Wednesday, 01 October 2014
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The Chairman of the Conservative party, British government ministers, Members of Parliament and other lawmakers voiced their support for the Tamil community in the United Kingdom and backed calls for justice for the Tamil people at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham this week.
 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
'Why Sri Lanka's Detention of Mrs Balenderan Jayakumari Is So Sinister' - Callum Macrae
Film maker Callum Macrae 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, director of No Fire Zone, added that whilst the intimidation of witnesses continued, Sri Lanka was “carrying out an ongoing campaign whose aim is nothing less than to permanently change the ethnic make-up of the Tamil areas in the north and east.”

He added that “through the use of major strategic land-grabs, systematic sexual violence, political repression, enforced disappearances and wholesale plantation by non-Tamil families and businesses they are assaulting Tamil identity and ethnically re-engineering the entire region.”

Macrae went on to warn that unless the international community responds promptly, “the ethnic re-engineering of the north and east - arguably the final offensive of the war - will have succeeded.”

In his piece, Macrae said that despite concerns of witness intimidation raised at the UN Human Rights Council, and more recently by the UK's Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan “continue to do exactly as they always have - while maintaining an almost laughable fiction for domestic consumption.”

Excerpts have been reproduced below. See the full piece here.

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Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Sri Lankan and Burmese Buddhist groups sign agreement to work together

(DailyMirror)

Buddhist nationalist groups from Sri Lanka and Burma have signed a deal, agreeing to work together to protect Buddhism.

Leader of the 969 U Wirathu and Bodu Bala Sena’s General Secretary G Ganasera said that Buddhism is being challenged worldwide and their agreement would help build the capacity to stabilise Buddhism.

“I expect a lot of problems because I have decided to work with Bodu Bala Sena for the upliftment of Buddhism. But we are ready to face anything,” Wirathu told reporters.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Senior Tamil journalist detained by CID officers in Jaffna
12:53 BST

A senior Tamil journalist, Ratnam Thayaparan, was detained by Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers earlier today, said the Jaffna based media group, the Jaffna Press Club.

Thayaparan, who is also a prominent campaigner for press freedom for Tamil journalists in the North-East, was interrogated by special CID officials based in Kankesanturai.


Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
New Tamil Nadu CM writes to Modi urging fishermen's release
The new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O. Panneerselvam, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, seeking the release of 20 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy this week and urging that New Delhi take "positive and concrete steps", reports The Hindu.

"The traditional rights of fishermen from Tamil Nadu to fish in the waters of Palk Bay is continuously being infringed upon by the Sri Lankan Navy," wrote Panneerselvam in a letter dated September 30, also praising the former Chief Minister Jayalalitha's "untiring and relentless efforts" to release Tamil Nadu fishermen detained by Sri Lanka.

Whilst commending Modi's efforts in securing the release of over 70 fishermen previously, Panneerselvam said "unfortunately, 71 fishing boats of these fishermen have not yet been released by the Sri Lankan Government and are falling apart from disuse there itself."


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Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Rakapaksa instructs Cabinet to expedite land sales restrictions to foreigners
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed the Cabinet on Wednesday to expedite the bill restricting land sales to non Sri Lankan citizens, reported the Daily Mirror.

It was due to be debated and voted on by parliament last week, however had to be withdrawn due to a "lack of clarity on the content of the Bill", the paper added.

The proposed bill was discussed in a Cabinet meeting today.


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Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Australian asylum policies 'reckless' says Human Rights Law Centre
Criticising the Australian government's continued deportation of asylum seekers fleeing Sri Lanka as "extremely reckless", the Human Rights Law Centre, said Australia was placing the deportees in direct danger.

Speaking as further evidence of the rape and torture of Tamil deportees emerged, this time those who had been deported from Australia, HRLC's Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, said:
“The Immigration Department should stop denying Sri Lankans the opportunity to use the proper processes to make claims for protection. By using a flimsy screening process, Australia is being extremely reckless and risks placing men, women and children directly in danger."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Sri Lankan police arrest Indian national in Nanu Oya
Sri Lankan police arrested a 31 year old Indian citizen in Nanu Oya, in the Central province on Tuesday citing alleged visa violations.

