 damaged, but only 5,000 were destroyed and 400 damaged according to the NENA [ADB/JBIC/JICA/WB 2005; PDS 2005]. Mostly differences between the JNA data and the NENA data are much higher than the differences between the TAFREN data and the NENA data.

There could be two plausible explanations for the huge discrepancy between the JNA and NENA data on houses destroyed and damaged. One could be that different stakeholders provided the JNA or NENA team members misleading data. Or else it could have been a conscious effort by the JNA to inflate the number of houses destroyed/damaged so as to create more business for the donor agencies, because reconstruction of houses is going to be the single largest cost of reconstruction (one-third of the total).

As with other countries following the occurrence of natural disasters, there are many undeserving claimants for relief goods, cash grants, and shelter throughout the country. There are numerous cases of unaffected families being provided relief, cash grants, and houses due to political patronage. This type of fraud is higher in the north and east than in other parts of the country due to organised attempt by the LTTE to plunder the state and the donors in the name of tsunami rehabilitation. In the north and east there are already conflict-affected populations without any compensation from either the state or the donors. Naturally they are envious of all the attention paid to tsunami-affected people. Hence, it is not morally wrong to incorporate conflict-affected people also when providing new houses, for example, for the tsunami-affected people.

However, what seems to be largely happening in the N and E is that loyalty and strategic importance to the LTTE takes precedence over conflict-affected or tsunami-affected in the disbursement of relief and rehabilitation goodies including housing. For instance, inmates of refugee camps in Kervil and Kattaikadu pointed out that affected people in Vettilaikerni (which has a strategically important Sea Tiger base) have been provided LKR 5,000 per family monthly cash grant but not them. Besides, inmates in Kattaikadu refugee camp claimed that the entire population of Nithiyavattai village (which was apparently not affected by the tsunami) are being housed in their camp and given priority on relief goods, cash, and housing. In the refugee camp in Kallaru tsunami-affected coastal population from Chuntikulam are housed. In addition, non-affected people from Nagenthirapuram village are also provided shelter, relief goods and cash grants. Similarly, Maruthenkerny refugee camp also accommodates tsunami-affected as well as non-affected people, the latter receiving favourable treatment.

Hence, the pattern emerging out of the foregoing examples is that people closer to the LTTE are getting priority and favoured treatment whether affected by the tsunami or not in the LTTE-controlled areas of the north. Particularly, families of martyrs are given the most favoured treatment. Similar favouritism and political patronage is reported in government-controlled areas of the N and E as well. This political patronage is not confined to N and E only. There are, of course, reports of similar prioritisation and political favouritism in the south as well.

Pilferage of Relief Coupons

The GoSL has provided relief coupons for each tsunami-affected person throughout the country. These coupons are provided for 34 weeks. Each affected person is entitled to LKR 375 worth of relief goods in kind every week. Out of this total, LKR 175 worth of food items and LKR 200 worth of non-food items can be purchased at cooperative shops.

There are widespread allegations of pilferage of individual relief coupon entitlements in the LTTE-controlled areas where fieldwork was carried out. Apparently, there is no uniformity in this pilferage. In some refugee camps eight weeks relief coupons of each person in the household have been cut off before distribution. In some others six weeks or three weeks relief coupons have been cut off. But there are refugee camps in which no pilferage of relief coupons have taken place from some households. For example, in Maruthenkerny refugee camp relief coupons of tsunami-affected people have been pilfered, but not from the non-affected inmates in the camp.

Food items provided for the relief coupons include rice or wheat flour, pulses, sugar and milk powder. Ironically, though Kilinochchi is a major rice-producing district in the country, people in Kallaru refugee camp are provided only wheat flour and not rice. The reason for this irony could be that LTTE has old stock of wheat flour to dispose off. Since last September the LTTE has monopolised supply of wheat flour to bakers and retailers in Jaffna district where 6,00,000 people live. Inmates of Kallaru refugee camp further complained that for a few weeks, wheat flour supplied to them was outdated, i e, the sell by date was September 2004.
In Kattaikadu refugee camp people complained about irregular supply of food items, and only LKR 100 worth of food items and LKR 75 worth of non-food items being offered. The rest LKR 200 worth of goods are believed to be appropriated by the LTTE. Further, in many camps affected people have not been able to purchase non-food items (worth LKR 200 per person per week) due to non-availability. The cooperative shops from which the affected people are expected to purchase these goods seem to be always out of stock. Cooperatives in the N and E are indirectly managed by the LTTE through proxies. Many inmates feel this could be a ploy to deprive them of their due share of non-food relief items.

