Friday, 28 November 2014
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Maaveerar Naal marked in Jaffna University. Photograph Uthayan
 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Candles lit in North-East to mark Maaveerar Naal
Updated 15:30 GMT

 
Photograph: Lamps being lit at a home in Jaffna.
Tamil Guardian

Maaveerar Naal was commemorated in secret on Thursday in the North-East, despite heavy military presence all over the region.

A source at one Jaffna event held in a private location told Tamil Guardian, “this is not an advertising stunt. Just to tell the world, that still our feelings, as Tamils, are alive.”


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Maaveerar remembered at Jaffna University
Students at the University of Jaffna marked Maaveerar Naal in secret, despite a heavy military presence around the campus.


Photograph: Uthayan

Soldiers and police were gathered around a memorial monument in the university grounds where they expected students to attempt to light a ceremonious flame.


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Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Mullaitivu councillor marks Maaveerar Naal

Northern Provincial Council member Thurairasa Ravikaran led a Maaveerar Naal tribute in Mullaithivu. Ravikaran was joined by over fifteen citizens, including the mother of a Maaveerar.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
British Tamils commemorate Maveerar Naal

Thousands of British Tamils gathered at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London on Thursday, to commemorate the nation's day of remembrance - Maaveerar Naal.

The event began with the ceremonious lighting of a flame of remembrance, coinciding with the death of the first Tamil cadre killed in the struggle against Sri Lankan state oppression.

The ceremonial flame was lit by the mother of Isaipriya, a Tamil news anchor and journalist who was killed in May 2009.


See our live tweets here.
 
 
Photographs: Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC)

In London, British Tamils from across began the event with
the ceremonious lighting of remembrance flames to coincide with the death of the first Tamil cadre killed in the fight against Sri Lankan state oppression.
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Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Tamils will remember their dead in the face of SL state oppression - Ananthi Sasitharan
The memories of Tamils who dedicated their lives towards the Tamil people’s liberation will not be erased despite the Sri Lankan state’s relentless efforts to do so, said Ananthy Sasitharan.




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Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Stop EU trade benefits if SL does not cooperate with UN inquiry says UK Foreign Affairs Committee
The British Foreign Affairs Committee report said that the UK should negotiate with the EU to remove trade benefits granted to Sri Lanka, if the government not allow UN investigators into Sri Lanka or stop activists engaging with the UN.

Highlighting further concerns over witness intimidation following David Cameron’s visit to Jaffna, the Committee urged the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to report on how individuals at risk in Sri Lanka had been monitored, in a report published today.


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Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
No bells must toll today warns army, as North-East under military siege on Maaveerar Naal
Updated 10:38 GMT

Photograph @Tharu1985


The Sri Lankan army have warned Tamils across the North-East that no temple or church bells must toll today, as the Tamil nation marks its remembrance day - Maaveerar Naal, the local newspaper, Uthayan, reported.

Photograph Uthayan


Sri Lankan military personnel and police officers have been deployed across the Tamil homeland. The main town of Jaffna has been particularly affected, with Jaffna University, Nalloor temple and the main teaching hospital, under effective siege.

"The army is stationed at every street and lane, so much so that the place is looking like war zone, and everyone who goes past is subjected to an interrogation," the Uthayan noted.


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Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Uthayan remembers fallen heroes
Marking the Tamil national remembrance day today amid military warnings against any act of remembrance, the Jaffna based newspaper, Uthayan, published a full page remembrance message on the second page of its print edition.

"We bow our heads in memory of our heroes who gave their lives to protect the rights of the people," the message read, depicting two hands holding a lit lamp. The message was also published online on the Uthayan's website.

Uthayan print edition 27 Nov 2014, page 2


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Sinthujan Varatharajah Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Topography of terror and exile

Where do we carry our dead when our soil is stolen and our oceans were turned into impenetrable walls and borders? Where do we take our grief when our kovil bells are forced into silence and our mourners made illegal? Where do we sing our songs of sorrow and resilience when our lips have been sealed?

We carry them afar. We carry them in our suitcases across the sea.


