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Tamil Guardian 20 December 2014
Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza
The Israeli military launched airstrikes in Gaza in response to rocket fire on Saturday, the first time such action has been taken since hostilities in August ended in a truce.

A Hamas cement factory was reportedly the target of the strike, taking place in retaliation for a rocket attack from Gaza into southern Israel on Friday. Local hospital officials reported no casualties from the airstrike.

The rocket attack, which landed in an open field and caused no injuries, was the third instance of fire from Gaza since the August 26 truce.

Commenting on the strikes, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said,
“Israel's safety comes first. I won't allow even one rocket, and that is why the IAF responded to the rocket and destroyed a cement factory that was making cement to repair tunnels that were hit during Operation Protective Edge. Hamas will be held responsible for every escalation.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan government officials
President Barack Obama signed a new legislation to impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials accused of violating protesters’ rights during demonstrations earlier this year.

The new legislation, signed on Thursday, will deny visas and freeze assets of officials involved in a crackdown on political opponents during three months of street protests in Venezuela, reports Reuters.

Commenting on the sanctions, a US embassy official said,

“these sanctions are not against the Venezuelan people, or against the Venezuelan government sa a whole but against individuals accused of violations.”

Responding to sanctions, the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Madura, said,

“There are contradictions of an empire that seeks to impose its domination by whatever means, underestimating the power and conscience of our fatherland."
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
'Now is the moment to act' on Syria says David Miliband
Former British Foreign Minister and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband has highlighted the urgent need for a step-change in international engagement with Syria in a piece co-authored with Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children UK and Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Writing in the Guardian, the piece said “obligations enshrined in international law hold no purchase” in Syria, noting that schools and hospitals were continually subjected to attacks. “Murder, torture and sexual violence are part of daily life,” it continued.

The three authors went on to call for aid to be delivered to both government and opposition held areas, and for the international community to “pressure those who fail to honour their obligations under international law.”

“It must be made clear to those who target or indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian infrastructure that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity,” said the authors.

See the full piece here.
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Kurds break IS siege at Sinjar
Kurdish peshmerga fighters claim to have beaten back Islamic State (IS) forces at Mount Sinjar, recapturing a large area of territory and opening a pathway to free hundreds of trapped Yazidis.

"Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted," Masrour Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurdish region's national security council, said on Thursday.

The Kurdish security council said,
“In under 48 hours, peshmerga forces have succeeded in retaking 700 square kilometres of Isis-held territory... This corridor . . . has enabled the peshmerga to gain direct access to the displaced people trapped on Mt Sinjar, to provide humanitarian support and evacuation where necessary.”
Kurdish fighters were backed by US-led airstrikes, with reports of 45 strikes in total, a figure described as “unprecedented” by the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut. He also said the Kurdish attack as the “biggest offensive ever mounted by anybody against IS”.

Colonel Nawruz Majid Mohammed, a Kurdish commander, acknowledged the role the strikes played, saying, “We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of coalition airstrikes”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
UN General Assembly seeks referral of North Korea to ICC
The UN General Assembly voted on Thursday in favour of North Korea being referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The resolution was voted for by 116 states, 20 against and 53 abstentions, reported Reuters.

North Korea rejected the resolution, describing it as "a product of political plot and confrontation".

The resolution follows a UN inquiry that published its findings earlier this year, detailing instances of atrocities committed by North Korean state officials.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
US warns North Korea over Sony cyber-attacks
Sony Pictures cancelled the release of a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader following cyber-attacks, originating from Pyongyang, that lead to the leaking of UN released films on the internet. 

Several theatres due to show the film pulled out after, hackers threatened to attack any theatres that screened the movie, reports Reuters.

“Sony has no further release plans for the film,” a Sony spokesperson said on Wednesday when asked whether there would be a future release of the film.

Though North Korea has denied involvement with the hacking, security experts in Washington have said that it was an open secret that Pyongyang was responsible.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnap over 100 women and children
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children whilst killing 35 other people on Sunday during a raid in northeast Nigeria. 

Maina Chibok, who comes from the remote village of Gumsuri where the raid occurred, was quoted by Reuters as saying
that militants came in pick-up trucks and sprayed the town with bullets from machine guns.
 
A security source confirmed that over 100 had been abducted with the district head being one of those killed.


Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
India launches first indigenous nuclear submarine
India launched its first ever indigenously built nuclear submarine for a test run, on Monday.

Over 40 years after India first started its efforts for nuclear submarines, the INS Arihant, is set to undergo operational tests for the next 18 months before it is deemed a fully operational nuclear submarine.

Until now, India has been operating one maritime submarine which, was obtained on a 10 year lease from Russia, reports the Times of India.


Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Trial begins for men held in Burma for 'insulting Buddhism'
A New Zealand bar manager and two Burmese men have gone on trial for insulting Buddhism, with Buddhist monks and supporters of "969" gathered outside the courthouse.

Philip Blackwood and two of his business partners who run the VGastro Bar, posted a flyer on their Facebook page advertising for their bar, showing Buddha with his eyes shut, wearing large headphones.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
FARC declares indefinite unilateral ceasefire
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have declared a unilateral ceasefire starting from 20 December and called for a formal armistice with the Colombian government.

Previous calls for a bilateral truce between the two sides have been rejected. Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos has refused to suspend military action against FARC, claiming that any pause in the fighting will give them a chance to rearm.

FARC however, released a statement on its website saying "we have resolved to declare a unilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities for an indefinite time, which should transform into an armistice."

[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
A legacy for generations

Twenty-five years ago today, the Tamil nation’s day of remembrance - Maaveerar Naal, was first commemorated at an event in the Vanni. Today, the commemoration of the nation’s fallen heroes has spread across the world, [more]

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]

  Opinion
Sinthujan Varatharajah Tamil Guardian 27 November 2014
Topography of terror and exile

 Where do we carry our dead when our soil is stolen and our oceans were turned into impenetrable walls and borders? Where do we take our grief when our kovil bells are forced into silence and our mourners made illegal? Where do we sing our songs of sorrow and resilience when our lips have been sealed? We carry them afar. We carry them in our suitcases across the sea.

Five years after the end of war, [more]

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]


  Feature
Tamil Guardian 14 December 2014
Remembering Bala Anna - the Voice of the Nation

Mr. Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and an extraordinary theoretician within the Tamil struggle, [more]

Tamil Guardian 28 November 2014
Maaveerar Naal 2014 commemorated worldwide
Maaveerar memorial unveiled in Essen, Germany. Last updated - 23:43 GMT, 01 Dec 2014 [more]

Tamil Guardian 23 November 2014
Who is Maithripala Sirisena?
Last week the former secretary general of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and minister of health, Maithripala Sirisena, was announced as the common opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. [more]


  Culture & Community
Tamil Guardian 20 December 2014
Breaking the Silence Journal: Kings College London
Kings College London held its annual 'Breaking the Silence' exhibition on the November 20, to raise awareness among fellow students of the human rights violations and mass atrocities committed against Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.   The exhibition, [more]

Tamil Guardian 14 December 2014
Youth Tamil footballer to train with top English Footballing Association scouts
A young Tamil footballer from Ilford, will have the opportunity to train with Premier League talent scouts after winning a national football competition last month. [more]

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]



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