Friday, 22 May 2015
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Full coverage of May 2009 remembrance events world wide. Photograph: Locals in Stockholm visit exhibition held on May 18 (Updated 20 May 2015 23:48 GMT)
 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 22 May 2015
Protests ease but Sri Lankan security forces remain in Jaffna
Sri Lankan riot police, Special Task Force officers and military personnel remained stationed across Jaffna on Friday, even as protests over the rape and murder of a Pungudutivu school girl last week, began to ease.

Photographs Tamil Guardian


Four senior police officers, including the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Superintendent of Police (SP), the Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and the Officers-In-Charge of Jaffna and Kayts Police, were transferred to Jaffna with immediate effect, following an order by the Inspector General of Police, N K Ilankakoon.

 

The Chief Justice Shri Bhavan also visited the Jaffna Peninsula today, inspecting the damage to the Jaffna court complex following violent scenes yesterday, as protesters threw stones demanding justice for the 18 year old Advance Level student, Vithiya.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 May 2015
4 Sri Lankan ministers resign citing Ranil's grip on power
Four government ministers belonging to the Sri Lankan president's party, the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) resigned on Friday, accusing the prime minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe of exerting too much control over the coalition government.

The ministers are Dilan Perera, the SLFP spokesperson and state minister for housing; Mahinda Yapa Abewardene, the cabinet minister responsible for parliamentary affairs; C B Ratanayake, state minister for public administration and democratic rule and Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi, the minister of environment.

"It is no use of being the partners of a government which failed to keep the promises given during the election period," the ministers were quoted by PTI as saying, accusing Mr Wickremasinghe of "high-handedness".

Tamil Guardian 22 May 2015
Sri Lanka must not be rewarded for reforms it hasn't made say NGOs

Sri Lanka’s government should not be rewarded for progress it hasn’t made said the International Crisis Group (ICG) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), noting that Tamil demands for progress on accountability for mass atrocities had not been met by Sri Lanka’s new governance.


The International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Committee to Protect Jorunalsits (CPJ) and Freedom From Torture (FFT) briefed a US Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka on human rights progress under Sri Lanka’s new regime, in Washington on Wednesday.

Speaking at the status update on human rights in Sri Lanka under the new regime, Mark Schneider, noting that legitimate demands of Tamils in North-East had not been met, said that the new government was yet to produce a list of detainees held, establish a clear consultative process for release of military held land and take serious steps towards accountability for atrocities.

Mr Schneider added that the recent appointment of Jegath Dias raised serious concerns about Sri Lanka’s commitment to accountability. Noting that the US should support international prosecutions, he added that domestic prosecutions using US law on potential war criminals that held dual citizenship in the US or green cards should also be pursued.   

The Asia director of Human Rights Watch, expressing concerns on issues of accountability, stressed that genuine accountability could not be traded for a truth seeking process and highlighted the need to ensure that there was strong international involvement in any domestic prosecution mechanism that Sri Lanka may implement.

John Sifton added that human rights abuses continued in the North-East under the new regime wit arrests harassment intimidation and violence, noting that though there was a new regime the structure of the state police and security forces responsible for abuses had not changed.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sirisena denies existence of political prisoners

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday denied the state was holding any political prisoners, Ceylon Today reported.

Speaking to journalists during a press brief, the president said the government had no list of political prisoners to release as there were no such prisoners.

"We don't have political prisoners or a list of names", he said to a question posed by Ceylon Today.

Tamil politicians have long complained that the government is not addressing the issue of political prisoners. The TNA leadership raised this with US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit earlier this month.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
'LTTE began like Jaffna protests' - Mahinda

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa urged police to act against the protestors in Jaffna, as the LTTE also "began in a similar fashion."

“Stones were pelted at police stations and the courts in Jaffna. The LTTE too began in a similar fashion. This is a dangerous situation. Therefore the police should act immediately. The law should take its course in a similar manner whether it is the North or the South of the country,” he said speaking after attending religious observances at the Samadhi Buddha statue in the Mahiyangana town, the Daily Mirror reported.