Five years after the end of war, a new monument for the thousands of dead Tamil civilians and combatants will be inaugurated.

[more]

 

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Commemorating 'Heroes Day' is a terrorist act warns SL military spokesperson
Sri Lanka will not allow anyone to celebrate the birthday of the Liberation of Tamil Tigers leader or “Heroes Day,” said the Military Media spokesperson, Ruwan Wanigasooriya.

The brigadier stressed that security had been strengthened in the North by deploying additional special forces, and warned that anyone commemorating these events would be considered as committing a terrorist act, reports Colombo Page.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Jaffna Municipal Council hackers leave message celebrating LTTE leader's birthday
The website of the Jaffna Municipal Council was hacked on Wednesday, displaying a message celebrating the 60th birthday of LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran.

The image, posted on Wednesday, featured Prabhakaran's photograph and the words “Happy Birthday Karikaalan,” a reference to the name he was also known as.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
A legacy for generations

Twenty-five years ago today, the Tamil nation’s day of remembrance - Maaveerar Naal, was first commemorated at an event in the Vanni. Today, the commemoration of the nation’s fallen heroes has spread across the world, taken by those who were forced to flee their homeland in the North-East. This year also marks a significant anniversary of remembrance in global history, the hundredth anniversary of the start of the first world war. Over 16 million people died during four years of intense warfare, which led to a further world war and millions more deaths. Silence, a candle and a flower - a gloriosa lily and a poppy, were used in an act of remembrance that is understood across nations and across generations. The legacy of those who gave their all for their nation binds a people beyond political differences. It reverberates through history and is honoured and revered as the ultimate sacrifice.


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Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
Heavy military presence at Jaffna Uni ahead of Maaveerar Naal
Photograph Uthayan


SL Army personnel and police officers have been seen deployed around the University of Jaffna, since last night with two military vehicles stationed close by,

the day before the Tamil national remembrance day, Maaveerar Naal, reports the Uthayan newspaper.

The University of Jaffna was closed suddenly today, with university administrative officials saying the university would remain closed until December 1st. Students living in hostels have been ordered to vacate the premises until then.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
LTTE leader's 60th birthday marked across the world
The 60th birthday of LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran was marked today, with celebrations reportedly being held across the North-East and the rest of the world.

Jaffna-based newspaper Uthayan reported that in locations across the North-East, Tamils distributed sweets to neighbours and relatives to mark the occasion.

Secret celebrations were also reportedly held in Jaffna University, where students lit candles and cut a cake.

Jaffna


Celebrations were also held across Europe including the UK, Denmark and France, with cakes being cut and fireworks lit.

In Tamil Nadu MDMK leader Vaiko also cut a cake, whilst students across the state in Kovai, Pondy and Chidambaram held events to mark the occasion.

See photos from the various events below.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
Ananthy Sasitharan's office under military surveillance
The office of the TNA Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member, Ananthy Sasitharan is under military surveillance, locals sources said.

"The army is involved in unusual patrol activities in front of my office in Sulipuram and military intelligence are monitoring the office from shops opposite," Sasitharan told the Uthayan.

The heightened military activity comes amid the Tamil nation's annual remembrance day commemoration on November 27 - Maaveerar Naal.

Earlier in the day, trees were planted in the North-East in memory of fallen LTTE cadre.




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Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
Anonymous letters urge Jaffna schools to commemorate Maaveerar Naal

Schools in Jaffna received anonymous letters urging them to commemorate Maaveerar Naal on Thursday, reports Uthayan.


Prominent schools in and around the centre of Jaffna received the flyers bearing Tamil national symbols of remembrance such as the karthigaipoo or gloriosa lily.


The flyers also featured poetic tributes to Maaveerar who "sowed their lives as seeds", saying “your dreams will come true, the Tamil nation will emerge”.

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
TNPF office surrounded by Sri Lankan military personnel
The Tamil National People’s Front's office has been surrounded by Sri Lankan military personnel since this afternoon at 4pm local time, the party said.

