Tuesday, 16 September 2014
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Tamil Guardian 16 September 2014
US General says ground troops possible in Iraq

A top US General stated American ground troops may still be deployed in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants if the current strategy of airstrikes fails to defeat them.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he backed US President Barack Obama’s announced strategy of American, European and Middle Eastern governments co-operating to carry out airstrikes against IS. However, he went on to add,

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true… But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”

Dempsey went on to say that the current campaign "won't look like a 'shock and awe' campaign because that's simply not how (the Islamic State group) is organized,” adding “but it will be a persistent and sustainable campaign."

General Dempsey was speaking alongside US defence secretary Chuck Hagel who said,

"We are at war with Isil, as we are with al-Qaeda.”

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives may vote on President Obama’s request for $500 million to arm and train Syrian rebels, who have been approved by the US government.

Commenting on the request, Hagel added that it would be enough to train 5,000 fighters, however noted,

"Five thousand (trained fighters) is a beginning ... this is part of the reason this effort is going to be a long term effort… Five thousand alone is not going to be able to turn the tide. We recognize that."

Tamil Guardian 16 September 2014
Nato troops killed by Taliban attack in Kabul

3 soldiers have been killed and 5 wounded after a car bomb rammed into the gates of a United States military base in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Tuesday.

2 of the soldiers were identified as American and a third Polish, all of whom were part of the International Security Assistance Force, the US-led coalition of armed forces in Afghanistan.

The attack took place just outside an American Special Operations base, close to the country’s international airport, where a Taliban insurgent drove a car packed with explosives into a convoy.

Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, stated the group claimed responsibility for the bombing in a Twitter post.

The latest attack comes after an Afghan soldier killed a US solider on Monday night, in an “insider” or “green-on-blue” attack. Earlier this year a US general was killed in a similar “green-on-blue” attack.

ISAF though, said it will continue to train and advise Afghan security forces "and does not view these incidents as representative of the positive relationship between our forces.

Tamil Guardian 16 September 2014
Westminister leaders sign pledge of more powers for Scots if they vote no
The leaders of the main three Westminster parties made a joint pledge to grant and safeguard more powers to Scotland if Scots vote no in Thursday's independence referendum, in an eleventh hour desperate plea to voters.

The pledge, published in the Daily Record newspaper and signed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, promises "permanent and extensive new powers for [the Scottish] parliament will be delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed and announced by our three parties, starting on 19th September." See image below.

The pledge, which goes on to also promise the "sharing of resources equitably across all four nations to secure the defence, prosperity and welfare of every citizen", has been criticised by some within the main three Westminster parties, as "handing over the keys to Westminster" in order to keep Scotland within the union, reports the BBC.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 September 2014
Eastern Ukraine granted limited self-rule

The Ukrainian parliament has adopted a law giving limited self-rule to the east of the country, large parts of which are under separatist control.

The move is part of the ceasefire agreement signed earlier this month by President Peter Poroschenko.

Rebel fighters have been granted amnesty under the new measures, which will also require the separatists to leave occupied government buildings and hand over prisoners and weapons.

Meanwhile Ukraine’s parliament and the European Union have ratified a key EU association pact.

The EU-Ukraine association agreement would make Ukraine compliant with EU standards in human rights, security and arms control, and would remove trade barriers. Russia opposes the trade provisions of the pact, arguing its market could be flooded with cheap EU goods.

Tamil Guardian 16 September 2014
UN panel highlights Assad atrocities in Syria

The UN commission investigating atrocities in Syria has placed much of the blame on President Bashar al-Assad, saying that the Syrian regime was responsible for the majority of civilian deaths.

The head of the UN commission, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said Islamic State and other militants are not "the sole agents of death and destruction inside Syria."

“The Syrian government remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily, both from a distance using shelling and aerial bombardment and up close, at its checkpoints and in its interrogation rooms,” Pinheiro told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 September 2014
Ukraine looks to provide autonomous powers to separatist regions
The Ukrainian government is considering a draft legislation that will great “special status” to the separatist controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk for 3 years, reports the New York Times.

The new law would provide amnesty for those that participated in the militant separatist movement, the right to use Russian as an official language in the regions, the election of local councils, funds for social and economic development from the state budget and the right to form local police forces.

Separatist leaders are yet to comment on the new bill.
Tamil Guardian 15 September 2014
Catalan politicians set to pass legislation legalising independence referendum
Catalan’s regional parliament on Monday began the process of establishing new legislation that would allow for an independence referendum to be held on 9 November this year, reports the Guardian.

The Catalan leader argued that an independence referendum would exhibit an “impressive level of democracy” in Spain.

“This would mean that Spain would effectively bury the ‘old Spain’ and rediscover that it is a country made up of several nations,” said Artur Mas.

