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 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Jayalalitha slams Sri Lankan MoD article on Tamil fisherman issue, SL apologises
The Sri Lankan government offered an  ‘Unqualified Apology’ to the Indian Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, over a derogatory op-ed article that was posted on the Defense Ministry website.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayaram Jayalalitha, in a letter to Narendra Modi, condemned visual imagery used in the article as ‘very trivialised, derogatory and disrespectful in manner,’ and said that the it contained unwarranted comments about valid serious issues that she had consistently been raising regarding the arrests of fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy, reports Colombo Page.

“These are affronts to India which cannot be ignored or lightly brushed aside. The reprehensible visual itself clearly indicates that these are not necessarily the views of the author but of the Sri Lankan Government itself,” Jayalalithaa further added.

"This blatant attempt to ridicule, and trivialize the untiring efforts made by a democratically elected leader to resolve an important livelihood issue of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu by hosting a highly objectionable article prominently on the official website of an important Ministry of a neighbouring country, is completely unacceptable," she wrote.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Tamil journalists labelled as ‘threat’ to national security, state media lists names for MoD investigations
The Sri Lankan Minister for Media, deemed Tamil media and journalists a ‘threat’ to Sri Lankan national security and its ‘integrity’, reports Global Tamil News.

Warning Tamil journalists that they were being monitored whilst commenting on a protest organised by the Jaffna Press Club (JPC), Minister Jehaliya Rambukvela, in a press conference Thursday, said, 
“ the government is carefully monitoring, Tamil media and journalists. We feel that they are a threat to the national defence, in which case we warn them.”

Rambukvela further added that ‘diaspora Tigers’ and international NGOs were behind the protests and that supporting journalists were in the work of ‘treason.’


 Meanwhile, Sri Lankan state-sponsored media published the names of Tamil journalists that protested in a demonstration against media oppression in the North and stated that the names were to be handed over to the Ministry of Defence.

Journalists protest against media repression in North (31 July 2014)
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Child gang rape court case postponed again
A court case against 7 Sri Lankan Navy personnel accused of gang raping two Tamil children has been postponed once more, reports Uthayan.

The Jaffna based newspaper said the case will now be heard on the 4th of September, after no one was present to represent the two victims aged 9 and 11.

The 7 Sri Lankan Navy personnel were also reported to be on bail.

The rape of the school girls, which reportedly occurred for 11 days has seen protests condemning the ongoing rape and sexual assault against Tamil children by military personnel, as well as calling for an end to the intimidation and harassment of victims.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
Sri Lanka accuses US of hampering reconciliation efforts
The Sri Lankan government said the actions of the United States could seriously hamper reconciliation efforts, rejecting the US embassy statement made on July 28, expressing concern over the lack of press freedom.

"Given the sensitivities involved when the country is going through a sensitive process of national reconciliation, restrictively targeting a specific group of people from a particular community or region can lead to a perpetuation of mistrust among communities, seriously hampering reconciliation efforts," Sri Lanka's External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, Colombo Page reported. 


[more]

Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
Business man slashed with machete in Chunnakam
A Tamil business man was attacked in Chunnakam town on Tuesday evening, suffering severe lacerations, the Uthayan reported.

The 38 year old man, Rajaraththinam Rajakumar, was reportedly walking on Kangesanthurai street around 9pm local time after locking up his store in Chunnakam town, when two men on motorcycles attacked him with a machete as they drove by. Their faces were covered.

The victim has been admitted to a hospital in Thellipalai.

Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
UNP seeks to 'save' Buddha Sasana from Rajapaksa regime
The leader of the United National Party (UNP), Sri Lanka’s opposition, Wednesday, urged the abolition of the executive presidency and proposed that the Sri Lankan government look to setup up a committee to address and monitor ‘threats’ faced by the Buddha Sasana, reports DailyMirror.lk.

“We have already suggested the setting up of a parliamentary committee to monitor the development of various important sectors and it would be possible to set up such a monitoring system to look into the threats faced by the Buddha Sasana,” said Ranil Wickremesinghe during a public consultation on the need to protecting the Buddhist Sasana.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
Journalists protest against media repression in North

11:19 BST

Photograph Tamil Guardian

Journalists protested today in Jaffna, against the ongoing media repression of press in the island's North. 

Carrying placards calling for an end on the war against the media, Tamil journalists together with locals and Tamil politicians, staged a protest by the main bus stand in Jaffna at 12pm local time.

Photograph Tamil Guardian

The protest was organised by the Jaffna Press Club (JPC), and endorsed by journalists from the South.

