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Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Tamil Nadu delegation secures $4 billion foreign investment ahead of global forum in Chennai
A Tamil Nadu delegation visiting Singapore, Japan and South Korea, led by the chief secretary in the industries department of Tamil Nadu, secured $4 billion of a $ 16 billion foreign investment target set by the Tamil Nadu State.

A Global Investor’s Meet (GIM), with the aim of raising $16 billion foreign investment into Tamil Nadu is scheduled to take place in Chennai later this year, reports the

The Tamil delegation as held a series of meetings with public and private sector officials in the there countries, whilst promoting the GIM – which will be held from May 23-24 this year.


Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
HRW tells Sri Lankan president to press ahead on rights reform
The New York based rights group, Human Rights Watch, urged Sri Lanka's new president to "advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country" and stressed the need for accountability for violations of international law during the armed conflict in a letter sent to the president on Thursday.

Stating that the government had undertaken important new initiatives, HRW said in a statement accompanying the letter, "however many important human rights concerns still need to be addressed".

"Among them are the use of torture by police, the protection of minority communities, the independence of government oversight committees, and the repealing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Holding accountable those responsible on both sides for violations of international law during Sri Lanka’s long civil war is crucial for the country’s future," the rights group added in a statement on Thursday.


Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Young Tamil found dead in Batticaloa

The body of a young Tamil man was found on Thursday in Eerakulam, Batticaloa, reported Battinews.

Nallathambi Vijikaran, 20, who hails from Siththandi, was reported missing by his family three days ago.

Mr Vijikaran, whose brother Nallathambi Nithiyananthan is a journalist, was staying at his family's house in Eerakulam when he went missing. His parents identified the body, which was found at Idakkaali riverside in the town.

As police failed to arrive in time to inspect the crime scene, the body had to be left at the riverside overnight and will only be removed on Friday.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Tamil orgs reject Sri Lanka's Commission on Missing Persons, call for international mechanism
The Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and Welfare Organisation for the Forcibly Disappeared Persons, announced that they would be boycotting Sri Lanka’s presidential Commission on Missing Persons, stating that a “credible inquiry”  can “only be achieved through international means.”

Questioning the credibility of previous sittings at the Presidential Commission, the statement, released on Thursday, said,

“no results whatsoever have been forthcoming from such inquiries. Recent reports suggest that one of the international experts so appointed was also hired by the then Sri Lankan Government to advise them on how to handle international community pressure on human rights issues, clearly pointing to a conflict of interest in his appointment as an expert.” 


Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
JVP opposes UNP-SLFP national government
The JVP this week said it would oppose any move towards a national government ahead of Sri Lanka's parliamentary election, stating that such a move was an attempt to deprive the electorate of the right to vote.

On Sunday, the president's media office announced that the opposition party, SLFP had agreed to form a national government.

"If there is a real need for a national government that may be formed after the next general election. We won’t be party to any such move. We also oppose any move to deprive the people of their right to elect a new government at a general election," JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said however, insisting that a parliament should be dissolved in April and a fresh general election be called.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Maithripala to visit UK and 'lunch with Queen'

Sri Lanka's new president, Maithripala Sirisena will travel to the UK on March 7 on an official visit, Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapakshe told the BBC Sinhala service.

President Sirisena, who was acting defence minister during the bloody final stages of the war in 2009, will have lunch with Queen Elizabeth on March 11, said Mr Rajapakshe.

The justice minister further said Sri Lanka had not yet decided whether it would start a new domestic probe into mass atrocities committed during the armed conflict.

"We will do an internal inquiry if it is necessary. As a step towards this, the former government appointed and obtained a report from the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission," he said, adding that even if a domestic inquiry is conducted, it would prioritise establishing the truth and promoting reconciliation rather than punitive action.

Sri Lanka's new government and the possibility of justice (23 January 2015)

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
UNHRC defends deferral of OISL report

The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday defended its decision to defer the release of the report on the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka as a "very rational" decision taken in a "relatively unique" case, reported Outlook India.

Speaking ahead of the 28th session next week, UNHRC president Joachim Rucker pointed out that both the stepping down of the Chairperson of the Commission of Enquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, William Schabas, and deferral of the OISL report by 6 months were "relatively unique cases" and warned against drawing conclusions of a general nature about them.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Sri Lanka's foreign minister visits China
Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera left for China on Thursday, for a two day visit aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries.

