'Japanese O.J.' kills self after extradition to US
LOS ANGELES (AFP) 2008/10/12
A Japanese businessman hanged himself in a Los Angeles jail cell where he was awaiting trial for plotting his wife's murder here in 1981, prosecutors said Saturday.
Kazuyoshi Miura, 61, killed himself Friday night just hours after arriving in Los Angeles in the custody of authorities that had him extradited to face criminal charges here.
Chief of Los Angeles police detectives Charles Beck said Miura used a piece of shirt to hang himself after a jailer checked on him at 9:45 pm Friday (0445 GMT Saturday). Miura was alone in his cell.
An officer noticed Miura unconscious, hanging by the strip of cloth, about ten minutes later.
"The detention officers assigned to the portion of the jail housing Miura had conducted a required cell check, with nothing unusual to report, approximately 10 minutes prior," Beck said.
Efforts to revive Miura failed and he was pronounced dead at a local medical center, according to Beck.
Miura had been in police custody since his arrest February 21 in the US commonwealth of Saipan.
He arrived in Los Angeles early Friday under escort by police detectives and was to remain in jail until being arraigned in court next week on a charge of conspiracy to murder his wife.
Miura had been dubbed the "Japanese O.J. Simpson" because of the intense interest in his case at home.
"He was not on suicide watch, and we had no obvious evidence that he was suicidal," Beck said.
"He was extremely cooperative on the trip over. He had visitors from the (Japanese) Consulate and discussions with his attorney."
No note was found and, as is routine, the "in-custody death" is being investigated.
Miura was shot in the leg and his 28-year-old wife, Kazumi, received a bullet wound to the head in what appeared at the time to be a robbery in a Los Angeles car park on November 18, 1981.
The wife was returned to Japan by the US Air Force and died in hospital after a year in a coma. The case became notorious and reinforced Japanese perceptions of the US as a violent country.
But a series of Japanese news articles in 1984 started to change perceptions when a former mistress of Miura said he had asked her to kill his wife three months before the shooting.
In a statement released in May 1988 after murder and conspiracy charges were filed in Los Angeles, prosecutors alleged Miura collected about 750,000 dollars from life insurance policies on his wife.
Prosecutors also allege Miura "solicited five different people to murder his wife," including the person who actually shot her.
Miura was convicted of murder and assault charges by a Japanese court and served more than a decade in prison before winning his release with a successful appeal.
US judge Steven Van Sicklen ruled last month that Miura could only face conspiracy to commit murder charges in California -- rather than a count of murder -- because of double jeopardy rules.
Thursday, prosecutors in Los Angeles filed a 25-page motion asking the court to reinstate a murder charge against Miura.
Miura was scheduled to be arraigned on the conspiracy charge on Tuesday. He faced a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.
Japanese anger as U.S. takes North Korea off terrorism list
Busuness Week October 12 2008
With Japan playing an important role in the current financial crisis, not least Mitsubishi UFJ’s $9 billion bailout of Morgan Stanley, one might think the U.S. government would be trying hard not to upset a key ally. Yet, the Bush administration’s decision to take North Korea off the list of nations considered to be sponsors of terrorism appears to have been done with little, if any, consideration for Japan.
Predictably, the decision was met with mixture of anger and disbelief in Japan where the fate of Japanese kidnapped by North Korea in the late 1970s and early 1980s understandably remains an emotive issue. “I cannot help feeling empty because everything is decided somewhere beyond our reach. I feel completely helpless,” said Shigeo Iizuka, 70, who leads the group which represents the Japanese abductees’ families, reported Kyodo News. Teruaki Masumoto, another member of the group, described the U.S. move as the “betrayal” of an ally.
The manner of the announcement also leaves much to be desired. While the official line is that the move won’t affect Japanese-U.S. relations, the Asahi newspaper reported that Japan had been caught hop, with Prime Minister Taro Aso only alerted by Washington thirty minutes before the announcement.
Japanese state broadcaster NHK said Japan’s Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa broke off from talks about rescuing the world’s financial system to press President Bush on the matter. Bush told him to speak to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who apparently
said the removal will not have a large impact on the kidnapping issue. Nakagawa described the move as “extremely regrettable.”
The U.S government is also receiving low marks for its handling of the financial crisis. While officials haven’t publicly criticized the U.S., economists in Japan have been dismayed at the handling of the bailout, complaining that the U.S. has been slow to learn from Japan’s mistakes during its own financial meltdown a decade ago. That ensuing upheaval contributed to the 24% fall in the Nikkei 225 Index last week—its worst ever week.