"Even after the armed conflict in the North has ceased, as the intimidation of journalists has increased, many journalists are fleeing the country having received death threats. Meanwhile, those journalists who continue to work on the ground, continue to have death threats sent to them. In these circumstances, the media community is gripped with fear over the dangers that journalism is going to face in coming days," said the JPC said in a statement published shortly after the protest.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Sinhala settlements continue in North says TNA MP
The Sri Lankan government is attempting to build Sinhala settlements in land that was appropriated supposedly for army camps, forcing Tamils into refugee camps, the TNA's General Secretary, MP Maavai Senathirajah was quoted by the Uthayan as saying, when speaking at an ITAK event.

"People who did fishing and farming for generations are facing unfortunate lives as homeless refugees, as their native lands are being grabbed by the military," he said.

"Those who are seizing those lands are planning to build Sinhala settlements in Tamil regions. Today, Sri Lankan government acts to reduce the proportion of Tamils. It is focused on creating restlessness in North and the East and to banish [Tamil] people from there," he added, stating that almost 2 lakhs of Eelam Tamils were currently in refugees camps in India.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
MoD rejects US concerns, accuses embassy being led by 'pro-LTTE diaspora'
Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence rejected concerns expressed by the US embassy this week, accusing embassy officials of fashioning their perceptions on Sri Lanka "primarily on the interests of pro-LTTE diaspora and likeminded elements within the country."

"The government of Sri Lanka rejects unreservedly these baseless and uncorroborated statements and repeated attempts by the US Embassy in Colombo to malign the conduct of Sri Lanka’s security forces," said the military spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya in a statement published in the pro-government paper, Island on Wednesday.

Accusing the US of "departing from all accepted norms of respectful engagement, which should characterise diplomatic exchanges between countries", Wanigasooriya said the embassy appeared to be attempting to "sensationalize issues rather than find answers".

"It appears the US Embassy officials are unaware of the factual position with regard to strengthening of democratic freedoms since the end of the conflict in May 2009," directing them to "revisit the 1987-89 period" and warning them to "desist from indulging in exaggerated statements".

"In this context, it is particularly unfortunate to note that perceptions of the US Embassy officials about reconciliation in Sri Lanka seem to be fashioned primarily on the interests of pro-LTTE diaspora and likeminded elements within the country. Such perceptions largely ignore the ground realities as well as the tremendous progress that has been made in Sri Lanka in recent years," he concluded.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Violence against Tamils continues in occupied North-East says USTPAC
Marking the 31st anniversary of Black July, an anti-Tamil pogram that saw over 3000 Tamils killed by state-sponsored Sinhala mobs, the US based advocacy group, USTPAC, stressed that violence against Tamils continues in the North-East where Tamils live under occupation.

“Black July was a watershed event that signaled to the Tamils that they would have only a subservient place in a Sri Lanka ruled by the majority Sinhala Buddhists, for their exclusive benefit,” said USTPAC President, Dr Karunyan Arulanantham.

"Tamil lands are expropriated, Tamils are denied the right to mourn their dead, Tamil children and women are raped with impunity, all while an ex-military governor appointed by the president holds executive authority and the largest military per capita in Asia is stationed in the traditional Tamil homelands," he added.
 

[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
British tourist sexually harassed in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police have arrested a person on suspicion of sexually harassing a 20 year old British woman, in Arugam Bay, according to Sri Lanka Mirror.

According to the police, the incident took place near the Kudakalli area of Arugam Bay on Tuesday night and the suspect will be produced before the court today.

Attempted rape of German tourist in Sri Lanka (24 April 2014)

Sexual assaults on tourists increase in Sri Lanka (31 March 2014)

Australian student raped by tourist guide in South (26 January 2014)

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Sri Lankan Army ‘permits’ church festival in High Security Zone

A celebration at a church in the High Security Zone in Palali has been facilitated by the Sri Lankan Army, after a request by a priest, reported the army’s Jaffna command website.

Over 500 people are reported to have attended the centenary celebrations of St James’ Church, which lies within the militarised High Security Zone around Palali South.

Permission to enter the HSZ was granted by Jaffna Commander Major General Udaya Perera after a request by Fr. Anton Bala of St. Joseph’s church in Atchuvely.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Vatican confirms Pope visit to Sri Lanka
The Vatican confirmed on Tuesday that Pope Francis would be visiting Sri Lanka in January along side a visit to the Philippines.

