Wednesday, 22 October 2014
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 Tamil Affairs
Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
UNP blames government for EU ruling on LTTE
Sri Lanka's opposition party, the United National Party (UNP) blamed the government for the European Union's annulment of anti-terror measures against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) last week.

"When we come to power we will work to reinstate the ban and we strongly urge the government to do everything it can to ensure the Tamil Tigers remain proscribed as a terror organisation," UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne was quoted by the Global Post as saying.

Wickramaratne blamed the government's "politicised" foreign service, and lack of career diplomats.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Sri Lanka passes law banning sale of land to foreign citizens
The Sri Lankan parliament passed the law banning the sale of land to foreign citizens, on Monday night, reports Reuters.

The Land Bill, will mean that foreigners will only be able to lease land for up to 99 years.

The law will also prevent companies and firms that are over 50% foreign owned from buying land.

See more here.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Jaffna Press Club remembers Nimalarajan and Sachithananthan

The Jaffna Press Club held a memorial service over the weekend, remembering the lives of two Tamil journalists - Mylvaganam Nimalarajan and Mr Sachithananthan.

The event was held on the date marking the 14th death anniversary of Nimalarajan, who was a senior journalist having contributed to the BBC Tamil and Sinhala services, the Tamil daily Virakesari and Sinhala weekly Ravaya. The Committee to Protect Journalists stated he was gunned down in his home due to his coverage of the political violence before and during the 2000 parliamentary elections. Members of the government aligned paramilitary group the EPDP, are suspected of carrying out the killing.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Sri Lanka and Iran vow to continue improving bilateral ties
Sri Lanka welcomed Iran’s technical and engineering assistance and called for further cooperation between the two nations on Monday.

The two nations outlined plans to prioritise the expansion of bilateral ties in both of their future plans, during  a meeting between the Iranian deputy foreign minister for Asian pacific affairs, Ebrahim Rahimpour, and the Sri Lankan foreign minister G L Peiris, reports Fars News.
Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Mother of man killed by military prevented from leaving Sri Lanka

The mother of Suntharalingam Gajatheeban, also known as Theiveegan, who was killed by the Sri Lankan military in April, was prevented from leaving Sri Lanka on Tuesday, despite being in possession of a valid visa, the Daily Mirror reports.

Fifty-seven year old Rajithamalar was held at Bandaranaike International Airport, where she was due to take a flight to Canada, for which she has a 6-year visa.

Sourced told the paper that she may have been prevented from leaving the island due to ongoing investigations into the activities of her son.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
EU defends annulment of measures against LTTE, as Sri Lanka decides to appeal decision

The European Union has defended the annulment of the measures in place against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a statement released on Tuesday, saying the moves were of a legal nature and not political.

“[I]t is important to remember that it is a legal ruling of a court; it is not a political decision taken by the EU governments. The separation of the judicial system from the legislature is a key distinction in a healthy democracy,” the statement said.

The European Court of Justice last week annulled measures taken by the Council of the European Union against the LTTE, namely the designation of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and the freezing of its funds.

“Furthermore, this legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by the Court of the substantive issues of designating the LTTE or of freezing LTTE funds,” the statement further said.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
TNA only remaining obstacle to peace – Sri Lankan MP

Ruling party MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardene accused the Tamil National Alliance of obstructing peace in Sri Lanka, according to Asian Mirror.

Speaking at parliament at the second reading of the Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Bill on Monday, the monitoring MP for the External Affairs Ministry said that peace had been realised to 99%, but that the remaining one percent cannot be achieved due to the TNA.

“We are unable to realize this one percent because of the TNA,” Gunewardena said.

“The LTTE seized land from innocent people and burned the deeds and even killed the people. This Act will be of a lot of service to the poor people. Our economy is growing, industries are improving and agriculture productivity is increasing. Land reform will help this process” he said.

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
BBS to contest parliamentary elections

The Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena said on Tuesday it will contest parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, but denied reports that it would field a candidate to run against President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January's presidential election.

General Secretary Gnanasara Thero said monks will not contest, but that the BBS will put forward laymen candidates to contest the parliamentary seats.

"Buddhist monks will offer guidance to them and will not contest elections,” Gnanasara said.

He denied reports in Sri Lankan media that the BBS would contest the presidential election in January.

“The Bodu Bala Sena has no intention of presenting a candidate for the presidential election and we have not extend our support to any political party”, Gnanasara said to the Asian Mirror.

