Sunday, 19 April 2015
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Tamil Guardian 19 April 2015
TNA is not committed to LTTE ideology, not in favour of terrorism - Sumanthiran

The Tamil National Alliance MP MA Sumanthiran says the party has no allegiance to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and is not committed to their ideology, adding the TNA is not in favour of "terrorism".

Speaking to the Sunday Leader, Mr Sumanthiran said:

"[W]e do not have any allegiance to the LTTE nor are we committed to their ideology. We stand up for the rights of the Tamil people but we are not in favour of terrorism nor do we encourage it and everyone knows this."

Mr Sumanthiran also said there is no truth in rumours that the LTTE may return, saying the people are steadfast in not allowing "terrorism" to return.

"This is just an attempt by certain parties to create fear among the people. There is absolutely no truth in the claims that the LTTE is attempting to regroup. But even if there is such a move the people will not allow it or support it as it is they who have suffered the most during the war. Therefore the people are quite steadfast in not allowing such terrorism to begin again as they know that they will be the ones that are worst affected," he said.

The TNA, formed in 2001, officially backed the LTTE until 2009. Since the end of the armed conflict, the party leadership has offered contradicting views on its support for the organisation.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 April 2015
Turkey looks to embolden business ties with Sri Lanka
A Turkish business delegation looking to invest in Sri Lanka will be visiting the island soon, reports the official news portal of the Sri Lankan government.

The Turkish Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Iskender Okyay, said that the delegation would look to invest in the manufacturing, tourism and other sectors, speaking at a press brief hosted last week.

Current trade volumes with Turkey are at $128 million reports news.lk.
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Sri Lanka pledges co-operation with Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Sri Lankan government has assured its commitment to implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), after Sri Lanka’s Deputy Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka met with the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last week.

Sri Lankan minister Ajith Perera met with OPCW Director-General Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü at the organisation’s headquarters at The Hague, where they “discussed ways of further enhancing cooperation, ” said a press release.

The deputy foreign minister “assured the Director-General of Sri Lanka’s serious commitment and meaningful contributions to achieve the goals of the CWC,” whilst Mr Üzümcü “further expressed OPCW’s support and assistance towards the full and effective implementation of the CWC in the country”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
China and Sri Lanka discuss increasing military ties

China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka met with the Commander of the Sri Lankan army to discuss increasing military ties between the two countries, reported the Sri Lankan army.

The Ambassador of People's Republic of China in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang met with the Commander of the Sri Lanka army Lieutenant General Crishanthe at the military headquarters on Friday, where discussions focused on military training programs.

Also present at the meeting were Sri Lanka’s military secretary Major General Mahesh Senanayake, Military Secretary and Senior Colonel Li Chenglin, Military, Naval and Air Attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo.

Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Growth in Sri Lanka unsustainable due to structural barriers to competitive markets says World Bank
A report by the World Bank on South East Asia, noting structural barriers to competitiveness in Sri Lanka, predicted a decline in Sri Lanka's growth to 6.9 percent due to several factors including slowing down in the construction industry.

The report added that part of the decline in growth would  be due to previous growth being artificially propped up by consumption due to increased public sector wages.

With competitiveness still remaining a challenge in Sri Lanka, due to the actions of the previous government, the growth of Sri Lanka will decline as the new government looks to make changes to move towards a more open and competitive market, the South East Asia Economic Focus report also added.

Noting that Sri Lanka's current growth had come from non-tradable sectors, the World Bank warned that it would be difficult to sustain future growth without increasing growth in export sectors, which lacked competiveness in Sri Lanka.
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Sri Lanka's prime minister travels to India
Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe travelled to India on Friday morning, reports Colombo Page.

Though details of his trip are yet to be announced, it was confirmed that the prime minister went to India with a delegation of 4 people.
Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Ranil was only ‘joking’ when he spoke of shooting Indian fishermen – Chandrika

Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga has defended Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for his comments last month, in which he justified the shooting of fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

Speaking to DNA, Ms Kumaratunga said people misunderstood his joke.

