Saturday, 04 July 2015
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Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
UNP outlines post-election priorities
A prominent United National Party (UNP) MP Harsha de Silva said that the party would give top priority to develop the country’s education and health sector after elections.

Speaking at a media brief, the former deputy finance minister, Mr de Silva, said,

“Sri Lanka’s education and health sector expenditures according to the Gross Domestic Product are exponentially lower than those of several other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, Korea, Thailand, Phillippines and Singapore. Last year's tax revenue was Rs 1,050 billion whereas the interests and installment payments stood at Rs 1,074 billion. They wasted money on developing infrastructure where nothing happens. So how could they have spent money for the development of education and health? That is why the government will give priority to education and health in the next five years after the General Elections”
Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Maithri pledges to 'protect silent revolution'

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said he would not allow the "silent revolution" of the January 8 win over Mahinda Rajapaksa to be overturned.

Speaking at an event in Matara, the president said he would protect the change which came to the country.

"I did not enter politics randomly or abruptly – my experiences in politics spans close to 49 years. . . I will not let any party decision tarnish or harm the transformations that occurred in this country after January 8 – I will protect it,” he has said according to the DailyMirror.

Meanwhile former minister and Rajapaksa-confidante T.B. Eknanayake told the paper the former president would contest from the Kurunegala district.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
Former Sri Lankan army general denied US visa

The former army commander and suspected war criminal Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya is thought to have been granted a visa to enter the United States for a private trip, the Daily Mirror reports.

The visa application is said to have been submitted in May for the trip at the end of June, but while Mr Jayasuriya's wife's passport was returned by the embassy, the former Chief of Defence Staff's passport had still not been returned.

When contacted by the Daily Mirror, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Colombo said that as a matter of policy, they cannot comment on individual cases. “That’s all we have to say at this moment,” he said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 04 July 2015
GSP programme renewed for Sri Lanka

The US has renewed its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits programme with Sri Lanka.

In a statement the Department of Commerce said “The US President signed into law HR 1295 on June 29, 2015 re-authorizing the US GSP Program until 31 December 2017 providing preferential duty free entry into US market for nearly 5000 products from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including Sri Lanka.”

“The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC was an active member of the Alliance of GSP countries which joined other US stakeholders in advocating early renewal of the US GSP Program. In 2014, the United States has imported US $ 178 million worth of goods under the GSP program from Sri Lanka demonstrating 12.5 percent increase compared to 2013,” the statement further said.

A review on Sri Lanka's eligibility for the programme was initially carried out after a petition was filed in 2008, outlining shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s recognition of worker rights.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
International community ‘must maintain fullest scrutiny of Sri Lanka’ say NGOs

A coalition of international non-governmental organisations has called on ambassadors of UN Human Rights Council Member States to maintain scrutiny of Sri Lanka on issues of justice and accountability.

In a letter written to ambassadors on Friday, the organisations said that despite a delay in releasing the report of a UN investigation into mass atrocities committed during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict, there is “serious concern that there has been no visible progress in these areas till date”.

“In the last few months, the government has expressed its categorical unwillingness to allow international investigations within Sri Lanka, and has thus far not publicly demonstrated real cooperation with the UN High Commissioner by providing access to information relevant for the report,” said the letter.

Signatories of the letter included Forum Asia, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Human Rights Law Centre, International Commission of Jurists, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, International Service for Human Rights and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
BBS pledges to safeguard Buddhism and Sinhalese people

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) vowed to focus on safeguarding the Sinhalese people and Buddhism, in a press conference held by the organisation’s general secretary on Friday.

Announcing the political agenda of the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), the political wing of the BBS, Galagodaatte Gnanasara said the party’s “objective and the ideology would focus on safeguarding Buddhism, the Sinhalese community and the country from the threats they were facing”.

“There is political instability in the country at present,” said the monk, stating that the BJP, which will be contesting in the upcoming elections would “put the country first”.

Furthermore, it would attempt to field a Buddhist monk in every one of the districts it is contesting in, announced Gnanasara.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
Mahinda to contest elections under UPFA

Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest in the upcoming general elections under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), reports Ceylon Today.