He will be in Sri Lanka from January 12th till the 15th, before travelling to the Phillipines where he will be until the 19th, UCA News reported. An itinerary for his trip is yet to published.

Earlier this month, Tamil civil society groups urged the Pope to visit the North-East and to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to stop colonising Tamil land, account for the war-dead and disappeared, and ensure a political solution for the Tamil people.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Tamil Nadu to issue biometric ID cards to Eelam refugees
Tamil Nadu state government is to issue biometric identity cards to Eelam Tamil refugees living within camps, the Hindu reports.

According to officials the new system, due to start in September, is to ensure cash hand outs are given to the correct individual.

The cards will contain biometric information such as the fingerprints of the individual. All adults in the refugee camps will also have an account registered with the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), the paper reported.

See here.

Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Buddhist monks 'operate under protection of government' in Sri Lanka – US
Sri Lankan authorities have allowed Buddhists monks to operate with impunity in attacking places of worship across the island and continued to build Buddhist shrines in the Tamil North-East, said the United States in a report released this week.

The US State Department, in their International Religious Freedom Report for 2013, stated that Sri Lanka had “failed to prevent the destruction of a Hindu temple in Dambulla and an attack on the Grandpass Mosque in Colombo”, adding that,
“In multiple instances during the year, police failed to respond or were reluctant to arrest or pursue criminal cases against individuals instigating attacks on minority religious sites.”
Stating that there was an “overall decrease in societal respect for religious freedom”, with Buddhist nationalist groups attacking other places of worship, the report said,
“The government was hesitant to arrest and prosecute Buddhist monks involved in numerous attacks against Muslims and Christians. Buddhist monks generally operated under the protection of the government. Some monks, particularly outside Colombo, operated with impunity in trying to eliminate Christian and Muslim places of worship.”
The report went on to take note of government-sponsored construction of Buddhist shrines in the Tamil North-East of the island, stating,
“Following the conclusion of a 27-year conflict between the Buddhist-majority government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), government troops continued to build Buddhist shrines in Tamil areas of the north, which are home to primarily Hindu but also Christian and Muslim populations. Some Tamil groups alleged this demonstrated government-sponsored Sinhalese colonization of former LTTE-held areas. The number of Buddhist shrines and religious sites in the northern districts of Jaffna and Kilinochchi also increased.”
See the full report here.
Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Jayalalithaa slams 'deliberate and callous' arrests as Sri Lanka detains more fishermen
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for decisive action over the arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan authorities, as dozens more fishermen were detained this week.

The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 50 Indian fishermen for poaching in Sri Lankan waters on Tuesday reported Xinhua, following the arrest of a further 38 fishermen on July 22nd.

See our earlier post: 50 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy (29 July 2014)

Jayalalithaa wrote to Modi on Tuesday, saying,
“However, as part of a deliberate and callous design, the Sri Lankan side is yet to release the 55 boats and fishing gear which were impounded from Tamil Nadu fishermen apprehended earlier.”
The Chief Minister went on to call for Prime Minister Modi to “immediately take up the issue of frequent apprehension of our fishermen and their boats by the Sri Lankan Navy at the highest diplomatic levels” calling on him to “kindly take decisive steps to ensure the immediate release of the boats and fishing gear of our fishermen which are still in Sri Lankan custody.”

See more excerpts from the letter to the Prime Minister here
Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Sri Lanka ‘committed to repression’ of Tamil journalists – Jaffna Press Club

The Jaffna Press Club “strongly condemns” the treatment meted out by the military to Tamil journalists, travelling to a work shop in Colombo, and accused the Sri Lankan security forces of deliberately placing marijuana in the vehicle they were travelling in.

In a statement, the group said that Sri Lanka is “committed to preventing journalists from the North from fostering a relationship with journalists in the south in every way [and] repressing them by any means available”.

“On one hand, as the Sri Lankan government is trying to portray the journalists of the [Jaffna] peninsula as terrorists, on the other, it is taking measures to ensure their circle of contacts does not widen,” the statement charged.

The statement described how the journalists were followed by vehicles, from Jaffna, before being stopped at Maankulam and Omanthai, by members of the police and the military.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
50 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

Sri Lanka’s navy has arrested 50 fishermen and seized seven trawlers from Tamil Nadu off the coast of Jaffna, accusing them of poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

There are already 38 Indian fishermen and 55 trawlers in Sri Lankan custody, according to The Hindu.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa last week called on Prime Minister Modi to secure the release of the fishermen describing it as a "deliberate strategy of the Sri Lankan government to destroy the primary means of livelihood of Indian fishermen."
[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
UN Rights Chief urges international community to hold Israel responsible for war crimes
The United Nations Human Rights Chief warned that Israel was deliberately defying international law in its offensive against Gaza and that both world powers should hold it responsible for war crimes as a domestic mechanism would never occur, reports Haaretz.