“Everyone should be equal before the law, whether it is in the north or the south. Law and order should be maintained. The prevailing situation must change soon. It is obvious that the ongoing incidents are well organised,” he said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Long term action needed to alleviate environment allowing for rape and murder says TCSF

The Tamil Civil Society Forum, in a statement said a post-war environment of heavy militarisation, lenience towards drugs and alcohol abuse and damaged social networks were contributing factors to rape within the society.

Expressing condolences to the family of the recently murdered Vithya, the TCSF note that this was not an isolated incident and that gang rapes had happened before in post-conflict Jaffna.

The TCSF called on the people of Jaffna to continue to take peaceful democratic action through protests to ensure that Sir Lanka’s police took unbiased action and brought justice.

The statement also called for a long term plan to be produced to work to alleviate the environmental circumstances that had created an environment for such crimes to occur.

Protests continue in North-East calling for justice over murdered Tamil schoolgirl (19 May 2015)

Sri Lankan troops and riot police deployed in Jaffna as protests continue over school girl murder (20 May 2015)

Sri Lankan police deployed outside Jaffna court as protesters gather (21 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sri Lankan police pursue and assault protesters in Jaffna

Protesters in Jaffna were pursued and assaulted by Sri Lankan police on Wednesday after dispersing from a demonstration outside the Jaffna court complex.

A video obtained by IBC Tamil shows Sri Lankan police calling out an individual from a property and beating him on the street.

Protests calling for justice for the rape and murder of student S Vithiya turned violent yesterday, resulting in police and special task forces being deployed.

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sri Lanka's supreme court cancels stay order on Sampur land

Photograph: Colombo Mirror

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court cancelled its stay order that prevented the government form handing back approximately 818 acres of land in Sampur that had been kept away from Tamil families for over 9 years, reports ColomboMirror.

Speaking to Colombo Mirror, The Tamil National Alliance spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran said,

“The Supreme Court has not only cancelled the stay order but also allowed over 1250 families to be resettled there. I hope there would no longer be any impediment for these people to be resettled in their native places after nine years of long untold sufferings.

The cancellation comes after a 30 year old activist launched a fast unto death on Sunday in response to the court’s initial stay order on the Sampur lands. Thevarasa Premkumar concluded his fast after the cancellation of the court order was announced.

Sampur resident begins hunger-strike demanding Sri Lanka to return appropriated land (19 May 2015)

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sri Lankan police deployed outside Jaffna court as protesters gather
Photographs Tamil Guardian


Sri Lankan police officers were deployed outside the Jaffna court complex on Thursday morning, as protesters gathered expecting three suspects, accused of the rape and murder of a Pungudutivu school girl last week, to be produced before court.



The police have denied this however, telling demonstrators that the suspects were not due to be produced before court today.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sri Lankan coalition partner accuses Jaffna protesters of threatening Sinhalese
The government coalition partner and party consisting of Buddhist monks, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) on Wednesday called for the Sri Lankan security forces to take action against Tamil demonstrators in Jaffna who are protesting against the rape and murder of a school girl in Pungudutivu, accusing them of threatening the lives of Sinhalese residents.

The 18 year old Advance Level student, Vithiya, is believed to have been raped and murdered by local Tamil men last Wednesday, who are being held in remand at Jaffna police station by court order. The incident has sparked protests across the region, with Tamils demanding that the perpetrators face justice.

The JHU's media secretary, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, said that the demonstrators were "threatening the Sinhalese in Jaffna and forcing them to leave that area", the Daily Mirror reported.

"Racist, separatist and terrorist groups were trying to raise their heads again by hiding behind this incident and added they were resorting to violent acts as well," he added, urging that legal action be taken against those found responsible for the violence.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
Sri Lanka's CID to lead murder investigation of Pungudutivu school girl
Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is to take over the investigation into the rape and murder of a Pungudutivu school girl last week, the police spokesperson, Ruwan Gunasekara said during a press conference on Wednesday. 

The decision was made by the Inspector General of the Sri Lanka police who visited Jaffna yesterday, and ordered the CID to take over.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Maj Gen Dias promotion 'major setback' for peace-building in Sri Lanka - NGOs

The promotion of the accused war criminal Major General Jagath Dias to Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka's army is a major setback for peacebuilding on the island, a group of NGOs has charged, calling on the government to revoke the position.