Full text of Premier Zhu's government work report
BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government Premier Zhu Rongji delivered at the First Session of the 10th National People's Congress on March 5, 2003:
Premier of the State Council
This government took office in March 1998, and its term is about to expire. On behalf of the State Council, I now submit a report on the work of the government during the past five years tothe First Session of the Tenth National People's Congress and put forward a number of suggestions on this year's work for your examination and approval and also for comments from members of theNational Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
I Review of the Work of the Government in the Past Five Years
The five years since the First Session of the Ninth National People's Congress have been an extraordinary period. Soon after this government took office, the Asian financial crisis struck, and world economic growth stagnated. Domestically, irrationalitiesin the industrial structure became critical, and large numbers of workers were laid off from state-owned enterprises. Catastrophic floods struck in 1998 and 1999. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, our people of all ethnic groups have forged ahead, worked still harder in solidarity, surmounted numerous difficulties, and made great achievements in reform, opening up and economic and social development that have won worldwide recognition. We have attained the strategic goals for the second stage of our modernization drive and begun our march towards the third stage goals.
During the past five years, the national economy maintained good growth momentum, and important advances were made in the strategic restructuring of the economy.
-- The economy maintained a high growth rate. China's GDP rosefrom 7.4 trillion yuan in 1997 to 10.2 trillion yuan in 2002, an average annual increase of 7.7%, when calculated in constant prices. Notable results were achieved in the readjustment of the industrial structure. The supply of grain and other major agricultural products took a historic shift from chronic shortagesto an overall balance with surpluses during good years. High and new technology industries, such as the IT industry, expanded rapidly. The transformation of traditional industries was accelerated. Modern service industries developed rapidly. The quality and efficiency of economic growth improved constantly. National tax revenue grew by a large margin every year. Total fiscal revenue rose from 0.8651 trillion yuan in 1997 to 1.8914 trillion yuan in 2002, an average annual increase of 205.3 billionyuan. China's foreign exchange reserves climbed from 139.9 billion to 286.4 billion US dollars. Investment in fixed assets over the five years totaled 17.2 trillion yuan. In particular, based on the issuance of 660 billion yuan of long-term construction treasury bonds, 3.28 trillion yuan of bank loans and funds from other sources were generated for investment, allowing us to accomplish many large undertakings we had been wanting but unable to undertake for years for lack of resources. The productive forces reached a new high, and the country's economic strength and ability to withstand risks and compete internationally grew significantly.
-- Remarkable achievements were made in infrastructure development. By concentrating our resources, we completed a numberof key infrastructure projects of nationwide significance. We built water conservancy projects on a scale larger than any other time since the founding of New China. The investment in these projects nationwide totaled 356.2 billion yuan for the five years,which was equal to the total investment in this field from 1950 through 1997 after adjusting for price changes. A number of key water conservancy projects were launched or completed. Work on reinforcing 35,000 km of river embankments was started. Over 3,500km of main dikes of the Yangtze River and nearly 1,000 km of dikesof the Yellow River have been reinforced, and their capacity to withstand floods has been greatly increased. The second phase of the Three Gorges water control project on the Yangtze River, whichhas attracted world attention, will soon be completed; water control facilities such as the one at Xiaolangdi on the Yellow River became operational, and construction on the South-North Water Diversion Project was begun. Transport developed on an unprecedented scale, and a comprehensive modern transport system began to take shape. In these five years, China invested 1.2343 trillion yuan in highway building, which was equal to 170% of the figure for the period from 1950 through 1997 after adjusting for price changes. The total length of highways open to traffic increased from 1.23 million km in 1997 to 1.76 million km in 2002,of which expressways increased from 4,771 km to 25,200 km, liftingChina from the 39th to the second place in the world. Railway length increased from 65,969 km to 71,500 km. Over the past five years, construction of 5,944 km of new railway lines, of which 4,603 km are double-track and 5,704 km are electrified, was completed. A total of 50 airports were either newly built or expanded. The annual cargo handling capacity of dock berths for 10,000 ton-class or larger ships increased by 144 million tons. Construction of postal and telecommunications facilities greatly expanded. The length of installed long-distance optical cables increased from 150,000 km in 1997 to 470,000 km in 2002, and the number of fixed-line and mobile phone subscribers increased from 83.54 million to 421 million, ranking China first in the world. Construction in the energy sector was further intensified. The installed power-generating capacity increased from 254 million kw in 1997 to 353 million kw in 2002. Urban planning and public utility construction improved notably, greatly changing the appearance of many cities. The infrastructure improved remarkably,which significantly increased the capability for our future economic development.