“He was joking and people misunderstood him. Media persons kept harassing him with questions. In response, he just said that if an unwanted person came into my house illegally, I had a right to shoot him for trespassing,” she said.

Mr Wickremasinghe had defended the Sri Lankan navy's shooting of fishermen, stating: "If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed...Law allows me to do that.”

After criticism from India and Tamil parties, the prime minister repeated his "joke".

"The Lankan navy has the right to shoot in any part of the country if anyone enters territorial waters, this is nothing new," Mr Wickremasinghe said a week after the initial comments.

Ms Kumaratunga in her interview also said despite the closeness of India and Sri Lanka, there was some fear amongst average Sri Lankans, pointing out that the island was "invaded 52 times by south Indian kings" in ancient times.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Resettling IDPs find homes in North-East Sri Lanka looted and damaged
Internally Displaced People who were allowed to resettle in their original homes in the Valikamam found their homes destroyed by vandal upon return.

Families returned to their houses, which had been marked for resettlement over a month ago, to find windows, doors and roofs missing from the structures.

Ceylon Today quotes one internally displaced person in the North-East as saying,

“We lived as IDPs for the past 27 years in welfare centres and in the houses of our relatives and friends. Now we have returned to our own lands without any support to start a new life. All our immovable assets are either damaged or have been stolen.”

The recently resettled families also reported that thieves had burgled their homes within days of moving in.

At least 25 people have been caught with stolen items suggest local police reports. 
Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Sri Lankan army camps on released land blocks resettlement says TNA MP

Army camps built on land that has been reportedly released by the Sri Lankan government has left displaced Tamils unable to resettle in their native villages, said Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson and MP Suresh Premachandran.

Speaking after visiting the 1000acres of land that was reportedly released by the Sri Lankan government in Vali North, Mr Premachandran said the lands “have not been fully released”.

“Inside the 1000 acres of land, is two big army camps,” said the MP.  “If those army camps are removed, then people those lands belong to can resettle. The owners of the lands are now in Urumpirai welfare centre,” he added, referring to a housing camp for displaced Tamils in Jaffna.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
We will not give in to Indian pressure – minister

The State Finance Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution was unrealistic and India could not compel the government to implement it.

Speaking on Rupavahini TV, Mr Samarasinghe, who used to be former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special envoy on human rights, said land and police powers should not be devolved to the provinces as stipulated in the amendment, highlighting that JR Jayawardene, the president at the time of the amendment, was strongly opposed to the devolution of those powers.

The minister accused India of pressuring the government in 1987 to accept the amendment, despite opposition by Sri Lanka, and said no Sri Lankan leader would give in to Indian pressure to accept its position which was “unfair and unacceptable”.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
UN resolutions could have been avoided – SL cabinet spokesperson

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said if former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had established an inquiry similar to the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, the resolutions passed at the UN Human Rights Council could have been avoided.

Mr Senaratne, who is also Health Minister, said Mr Rajapaksa was not prepared to listen to anyone, despite his advice to establish a South African style commission.

South Africa’s TRC did not include a justice or accountability mechanism, strongly demanded by Tamils and sections of the international community.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Intimidation of Tamil journalists continues under new Sri Lankan govt says TNA MP
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, S Sritharan, condemned the ongoing intimidation of Tamil journalists by Sri Lankan police, despite promises of good governance by the new government.

"Tamils hoped for improvements that will strengthen human rights in this country under your regime. However, even after you became to power, intimidation and violence against Tamil journalists continues," Mr Sritharan wrote, in a letter to the president, Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday.

"Such unfortunate news will only blot your aim for a good governance," he added.


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Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
SriLankan Airlines to increase flights to Chennai

SriLankan Airlines announced today it will increase flights to Chennai.

In a statement, the airline said it would add a fourth daily flight to the capital of Tamil Nadu.

