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Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
Teenage girl dies after gang rape in Vavuniya

A 16 year old girl died after being gang raped by at least 10 men in Vavuniya, reports the Uthayan.

Members of the Northern Provincial Council and the Tamil National Alliance visited the home of the teenager to pass on their condolences to her family.

The teenage girl was from the village of Kanagarayankulam, in the northern district of Vavuniya.

Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
Man shot dead in Vavuniya
A forty-five year old restaurant owner was shot dead last night in Vavuniya.

The man, identified as Vadivelu, was shot by unidentified gunmen as he left his restaurant in Maharambaikulam at around 10:30pm local time, the Uthayan reported.

Mr Vadivelu previously contested the 2000 parliamentary elections with the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO).


Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
Flight passengers de-board aircraft in protest of Tamil asylum seeker deportation
A flight scheduled to deport a Tamil asylum seeker from Australia was disrupted after passengers left the plane in protest of what was happening.

The 25 year old Tamil asylum seeker, known as Puvaneethan, was being flown from Melbourne to Darwin to be deported to Sri Lanka after the Refugee Review Tribunal rejected his asylum case.

Paul Leary, who works for a social justice organisation, said he and his colleague had no links to asylum seeker groups, and left the flight after finding out about the situation from asylum seeker advocates a handing out information about the man on the flight.

Mr Leary, added that he and his colleague eventually decided to leave the flight because they were not comfortable with the man’s treatment.

Mr Leary  and his colleague were consequently banned from flying with the air service provider Qantas, who told them that they were subject to a no- fly ban and a security review, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
Effigies of TNA MP Sumanthiran seen across Jaffna

Further effigies of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M A Sumanthiran were seen across Jaffna, the local newspaper, Uthayan reported on Wednesday.

Last month, protesters burnt an effigy of Mr Sumanthiran at a protest, accusing him of having colluded with Sri Lanka's foreign minister, Mangala Samaraweera to defer the publication of the findings of a UN inquiry investigating mass atrocities against the Tamil people.


Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
China defends loans to Sri Lanka and docking of submarines in Colombo

The Chinese government defended the practise of extending loans to Sri Lanka on Monday, stating that they were granted at the request of the Sri Lankan government.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also said the docking of Chinese submarines in Colombo was “normal and transparent”, noting that Sri Lanka “welcomes the docking of submarines from the friendly countries”.

The statement comes after Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera concluded a visit to Beijing, where he reportedly raised “concerns” regarding Chinese loans. “The people of Sri Lanka raised many questions, about the interest rates especially, and in certain cases about the manner in which these loans were raised,” said Mr Samaraweera.

Ms Hua however defended the loan arrangements, telling reporters that "the loans are extended at the request of Sri Lanka and based on consensus through consultations." "The loan arrangements are for the whole nation and people and have played a positive role in the economic and social development of Sri Lanka," added Ms Hua.


Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
BBS demands probe into British colonial massacres in Sri Lanka

The General Secretary of Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) demanded an investigation into massacres committed by the British during colonial rule in Sri Lanka, reports Daily Mirror.

Speaking at a press conference, BBS General Secretary Galagodaatte Gnanasara also called for an investigation into violations of the 1815 Kandyan Convention and alleged crimes committed by the LTTE.

“It has been 200 years since the signing of the convention, which was severely violated by the British”, he told reporters. “We urge the government to probe these violations and also the massacre of the people in the country by the British.”

The Buddhist monk also called for an investigation into the change of the official name of the island to Sri Lanka. He alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the name change, stating that the original name of the island was “Sinhale”.

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Sri Lankan Navy abducted children confirms police spokesperson
Sri Lankan military officials abducted at least 10 wealthy school children from Trincomalee and Colombo during the armed conflict reports Colombo Mirror.

Sri Lanka’s police spokesperson Ajith Rohana, speaking at a press conference in Colombo, said,

“Naval officials and sailors have been found involved in this nine-member team. Former Navy Spokesman Captain DKP Dassanayake has been questioned recently by the CID in this connection. It is now uncovered that he has functioned as the Officer-in charge of this team named -Special Operations Unit- that abducted these children.”

The police spokesperson added that statements were still being recorded from bereaved families and naval officials, to further investigate the situation.
Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Credible tangible accountability prerequisite for peace in Sri Lanka says UN
The UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, stressed on Tuesday that "credible, tangible progress" in reconciliation, accountability and human rights is a "prerequisite to the achievement of sustainable peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka."

