Tuesday, 01 September 2015
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Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran speaking at the passing of a resolution calling for an international tribunal
 Tamil Affairs
Editorial Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
Promise of Justice

EDITORIAL - Illustration by Keera Ratnam

The visit by senior US officials, Nisha Biswal and Tom Malinowski this week, and the US’ endorsement of a domestic process of accountability into mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people during the end of the armed conflict in 2009 has been met with a sense of relief by the Sri Lankan government and was reported triumphantly across the southern English-language Sri Lankan press. However, whilst the government’s pledge to establish a domestic inquiry has been cautiously welcomed by the West, Tamils, who have been waiting for over 6 years to see justice, responded with disappointment and dismay. The US’ call for a mechanism that is credible to the international community and should have “some degree of international involvement”, while crucial, falls far short of Tamil demands.

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Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
TNA decides to appoint Sampanthan as opposition leader amid SLFP claims to post
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) decided that its leader, R Sampanthan should be appointed as 'Leader of the Opposition in Parliament' on Monday following a meeting of its parliamentary group, despite opposition to this from the SLFP.

Since Sri Lanka's general election earlier this month, the TNA has called for it to be given the position of leader of the opposition, arguing that given the SLFP's decision to form a unity government with the UNP, the TNA was the party in opposition with the highest number of seats.

The SLFP rejected this at the weekend, arguing that as the second highest number of members, it alone would be able to claim that position.

During the TNA's meeting on Monday, it was also decided that the TNA MP, Selvam Adaikalanathan would be appointed as Deputy Chairman of Committees, MA Sumanthiran would be the TNA spokesperson, Sivagnanam Sritharan would be the secretary and Dharmalingam Siddharthan would be the party whip.


Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
US funds 8 new schools in East for $3.3 million
The US embassy in Sri Lanka is to build 8 schools in the Eastern Province for different communities at a cost of $3.3 million.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the province's governor, Austin Fernando, on Friday the US Embassy's defence attache, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Ross said, “The United States remains dedicated to partnering with the Government to help provide schools and hospitals throughout Sri Lanka."

In a statement, the US embassy added:
"This sum is in addition to the United States’ pledge of $1 million for resettlement assistance in Sampur, where U.S. Embassy identified ‎two schools for future development to support Sri Lanka's efforts towards reconciliation."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
Government's main aim is reconciliation and economic growth says president
Sri Lanka's president, Maithripala Sirisena said on Monday "the main aim of the National Government is to promote reconciliation and economic growth".

A national government was formed with the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) following the general election earlier this month, when the UNP, which one greatest number of seats, failed to win a simple majority.

Addressing the 8th parliament of Sri Lanka, Mr Sirisena said, "my government will continue to crackdown on corruption and punish those who exploit national resources no matter who they are and there will be no political interference in the appointment of officials."


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Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
NFF decries co-operation with US and warns of international tribunal

The National Freedom Front (NFF) slammed Sri Lanka’s co-operation with the United States and warned that those who fought against the LTTE would be brought before an international war crimes tribunal.

Colombo District MP and NFF spokesperson Wimal Weerawansa told The Island that Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should not “adopt a course of action that could be inimical to national security interests”.

He went on to state that allegations of war crimes should be dealt with “without any external input”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
Sri Lanka ‘must remain vigilant about emerging threats’ says Defence Secretary

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary stated that despite the end of the island’s armed conflict over 6 years ago, the government “must remain vigilant about emerging threats”.

Defence Secretary B M U D Basnayake made his comments at the‘Defence Seminar – 2015’, on ‘National Security in the context of Emerging Global Threats’ at the Colombo Galadari Hotel, which started earlier on Tuesday.

“Although the defeat of the terrorists in May 2009 paved the way for peace and for rapid post conflict development, our security forces and law enforcement agencies must remain vigilant about emerging threats including drug smuggling, human trafficking, and organized crime,” said Mr Basnayake.

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Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
Sri Lankan navy arrest 16 Indian fishermen

The Sri Lankan navy has arrested 16 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and seized 3 boats, for allegedly breaching the maritime boundary and engaging in illegal poaching.

The fishermen, from Rameswaram, were reportedly apprehended by Delft Island and towed to the Jaffna coast.