The military surveillance comes on the day before the Tamil national remembrance day, Maaveerar Naal, and on the day of the birthday of the LTTE leader, V. Prabhakaran.

Intelligence officers have been stationed at the office door, the party said, adding that as a result local residents are afraid to leave their houses due to the overwhelming military presence.

Earlier this week, the TNPF issued a statement calling on the international community to provide protection for Jaffna University students and staff facing death threats by unidentified persons, thought to be connected to the Sri Lankan military.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
'Thoughts of you must guide our way' - Mano Ganesan on remembrance

Mano Ganesan, leader of the Democratic People’s Front and former MP, has posted a message of remembrance, ahead of Maaveerar Naal, on his Facebook page.



[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
British High Court confirms Egyptian cabinet can be investigated for war crimes
British police are free to investigate members of the Egyptian cabinet for war crimes confirmed the UK High Court on Thursday, after ruling that they were not immune from investigation.

The UK Crown Prosecution Service agreed to inform the Metropolitan Police that “issues of immunity do not preclude investigations into allegations against persons still in office, irrespective of their function, for the purpose of future prosecution”.

Whilst there may still be further legal challenges ahead with immunity for foreign government members accused of war crimes, the ruling means the War Crimes Team of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, SO15, can investigate the cases of Egyptain members thought to have been responsible for reported massacres in Cairo last year.

A member of the legal team Tayab Ali, commented on the ruling saying, "there are fewer and fewer safe havens for those that commit international crimes.”

See more from the Middle East Eye here.
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Many killed in suspected roadside bomb in Nigeria

An explosion, suspected to have been caused by a roadside bomb, has killed at least 25 people in Nigeria.

The deaths, near the town of Mubi in Adamawa state, included 5 soldiers, according to a government spokesperson.

Mubi was recaptured from Boko Haram militants by the Nigerian military this week and the army has now imposed a 24 hour curfew.

The latest deaths come days after suicide bombings killed at least 78 people in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Almost 50 killed in attack in northern Nigerian state (23 November 2014)

Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
5 dead in attack on British embassy in Kabul
Five people have been killed in an attack on the British embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday in a suicide bombing, reports Reuters.

One Briton is believed to be among the dead, whilst 33 people were injured.

"I can confirm it was a British vehicle and there are some injuries. We are working with the Afghan authorities," a British embassy spokesperson told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, stating it had "targeted foreign invading forces".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
US led coalition foreign ministers to discuss action plan against Islamic State militants
Foreign ministers from up to 60 countries within a US led coalition against Islamic State militants will hold their first meeting next week in Brussels.

The meeting, to be held on December 3 and chaired by the US Secretary of State John Kerry, will analyse progress in the fight against Islamic State militants, and discuss future political coordination, reports Reuters.

Meanwhile, the US military continued its airstrikes against the Islamic State, with 10 attacks near Kobane, destroying six fighting positions said US central command on Wednesday.

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
Catalan parties to unite in 18 month plan for independence
Catalonia’s leader Artur Mas, outlined a plan to create a Catalan state within 18 months, by uniting the region's politicians, reports Reuters.

Catalonia’s two main parties, on Wednesday, came close to agreeing on a decision to call for regional elections that could be used as a proxy for a referendum on independence from Spain, by the parties uniting on a common election platform.

The leader of Catalonia’s second-biggest party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), welcomed Mas’ plan as a “good starting point.”

“We need to seek formulas that add up between all the political forces that want to move towards independence,” said Oriol Junqueras.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
US drone strikes kill 5 militants in Pakistan
A US drone strike in Pakistan killed 5 militants, a government official said on Wednesday.

The US drone strike hit a house used by militants, near the Afghan border, as the Pakistani military intensified their own airstrikes in an offensive against Taliban militants.

The Pakistani government condemned the US strike as an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.

“The Government of Pakistan condemns the drone strike that took place in the early hours of Wednesday, 26 November 2014 at Garga, north Shawal in North Wziristan Agency,” the government said in a statement.

Though Pakistan protests drone strikes, many say that the military has given its tacit acceptance of the US strikes, Reuters said.