Rajapaksa will be seeking re-election for a third term in January, after removing the two-term limit on his second election win in 2010.

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
India to enhance bilateral defence ties with Sri Lanka
India is to provide equipment and training to the Sri Lankan military reports Colombo Page.

Bi-lateral cooperation is expected to increase between India and Sri Lanka with India working to build Sri Lanka’s military capacity by providing training and hardware.

The announcement comes after the Sri Lankan defence secretary and his Indian counterpart met to discuss defence ties on Monday.

Over 800 Sri Lankan military personnel are trained by Indian military establishments every year.


Gotabaya meets with Indian defence minister (20 October 2014)
Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
School girl reported missing in Jaffna
A 17 year old high school student has been reported missing in Jaffna after she failed to return home from a tuition class, reports the Uthayan.

Sivanesan Perani, who lives and goes to school in Mandaithivu, was reported missing in Jaffna on Monday. 

The parents of Perani have informed the police, who are reportedly investigating the disappearance.

Young woman reported missing in Batticaloa (04 October 2014)

Tamil student found dead in south (09 September 2014)

15 year old Tamil girl reported missing in Wattagoda (09 September 2014)
Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Diaspora attempts to oust president through lifting EU proscription on LTTE says Rajapaksa
The recent European Court of Justice ruling to lift restrictions placed on individuals and organisations allegedly linked to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is a result of “pro-LTTE” diaspora and opposition parties attempting to oust the current presidency said the Sri Lankan president on Monday.
 
"European Union has lifted the ban on the LTTE. It happened within two weeks of certain opposition leaders having talks with the pro-LTTE diaspora. They are working with foreign forces to oust me. They have gone and met them in Europe. They have promised action to fulfil pro-LTTE diaspora demands," Mahinda Rajapaksa is quoted as saying at a function last weekend.

Rajapaksa drew attention to the proposed EU ban on Sri Lankan fishing imports coinciding with the LTTE restrictions lift, stating,

"On one hand they lift the ban on the LTTE while threatening to stop our fish exports. The notice had come during the same week."

Sajin Vaas, BBS warn EU annulment of LTTE proscription measures aids Tamil diaspora (18 Oct 2014)


Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Travel restrictions to North will stop diaspora funded war against government says SL official
Travel restrictions have been placed on the North to prevent foreign elements funding another war against the Sri Lankan government, said the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) coalition party's general secretary on Monday.

Susil Premajayanth added that the lifting of the European Union ban on the LTTE could be blamed on pro-LTTE diaspora and stressed that the government had a responsibility to prevent another war, reports
Colombo Gazette.

"Susil Premajayanth said that if the LTTE ban is lifted in the EU as a result of the EU court ruling it could allow LTTE elements to fund another war in the north," reports Colombo Gazette.

The official added that "the pro-LTTE diaspora is very much active in the EU and pushed for the ban on the LTTE to be lifted."

"The Government has a responsibility to prevent another war from taking place and so such security measures have to be taken," he was further reported as saying.

Travel restriction to North designed to prevent Tamils giving evidence to UN inquiry says TNPF (20 October 2014)

UK, Canada, Australia warn citizens of Sri Lanka's restrictions on travel to North  (19 October 2014)

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Travel restriction to North designed to prevent Tamils giving evidence to UN inquiry says TNPF
The Sri Lankan government's re-introduction of travel restrictions to the North, preventing all foreign citizens from entering the region without prior written permission from the Ministry of Defence, is aimed at stopping Tamils from giving evidence to the UN inquiry, said the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF).

"The fact that the travel restrictions on foreign passport holders to the North has come at this juncture is not a surprise at all," the TNPF president, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam told the Tamil Guardian on Sunday.

"The government would have been observing closely and its intelligence sources would have revealed that the Tamil victims of the most heinous crimes are very eager to give evidence to the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka (OISL). The only hesitation Tamils have is with regards to how the evidence can be submitted whilst maintaining secrecy. One of the safest ways would be to transfer the evidence through diplomats or foreigners who would be most likely to be able to get the evidence out of the country safely," he said.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Presidential elections to be held in January – Minister

Sri Lanka’s information minister Keheliya Rambukwella has confirmed that the presidential elections will be held in January, two years earlier than scheduled.

Rambukwella, who is also the government spokesperson said at a public meeting on Monday that a final announcement will be made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"The presidential election will be held in January. I know the date but can't say it at the moment," he said.

