Thursday, 30 October 2014
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Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
UN agency says it is ready to support Upcountry landslide rescue
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it was ready to assist in the rescue operation following a landslide in the Upcountry on Wednesday, which is believed to have left hundreds dead.

"The National Disaster Management Center reports that at least six people have died, 300 people are missing and 150 houses are destroyed," a UN spokesperson said.

"OCHA is in close contact with this centre and stands ready to support as requested."

"The Sri Lankan Red Cross Society has mobilised first aid teams, while the World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health's efforts to assist the affected communities," he added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
Govt accused of neglecting Upcountry Tamils after hundreds buried in landslide
Hundreds are believed to be trapped under rubble after an extensive landslide struck the tea plantations in the upcountry region, on Wednesday morning.

Ten bodies have been pulled from the rubble so far, whilst over one hundred are feared dead. The military has been deployed to help in the rescue effort.

The landslide has led to criticism of the policies of successive government over the living conditions of upcountry Tamils.

“Irresponsibility of Sri Lanka’s past governments responsible for housing, plantation organizations and plantation trade unions are the reasons for the flaws in housing for the upcountry people," the human rights activist and researcher, S. Balakrishnan, told BBC Tamil.

He went on to say:

“Upcountry Tamils were only treated as commodities, such as teas, not as citizens. Their rights are not respected and nor were there any preparations made to guarantee their needs.”

“There is no one to think about the standards of the housing for the upcountry people."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
Commonwealth head calls for ‘legitimate Tamil concerns’ to be addressed

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma called for a reduction of the Sri Lankan military;s role in the Northern Province, saying this was important to address Tamil people’s legitimate concerns.

Speaking at the conclusion of his visit to Jaffna, Sharma said there were concerns about the restriction and monitoring of locals and those visiting the province.

“The steps that needed to be taken to empower the people affected by the conflict include addressing legitimate concerns about restricted and monitored movement of both the citizens of the province and those visiting them for lawful purposes,” he said, according to The Hindu.

“A continued reduction of the military role in civilian life in the (northern) province was important to see legitimate concerns of Tamils being addressed,” he added.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
IDPs suffer as Vali North camp flooded
Internally displaced persons at the Mallakam, Konappulam welfare centre in Valikaamam North are without basic amenities after the monsoon rains lef the camp flooded.

The residents, who have been displaced for over 25 years after the Sri Lankan military took over their lands, have complained that no relief has been provided to them, reports Uthayan.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
Sri Lanka’s Church confirms papal visit

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has confirmed that the visit of Pope Francis to the island wil go ahead as scheduled, despite the controversy regarding the presidential election, due to occur in the same time period.

“We wish to affirm that as it stands the visit of the Holy Father to Sri Lanka will take place as scheduled,” a statement issued by Church spokesperson Cyril Gamini said.

“We request the Catholic faithful of this country to pray that God will help all of us to make the Holy Father’s visit to the country a success,” he further said.

The Church previously said it would reconsider the visit in view of the poll, as it would be “inappropriate” for the pontiff to visit during the election period.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
BBS endorses Rajapaksa, calls on Muslims to vote for ruling party
Mahinda Rajapaksa is the “genuine” common candidate for Sri Lanka, said the general secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) reports the Island.lk.

Confirming that the BBS would not field a candidate for the presidential elections at a press conference held in Colombo, Gnanasera Thero, said,

“By any mean, it is not our duty to contest for the elections. Even in the history, it was monks who guided their successors to the throne. Likewise, we do the same.”

The Buddhist monk then encouraged Sri Lankan Muslims to vote for the ruling party, asserting that “Sri Lanka is the country in which the Muslims are treated well.”
Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
17 year old boy missing in Jaffna

2nd lead

A 17* year old boy has been reported missing in Jaffna, reports Uthayan.

The boy, Rasaratnam Jeevan from Kurunagar in Jaffna, has not been seen since October 24 when he left his home to go the play area.

