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Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
NPC receives fraction of requested funds for 2015

According to Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran, the Northern Provincial Council has only been granted a fraction of the funds it requested for 2015.

The NPC which passed a budget for 2015 on Friday, requested a total of 149.95 million rupees to carry out its planned projects, but has only received 27.2 million rupees from the central government.

Uthayan reports the Chief Minister as saying that the council did not receive even a tenth of the requested funds for certain sectors.

The funding gap has resulted in the council having to cut back on planned development projects in the areas worst affected by the war, including those in housing, road repairs, tourism and social services.

Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Japan deports 26 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka
Twenty-six asylum seekers were deported back to Sri Lanka by Japan on Thursday, along side six to Vietnam.

The deportation of mainly men aged 25 to 64 has been condemned by human rights activists and lawyers as "inhumane", the Japan Time reported.

"Lawyers blasted the move as dangerous for the individuals involved because some of them, including at least one political dissident, presented a “fairly believable” story of persecution," the paper noted.

See here for more.

Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Maithripala manifesto released: vows to prevent international justice mechanisms and protect SL sovereignty
Photograph: BBC Sinhala


The common opposition candidate for Sri Lanka's presidential election next month, Maithripala Sirisena, released his election manifesto on Friday in only Sinhala and English, setting out his vision for "compassionate governance and a stable country".

The manifesto, following on from the joint opposition's election campaign pledges to date, fails to address key Tamil concerns of accountability, justice and the right to self-determination.

Pledging to protect every citizen from international justice mechanisms targetting individuals responsible for mass atrocities against the Tamil people during the armed conflict against the LTTE, Maithripala said that he would disseminate an image of Buddhism as that of non-violence amongst the West in order to improve, what he described as, Sri Lanka's poor international image at present.

Reiterating his commitment to the "stability, security and sovereignty of the country", Maithripala pledged that he would not change any aspect of the constitution that would potentially be detrimental to these aspects and that he would not change anything that required a referendum.

Extracts relating to key Tamil issues are published below:


Accountability and justice for mass atrocities against the Tamil people

"No international power will be allowed to ill-treat or touch a single citizen of this country on account of the campaign to defeat terrorism."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Army strength increased in 'significant manner' claims Lieutenant General
Sri Lanka's army Commander, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake hailed the military increase in “strength”, whilst addressing troops in Colombo this week reports Colombo Gazette.

“The Army and its strength has increased in a significant manner in the past three decades and the organization has proved itself to be an integral and indispensable force to be reckoned with,” said Ratnayake. “It has performed arduous tasks which is impossible for others and won commendation from all quarters.”

Ratnayake went on to say that various “international elements” were attempting to destabilise Sri Lanka, but Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had made them “ineffective”.
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Leaked CIA report analyses Sri Lanka's assassination of LTTE leaders
A leaked United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report warned of the negative effects that assassinations could have, recommending targeted strikes that could exploit leadership divisions and a combined counterinsurgency strategy.

The report, compiled in 2009, analyses the impact of  "high value targeting" (HVT) in conflict scenarios across the world, including in Sri Lanka.

Entitled “Best practises in Counterinsurgency: Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency tool” the report stated that HVT operations may,
“by eroding the ‘rules of the game’ between the government and insurgents, escalate the level of violence in a conflict, which may or may not be in a government’s interest.”
The report noted that the Sri Lankan government had used “antibunker bombs” to target LTTE leaders  in 2007 and 2008, adding
“Geocoordinate information provided by a former bodyguard of Prabhakaran’s contributed to an accurate Sri Lankan military bombing raid that killed LTTE political spokesman S.P. Tamilchelvan and other LTTE leaders on 2 November 2007, according to a clandestine source with whom a relationship was just beginning.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
There is no point in replacing Rajapaksa with another 'Rajapaksa' - TNPF
The Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) called on the Tamil people to boycott Sri Lanka's presidential election next month, stating that the policies in relation to the Tamil question of the common opposition coalition did not differ from that of the ruling regime.

"There is no doubt that every Tamil person wants an end to this regime's policies - that of targetting the Tamil nation," said the TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam at a press conference on Thursday.

"However, what is important is that there is an end to the atrocities being committed. It is not merely to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa. The key aim of every Tamil person is to put an end to the things that he is doing."

"From our point of view, the most important question is to what extent will a new regime, brought in by someone new, provide progress to the Tamil nation."

"In order to defeat the Rajapaksa regime, what kind of person do we need to bring? Do we need to defeat Rajapaksa as an individual, or do we need to defeat his policies?"

"As far as we are concerned, it is not Mahinda Rajapaksa as an individual that is the problem, but his policies. If the next person [to assume the presidency] is going to follow his same policies then what is really taking place here is not the change of a regime, ie. that of policies, but merely a personality change."