Navi Pillay, on Thursday, further added that Hamas’ indiscriminate firing of rockets into densely populated areas, was also a violation of international law.


Citing attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and UN premises, Pillay said,

“Therefore I would say that they appear to be defying… deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel. This is why again and again I say we cannot allow impunity, we cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on.”
"Accountability and justice cannot be expected to be achieved through (Israeli) domestic proceedings. This is evident from the lack of adequate investigations by Israel and no attempt whatsoever made by the international community to implement the recommendations made by the Gaza fact-finding mission report," Pillay added.
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Kenyan President reclaims illegally appropriated land to combat instability fuelled by grievances
Kenya’s President ordered his government to repossess illegally appropriated areas of land, in the Lamu County, that were causing instability in northern regions.

Reuters
reports that diplomats and security analysts have said that extremist militants may have tapped into the grievances among the traditional coastal people who complain that they are still views as squatters on ancestral land while Kenyans from other regions have obtained deeds to own the land.

"The level of impunity revealed by the audit is unprecedented, untenable and unacceptable. This criminal conspiracy has ... also helped fuel the current insecurity being experienced in the region, and frustrated our efforts in building cohesion in the country," Uhuru Kenyatta said to local community leaders in Lamu on Thursday.

Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Turkish premier deplores Israel's Gaza offensive as genocide
 The Turkish Prime Minister, in a mass rally to support his candidacy in presidential elections, deemed the current Gaza offensive a genocide, reports i24.news.

Speaking on an award that was presented to him by the American Jewish group in 2004, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said,

“If you support this cruelty, this genocide, this Hitler-like fascism and child murderer regime, take your award back. How can you explain what the Israeli state has been doing in Gaza, Palestine, if not Genocide.”
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
French and British nationals evacuated from Libya amidst escalating violence
The French government announced that it has evacuated French and British nationals from Libya, as the conflict between government forces and militias intensified, reports the BBC.

Unnamed sources, from the French government, Friday, told the AFP, that the diplomas were on board a warship headed towards a French port.


France, Germany and the UK have advised their nations in Libya to leave immediately.


Recent weeks have seen intense fighting centred around the city of Benghazi, where a main military base was captured by militants on Wednesday. Several nations, including China, Phillipines, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Netherlands, Britain and the US, have evacuated diplomats and expats from the region.
Tamil Guardian 01 August 2014
Ceasefire in Gaza collapses
The Israeli military has announced that it is resuming military operations in Gaza, just hours after an unconditional ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had begun.

Reuters reported that Israeli tank and artillery fire had begun two hours after the truce went into affect, with dozens of Palestinians killed.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said 8 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel. An official from the Israeli Prime Minister's office said that armed groups in Gaza had "flagrantly violated the ceasefire".

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Yigal Palmor, went on to tell the BBC that the agreed truce was “brazenly broken” by Hamas adding,
“I can confirm that Israel responded to Hamas fire, rockets and attacks against our troops”.
See more from the BBC here.
Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
Israel and Hamas agree 72 hour ceasefire
The UN and US announced Thursday, that Israel and Hamas, have agreed to an unconditional 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire that will commence on Friday morning, reports Al-Jazeera.

A joint statement by the UN Secretary General and US Secretary of state said that the Israelis and Palestinians would enter talks in Cairo, after the ceasefire began at 05:00 GMT.

“During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies.

 Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period,” said Ban Ki-Moon and John Kerry.

Gaza’s ministry of health reported the death toll at 1,437 Palestinians. The conflict has seen 56 Israelis, mostly soldiers, die.
Tamil Guardian 31 July 2014
Sweeping EU sanctions against Russia
The European Union has adopted its most toughest sanctions against Russia yet, in an attempt to exert pressure and end Russia's support of the pro-separatist rebels in Ukraine.

Five Russian key banks, including the country's largest lender, Sberbank, was one of the latest targets. See here for more on the FT.

The VTB Bank, Gazprombank, the Russian Agriculture Bank (Rosselkhozbank) and Vnesheconombank (VEB) have also been listed.

Details of the sanctions, agreed by 28 EU member states on Tuesday, were published today in the Official Journal of the European Union and will take effect as of August 1.