Mr Samaraweera is expected to meet with his counterpart in China. The visit comes ahead of the Sri Lankan president's expected visit next month.

"The expectation of this visit is to strengthen relations," the deputy minister for Policy planning and Economic Affairs, Harsha de Silva was quoted by Colombo Page as saying.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Sri Lanka to push for free trade agreements with US and China
Sri Lanka will push for a free trade agreement with the Untied States and China to  further economic benefits the Deputy Economic Development Minister, Harsha De Silva told press.

Speaking at a forum of exporters in Colombo, De Silva said,

“The US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is something we need to aggressively push. We have already started talking to some people on it.”

De Silva added that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy should be tied to trade,

“Foreign policy and trade policy cannot be in two separate silos. We cannot say the Europeans and Americans are conspiring to throw the government over when at the same time our exports are going to Europe and the United States.”

De Silva added that Sri Lanka’s United National Party (UNP), had built close ties with China, and that a planned trade agreement would be used to expand trade with other countries, reports
Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Wigneswaran tells Sri Lanka PM nothing racist about demanding truth
Criticising the Sri Lankan prime minister's statement that a resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) calling for an international investigation in genocide as "racist", adding that the UN Human Rights council's decision to defer the publication of a report examining mass atrocities against the Tamil people was intended as a slap in the face to the NPC.

“Asking that the truth should come out cannot be racism,” the Northern Provincial Council's chief minister, C V Wigneswaran told reporters on Wednesday. 
“If only the truth is first learnt, a path for reconciliation can be created,” he pointed out.
“The prime minister saying that [us] revealing what happened to our people is racism gives [us] great sadness. Saying the truth can never be racism. Real racism can be pointed out. That is what the resolution we brought to the Northern Provincial Council showed."


Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Sri Lankan court extends detention of Jeyakumari
Tamil disappearances activist Balendran Jeyakumariy has had her detention extended by a court in Colombo on Tuesday after a request from Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorism police, reports Colombo Mirror.

The campaigner, who was detained by Sri Lankan security forces ahead of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka in March 2014, will continue to be held in custody until March 10.

Earlier this month, her daughter Vipoosika had written to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena calling for her mother to be released.

Both Vipoosika and Ms Jeyakumari were detained on March 13 2014, by Sri Lanka’s anti-terror police under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Vipoosika was later released, however, her mother was transferred to Boosa prison, notorious for its endemic use of torture and sexual violence against Tamil detainees.

Ms Jeyakumari has now been detained for 349 days.
Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
South African delegation visits Sri Lanka
A South African delegation visited Sri Lanka this week, discussing cooperation in areas such as defence, trade and the zoological gardens, as well as sharing the country's experience of reconciliation.

The delegation is led by South Africa’s deputy minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindia Mfeketo.

The countries initiated the Declaration of Intent in the Field of Sustainable Tourism Development and the Memorandum of Understanding- between the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and Department of National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, the Defence Ministry's website, reported.


Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
UK Tamils demonstrate in solidarity with Jaffna protesters
Photographs Tamil Guardian

Tamils in London held a demonstration on Wednesday in solidarity with Tamils in Jaffna, who a few hours before had come out in their thousands to call for the immediate release of the UN inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people and reject a domestic Sri Lankan inquiry as a means of delivering justice.


Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Senior UN official to visit Sri Lanka this week

The UN’s Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman will visit Sri Lanka on Saturday, his first visit to the island.

Mr Feltman will meet with senior officials of the government, political parties and civil society groups.

The spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, Stéphane Dujarric, said the under-secretary “looks forward to discussing with Sri Lankan leaders various issues of mutual concern.”

The diplomat, who is an American national, is currently in his way to Myanmar, where he will take part in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-UN workshop focusing on collaboration in support of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.

Mr Feltman is the head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and oversees UN efforts to prevent and mitgate conflicts.

Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
BBS chief Gnanasara may contest general elections

The head of the Bodu Bala Sena, a Buddhist group led by monks, says he is considering entering politics and contesting the general elections in summer.

Speaking to Colombo Gazette, BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara said he had been requested several times to enter politics.

In January the Buddhist organisation announced it would form a party to “protect Buddhism form minority threats”.

Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Sri Lankan PM says NPC's call for genocide investigation is 'racist'
Sri Lanka's prime minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, said the resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) earlier this month calling for an investigation into genocide committed by successive governments against the Tamil people was "racist" and that the UN Human Rights Council's decision to defer the publication of a UN report into mass atrocities against the Tamil people was intended as a rebuke to the NPC resolution.

Addressing the Sinhala public at rally in Kurunegala this week, Mr Wickremasinghe said he was on a path to eradicate racism but faced obstacles.

"In this journey to eradicate racism two groups stand in opposition," he said, pointing to the NPC resolution and the Sinhala print media supportive of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.


Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
World Bank pledges continued support for Sri Lanka

The World Bank reaffirmed its commitment to support Sri Lanka to help “shape and implement policies”, to reduce poverty and promoting sustainable growth.

World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon, met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake during her visit to Colombo, according to a press release published on Tuesday.

“The Government has laid out an ambitious reform agenda aimed at improving governance, transparency and accountability and establishing strong institutions for that purpose within its first 100 days. This is no small feat and the Bank stands ready to provide support to the government to help achieve these goals,” Ms Dixon said as she concluded her first visit to Sri Lanka.

Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Tamil Nadu youth march in solidarity with Eelam Tamils

Almost 100 youth in Tamil Nadu held a demonstration expressing solidarity with protestors in Jaffna, demanding the release of the report from the United Nations inquiry into mass atrocities committed against Tamils.

Holding placards that said placards reading “#TamilLivesMatter” and “Justice delayed is justice denied”, the protestors gathered in front of the UNICEF office in Chennai. They handed in a petition demanding an immediate release of the inquiry findings, as well as a full investigation into genocide and a referendum to determine the Tamils people's right to self-determination.

The delay in releasing the report “protracts the genocide of the Tamil people” said V Prabhakaran of the Tamil Youths and Students Federation. “This delay only encourages the ethnic cleansing that is taking place today,” he told the Tamil Guardian.

“The report must be released immediately.”


 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Kurdish forces recapture strategic Syrian town
Kurdish forces captured the strategic town of Tel Hamis in North-East Syria in their latest powerful offensive, reports Reuters.

The UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict confirmed the Kurdish Peshmerga forces’ announcement that the town had been captured on Friday.

The Observatory said that Kurdish forces had killed at least 175 members and commanders of the Islamic State militants, in an offensive that began last weekend.

The US led Combined Joint Task Force said that 20 strikes against Islamic State militants had been conducted since Thursday.
Tamil Guardian 27 February 2015
Cuba calls for de-listing as talks with US resume
Cuban and US officials held talks on Friday aimed at restoring diplomatic ties, with Cuba pushing to be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, reports Reuters.

The US has said that talks should focus on functioning of diplomats in future embassies, despite Cuban calls for talks to be centred on the de-listing of Cuba before restoring full diplomatic ties.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Ukraine begins withdrawing heavy weapons

The Ukrainian government has begun its heavy weapons from the frontlines of the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, under the terms of a ceasefire agreement.

“Today Ukraine has begun the withdrawal of 100 millimeter guns from the line of confrontation,” said Ukraine’s military in a statement.

However the military went on to say it reserved the right to withdrawal schedule “in the event of any attempted offensive”. “If there are attempts to attack, the heavy weapons withdrawal schedule will be adjusted,” the statement continued. “Ukrainian troops are fully prepared to defend the country.”

The spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Michael Bociurkiw, said both sides now had to ensure an inventory of weapons would be expected to be provided to monitors. “It’s not enough to be invited to follow the removal process part of the way. It has to be complete,” said Mr Bociurkiw. “It’s not a shopping list, you cannot pick and choose.”

“It’s not a one-shot deal,” he added. “We don’t want to be put in a position where we are rubber-stamping movements. Our bottom line is credible verification.” 

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
China loaned $22bn to Latin American countries last year - report

China's state-owned banks loaned $22bn to countries in Latin America in 2014, according to figures released by US think-tank Inter-American Dialogue.

The money helped struggling economies which have been hit hard by a fall in prices for oil, minerals and other commodities they export.

China loaned $8.6bn to Brazil, $7bn to Argentina, $5.7bn to Venezuela and $821mn to Ecuador last year.