-- The program for developing the western region made a good start. Over the past three years since the introduction of the western development strategy, the government has given a powerful push to the region's development by increasing investment, stepping up transfer payments and introducing preferential fiscal and taxation policies. Work was begun on 36 new key projects, which called for a total investment of over 600 billion yuan. Smooth progress was made on such major projects as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the diversion of natural gas and electricity from the western to the eastern regions, water control projects and trunk highways. Work was accelerated to ensure that every county seat is served by asphalt roads, that every township has access toelectricity, and that every village enjoys radio and television reception. Efforts were intensified to conserve and improve the ecological environment. Construction was accelerated on rural roads, small and medium-sized water conservancy projects, potable water facilities for people and livestock, as well as facilities in the fields of science, technology and education. Economic and technological cooperation between the eastern region and the western and central regions was increased.
-- Our capability for sustainable development was enhanced. The spending on environmental protection and ecological development in the five years reached 580 billion yuan, amounting to 170% of the figure from 1950 through 1997. Six forest ecological projects -- reforesting formerly cultivated land, protecting natural forests and controlling the sources of dust storms affecting Beijing and Tianjin -- were carried out in full. During these five years, an additional 27.87 million hectares of land was covered with trees; 31.53 million hectares of hills were cordoned off for afforestation, and 3.82 million hectares of formerly cultivated land were returned to forests. Soil erosion on 266,000 square km of land and desertification on 5.7 million hectares of land were brought under control. The tendency towards worsening environmental pollution has, on the whole, been arrested; the total discharge of major pollutants has decreased steadily, and the quality of the environment in key cities and areas has been improving. New progress was made in the protection of natural resources. Great successes were achieved in geological prospecting.Notable progress was made in disaster prevention and reduction. With the natural population growth rate down to 6.45, China has entered a new period of low and stable birthrate.
(The rest is omitted)
November 22, 1943 - World War II: War in the Pacific - US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and ROC leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss ways to defeat Japan.
The Cairo Declaration was a result from Cairo Conference at Cairo, Egypt, on November 27, 1943. President Franklin Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China were present. The Cairo Communiqué was broadcasted through radio on December 1, 1943. The Cairo Declaration is cited in Clause Eight (8) of the Potsdam Declaration, which is referred by the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.
India 'sinks Somali pirate ship'
BBC NEWS 19 November 2008
An Indian navy warship has destroyed a suspected Somali pirate vessel after it came under attack in the Gulf of Aden.
INS Tabar sank the pirate "mother ship" after it failed to stop for investigation and opened fire instead, an Indian navy statement said.
There has been a surge in piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia.
The latest attack came days after the Saudi-owned Sirius Star supertanker and its 25 crew were seized by pirates and anchored off the Somali coast.
Vela International, operators of the Sirius Star, told the BBC no demands had yet been received from the pirates. The company also said all the crew were safe. The biggest tanker ever hijacked, Sirius Star is carrying a cargo of two million barrels of oil - a quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily output - worth more than $100m (7m).
Analysts say the pattern of other hijackings suggests a ransom request is likely to follow. Given the value of the tanker and its cargo, that is expected to be a sizeable demand.
Two of the captive crew are British. The UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said the Royal Navy was co-ordinating the European response to the incident.
"The problem of piracy around Somalia is a grave danger to the stability in the region," he told the BBC.
Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has suffered continuing civil strife.
India is among several countries already patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes which connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The Indian navy said the Tabar spotted the pirate vessel while patrolling 285 nautical miles (528km) south-west of Salalah in Oman on Tuesday evening.
The navy said the pirates on board were armed with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers.
When it demanded the vessel stop for investigation, the pirate ship responded by threatening to "blow up the naval warship if it closed on her", the statement said.
Pirates then fired on the Tabar, and the Indians say they retaliated and that there was an explosion on the pirate vessel, which sank.
"Fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored in the vessel," the Indian navy said.
Some of the pirates tried to escape on two speedboats. The Indian sailors gave chase but one boat was later found abandoned, while a second boat escaped.
INS Tabar has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since 23 October, and has escorted 35 ships safely through the "pirate-infested waters", the statement said.
Last week, helicopter-borne Indian marine commandos stopped pirates from boarding and hijacking an Indian merchant vessel.
On Tuesday, a cargo ship and a fishing vessel became the latest to join more than 90 vessels attacked by the pirates this year.
The first vessel, a 25-crew cargo vessel transporting wheat to Iran, was attacked in the Gulf of Aden, while contact was lost with the crew of 12 on the fishing boat.
Piracy off the coast of East Africa and the Gulf of Aden - an area of more than 1m sq miles (2.6m sq km) - is estimated to have cost up to $30m in ransoms this year, a UK think tank has said.