The sanctions announced also prohibit the future sale of defence equipment, a ban on hi-tech equipment used in the oil industry. See more here.

Those in Putin's close circle are also targetted, with many of his aides and prominent Russian oligarchs having their assets frozen, as well as being issued travel bans.

Welcoming the sanctions, the UK prime minister David Cameron warned that sanctions against Russia would be tightened unless President Putin "changes his approach", the BBC reported.

Sanctions would continue until Russia "decides to behave like any civilised country", he added, stressing however that the UK was "not looking for a military conflict".
Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
UN & US condemn shelling of UN school in Gaza
The United Nations Secretary-General and the United States have condemned an attack on a United Nations school in a refugee camp Gaza, which has killed at least 16 people.

Thousands of people were sheltering at the United Nations school in the Jabalya camp, when artillery shells struck the compound. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that “all available evidence points to Israeli artillery as the cause”.

“Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children” said the Secretary-General denouncing the attack. “I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. It is outrageous. It is unjustifiable. And it demands accountability and justice.”

See more of his statement here.

The Secretary-General's remarks came as the United States White House also condemned the shelling, with National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan saying,
“We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in UN designated shelters in Gaza.”
However, the United States did not accuse Israel of having responsibility for the shelling and added there were conflicting reports about the incident.

Meanwhile, the commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl also condemned the shelling as a "serious violation of international law by Israeli forces".

Krähenbühl went on to add,
"Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN-designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame.”

“Today the world stands disgraced."
Tamil Guardian 30 July 2014
Khmer Rouge genocide trial under way in Cambodia
An UN-backed tribunal into the last two surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, who are accused of genocide over the mass killings of Vietnamese and Cham Muslims in the country in the 1970s, is to begin on Wednesday.
 
Former head of state 83-year-old Khieu Samphan, and 88-year-old Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's deputy, have already faced trials over charges of crimes against humanity and are due to have a verdict delivered on August 7th.

The complex trials were split into two smaller proceedings, due to the defendants' age. The only other person to have been prosecuted over the Khmer Rouge's crimes, which saw the death of approximately 2 million people from 1975-1979, was former prison official Duch in 2010.

Court spokesman Lars Olsen told AFP,
“The second trial is equally important as the first, and more victims and witnesses will have the opportunity to testify about their experiences and suffering during the Khmer Rouge regime, on a broader range of criminal allegations."
See more from the BBC here and AFP here.
Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Rohingya community faces severe malnutrition after 2 years in Myanmar refugee camps

United Nations says that 135,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar remain in refugee camps and face malnutrition, 2 years after they were first forced to vacate their homes amidst escalating ethnic riots, reports the Washington Post.

A representative from UNICEF in Myanmar, warned that there was an alarming increase in child malnutrition amongst the Rohingya community.

"What we have observed from March to June is a dramatic increase in admissions for severe acute malnutrition. We saw figures doubling," said Betrand Bainvel.

Ethnic rift deepens in Myanmar says UN Special Rapporteur (28 July 2014)

Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Gaza's only power plant hit as Israel strikes high profile targets
Israel attacked high-profile targets in Gaza on Tuesday, including Gaza's only power plant, whilst Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal to stop the escalating conflict, reports Reuters.

Palestinian officials say that at least 100 people have been killed in the past 24 hours.

The Israeli military said that Hamas launched at least 52 rockets towards southern and central Israel, including the Tel Aviv area with 5 soldiers dying in combat overnight, the Israeli military reported.

A new, revised version of a truce proposal initially proposed by Egypt is expected to be presented to the delegation later today.

The latest escalation in the conflict comes as the Israeli Premier, Benyamin Netanyahu, suggested that there would be a 'protracted' struggle against Hamas.

"We need to be prepared for a protracted campaign. We will continue to act with force and discretion until our mission is accomplished," said Netanyahu.
Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
EU widens sanctions on Russia, targets economy
The EU, Tuesday, adopted new economic sanctions against Russia that targeted the oil sector and defence equipment in attempts to stop Russian support for militant separatists in Ukraine, reports the BBC.

The full statement detailing the widening of sanctions is expected on Wednesday, where the EU is also expected to name individuals that will face asset freezes.

The latest news of sanctions comes as at least 22 Ukrainian civilians have been reportedly killed in the last 24 hours.
Tamil Guardian 29 July 2014
Kurdistan sells oil to US, defies Baghdad
A tanker carrying $100-million of oil from Kurdistan will discharge in Texas, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

The delivery of Kurdish oil to the US has sparked discontent with the Iraqi government in Baghdad who view all Kurdish oil deliveries as smuggling, reports Al-Jazeera.