Anecdotal evidence in government- controlled Jaffna district also reveals such pilferage of relief coupons from tsunami-affected people. Furthermore, in the Eastern Province also such malpractices are reported, both from government-controlled and LTTE-controlled areas, though these could not be verified. Some affected people also confessed that they were selling part of their food relief in order to purchase subsidiary food requirements such as coconut, salt, onions, chillies, etc.

Underpayment of Cash Grants

The GoSL made an initial payment of LKR 2,500 to all tsunami-affected households in the country to purchase cooking utensils during the first month after the tsunami. Anecdotal evidence in the government-controlled areas of the Jaffna district, i e, Vadamarachchi North and East, reveal that many households received only LKR 1,500. It was reported that LTTE had ordered the local government officials to withhold LKR 1,000 per household and disburse only the balance LKR 1,500, thereby appropriating LKR 1,000 per household.
However, such underpayment of cash grant did not seem to have taken place in LTTE-controlled areas in the north. Such underpayment was also not reported in the east, either in government-controlled or LTTE-controlled areas.

Most tsunami-affected people in the camps where fieldwork was conducted have received semi-permanent homes and only a small number of people are still camping in tents. However, in Kervil the affected people were asked by the TRO to do their own roofing and that they would reimburse the cost in due course of time. However, inmates complained that they had not received the promised payment so far. Moreover, there are also differences in types of semi-permanent houses constructed in different places. Semi-permanent houses constructed by TRO in Kervil, Kattaikadu, and Maruthenkerny have a concrete floor (with no foundation), and concrete walls up to only three feet height. Then it is elevated by slim iron bars with thatched roof. The door is made out of tin sheet. Whereas the semi-permanent houses built by Sewa Lanka (southern-based national NGO) in Kallaru refugee camp have a stronger foundation floor and concrete walls right up to the roof, which is thatched. Besides, they also have a wooden door.

Needless to say, the tsunami-affected people in Kervil, Kattaikadu and Maruthenkerny refugee camps are not satisfied with their shoddy semi-permanent houses. The inmates doubt it would have cost the TRO LKR 45,000 for each house. Further, inmates have not been consulted at all before the construction of these semi-permanent houses. This lack of consultation with the affected people was also highlighted in the Report of Verification Mission to LTTE-controlled Areas by a small group of bilateral donor representatives in February 2005.

Adulation of the LTTE

Despite the ground realities that exist of systematic and institutionalised pillage of an impoverished community some writers in Sri Lanka and abroad are praising both the LTTE and the TRO for their excellent or efficient deeds in re-establishing normalcy in the aftermath of the tsunami in the North and East Province. Here I critically assess two such recent writings.

Stokke and Shanmugaratnam1 (2005: 10), for example, naively believe that the LTTE is a parallel state power with its own military, police, judiciary, public administration, and revenue-raising structures. The reality is that LTTE does not have parallel state structures and the people whom they purport to rule have not given them any state power. It certainly has a powerful military structure, but nothing else. The so-called administrative division, forest protection division, health division, education division, etc, are subservient to the military wing and hardly provide any public service. Head offices of these divisions are showpieces for the consumption of the international community, naive journalists, and of course naive academics. Usually what these various divisions of the LTTE do is to influence the corresponding institutions of the government to get things done according to the LTTEs priorities and needs. But, the finance/revenue division and the customs of the LTTE are real. However, taxes and tariffs these divisions collect are mere extortions, for Tamil people have not given any authority to the LTTE to collect these taxes and tariffs. Further, the police force of the LTTE is not intended to maintain law and order but to terrorise the population living in areas under its control. Moreover, LTTEs law courts are mere kangaroo courts not recognised by vast majority of people living in areas under its control.