In a statement, concluding a four day visit to the island which included a visit to Jaffna where he met with several Tamil politicians, Mr Feltham said there was a strong distrust between the Tamil and Sinhala people.

He urged Sri Lanka's new government to take steps to address ongoing grievances regarding land, detentions, disappearances and military deployment in civilian areas.

Reiterating the UN and the international community's expectation of true accountability which meets internationally acceptable standards, Mr Feltham said: These are not easy tasks, but we believe that they are essential tasks, expected by the international community and also - more importantly - by the citizens of this country themselves."


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Tamil woman and 8y old daughter arrested on return to Sri Lanka by anti-terror police
Sri Lanka's anti-terror police on Monday arrested a Tamil woman, along with her 8 year old daughter, who had returned to the country from her current residence in France, to see her ailing parents.

According to the rights group, Watchdog, the woman, Jeyaganesh Pakeerathy, was stopped by officers from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) at the airport in Colombo as she was due to board her flight back to France where she currently resides.


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
North chief minister tells Sri Lankan president that North-East needs are serious and different

The chief minister of the northern province, C V Wigneswaran told the Sri Lankan president that whilst there was a need for adequate devolution across the island, the problems facing the North-East were different to the rest of the island, and required an urgent needs based assessment.

"It must be remembered that we are different in the North and East. We are a war affected region. Our problems are different, serious and needs adequate handling. I have yesterday impressed upon the Resident Co-ordinator of the UN in the presence of the Under Secretary General Mr Feltman that a needs’ based multi lateral assessment is a crying necessity for us to properly address our special problems," Mr Wigneswaran told the Sri Lankan president, who was chairing a provincial coordinating meeting at the District Secretariat Auditorium in Jaffna on Tuesday.


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
ITAK calls on Sri Lanka's new president to work towards political solution for Tamils
The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), passed a resolution urging the government of Sri Lanka to take actions towards a political solution that would be accepted by the Tamil people.

The resolution further called on the government to release land belonging to Tamils and release all detained and missing persons.

A second resolution passed by ITAK, condemned the burning of effigies of TNA MP MA Sumanthiran and leader R Sampanthan, by Tamil demonstrators protesting against enforced disappearances in the North-East.

The resolution also questioned the Tamil National Alliance Spokesperson Suresh Premachandran and Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthni Sasitharan’s failure to condemn the actions during the preotest.
Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Sri Lankan President says he deliberately dodged CEPA talks with India

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena claimed to have deliberately avoided talking about the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when the pair met in New Delhi last month.

“I want to assure you that I will not enter any agreement with any country that will be harmful to our businesses,” said Mr Sirisena, addressing local Sri Lankan businesses over the weekend.

Mr Sirisena went on to highlight the cancelling of contracts for 16 foreign mining firms; a move he claimed would strengthen local businesses.


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Protest continues in Trincomalee

Photographs: Tamil Guardian

Protestors gathered for a fourth consecutive day in Trincomalee, rejecting the presidential commission probing disappearances.

The commission is currently sitting in the town on the eastern coast of the island, but has had very few people participate after the Tamil Civil Society Forum, who organised the protest, and the Welfare Organisation for the Forcibly Disappeared Persons said they would boycott the commission.

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Foreign countries trying to 'rule' Sri Lanka - President Sirisena

Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena said some countries are attempting to "rule" the country, through attempts at signing various economic deals, Colombo Gazette reports.

Mr Sirisena noted that Sri Lanka has always played it safe since it gained independence in 1948 and will not allow itself to be ruled by a foreign country again, adding the country should be mindful of such attempts.

The president said major countries now take control of smaller ones through bilateral agreements, including development assistance, defence deals and trade and economic agreements.

“They use new strategies to take over small countries which are developing,” he said, adding the government is selective in the assistance it accepts.

Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
We will abolish exec presidency only if all parties offer unconditional support - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka will abolish the executive presidency only if unconditional support s extended by all parties, cabinet spokesperson and health minister, Rajitha Senaratne said.

Speaking to The Island, the minister said the government would submit its constitutional reform draft to parliament and intends to abolish the executive presidency by April.

Mr Senaratne said Sri Lanka was committed to the 100-day agenda but that it should not be forgotten that far-reaching constitutional changes cannot be made without the unconditional support of the opposition.

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
UN official reassures Wigneswaran OISL report will be released in Sept
The UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, reassured the North's chief minister, C V Wigneswaran during a meeting in Jaffna on Tuesday that the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka would definitely be released in September.