His parents filed a complaint with Jaffna police on Monday, however, the police accused the boy of theft and said the boy had ran away during an arrest


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
UN counterterrorism officials to visit Jaffna

Officials from the UN Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) are due to visit Jaffna during their trip to Sri Lanka, where they will assess the country’s approach in countering terrorism.

According to the Daily Mirror, a press release stated that the delegation will stress the significance of a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism in adherence with the rule of law, including human rights, as requested by the Security Council.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
UNP MP objects to ‘desecration’ of Anuradhapura by nightclub

An MP from the opposition UNP has complained in parliament that a nightclub is desecrating Anuradhapura, a city held sacred by Sinhala Buddhists.

P Harrison, who is the parliamentary representative of the city, said it was unacceptable for anyone to operate a night club within the “sacred city where the hallowed Jayasri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweliseya are located”, according to the Daily Mirror.

Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Google releases free satellite images of Nagarkovil to monitor resettlement
Google has made satellite images of Nagarkovil available for free in order to monitor progress on resettlement, as part of an initiative to release data free for humanitarian and climate change projects. 

Google, which bought the satellite image company Skybox Imaging earlier this year, is releasing data in order to "leverage our imaging capability for positive change in the world", the company's co-founder, Julian Mann said at the annual Geo for Good User Summit this month.

"In my new role on the Google Earth Outreach team, I have been astounded by the way these tools have changed how our partners do their work and tell their amazing stories. I have also learned that one of the most frequent questions is “Can you get us newer images of this place?” And I’m excited to say that now the answer is “YES, we can get new satellite imagery for you!” said Mann.


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Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
‘We will never compromise on India’s national security’ – Sri Lanka

The head of the Sri Lankan navy has reassured India over concern it recently expressed over China’s influence in the country.

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera told ANI that there is no Chinese military presence on the island, and that Beijing’s interest in Sri Lanka was commercial.

“We have very good co-operation with India. We will never compromise on national security of India. India's security is our security. Not only Chinese, even the Russians and other countries also we have very good relationship, we are non-aligned country," he said.

"They are coming normally for operational goodwill visit... For your information there is no Chinese military presence.... the interest is very commercial."
[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Man arrested by TID officers for distributing UN inquiry forms lost family in 2009
06:42 GMT

The man arrested by Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) officers on October 24 in Kilinochchi for distributing evidence collection forms for the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL), has been identified as a victim of war crimes.

Sinnathampi Kirishnarajah


The man, Sinnathampi Kirishnarajah, was a father of six children from Mulankaavil, in the Mullaitivu district, but lost his family in the final stage of the armed conflict in 2009, sources in Mullaitivu told Tamil Guardian.

He was arrested and charged over the documents in his possession and his attempt to distribute these within the village, and taken to Vavuniya northern TID head office for further questioning. 

Following the loss of his own family, Kirishnarajah had taken part in many demonstrations and protests seeking justice for those who were massacred by the Sri Lankan state forces.

He previously lived in Iranaimaatha Nagar, a transition village of Iranaitheevu Island on the west coast of Mullaitivu, however he was evicted in 1990, following the Sri Lankan navy occupation. 
Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Posters in Colombo warn against commemorating enforced disappearances
Anonymous posters in Colombo have warned against rights activists seeking to commemorate enforced disappearances, calling such work, the work of "dollar crows".

The posters, with Sinhala writing, have been condemned by Colombo based rights organisations, as well as the Asian Human Rights Commission.

"This attack, by way of publicly exhibiting the posters of those concerned with the plight of their fellow men and women and labeling them as “dollar crows”, needs to be condemned as a barbaric attack. Attacking the commemoration of the dead is an attack on civilization itself," the AHRC said in a statement.

"While calling upon the government to investigate and take legal action against those responsible for the illegal posters, the AHRC also urges the government to protect this commemorative meeting," it added. The meeting was set to take place today.


Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
BTC calls on UK to work towards 'uninhibited access’ to the North-East of Sri Lanka
The British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) called for the UK to work towards developing "unhindered access" to the North-East of Sri Lanka, in a meeting with senior officials at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office last week.