The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and TRIAL (Track Impunity Always), condemned the promotion.

“The promotion of a suspected war criminal to the post of the Army Chief of Staff is a serious setback for the Sri Lankan process of reconciliation announced by President Maithripala Sirisena on taking office in January”, the NGOs said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
International investigators will not be allowed into Sri Lanka says Sirisena

Sri Lanka’s President reiterated that international investigators would not be allowed into the country to probe war crimes allegations, reports Shanghai Daily.

“We have had talks with the UN on investigations. As a government we have told them we will not allow foreign investigators coming to Sri Lanka. However we will take advice from the UN and conduct a domestic investigation,” said Maithripala on Wednesday.

Pointing to a domestic investigation, that he intended to launch next month, Sirisena added,

“We will ensure our sovereignty is protected in the human rights investigation. We need to brief the Human Rights Council in September on the domestic mechanism. So the mechanism will be in place by June.”

Sirisena's statement comes as his governemnt faces criticism for reneging on commitments to accountability and peace building by reinstating military personnel accused of being responsible for mass atrocities, including Sarath Fonseka and Major General Jagath Dias.

Maj Gen Dias promotion 'major setback' for peace-building in Sri Lanka - NGOs (20 May 2015)

Accused war criminal Jagath Dias made Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka’s Army  (14 May 2015)

Domestic mechanism will ‘salvage the good name of armed forces’ - Sri Lankan FM  (07 May 2015)

'I am ready for any inquiry anywhere in the world' says Fonseka (31 Mar 2015)

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Swedish Tamils hold advocacy event in remembrance of Mullivaikkal massacres
Tamils in Sweden held an awareness raising exhibition in remembrance of the Mullivaikkal massacres.

Hosting an event entitled 'Tamil Genocide Day,' the Swedish Tamil Forum (STF) and Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO), handed out leaflets to people in the city centre of Stockholm.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Tamils in Qatar remember Mullivaikkal deaths

Tamils in the Qatari capital Doha commemorated those who died in the closing stages of the armed conflict in 2009, Pathivu reported.

The faces of those who attended were blacked out for security reasons by the news website, as the virtually all Tamils in the Middle Eastern country are temporary workers who will return to Sri Lanka at some point.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
New government has sabotaged Sri Lanka's Victory Day says Mahinda Rajapaksa at celebrations

Sri Lanka’s former president, addressing a 'Victory Day' event,  said the new government should be ashamed of ‘sabotaging’ Sri Lanka’s Victory Day celebration reports, DailyFT.lk.

Photographs: DailyFT.lk

Speaking at a ‘War Heroes Memorial’ ceremony in Colombo, Mahinda Rajapaksa, said,

“The day we defeated terrorism is the day of victory. However, this day should be celebrated as the Victory Day no as Remembrance Day.”
[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Sri Lankan troops and riot police deployed in Jaffna as protests continue over school girl murder
Photographs Tamil Guardian


The Sri Lankan military, special task force and riot police were deployed in Jaffna on Wednesday, citing the ongoing protests over the murder and rape of a Pungudutivu school girl last week.



Riot police fired tear gas into the crowds of protesters who had surrounded the Jaffna court house and threw stones towards it, calling for those responsible to face justice.

The violence has been condemned by the chief minister of the northern province, who said that outside elements were trying to exacerbate the longstanding distrust that existed between the Sri Lankan police and the Tamil people.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Canadian Tamils remember Mullivaikkal massacres in Toronto

Over one thousand people gathered in Toronto on Monday to mark 6 years since the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils in the final phases of the armed conflict.


Marking 'Tamil Genocide Day' in Albert Campbell Square, Canadian Tamils gathered and laid flowers in remembrance of those killed.

[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
UN concerned with diversion of civilian humanitarian aid in Syria

The United Nations children’s fund (UNICEF) expressed concern at reports that emergency food and humanitarian aid was not reaching civilians in Syria due to theft by combatants.

Speaking to press on Thursday, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq, said,

“UNICEF is extremely concerned at reports that some of its humanitarian supplies in Syria have not reached their intended destination.” In a time when so many children in Syria are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, it is absolutely vital that aid reaches children and families in need and not get diverted.”