The charges were however rejected by the Fishermen's Association President S Emiret, who said the fishermen were fishing in Indian waters off the Kodiakarai coast.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, another group of Indian fisherman were injured after the Sri Lankan navy reportedly attacked them. About 20 fishing nets were damaged in the attack.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Relatives of disappeared reject domestic inquiry at Mannar vigil

Tamil families affected by enforced disappearances rejected proposals for a domestic inquiry at a vigil for the disappeared in Mannar.

Emphasising the need for an international investigations into disappearances and abductions during the war and its aftermath, hundreds of relatives of missing persons marked the International Day of the Disappeared with an emotional vigil in Mannar on Sunday.

photograph IBCTamil.com

The vigil was organised by the Organisation for the Families of Forcibly Disappeared Persons - North and East Provinces, with the Mannar Citizens Committee.

The event’s chief guest, Reverend Father Elil Rajan, representing the Tamil Civil Society Forum, emphasised the Tamil people’s disappointment in the international push for domestic investigations.


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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
We will not accept US calls for domestic inquiry - TNA MP
A prominent TNA MP says the party will continue to demand an international mechanism, despite the recent announcement by the US that it would support a credible domestic inquiry.

Sivagnanam Shritharan, who won the highest number of votes of all TNA MPs, said the party will act according to its manifesto, which demands an international inquiry.

“We will not accept it, if the US calls for an internal inquiry into the alleged war crimes and human rights abuses during the final phase of the war, we will demand an international inquiry as stated in the election manifesto," he said.

“We will act as we stated in the election manifesto. We cannot accept everything the US says. How could we accept perpetrators investigating themselves? An international investigation must happen into the war crimes that occurred in Sri Lanka. This is what will bring justice to the Tamils and that is what the people are expecting.”
Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Sri Lankan army demonstrates 'riot control' in North-East

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The Sri Lankan military engaged in riot control exercises in Kilinochchi earlier this month, according to the official Sri Lankan army website.

The military exercise on 20 August, complete with mock protestors, was undertaken to emphasise the military role “in order to maintain law and order in the country”, said the army.

 
 


Troops from the 66 division were armed with rifles, as they demonstrated how they would tackle riots.

The demonstration comes amid increased protests from Tamils across the North-East this year.

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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Sri Lankan military wants more UN peacekeeping missions

The Sri Lankan military has called for increased participation in peacekeeping missions with the United Nations, with the commander stating the forces were a “professional army”.

Lt. Gen. Crisanthe De Silva called for further participation, despite the controversy over Sri Lankan troops sexually abusing Haitian minors whilst on a previous peacekeeping mission. 111 soldiers and 3 officers were repatriated back to Sri Lanka after being part of UN mission in Haiti and were accused of a string of sexual assaults, including rape of children as young as 7 years old.

No one has yet been charged with any offences.

Speaking to the Sunday Island, Lt. De Silva claimed,

"Within a short span of time, we were able to make a significant positive impact on UN’s peacekeeping efforts… The Sri Lankan armed forces have been recognized for their commitment, competence and abilities in all UN assignments".

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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Sri Lankan military to begin exercises in Eastern Province

The Sri Lankan army will start a Joint Field Training Exercise in the Eastern Province this week with the navy and air force, announced the Army Chief of Staff Major General Jagath Dias.

The exercise, entitled ‘Cormorant Strike’, will be the sixth tri-forces Joint Field Training Exercise, announced the recently promoted general.



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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Constituent TNA parties reject domestic investigation and reiterate call for international mechanism

Leaders from parties which make up the Tamil National Alliance have rejected proposals for a domestic investigation into the mass killings of Tamils carried out during the final stages of the armed conflict and reiterated their support for an international accountability mechanism.

The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) met in Colombo and agreed that only an international mechanism would bring about true accountability and justice.

M. K. Shivajilingam, a Northern Provincial Council member, recalled the failure of past domestic Sri Lankan commissions that had a degree of international involvement, such as the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons that was constituted in February 2007.

"As a partner of the TNA, the TELO dismiss an internal investigation and will continue to demand an international investigation," he said.

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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Domestic inquiry tantamount to 'victor's justice' says TNPF
The Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) reiterated its call for an international criminal justice process to seek accountability and justice for mass atrocities committed against the Tamil people in 2009, describing an internal/domestic accountability process as tantamount to 'victor's justice'.