"Our party's humble request to the Tamil people is that the wisest thing to do at present would be to stay away from this election. At no point in the future should it be said that the Tamil people willfully gave a mandate to destroy the Tamil nation."


[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
India attaches 'highest importance' to safety of fishermen says Swaraj
India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated the Indian government attaches the “highest importance” to the safety of Indian fishermen, as reports of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy continue to take place.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha last week, Swaraj responded to a question on the harrassment and abduction of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy by saying,
“At the outset, let me take this opportunity to reiterate, in no uncertain terms, that Government attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen.”

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Rajapaksa claims TNA signed 'secret deal' with opposition candidate
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has made a “secret deal” with opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at an election rally in Chilaw this week.

Rajapaksa stated that a team from the TNA, which included parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, had formulated the deal with Sirisena, ahead of the presidential elections next month.

“We are watching these things very closely. These things need to be revealed,” said Rajapaksa.

Speaking at the rally, he added that organisations overseas wanted to see him defeated at next month's polls, so that he can be taken to the International Criminal Court.

However, Rajapaksa said,
“As long as the Sri Lankan public are here they will not allow me to be taken to the Hague.”
Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
JHU local government members leave to back Rajapaksa
More than half of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party's local government members have left to back incumbent Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential polls.

Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila, who had earlier announced his support for Rajapaksa last week, was joined by 17 of 29 local government members who defected to the ruling UPFA coalition.

Gammanpila said that a new party with the defectors would be formed, adding,

"Our party is founded on policies that are our foundation. We have suddenly strayed towards an alliance with the United National Party and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. There is a void in society for a Buddhist political party."

"We will also discuss with the Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya. We have had discussions with leaders of Buddhist organizations, and so far the reactions have been positive," continued Gammanpila.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
Opposition reiterate rejection of UN inquiry
Common opposition Presidential candidate, Sirisena, at rally today. Photograph BBC Sinhala


A former cabinet minister, Rajitha Senaratne, who crossed over to join the common opposition platform led by Maithiripala Sirisena, reiterated their rejection of an international inquiry into mass atrocities against the Tamil people, in an interview with The Hindu on Thursday.

Stating that the opposition would strengthen domestic mechanisms, Senaratne stressed that they would "settle our matters in our country".


[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
Government aligned paramilitary members attack NPC councillors


Members of the government aligned paramilitary group, the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), attacked Northern Provincial councillors at a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting, on Tuesday morning.

At least two councillors sustained injuries and were sent to hospital, as government forces failed to protect the assaulted northern provincial councillors.

Northern Provincial Council members that protested the EPDP MP Douglas Devananda’s political canvassing against the Tamil National Alliance and Northern Provincial Council during the development meeting were attacked by uninvited EPDP paramilitary party members, sources at the meeting told the Tamil Guardian.




[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Kumaratunga claims '75%' of war victory
The former Sri Lankan president, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, claimed responsibility for finishing 75% of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during her tenure.

Speaking at an interview in her residence, Kumaratunga, who plays a key role in the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s election campaign, said,

“How can one deny it?  Our people do not believe in falsehoods.  Are our people a bunch of donkeys to believe in untruths? Nearly 75 per cent of the areas controlled by Prabhakaran were liberated under my government. I do not lay claim to be the President forever by boasting of gains on the war front.”

Sri Lanka must vote to ensure 'war victory' maintained says Rajapaksa (15 Dec 2014)

Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
Amnesty International urges candidates to ensure prosecution for international law violations
Amnesty International has called on Sri Lanka's candidates in the forthcoming presidential elections to respect international human rights obligations and prosecute those suspected of committing crimes under international law.

In a statement released ahead of the presidential elections next month, the non-governmental organisation said it “calls on all candidates to make a firm commitment to end the widespread human rights violations that have plagued Sri Lanka for decades, eliminate the climate of impunity which facilitates these violations and abuses and combat ethnic, religious and gender-based discrimination and violence.”
“Sri Lanka’s new president can demonstrate his commitment to respecting human rights and bringing an end to impunity by committing publicly to ensure the investigation of serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law and, where sufficient evidence exists, the prosecution of those suspected of committing crimes under international law, irrespective of the identity of the victim or the suspect including their rank, political status or influence.”
Amnesty International highlighted areas of concern that it urged candidates to act on, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Buddhist hardline organisations and the culture of impunity on the island.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
Jaffna Uni student assaulted by military intelligence officers
A student at the University of Jaffna was assaulted on Sunday evening, by four men who stated they were from Sri Lanka's military intelligence wing.

