Tuesday, 28 July 2015
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Tamil Guardian 28 July 2015
Sri Lanka studies building navy base at Hambantota port
The Sri Lankan cabinet approved a feasibility study to examine the prospect of building a naval dockyard at the Chinese-built Hambantota port on the south of the island.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports Arjuna Ranatunga made the announcement, which will allow him to negotiate with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), who initially put forward the proposal for the building and repair of navy ships.

Hambantota Port was built at a cost of $1.5 billion, financed through a loan from EX-IM Bank of China. Work is currently underway on the second phase of development at the port, at a cost of $808 million. It was built by CHEC, who also won a $1.4 billion contract to construct the Colombo ‘Port City’, a project that has been stalled by the current government.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 July 2015
UK diplomats warned not to fly with Sri Lankan air force company
British diplomats in Sri Lanka have been advised against travelling with a Sri Lankan air force operated company, after it was revealed it had been functioning with an expired air safety certificate.

The Sunday Leader reported that Helitours, the commercial wing of the Sri Lankan air force, has an expired Air Operating Certificate (AOC) which had been previously issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL).

Since then staff at the British High Commission have subsequently been advised against flying with the company by the UK Foreign Office.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 July 2015
TNA will not accept an internal investigation reiterates spokesperson
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will not accept an internal inquiry following the publishing of the upcoming UN report examining mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, said the party spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran at a press briefing on Monday.

Speaking at the Jaffna Press Club (JPC), Mr Premachandran responded to the current government's statements on the issue.

"They said that once the UN report is released, we will give our response after reading that, or we will arrange to have an internal investigation. We [TNA] want to say something very clearly. The UN report must be released [and] we expect it to be released in September."

"We expect that the UN report following the investigation, will include many issues such as who is responsible for war crimes, what were the reasons for this, issues relating to human rights violations."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 July 2015
White van abductions are returning says TNA
White van abductions, which became notorious under the former Rajapaksa government, are once again on the rise in Colombo, said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran.

Speaking to journalists at the Jaffna Press Club on Monday, Mr Premachandran said that "many hundreds of Tamil youths have been abducted by white vans, and even today there has been no explanation as to where they are. Hundreds of mothers are still striving to search for their children who were abducted by the white vans and wives are searching for their husbands."

Highlighting a recent report that the former defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa criticised the presence of a white van by him, arguing it threatened his security, Mr Premachandran said Mr Rajapaksa's statement proved he knew the damage caused by white vans during his own era.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 July 2015
UK money transfer company looks to tap into US $7 billion transferred by diaspora to Sri Lanka

A UK based money transfer company will launch a mobile money transfer process that will allow customers to transfer money to the mobiles of family and friends in Sri Lanka.

The company “WorldRemit” estimated that at least US $ 7 billion was sent back to Sri Lanka in 2014 by its diaspora, reports The Economic Times of India.

A senior mobile analyst at WorldRemit, Alex Murphy, said,

“We already offer mobile-to-mobile money transfers for countries as far flung as Ghana, Indonesia and Fiji.”

Tamil Guardian 26 July 2015
ITJP to document evidence of sexual violence and torture under new Sri Lanka government
At least 8 accounts of torture and sexual violence under Sri Lanka’s new government are expected to be documented in a report released by the International Truth and Justice Project Sri Lanka (ITJP) this week.

The ITJP will release a report that expands on a previous study entitled “An Unfinished War:Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka, 2009-2014,” reports Ceylon Today.

The updated study will exhibit 180 cases of post-war torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka, including eight accounts that occurred after the presidential elections of Jan 8 2015 and fourteen cases which took place in 2014.

The head of the ITJP Yasmin Sooka, who also co-authored the UN panel of Experts Report into Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities, previously said that sexual violence and torture against Tamils was a “systematic part of policy framework.”

Sri Lanka's concept of accountability not in accordance of international standards - BHRC Chair (25 Jun 2015)

List of 110 disappeared placed in Sri Lanka’s military custody released by ITJP  (18 May 2015)

Sexual violence against Tamils ‘systematic’, ‘part of policy framework’ - Yasmin Sooka  (10 Jun 2014)

New report on 'systematic' torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka discussed at HRC side event (20 Mar 2014)

Tamil Guardian 26 July 2015
Sri Lanka's PM claims to have saved Mahinda Rajapaksa from ICC
Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed to have saved former president Mahinda Rajapaksa from the International Criminal Court (ICC) by not ratifying the Rome Statute.

Reiterating that Sri Lanka would conduct a domestic probe in response to the release of the UN report into Sri Lanka’s atrocities, Mr Wickremesinghe added that an independent judiciary under Maithripala Sirisena meant that an international judicial process would not be needed.