Tamil Guardian 26 November 2014
Student leaders arrested as police clamp down on Hong Kong protests
Hong Kong police, on Wednesday, moved in to clear one of the largest protest sites in the occupy movement and faced several clashes with pro-democracy activists that continued to stream into cleared areas.

Several student leaders were arrested, including Joshua Wong and Lester Shum, reports the BBC.

Police used pepper spray and batons against demonstrators, whilst arresting individuals that resisted the police.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2014
Farc releases two soldiers in bid to restart peace talks
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have released two Colombian soldiers and vowed to release an army general, in a move that is hoped to revive stalled peace talks.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hailed the release, stating it was “an important step which shows the maturity of the peace process and the gestures of peace all Colombians demand."

In a statement released from Havana, Cuba, FARC said it had ”fulfilled the conditions of the first phase of the Special Humanitarian Accord and will now focus its efforts on freeing General Ruben Dario Alzate ... and his companions."

The group went on to call for a halt on all Colombian government military activity in area held by FARC, saying,

"We hope the operations led by the defense ministry and the military siege against the civilian population will be immediately suspended so that the release of these individuals can go ahead without any scares."

The Colombian army has been accused by the militants of bombings, deploying troops and of surveillance flight over FARC-held territory. The two soldiers captured in the eastern Arauca province in a reported clash with FARC militants two weeks ago.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2014
Grand jury decision over Michael Brown shooting sparks protests
A Missouri grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown earlier this year, has sparked protests across the United States.

Responding to Monday's verdict, rights’ activists and civil liberties’ organizations denounced the failure to indict Wilson as symptomatic of a larger failure by the American justice system to hold police officers accountable for their disproportionately high rates of violence against people of colour.

Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said
in a statement,
“The grand jury's decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown's tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.”
In a statement released on Monday, the family of Michael Brown expressed their disappointment with the decision.
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen”
Thousands of Americans at demonstrations throughout the country have condemned the failure to indict Wilson as unjust. Despite calls for restraint by various state and federal officials, including President Obama, some have turned to rioting and violence with reports of police having fired tear gas and flash-bang canisters at protesters. In Ferguson alone, 61 people were arrested Monday night.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 November 2014
Dozens killed as Syrian government bombs Raqqa
At least 87 people have been killed and dozens more injured in a series of air strikes carried out by the Syrian government on the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa.

Rami Abdulrahman from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 10 Syrian government jets had struck Raqqa at least 10 times, killing dozens.

"The majority of the strikes were in the eastern part of the city," Abdulrahman said. "At least 36 of those killed are civilians. As for the rest, we are not sure yet if they were fighters."

"Most of the casualties were caused by two consecutive air strikes targeting the city's industrial area," he went on to add. "The first strike came, residents rushed to rescue the wounded, and then the second raid took place."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 November 2014
US confirms successful airstrikes against Islamic State militants
The US military in a statement, said that it had, with its allies, conducted several successful airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.

According to the statement 9 strikes in Syria took out at least three Islamic State militant fighting positions, whilst 15 strikes in Iraq destroyed militant checkpoints and military vehicles, reports Reuters.

US air-drops arms to Kurdish forces fighting IS (20 October 2014)

IS retreat amidst US airstrikes, coalition pledges further support to forces fighting militants (16 October 2014)
Tamil Guardian 24 November 2014
At least 45 killed in blast in Afghanistan
An explosion, thought to have been caused by a suicide bomber, has killed at least 45 people and wounded dozens more at a volleyball match in eastern Afghanistan.

The attack on Sunday occurred in the Paktika province, where locals had gathered to watch the game.

Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani said the incident was a"heinous attack", according to his spokesman and Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement, "no cause justifies such acts of terrorism and taking of innocent lives."

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosion occurred just hours after the lower house of the Afghan parliament, approved security deals which will see around 12,000 NATO and US troops remain in the country after most foreign troops withdraw next month.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 24 November 2014
US welcomes interim oil deal between Kurdistan and Baghdad
The US vice president Joe Biden welcomed an agreement made last week between the Iraqi central government and Kurdistan over managing oil exports in the region.