The imminent need for a political solution to allow the Tamil diaspora to continue to support the North-East in light of further restrictive measures taken by the Sri Lankan state to isolate the North-East  from the diaspora and international community was brought up by the BTC in discussions.

The BTC chair told the Tamil Guardian that the FCO was reminded of the Sri Lankan state were placing “insurmountable obstacles” to inhibit the Tamil diaspora from supporting the livelihoods of those in the North-East through locally run charities, diaspora organisations and direct family links.

Speaking to the Tamil Guardian, Arujana Sivanathan said,

“The BTC urged the Foreign and Commonwealth office to work towards a political solution that would create uninhibited access to the North-East  so that the diaspora could continue to invest and uplift the living standards of the Tamil people in the North-East."
Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
UK is studying EU judgement on LTTE

The British High Commission in Colombo said the government is studying the recent EU judgement which annulled measures taken against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

According to The Sunday Leader, a high commission spokesperson said that the EU ruling does not affect the ban on the LTTE in the UK, under the Terrorism Act.

“This is separate from the EU provisions. But it is also important to note that the EU Court judgment is a legal decision on procedural grounds and not a political decision by the EU member states. The judgment did not involve any substantive assessment of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group,

"We, like others, are studying the judgment and appropriate next steps; and for the time being, the freeze on LTTE funds imposed by the EU has been maintained for another three months. In the UK, it is illegal to supply funds to the LTTE under our Terrorism Act 2000,” " the spokesperson said.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
Sinhala nationalist monk commemorated on Indian stamp

The Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has released a stamp commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Sinhala nationalist leader Anagarika Dharmapala, who was a Buddhist revivalist and independence activist during colonial rule.

“The release of the commemorative postage stamp on Anagarika Dharmapala will contribute towards further strengthening the bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka and bring the two nations closer,” President Mukherjee said, according to The Sunday Times.

“This stamp release on one of the apostles of Buddhism, once again reminds us to work relentlessly and collectively to ensure an era of peace, stability and friendly bilateral and multilateral ties in order to create an enabling environment for the rapid socio-economic development of the people,” Mukherjee said.

“The relations between the two countries have withstood the test of time and socio-cultural exchanges for centuries have fostered further close cooperation in various fields. Both countries have much to learn and imbibe from each other in order to resolve various issues which are the legacies of a protracted period of colonial rule”, he added.

The president highlighted Dharmapala's key role in the history of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
TID officers arrest man distributing UN inquiry forms in Kilinochchi
2nd lead

A man has been arrested by Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) officers in Kilinochchi for distributing UN evidence collection forms for the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL).

The man was handing out forms to local residents on Friday*, when officers detained him, reports the Jaffna based newspaper, Uthayan.

He has been taken to Vavuniya where he will undergo "further investigations", the TID officers said.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
Students arrested in Tamil Nadu over protest against 'Kaththi'
Updated 17:30 GMT

Up to seven Tamil Nadu students are reported to have been arrested over protests against the newly released film, 'Kaththi'.

The film, which is accused of having been funded by a company with links to the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has seen protests and boycott calls.

According to the student group, Tamil Youth and Students Federation, the group's head coordinator, Pirabhakaran was arrested alongside Piratheep from the Matram Student and Youth Forum on October 23rd.

Sembiyan, one of the 8 Loyola College students who fasted in March 2013 calling for an international independent investigation into the genocide of Eelam Tamils sparking mass protests across the state, was also amongst those arrested.

The TYSF said the arrested students have been accused of burning down Sathyam theatre. The students deny being responsible for this.


[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
Sweden formally recognises Palestine
Sweden formally recognised the state of Palestine on Thursday, becoming the first European Union member to do so, reports AFP.

The decision, which came ahead of schedule, has been criticised by Israel.

“Some will claim that today’s decision comes too early. I’m rather afraid it’s too late,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom wrote in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

“The past year, we’ve seen how the peace negotiations once again have halted, how decisions on new settlements on occupied Palestinian land have obstructed a two-state solution and how violence has returned to Gaza.”

Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recognised the state of Palestine before joining the EU.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 October 2014
Realisation of right to self-determination vital for international peace says UN expert
The realisation of the right to self-determination is fundamental in maintaining local, regional and international peace and must be seen as an important conflict prevention strategy, said the United Nations independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

Presenting his third report the UN General Assembly on Monday, Alfred de Zayas, said,

“Over the past decades too many conflicts have started because of the denial of the legitimate aspiration of peoples to achieve their human rights, including the right to internal or external self-determination.”

The UN expert called for a strategy to ensure that a recurring questions regarding self-determination were addressed and that a proactive role was taken by the UN to mediate existing and potential crises associated with self-determination, reports Panarmenian.net.

“In examining claims for self-determination, the advantages of what is referred to as ‘internal self-determination’, like autonomy and federalism, should be realistically considered for stability and continuity. External self-determination should be sought only when there is a serious impasse and the other solutions to guarantee the right within existing state entities, do not lead to adequate solutions,” said Zayas.
Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
Bangladesh war crimes tribunal sentences opposition leader to death
The chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in Bangladesh was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity, including genocide, torture and rape during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, reports Reuters.

“Considering the gravity of crimes, the tribunal punished him with the death sentence,£ a Bangladeshi state prosecutor told press.

News of the verdict has sparked several violent protests from supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, resulting in the deployment of thousands of Bangladeshi police officers across major cities.

The latest verdict is the 10th since the tribunal was set up by the Bangladeshi prime minister in 2010 to investigate abuses during the independence war.

Human Rights Watch has previously noted that the Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal’s procedures fall short of international standards.
Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
UK cannot leave EU without backing of each home nation – Nicola Sturgeon

The leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon said the UK cannot leave the European Union as the result of a referendum, unless each nation returns a majority vote in the proposed referendum on membership.

Sturgeon said in an interview with BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, that if a referendum bill was proposed in the Commons, the SNP would table an amendment requiring that for the UK to leave the EU, it would need "not just a majority across the whole UK but a majority in each one of the four nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".

"If you look at states like Australia and Canada there are some circumstances where changes to their constitution requires not just a majority across the country but in each of the provinces as well.

"The UK is not a unitary state it is a family of nations, it is made up of the four home nations.

"We were told during the referendum that each of these nations had equal status, that our voices mattered.

"If that is the case I think it is right that something that would have such significant consequences for jobs, for the economy, for our standing in the world, it should require the consent of not just the UK as a whole but that family of nations."
[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 October 2014
FSA rebels arrive in Kobane to support Kurds

Rebels from the Free Syrian Army have arrived in Kobane to support Kurdish fighters defending the town against 6-week long assault by the Islamic State.

FSA commander Col Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, told the BBC’s Arabic service that "around 200 fighters" had entered the Kobane to help the defenders.

Kurdish Peshmerga from Iraq are also on their way to Kobane, travelling through Turkey, who are still blocking local Kurds from joining the Kurdish People's Defence Units (YPG) spearheading the defence of Kobane, due to their links to the PKK, who are listed as a terrorist group in the country.

Fighting in the town is ongoing, with IS militants in control of about 40% of Kobane. US airstrikes have brought some relief to embattled YPG fighters, halting the IS advance.

Peshmerga en route to Kobane (28 October 2014)

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
China ‘to protect’ whistleblowers

Chinese officials said on Tuesday that whistleblowers exposing corruption would receive legal protection, the latest move in the government’s crackdown on corruption, reported Reuters.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country’s top prosecuting body, said in a statement that new regulations would clarify the rights of whistleblowers.