The 31 year old, who is from Tamil Nadu, was accused of overstaying his tourist visa and selling clothes illegally, reports the Daily Mirror. He was brought before Nuwara Eliya magistrate and released on bail.

Last month, Sri Lankan police arrested seven Indian nationals for alleged visa and trade violations in Kalmuani in the Eastern province.



Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Sri Lanka's rejection of ESVC summit will 'become more and more obvious' - William Hague

William Hague opening the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit in London earlier this year.

Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sri Lanka's refusal to participate in the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit was an “obvious gap”, adding its rejection of the campaign will become “more and more obvious” in the months ahead.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Mr Hague hailed the countries who attended the summit in London earlier this year, calling it a “summit like no other”.


Responding to a question from the Tamil Guardian, Mr Hague said, “Sri Lanka is an obvious gap particularly since so many of these crimes have taken place there, despite all our encouragement to the Government of Sri Lanka.”


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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Tamil politicians call for abolishment of Prevention of Terror Act
Tamil politicians and members of Sri Lankan civil society called for the abolishment of Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terror Act (PTA) in an interview with  The Hindu on Tuesday.

A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian, M. A. Sumanthiran, highlighting that Tamil activists were arbitrarily detained using the PTA, said,

“It is still in existence five years after the end of the war, which the government claims was against terrorism. We demand that it be repealed immediately. It was the existence of such an act that made the detention of Ms. Jeyakumari and several others without charges possible."
The leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), G.G. Ponnambalam, added that the government had detained enforced disappearances activist Jeyakumari for fear that she would testify to the ongoing international probe into Sri Lanka, where enforced disappearances had become a key issue. 


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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Tamil asylum seekers deported from Australia raped and tortured
An investigation by a researcher into Australia’s asylum seekers policies found that those deported back to Sri Lanka faced “unthinkable sexual abuse and torture".

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr David Corlett, who travelled to Sri Lanka under the guise of a tourist to establish contact with asylum seekers that had been deported from Australia and targeted by the Sri Lankan state, highlighted several accounts of rape and torture that could be attributed to the “highest levels” of Sri Lankan governance.

 “One woman, who says she had political problems in Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan military raped her before she eventually boarded a boat and fled. On her second attempt to escape, Australian border officials intercepted her vessel," said Corlett.

Highlighting previous conclusions that torture in Sri Lanka could be attributed to the “highest level” of government, Corlett noted similar findings from previous international investigations, including a study by human rights Lawyer Yasmin Sooka entitled 'An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014'.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Government land surveyors halt work due to local opposition
Surveyors working for the Sri Lankan government were forced to stop operations in Vadamaratchi East on Monday, due to pressure from local land owners that opposed government appropriation of their land.

THe surveyers had to stop their work after they failed to receive adequate protection from the police.
 
Over 700 acres of land in the region is under government instruction to be surveyed reports the Uthayan.

Matakal land survey halted after fierce opposition from residents (20 September 2014)

TNA calls on India to help release seized land North-East (30 August 2014)

Tamils protest against SL military land grabs in North-East (05 July 2014)
Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
'Dangerous' Sri Lankan propaganda published in US defence journal says international consultant
The Sri Lankan president and defence secretary’s joint publication of an article in an United States Department of Defence (DoD) journal, is a “dangerous piece of state-sponsored propaganda” writes an international consultant for the Washington based Asian Correspondent.

“Rajapaksa’s essay is clearly designed to defend the actions – past, present and future – of the ruling regime. The writing is smooth and clear. Astute Sri Lanka watchers are unlikely to be persuaded by some of the false, misleading or dubious claims in this article. Nonetheless, an intelligent general audience would be more susceptible to this sort of sophistry,” said Taylor Dibbert.

Warning that such a publication could mislead readers, he said,
“Given the fact that Washington has been so vocal about Sri Lanka’s clear lack of progress on accountability, human rights and the rule of law, why would Rajapaksa’s piece even be considered for publication? Does Washington view this piece as constructive engagement with an authoritarian regime.”


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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
People in North-East 'too scared' to meet with British official

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Laura Davies has detailed how she was monitored and people she met questioned, during her visit to Amparai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, in the North-East of the island.

In a blog post "Looking over my shoulder", published on Tuesday, Davies said several people were “too scared” to meet her.