Rajapaksa will be seeking re-election for a third term, after removing the two-term limit as soon as he won his second election in 2010.

 

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Gotabaya meets with Indian defence minister

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi earlier today and discussed “a number of issues”, PTI reported.

India’s Defence Secretary RK Mathur, who visited Sri Lanka recently, was also present.

Officials did not reveal what was discussed during the meeting.

 

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
MoD collects details of Tamils in North for 'lost property search'
Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence has requested Tamils in the North to register their name, address, email address, telephone phone number and other personal information, including names of household occupants, in order to search for any property lost after 1980, the Sunday Times reports.

"Those who had lost property or land should send in details about themselves and their property to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, 15/5, Baladaksha Mawatha, Colombo 03," the paper quoted the MoD as saying.

See more here.

The announcement comes after the MoD restricted access to the North for all foreign citizens, citing national security concerns.


Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Sri Lanka to challenge EU court annulment of anti-terror measures on LTTE
Sri Lanka is to challenge the annulment of anti-terror measures against the LTTE by the General Court of the European Union on Thursday, by dispatching its ambassador to Strasbourg on Monday.

Ambassador Rodney Perera is to urge the Council to act on the Court ruling, attend the EU parliament's plenary session, and meet with foreign affairs and defence committees, reports the Colombo Page.

On Thursday, the Court annulled the European Council’s measures taken against the LTTE, which was designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU, on procedural grounds.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 October 2014
Government appointed officials in NPC do not serve people says TNA MP
Government appointed officials in the Northern Provincial Council do not serve the people said a Tamil National Alliance MP on Sunday.

Speaking to the Sunday Times on the government appointed NPC governor’s secretariat and chief secretary's failure to attend an event aimed at resolving problems related to land, birth and death certificates and other issues Selvam Adaikalanathan, said,
“The GA, the NPC Chief Secretary and other top officials did not attend the event. They are not representatives of the people to do politics. There is a huge gap opening between the central government and the NPC.”

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Myanmar confirms 2015 elections will be held in presence of international observers
Myanmar’s government announced that the 2015 general elections will be held as scheduled, rejecting rumours that the election was to be postponed, the Associated Press reports.

The chairman of the Myanmar Union Election Commission, on Tuesday, said that international and local observers would be invited to witness the election, to be held in late October 2015.

Myanmar's 2010 election was criticised for being stage managed to ensure that the military-backed government retained power.

Tamil Guardian 21 October 2014
Islamic State militants release video of captured US aid drops
Islamic State militants claimed that they had captured US aid drops that were meant to arm Kurdish rebels, in a video released on Tuesday.

The Pentagon press secretary, commenting on reports that US air drops fell in to the hands of Islamic State militants, said that analysts were working to determine what happened, the Washington Post reports.

“The Defense Department is aware that one bundle didn’t make it into the right hands, and is not sure whether the one that appears in the video is the same one CENTCOM already reported destroying,” John Kirby is quoted as saying.

US air-drops arms to Kurdish forces fighting IS (20 October 2014)

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Turkey to allow Kurds to join battle for Kobane
Turkey has announced that it will facilitate Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross the border into Syria, to battle against Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane.

Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said in a press conference that his government was “helping the Peshmerga cross over to Kobane,” adding that “consultations are going on.”

"Turkey has no wish to see Kobane fall," said Cavusoglu.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
22 killed in market attack in Xinjiang
At least 22 people have been killed and dozens more injured after attackers armed with knives and explosives, attacked police officers and merchants at a market in Xinjiang, western China.

All 4 attackers were shot dead by police officers, reports Radio Free Asia. Chinese state media has yet to report on the incident, though recently Xinjiang has seen an increase in attacks following increasing discontent amongst the region's mainly Muslim Uighurs. Han Chinese migrants and police officers seem to have been the target of Sunday's attack.

At least 244 people have been killed in a series of attacks since unrest kicked off in the region in May, following a crackdown by the Chinese government. More than 1,000 ethnic Uighur youth have reportedly been jailed since May.

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Both sides in eastern-Ukraine conflict committing atrocities says Amnesty International
Both sides in the eastern Ukraine conflict have committed atrocities though not on the scale reported by Russia, said Amnesty International in a statement on Monday.

“There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both-pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces in Easter Ukraine, but is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses. It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded," said the Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International, John Dalhusein.