The head offices of these LTTE divisions are located along the main A9 highway in Kilinochchi town to serve as propaganda symbols to the donor community, overseas journalists, and of course overseas academics. Any intelligent person visiting Kilinochchi would have noticed that these head offices have dark window/door glasses so that nobody can notice what is going on inside. Actually these head offices are mostly empty with no or very few personnel, furniture, and equipment. Even the economic arm of the LTTE, namely, the PDS and the NGO arm of the LTTE, namely, Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) buildings have dark window/door glasses and/or blinds so as to hide the emptiness of the so-called head offices. Being a military organisation LTTE is not nave to have important infrastructure and documents in these highly visible big buildings, because if the civil war resumes then these head offices would become easy targets for the adversary.

Soon after the tsunami the head of TRO2 boasted that it has 3,500 permanent staff and 8,000 volunteers (Virakesari, January 6, 2005: 1). To the best of the authors knowledge these numbers are false and serves only propaganda. The TRO has so far failed to demonstrate the authenticity of these numbers to the public. But TRO head office building in Kilinochchi could be the biggest NGO building in Sri Lanka. Built in 2003 it is one of the greatest peace dividends to the LTTE thanks to the Royal Norwegian government.

It is true as Stokke and Shanmugaratnam (2005:10) claim that the LTTEs informal control of the Sri Lankan state structures extends to government-controlled areas of the north and east as well. This was made possible by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the government and the LTTE in February 2002 and not because of acceptance of the LTTEs role by the Tamil community, let alone other communities living in the N and E. Thus, LTTEs informal control of the Sri Lankan state bureaucracy in the N and E is not by any democratic representation or means but by instilling fear among the bureaucrats. It is well documented that under normal circumstances LTTE uses cohesion in the Tamil diaspora to collect money for their cause (see for example La 2004). In the aftermath of the tsunami the LTTE and TRO cruelly capitalised on the massive sympathy wave sweeping the Tamil diaspora to mobilise huge amount of money. It was reported that TRO has mobilised US$ 500 million from various sources including the Tamil diaspora [Jayasekara 2005].

However, there is no evidence of the money collected abroad remitted to Sri Lanka.
Tamil people know only of LTTE efficiency in killings, extortions in the name of taxes and tariffs [Sarvananthan 2003], and propaganda (spreading falsehood, outright lies and misinformation). LTTEs inefficiency is well known to the Tamil people living in the North and East, but perhaps not to some overseas academics. Has the LTTE ever shown accounts for various illegal taxes it levies on the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and abroad? When did LTTE or TRO account for the monies collected after the tsunami?

Moreover, Stokke and Shanmugaratnam (2005:11) conclude by saying As before the tsunami, the critical question is whether the Sri Lankan political elite will be able to overcome their fragmentation and constructively engage with the challenges of a multi-ethnic society. It is well said, but what they fail to say is that equally LTTE has to do away with its fascist tendencies and transform itself into a democratic political movement. Peace has to be a joint effort by both the GoSL and the LTTE.

Shanmugaratnam (2005: 13) quite rightly complains about the politicisation and centralisation of relief and rehabilitation efforts by the government and cautions about the adverse effects it would have on the peace process. But, what about politicisation and centralisation of relief and rehabilitation by both the LTTE and TRO in the N and E (as noted above)? Further, Shanmugaratnam (2005: 13) goes on to complain about the militarisation of relief operations. It is quite a normal practice around the world that during natural disasters unarmed security forces, sometimes even from abroad, are called upon to partake in rescue and relief operations. The government ordered unarmed security forces to take over refugee camps in the east to provide security to relief goods and orphaned children who were under threat of abduction by the LTTE. For instance, UNICEF has documented at least 106 cases of abduction of children in the N and E who have lost one or both parents to the tsunami (www. colombopage.com). There are hundreds more unreported cases of child abduction after the tsunami.