The news comes as current president Maithripala Sirisena said that Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be allowed to contest in the upcoming elections under the SLFP section of the UPFA.

Maithri denies Mahinda nominaation reports (02 Jul 2015)

Mahinda to be nominated by UPFA (30 jun 2015)

Tamil Guardian 03 July 2015
North-East Tamil organisations urge UN Human Rights chief to act

Several prominent Tamil civil society groups from across the North-East have urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussain to “act swiftly” to prevent the “undermining” of the inquiry into Sri Lanka’s mass atrocities conducted by his office.

In a letter to the high commissioner, the 15 organisations, led by the Tamil Civil Society Forum, said the government has not consulted with victims in initiating a process to design a domestic justice mechanism, noting that Mr Hussain urged Sri Lanka to do this.

“We write to state with regret that we are unaware of any such process of consultation that the Government of Sri Lanka has initiated with the victims. A huge majority of these victims as you are aware are from the Tamil community and the government has not had any consultation at all with the Tamil community in the design of a mechanism,” it said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
SLMC to contest with UNP in parliamentary elections
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will sign a MOU with the United National Party (UNP) to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections, said the party leader.

Rauff Hakeem, after meeting with the UNP leader and prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, told press that the SLMC had decided that it was in its best interests to contest with the UNP.

Tamil Guardian 02 July 2015
BBS accuses Sri Lanka of selling North-East land to 'pro-LTTE' Tamil diaspora

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) warned that there were plans underway by the government, to sell areas of strategic importance to national security in the North-East to “pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” groups in the Tamil diaspora for US$450 million.

The General Secretary of the organisation, Galagodaththe Gnanasara, added that  Sri Lanka’s government was allowing people to rally against the Sinhalese military in the North-East, stating,

“The situation in the North is tragic. The army is relegated to the camps.”

The country is being governed by “Tigers, the Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad,” he added.

BBS will represent Sinhala community – Gnanasara (30 Jun 2015)

BBS to contest elections as BJP (29 Jun 2015)
 
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
Tamil Guardian 24 June 2015
‘In Defence of Diaspora and Sri Lanka's Invisible Victims’

Hundreds of recent survivors of torture have been forced to flee Sri Lanka, says former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison, in a piece in the Huffington Post. [more]

Phil Miller Tamil Guardian 19 June 2015
Tamils struggle for freedom in Sri Lanka’s ‘new democracy’
Mullivaikaal today is a picture perfect beach with a small fishing community. Boats line the seafront, stuffed with freshly caught fish, sting rays and even tiny sharks. [more]

Tamil Guardian 18 May 2015
Chief Minister's statement delivered at May 18 remembrance event in Mullivaikkal
Chief Minister’s Statement relating to the death of our dear ones during the last stages of the war on this Anniversary date - 18.05.2015

Today is the day of remembrance of those relatives of ours who died during the last stages of the war. This day brought forth sad and grief stricken news about our people six years ago which wrenched the hearts of not only Sri Lankan Tamils but also those residing abroad. This day is thus a significant emotive day for us.

The Mullivaikal incident left indelible marks on the collective human conscience of our people. Human rights’ denied, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 25 June 2015
Witnesses from No Fire Zone testify at UNHRC event on disappearances in Sri Lanka
Updated 02:34 BST

Witnesses from the No Fire Zone revealed their testimonies at a side event on disappearances in Sri Lanka at the 29th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, on Thursday. [more]

Tamil Guardian 18 June 2015
TAG Eyewitness Account: Shanthi's Story
Shanthi’s Story The following account is based on interviews to Tamils Against Genocide. Personal details of Shanthi (not her real name), place names and dates have been changed to protect her identity. [more]

Tamil Guardian 05 June 2015
Pon Sivakumaran remembered in North-East

The first Tamil to die in the liberation struggle was remembered in Jaffna today, on the 41st anniversary of his death.

Locals gathered at a statue of Ponnuthurai Sivakumaran in his hometown Urumpirai in Jaffna earlier today, [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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