The hijackings account for one-third of all global piracy incidents this year and the situation is getting out of control, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
The pirates who seized the Sirius Star are a sophisticated group with contacts in Dubai and neighbouring countries, says the BBC Somali Service's Yusuf Garaad.
Much of their ransom money from previous hijackings has been used to buy new boats and weapons as well as develop a network across the Horn of Africa, he adds.
Shipping companies are now weighing up the risks of using the short-cut route to Europe via the Suez canal.
However, travelling around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope would add several weeks to average journey times and substantially increase the cost of goods for consumers.
Tamil Eelam National leader in his annual Heroes’ Day statement on 27 November 2008
TamilVoice Danmark November 27, 2008
He said that though the LTTE adopted the armed struggle, it has always wished to solve the Tamil national problem through peaceful means. He said, “We have never been against adopting peaceful means and we have never hesitated to take part in peace talks.”
“We have never planned to act against the interests of any country -
We wish to renew our good relationship with India”
The leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), V Pirapaharan, in his annual Heroes’ Day statement said that the LTTE has never stood in the way of the national, geopolitical, or economic welfare of any other country and added that the profound aspirations of the Tamil people too are not harmful to the welfare of any country or its people. He further said that during the long struggle waged by the LTTE it has never planned to act against any country. He appealed to the countries that have banned the LTTE to remove this ban.
He said that trials and tribulations that LTTE faces now are neither new nor insurmountable to the movement and expressed confidence that the challenges will be defeated with the overwhelming strength of the people.
He went on at length on the relationship of the LTTE with India. He said, “Great changes are taking place in India. The voices of support for our struggle that were stifled are again being heard loudly.” He expressed his desire for the renewal of good relationship with India.
Expressing his gratitude to the people of India he said, “Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief. I wish to express my love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended.” He also appealed to the Indian government to take constructive actions to remove the ban which remains a stumbling block for the good relationship between India and the LTTE.
My beloved people!
The land of Tamil Eelam is confronted with an intense war as never before. Rearing its head in different parts of Wanni, the war is gathering momentum. As the Sinhala state is committed to a military solution, the war is becoming intense and widespread. The underlying intent of the Sinhala state is to wipe out the national life and resources of the Tamils and subjugate the Tamil nation under alien Sinhala military despotism. With this in view, it is executing its war plan at full gallop. Pooling together all its military resources and arsenal, and with all its national wealth to buttress it, the racist Sinhala state has waged a fierce war on our land. Our freedom fighters, have dedicated themselves to unbending resistance against this war of aggression launched by the racist Sinhala state. With various countries of the world buttressing the genocidal war on the people of Tamil Eelam, we are waging a defensive war for the freedom of our people.
Today, our movement has embarked on a historic journey, hazardous and strenuous. In this historic venture, we have encountered numerous turns, twists and confrontations. We have faced forces much mightier than ours. We have had direct confrontations even against superior powers, stronger than us. We have withstood wave after wave of our enemy attacks. Standing alone, we have blasted networks of innumerable intrigues, interwoven with betrayal and sabotage. We stood like a mountain and faced all dangers that loomed like storms. When compared to these happenings of the past, today’s challenges are neither novel nor huge. We will face these challenges with the united strength of our people.
This land which the Sinhala state is trying to occupy and enslave, has never belonged to it. This land is ours. Ancient Tamil civilisation stood long and firm on this land. Our ancestors lived and belonged here. Our ancient kings built kingdoms and dynasties and ruled from here. On this land where the roots of our nation have sunk deep, we wish to live in peace and with dignity and make decisions on our lives without the intervention of foreign rulers.
From the day that British colonialism was replaced with Sinhala oppression, we have been struggling for our just rights - peacefully at first and with weapons thereafter. The political struggle for our right to self-determination has extended over the last sixty years. During this period our struggle has gone through different shapes, developments and advanced to maturity. In the beginning, it was a peaceful and democratic struggle by our people for justice. The racist Sinhala state resorted to armed and animal like violence to suppress the peaceful struggle of the Tamil people for their political rights. It was when state oppression breached all norms and our people faced naked terrorism that our movement for freedom was born as a natural outcome in history. We were compelled to take up arms in order to protect our people from the armed terrorism of the racist Sinhala state. The armed violent path was not our choice. It was forced upon us by history.
Even though the armed struggle was thrust on us by inevitable needs, yet we wish to stop the war and seek a peaceful resolution to the national question of our people. Our freedom movement is always ready for it. We are not opposed to a peaceful resolution. We have never hesitated to participate in peace talks. From Thimpu to Geneva, under diametrically varied historical circumstances, we have adopted peaceful methods and participated in talks in order to win the political rights of our people.
