Trump’s Asian Visit Exposes U.S.-Asia Perception Gap

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – It is often said that since the end of the World War II, the United States has been the pre-eminent power in the Asia-Pacific region, providing the stability needed for the economic boom of the past 70 years.

This perception is changing, however, and has intensified especially after U.S. President Donald Trump’s infamous speech at the United Nations in September where he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, effectively killing 25 million people and committing the worse war crime in history.


India: Traditional Silk Weavers Losing Out To New Comers

By Kalinga Seneviratne


SUALKUCHI, Assam, India (IDN) – Silk weaving is an intrinsic part of Assamese culture and the “weavers’ village” of Sualkuchi is famous for its silk products, especially the Muga silk made from the golden thread of the assama caterpillar. Situated about 30 km from Gauhati, the state capital, tourist brochures describe this as a weavers’ paradise. But this is far from reality for the local weavers.

Continue reading “India: Traditional Silk Weavers Losing Out To New Comers”

Eastern Spirituality Could Help Sustainable Development

SAMVAD+YogiThis article is the 18th in a series of joint productions of Lotus Communication Network  and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

By Kalinga Seneviratne

YANGON, Myanmar (IDN) – “The desire for peace exists everywhere, but the majority of people are not in a position to enjoy peace, stability and security they desire,” noted venerable Dr Ashin Nyanissara, spiritual head of the Sitagu International Buddhist University (SIBU), in opening a two-day gathering of spiritual leaders and scholars at the university here on August 5.

The event was the second Global Initiative for Conflict Avoidance and Environmental Consciousness (SAMVAD) conference, following the first held in New Delhi in September 2015.

SAMVAD is an initiative of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to adopt principles of Asia’s age-old spiritual teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism to address modern-day issues threatening human civilisation. Continue reading “Eastern Spirituality Could Help Sustainable Development”

Myanmar: Commission Slams UN for “Smear Campaigning”

By Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the 17th in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features  and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

YANGON, Myanmar (IDN) – A Myanmar government commission that investigated allegations made by an international human rights organisation and the media about the country’s security forces abusing the human rights of Muslims known as Rohingyas in Rakhine State has found these allegations to be “unproven” and slammed its critics, including the United Nations, for carrying out an international “smear campaign” against the country. Continue reading “Myanmar: Commission Slams UN for “Smear Campaigning””

Sri Lanka Clears Major Hurdle For China’s Silk Route Project

By Kalinga Seneviratne

COLOMBO (IDN) – The signing of a deal between the Sri Lankan government and a Chinese company, basically transferring the ownership on a 99-year lease of the strategically located Chinese-built Hambantota Port and 5,000 acres of land surrounding it for an industrial park in southern Sri Lanka has cleared a major hurdle for China’s ambitious Maritime Silk Route project while at the same time raising concerns about security and sovereignty issues. Continue reading “Sri Lanka Clears Major Hurdle For China’s Silk Route Project”

Iran: Rolling Out The Red Carpet

12 January 1997

By Kalinga Seneviratne

(This article has been extracted from the January 1997 issue of Men’s Review in Malaysia)

A beautiful country with friendly people: In Sydney, where I live, I tell an Australian friend that I am planning a holiday to Iran. They say, “what? a holiday to Iran of all places? Good luck to you mate.”

A few weeks later, my wife Priyani and I are at Tehran’s southern bus terminal, trying to catch a bus to Rasht, on the Caspian coast, a good four to five hours drive north of the Iranian capital. The signs are all in Persian including the numbers (using their own numerals). While most commuters in this busy, somewhat chaotic bus terminal cannot speak English, we somehow manage to find our way to a bus heading to Rasht. Continue reading “Iran: Rolling Out The Red Carpet”

Suu Kyi’s Astute Move On Rohingya Issue in Myanmar

Lotus News Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – With mounting demonstrations in support of Rohingyas in fellow ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Muslim majority countries Malaysia and Indonesia, Myanmar’s de-facto leader and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi made an astute move to summon Foreign Ministers of ASEAN for a one-day “retreat” to Yangoon on December 19 to brief them on the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where most Rohingyas live.

A first of its kind for ASEAN where a member country has summoned ministers to discuss an internal affairs, yet, it demonstrated that Suu Kyi is no hostage to western human rights groups who supported her long campaign to bring “democracy” to Myanmar. Continue reading “Suu Kyi’s Astute Move On Rohingya Issue in Myanmar”