Further, in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and LTTE-controlled parts of Vadamarachchi east it was the Sea Tigers who led the rescue and relief operations. Besides, it was reported that the Sea Tigers were good enough to pay LKR 1,000 per family in Mullaitivu as consolation immediately after the devastation caused by the tsunami. Moreover, no NGO, INGO, or UN agency was allowed into Mullaitivu to provide relief for more than a week after the tsunami. Amidst these ground realities, Shanmugaratnams complaint about militarisation of relief and rehabilitation operations by the government smacks of partisanship.

Conclusion

Corruption in post-tsunami aid delivery has been reported from all parts of Sri Lanka. Besides, many actors in the field are involved in corrupt practices. In the south such corruption is due to personal greed of individual government or NGO/INGO personnel. In the N and E corruption is mainly due to instigation by the LTTE. In the east, government, LTTE, and NGO/INGO personnel are all involved in corrupt practices. However, in the north it appears that more or less corruption is monopolised by the LTTE (mostly through government officials and of course through the TRO as well).

Currently, there is a backlash against the NGO/INGO community in Sri Lanka as a result of reported corruption and suspected religious conversions taking place in the aftermath of the tsunami. Soon after the tsunami the Sri Lanka customs detected a few containers from abroad with military items sent in the pretext of tsunami relief items. These detections included two disassembled helicopters, which were reportedly sent to two faith-based NGOs in the north. There were also reports of few containers with military items (not arms and ammunitions) sent to TRO from abroad, which is not disputed by the TRO so far (as reported by several local papers).
In mid-March the LTTE decreed that no goldsmith could take gold or jewellery purchased in Colombo or elsewhere (including from abroad) to Jaffna. The goldsmiths in Jaffna were ordered to purchase gold only from the LTTE to make jewellery. Thus, the LTTE monopolised the wholesale trade in gold in the north. It is suspected that this decree was made in order to dispose off jewellery pilfered from the victims of tsunami in the north.

It is high time the GoSL and international community grapple with the reality of post-tsunami N and E and ensure that all aid to the region reaches the intended persons without fear or favour. The interviewees during the fieldwork wanted to get aid directly rather than through the GoSL, LTTE, or the NGOs such as TRO. Hence, the donor agencies should device an innovative mechanism whereby they could deliver aid to the affected people directly, fairly, and equitably, because both the LTTE and local government machinery are incapable of undertaking this task. The tsunami-affected people in the north and east (in LTTE-controlled areas as well) fully deserve aid delivered directly with, without or in spite of the LTTE.

Notes

[Opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of the organisation the author is associated with.] 1 Readers may be interested to know that both these authors are professors at Norwegian universities. 2 He uses just one name 'Regi' to hide his identity.

References

Asian Development Bank/Japan Bank for International Cooperation / Japan International Cooperation Agency / World Bank (2005): Sri Lanka 2005 Post-Tsunami Recovery Programme: Preliminary Damage and Needs Assessment, Colombo, January. Jayasekara, Bandula (2005): 'TRO and Tsunami', South Asia Intelligence Review, Vol 3, No 37, March 28, New Delhi, http://www.satp.org/ La, John (2004), 'Forced Remittances in Canada's Tamil Enclaves', Peace Review, Vol 16, No 3, September, pp 379-85. Planning and Development Secretariat (2005): Post-Tsunami Reconstruction: Needs Assessment for the North-East, January, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Kilinochchi. Sarvananthan, Muttukrishna (2003): 'Economic Revival in North and East Sri Lanka: What Are the Impediments?', Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 38, No 19, May 10-16, Mumbai, pp1844-50. (2005): 'Fuelling the Fire: How Some Donors Are Undoing Conflict Resolution in Sri Lanka, Working Paper 4, Point Pedro Institute of Development, Point Pedro (Sri Lanka), forthcoming. Shanmugaratnam, N (2005): 'The Spectre of a 'Second Tsunami' in Sri Lanka: What Can We Do to Prevent a Human-made Disaster?', Polity, Vol 2, No 3, Social Scientists' Association, Colombo, pp 12-14. Stokke, Kristian and N Shanmugaratnam (2005): 'From Relief and Rehabilitation to Peace in Sri Lanka?' Polity, Vol 2, No 3, Social Scientists' Association, Colombo, pp 10-11.
© Copyright 2000, Lanka Academic Network.

