Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bloodshed rising in Nepal, Sri Lanka

Instability seems almost contagious these days in South Asia with some degree of unrest plaguing Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India.

In Nepal, four protesters were killed and many wounded in the worse day of violence since the beginning of the general strike against King Gyanendra.

Authorities imposed a daytime curfew for Thursday with shoot-to-kill orders.

Members of the opposition Nepali Congress Party, the largest member of the coaliton against Gyanendra's autocracy, said a planned rally Thursday would still go ahead as planned.

Ten people were killed far to the south in the nation of Sri Lanka were a ceasefire between the government and Tamil rebels looked in danger of collapsing.

Norway has sent a mission in an attempt to stabilize the situation.

Combine the situation in these countries with the ongoing terrorist strikes in India and Pakistan, and its not a pretty picture. As in many other destabilized regions, poverty is a huge factor, and South Asia is one of the world's poorest regions.

Surely other ingredients like religion and politics are involved, but poverty, particularly the extreme variety, is to extremism what oil is to the world economy.

No amount of high technology, military spending or preemptive strikes can match the extremist who knows how to woo the victims of poverty.

Australian troops in Solomon Islands to quell riots

Australian troops arrived in the Solomon Islands Wednesday after riots broke out in the capital Honiara's Chinatown district.

Rioters protesting the election of Prime Minister Snyder Rini injured at least 17 Australian and New Zealand police in clashes that began outside the Parliament House.

The disturbances moved to Chinatown were Rini receives much of his support and more than 50 Chinese shop owners were evacuated.

New Zealand doubled its police presence in the Solomons in response to the unrest.

In 2003, Australia led the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) which helped calm unrest during the term of Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza. An Australian Protective Service officer was killed in Honiara in December 2004.

Australian police in Solomon Islands criticized