The Syrian National Coalition of rebels accused the Syrian army its allied fighters of stealing relief aid and distributing to their troops.

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
German court wants harsher punishment for Rwandan geoncide case

Germany's Federal Court of Justice said a Rwandan man already sentenced for being an accessory to genocide could face life in prison, after it ruled that he was also guilty of perpetrating genocide, Reuters reported.

Onesphore Rwabukombe, who has lived in Germany since 2002, was a mayor in north Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by dominant Hutu forces in 100 days.

He was jailed by a court in Frankfurt for 14 years, after the ethnic Hutu, was found guilty of overseeing and assisting the murder of at least 450 men, women and children at the Kiziguro church compound in east Rwanda, but not of killing anyone himself.

However Germay's highest court has now ruled that he did actively take part in killings.

Witnesses in the original case described him driving militia men to the site of the massacre in his own pick-up truck and ordering the attackers to "get to work".

"The statements do not only prove the objective offence of being an accessory to genocide but also those of perpetration," said the higher court.

Man sentenced in Germany’s first Rwandan genocide trial (18 February 2014)

Tamil Guardian 21 May 2015
US admits child deaths in Syrian air strikes

The US has admitted for the first time its air strikes in Syria caused civilian deaths, after reports that two children died in an air strike last year.

"We regret the unintentional loss of lives," said Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the US-led campaign.

The admission by the government came after an investigation into the incident was conducted by US military authorities, directed by Lt Gen Terry.

A statement on the investigation said the Pentagon conducted a "thorough assessment, review and validation process" and concluded the target buildings were being used exclusively for military purposes.

"The coalition continues to take all reasonable measures during the targeting process to mitigate risks to non-combatants and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict," Lt Gen Terry said.

See more here.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Philippines promises refuge for asylum-seekers stranded on boats

In a statement on Tuesday the government of the Philippines has offered refuge to asylum-seekers stranded on boats in the Andaman Sea. Herminio Coloma, a spokesperson for the President said the Philippines would continue its tradition of extending “humanitarian assistance” to “ ‘boat people’” and “continue to do [their] share in saving lives under existing and long-standing mechanisms pursuant to our commitments under the [UN] convention.”

While the Philippines is a long way off from where many of the boats are currently stranded, it is thus far the only South-East Asian country to step forward and offer a possible haven for the asylum-seekers, many of whom have been stranded on boats for months. Joe Lowry, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration said, “It is a hopeful sign. We hope the governments in the region would lift their game as well.” Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have now turned back boats, adopting a strict policy on refusing entry to ships carrying asylum-seekers.

However, despite their governments’ policies, another group of 370 Rohingya and Bangladeshi asylum-seekers was rescued by a group of Indonesian fishermen today. This latest rescue included at least 50 women and children, who were reported to have been stranded at sea for weeks with no food or water.

Currently, ministers from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are attending emergency talks in Kuala Lumpur to address the crisis. Myanmar, which by most accounts is the largest source of the asylum-seekers in question, is not in attendance.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine

Fighting erupted between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, killing four Ukrainian soldiers. Gennady Moskal, governor of the Luhansk region bordering Russia stated on his website that separatists initiated fire on government positions.

Technically, a ceasefire has been in place since February, however, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said last week that at least 83 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed since then. It is unknown how many casualties the separatists have suffered.

In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday, Poroshenko said, “this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia.” He said that while he did not trust Vladimir Putin, he had to have faith in diplomacy.

Tamil Guardian 20 May 2015
North Korea cancels Ban-Ki Moon’s visit
North Korea has cancelled a planned visit by UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon a day before it was scheduled. Mr. Ban had planned to visit an industrial park in the Kaesong economic zone that is jointly run by South Korea and North Korea.

In comments at a forum in Seoul the secretary general said that no explanation was given and the move was “deeply regrettable”.

Mr. Ban, a former foreign minister for South Korea, would have been the first UN Chief to visit North Korea in 20 years. In his initial announcement of the meeting he stated he would use it to “urge North Korea to co-operate with the international community for the Korean Peninsula and for peace and stability".
Tamil Guardian 19 May 2015
US willing to consider rolling back 'pro-democracy' programmes in Cuba
A senior US official suggested that Washington could modify pro-democracy programmes in Cuba that had been objected by Havana, reports Reuters.