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Final statement of the Asian Civil Society Forum (ACSF) on UN reform

Yahoo! Groups : Srilanka-NGO-Link Messages: (June 13-14 2005) UN ESCAP Bangkok,

Dear friends and colleagues,

From June 13-14, as a follow-up to the Asian Civil Society Forum (ACSF) 2004[1],concerns NGOs had gathered in the United Nations (UN) ESCAP Building, Bangkok toshare their views and discuss their concerns and strategies, and eventuallyarticulate their common positions on the global issues within the current UNreform debate.
On behalf of the organizers and the participants of this forum, we are please totransmit the final statement adopted in this meeting for your kind perusal.
Considering that the global agenda-setting process on security, human rights anddevelopment has direct and indirect impact on the lives of people in Asia, andit is imperative that people in Asia should be able to voice their concerns,hopes and visions, we are circulating this final statement from the ACSF on UNReform, and is writing officially to seek your organization and network'sendorsement to this final statement.
This statement willbe updated with new signatories list accordingly and will be submitted to thePresident of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly (GA) when NGOs gatherin New York for the GA hearing with NGOs on UN reforms on June 23-24.We hope you could also help us to circulate this final statement as widely aspossible to your own networks to seek the endorsement of those that would liketo associate themselves to the position of this final statement.
Please do not hesitate to write to us or the organizers as listed below shouldyou require any further clarification and assistance.
Best wishes,Rashid KangFORUM-ASIA,
On behalf of the organizing committees
Final Statement
Asian Civil Society Forum on UN Reform
June 13-14 2005
UN ESCAP, Bangkok
Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Main Findings and Concerns1) Participation of Non Government Organizations (NGOs)
2) Development
3) Peace and Collective Security
4) Human Rights
III. The Way ForwardIntroduction
1. Throughout the year 2005, the interwoven global agenda of development, security and human rights has been addressed in the context of UN reform and the five year review of the UN Millennium Declaration + 5 (Millennium+5).
2. The global agenda-setting process on security, human rights and developmenthas direct and indirect impact on the lives of people in Asia, and it is imperative that people in Asia should be able to voice their concerns, hopes and visions.
3. The Asian Civil Society Forum, which is comprised of NGOs from Asia, met fromJune 13-14, 2005 at UN ESCAP, Bangkok, as a follow-up to the Asian Civil SocietyForum (ACSF) 2004 [2], to share their views and discuss their concerns and strategies, and eventually articulate their common positions on the global issues within the current UN reform debate.
4. The forum critically examined both the Secretary General's report entitled" In Larger Freedom" as well as the Draft Outcome Document (DOD) of the Presidentof the 59th Session of the General Assembly dated June 3, 2005.
5. The forum welcomes the call for a culture of prevention[3]; promotion ofhuman security as the guiding principle[4], and the recognition of the need fordialogue among cultures and civilization.[5] We also welcome the establishmentof a Peace Building Commission.
6. In the efforts to strengthen the United Nations, the forum recognizes that there is an urgent need to underline the spirit of Article 103 of the UnitedNations Charter, which states that "in the event of conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligationsunder the present Charter shall prevail."
7. Furthermore, greater attention should be placed on human rights and development issues in the reform agenda. While terrorism poses a major challengeto the world and should therefore be addressed accordingly by the SecurityCouncil, due weight should also be given also to human rights and the right todevelopment.
8. In keeping with the spirit of democracy and global governance at all levels,the forum calls for greater transparency and accountability in all the organs ofthe United Nations. Main Findings and Concerns
I. Participation of Non Government Organizations (NGOs)
10. The forum recalls the first three words of the UN Charter, "We the Peoples, "and the spirit of the Cardoso Report on UN Civil Society Relations in callingfor greater access to inter-governmental processes for all peoples, stresses theimportant role NGOs have played within the United Nations system, as providedfor under Article 71 of the UN Charter and elaborated in the ECOSOC resolution1996/31.
11. The following concerns and recommendations have been adopted:
  1. We reiterate that Paragraph 102 of the Draft Outcome Document (DOD) shouldbe interpreted broadly so as to ensure that NGOs' input is mainstreamed into allaspects of standard setting, decision making and implementation processes.
  2. We express our disappointment that NGO participation in the GeneralAssembly was omitted in the Draft Outcome Decision. Given the continuingimportance of the role of NGOs within the UN system, NGOs' participation shouldbe further ensured and strengthened by allowing them to contribute to theSecurity Council and the General Assembly with suitable arrangements.