Although we acted honestly and whole heartedly, to find a peaceful resolution to the national question, all talks were futile. The intransigence of the Sinhala state, its dishonest approach and its faith in military solution were the cause for failure of the talks. Even at a time when we had produced spectacular achievements in battle fields and broken the back-bone of the Sinhala armed forces, we participated in the peace negotiations facilitated by Norway. Bringing the war to an end, we participated with honesty and diligence in the peace negotiations which protracted for six years.
We continued to exercise patience at the military rampages and provocations by the armed forces. It is not that we trusted the racist Sinhala state to respect our people’s fair claims and advance justice, but it was to expose the hypocrisy of the Sinhala state and at the same time to impress upon the international community our commitment to peace, that we participated in the negotiations.
During the peace talks convened in different capitals of the world, there were no attempts to resolve the day-to-day needs of the Tamil people or to negotiate a resolution to the underlying national question. Sri Lanka made use of the opportunity of the peace talks to attempt to weaken the LTTE and hoodwink the Tamil nation and the international community. Using the talks as a masquerade, the Sinhala state made preparations to wage a major war on the Tamil nation. Making use of the cease-fire and the peace environment, the Sinhala state resuscitated its devastated economy and rebuilt its military might that was in shambles. It concentrated on heavy recruitment, refurbishing its arsenal, strengthening the armed forces and conducting military exercises. While the Tamil nation was engaged in peace-building, the Sinhala nation dedicated itself to preparations for war.
Meanwhile, some countries which identified themselves as so-called Peace Sponsors, rushed into activities which impaired negotiations. They denigrated our freedom movement as a terrorist organisation. They put us on their black list and ostracized us as unwanted and untouchable. Our people living in many lands were intimidated into submission by oppressive limitations imposed on them to prevent their political activities supporting our freedom struggle. Humanitarian activities pursued by our law-abiding people in many countries, well within the purview of the law of the land, have been belittled and curtailed. These activities were aimed at providing humanitarian aid to helpless victims of genocidal attacks by the Sinhala Sri Lanka state in Tamil areas. However, these humanitarian activities were branded as criminal activities in those countries. Representatives of the Tamil people, along with community leaders were arrested, jailed and insulted. The explicit bias shown by the activities of these countries affected the talks, in its balance and in its consideration of our status as an equal partner. This further aggravated the racist attitude of the Sinhala state. Sinhala chauvinism was encouraged to raise its head with impunity and inevitably push the Sinhala state further on its war path.
The Sinhala state shut tight the gates to peace and waged its war again on the Tamil nation. The cease-fire agreement facilitated by the international community was abrogated unilaterally by Sinhala Sri Lanka. Strangely no voice of protest was registered by any peace sponsor. Not even as a formality. Nor was any concern expressed. In contrast, some countries from the international community are providing an abundant supply of war materials, military training and expert advice, all for free. This has encouraged the Sinhala state to aggravate its genocidal war against the Tamils with a terrorist audacity .
Today, the Sinhala state has, as never before, placed its trust on its military strength, on military modalities and on a military solution. Its desire to impose its military despotism over the Tamil homeland and order a stringent military rule over the Tamils, has increased. As a result, the war has gathered intensity and momentum. In truth, this is not a war against the LTTE as the Sinhala state professes. This is a war against the Tamils; against the Tamil nation. In short, a genocidal war.
This war has affected Tamil civilians more than any body else. By turning the heat of war on our people and by burdening them with immeasurable sufferings, the Sinhala state is aspiring to turn our people against the LTTE. By closing the trunk-line roads, embargoing food and medicine and by suffocating people in tight military encirclements, the government has unleashed barrages of bombardments and shelling. Having lost their private lands and the serene life on them, our people have been reduced to destitution and live as wandering refugees. They have been forced to carry the cross of eternal suffering from birth to death. Struggling with disease and misery, malnutrition, ageing and untimely death, our people are steeped in suffering. With the solitary purpose of breaking the unbending will of our people, the Sinhala state has unleashed waves of oppression on them and subjected them to grievous injustice. A huge economic war has been declared on our people, their economic life shattered and their day-to-day living impaired. In Tamil areas under military control, hundreds of people disappear or killed, every month. In Sinhala areas, disappearance and killing of Tamils have become a normal routine.