The report, which was due to be publishing this month at the UN Human Rights Council's 28th session, was last month deferred till the 30th session, by member states.

"When I asked what would happen if certain member states try to delay the report [further], he [Mr Feltham] gave me his assurance that it would be published in September," Mr Wigneswaran told reporters following the meeting.

"Importantly, he [Mr Feltham] asked questions about the political situation," Mr Wigneswaran went on to say.

"He asked questions regarding the significance and meaning of bringing a resolution on genocide. In response we replied that this document illustrates the feelings of our people," he said, adding that the government's statement that the military would not be removed from the Tamil areas also caused the Tamil people significant distress.


Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
Concrete steps to meet Tamil aspirations needed to gain trust, says Bishop of Mannar
The aspirations of the Tamils as a distinct community, that want to govern themselves in their areas of historical habitat and want acknowledgement and accountability for abuses committed against them must be addressed by the Sri Lankan government to resolve the national issue, said the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph.

Expanding on how to build trust between the Tamil community and the Sri Lankan government, Bishop Joseph, said,

“Concrete actions to address grievances, such as first steps towards addressing the Tamil political question, actions towards releasing political prisoners, handing back land occupied by the military, demilitarisation, finding and acknowledging the truth about the disappeared, these are some actions that will help build trust.”

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
Sri Lanka can show commitment to justice and reconciliation by signing Rome Statute, says Callum Macrae
“The new government has made no real move to show it is an different,” said the director of the No Fire Zone documentary speaking on working towards truth, justice and accountability for Sri Lankan atrocities against Tamil civilians.

Noting that Sri Lanka had been given a further 6 months before the UN report into Sri Lanka’s atrocities was released, Callum Macrae suggested that Sri Lanka should take steps to sign up to the Rome Statute, publish lists of prisoners of war, demilitarise the North and return lands seized from Tamils to show that it was committed to truth, justice, accountability and reconciliation on the island.

 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
Opposition launches assault on Syrian intelligence headquarters in Aleppo

Opposition fighters have launched a fierce assault on Syrian government intelligence headquarters in Aleppo on Wednesday, with at least 34 people dead from both warring sides.

Opposition fighters linked to the Al Nusra Front and other Islamist organisations detonated a bomb placed in a tunnel running underneath the headquarters, with the blast being heard throughout Aleppo. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported a 2.3-magnitude tremor at the time of the explosion.


Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
EU will place further sanctions on Russia if Ukraine ceasefire is violated warns Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia that any serious violation of the current ceasefire in east Ukraine would prompt Europe to impose further sanctions on Moscow for supporting the separatist militants, reports Reuters.

Responding to threats of further sanctions, the press spokesperson for the Russian President, said,
“No sanctions would ever force Russia make changes to the persistent line it follows in international affairs.”
Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
UN envoy warns of potential need for intervention in Libya
The international community must be ready to support Libyan efforts to tackle Islamic State militants, said the United Nations Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon, during a briefing to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.

“I have no doubt that terrorist groups, such as Islamic State will stop at nothing in their bid to play on existing political divisions… to consolidate their own presence and influence in Libya. We should be careful not to underestimate the sense of urgency and alarm underpinning this request for international support on addressing the threat of terrorism,” Mr Leon told the council.

Libyan Prime Minister accuses UK, US and EU of failing to support government (24 Feb 2015)
Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
UK accused of ignoring abuse in Yarl's Wood detention centre
The home secretary Theresa May, was accused of allowing “state sponsored abuse of women” at th Yarl’s Wood detention centre after a Channel 4 investigation uncovered systematic racial and physical abuse of detainees.

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, criticised Ms May for extending the contract for Serco to run the detention centre despite allegations of abuse, sexual exploitation, rape and self haer, reports The Guardian.

Speaking at the House of Commons, after Ms May failed to attend a sitting to answer an urgent question about the detention centre, Ms Cooper said,

“There is no point in ministers pretending to be shocked at news of abuse. This is not news. Even now, the ministers have not set up an independent inquiry. Serco has… This is state-sanctioned abuse of women on the home secretary’s watch and it needs to end now.”

The former Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, urged the British government to consider “allowing proper journalistic access and transparency.”

Julian Huppert, a Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, said people were at risk of harm in Yarl’s Wood, deeming it a “disgrace under the last government and a disgrace now.”
Tamil Guardian 04 March 2015
UN Security Council moves closer to imposing sanctions on South Sudan

The UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution establishing a sanctions regime on warring factions in South Sudan, ahead of a deadline for the sides to reach a peace deal later this week.