"
It is also clear that some of the more shocking cases that have been reported, particularly by Russian media, have been hugely exaggerated,” Dalhusein added. 

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
Myanmar jails former minister and journalists
A series of separate trials that concluded in Burma this week, resulting in the jailing of a former minister, a group of journalists and 9 farmers, have faced criticism from human rights organisations.

The three trials saw the defendants found guilty over charges of sedition, territorial disputes and “state defamation”.

Dave Mathieson, senior researcher in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch said,
“This is reminiscent of some of the darkest days of military rule... The legal system in this country is still used to intimidate critics of the government.”
See more from the Financial Times here.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 20 October 2014
US air-drops arms to Kurdish forces fighting IS
The United States air-dropped arms to Kurdish forces currently fighting Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane, Syria, the US Central Command said in a statement on Sunday.

Medical supplies were also dropped from the US C-130 cargo planes along side arms supplies, in "multiple" air-drops.

"The aircraft delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies that were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL's attempts to overtake Kobani," the statement read.

The decision by the US to air drop arms to Kurdish fighters is likely to anger the Turkish government, which has resisted widespread calls to arm Kurdish fighters and to allow fighters cross the border into Kobane in order to help defend the city, despite the IS advance towards the country.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 October 2014
Renewed Taliban attacks kill troops

Taliban fighters have launched deadly attacks on troops and villages in Afghanistan.

Around 500 militants launched attacks on two villages in Ghor, a province in the centre of Afghanistan. A local official told the BBC that details about casualty figures are not yet known.

At least 4 Afghan soldiers were killed when militants attacked security posts in Logar province in the east of the country.

Last week the Taliban launched attacks in the north of the country, killing at least 22 members of the Afghan security forces.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 October 2014
Iraq signs deal to allow Australian military training

The Iraqi government has approved a deal with Australia, which will see 200 members of Australian special forces train Iraqi troops to fight against Islamic State.

Legal protection for the troops demanded by Australia caused a row between the countries and delayed the signing of the agreement, with the troops waiting in the UAE for over a month.

"We have reached an agreement for a legal framework and now it will be a matter for our military when our special forces will be deployed," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said at the end of her trip to Baghdad.

Australia is a major contributor to the US-led coalition in the fight against IS and has committed a total of 600 soldiers.

Tamil Guardian 19 October 2014
Fire exchanged on Korean border

Fire was exchanged across the border between North and South Korea on Sunday, the second time skirmishes erupted in the past 10 days.

Reports indicate that North Korean troops approached the border in response to a leafleting campaign by the South, after which southern troops opened fire.

The first border clash on October 10, came after North Korean soldiers fired at balloons released from across the border, carrying leaflets critical of Kim Jong-un.

Last week officials from both countries met for the first time in three years in an attempt to ease tensions, however the talks ended without any agreement.

Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Renewed clashes at Hong Kong protest site

Clashes have erupted at the site occupied by protestors in the Hong Kong district of Mong Kok.

According to reports, police moved in after some protestors had breached their barriers, resulting in the clashes.

The protestors say the police charge was unprovoked.

Pro-democracy activists, many of them students and youths, have been out on the street in Hong Kong for over a month, calling for democratic reforms. They oppose the Chinese government's control over the candidates for the city's chief executive, demanding that the candidacy should be opened up to all.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Over 40 killed in massacres in DRC

A second massacre in as many days on the Democratic Republic of Congo, has left at least 20 people dead, taking the toll to over 46.

Both massacres took place near the town of Beni, on the Ugandan border. Most of the victims were women and children, who were killed with guns, machetes and axes.

Beni's mayor accused Ugandan militant group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), of the massacres.

At least 70 people were massacred in attacks in the eastern border region over the past two weeks, in attacks "accompanied by rape, torture and mutilations", according to a UN official.

Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Militants storm Nigerian villages after government ceasefire with Boko Haram
Several people have been killed in two attacks by Nigerian militants just a day after the government announced a ceasefire with Boko Haram militants to enable the release of 200 abducted girls reports Reuters.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks and the government is doubtful of whether Boko Haram are responsible for the attacks or whether they are the works of several other criminal groups exploiting the instability in the region.

At least 9 people were left dead as militants ransacked houses and stormed through the villages of Dzur and Abadam on Friday night and Saturday morning.

When asked if Boko Haram were responsible for the attacks, the government spokesperson said,

“the Boko Haram people have also said that some attacks are not undertaken by them.”

