The New Monsoon
January 2005
"Yaathum Oore, Yaavarum Kelir"- Kaniyan Poongundranar
[Tamil poet from Pre-Christian Sangham era]
The Historical
Quest to Restore
Tamil Rights
“All the world is my world, all humanity is my fraternity”
- Translated  By Eelam Tamil Scholar Rev Fr. Xavier Thaninayagam
Disaster opens India's eyes [International Herald Tribune]

If any silver lining can ever be found in the tsunami's devastation, it could be the
recognition of common destinies between South and Southeast Asia, joined as they
are by one sea and much history of shared culture and commerce.

Here in the heart of the densely populated plain of the Ganges, the oceans can
seem a long way away. The Arabian Sea is a thousand kilometers distant from
India's capital, and the Bay of Bengal is 1,200. So it perhaps not surprising that
India's top bureaucrats and politicians have tended not to attach too much
importance to the nation's 7,500- kilometer coastline and even to the Indian Ocean.
That may explain why the government never found the money to participate in, let
alone lead, any projects for tsunami warnings.
World press demands tsunami aid, warnings [BBC News]

Two days after an earthquake-triggered tsunami devastated the coastal regions of
many countries in Asia, papers worldwide have called on governments to rapidly
organise aid for the survivors.

Many newspapers, particularly in Asia, also argue that an earthquake and tsunami
monitoring system - as already deployed in the Pacific - must now be set up in the
Indian Ocean.
New face of Canada fires up relief Greater pluralism pushes policy [Toronto Star]

By Haroon Siddiqui

Recent immigration trends have transformed Canada into a unique global village
more real than even Marshall McLuhan envisaged.

Besides pockets of Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai communities, GTA is home to
more than 250,000 Sri Lankans, the largest Tamil Diaspora in the world.

Canadian Tamils are part of the GTA's 550,000-strong community of South Asians.

But more than the familial concerns of the Asian expatriate communities, a greater
force is at work.

Canada's — and in particular Toronto's — pluralism has forged a new Canadian
sensibility, global and cosmopolitan, which was offended by Ottawa's initial
indifference.

There was palpable backlash to the first offer of $4 million from a government
swimming in a $9 billion surplus; the tortured bureaucratic explanations for a
grounded relief unit that could have been supplying 50,000 litres a day of drinking
water; and the laboured excuses for the missing foreign minister and minister for
international aid.

The sentiment was made strongly known to cabinet ministers and members of
Parliament as well as the Ontario Legislature.

By Wednesday, both the provincial and federal governments were on track.

Canadians have always responded generously to natural disasters: the 1988
earthquake in Armenia that killed 25,000; the one in 2000 in western India that killed
20,000; and last year's in Iran that left more than 26,000 dead.

Those tragedies had the effect of eroding political differences within the affected
diasporic communities in Canada. The tsunamis waves are having a similar effect,
as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs are all involved in disaster relief efforts.

Even more importantly, these communities are not toiling alone.

Canadian public opinion these days gets galvanized that much more quickly on
international issues.

This is the second time in about a year that the new Canada has asserted itself. It
was strong public opinion that emboldened Jean Chrétien to sit out the Iraq war.

Martin has since expended much energy in fixing the ostensibly broken bilateral
relationship with the U.S.
Your Gateway to Canadian
Real Estate
[mls.ca]
Toronto Resale Market
Exceeds 80,000 Sales

TORONTO - December 15,
2004- For the first time in its
84 year history, the Toronto
Real Estate Board has seen
more than 80,000
transactions through its
Multiple Listing Service in
a single year.

TREB President Ron
Abraham says 2004 will go
down in history as a banner
year.
"Sales have surpassed the
previous all time high of
78,898 set in 2003 and we
should end the year with
approximately 83,000
transactions. There is no
question that real estate is
the engine driving today’s
ecomony."

With more than 2,200
transactions thus far in
December, sales are
tracking 10 per cent ahead
of December 2003.

"The Bank of Canada’s
recent decision to hold
steady on interest rates
bodes well for the 2005 real
estate market. The
historically low rates we are
enjoying have been a key
contibutor to the market’s
strength, " said Mr.
Abraham.

Mr. Abraham cautions
however; that other factors
like property taxes and the
provincial government’s
proposed greenbelt plan
could impact affordability
in the year ahead.
"We will continue to lobby
on behalf of our REALTOR
Members to help the
Greater Toronto Area’s
home buying and selling
public realize their future
homeownership goals."

"We are confident that we
are headed into another
strong year for real estate in
2005."
Serving more than 20,500
REALTORS throughout the
Greater Toronto Area, the
Toronto Real Estate Board
is Canada’s largest real
estate board.
[TREB]
Nature 'mankind's gravest threat' [BBC News]

Giant tsunamis, super volcanoes and earthquakes could pose a greater threat than
terrorism, scientists claim.
Global Geophysical Events, or "Gee Gees", as they are nick-named, are not being
taken seriously enough, they say.
Starbucks, Amazon.com Among CompaniesHelping Tsunami Victims [Bloomberg]

Starbucks Corp., the world's largest coffee-shop chain, said it will donate $2 to South
Asia relief efforts for every pound of Sumatra coffee it sells in the U.S. and four other
Western countries next month.
Tsunami Response Offers Asia Market Clues [Bloomberg]

Regional conflicts are being put aside while rescue efforts unfold. By working in good
faith, Asian leaders can use this opportunity to mend fences in the long run. The
peace dividend could pay off in the form of lower bond yields and higher stocks.

Indonesia's government, for example, has a unique opportunity to cool its
long-running conflict separatists in the Aceh province, which was hit hard by the
tsunamis. Thailand has a chance to work with Muslim groups in its southern
provinces. And Sri Lanka's government has an opening to ease tensions with the
warring Tamils and Sinhalese.

Before Dec. 26, Sri Lanka's stock market was among the world's top performers.
Even now, it's up 40 percent in local currency terms. The disaster may stall a
recovery under way since Tamil Tiger rebels and government forces reached a
cease-fire in February 2002, halting two decades of hostilities.
Booming markets shed few tears [BBC News]

The market, former British government minister Michael Heseltine once said, has no
morality. And indeed, stock exchange traders around Asia have wasted little time
regretting the victims of this week's disaster. Stock markets in Indonesia and India
have hit all-time highs this week; even in Sri Lanka, more comprehensively affected,
the main index has lost only 5% since the waves hit
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