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Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Canadian parliament in lockdown after shooting

The Canadian parliament is currently locked down after a gunman shot and killed a soldier at a war memorial in Ottawa, before running into the parliament building.

Gunfire has been exchanged between the Canadian police and the gunman, who has reportedly been shot dead inside the main parliament building.

Police are currently searching the area for more suspects with the situation described as “ongoing”.

Security has been tightened across the country following the incident.

See live coverage from the BBC here and the Telegraph here.

Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Syrian air force carries out ‘200 airstrikes in 36 hours’ says SOHR

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that the Syrian government has ramped up the use of airstrikes against opposition forces, with over 200 bombing raids carried out within 36 hours.

Though there were several reported casualties, the organisation was unable to confirm an exact number. ‘Barrel bombs’ were amongst those dropped on targets in opposition held areas including Hama, Idlib and Aleppo.

The Syrian government meanwhile stated air raids had destroyed two of three fighter jets seized by Islamic State militant. The location of the third jet is still unknown.

The intensification of the bombing campaign comes as opposition groups accuse the regime of continuing to use chemical weapons.

On September 10 the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that the Syrian government had “systematically and repeatedly” used chemical weapons this year, increasingly since August.

Opposition activist Rami al-Sayed said,

“This whole story of the regime destroying its chemical weapons arsenal is nothing but a lifeline thrown by Russia to the Assad regime… It’s evident that Assad had not destroyed everything he has.”

See more from the Financial Times here.

Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Ukrainian army accused of using cluster bombs in Donetsk

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report accusing the Ukrainian military of using banned cluster munitions as they battle against pro-Russia separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

The non-governmental organisation stated that it had documented “widespread use of cluster munitions,” adding that, “While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk”.

"It is shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine," said Mark Hiznay, a senior arms researcher at HRW.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Pakistani anti-government protesters end sit-in, pro opposition news channel shut down
Anti-government protests in Pakistan’s capital ended on Wednesday, with protesters vowing to continue their campaign calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.      

Tahir ul-Qadri, who led the protests with former cricket player turned politician Imran Kahn, called an end to the mass sit-in protests, stating,


“This sit-in has achieved its purpose, it has awakened the nation and played its role in the path of evolution.”


The protesters staged a 65 day sit-in whilst facing several clashes with Pakistani police leaving three dead and hundreds injured.


The Pakistan Media Regulation Authority on Tuesday said that it would have to shut down a private news channel, ARY News Chennel, and ban one of its anchors from appearing on Pakistani national TV, reports the
Associated Press.

The ARY News Channel took a pro-opposition stance during the protests, with the banned anchor, Ammad Yousuf, taking a prominent role in the protests.
Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Former Pinochet aide charged over murder of political prisoners

A former Chilean army colonel Cristián Labbé has been arrested and charged with the murder of political prisoners held in a concentration camp in the 1970s.

Labbé and 9 other military officials were charged over the death of 13 prisoners at a concentration camp in San Antonio.

Lawyer Rodrigo Lledo said "the (Interior Ministry's) human rights department asked for Cristian Labbé Galilea to be prosecuted for homicide, kidnapping, torture and unlawful association."

Labbé denies any wrong doing, with one of his lawyers, Cristián Espejo, saying, “He never tortured or assassinated anyone.”

See more from the Guardian here, the BBC here and Reuters here.

Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Australian MP asks ICC to investigate treatment of asylum seekers

Independent Australian MP Andrew Wilkie has written to the International Criminal Court, asking for an investigation into the government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

Wilkie said he asked the court to look policies which were causing "great suffering", citing forcible deportations, compulsory detention and detention camp conditions.

"The effect of the (asylum) policy is that men, women and children are being forcibly relocated and then subjected to arbitrary imprisonment through mandatory and sometimes indefinite detention," Wilkie said in the letter.

"The conditions they are forced to endure in detention are causing great suffering as well as serious bodily and mental injury."

“The Abbott Government’s conduct in relation to asylum seekers also contravenes the Refugee Convention, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 October 2014
Islamic State militants committing genocide says UN official after visiting Yazidi displacement camp
Islamic State militants are most likely committing genocide against the Yazidis in Iraq said a senior UN assistant secretary general for human rights on Tuesday.