“[It] gradually became impossible to ignore the fact that I was being watched,” she wrote on the Foreign Office blog page.

“Worse, it was clear that the people I was meeting were having follow-up visits or phone calls, asking what I had done and said. Some of this was almost comic: I met with one individual who had invited a large press corps to capture the moment of our meeting.”
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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Nonis resignation rejected by Mahinda after thrashing by MP

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has refused to allow Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Chris Nonis to resign, after he was assaulted by UPFA MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena.

Nonis was at a dinner with the president and several other members of the Sri Lankan delegation, when an intoxicated Gunawardena abused him and delivered a “thundering slap”, causing him to fall to the ground where Nonis was kicked several times by the MP, reported Colombo Telegraph.

The high commissioner is said to have handed in his resignation but Rajapaksa refused to accept it, saying strong action will be taken against Gunawardena.

But External Affairs Ministry sources told the Colombo Telegraph that no action will be taken.

“He will not take any action against Sajin Vass because he does all his dirty work,” the source in Colombo said.

Cabinet Spokesman and Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella told a press briefing on Tuesday that Nonis had not handed in his resignation, contrary to his earlier confirmation that a resignation letter was in fact received by the government.

Rambukwella refused to name Gunawardena, but said an investigation would be conducted into the incident.

According to Colombo Telegraph, Rajapaksa ordered both state and private media on the island not to report this issue.

Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Complaint made against Tamil councillors for letter to Pillay condemning genocide
Complaints have been made to the Court of Appeal against 33 Tamil councillors in the Northern and Eastern provinces for a letter to the UN High Commissioner condemning the genocide of Tamils by Sinhala state forces, reports the Island.

Petitioners, including P.G. Ravindra Nirosha of Nugegoda as well as others, complained to Court of Appeal that the IGP and Attorney General had failed to take action against the councillors under Provision 120 of the Penal Code.

According to the Island, the petitioners accused the Tamil councillors of making "false claims" that "Sinhalese settlements are being set up in Tamil areas".

The letter, dated 17 August 2014 and signed by 33 Tamil councillors across the North and East, was addressed to the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and called on the UN to investigate the crime of genocide.


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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Man found dead with throat slit in Batticaloa
A man was found dead with his throat lacerated inside a house in Batticaloa, Kaluvanjikudi Makiloor on Sunday.

The body, identified as 68 year old Sellathambi Thangavel, has been taken to Batticaloa Teaching Hospital for further investigations, reports BattiNews.

Kaluvanjikudi Magistrate court judge Thiyogeswaran arrived at the scene to investigate. Kaluvanjikudi Police are reportedly investigating the incident.

The police have however already highlighted his separation from his family for the past 35 years.

Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
#FreeJeyakumary campaigners protest in Colombo
Protestors gathered in Colombo on Monday to call for the release of a prominent Tamil rights campaigner, Balendran Jeyakumari, who has been detained under the Sri Lankan Prevention of Terror Act (PTA) since March 2014.

The demonstrations, held outside Colombo Railway Station, were met with pro-government protestors, who yielded posters mocking members of the Sri Lankan civil society.


Photographs: Pathivu

Tamil politicians, including Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M A Sumanthiran and the leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) G G Ponnambalam,
attended the rally.


Pro-government demonstrators protesters oppose #FreeJeyakumary campaigners Photograph: @Mari_desilva

Sri Lankan police was eventually called to form a barrier between the protesters calling for the release of Jeyakumari from the Boosa detention facilities and the pro-government demonstrators.


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Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
Sri Lanka increases defence budget by 12.25% to new high
Sri Lanka has increased its 2015 defence budget by 12.25% to a record high despite the end of the armed conflict over 5 years ago.

According to the government's official figures released on Friday in a bill tabled in parliament, 285 billion rupees have been allocated to defence in 2015, reports
AFP.

Sri Lanka's spending on defence has increased year on year since the end of the armed conflict, despite increasing
international calls for the military to scale down following the end of the armed conflict.
 

[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Mexico charges soldiers with murder

Mexico has charged three of its troops with murder, after a shootout in June, which left 22 suspected gang members dead.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo said the soldiers shot the men "without any justification whatsoever".