Iraqi Kurdistan has been selling its crude without permission from Baghdad since January.

Though the US has pressured governments to refrain from buying from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) it stopped short of placing buying restrictions on US firms. 
Tamil Guardian 28 July 2014
‘World’s worst’ food crisis in South Sudan – UN

The UN Security Council has warned of a looming famine in South Sudan, saying the "catastrophic food insecurity" was the worst in the world and urged donor countries to make good on their promise to donate $618m (£364m) in aid.

“The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern about the catastrophic food insecurity situation in South Sudan that is now the worst in the world. They further expressed deep alarm that the crisis in South Sudan may soon reach the threshold of famine as a result of continued conflict, civilian targeting and displacement,” a statement by the 15-member body said.

“WFP, UNICEF and our partners here on the ground have been working tirelessly to bring assistance,” said World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

“But if we are to rapidly expand our operations and save more lives, then we need more resources, and the international community has to act now.”

Nearly one million children under five years of age in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014, according to the UN and UNICEF estimates that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition in the course of this year, if the world fails to provide the required assistance.

Tamil Guardian 28 July 2014
Cameroon Deputy PM’s wife abducted by Boko Haram

The wife of Cameroon’s deputy prime minister Amadou Ali, has been abducted by the Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, according to Cameroonian military.

Members of Boko Haram attacked the northern town of Kolofata and also kidnapped the town’s mayor Seini Boukar Lamine.

"I can confirm that the home of vice-prime minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants," Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.

"They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido's residence and he was also kidnapped," he said, and at least three people were killed in the attack.

The attack on Sunday is said to be the fourth by the group since Friday, with at least four Cameroonian soldiers killed in the violence.

Tamil Guardian 28 July 2014
US accelerates supply of arms to Syrian rebels
The United States has accelerated its supply of arms and ammunition to the Syrian rebels, as fears grow of ISIS and other extreme elements gaining ground across Iraq and Syria, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Under what the paper described as a "covert program", the US is reported to be sending arms deliveries to the rebels, along with ammunition and money, through Turkey and Jordan.

The paper further said the delivery, coordinated by 11 states within the Friends of Syria Alliance, was being directed towards groups deemed by the US as moderates.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar had reportedly stopped their funding previously, accusing the rebels of fueling the rise in Islamist extremist groups.

See here for more.
Tamil Guardian 28 July 2014
UN Security Council urges unconditional immediate ceasefire between Gaza and Israel
The United Nations Security Council, Monday, called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Gaza as overnight ceasefire announcements between Hamas and Israel were violated by both sides.

The statement called on the parties to the conflict ‘to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond’ and ‘to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative,” reports The Guardian.

The United States President, Barack Obama, Sunday, in a phone call to the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed concern over the rising civilian death toll and called for an immediate ceasefire.

On Monday, Haaretz reported that the Israeli Defence Forces had ceased striking targets within the Gaza strip after a 24 hour ceasefire request. The Israeli Prime Minister, later accused Hamas of violating its own ceasefire by firing rockets into Israel.
Tamil Guardian 28 July 2014
Ethnic rift deepens in Myanmar says UN Special Rapporteur
The United Nations, Saturday, warned of a deepening ethnic rift between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Myanmar, reports Reuters.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, during a news conference at the end of her 10 day visit, highlighting ‘deplorable’ living conditions for displaced Muslims, called on the government to tackle the reoccurring issue of inter-communal violence.

"The situation is deplorable. Many have remained in the camps for two years and I do not believe that there is adequate access to basic services,” said Yanghee Lee, after visiting displacement camps in the Rakhine state.

Lee added that Muslims continued to face systematic discrimination which included, restrictions to freedom of movement, restrictions on marriage and birth certification and restrictions on access to land food and water.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Significance of Aluthgama
Silences between the shouts
Inducing fear
  Opinion
Review: 'This Land Belongs to the Army'
'Sri Lanka’s Scapegoat for its Own Terror'
‘Australia’s dangerously close relationship with Sri Lanka’
  Feature
Black July 1983 remembered
US should push prosecution of individuals in Sri Lanka - Congressional Caucus hears
Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict concludes with declaration
  Culture & Community
Tamil youth mark Black July raising awareness of ongoing genocide
Tamil Eelam defeats Darfur United
Sápmi defeats Tamil Eelam in closely contested match



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