The resolution voted in on Tuesday, stopped short of travel bans, asset freezes and preventing the purchase of more weapons, but threatens to punish those who interfere with the ongoing peace process.

All 15 UN Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution after it was proposed by the United States. US Ambassador Samantha Power said that "those who frustrate peace must begin to pay the price," adding the council was "sending a very clear signal to those who continue to choose war over peace - you will be held to account now as we urge you to compromise to reach an agreement and later when you are considering whether to follow through on its terms".


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Iraqi army offensive to recapture Tikrit continues

The Iraqi army and Shi'ite militiamen have been engaged in fierce battles with Islamic State (IS) fighters in Tikrit, as they attempted to recapture the Iraqi city.

Whilst US airstrikes have not been reported to have been deployed, the Iraqi air force conducted several strikes since the offensive was launched on Sunday.

Reuters reported that Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was at the battlefront. The commander had been assisting to co-ordinate Iraqi counter-offensives against IS, but Moeen al-Kadhimi, a leader of the Shi’ite militia known as the Popular Mobilisation force, told the BBC that the role he was playing was minimal.

“We receive our orders and instructions from the Iraqi military leadership, but we make use of the advice of the foreign advisers," said Mr Kadhimi.


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Afghanistan must prosecute officials guilty of human rights abuses, says HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Afghanistan to hold officials and commanders guilty of human rights abuses accountable, in a report detailing police, intelligence, and militia forces' responsibility for rights violations.

In a report entitled, “‘Today We Shall All Die’: Afghanistan’s Strongmen and the Legacy of Impunity”, HRW said there was long standing impunity for rights abuses committed by figures connected to the Afghan government.

Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at HRW, said,

“The previous Afghan government and the United States enabled powerful and abusive individuals and their forces to commit atrocities for too long without being held to account.”


Tamil Guardian 03 March 2015
Israeli Prime Minister warns against Iran deal in speech to US Congress

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a deal with Iran over a nuclear programme would see Iran "pave its way to the bomb", in a controversial speech to the United States Congress.

Mr Netanyahu said a deal would Iran would “inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to a nuclear war”, adding that "Iran's regime is as radical as ever, the ideology is deeply rooted in militant Islam... it will always be an enemy of US".

The speech was criticised by US President Barack Obama who said that Mr Netanyahu had offered “nothing new” to progress towards containing Iran’s nuclear programme.


Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
Countries must give impact to recommendations of Human Rights Council - Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussain stressed that international human rights law cannot be "trifled with or circumvented, but must be fully observed", at the opening of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Our discussions during this session will only be of some worth if every State represented here will take the recommendations of the Council, its Universal Periodic Review, and its expert mechanisms out of this room, and give them real impact where it matters – in your countries," he said in his first address since taking over from Navanetham Pillay last year.

Mr Hussain pointed out human rights are disregarded, and violated regularly by some states, who claim exceptional circumstances, picking and choosing between which rights to protect.

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
US warns Russia over Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he warned Russia that it would face further sanctions if the conditions of the truce agreed in Ukraine last month were not met.

Speaking at the opening session of the Human Rights Council, Mr Kerry said the pro-Russian forces had a "piece-meal" approach to the ceasefire agreement, accusing them of only withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line in some areas.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his address to the Council, said there had been "tangible process" with the ceasefire.

Tamil Guardian 02 March 2015
North Korea fires missiles as annual US-South Korea exercises get underway

The North Korea regime has fired two missiles as the annual US-South Korea drills began earlier today.

Officials in Seoul said two short-range missiles were fired into the ocean east of Korea, assumed to be in reaction to the joint drills.

While both the US and South Korea describe the drills as defensive, Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for an invasion.

"If North Korea takes provocative actions, our military will react firmly and strongly so North Korea will regret it in its bones," Defence Minister Kim Min-seok said according to Reuters.

Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
Former Peruvian minister accused of murder of journalist

A retired army general and former Peruvian minister has been accused of murdering a journalist 26 years ago and could be facing a fail term, according to a prosecutor.

Daniel Urresti, a former army general, widely tipped as a possible presidential candidate, is accused of orchestrating the murder of Hugo Bustios, a journalist who had been investigating human rights abuses, during the country’s conflict involving leftist militant organisation Shining Path.

Two former soldiers were convicted of his murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. One of them accused Mr Urresti of being involved in the killing.


Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
ICJ calls on Nepal to uphold no amnesty for war crimes

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) called on the Nepalese government to uphold a Supreme Court decision rejecting the possibility of amnesty for suspected perpetrators of war crimes and other human rights abuses.