"The TNPF has been quite unequivocal in its demand for accountability and justice for crimes committed during the 30 year long war and before," the party said, in a policy statement released this week.

"Given that the Sri Lankan Army is seen as protectors of the Sinhala Buddhist order and the Army and the Police are the primary accused parties regarding the grave crimes, including the crime of Genocide, committed against the Tamil people, we are of the firm view that no internal / domestic mechanism or inquiry can result in genuine prosecutions against the Sri Lankan Army, Police and members of its political class."


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Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
US will work with Sri Lankan government and ‘key stakeholders’ at UNHRC
The United States will be working with the new government of Sri Lanka and other key stakeholders to follow up on the United Nations investigation into mass atrocities committed during the armed conflict on the island, said its ambassador in Geneva.

Speaking at an organisational meeting last week, ahead of the 30th Session UN Human Rights Council, Ambassador Keith Harper said:

“On behalf of a core group, we plan to offer a resolution on Sri Lanka to follow up on the new Sri Lankan government’s efforts to promote reconciliation and accountability and on the release of the report of the OHCHR investigation requested in HRC resolution 25/1.   We hope to work collaboratively with the new government of Sri Lanka and key stakeholders on this text.  The first informal has been scheduled for September 17 in Room 24 from 10 to noon.”

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Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
Gifting of ship to Sri Lanka is ‘unforgivable betrayal’ says Vaiko
India’s gifting of a coast guard ship to the Sri Lankan government has been slammed by MDMK chief Vaiko on Sunday.

“This is an unforgivable betrayal of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Indian government,” said the leader of the MDMK, adding such vessels have been "used for killing Tamils in Sri Lanka".

The ship, initially given to Sri Lanka in 2006 " in appreciation of the Sri Lanka Navy’s efforts to maintain the maritime security in the region", was formally handed over to the Sri Lankan authorities last week.

Vaiko claimed "the vessel is an evidence of the use of Indian Navy to finish off the Sea Tigers by Sri Lankan Naval forces."

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Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
SLFP rejects TNA's call for opposition leader post
The Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) on Saturday rejected calls by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that it should be given the post of opposition leader, reported Sri Lanka's Sunday Times.

“The opposition leader’s post should be given to the party which has the highest number of members and are not supporting the National Government,” the SLFP's acting general secretary, Duminda Dissanayake, was quoted as saying.

Earlier on Saturday, the TNA leader, R Sampanthan had called for the TNA to be given that position, as the UNP and the SLFP had come together to form a national unity government, therefore leaving the TNA as the opposition party with the greatest number of seats.

In a statement published on Saturday, the TNA said:
"It has been announced that a National Government has been formed and that Members of Parliament who contested and were elected under both the UNP and the UPFA have accepted cabinet portfolios. Accordingly, both the UNP and the UPFA bear collective cabinet responsibility. As political parties in Parliament, they thus must publicly support all Governmental decisions made in Cabinet. This support includes voting with the Government when sitting in Parliament. There is thus no question whatsoever of the UPFA sitting in opposition in Parliament," the statement said.

"In these circumstances, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) which obtained a total of 16 seats, has emerged as the largest political party in Opposition in Parliament. In accordance with Parliamentary practice and convention, the Parliamentary Group Leader of ITAK must thus be recognized as the Leader of the Opposition," the TNA statement further said.
See more here.
Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
Sri Lanka to reapply for $4 billion IMF bailout amidst deficit anxiety

Sri Lanka will look to borrow $4 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help tackle a widening balance of payment deficit, reports Sundaytimes.lk.

A senior government official, who wished to remain anonymous said that there was a proposal to borrow US $4 billion to support reducing the increasing deficit in Sri Lanka’s balance of payments.

However sources at the treasury told the Sundaytimes.lk that the new government will have to impose austerity measures, increase taxes, reduce welfare programmes and cut subsidies to state owned enterprises to sustainably help tackle the financial crisis.

In March 2015 Sri Lanka’s balance of payments reduced to a negative $791.7 million. Sri Lanka’s fiscal year has seen its balance of payments reduce from a $1.954 million surplus to a widening deficit within the space of a year.

Sri Lanka's finance ministry has also reported on a widening trade deficit which has widened by 15.6 percent to $4 billion.