II. Development

12. As civil society organizations, we are actively connected with communitiesof the people who are negatively affected by the impact of globalization. Hence,in line with the spirit of the Asian Civil Society Forum (ACSF) 2004, this forumbelieves the process of globalization should be managed in order to make it morebeneficial to the ordinary poor.

13. Current momentum derived from the on-going United Nations Reform initiativesshould be maximized in order to put forth alternatives to this economic paradigmso as to promote a more balanced, equitable, fair and just space for local andcommunity control over resources and to provide real and effective communityparticipation in decision-making processes.

14. The following concerns and recommendations have been adopted:

  1. The primary role of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as thecentral coordinating organ on all economic and social issues has been severelyundermined by the absence of strong monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. i. We recommend that any reform of the ECOSOC shouldenhance its monitoring and implementation mechanisms to ensure that theInternational Financial Institutions and other relate bodies abide by the valuesand principles enshrined in the UN Charter and other international human rightsinstruments.
  2. Overseas Development Aid (ODA) and debt relief are essential to the needsof developing countries, but the most important priority is the fair andequitable trade. Tariff and non tariff barriers to trade, such as agriculturalsubsidies, tariffs and duties, and limited market access deny developingcountries the opportunity to develop and realize the Millennium DevelopmentGoals (MDGs) i. We recommend that the developed countries reducetheir barriers to trade by providing duty-free and quota-free access todeveloping country exports, especially in the areas of agriculture andintellectual property rights related to public health and access to affordablemedication. ii. We call for an internationally agreed framework toensure fair and stable prices for commodities in all developing countries.
  3. There is an urgent need to protect the livelihoods of ordinary people fromthe adverse consequences of any trade, and/or financial liberalizationprocesses, in particular those socially marginalized, the disadvantaged andother vulnerable groups in society. Liberalization of all agricultural productsregardless of their importance to the nation's survival threatens the lives andlivelihoods of many farmer communities in developing countries. i. We call for an internationally agreedframework that ensures that local production of agricultural products vital tothe nation's survival and food security are protected and supported. ii. We recommend that any negotiations ontrade, whether at bilateral, regional or multi-lateral levels, should becompatible with existing international norms and standards on human rights,environment and peace and human security
  4. We underscore that one of the causes of the Asian Financial Crisis was alack of a regulatory framework on capital flows and the inability of small localbusinesses to compete with the Transnational Corporations (TNCs). i. We recommend that the General Assembly and otherrelevant financial institutions create a legal framework to regulate capitalflows, while protecting local businesses from unfair competition with TNCs.
  5. The absence of transparency in bilateral and regional trade negotiationsis a major impediment to development, security and human rights. i. We recommend that procedural mechanisms beestablished to ensure greater transparency in international and regional tradenegotiations.
  6. Good governance is best addressed via multilateral approaches rather than bilateral arrangements, which in many instances carry the conditionality to pushfor neo-liberal agenda. i. We urge all member states to ratify the UNConvention against Corruption.
  7. Good governance should encompass the private sector, including Transnational Corporations, incorporating the United Nations Norms on theResponsibilities of Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises. i. We urge the United Nations to create a legallybinding framework on corporate accountability based on the United Nations Normson the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises.
  8. The Millennium Summit in 2000 and the MDGs balanced the needs of thedeveloped and developing countries. Specific reference to MDG Goal 8 to developthe "Global Partnership for Development" and the "Financing for Development" hasregrettably been omitted from the DOD.i. We recommend that a rights-based approach and themainstreaming of the gender perspective be taken into account for therealization of the Millennium Development Goals.