Speaking in Istanbul on Saturday, Biden said he was encouraged by the interim agreement made by the two regional governments.

Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government agree preliminary oil export deal (16 November 2014)
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Farc calls for reduced government military presence and international mediators for release of captives
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) militants warned the Colombian government, increased government military activity would jeopardise the release of the recently captured Colombian general, reports Agence France Presse.

Condemning Colombian troop deployments and movement restricting security measures imposed into their areas, the Farc said,

“These communities have been practically besieged by the army.”

The Farc went onto call for demilitarisation before freeing the captured general, and requested the Red Cross to be involved in the hand over.

FARC militants defend capture of Colombian general  (19 November 2014)
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Almost 50 killed in attack in northern Nigerian state
Boko Haram militants are alleged to have killed 48 people in an attack in the northern Nigerian Borno state, on the border with Chad.

The victims, mostly fishermen reportedly had their hands tied and throats slit by insurgents from the Islamic militant group.

The head of the fish traders association Abubakar Gamandi told AFP "the attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multi-national troops."

Troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger are currently stationed at the village of Doron Baga, where the attack took place, as part of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to battle against Boko Haram.

The BBC reported the attack took place after villagers from the community pointed out four insurgents to security forces and were shot dead.

The attack was apparently aimed at punishing the community after four insurgents were pointed out to soldiers and were shot dead.
Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes a war crime – HRW
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Israel should immediately stop destroying the family homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis, stating the practise amounts to a war crime.

Last week, Israeli authorities demolished the family homes of a Palestinian man who rammed his car into a baby and woman at Jerusalem station, killing them both. HRW noted that in 2014, there have been 5 times that Israeli forces have destroyed Palestinian family homes, leaving dozens homeless.

“When carried out in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, it amounts to collective punishment, a war crime,” said HRW.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director, added, “punitive home demolitions are blatantly unlawful... Israel should prosecute, convict, and punish criminals, not carry out vengeful destruction that harms entire families.”

The demolitions took place despite the German, French, British, Italian and Spanish ambassadors calling on Israel to halt the practise.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed that the European Union diplomats had met with Israel regarding the practise, but said "this is not meant to be punitive, but rather to dissuade others from carrying out terrorist attacks."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
US to return to combat with Taliban

The US has decided to expand their military role in Afghanistan, enabling them to target Taliban fighters from 2015.

Under previous withdrawal plans, the 9,800 US soldiers remaining in the country, would only be training Afghan soldiers and fight remnants of Al Qaeda.

The troops will not go after the Taliban unless they "directly threaten" the US, an unnamed official told US media.

“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said. “To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat - The New York Times (22 Nov 2014)

 

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Western sanctions are aimed at 'regime change' in Russia says Lavrov
Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Western countries of using sanctions to try and bring about regime change in Russia.

Speaking at a meeting of the advisory Foreign and Defense Policy Council in Moscow, Lavrov said,

“The EU is our largest partner... Nobody is going to shoot himself in the foot and reject cooperation with Europe, but everyone understands that it won’t be business as usual anymore.
“But we don’t need the kind of business we had. [That] was like ‘Russia must do this and must do that,' and we want to cooperate as equals,” he added.
The foreign minister went on to add,
"As for the concept behind to the use of coercive measures, the West is making clear it does not want to force Russia to change policy but wants to secure regime change."

"Now public figures in Western countries say there is a need to impose sanctions that will destroy the economy and cause public protests."

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
A legacy for generations
Impeding justice
Thunderclap
  Opinion
Topography of terror and exile
Gendered Genocide: Sri Lanka’s War Against Tamils
Review: 'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder'
  Feature
Who is Maithripala Sirisena?
Remembering Thamilselvan 7 years on
30 Oct 1995: Jaffna exodus as Tamils flee for Vanni ahead of SL military advance
  Culture & Community
Breaking the Silence Journal 2014: Cardiff University
Tamil students inspired to excel at UKTSU's Careers Network 2014
Barts and London University Tamil Society host language workshop



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