According to Lanka Business Online, Saminda Perera, the general manager of worldwide sales said in a statement that “Chennai is a key market for us and one of the fastest growing cities in southern India”.

“While we have always received a strong response from this market, Chennai serves as a key business hub for all multinational corporations. This daily flight will cater to growing business, corporate and leisure demand between Sri Lanka and Chennai."
[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Sri Lanka’s economic growth to decline, more FDI required – World Bank

The World Bank says Sri Lanka’s economic growth will decline to 6.9% in 2015, as the government reassesses the investment-led growth model of the previous regime.

The organisation’s South Asia Economic Focus report said the trend was “partially set off by consumption growth thanks to increased public sector wages and higher disposable income”.

The report further stated the country needed to attract increased foreign direct investment to maintain its high growth rate, saying that it attracts less than expected.
"With limited public and private national savings compared to national investment, Sri Lanka needs to attract FDI—in order to maintain its high growth rate," the report said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Govt pledges extra educational resources to Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu
The Sri Lankan government pledged extra resources for schools in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, promising that progress would be evaluated within six months.

Making the pledge, prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said that the two regions would be declared as "Special Education Zones".

"The qualitative aspects of schools are to be enhanced with the provision of the human and physical resources. Those who are currently functioning as teachers in the area, affiliated to civil defence services, will be admitted to permanent teacher service upon conducting of an Examination and interview," the government's news site said.

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Australia's foreign minister meets with Eelam Tamils in Chennai
Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, held with discussions on Wednesday with Eelam Tamils in Chennai.

Ms Bishop, who is currently on a four day visit in India, described the discussion as "constructive" in a tweet.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
CBSL cuts interest rate to boost growth

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has cut policy interest rates by 0.5% for the first time in over a year, in order to boost growth in the country.

The bank said in a statement its monetary board had decided to cut the standing lending facility rate to 7.5% from 8% and the standing deposit facility rate to 6% from 6.5%.

“Current behavior of market interest rates is viewed to be inconsistent with the continued low inflation and investments needed to address concerns on economic growth for the year,” the statement said. The “relaxed monetary policy stance will also be pursued in months to come” until market rates come down enough to boost growth, it further said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Chinese navy ships to use Pakistani port, as Sri Lankan may deny permission

Chinese navy ships may now choose to dock in Pakistan's Gwadar port, which has now come under the control of a Chinese firm, as the Sri Lankan government may deny permission for Chinese vessels to dock in Colombo, reports the Press Trust of India.

“The Gwadar port will also guarantee China’s naval ships’ maintenance and supply in the Indian Ocean,” said Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at Shanghai Institute for International Studies in the state-run Global Times. “The move is widely seen as crucial for China, especially as it is unlikely that Sri Lanka will open its ports to Chinese naval ships,” he added.

The reports come after controversy following the docking of Chinese submarines in Colombo last year. China defended the move, but Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said that the docking caused “serious suspicion”.

[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 19 April 2015
Thousands of Yemen soldiers pledge allegiance to exiled president
Thousands of Yemeni troops pledged allegiance to the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday.

The Yemeni commander of a military district encompassing half of the country’s border with Saudi Arabia announced full support to Hadi local officials reported.

At least 15,000 troops are now thought to be on the same side as the Saudi Arabia government, reports Reuters.

“Brigadier General Abdulrahman al-Halily of the First Military District announced today his support for constitutional legitimacy as represented by President Hadi,” reports officials.

A vast majority of Yemen’s military is loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are currently fighting alongside Houthi militants.

The pledge of allegiance comes as Saudi Arabia continue to lead coalition airstrikes against Houthi militant advances.
Tamil Guardian 19 April 2015
Egyptian justice system is politicised says HRW

The Egyptian justice system was deemed ‘politicised’ after evidence used against 51 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters was criticised by Human Rights Watch as in sufficient in a statement released on Sunday.

The deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Joe Stork, commenting on the life sentences, said,

“The fact that people who covered and publicised mass killings in 2013 could go to prison for life or be executed while the killers walk free captures the abject politicisation of justice in Egypt.”

“This trial appears to be simply another effort by the Egyptian government to silence its opponents,” Mr Stork added.

The defendants included 10 journalists and seven people who worked as Brotherhood spokespeople for Brotherhood-owned news outlets, including a 27 year old Egyptian American, Mohamed Soltan, who volunteered to arrange news coverage of a mass sit in, and was sentenced to life in prison.

The Egyptian court on April 11 sentenced 14 men to death and 37 others to life in prison for their actions which were actions which were alleged to be against the ousting of the former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Mursi.

Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Ukraine wants ICC to examine war crimes in Crimea and East

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called on the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged war crimes in the east of the country controlled by pro-Russian separatists and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last year.

The ICC is already investigating reports of crimes committed in Ukraine from November 2013 to February 2014, after the Ukrainian government granted permission to the court. Mr Klimkin’s call for broadening the investigation though, could see reports of Russian involvement in the fighting officially investigated for the first time.

Speaking to Reuters before meeting the court's president and prosecutor on Friday, Mr Klimkin said an ICC referral would cover "everything under the (ICC) mandate, including crimes against humanity”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Yemen rejects Iran peace plan
Yemen’s government, on Saturday, rejected a four-point peace plan proposed by Iran to the United Nations last week.

A Yemeni government spokesperson, speaking to Reuters, said, that they “reject the Iranian initiative.”

The Iranian peace plan called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to all foreign military attacks in the region.

The US president Barack Obama, on a phone call with Saudi King Salman on Friday, agreed that a negotiated political solution was essential for lasting peace in Yemen, the White House said in a statement.

Yemen’s government and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of supporting the Houthi militants.

Iran submits Yemen peace plan to UN  (18 April 2015)
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
IS claims responsibility for Afghanistan blast

The Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for an explosion at the Kabul Bank branch that has killed at least 35 people on Saturday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, stating “this nation does not bow to threats and dangers.” “We will fight them to the end,” he added.

Shahidullah Shahid, a former Taliban leader that joined IS claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the suicide bomber as Abu Muhammed Khurasani. IS affiliated Twitter accounts later tweeted photographs of the attacker.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, passed on his “condolences on this tragic incident,” saying, “Terrorism is a common enemy of both the countries which are now taking joint steps to eradicate this menace.”

The top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, said the bombing “may amount to a war crime,” adding that “those responsible for this horrendous crime must be held accountable.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Al-Qaeda affiliated groups claim responsibility for attacks on Mali peacekeeping mission
An al-Qaeda affiliated militant group, on Saturday, claimed responsibility for a suicide raid on UN peacekeepers in Northern Mali, reports Reuters.

In an audio recording obtain by a Mauritanian news source, a former al-Qaeda fighter, Mokhtar Bemokhtar, said,

“We, the Mourabitoun group, announce the martyrdom operation that one of our knights, Ibrahim al-Ansari, undertook at the headquarters of the Nigerian forces.”

The attacks resulted in the deaths of at least three civilians and injuries of nine UN peacekeepers.

Over 10,000 personnel have been deployed in Mali, which saw the North seized by al-Qaeda militants.
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Thousands of Germans protest against free trade deal with US
Thousands marched through Berlin, Munich and other German cities in protest against a free trade deal between Europe and the United States, reports Reuters.

In Berlin, approximately 1,500 people marched through the city centre on Saturday, with Munich seeing at least 3,000.

Protesters expressed concerns that free trade with the United States, would erode food, labour and environmental standards.

 German opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been on the rise, with a recent YouGov poll showing that 43 percent of Germans thought the agreement would be detrimental to the country.
Tamil Guardian 18 April 2015
Iran submits Yemen peace plan to UN
Iran’s foreign minister submitted a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon outlining a four point peace plan for Yemen.