Speaking to the Sunday Leader, Mr Wickremesinghe said,

“I have saved Mahinda Rajapaksa from the electric chair and ICC (International Criminal Court) since we have not signed Rome Statute. He should always be grateful to me for that. No one can take our soldiers to ICC. But wherever a soldier commits a crime and an issue pertaining to the reputation of our armed forces, it is an offence punishable both under our domestic common law system as well as the military law. Therefore we don’t need ICC or any international probe. We have firmly stood by the premise that no international probe can be initiated since we are not a signatory to the Rome Statute and so we will have our own domestic mechanism instead.”
[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 July 2015
Sri Lankan MP says TNA manifesto threatens country's sovereignty
The Sri Lankan MP and former UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, said the Tamil National Alliance's (TNA) manifesto was a threat to Sri Lanka's sovereignty stating that it called for LTTE members to be pardoned, reports the Daily Mirror.

"The TNA’s manifesto released on Saturday is a challenge to the war victory because it wants a re-merger of the North and East under federal structure and right to self determination for Sri Lankan Tamils," he was further reported as saying by the newspaper.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 July 2015
Sri Lanka approves East oil exploration by French company
The Sri Lankan cabinet has approved the exploration of the Eastern coast by the French oil company, Total, after the bid went for open tender following the end of Cairn India's exploration from Mannar basin, reports the Sunday Times.

"The company would gain exclusive rights for scanning, data collection and mapping in the seas off the Eastern coast," the power and energy ministry secretary B M S Batagoda was quoted as saying.

Bids were also received from Shell and ExonMobil.

Commenting on the departure of Cairn India's Sri Lanka branch from the Mannar basin, Dr Batagoda said:

“However, the two wells in the basin had yielded two trillion cubic metres of natural gas which would be sufficient to meet the demand of the country for ten years."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 25 July 2015
TNA manifesto calls for constitutional change that accepts Tamil right to self-determination
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) election manifesto, released today, called for constitutional changes that accept the Tamil people's entitlement to their right to self-determination under the United Nations International Covenants on Civil political rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICCPR).

TNA launches manifesto in Jaffna     Photograph:Tamil Guardian

Noting that any political solution should accept the Tamil people’s right to self-determination and that Sri Lanka had ratified the international treaty, the TNA election manifesto, said:

“The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination in keeping with the United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Sri Lanka has accepted and acceded to.”

On accountability and reconciliation, the manifesto added that “truth, justice and reparation and the guarantee of non-recurrence are fundamental to the national question being comprehensively addressed so as to ensure permanent and genuine reconciliation.”


[more]

HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Struggle for remembrance
Illustration by Keera Ratnam May 18 is etched deep into the conscience of the Tamil nation. [more]

Tamil Guardian 07 May 2015
The British Tamil ballot
With the United Kingdom approaching the 2015 general election this week, voters throughout the country will once again be carefully considering their choices at the polls. [more]

  Opinion
CV Wigneswaran Tamil Guardian 21 July 2015
We cannot henceforth be a nation that is deceived - CV Wigneswaran
Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran speaking  at the International Association of Tamil Journalists annual lecture in the London, UK. [more]

CV Wigneswaran The Hill 08 July 2015
Seize this opportunity for true reform - CV Wigneswaran

Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran writing in The Hill, a major Washington DC-based newspaper which focuses on politics and international relations. [more]

Tamil Guardian 25 June 2015
Sri Lanka's concept of accountability not in accordance of international standards - BHRC Chair
Sri Lanka's concept of accountability has not been in accordance with international standards, said the Chair of the BAR Human Rights Committee for England and Wales, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 23 July 2015
Black July 1983 remembered
Tamils in London commemorate the victims of the Black July pogroms (Photo: Tamil Guardian) [more]

Tamil Guardian 21 July 2015
Wigneswaran calls for united effort to achieve Tamil nation's aspirations
Photograph: Tamil Guardian

United and coordinated action between the homeland and Tamil diaspora is needed to achieve the Tamil nation’s aspirations of redeveloping the North-East, [more]

Tamil Guardian 13 July 2015
30 years since Tamil organisations unanimously agreed on Thimphu principles
Delegations meet at the first phase of the Thimphu peace talks. Tamil delegation seated on the left and the Sri lankan delegation seated on the right. [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 22 March 2015
A night to remember as Tamil comedy takes to the stage

  All photographs: Thamarai With Tamil variety shows having been a staple part of the British Tamil calendar for years, [more]

Tamil Guardian 22 February 2015
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
A 15 year old Canadian Eelam Tamil singer, Jessica Judes, stunned audiences of the widely popular Tamil Nadu singing competition - Super Singer Junior on Saturday, [more]

Tamil Guardian 21 February 2015
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament
Tamil schools across Denmark came together for the Malathy Cup football tournament on February 14. [more]



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