The victims are alleged to be members of a notorious criminal organisation called La Familia Michoacana and the army at the time said the men died in a fire fight.

However, some the victims appeared to have bullet wounds in the chest, inconsistent with a shootout.

According to the BBC, witnesses say only one person died in the shootout, while the others were killed after surrendering to the army.

Another seven soldiers and their commander were charged last week with military disobedience and breach of duty related to the shootout.

Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
Kenyatta trial delay rejected

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will have to appear at a hearing next week, after the International Criminal Court rejected his request to postpone it or appear via video link.

"The chamber, by majority, finds that the requirements of justice in this case necessitate the physical presence of the accused in court," the ICC said in a statement.

Judges at the court added that the matters to be discussed on October 8 were at a critical stage and directly involve the interest of the accused and the victims.

Kenyatta denies charges of inciting ethnic violence after the 2007 presidential elections, which left over 1,200 people dead.

ICC summons Kenyatta (20 September 2014)

Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
UK conducts air strikes over northern Iraq
The UK's RAF launched its first air strikes over northern Iraq on Tuesday, attacking Islamic State targets and destroying a heavy weapon and armed vehicle, the Ministry of Defence said.

Supporting Kurdish fighters, two Tornadoes flying from Cyprus, dropped a precision guided bomb and fired a missile, The Telegraph reported.

The attack is the first by the RAF since the British parliament voted to authorise British air strikes over the region, along side the United States.

“The RAF were in action today,” the British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, said.


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Tamil Guardian 01 October 2014
US and India pledge 'forward together we go'
Photograph @PIB_India


The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, pledged both countries would go forward together ('chalein saath saath') as Modi's high-profile visit to the US came to an end Wednesday.


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Tamil Guardian 30 September 2014
Afghanistan signs deal to keep US troops

The new Afghan government has signed a deal with the United States to keep troops in the country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), saying his country has “regained its sovereignty as a power."

US President Barack Obama said it was a "historic day" in US-Afghan relations.

"We look forward to working with this new government to cement an enduring partnership that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability, unity, and prosperity," he added.

The deal allows for foreign forces to stay in the country to conduct "counter-terror operations" and support and train Afghan troops. Another agreement signed with Nato on Tuesday, will see troops from several countries, including Germany, Italy and Turkey contribute another 3,000 troops.

Previous president, Hamid Karzai, had refused to sign the deal, citing security fears.

Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
Turkey reiterates support to Kurdistan in fight against Islamic State militants
The Turkish President pledged to support the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in their fight against Islamic State militants, reports the International Business Times.

Tayyip Erdogan met with the Kurdistan Region Prime Minister at the sideliners of the World Economic Forum meeting in Istanbul.

A statement released by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said,

"The two sides talked in detail about the events and the latest developments in Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, [and other affected regions], and highlighted in particular the events after the terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) on the province of Mosul and in Tikrit, and then on the Kurdistan Region. President Erdogan emphasised on enhancing Turkey's relations with the Kurdistan Region and reiterated Turkey's commitment to these relationships and agreements with the Kurdistan Region in all areas.”

Though Turkey has been reluctant to join the US-led coalition to tackle the Islamic State militants, it has continued to reiterate its support to the Kurdistan Regional Government in tackling the threats.
Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
Tens of thousands defy Hong Kong riot police and demonstrate into the night
Tens of thousands of people defied calls to dismantle their protests and return home, after pro-democracy demonstrations grew in Hong Kong on early Monday morning.

Photographs: The Guardian

Riot police that attempted to disperse protesters using batons and tear gas were met with further swarming crowds and were eventually forced to withdraw, reports the BBC.


The demonstrations, organised by the Occupy Central movement, are against China’s failure to offer democratic reform in the selection process for Chief Executive candidates in Hong Kong.

Thousands demonstrate in Hong Kong as Occupy Central launches protest (28 September 2014)

Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
Spain wants to ban Catalonia referendum

The Spanish government has asked its constitutional court to declare the independence referendum planned in Catalonia as illegal.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the vote was not "compatible with the Spanish constitution".
Rajoy said "Nobody and nothing will be allowed to break up Spain”, during a televised address to the nation on Monday.