III. Peace and Collective Security

14. There is an urgent need to set up an agenda for peace and security withinthe framework of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The interdependence of human security, human rights and peace as well as commitment to safeguard thehuman rights of individuals and groups facing anti-terrorist measures need to beenhanced. Any genuine United Nations reform in the security sector shouldcontribute towards demilitarization of conflicts as well as promotion of humansecurity and peace.

15. The right to self-determination should be a key element within the discourseon terrorism, peace and security, and human rights. Recognizing that manyconflicts within the region are caused by the fact that States do notaccommodate this right within democratic governance, we call for a comprehensiveconvention on terrorism during the 60th session of the General Assembly, andstress the following concerns:

  1. The definition of the terrorism should include state-sponsored terrorism
  2. There is a need to distinguish between persons or groups who targetcivilians and those who are seeking legitimate self-determination.
  3. Member States must address the root causes of terrorism.
  4. Counter-terrorism measures must comply with international human rights obligations, including due process of law.

16. Chapter VI and Paragraph 3 of Article 52 in Chapter VIII of the UnitedNations Charter on regional security arrangements needs to be strengthened tofacilitate the peaceful settlement of conflicts.

17. Given the current focus of the debate on United Nations Reform initiativeson the reform of the Security Council, we recommend the following:

  1. In line with hopes to strengthen global governance and democracy, theSecurity Council should be reformed to be more representative, by allowing forequitable geographical representation of all Members States.
  2. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter should be strictly interpreted toensure that it is not used to justify pre-emptive action or the unilateral useof force.
  3. The veto serves to undermine the status of the United Nations as ademocratic global institution. As such, the forum categorically states itsopposition to the veto.
  4. In the event of the retention of the veto by the existing Permanent FiveMember States of the Security Council, we suggest that: i. The veto be reviewed in 5 ii. Veto-wielding Members be held accountable tothe General Assembly iii. The veto be not exercised when the Security Council is called to act upon allegations of genocide, crimes against humanityand war crimes. iv. Member States seeking Security Council status should be required to meet such requirements as the 0.7% target of Gross National Income for ODA. v. Paragraph 3 of Article 27 in Chapter V of theUN Charter should be strictly enforced so as to ensure that parties involved ina dispute before the Security Council abstain from voting.
  5. More comprehensive criteria need to be developed regarding the use offorce, including: i. Seriousness of the threats ii. A clear procedure and modalities ofoperations iii. Relationship between means and outcome iv. Proportionality v. A comprehensive contingency plan(including food, shelter etc) to protect civilian and to avoid inflictingcollateral damage vi. Remedial measures

IV. Human Rights

18. The human rights component constitutes the crucial pillar of the United Nations machinery in responding to the desperate calls from victims across theworld for intervention when their fundamental human rights have been violated.

19. Only by engaging in genuine reform of its bodies and machinery entrusted torespond to all human rights issues worldwide can the legitimacy of the UnitedNations be preserved in the eyes of the international community.

20. Hence, the forum critically examined the proposal for a Human RightsCouncil. Taking note of the lack of concrete details on the mandate, function, rules, regulations, procedural issues, agenda setting and composition of theHuman Rights Council, the forum recommends the following:

  1. The mandate of the proposed Human Rights Council must be enhanced from thecurrent limited mandate of the Commission on Human Rights to move fromsupervision toward enforcement measures, by empowering it to refer cases ofgross human rights violations to the International Criminal Court and to theSecurity Council.
  2. The Human Rights Council should be a principal organ of the United Nationsand be funded from the regular budget of the United Nations.
  3. The proposed Human Rights Council should expeditiously deal with theCommission on Human Rights' pending standard-setting tasks, namely the draftdeclaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Optional Protocol toConvention on Economic and Social Rights.
  4. The Human Rights Council should be a standing body which will continue to hold annual six-week meetings, in addition to convening special sittings orsessions throughout the year.
  5. The Human Rights Council should develop effective follow-up mechanisms for member states' cooperation with Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies where thecurrent Commission on Human Rights has failed to bridge implementation gaps.
  6. The proceedings of the proposed Human Rights Council should be held inGeneva, considering that most of the UN human rights machinery is based inGeneva.
  7. Members elected to the Human Rights Council should commit themselves toundertake the following measures within their tenure: i. Ratifying all human rights treaties andoptional protocols. ii. Withdrawal of all reservations to thehuman rights treaties that are contrary to the object and purpose of the treaty. iii. Submission of reports required under thetreaty monitoring bodies within the prescribed dateline. iv. Extend a standing invitation to allSpecial Procedures
  8. Members of the Human Rights Council who fail to adopt the above measures should not qualify for immediate re-election.
  9. Membership in the Human Rights Council should be limited to two termsperiods with one term as an interval.
  10. The Human Rights Council should develop a compliance mechanism to ensure that Member States fulfill their human rights obligations.
  11. The existing Sub-Commission should be retained and should report directlyto the proposed HRC.

