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Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
US to return to combat with Taliban

The US has decided to expand their military role in Afghanistan, enabling them to target Taliban fighters from 2015.

Under previous withdrawal plans, the 9,800 US soldiers remaining in the country, would only be training Afghan soldiers and fight remnants of Al Qaeda.

The troops will not go after the Taliban unless they "directly threaten" the US, an unnamed official told US media.

“We will no longer target belligerents solely because they are members of the Taliban,” the official said. “To the extent that Taliban members directly threaten the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan or provide direct support to Al Qaeda, however, we will take appropriate measures to keep Americans safe.”

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat - The New York Times (22 Nov 2014)

 

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Western sanctions are aimed at 'regime change' in Russia says Lavrov
Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Western countries of using sanctions to try and bring about regime change in Russia.

Speaking at a meeting of the advisory Foreign and Defense Policy Council in Moscow, Lavrov said,

“The EU is our largest partner... Nobody is going to shoot himself in the foot and reject cooperation with Europe, but everyone understands that it won’t be business as usual anymore.
“But we don’t need the kind of business we had. [That] was like ‘Russia must do this and must do that,' and we want to cooperate as equals,” he added.
The foreign minister went on to add,
"As for the concept behind to the use of coercive measures, the West is making clear it does not want to force Russia to change policy but wants to secure regime change."

"Now public figures in Western countries say there is a need to impose sanctions that will destroy the economy and cause public protests."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Chilean generals jailed for torture of president's father
Two former Chilean generals have been sentenced to jail for the torture of incumbent President Michelle Bachelet's father in 1973.

Edgar Cevallos Jones and Ramon Caceres Jorquera were sentenced to two and three years in prison respectively, for the torture of General Alberto Bachelet, who opposed a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet.

Alberto Bachelet died in 1974, with investigators linking his death to the torture he received.

The BBC reported that in a letter to his family, Bachelet said, "I was detained in solitary confinement for 26 days... I was subjected to torture for 30 hours. They broke me inside."

Chilean government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said the ruling “is a step forward precisely to advance in the truth and justice Chile needs."

However the sentence has been criticised by other torture victims in Chile as being too lenient. One man who was also tortured by the former generals told AP,

"I think it seems a bit ridiculous, that after all the years of repression, torture against hundreds of people from different organisations, they get three years.
Tamil Guardian 22 November 2014
Dozens killed in Kenya bus attack
At least 28 people have been killed in a bus attack in northern Kenya, which police officials have blamed on Somali militant group al-Shabab.

The bus was travelling to Nairobi from the northern Mandera county, near the Somali border, when it was ambushed by gunmen. Non-Muslims     were reportedly separated out from other passengers and killed.

Though it was not immediately clear who the attackers were, regional police chief Noah Mwavinda told AFP, "I can confirm... that 28 innocent travellers were brutally executed by the Shabab."

Mandera Country Governor Ali Ibrahim Roba said on Twitter,
"The inhumane butchering of innocent Kenyans by terrorist must get [a] very firm response from our national security team."
The killings come after Kenya security forces carried out a series of raids on mosques in the city of  Mombasa which saw over 350 people arrested and one person killed. The raids heightened tensions in the region, with four people stabbed to death in apparent revenge attacks last week.

Kenya has troops on Somalia as part of an African Union Mission currently battling al-Shabab militants, alongside Somalia's government.
Tamil Guardian 21 November 2014
ICC considers war crimes charges against Islamic State militants
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said that the ICC was contemplating tabling war crimes charges against Islamic State militants, noting that several fighters were from countries party to the ICC statute.

Speaking in an interview to the German news outlet, Sueddeutsche, Fatou Bensouda noted that several European and Arab nations had supplied the ICC with background fields of citizens that were recruited b the Islamic State.
Tamil Guardian 21 November 2014
Martial law to remain ‘indefinitely’ in Thailand

The Thai Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said martial law will remain “indefinitely” as protests against the military’s rule increase.

General Paiboon told Reuters that martial law will remain "because the government and junta need it as the army's tool".

"We are not saying that martial law will stay in place for 50 years, no, this is not it. We just ask that it remain in place for now, indefinitely," he said, adding that the army "does not violate anyone's rights".

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military coup in May told local media on Thursday that Thailand needed martial law.

"Am I happy? No, I'm not. The longer [martial law] is in place, the more unhappy I become. Yet, it's necessary," he said.

"Today, priority must be given to the future of the country. Conflict and social disparity must be stopped."

The junta has been arresting activists for displays of dissent. Nacha Kong-udom, a prominent young activist was arrested after flashing a three-finger salute used in the Hollywood movies, The Hunger Games, a symbol adopted by those opposed to the coup.

Gen Prayuth told media on Friday he was "unconcerned" about the popularity of the salute. Asked if it was banned, he said: "I don't know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures."