“In an instant, Spain would emerge as a country with an impressive level of democracy, tolerance and one that is capable of listening and resolving what is above all, a democratic challenge,” he added.

“The Spanish government keeps saying this is illegal. This is our solution to make it legal, “ said a member of Catalonia’s public diplomacy body, Albert Royo.

“Britain has offered a good solution – the ballot box. That’s how political conflicts should be managed in the 21st century,” he added.

Spanish lawmakers and politicians are expected to approve the new legislation on Friday.

The legal initiative comes as over 1.5 million people took part in pro-independence demonstrations in Catalan last week.

1.8 million demonstrate for Catalan independence (11 September 2014)
Tamil Guardian 15 September 2014
Up to 500 feared dead after migrant boat sinks

As many as 500 migrants are thought to have been killed off the coast of Malta, after their boat was rammed by traffickers last week, said the International Organisation for Migration on Monday.

IOM spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume said,

“Survivors have testified that the traffickers arrived aboard two boats and ordered the migrants to change vessels in the middle of the sea. The migrants said it was too dangerous and refused. There was a violent altercation and the traffickers used their boat to ram the migrants' boat.”

"Some 500 people were on board - Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese. They were trying to reach Europe."

News of the incident comes after a boat carrying approximately 250 migrants sank off the Libyan coast on Sunday, killing at least 100 people.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 September 2014
United Nations takes over peacekeeping in CAR

The United Nations has officially taken over peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon made a fresh call for an “immediate end” to the violence in the country.

African-led peacekeeping forces (MISCA) transferred authority to the United Nations mission (MINUSCA) on Monday, with 5,000 African and 2,000 French troops stationed in the country.

The UN Secretary General called for "all Central African stakeholders to sustain their commitment to an inclusive political process to ensure the successful completion of the country's transition."

Minusca chief Gen Babacar Gaye of Senegal said,

"Our mission can be summed up in a triptych: to protect the population, back the political process and contribute to the restoration of the authority of the state."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 September 2014
US military to lead training exercises in Ukraine as fighting escalates

Clashes broke out between Ukrainian troops and armed separatist in the country’s east, killing at least 6 people in Donetsk, despite the ongoing ceasefire.

According to reports, the Ukrainian military blamed rebels who launched an attack on the city’s airport.

The US military meanwhile is set to commence peacekeeping exercises in the west of Ukraine, with another 15 countries.

The US defence department announced earlier this month that 1,300 personnel, including 200 soldiers, would take part in the exercises.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is due to visit the White House later this week, where he is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama.

A White House spokesman they will discuss diplomatic ways to end the crisis and that the talks will stress U.S. commitment to "stand with Ukraine" in its pursuit of democracy and stability.

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
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]

Editorial Tamil Guardian 08 July 2014
Significance of Aluthgama
  Illustration Keera Ratnam Almost at the centenary of the first anti-Muslim riots by Sinhala mobs in 1915, [more]

  Opinion
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]

J. S. Tissainayagam Tamil Guardian 24 June 2014
'Sri Lanka’s Scapegoat for its Own Terror'

Sri Lanka is using the mask of ‘counterterrorism’ to hide its own terror, whilst increasingly becoming a hub for international crime, said award-winning exiled Tamil journalist J. [more]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 08 September 2014
#GetThePicture campaign maps militarisation of North-East
The United States Tamil Political Action Council has launched an interactive map, detailing the Sri Lankan state's increased militarisation across the Tamil homeland in the North-East. [more]

Tamil Guardian 14 August 2014
14 Aug 2006: 53 Tamil school girls killed by Sri Lankan air strike on children's home
On 14th August 2006, four Sri Lankan Air Force jets dropped sixteen bombs over the Sencholai children's home in Vallipunam for orphaned girls. Fifty-three Tamil school girls and 3 staff members were killed, and over 150 injured. [more]

Tamil Guardian 05 August 2014
Call for submissions as 'OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka' begins
The terms of reference for the UN inquiry on mass atrocities in Sri Lanka - 'OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL)', which begins work this week, were published on Tuesday, [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 14 September 2014
Thileepan memorial marked with music in Denmark

The town of Lkast in Denmark hosted a singing contest in remembrance of Lt. Col. Thileepan this month, with Tamils from across Europe gathering to take part. [more]

Tamil Guardian 31 August 2014
Norway's Drammen Tsk wins 21st Karumpuli Memorial Football Cup
Norway's Drammen TSK football team won the 21st Karumpuli Memorial Cup on August 23, pushing Denmark's Sønderborg and OTSC into second and third place respectively. [more]

Tamil Guardian 26 August 2014
Tamil Eelam U14 reach quarterfinals in Denmark football cup

An Under-14 Tamil Eelam football selection reached fourth place in the Vildbjerg Cup in Denmark earlier this month. [more]



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