The plan, which was submitted by Mohammed Javad Zarif, on Friday, called for an immediate ceasefire and end of all foreign military attacks, humanitarian assistance, a resumption of broad national dialogue and establishment of an inclusive unity government, reports Reuters.

The letter further said,

“It is imperative for the international community to get more effectively involved in ending the senseless aerial attacks and establishing a ceasefire, ensuring delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Yemen and restoring the peace and stability to this country through dialogue and national reconciliation without re-conditions.”

Saudi Arabia, which has been leading a coalition to curb Houthi militant advances in Yemen using airstrikes, accuses Iran of supporting the militants.

The UN Secretary General, on Thursday, called for a ceasefire by all sides in Yemen. The UN said that at least 150,000 people had been displaced in the last 3 weeks, with over 750 killed.
Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
South Africa's permanent mission to AU condemns anti-immigrant violence
South Africa’s permanent Mission to the African Union, in a Statement released on Friday, condemned incidents of violence direct at foreign nationals in some parts of the Kwazulu-Natal province.

Outlining measures taken to control the situation, the statement said,

“The South African Government has also deployed Ministers of Police, State Security and Home Affairs to work with Kwazulu-Natal Provincial government to quell the violence and bring the situation to normality.”

South Africa calls for international assistance to curb anti-immigrant riots  (17 Apr 2015)
Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
South Africa calls for international assistance to curb anti-immigrant riots
The South African government said it sought diplomatic assistance from countries across the African continent to help curb anti-immigrant violence that had left at least four people dead in the past 2 weeks.

The South African Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, told Reuters,

“We belive that working together we can defeat this daemon. We will have to nip this in the bud.”

The foreign minister’s comments come as Kenya, Malawi and several other African Union nations have offered to evacuate their citizens from the region if they felt unsafe.

Speaking after a meeting with South African officials in Pretoria, Chadian Ambassador Mahamoud Adam Bachir, said that South Africa was committed to the safety of foreign citizens in their country.

The calls for diplomatic assistance come as violence escalated on Thursday evening with several foreign owned shops being looted.
Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
Russia condemns presence of US military trainers in Ukraine

The Russian government has condemned the presence of US military trainers in Ukraine, as hundreds of US paratroopers arrived to train the Ukrainian military as they battle against pro-Russian separatists.

"Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade have been arriving over the last week," a US army spokesman Donald Wrenn told AFP. "We will have about 300 soldiers from the brigade on the ground providing the training that will last over the next six months."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 April 2015
UN Security Council ‘in tears’ after watching Syrian chlorine attack video

United Nations Security Council envoys were reportedly in tears after viewing footage of a chlorine gas attack in Syria from earlier this year, as they pledged to hold the perpetrators accountable.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the UN Security Council meeting was "extremely unusual and very emotional," adding, "If there was a dry eye in the room I didn't see it."

"Those people responsible for these attacks have to be held accountable," Ms Power told reporters after the meeting.

“We need an attribution mechanism so we know precisely who carried out these attacks… only the Assad regime has helicopters,” she added, noting the bombs were dropped from aircraft.

The footage showed the aftermath of the attack on the city of Idlib earlier this year. Syrian doctors are seen trying unsuccessfully resuscitate 3 young children.

“But we need to move forward in a manner that also makes it very clear to all council members that those people responsible for those attacks are held accountable,” continued Ms Powers.

"The long arm of justice is taking more time than any of us would wish right now, but this documentary record will be used at some point in a court of law".

[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
EU foreign ministers call for regulations to label goods made in Israeli settlements
Sixteen European Union foreign ministers, urged the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to pass regulations that would require goods made in Israeli settlements, deemed illegal by the EU, to be labelled.

Though some countries in the EU have already implemented the provisions, a coalition of foreign ministers are looking to see the provision implemented across the EU, reports Reuters.