Earlier this year, the IMF rejected a $4 billion bailout request by Sri Lanka’s finance minister.

Economic policy and stability of Sri Lanka's coalition remain unclear - Fitch Ratings (19 Aug 2015)

IMF 'objected' to Hillary Clinton intervention on Sri Lanka in 2009 (07 Jul 2015)

Sri Lanka’s fiscal deficit cause for concern – IMF (06 May 2015)

IMF to cooperate with Chinese-led AIIB (23 Mar 2015)

IMF rejects fresh bailout for Sri Lanka (05 Mar 2015)

Sri Lanka finance minister meets with IMF, World Bank (20 Feb 2015)

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 01 September 2015
UN says satellite imagery confirms Palmyra temple destruction
Satellite imagery released today of the Syrian city of Palmyra confirms the destruction of the ancient Temple of Bel by Islamic State fighters, said the UN.

"We can confirm the destruction of the main building of the Temple of Bel as well as a row of columns in its immediate vicinity," UNESCO said in an email, reported Reuters.

See images and video footage here.

At the weekend locals had reported a large explosion near the temple site, however such reports had been initially contested by Syria's head of antiquities who had suggested that the Temple of the Bel remained intact.


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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Bashir should not be welcome to travel until he faces justice - US
The United States criticised China's decision to welcome the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir into the country, whilst he remains accused of alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

The US State Department spokesperson, Mark Toner, said on Monday that Bashir should not be welcome to travel until he faces justice, reports AFP.  

"As you know, he's been charged by the ICC with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," the spokesperson said.


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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Colombian president says talks with Farc advancing significantly
The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos said the talks with Farc, which have been ongoing since 2012, had advanced significantly than in the past.

"In these last two or three weeks, we have advanced much more than we had advanced in nearly the last six months, in the last year," President Santos was quoted by Reuters as saying.


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Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
UN to investigate human rights abuse under British welfare reform

The UN will visit the UK to investigate whether recent welfare reforms by the British government have caused “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights, “ reports The Independent.

Sources at a leading charity in the UK reported that they had been contacted by the UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as part of an investigation into human rights abuses against disabled people in the UK.

The committee also advised the British government that a Special Rapporteur will be sent to the UK as part of their probe.

The British Director of Policy Bill Scott said,

“The UN have notifies us they will be visiting Britain to investigate, and want to meet with us when they come, sometime in the next few months.”

The Department for Work and Pensions battled for months against disability charities and campaigners in order to not release the numbers of people that had died within 6 weeks of being declared fit to work by the British government between 2011 and 2014. Last week the department revealed that 2,380 people had died within six weeks of being declared fit to work.

Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Myanmar passes controversial race tension aggravating bill

Myanmar’s president signed of four bills that had been championed by radical Buddhist organisations and criticised by several rights groups as discriminatory to the Islamic community.

The last week saw the president sign bills on restricting polygamy, interfaith marriage and certain aspects of religious conversation reports Reuters.

The legislation forms part of the “Race and Religion Protection Laws” set of bills championed by the monk led Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion in Myanmar (Ma Ba Tha).

Commenting on the laws, the deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, Phol Robertson, said,

“They set out the potential for discrimination on religious grounds and pose the possibility for serious communal tension. Now that these laws are on the books, the concern is how they are implemented and enforced.”

Tamil Guardian 31 August 2015
Ukraine parliament passes 'special status' bill for eastern regions
Ukraine’s parliament on Monday voted for constitution al changes that decentralised powers to its eastern regions through a ‘special status’ in hopes of dampening separatist sentiment in Russian speaking parts of the country.

A “de-centralisation” bill that was backed by President Petro Poroshenko’ political bloc and his government with over 39 more votes than the required majority.

The approval of the legislation for special status in the Donetsk and Luhanks regions, are held by pro-Russian separatist militants, were part of the Minsk peace agreement.

France, Russia, Germany and Ukraine agree to call on separatist militants to extend arms pull back (23 Jul 2015)

Russia sanctions must stay - US and Germany (07 Jun 2015)

Ongoing war crimes in Ukraine conflict says Amnesty International  (24 May 2015)

Ukraine wants ICC to examine war crimes in Crimea and East (18 Apr 2015)

Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
Dozens of civilians killed in air strike in Yemen

As many as 36 people have been killed after a Saudi-led coalition air strike in the Hajjah province in Yemen, according to the latest reports.