The student, who is currently a second year undergraduate, was detained by the officers at 10pm local time and taken in front of university premises where the assault took place, reported the Uthayan newspaper.

The officers then called a friend of the victim, a third year student, and demanded that he come immediately to the university in order to ensure his friend is released.

The third year student, arrived with his friends and informed police officers. According to the paper, the intelligence officers escaped from the scene on motorbikes as Sri Lankan police officers and soldiers arrived.

One intelligence officer was later identified as working in a nearby bank.
Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
Military general hands over 1,500 acres of Tamil land to Sinhala settlement project
Over 1,500 acres of land belonging to Tamil families in Mullaithivu have been transferred to Sinhalese families resettled in Kokkuthoduvay reports TamilNet.

The provincial land commissioner was instructed  by the Sri Lankan military governor of the Northern Province, General Chandrasiri, to sign lands to Sinhala families under a ‘Mahaweli Development Scheme’ , sources told the paper.

The decision was announced in a closed door meeting with the military governor, Tamil officials and further members of the Sri Lankan military,
despite over 3,000 unresolved cases filed by Tamils regarding land ownership issues in the area.

The latest announcement has upset the original inhabitants of the area, said northern provincial councilor Thurairasa Ravikaran.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
Sri Lanka must vote to ensure 'war victory' maintained says Rajapaksa
An overseas LTTE network was working against Sri Lankan interests, Mahinda Rajapaksa told crowds at an election rally in the south of the island.

Urging the public to vote for the ruling coalition, the Sir Lankan president said that the ‘victory’ achieved at the end of the war would be maintained following the election, reports the Colombo Gazette.

Rajapaksa added that people in Sri Lanka needed to continue to fight against terrorism and ensure that the LTTE does not raise its head in Sri Lanka again.
Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
Our children were killed by the Army - Tamil mothers testify


Two Tamil women have testified that their children were shot and killed by the Sri Lankan Army, as the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP) began to collect testimonies from Vavuniya on Sunday.

Uthayan reports the two mothers describing to the Commission how their children failed to return home from a visit to the Chettikulam hospital, and were shot dead near an army camp three days later.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 15 December 2014
UNP member from Uva province crosses over
The latest UNP member to cross over to the government side was a Uva Provincial Council member, Janaka Tissakuttiarachchi.

Meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Sunday, Tissakuttiarachchi pledged his endorsement, reports the Island newspaper.

According to the paper, Tissakuttiarachchi told a press conference that two more UNP members would follow suit shortly.

"We expected a Presidential candidate from the UNP and asked party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to contest the election," he reportedly said.

"The UNP had no say in Sirisena’s campaign and it had been totally hijacked by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who had ruined the country for 11 years," he added.


[more]

 
 International Affairs
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
US imposes sanctions on Venezuelan government officials
President Barack Obama signed a new legislation to impose sanctions on Venezuelan government officials accused of violating protesters’ rights during demonstrations earlier this year.

The new legislation, signed on Thursday, will deny visas and freeze assets of officials involved in a crackdown on political opponents during three months of street protests in Venezuela, reports Reuters.

Commenting on the sanctions, a US embassy official said,

“these sanctions are not against the Venezuelan people, or against the Venezuelan government sa a whole but against individuals accused of violations.”

Responding to sanctions, the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Madura, said,

“There are contradictions of an empire that seeks to impose its domination by whatever means, underestimating the power and conscience of our fatherland."
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
'Now is the moment to act' on Syria says David Miliband
Former British Foreign Minister and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband has highlighted the urgent need for a step-change in international engagement with Syria in a piece co-authored with Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children UK and Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Writing in the Guardian, the piece said “obligations enshrined in international law hold no purchase” in Syria, noting that schools and hospitals were continually subjected to attacks. “Murder, torture and sexual violence are part of daily life,” it continued.

The three authors went on to call for aid to be delivered to both government and opposition held areas, and for the international community to “pressure those who fail to honour their obligations under international law.”

“It must be made clear to those who target or indiscriminately attack civilians and civilian infrastructure that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity,” said the authors.

See the full piece here.
Tamil Guardian 19 December 2014
Kurds break IS siege at Sinjar
Kurdish peshmerga fighters claim to have beaten back Islamic State (IS) forces at Mount Sinjar, recapturing a large area of territory and opening a pathway to free hundreds of trapped Yazidis.

"Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted," Masrour Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurdish region's national security council, said on Thursday.

The Kurdish security council said,
“In under 48 hours, peshmerga forces have succeeded in retaking 700 square kilometres of Isis-held territory... This corridor . . . has enabled the peshmerga to gain direct access to the displaced people trapped on Mt Sinjar, to provide humanitarian support and evacuation where necessary.”
Kurdish fighters were backed by US-led airstrikes, with reports of 45 strikes in total, a figure described as “unprecedented” by the BBC's Jim Muir in Beirut. He also said the Kurdish attack as the “biggest offensive ever mounted by anybody against IS”.