Tamil areas under military occupation are encountering an accelerated agenda of genocide, today. Death, destruction, army atrocities and open prison-life in one’s own land, are the unendurable suffering our people have to suffer, as an order of the day. Arrest, imprisonment, torture, rape, murder, disappearance and clandestine burial in unknown graves form a vicious circle in which the lives of our people is enmeshed. Yet, our people have not lost hope. No measure, however punitive, can withhold their will to resist. Their yearning for freedom remains strong. No aerial bombardment can wipe out their determination to attain their freedom. Our people are used to carrying the cross of suffering. They are used to facing destruction and loss, daily in life. This suffering has further tempered their will to be steadfast in their aspiration. With such impetus, the urge for freedom has gathered momentum as never before.
Facing a great confrontation for such a long period, we have sacrificed so much and fought for so long, for nothing else, but for our people to live in freedom; live with dignity and live in peace. We are conducting this struggle with the unrelenting support of the Tamil people, the world over. Besides, our struggle does not contravene the national interest, geo-political interest or economic interest of any outside country. The inherent aspirations of our people do not in any way hamper the national interests of any country or people. At the same time, it may be noted that during the long history of our struggle, we have not conducted any act of aggression against any member state of the international community.
Our freedom movement, as well as our people, have always wished to maintain cordiality with the international community as well as neighbouring India. With this in view, we wish to create a viable environment and enhance friendship. We wish to express our goodwill and are looking forward to the opportunity to build a constructive relationship. Cordially I invite those countries that have banned us, to understand the deep aspirations and friendly overtures of our people, to remove their ban on us and to recognise our just struggle.
Today, there are great changes taking place in India. The dormant voices in support of our struggle are re-emerging aloud again. There are also indications of our struggle becoming accepted there. The positive change in environment gives us courage to seek renewal of our relationship with the Indian super power. The earlier approach and interventions of India were injurious to the people of Tamil Eelam, as well as to their struggle. The racist Sinhala state, with its intrigues, conspired to bring enmity between our freedom movement and the earlier Indian administration. The conflict arising out of this environment aggravated into a major war.
It was because we were firmly committed to our conviction and freedom for our people, that friction erupted between our movement and India. However, at no stage did we ever consider India as an enemy force. Our people always consider India as our friend. They have great expectations that the Indian super power will take a positive stand on our national question.
Not withstanding the dividing sea, Tamil Nadu, with its perfect understanding of our plight, has taken heart to rise on behalf of our people at this hour of need. This timely intervention has gratified the people of Tamil Eelam and our freedom movement and given us a sense of relief. I wish to express my love and gratitude at this juncture to the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu and the leaders of India for the voice of support and love they have extended. I would cordially request them to raise their voice firmly in favour of our struggle for a Tamil Eelam state, and to take appropriate and positive measures to remove the ban which remains an impediment to an amicable relationship between India and our movement.
My beloved people!
No great changes have taken place in the Sinhala political panorama. Politics there has developed into the form of a demonic war. In a country that worships the Buddha who preached love and kindness, racist hatred and war-mongering vie with one another. We can listen only to the throbs on war-drums. No sane voice is being raised either to abandon war or to seek peaceful resolution to the conflict. In Sinhalam, from politicians to spiritual leaders, from journalists to ordinary people, their voice is raised only in support of the war.
The Tamil Eelam nation does not want war. It does not favour violence. It is the Sinhala nation that waged war on our nation which had earlier adopted the path of ahimsa and asked for justice through peaceful means. When the SAARC leaders of our region met in Colombo, we expressed our goodwill and declared suspension of hostility. On the contrary, it was the Sinhala nation that rejected our overture, ridiculed us and continued with the offensive. It is the Sinhala nation that has laid down unacceptable and insulting conditions. It is the Sinhala nation that is continuing with the war.
The Sinhala nation is conducting a major war of genocide against us in our land, the news about which is denied to the outside world. Successive Sinhala regimes have hoodwinked the international community with a series of deceptions. Commencing with the round table conference, the list of deceit has now stretched to include the All Party conference of late. During this period the international community remains cheated. The Tamil national question was also left to drag on with no positive resolution offered. Meanwhile, the Sinhala nation has used its armed forces to set the Tamil land, ablaze. It has wiped out peaceful life on Tamil land, making Tamils destitute, displaced and wandering. Sinhalam has refused to offer the basic rights of the Tamils, split the Tamil land into two, installed anti-Tamil armed groups in the seat of administration while conducting a tyrannical military rule. It is now continuing with the war, offering to submit its plan to offer a solution only after the LTTE is defeated. Does Sinhala nation want to offer a solution only after the Tamils are suppressed and killed? Does it want to wipe out the true representatives of the Tamils and their bargaining power before offering a solution? The Sinhala nation is refusing to acknowledge the historic homeland of the Tamils. In such a situation, how will it offer a just solution to our people?