Tamil Guardian 26 February 2015
Boko Haram kills dozens, Nigerian president vows to recapture territory
Boko Haram militants killed over 23 civilians on Thursday in a series of suicide bombs and roads side blasts reports Reuters.

A suicide bomber at a bus station killed at least 17 people, whilst two road side bombs killed a further 6 people, a military source told local press.

The latest attacks come as Nigerian military recaptured a town seized b Boko Haram earlier this month.

The Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday visit the recaptured town of Baga and vowed to provide “equipment and logistics to complete the mission to reassert government’s effective control over areas formerly held by Boko Haram.”
Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Islamic State militants burn down Mosul library
Islamic State militants looted Mosul library and burned over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts reports the Independent.

Reports suggest that over 100,000 manuscripts and books, including UNESCO listed rarities, were lost in the looting, on Wednesday.

The Mosul Public Library director, Chanim al-Ta’nan said that the militants demolished the building using explosives after burning the manuscripts.

A University of Mosul professor told the Associated Press that the library which was symbolic of the birth of Modern Iraq, had been slowly demolished at the hands of the militants over the past month.
Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Clashes between Myanmar army and Kokang rebels continue, amidst human rights chief warning

Violent clashes are continuing between the Burmese army, the Tatmadaw, and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a rebel group made up of ethnic Kokang.

Rebel spokesperson Tun Myat Lin told the Voice of America on Tuesday that the Tatmadaw had engaged in a six-hour offensive against the Kokang.

"It started at 6:30 this morning," he said. "They used both heavy artillery and ground forces. They retreated and again started hitting with artillery, also using ground forces. This pattern continued till 11 a.m. Our side did not suffer any casualties."

The leader of the MNDAA meanwhile denied reports that Chinese mercinaries were helping the rebels.

Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Tide has turned against Boko Haram – Goodluck Jonathan

Boko Haram militants are on the back foot, according to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who said the tide had “definitely turned” against the group, as troops from the region recapture territory.

"The president assures all Nigerians and the people of the north-eastern states in particular that the days of mourning victims of incessant terrorist attacks in the country will soon be over as the tide has now definitely turned against Boko Haram," Mr Jonathan's office said in a statement.

Troops from Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon have been involved in heavy fighting with Boko Haram. Eight major towns have been recaptured by those forces in recent weeks.

Meanwhile two commercial centres in the north of the country were hit by bombings, killing 27 people. Mr Jonathan said the group had hit "soft targets" because of the recent setbacks.

Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
Amnesty International urges UN Security Council to renounce veto on genocide votes
Amnesty International has called on the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to waive their right to veto decisions in cases where genocide is being committed.

The call from the non-governmental organisation came as it released its annual report, which criticised the global response to conflict in 2014 as “shameful and ineffective”.
Secretary-General for Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, said members of the UN Security Council had used their veto to "promote their political self-interest or geopolitical interest above the interest of protecting civilians" and called for a change to the current system.

"As people suffered an escalation in barbarous attacks and repression, the international community has been found wanting," said Mr Shetty. "It is abhorrent to see how wealthy countries' efforts to keep people out take precedence over their efforts to keep people alive."

The head of Amnesty’s French branch, Geneviève Garrigos, told FRANCE 24, “We propose that the five permanent members abandon their veto power when it comes to finding a solution to very serious crises such as genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

In response to the Amnesty International report, the British Foreign Office said,

"The United Kingdom wholeheartedly supports the principle that the Security Council must act to stop mass atrocities and crimes against humanity… We cannot envisage circumstances where we would use our veto to block such action."


Tamil Guardian 25 February 2015
DRC launches operation against Rwandan Hutu militants
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has launched an offensive against Hutu militants from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the east of the country without the support of UN troops, according to latest reports.

"Operations against the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) began in South Kivu early this morning and will last as long as these people resist," said an officer in the armed forces (FARDC) speaking anonymously to AFP. "We have taken steps to protect the population," continued the officer.

The launch of the operation comes after the African Union urged the DRC to accept support from the UN mission (MONUSCO). The UN initially offered to assist DRC forces, however stated that two generals accused of human rights abuses must first be removed.


Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Lithuania to reintroduce conscription over political concerns

The Lithuanian president announced the government will reintroduce conscription for 5 years, due to the "current geopolitical environment".

President Dalia Grybauskaite said conscription, abolished by parliament in 2008, would aim to "enhance and accelerate army recruitment".

Western officials have warned Russia could expand its controversial actions in eastern Ukraine to Baltic states, including Lithuania, which was a Soviet state and joined Nato in 2004.

Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Britain to send military advice to Ukraine
British military personnel will train Ukrainian military personnel over the next few weeks to provide reports the BBC.

Britain’s Premier, on Tuesday, told the House of Commons that up to 75 British soldiers would go to an area away from the conflict zone to provide medical logistics, intelligence and infantry skills.

The British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, in a statement said, the move was a result of “continued Russian-backed aggression.”

The announcement comes, as foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Paris on Tuesday in an attempt to reinstate a failing ceasefire. 
Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Libyan Prime Minister accuses UK, US and EU of failing to support government
Libya’s Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni criticised the US, UK and EU for failing to help his forces battle of the rival ‘Libyan Dawn’ militants  that took control of the capital last year.

Speaking to Arabic television on Tuesday, Thinni, said,

“Unfortunately the international community and especially the United States, Britain and the European Union have refused to arm the Libyan army.”

The announcement came as the officially recognised government, suspended its participation in the UN sponsored talks in protest of the involvement of several military factions.

In Tripoli, the rival General National Congress government, set up after militants took over the city, urged all parties to participate in United Nations facilitated talks, reports Reuters.
Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
Yemen's president 'wanted for justice' say Houthi
Houthi militants declared that Yemen's  President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled from the capital last week, is “wanted for justice” and warned against protecting him.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Houthi said “the higher revolutionary committee is following the suspicious moves by ... Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who lost his legitimacy to act as president of the Republic of Yemen, and whose reckless acts harmed the Yemeni people and its security, stability, economy and livelihood".

The group went on to warn against shielding Mr Hadi, stating those that did would be "held accountable."


Tamil Guardian 24 February 2015
IS kidnaps dozens of Christians in Syria
As many as 90 Assyrian Christians have been kidnapped by Islamic State (IS) according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In an early morning raid on the village of Hassakeh in north-east Syria the villagers, including women and children, were seized according to the group. The Associated Press said that IS radio broadcast that the organisation had captured “tens of crusaders” in the latest battles.


Tamil Guardian 23 February 2015
94-year old Auschwitz suspect charged

A former sergeant with the SS has been charged on 3,681 counts of accessory to murder, dating back to his time as a medic in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Nazi reign.

The 94-year old suspect is said to have helped the camp function, according to state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state prosecutor Stefan Urbanek.

Defence lawyer Peter-Michael Distel told the Bild newspaper there was no evidence of a "concrete criminal act".

Tamil Guardian 23 February 2015
PLO and PA liable for Israel attacks - US court

A New York court has fined the Palestine Liberation Organisation $218mn after it held the group liable for attacks in Israel 10 years ago, in which Americans were amongst the victims.

The jury ruled in favour of 10 American families who sought damages relating to the 6 attacks, which killed 33 and injured hundreds.

The families of the victims say internal documents prove the Palestinian authorities approved the attacks.

"Those involved in the attacks still receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority and still get promoted in rank while in jail," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel-based Shurat HaDin Law Center, one of the lawyers representing the families.

Tamil Guardian 23 February 2015
Separatist attacks prevent withdrawal of heavy weapons says Ukraine
The Ukrainian military stated that it has not been able to withdraw heavy weaponary from the front lines of the conflict in the east of the country, due to attacks from pro-Russian separatists

Under the terms of a ceasefire agreement which came into effect on 15 February, both sides has been expected to create buffer zone in the contested region, pulling back their heavy weaponry.

"Given that the positions of Ukrainian servicemen continue to be shelled, there cannot yet be any talk of pulling back weapons," said Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov.


Demanding demilitarisation
Awaiting Justice
New Crossroad?
Will Sri Lanka's new president be held to international standards of justice?
Reality Check: Sri Lanka's New Government
'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'
Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report
Continuing militarisation of Tamil school children across North-East
Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka 6 months to cooperate with UN inquiry
  Culture & Community
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament
Tamil teachers felicitated at ceremony in London

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