Tamil Guardian 20 November 2014
Egypt 'discussing' pardon for Al Jazeera journalists

The Egyptian government is discussing the possibility of grating a pardon to two of the three Al Jazeera journalists detained in the country, said President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in an interview with France 24.

"Let us say that this matter is being discussed to solve the issue," Sisi said.

"If we find that this is appropriate for Egyptian national security, then we will do it," he added.

Canadian bureau chief Mohammad Fahmy, Australian correspondent Peter Greste and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were jailed for seven years earlier this year. Mr Mohamed, as an Egyptian national, is not expected to be granted a pardon, according to the BBC.

Egypt jails Al-Jazeera journalists amidst international condemnation (23 June 2014)

Tamil Guardian 20 November 2014
Burkina Faso appoints military leader as prime minister
Burkina Faso authorities appointed Lt Col Isaac Zida as a transitional prime minister after the army officer declared himself head of state on Tuesday, reports the BBC.

The agreement states that Zida will assume power over a yearlong transition to elections The newly appointed head of state is expected to hold talks on forming a transitional government.

See our earlier posts:

Burkina Faso announces interim president (17 November 2014)

Transition plan to civilian led rule agreed in Burkina Faso (14 Nov 2014)

African Union issues ultimatum to Burkina Faso army (03 Nov 2014)

Burkina Faso sees third leader in 24 hours (01 Nov 2014)


Burkina Faso president resigns amid protests (31 Oct 2014) 
 

Tamil Guardian 20 November 2014
'Mistaken' shell attack leaves Kachin peace talks in jeopardy
A shell attack by Myanmar's military, which killed dozens of militants with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), threatens to halt a fragile process of peace talks between the two sides.

The KIA announced that 23 cadres were killed after a shell was fired on them from government positions. The cadres were undertaking military training exercises at the time and takes place after the latest round of peace talks between the two sides ended on September 27 without an agreement being reached.

Kachin State's security minister, Col Than Aung, was reported by the BBC as saying the KIA was “mistakenly hit” and the firing of the shell had been intended as a warning shot.

Mong Gwang, a captain with the Kachin Independence Army, condemned the attack. “We are outraged,” he said. “This means further conflict is coming.”

The KIA's second-in-command General Gun Maw commented on the attack stating it was intended to force concessions in peace talks. He went on to add that the KIA has indications that Myanmar's military is preparing for a wider offensive against the group, with troops and heavy weapons being moved into the Shan state.

The United Nationalities Federal Council, a coalition of ethnic groups, released a statement on Thursday, saying the military had “deliberately planned and fired” the shell at the KIA, and questioned the government's “genuine desire” for peace.

“This has caused a tremendous obstacle in building trust,” said the group.
Tamil Guardian 20 November 2014
Spanish prosecutors to bring criminal charges against Catalan president
Spanish prosecutors will be filing a criminal case against Catalan President Artur Mas and two other officials, in response to an independence referendum held in the region earlier this month.

Spain's Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce met with over 20 senior public prosecutors from across the country this week, where it was overwhelmingly agreed that a case should be put before the High Court of Justice in Catalonia.

Catalan's regional government held a non-binding referendum on November 9, with over two million Catalans participating, despite a court ruling declaring the poll “illegal”. More than 80% voted for independence.

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Editorial Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Impeding justice
The Sri Lankan government’s announcement of restrictions on foreign passport holders travelling to the North is a brazen and calculated attempt to obstruct evidence collection for the UN inquiry into mass atrocities, [more]

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]

  Opinion
Tasha Manoranjan Tamil Guardian 17 November 2014
Gendered Genocide: Sri Lanka’s War Against Tamils
  The following address was delivered by Tasha Manoranjan, a graduate from Yale Law School, and founder and director of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), [more]

Arani Kumaran Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
Review: 'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder'
'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder' by Trevor Grant, is a powerful book, [more]

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]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 02 November 2014
Remembering Thamilselvan 7 years on
S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) political wing, was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) on November 2nd, 2007. [more]

Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
30 Oct 1995: Jaffna exodus as Tamils flee for Vanni ahead of SL military advance
On October 30, 1995, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, [more]

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


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 16 November 2014
Breaking the Silence Journal 2014: Cardiff University
Cardiff Tamil Society kicked off this year's Breaking the Silence campaign by holding a week long exhibition, [more]

Abi Gunarajah Tamil Guardian 01 November 2014
Tamil students inspired to excel at UKTSU's Careers Network 2014
 Photography - Soozana Pvan Over 100 Tamil students and top professionals from several key industries came together for the UK Tamil Students Union's (UK TSU) careers event - Careers Network 2014 on October 30.   Part of UKTSU's Careers Development Scheme, [more]

Tamil Guardian 25 October 2014
Barts and London University Tamil Society host language workshop
The Barts and the London University Tamil Society and the university's Language and Culture Society, joined forced to host a ‘Basic skills in the Tamil language’ workshop on October 6th. [more]



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