Speaking or press on Tuesday, the State Department official said,

“The democracy programs have changed over time, and they will continue to change over time to reflect a reality, whether that reality is on the ground in Cuba or in the United States. We always have to be cognisant of making sure that when we’re supporting the Cuban people, we’re doing it in a way that is the most effective.”

The comments came ahead of a fourth round of talks between the US and Cuba that is set to take place in Washington on Thursday. 

US approves ferry services to Cuba (06 May 2015)

Cuba welcomes US terror list decision (15 Apr 2015)

Tamil Guardian 19 May 2015
Burundi tension results in 110,000 refugees in neighbouring countries - UN
Heightening political tensions in Burundi has caused an influx of refugees to neighbouring countries said the United Nations on Tuesday.

Speaking to press, the World Health Organisation spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said the population of Burundi refugee camp in Tanzania had increased to 90,000.

The UN refugee agency spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, speaking at the same press conference added that there were at least 26,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda taking the total to 111,000 refugees in all three neighbouring countries.
Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Hundreds protest in Burundi despite ban
Hundreds of people protested in the streets of Burundi on Monday following a failed coup last week to oust the country's president.

Protests have been ongoing in Burundi since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third term. Presidents are limited to two terms in office by both the 2000 Arusha accords that ended Burundi’s civil conflict and the country’s 2005 constitution.

Unlike previous weeks however, protesters clashed with armed military personnel as officials warned against protests. The government of Burundi is seen to be ramping up its campaign against protests with army patrols roaming the capital and soldiers stationed in areas where protests were expected.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Saudi Arabia resumes air strikes in Yemen following end of ceasefire
The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition resumed strikes against Houthi militants in Yemen on Monday, hours after the expiration of the humanitarian ceasefire in spite of calls for an extension by the UN.

Humanitarian agencies worked frantically to deliver supplies to Yemen during the short break in fighting. Yemen has faced difficulties receiving any commercial imports, which it relies on heavily, as a result of the Saudi-led arms embargo. Julien Harneis, UNICEF’s Yemen representative, said that the ships that were able to dock during the ceasefire could only provide a, “minute percentage of the amount of goods that need to come into the country for any normal life.”

The Arab state coalition reported targeting Houthi rebel positions in the Aden province on Monday. US Secretary of State John Kerry said in remarks to the press on Monday, “We continue to support the idea of extending the humanitarian pause, but I think under the circumstances at the moment that will be difficult.”

Political parties from Yemen began talks in the Saudi capital on Sunday to find a solution to the situation. The Houthis however, were notably absent.
Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
EU approves naval force to address migrant smuggling from North Africa
The European Union has approved a plan to use naval forces to intercept migrant smuggler ships operating from North African countries, such as Libya, at a meeting of EU defence ministers and foreign ministers on Monday.

The plan aims to militarise the EU response to the surge in migrant smuggling ships crossing the Mediterranean, where thousands of asylum-seekers have already died attempting the perilous journey.

The plan to use naval force still requires further approvals from European governments and legal legitimacy from the UN Security Council, in addition to possible cooperation from countries in North Africa. The UK will play a leading role at the Security Council in drafting a resolution that provides the legal basis for this use of naval force.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 May 2015
UN envoy calls for extension of ceasefire in Yemen to allow further distribution of aid
The UN envoy to Yemen called on the Saudi-led military coalition and Houthi militants to extend the humanitarian ceasefire due to expire on Sunday.

A senior envoy official, Islmail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called for the extension to allow for further aid to be delivered to Yemeni civilians.

The ceasefire has been observed since Tuesday, with humanitarian aid envoys attempting to distribute aid to an estimated 300,000 people that have been displaced, reports Reuters.

Speaking to press, Mr Ahmed, said,

“I am hopeful there will be an extension. All my first contacts indicate that we have a chance, but I am really calling on all parties to extend this for a minimum of five days.”

Tamil Guardian 16 May 2015
Egyptian court seeks death penalty for former president Morsi
An Egyptian court sought the death penalty for former president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted from Presidency in the 2013 uprisings.