The president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed a decree on Saturday authorising a vote on independence on November 9th, for the north-eastern region of Spain.

Signing the decree in Barcelona, Mas said the vote, which is entitled the 'Non-referendum popular consultation on the political future of Catalonia 2014', would be held in line with the Scottish referendum.

Tamil Guardian 29 September 2014
Karadzic was 'driving force' for genocide say prosecutors
Prosecutors at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, that Karadzic was the "driving force" behind the genocide in Bosnia, reports Reuters.

"After hundreds of witnesses, 80,000 pages of transcripts, and 10,000 exhibits, the policy of ethnic cleansing is finally exposed. And Karadzic was its driving force," said the prosecutor Alan Tieger, as the prosecution made its closing remarks on Monday. 

"He said at the time what would happen and it did. Thousands killed, hundreds of towns destroyed, masses forceably displaced," Tieger added.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 September 2014
Taiwan rejects China unification plan

The Taiwanese president has rejected the terms for unification with China, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, President Ma Ying-jeou said Taiwan does not accept the “one country, two systems” deal, proposed by their neighbours.

"In the early 1980's the 'one country, two systems' concept was created for Taiwan, not for Hong Kong. But Taiwan has sent a clear message that we do not accept the concept," said Ma.

"If the system is good, then we believe it should be 'one country, one system'."

"We are not expecting to go to war with the Chinese Communist Party," added Ma. "Instead, we are hoping to minimise the possibility of war between us."

Referring to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Ma said: "Taiwan is the only place in China where we are able to practice democracy .... We are worried about the developments in Hong Kong.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 September 2014
CAR calls for loosening of arms embargo
The interim president of the Central African Republic (CAR), in her first address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) urged the international community to relax weapons sanctions imposed during the country’s mostly sectarian violence.

Welcoming the recent appointment of a UN peacekeeping mission to help end sectarian violence in the region, Samba Pamza said,

“We place great hope in deployment of this mission, a mission which will contribute to, in an effective way, securing our country and sustainable development. It remains true however that the success of this mission will also hinge on the involvement at its side of the national security and defence forces likely to lend support to this mission as a result of their intimate knowledge of the terrain.”

Approximately 7,500 UN troops have been deployed in the CAR, where the sectarian violence between Muslim and Christian militants is thought to have killed at least 5,000 people. The International Criminal Court is investigation violations by both sides, reports the Duetsche Welle.
Tamil Guardian 28 September 2014
US led coalition carries out airstrikes on Islamic State oil refineries
A coalition of air-forces, led by the US, bombed four oil refineries under Islamic State control in Iraq, reports the BBC.

The airstrikes came as fighting continued on the town of Kobane that borders Turkey.

The US president, earlier today, said that US intelligence had underestimated the extent in which the political chaos in Syria would allow extremist groups such as Islamic State to thrive.

Defending the British parliamentary decision  to carry out airstrikes on Islamic state positions in Iraq, David Cameron, earlier today, said,
"When you face a situation with psychopathic terrorist killers in Syria and Iraq, who have already brutally beheaded one of our own citizens, who have already launched and tried to execute plots in our own country to kill and maim innocent people, you have got a choice. We can either stand back from all of this and say 'this is too difficult, it's too complicated, let's let someone else try to keep our country safe' or we take the correct decision to say 'let's have a full, comprehensive strategy."
Tamil Guardian 28 September 2014
Thousands demonstrate in Hong Kong as Occupy Central launches protest
Thousands of protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday as pro-democracy group Occupy Central launched a mass disobedience campaign outside government headquarters.

Over 30,000 people reportedly attended the protest around Hong Kong government offices as police cordoned off the area, using pepper spray and tear gas against demonstrators.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 28 September 2014
Modi attracts thousands on historic visit to the US, calls for global front against terrorism
Updated 10.36 BST
The Indian prime minister, Modi addressed over 20,000 thousand Americans at a rally organised by the Indian American Community Foundation in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Though Modi has been widely received, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of New York, demanding justice for the ill-treatment of India's Muslim and Sikh communities and 1984 communal riots.