"The 'regulations governing the work of whistleblowers' require that when the prosecutor's office receives a whistleblowing report from someone giving their real name, it has to assess the risks from the whistleblowing and develop whistleblower protection plans when necessary to prevent and end acts of retaliation against the whistleblowers," the statement said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
Peshmerga forces deployed to defend Kobane from Islamic State militants
Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq set out towards the Syrian town of Kabani to help Kurdish militants fight against the advancing Islamic State militants on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

A senior official in the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD) said that Peshmerga combatants were flying from Erbil airport in northern Iraq to Turkey, where they would travel on land to Kobane.


A US envoy tasked with building a coalition against Islamic State militants, Brett McGurk, welcoming the development, tweeted,


“We welcome the deployment of Peshmerga fighters and weapons from the Kurdistan Region to Kobane, which began this evening.”


The US and allied forces carried out 13 air attacks on Islamic state militants laying siege to the city of Kobane.


The Peshmerga, known for their devout commitment to the Kurdish nationalist cause and regarded as well-trained, well-armed and capable, are the Iraqi kurdish military force of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination. The term Peshmerga translates to ‘those who follow death.’
Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
Another ‘mass grave’ discovered during search for Mexican students

Mexican authorities have discovered another suspected mass grave during their search for 43 students who disappeared after clashes with police.

Attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam said that suspects arrested last week provided information leading to the discovery.

Karam said police officers had confessed to handing over the students to drug gangs in the southern state of Guerrerro.

"We have the people who carried out the abduction of these individuals," Karam told reporters.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
North Korea envoy meets with UN investigator amid calls for ICC referral
North Korea's envoy met with a UN rights investigator, Marzuki Darusman, on Monday amid calls for the country to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The meeting was to discuss "future cooperation in the area of human rights", a North Korean official told AFP.

On Wednesday, Darusman, who was also on the Panel of Experts to present a report on Sri Lanka's mass atrocities, is to present a report to the UN General Assembly.

The report is believed to call on the UN member states to seek a Security Council referral to the ICC and consider sanctions, to ensure North Korea to face justice for war crimes, which were detailed by a UN Commission of Inquiry earlier this year.

The EU and Japan have already tabled a draft resolution calling on the Security Council to "take appropriate action". China however, expressed scepticism.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 October 2014
EU justice mission in Kosovo accused of graft
European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo has been accused graft, in documents leaked by a prosecutor to a national newspaper, Koha Ditore.

The leaked documents reportedly reveal an investigation is being carried out into allegations that senior EULEX officials dropped some criminal charges in Kosovo in exchange for money, reports Reuters.

EULEX declined to comment on the leak. "[EULEX does not comment on] any ongoing investigation, or any leaked document," the body said in a writtern reply to Reuters.

"Allegations are receiving the follow up required," it added.

EULEX was formed to deal with criminal cases deemed too sensitive to be dealt by the local judicial system, included that of war crimes.
Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Kurdistan set to double oil pipeline capacity
Iraqi Kurdistan will double its oil exporting capacity through Turkey industry sources said on Monday.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) confirmed plans to expand its oil pumping capacity from 280,000 bpd to 400,000 bpd, reports
Reuters.

“There is further technical upgrade work ongoing right now and once that is finished, the pipeline capacity will reach its designed volume which is 700,000 bpd,” an industry source told Reuters.


Baghdad continues to label independent Kurdish oil exports illegal, however a continuous order book for Kurdish oil seems to have been established with at least two tankers a week being loaded with Kurdish oil at Turkish ports.


Kurdistan sells oil to US, defies Baghdad
(29 July 2014)
Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Pro-European parties in Ukraine set to form unity government after sweeping election polls
Both the pro-western ruling and opposition part are expected to win most of the votes in in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections reports the BBC.

President Petro Portoshenko’s party and Arseniy Yatseniuk’s opposition party are tied on votes with half the counting completed.


The US President, commended the Ukrainian elections as “an important milestone in Ukarine’s democratic development.”


Portosheko and Yatseniuyk have already begun power sharing talks, with the president announcing that he expected to form a unity government within weeks.


“The main task is to quickly form a pro-European coalition for carrying out agreements with the EU,” said the opposition leader. Yatseniuk. at a meeting with international election observers.


International observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe welcomed the election process, noting that it had “largely upheld democratic commitments,” reports
Reuters.
Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Egyptian military given new powers

Egypt’s President General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi has given increased powers to his military, authorising soldiers to protect state facilities, including power plants, gas pipelines, and oil fields.

The move comes after a deadly attack by militants, which left over 30 soldiers dead in the Sinai peninsula last Friday.

The new decree allows the army to work with the police to protect key buildings and infrastructure for at least 2 years, but critics say the law is too broadly defined and universities could also fall under the military’s purview.

Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef told the BBC the decree was aimed at tackling terrorism, not protesters and that it was a limited, proportional response to recent attacks by militants.

Tamil Guardian 27 October 2014
Ruling party loses Tunisia elections

Tunisia’s Ennahda party has conceded defeat by the secular Nidaa Tounes party in the country’s second election since the overthrow of dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Official results are yet to be announced, however Ennahda party officials congratulated the winners.

“We have accepted this result and congratulate the winner,” Ennahda’s Lotfi Zitoun, told Reuters.

Ennahda became the first Islamist party to win elections in the Arab spring and ruled for two years in the newly-democratic Tunisia.

Zitoun said the party called for a unity government, including Ennahda, in the interest of the country.

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
Israel killed American citizen - US State Department

The US says a Palestinian-American youth was killed by Israeli troops during clashes on Friday and demanded a swift and transparent investigation.

Orwah Hammad, 14, was shot in the head in the Palestinian village of Silwad, near Ramallah.

An Israeli army spokesman told Reuters Israeli forces "managed to prevent an attack when they encountered a Palestinian man hurling a molotov cocktail at them on the main road next to Silwad. They opened fire and they confirmed a hit."

US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki called for a "speedy and transparent investigation."

"The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24," she said, adding that US officials would remain "closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation."

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
Heavy fighting across northern Lebanon

Clashes between militants and the Lebanese army continued for a third day in the north of the country.

The violence erupted after troops raided a militant hideout in the region, with fighting since then concentrated on Lebanon's second city of Tripoli.

The al-Nusra front, linked to al-Qaeda and Isis, warned the forces to halt their operations to clear areas occupied by the militants, and threatened to execute captive soldiers.

"We warn the Lebanese army against any military escalation targeting Sunnis in Tripoli," the group said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces recapture ground
 Kurdish forces and Iraqi security forces gained ground against Islamic State militants on Saturday, reports the Reuters.

In northern Iraq, Kurdish militants recaptured the town of Zumar whilst Iraqi security forces seized control of the strategic town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad.

“Our forces with the support of volunteers are in total control over Jurf al-Sakhar now and the terrorists fled to the southwest areas of the town, “ said a spokesperson for the security forces.

Zumar was one of the first Kurdish towns to be captured by Islamic State militants in August.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 26 October 2014
British combat troops end operations in Afghanistan
UK combat troops withdrew from the British base in Afghanistan on Sunday, handing over control of the region to Afghan security forces.

The British flag was lowered in a ceremony marking the end of the UK mission in Helmand province.

"It is with pride that we announce the end of UK combat operations in Helmand, having given Afghanistan the best possible chance of a stable future," said the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

"Our armed forces' tremendous sacrifice laid the foundations for a strong Afghan security force, set the security context that enabled the first democratic transition of power in the country's history, and stopped it being a launch pad for terrorist attacks in the UK."


[more]

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Impeding justice
Thunderclap
Renewing resolve
  Opinion
'Why Sri Lanka's detention of Balenderan Jayakumari is so sinister' - Callum Macrae
‘Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes—The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’
Review: 'This Land Belongs to the Army'
  Feature
UK Ministers and MPs rally behind Tamil calls for justice
Remembering Thileepan
#GetThePicture campaign maps Sri Lankan state massacres of Tamils
  Culture & Community
Barts and London University Tamil Society host language workshop
Canada's York Uni introduces landmark Tamil studies award
UK Tamil students hold workshop on university application process for Year 13s



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