When it comes to the Tamil national question, the Sinhala nation is adopting only one policy. It is obviously a policy of suppression. Even the tinge of hope our people had that the Sinhala nation will abandon its path of violence and offer justice, has now evaporated. No political transformation has taken place during the last sixty years in the Sinhala nation. Therefore, hoping it will happen in the future is futile. Our people are not ready to trust Sinhala nation again and get cheated.
It is true Tamil Eelam is a small nation on the globe. However it is a nation with great potential. It is a nation with a characteristic individuality. It has a distinctive language, cultural heritage and history. Sinhalam seeks with its military might to destroy all these. It seeks to destroy Tamil sovereignty and replace it with Sinhala sovereignty. As the freedom movement of the people of Tamil Eelam we will never, ever allow Sinhala occupation or Sinhala domination of our homeland.
Whatever challenges confront us, whatever contingencies we encounter, whatever forces stand on our path, we will still continue with our struggle for the freedom of the Tamil people. On the path shown by history, on the command of the circumstances of today, we will continue with our struggle till alien Sinhala occupation of our land is removed,
At this historic juncture, I would request Tamils, in whatever part of the world that they may live in to raise their voices, firmly and with determination, in support of the freedom struggle of their brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam. I would request them from my heart to strengthen the hands of our freedom movement and continue to extend their contributions and help. I would also take this opportunity to express my affection and my praise to our Tamil youth living outside our homeland for the prominent and committed role they play in actively contributing towards the liberation of our nation.
Let us all make a firm and determined resolution to follow fully the path of our heroes, who, in pursuit of our aspiration for justice and freedom, sacrificed themselves and have become a part of the history of our land and our people.
LTTE defences are “fast falling apart”
THE HINDU Nov 24, 2008
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s military on Sunday claimed to have laid “siege” to Kilinochchi and that LTTE’s defences are “fast falling apart.”
A Defence Ministry statement said the Army’s offensive divisions in Wanni are now marching towards Kilinochchi built-up area. “Army Task Force-1 and 57th Division have launched attacks on LTTE-held earth-bunds built around Kilinochchi’s outskirts. Pitched battles are going on north and south of Adampan, and Therumurikandi since early this morning [November 23],” it said.
Soldiers launched a predawn strike north of Admapan. Infantry soldiers have been able to capture LTTE strongholds at three locations after crushing stiff resistance, it added.
“Intercepted radio transmissions have confirmed heavy damages to the terrorists during these clashes. [The] Army’s 57th division troops are now fighting the terrorists in the vicinity of the LTTE-held earth-bund in Admapan area. LTTE defence in the area is fast falling apart,” it said. In areas north of Kokavil, troops are advancing towards the A-9 Road.
The Ministry said a third group of 81 civilians, who escaped from Wanni, arrived at Omanthai on Sunday. “The refugees told our correspondent that they could free themselves from the terrorists clutches because of the security forces’ operations against the LTTE. The terrorists’ ability to manhandle the civilians at gunpoint is fast dwindling… people will soon escape Wanni open prison in large numbers, they added,” said the Ministry.
Pro-LTTE TamilNet website claimed at least 43 soldiers were killed and more than 70 wounded at Nalloor. “The fighting went on amid pouring rain and floods, according to the Tigers. The stiff fighting by the Tigers pushed back the troops, the LTTE said.”
Abducted Indian ship crew return
BBC NEWS 24 November 2008
Some members of the Indian crew of a Japanese ship who were released by Somali pirates after two months in captivity have returned home.
TV pictures showed five crew members arriving in the western Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay).
Somali pirates captured the MV Stolt Valor with 18 Indian crew members on board on 15 September.
The threat posed by pirates off the Somali coast has been causing international concern.
More than 80 ships have been hijacked there this year.
The smiling Indian sailors who arrived at Mumbai's international airport from Muscat in Oman were showered with petals thrown by overjoyed relatives.
These things happen everywhere. Even on land there are terror attacks
Naveed Burondkar, crew member
They said that they were "greatly relieved" to be back home.
"It was horrific, it was scary," crew member Alistair Fernandez said shortly after landing.
He said that the hostages were held at gunpoint for 24 hours, and were monitored by their captors at all times - even on trips to the bathroom.
Another sailor, Naveed Burondkar, said that those being held feared for their lives because the pirates - in their 20s and 30s - were armed with assault rifles and grenades.
"It was mentally tortuous to have these men with rocket propelled grenades and assault rifles constantly watching you," he said. "It is a big relief being back home."
Mr Burondkar said the pirates "were firing continuously" when they took the ship.
"After they boarded we were held at gunpoint."
But he said that most of the crew would return to work again.
The rest of the Indian crew members, including the ship's captain PK Goyal, are returning home on Tuesday.