V. The Way Forward

21. We commit ourselves to the challenges identified in this statement andresolve to build on the spirit of the Asian Civil Society Forum 2004 finalstatements[6]. In the coming months and near future, the forum will:

  1. Monitor the ongoing development in the UN General Assembly as well as the UN Secretariat and to lobby inter-governmental processes to make sure that ourconcerns are taken into consideration.
  2. We look forward to the regular civil society hearings to be initiated bythe UN Secretary General before the UN General Assembly beginning with the 60thsession of UN GA in 2005 to review the implementation of the UN MillenniumDeclaration.
  3. As civil society organizations we affirm our right to be involved in thesedeliberations and are prepared to play our part and bring local concerns to theUN agenda and to strengthen Asian civil society's participation ininter-governmental processes.

- end -

The above statement has been adopted by consensus by those present and endorsed by the undersigned NGOs and networks. This list will be updated with new signatories accordingly.

Organizers· Indonesian Working Group on Human Rights (HRWG)· Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia· South East Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA)· Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)· Third World Network (TWN)· Conference of NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN (CONGO)Working Group on Asia· Pax Romana ICMICA (International Catholic Movement for Intellectualand Cultural affairs), Geneva Key Contact Persons· FORUM-ASIA: Rashid Kang, (mobile: +669-023-1301) ; Anselmo Lee, Secretariat:Address: 111 Suthisarnwinichai Road, Samsennok, Huaykwang, Bangkok 10320, Thailand Phone: (662) 2769846-7; 693-4939 ext 306 (for Rashid), Fax: (662) 6934939

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Training on coir product manufacturing

Daily News: 23/06/2005" by Anjana Samarasinghe

The Coconut Development Authority (CDA) has initiated a program to train rural industrialists on manufacturing coir product and expect to join hands with coir products exporters to find international markets.

Director (Processing Development) of CDA W. K. N. Shanthichandra said that their main objective of this project is to promote exporting coir as a finish product rather than as raw materials. "We need to develop this cottage industry as a foreign exchange generator and enhance the rural economy", he said.

The training program is specially targeted at rural communities in the South and North West province. The training is on manufacturing door mats, yarns, corridor mats and fancy items made from coir. Duration of the training period is nearly two months. Participants who complete the training will receive tool kits and raw material worth Rs. 5000. Participants can choose the product they want to have the training on.

Training programs conducted in Tissamaharama, Pannala, Napokuna and Udawela have already been completed. CDA also expects to start a geo textile manufacturing training program in Tissamaharama.

I would like to invite exporters who are involved in exporting finish coir products to join hands with CDA to promote these products as income generator. Exporters who received orders for these products can join with the CDA. CDA will make necessary arrangements to fulfil their export orders through well trained industrialists, Shanthichandra said.

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And Now, the News in Latin America's View

The New York Times: "And Now, the News in Latin America's View

By JUAN FORERO (NYT) 1130 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 9 , Column 1

ABSTRACT - Pres Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is promoting and largely financing Latin America Telesur, regionwide television station that he says is aimed at counteracting 'media dictatorship' of international news networks; venture also involves Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Uruguay; station is scheduled to begin broadcasting in July; critics say Chavez's intention is to stifle dissent rather than broaden coverage with propaganda machine financed by ideologically driven government flush with oil money; photo (M) "

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