A letter from 16 of the EU’s 28 capitals, including Britain and France, said,

“The continued expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, and other territories occupied by Israel since 1967, threatens the prospect of a just and final peace agreement.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Iran will only accept agreement if sanctions are lifted
Iran will only accept a deal over its nuclear programme if world powers lifted all sanctions imposed on it.

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, speaking on Iranian television, said,

“If there is no end to sanctions, there will not be an agreement. The end of these negotiations and a signed deal must include a declaration of cancelling oppressive sanctions on the great nation of Iran.”

The comments come a day after US President Barack Obama, gave Congress a say in the US stance on Iran and give lawmakers the right to veto the lifting of sanctions imposed by the US.

Several people in US Congress have been highly critical of the US led negotiations with Iran.
Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
UN envoy to Yemen resigns

The United Nations envoy to Yemen resigned on Wednesday after four years in the role, as fighting in the country continues to rage on.

Jamal Benomar, a Moroccan diplomat, had been a mediator between various political organisations since 2012 after he brokered a 2011 transition plan following the Arab Spring. Since then the situation in the country has deteriorated with a Saudi-led collation bombing campaign now entering its fourth week.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon released a statement saying he "greatly appreciates the tireless efforts Mr. Benomar has made over the years to promote consensus and trust on a peaceful way forward in Yemen".

[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 April 2015
Colombia resumes bombing raids against Farc

The Colombian government has announced it will resume a bombing campaign against Farc militants, after the death of 10 government soldiers in an attack yesterday.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said, "I have ordered the armed forces to lift the suspension of air strikes on Farc positions until further notice."

Farc had been observing a unilateral ceasefire since December, with the Colombian government in turn suspending air strikes against the militants. Last week, Mr Santos had extended the freeze on air strikes, as talks between the warring parties continued. However, this has now been lifted.

"Let this be clear to the FARC: I'm not going to be pressured... by vile acts like this to make a decision on a bilateral ceasefire," added Mr Santos.

Meanwhile Farc negotiator Félix Antonio Muñoz commented on the incident yesterday, saying,
“It appears that the cause is the incoherence on the part of the government, to be ordering military operations against a guerrilla force that has declared a truce.”

Tamil Guardian 15 April 2015
Cuba welcomes US terror list decision

The Cuban government welcomed the US decision to remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Cuba's top diplomat responsible for dealing with the US, said: "The Cuban government recognised the fair decision made by the president of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list that it never should have been included on, especially considering our country has been the victim of hundreds of acts of terrorism that have cost 3,478 lives and maimed 2,099 citizens."

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said Cuba had "not provided any support for international terrorism" over the past six months and that it had provided "assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future".

'Openness and courtesy' at Obama-Castro meeting (12 April 2015)

Tamil Guardian 15 April 2015
Syrian government used chemical weapons, says HRW
Syrian government forces used toxic chemicals in barrel bomb attacks between March 16-31 2015, said Human Rights Watch in a statement released on Tuesday.

Calling on the UN Security Council and country members of the Chemical Weapons Convention to “respond strongly,” the Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, Nadim Houry, said,

“Syrian authorities appear once again to have shown complete disregard for human suffering by violating the global prohibition against chemical warfare.”

Three attacks examined by Human Rights Watch, found that people near the impact site exhibited symptoms consisted with exposure to toxic chemicals, said Human Rights Watch.  Witnesses also reported finding canisters usually used to hold gas with the remnants of barrel bombs.

An independent expert who looks at war time atrocities, Keith Ward, upon reviewing video footage of victims, told Human Rights Watch that the symptoms of the victims were consistent with exposure to a choking agent.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Demanding demilitarisation
Awaiting Justice
New Crossroad?
  Opinion
'North and south still divided'
Sri Lanka must seize this window of opportunity - David Cameron
Will Sri Lanka's new president be held to international standards of justice?
  Feature
Tamil New Year in the militarised Vanni
British Tamils gear up for UK general election
Naangal holds welfare projects across North-East Sri Lanka
  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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