The strike hit a bottling plant in the province, with witnesses reporting corpses were left “burnt or in pieces”. Most of the dead are civilians.

The latest strike comes after another air strike killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children, at a milk factory in Taiz. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) confirmed the attack took place.

According to United Nations figures almost 4,500 people have been killed in the violence since the Saudi-led coalition campaign began in March of this year.  The campaign had come under much criticism from human rights organisations, with Amnesty International saying it had left a "bloody trail of civilian death" earlier this month.

 

Tamil Guardian 30 August 2015
Egypt summons British ambassador over Al-Jazeera journalist comments

Britain’s ambassador to Egypt John Casson has been summoned by the Egyptian foreign ministry, after accusing him of interference due to comments made on the sentencing three Al-Jazeera journalists.

An Egyptian court had found the three journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, guilty of “spreading false news” and sentenced to three years imprisonment – a ruling that has been widely criticised by human rights and press freedom groups.

Speaking in Arabic outside the court, Mr Casson said the court's decision would "undermine confidence in Egypt's stability".

Egypt's foreign ministry said his words were "unacceptable intervention in Egyptian judicial rulings” and had summoned him “to express its strong objection” to his comments.

“Egypt does not need lessons from anyone,” the foreign ministry statement added.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 August 2015
Egypt jails Al Jazeera journalists for three years

An Egyptian court has jailed three journalists with Al Jazeera for three years, for "spreading false news".
The three men were initially sentenced in July 2014 but their convictions were overturned and they were released in February this year.

One of the journalists, Australian citizen Peter Greste was subsequently deported back to his home country, but Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed remained in Egypt.

All three were tried again, with Mr Greste on trial in absentia.

Giving the verdict on Saturday, judge Hassan Farid said the three men were not registered journalists and had been operating from a Cairo hotel without a licence.

He handed three-year sentences to Mr Greste and Mr Fahmy but gave Mr Mohamed an additional six months.

Al- azeera said the verdict was "yet another deliberate attack on press freedom".

Outside the courtroom in Cairo, Mr Fahmy's lawyer, Amal Clooney, called on Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to issue a pardon to the journalists.

"The verdict today sends a very dangerous message in Egypt," she told reporters. "It sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news."

Tamil Guardian 29 August 2015
Wanted Sudanese president to visit China
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who has international arrest warrants for crimes against humanity and genocide, is set to visit China to mark World War II commemorations next week.

The reported visit has sparked outrage from human rights groups who have repeatedly called for Mr Bashir’s arrest.

“It is outrageous that anyone would welcome him into their border without arresting him,” said Tom Andrews, president of the Save Darfur Coalition.

His comments were echoed by Elise Keppler, acting director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, who said “Omar al-Bashir should be in The Hague facing justice, not in China celebrating at their World War II event”.

“Experience has shown that fugitives may be able to evade justice for a time, but not indefinitely,” she added.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 August 2015
Bosnian Muslim commander charged with war crimes

A former Bosnian Muslim commander was charged with war crimes during the 1992-1995 ethnic conflict.

Naser Oirc led Muslim forces in the eastern town of Srebrenica alongside his lieutenant Sabahudin Muhic. The pair were charged with the murder of three Serbian prisoners of war in 1992 reports Agence France Presse.

Mr Oric was arrested in Switzerland earlier this year on an arrest warrant issued by Serbia.

In 2006, Oric was sentenced by the International Criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to two years in prison for not doing enough to protect Srebrenica’s Serb population during the war.

The arrest of Mr Oric sparked mass outcry among the Bosnian Muslim leaders and families of the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men by Bosnian Serb forces.

Still lessons to be learnt to prevent genocide says UN at Srebrenica memorial (11 Jul 2015)

UK defends draft resolution on Srebrenica genocide at UN  (01 Jul 2015)

Tamil Guardian 28 August 2015
CAR militants release captured children as part of UN negotiations
An armed group in the Central African Republic released 163 enslaved children on Friday as part of a pledge in a UN agreement.

The children were freed by the predominantly Christian anti-Balaka militants, who are thought to have captured 6,000 children.