“Nepal’s Supreme Court has once again firmly reasserted the right of the victims of human rights violations to seek justice,” said Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Asia Director. “This bold and principled decision should finally end the cynical attempts by politicians from all Nepal’s major parties, as well as the military, to legislate impunity and shield themselves from accountability.”

The decision on Thursday by Nepal’s top court said two bodies set up to investigate abuses committed during the country’s civil conflict could not grant amnesty, overturning the power to do so after a mass petition by 234 victims.


Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
Venezuela to restrict US diplomats

The Venezuelan government announced it will limit the number of US diplomats in the country.

President Nicolas Maduro said he wants a review and reduction of diplomatic staff and said some US politicians would be banned from entering Venezuela.

The president said he was forced to take these measures as the US government was meddling in the country and had 100 employees working in Venezuela, while only 17 Venezuelan officials were working in the US.

A list of banned politicians would include former president George W Bush, and Dick Cheney.

Mr Maduro said they had violated human rights and encouraged terrorism, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
Earlier this month the US imposed visa restrictions on unnamed Venezuelan officials it accused of human rights violations and corruption.

Tamil Guardian 01 March 2015
Bosnian war criminals to be deported from the US

The US is seeking to deport at least 150 Bosnians suspected of commiting war crimes and "ethnic cleansing" during the Yugoslavian war, the New York Times reported.

Immigration officials said they have identified 300 immigrants who are believed to have concealed involvement in war times atrocities.

Moves have been made to identify suspects, including an appeal broadcast to Bosnians around the world in February, urging witnesses to come forward with any information about war crimes.

Bosnians should be confident that “justice can be served in the United States despite the fact that many years have gone by and that the conduct occurred overseas, far away,” Kathleen O’Connor, a human rights prosecutor at the Justice Department, said in a message translated into Bosnian on the government-financed Voice of America network.

Tamil Guardian 28 February 2015
PKK leader calls on militants to lay down arms to seek 'democratic solution'
The jailed leader of Turkey’s main Kurdish militant group, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), urged militants to end a 30 year armed struggle to seek a “democratic solution.”

Abdullah Ocalan, a jailed Kurdish MP, speaking on national Kurdish TV, said,

“We are in the process of bringing an end to the 30 year of conflict, in the form of a perpetual peace, and our main goal is to reach a democratic solution.”

“I am calling on the PKK to convene an extraordinary congress in the spring months, to make the strategic historical decision about ending the armed struggle based on mutually agreed principles.”

Over 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died fighting for a Kurdish homeland in the south-east of Turkey, reports BBC.
Tamil Guardian 28 February 2015
ICC affirms acquittal of Congolese militia leader for war crimes
The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court upheld a decision to acquit Mathieu Ngudjolo, the leader of  a Congolese militia, of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Friday.

Prosecutors challenged a 2012 ruling which found Mr Ngudjolo not guilty on charges of murder, rape and pillaging in relation to a 2003 massacre in the eastern Democratic republic of Congo. The attack had left 200 people dead.

Whilst admitting that mistakes in assessing the evidence may have been made during the 2012 trial, presiding judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng said that “the trial chambers errors had no material impact on the acquittal decision."


Tamil Guardian 28 February 2015
IS destruction of statues a war crime, says UN
The destruction of several historical artefacts in a museum in Iraq by Islamic State (IS) militants is a war crime stated the head of UNESCO, the UN cultural agency.

In a press conference condemning the destruction of statues in Mosul, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova said, “I was filled with dismay by images of the attack on the Mosul Museum, as well as on other archaeological sites in the Nineveh region in Iraq.”

Ms Bokova added that under the Rome Statute, the deliberate destruction of cultural is a war crime that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). She has asked the ICC Chief Prosecutor to investigate the incident, she added.


Demanding demilitarisation
Awaiting Justice
New Crossroad?
Will Sri Lanka's new president be held to international standards of justice?
Reality Check: Sri Lanka's New Government
'Why Sirisena’s Victory is Not a Victory for Sri Lanka’s Tamils'
Thousands protest in Jaffna rejecting domestic probe, demanding release of UN report
Continuing militarisation of Tamil school children across North-East
Human Rights Council gives Sri Lanka 6 months to cooperate with UN inquiry
  Culture & Community
'Super Singer Junior' audiences stunned by song dedicated to Eelam Tamils
Denmark Tamil schools compete in Malathy Cup football tournament
Tamil teachers felicitated at ceremony in London

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