The ceasefire talks between the government and Boko Haram are expected to go ahead as planned in Chad next week.

Nigeria agrees truce with Boko Haram (18 October 2014)
Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Islamic State militants fly captured jets
Iraqi pilots who joined Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria are training members of the group to fly three captured fighter jets, reports Reuters.

The militants have been flying planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo said the director of the Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussein,” said Rami Abdulrahman.

Commenting on the reports of IS militants flying jets, the US Central Command spokesperson was unable to confirm reports of Iraqi jets being flown by Islamic State militants.

"We're not aware of ISIL conducting any flight operations in Syria or elsewhere. We continue to keep a close eye on (Islamic State) activity in Syria and Iraq and will continue to conduct strikes against their equipment, facilities, fighters and centres of gravity, wherever they may be,” said Patrick Ryder.

Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Indonesia should drop charges against French journalists says Human Rights Watch
The Indonesian government should dismiss charges against two French journalists in the eastern regions of Papua and end restrictions on foreign media in the region, said Human Rights Watch on Thursday.

The journalists, Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois, who were arrested whilst producing a documentary, are set to face trial on 20 October on charges of “abusive use of entry visas.”

“The Indonesian government’s choke hold on Papua media coverage has effectively turned foreign journalism in the province into a criminal activity,”  said the Human Rights Watch Asia director.

“The government should drop charges against Dandois and Bourrat as a first step toward ending the gag on foreign media reporting on Papua,” said Phelim Kine.

The journalists were arrested on August 6 on grounds of working illegally without media accreditation.

French journalists arrested in Papua (16 August 2014)
Tamil Guardian 18 October 2014
Khmer Rouge defence lawyers to boycott genocide trial
Lawyers representing the two Khmer Rouge leaders accused of committing genocide said they would boycott the UN backed trial, which began this week, until they had filed appeals against the convictions of the two men for crimes against humanity.

Nuon Chea, known as Brother Number Two and the former head of state Khleu Samphan, were sentenced to life in prison in August by the court for the killing of 2 million Cambodians during their rule from 1975 to 1979. Both men are in their 80s.

On Friday the UN backed court in Cambodia began proceedings on the charge of genocide. The pair are accused of committing a genocide against Muslim and ethnic Vietnamese people.

"As long as we have not filed appeal brief, we won't be able to attend," Samphan's lawyer told a press conference on Saturday in Phnom Penh.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 October 2014
UK to deploy drones to fight IS, analysts suggest ground troops may be necessary
Britain will deploy a fleet of armed drones to help efforts against Islamic State militants in Iraq outlined the British foreign secretary.

Speaking to the House of Commons on Thursday, Philip Hammond said,

“We are in the process of redeploying some of our Reaper remotely piloted aircraft from Afghanistan to the Middle East to add to our surveillance capabilities.”

In a written statement to parliament, Britain’s defence secretary, Michael Fallon said, the drones would add to the strike capability to the existing jet aircraft that were working in the area.

Military analysts have suggested that it will be untenable to operate the drones successfully from either of Britain’s closest bases to Iraq, reports the Financial Times.

“I am sure they will be based in Iraq,“ said an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.

“Whether in Galad or Erbil is another question,” added Justin Bronk.
Tamil Guardian 17 October 2014
Palestinian boy killed by Israeli soldiers

A 13-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli troops in a village near Ramallah.

Bahaa Badr was shot on Thursday after Israeli soldiers conducted a raid in the village of Beit Liqya.

He was shot in his chest from close range and died shortly after, reported the Jerusalem Post, quoting Palestinian sources.

The Israeli Defence Force’s spokesperson said that Israeli troops were leaving Beit Liqya when residents of the village began throwing Molotov cocktails. The soldiers are said to have opened fire in response, hitting Badr.

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
Thunderclap
Renewing resolve
Significance of Aluthgama
  Opinion
'Why Sri Lanka's detention of Balenderan Jayakumari is so sinister' - Callum Macrae
‘Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes—The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’
Review: 'This Land Belongs to the Army'
  Feature
UK Ministers and MPs rally behind Tamil calls for justice
Remembering Thileepan
#GetThePicture campaign maps Sri Lankan state massacres of Tamils
  Culture & Community
UK Tamil students hold workshop on university application process for Year 13s
Thileepan remembered 27 years on
Kilithattu tournament sees Eelam Vaanavil hold on to trophy



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