A negotiator from the UN children’s agency UNICEF, Mohamed Malick Fail, said,

“The release is a sign that the process of implementing the commitment made by the leaders of these groups, as a part of the peace and reconciliation process is on track.”

The country was plunged into violence in 2013 after predominantly Muslim Seleka militants seized power.
Tamil Guardian 28 August 2015
British Library criticised for rejecting Taliban archive over terrorism fears
The British Library was criticised on Friday by academics around the world for refusing to house the master copy of the largest digital archive of Taliban manuscripts and literature, citing fears of contravening the UK's anti-terror legislation, reported AFP.

A spokesperson for the British Library said it was "no currently able to acquire a copy of the archive", which includes laws, official newspapers, maps, poetry and radio broadcasts, stating that "it is a large digitised archive which contains material that could contravene the Terrorism Act".

"The legal advice received jointly by the British Library and other similar institutions advises against making this type of material accessible," she added.

"It's surprising and disappointing," the lead researcher, Alex Strick van Linschoten, who is based in Berlin said.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 August 2015
China and US look to strengthen ties as Rice meets Xi Jinping
The United States and China said they looked to strengthen and building on ties between the two countries, as the US' national security advisor, Susan Rice, met with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday.

"We have seen our bilateral relationship evolve and strengthen in recent months. And we have found areas of broadened and deepened cooperation that we are certainly looking forward to building upon," Ms Rice was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"At the same time, we have been able to discuss frankly our differences, which we both acknowledge need to be addressed effectively," she added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 August 2015
US sanctions European funders of FARC militants
The US Treasury said it would place financial sanctions on four Colombians accused of laundering money for the FARC militants in Colombia through an outfit in Switzerland.

Four individuals were sanctioned for serving as a front for FARC militants by running a store that specialised in rare Latin delicacies, reports Associated Press.

One of the individuals is believed to be the FARC militant’s chief representative to France, Italy and Switzerland.

Tamil Guardian 27 August 2015
UN Sec-Gen calls for probe into chemical weapons usage in Syria

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon outlined plans into a further investigation into allegations of chemical weapons attacks in the Syria’s 4 year conflict.

Ban Ki Moon, in a letter to the UN Security Council, outlined plans for the UN and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to conduct an investigation into allegations of chemical weapons usage in Syria.

“Success will depend on the full cooperation from all parties, including thee government of the Syrian Arab republic and other parties in Syria,” said Ban Ki-Moon.

The UN Chief called for the investigation to be chaired by an assistant secretary general and two deputies, reports Reuters.

A separate UN investigation previously determined that sarin gas was used in the Syrian conflict.

The calls for a UN inquiry come as NGOs alleged that there was credible evidence of chemical weapons usage in recent clashes in Syria’s conflict.

NGOs accuse Islamic State of using chemical weapons (25 Aug 2015)

Tamil Guardian 27 August 2015
US warns South Sudanese leaders over peace accord

The US has warned South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar  not to violate the peace deal signed on Wednesday.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the US would "hold to account" those who breach the peace deal and would support sanctions against them, the BBC reported.

Mr Kirby said the US did not "recognise any separate reservations made about the agreement", made by President Kiir.

"To end the fighting we call on all parties to adhere to the permanent ceasefire within the next 72 hours and begin the process of implementing this agreement," he added.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 August 2015
Warring sides in Syria agree two day ceasefire

Syrian rebels, the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah agreed a 2 day ceasefire in 3 conflict regions near Lebanon’s border reports Reuters.

The rebel-held town of Zabadani has been the main focus of an offensive by Hezbollah and the Syrian army who are fighting against the Syrian rebels.

A similar ceasefire in the same areas organised by Turkey and Iran earlier this month broke down after a brief extension.

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Promise of Justice
Litmus Test
A failure of justice
  Opinion
Tamil nation must ensure TNA holds true to elected mandate - JS Tissainayagam
Profiles of 2006 Sencholai massacre
Sri Lanka’s most pressing problems are both structural and systemic - Taylor Dibbert
  Feature
TNA becomes third biggest party in Sri Lanka with 16 parliamentary seats
Election polls close in Sri Lanka amid unanimous Sinhala rejection of Tamil demands
14 Aug 2006: 53 Tamil school girls killed by Sri Lankan air strike on children's home
  Culture & Community
A night to remember as Tamil comedy takes to the stage
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament



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