A day before Modi’s arrival a human rights group filed a lawsuit accusing the prime minister of crimes against humanity, extrajudicial killings and negligence under the Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Many countries including the US, until Modi was elected as head of state, had revoked his visas for the handling of Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002 which left over 1,000 people, who were predominantly Muslim, dead.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday, Narendra Modi called for increased commitment from nations in decision making so that no one group of countries can determine the course of the world.

Dismissing the need to discuss disputed territories in Kashmir at the UN, the prime minister stressed that India was looking to work positively with its neighbours, whilst calling on the world to unite to work against terrorism, reports the Times of India.

“Even today there were countries that were giving shelter to terrorist organizations and differentiating between good terrorists and bad terrorists which raised questions about their intentions and motives. We want to promote friendship with Pakistan too, but we can only talk without the shadow of terrorism over us," said Modi.

India’s Prime Minister, arrived in the US on Friday for official trip to boost bilateral trade and US investment in India.

On Saturday, the Indian Prime Minister addressed the Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030, in Hyde Park.

Narendra Modi, is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama this week whilst having several meetings with US business leaders.

The prime minister  has visited several community leaders including those of the Sikh and Jewish communities in New York.

Modi’s trip to the US, which has received significant funding from Indian Americans, is estimated to cost over $1.5 million.


Tamil Guardian 27 September 2014
British fighter jets deployed over Iraq
Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets were deployed over Iraq, after British parliament on Friday endorsed airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the first RAF combat mission, on Saturday, had not engaged any targets. 

The MoD further revealed that an RAF transport aircraft had delivered fresh supplies to Kurdish authorities to aid efforts against the Islamic State militants, reports the Guardian.

US jets on Saturday attacked Islamic State militants in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, to aid Kurdish forces. 
Tamil Guardian 27 September 2014
Catalan president defies Madrid to call independence vote
Photograph @gencat

The president of Catalonia, Artur Mas, signed a decree on Saturday authorising a vote on independence on November 9th, for the north-eastern region of Spain.

Signing the decree in Barcelona, Mas said the vote, that has been entitled the 'Non-referendum popular consultation on the political future of Catalonia 2014', would be held in line with the Scottish referendum.

"Catalonia wants to speak. Wants to be heard. Wants to vote. Now is the right time and we have the right legal framework to do so," Mas told reporters following the signing in a speech in Catalan, Spanish and English.


The decree defies the government in Madrid, which has declared any such vote as unconstitutional.

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed to block any referendum.

"Quite simply, it is not legal so won't be held," Rajoy was quoted by CNN as saying.

"In addition to not being legal, it goes against our whole history and our feelings, against what the vast majority of the Spanish people think, against our past and against the future of the Spanish people that live in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 September 2014
Prosecutors call for Karadzic to be jailed for life over genocide
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic should be jailed for life over his role in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide said prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on Friday.

In a final trial brief, prosecutors said,
"Under his command and oversight, Karadzic's subordinates and those cooperating with them expelled, killed, tortured and otherwise mistreated hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Croats."

"Should the Chamber find Karadzic responsible for a substantial portion of the crimes ... life imprisonment is the only appropriate sentence."
Karadzic is facing trial for 11 counts, including genocide. He is accused of directing atrocities throughout the conflict, including the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, where up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed by Serbian troops.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 27 September 2014
Israel waged 'war of genocide' in Gaza, Abbas tells UN
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a “war of genocide” in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly and called for punishment for war crimes.

The speech has been condemned by Israel, who accused Abbas of “diplomatic terrorism”, and the United States, with Stated Department spokesperson Jen Psaki saying it “included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject.”

Abbas had told the UN General Assembly on Friday that
"In this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people."
He went on to say the conflict in Gaza was "a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world," adding,
"In the name of Palestine and its people, I affirm here today: we will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment."
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Thunderclap
Renewing resolve
Significance of Aluthgama
  Opinion
'Why Sri Lanka's Detention of Mrs 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
Remembering Thileepan
#GetThePicture campaign maps Sri Lankan state massacres of Tamils
#GetThePicture campaign maps militarisation of North-East
  Culture & Community
Thileepan memorial marked with music in Denmark
Norway's Drammen Tsk wins 21st Karumpuli Memorial Football Cup
Tamil Eelam U14 reach quarterfinals in Denmark football cup



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