“The evidence strongly indicates an attempt to commit genocide,” said Ivan Simonovic after meeting at least 70 Yazidis in Baghdad and in displaced persons camps in the Kurdish towns of Erbil and Dohuk.


The secretary general heard further stories of families who had been killed because they refused to convert to Islam, reports the
New York Times.
Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Myanmar confirms 2015 elections will be held in presence of international observers
Myanmar’s government announced that the 2015 general elections will be held as scheduled, rejecting rumours that the election was to be postponed, the Associated Press reports.

The chairman of the Myanmar Union Election Commission, on Tuesday, said that international and local observers would be invited to witness the election, to be held in late October 2015.

Myanmar's 2010 election was criticised for being stage managed to ensure that the military-backed government retained power.

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Islamic State militants release video of captured US aid drops
Islamic State militants claimed that they had captured US aid drops that were meant to arm Kurdish rebels, in a video released on Tuesday.

The Pentagon press secretary, commenting on reports that US air drops fell in to the hands of Islamic State militants, said that analysts were working to determine what happened, the Washington Post reports.

“The Defense Department is aware that one bundle didn’t make it into the right hands, and is not sure whether the one that appears in the video is the same one CENTCOM already reported destroying,” John Kirby is quoted as saying.

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

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Turkey to allow Kurds to join battle for Kobane
Turkey has announced that it will facilitate Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross the border into Syria, to battle against Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane.

Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said in a press conference that his government was “helping the Peshmerga cross over to Kobane,” adding that “consultations are going on.”

"Turkey has no wish to see Kobane fall," said Cavusoglu.


[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 22 September 2014
Thunderclap
The eyes of the world were on Scotland last week, as the Scottish people voted in a historic referendum on independence. The majority of Scots (55%) chose to keep their homeland as part of the United Kingdom with the promise of more devolved powers, [more]

Editorial Tamil Guardian 12 September 2014
Renewing resolve
The start of the UN Human Rights Council's 27th session this week saw the welcome reaffirmation of resolve to pursue accountability for mass atrocities in Sri Lanka through a UN inquiry from the newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, [more]

  Opinion
Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
'Why Sri Lanka's detention of Balenderan Jayakumari is so sinister' - Callum Macrae
Documentary maker Callum Macrae says Sri Lanka has continued with its “particularly sinister” arrest and intimidation of possible witnesses to a United Nations investigation into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka – including of Tamil disappearances activist Balendran Jayakumari - in a piece in the Huffington Post. Macrae, [more]

Tamil Guardian 02 August 2014
‘Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes—The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’

Ryan Goodman, Professor of Law and Co-Chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law has called on the United States to prosecute Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for war crimes, [more]

Arani Kumaran Tamil Guardian 28 June 2014
Review: 'This Land Belongs to the Army'
'This Land Belongs to the Army’ is a strong documentary about the manner in which the lands in the traditional Tamil homelands of the North-East of the island of Sri Lanka have been appropriated by the government and the military. Made by Indian journalist and filmmaker Maga Tamizh Prabhagaran, [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
UK Ministers and MPs rally behind Tamil calls for justice
[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 September 2014
Remembering Thileepan
Today marks the 27th anniversary of the death of Lt. Col Thileepan, after he fasted to death on hunger strike, appealing to the Indian government to honour pledges made to the Tamil people. [more]

Tamil Guardian 24 September 2014
#GetThePicture campaign maps Sri Lankan state massacres of Tamils
The United States Tamil Political Action Council released an updated version of their #GetThePicture campaign map this week, [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 19 October 2014
UK Tamil students hold workshop on university application process for Year 13s
Photographs TSI The Tamil Students Initiative (TSI), a network of UK university Tamil societies, [more]

Tamil Guardian 15 October 2014
Thileepan remembered 27 years on
Tamils remembered the death of Lt. Col. Thileepan last month, 27 years on, staging symbolic fasts and holding remembrance events around the world. Thileepan began a fast unto death on September 15, [more]

Tamil Guardian 04 October 2014
Kilithattu tournament sees Eelam Vaanavil hold on to trophy

Pictures (TYO)

The Tamil Youth Organization - Canada's  (TYO-Canada) 4th annual Kilithattu tournament in Toronto, [more]



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