Mr Morsi and 106 other supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are being tried for their connection with a mass jail break in 2011. Egyptian prosecutors alleged that the Bortherhood was planning of sending elements to receive training from Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants.

The court is expected to make a final ruling on June 2 reports Reuters.

The co-founder of the Muslim Bortherhood’s political wing - Freedom and Justice Party, Amr Darrag, speaking to Reuters, said,

"This is a political verdict and represents a murder crime that is about to be committed, and it should be stopped by the international community.”

Tamil Guardian 16 May 2015
India-China sign $22bn deals

Prime Minster Narendra Modi's visit to China is concluding today, with the signing of $22bn (£14bn) worth of trade and economic cooperation agreements.

The deals signed during his 3-day visit cover a range of industries including renewable energy, the financial sector and ports.

"Let us work together in mutual interests," said Mr Modi. "Now India is ready for business."

More deals worth $10bn (£6.3bn), covering education, railways, and scientific research were signed on Friday.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 May 2015
Iran open to all level of talks in exchange for sanctions relief

Iran pledged that it was open to all levels of talks on its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief during talks in Vienna on Friday.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, speaking to Austrian press said,

“Even if I’m optimistic, that doesn’t mean that any deal is acceptable. All parties want a good deal, and for Iran it’s only a good deal if our legitimate rights are respected and sanctions are finished.”

 Responding to questions on whether an agreement would be reached before the June 30 deadline, Mr Araqchi, said,

"We believe that solving the technical components won't be difficult if there is veritable political will. If that is the case, the final deal can very likely be reached before the deadline.”

Deputy level talks between Iran and the six powers, the US, Russia, China, UK France and Germany are expected to continue next week, reports Reuters.

Tamil Guardian 15 May 2015
Islamic State seizes city, US pledges heavy weponry to Iraqi forces
Islamic State militants in Iraq seized the local government headquarters of the Iraqi city of Ramadai on Friday, reports Reuters.
 
Militants attacked the city of Ramadi overnight using suicide bombers to get to the city centre.

The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi met with Iraqi security leaders following the attacks, and pledged to intensify efforts to expel Islamic State militants from Ramadi.

The announcement came as the US Vice President Joe Biden, pledge to aid Iraqi forces with heavy weaponry.  

Iraqi security forces defending the city of Ramadi, sent out calls for reinforcement, stating that “a massacre” was imminent.
Tamil Guardian 15 May 2015
War crimes committed in Libya warns UN mission

Armed groups across Libya are responsible for crimes that could leave them liable in front of the International Criminal Court, warned the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL.)

In a statement released on Friday the organisation said that the groups were responsible for “abductions of civilians including minors on account of their actual perceived origin, opinion, family and political affiliation.2

The UNSMIL called on those with effective control and power in Libya, to “refrain from abducting civilians on the basis of their identity or opinion, to immediately release all those held on such grounds; and to ensure the well-being of anyone deprived of their liberty.”

Tamil Guardian 14 May 2015
Burundi president returns

The president of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, says he is back in the country, only a day after an attempted coup led to heavy clashes in the capital Bujumbura.

The country's military declared a coup against the president, a former Hutu rebel leader, following weeks of clashes between police and demonstrators protesting his decision to run for a 3rd presidential term.

Coup leader Major General Godefroid Niyombare, also a Hutu, in a press statement on Wednesday said,

“President Pierre Nkurunziza is removed from office, the government is dissolved. All people are asked to respect the lives and property of others.”

There were no new statements from Gen Niyombare on Thursday but a spokesman for the coup forces, Gen Cyrille Ndayirukiye, told Agence France-Presse the uprising had failed.
[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Struggle for remembrance
The British Tamil ballot
Demanding demilitarisation
  Opinion
Chief Minister's statement delivered at May 18 remembrance event in Mullivaikkal
At home and abroad: accountability, reconciliation and Sinhala Buddhism
Preventing atrocities now — and in the future
  Feature
Revisiting May 2009 - Civilians walk into SL camps after thousands killed in night of shelling, surrendering LTTE leadership killed, Tamils blockade Westminster
UK parliamentary candidates detail their views on the Tamil question
'Where else should I die but here?'
  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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