A campaign was launched by Seema Goyal, the captain's wife, who pressured the Indian government to secure the release of the crew members.
Indian media reports suggested a large ransom had been paid by the Japanese ship-owners this month. There has been no confirmation from the owners.
India is now bolstering its naval presence in the Gulf of Aden to tackle piracy off Somalia's coast.
Last week, an Indian warship sank a suspected pirate "mother ship" after it came under attack in the Gulf of Aden.
India is among several countries currently patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes which connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
In recent weeks, there has been a growing demand for multinational efforts to fight the pirates.
Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has suffered continuing civil strife.
JAPAN: Support, at a Price
Steven Alan Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center
He has been called the most powerful man in Japanese politics, yet he is not even a politician. Daisaku Ikeda is the spiritual leader of the Soka Gakkai, a lay Buddhist group that can muster nearly 7 million votes - a tenth of Japan's voting population (and a fifth of those who turn out in most elections). The Soka Gakkai's political arm, the New Komeito, is the second-largest opposition party in the Diet (parliament) and is notably influential in the upper house. That is a measure of Mr. Ikeda's power.
Now he is about to have more. On June 28th, the prime minister, Keizo Obuchu, took the first steps to get the New Komeito to join his coalition government. Since January, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has governed with the help of Ichiro Ozawa's small right-wing group, the Liberals. But though the coalition has a majority in the lower house of the Diet, it is nine seats shy in the upper house, making it difficult to pass controversial legislation. With its 52 members in the lower house and 24 in the upper house, the New Komeito would give Mr. Obuchi a comfortable margin in both chambers -- and, in the process, allow him to ignore Mr. Ozawa's hectoring demands.
On paper, the deal makes sense for the LDP. But many within his party are queasy about Mr. Obuchi's willingness to team up with the Buddhists. The last time the Komeito tasted power -- during a brief (non-LDP) coalition government headed by Morihiro Hosokawa in 1993 -- it was quick to block efforts to enforce the separation of church and state, as required by the constitution.
Set up in 1930 by teachers who believed in "value creation" (soka) theories of education, much is made of the society's record of protecting minorities against oppression. The group's founder, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, died in prison during the second world war after being persecuted for his opposition to state shintoism.
After the war, the group transformed itself into a lay religious organisation, adopting the name Soka Gakkai (Value-Creation Society), and embracing the faith of the 700-year-old Nichiren Shoshu sect. It won a wide following for offering practical and moral help to people who were coming off the land and out of the armed forces and trying to find work, food and a place to sleep in Japan's bombed-out cities. In 1952, the society was adopted by Nichiren Shoshu, with the job of propagating the religion and converting people to the faith. The Soka Gakkai was then little more than a Buddhist-equivalent of the Salvation Army.
Nowadays, however, the Soka Gakkai realises that it went too far in 1991 when it allowed 300 of its young zealots to storm a temple in Fukuoka and beat up a worshipper and a priest who had criticised the group. That was the start of a war between the Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu, which later severed its ties with the Soka Gakkai and excommunicated Mr. Ikeda.
Having lost its main purpose, the Soka Gakkai now stresses its good works around the world. It gives generously to charities and campaigns for "peace, culture and education". Mr. Ikeda took over the leadership in 1960 and soon formed the Komeito (Clean Government Party). He built the Soka Gakkai into the power it is today. Few demands, other than pecuniary ones, are made on Soka Gakkai's followers, who are taught to attain enlightenment and prosperity through chanting sacred phrases handed down from a 13th-century monk called Nichiren. A popular pastime is watching videos of Mr. Ikeda mingling with the good, the great and the occasionally despotic, such as Cuba's Fidel Castro.
Clearly, the society provides an attractive support system for people in need. It has around 9 million members (mostly housewives), almost 1.3 million of whom are abroad. It is particularly strong in Osaka and Tokyo. Well-informed outsiders put the group's wealth at more than 10 trillion yen ($82 billion). The money comes from donations, the sale of burial plots, rent from property, and its newspaper, Seikyo Shimbun, whose circulation is 5.5 million.
But, like many organisations that have grown fat and lost sight of their original purpose, the Soka Gakkai protects its interests with a ruthlessness that has frightened off critics and cowed the Japanese mainstream media into silence. It tolerates no criticism whatsoever of Mr. Ikeda, who elevated himself to honorary chairman after a series of scandals in the 1970s. Detractors claim that the organisation acts like a cult, threatening people with hell and damnation if they try to leave. In inviting the New Komeito into the coalition, Mr. Obuchi may find he has more on his hands than the couple of dozen upper-house votes he bargained for.