Colonel Nawruz Majid Mohammed, a Kurdish commander, acknowledged the role the strikes played, saying, “We couldn’t have done any of this without the help of coalition airstrikes”.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
UN General Assembly seeks referral of North Korea to ICC
The UN General Assembly voted on Thursday in favour of North Korea being referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The resolution was voted for by 116 states, 20 against and 53 abstentions, reported Reuters.

North Korea rejected the resolution, describing it as "a product of political plot and confrontation".

The resolution follows a UN inquiry that published its findings earlier this year, detailing instances of atrocities committed by North Korean state officials.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
US warns North Korea over Sony cyber-attacks
Sony Pictures cancelled the release of a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader following cyber-attacks, originating from Pyongyang, that lead to the leaking of UN released films on the internet. 

Several theatres due to show the film pulled out after, hackers threatened to attack any theatres that screened the movie, reports Reuters.

“Sony has no further release plans for the film,” a Sony spokesperson said on Wednesday when asked whether there would be a future release of the film.

Though North Korea has denied involvement with the hacking, security experts in Washington have said that it was an open secret that Pyongyang was responsible.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnap over 100 women and children
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children whilst killing 35 other people on Sunday during a raid in northeast Nigeria. 

Maina Chibok, who comes from the remote village of Gumsuri where the raid occurred, was quoted by Reuters as saying
that militants came in pick-up trucks and sprayed the town with bullets from machine guns.
 
A security source confirmed that over 100 had been abducted with the district head being one of those killed.


Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
India launches first indigenous nuclear submarine
India launched its first ever indigenously built nuclear submarine for a test run, on Monday.

Over 40 years after India first started its efforts for nuclear submarines, the INS Arihant, is set to undergo operational tests for the next 18 months before it is deemed a fully operational nuclear submarine.

Until now, India has been operating one maritime submarine which, was obtained on a 10 year lease from Russia, reports the Times of India.


Tamil Guardian 18 December 2014
Trial begins for men held in Burma for 'insulting Buddhism'
A New Zealand bar manager and two Burmese men have gone on trial for insulting Buddhism, with Buddhist monks and supporters of "969" gathered outside the courthouse.

Philip Blackwood and two of his business partners who run the VGastro Bar, posted a flyer on their Facebook page advertising for their bar, showing Buddha with his eyes shut, wearing large headphones.



[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
FARC declares indefinite unilateral ceasefire
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have declared a unilateral ceasefire starting from 20 December and called for a formal armistice with the Colombian government.

Previous calls for a bilateral truce between the two sides have been rejected. Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos has refused to suspend military action against FARC, claiming that any pause in the fighting will give them a chance to rearm.

FARC however, released a statement on its website saying "we have resolved to declare a unilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities for an indefinite time, which should transform into an armistice."

[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
EU recognises Palestinian statehood
The European parliament passed a motion recognising Palestinian statehood and reiterating the illegality of Israeli settlements, by 498 votes to 88 on Wednesday.

The EU, in the adopted resolution, supports “in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced,” and reiterates the EU’s “strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with the secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the right of self-determination and full respect of international law.”

The resolution also urged Palestinian groups to end internal divisions, whilst reiterating that Israeli settlements were illegal under international law, and calling on the EU to become a genuine facilitator in the Middle East peace process.

The resolution, which was drawn up by five collaborating political groups, passed with 498 votes to 88, with 111 abstentions.

See full EU press statement.

Ireland to recognise Palestinian statehood (10 Dec 2014)

French MPs vote for recognition of Palestine (02 Dec 2014)

Sweden formally recognises Palestine (30 Oct 2014)

UK MPs vote overwhelmingly in favour of recognising Palestine (13 Oct 2014)

Scotland calls for Palestinian statehood recognition (12 Oct 2014)


Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
US and Cuba to 'normalise' diplomatic and economic relations
The US president, in a historic statement today, announced new measures that would ‘normalise’ diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba.

Deeming the current approach ‘outdated,’ Barack Obama, outlined changes which he described as the “most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years.”

“Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas,” said Obama.

The announcement came as Cuba agreed to release an imprisoned US aid worker in exchange of 3 detained Cuban intelligence officers, reports the Guardian.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
EU court annuls Hamas proscription
The European Union’s lower court annulled the bloc’s prevision decision to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organisations citing technical procedures, reports the BBC.

Hamas was removed from the proscription list based on technical grounds involving “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”

The EU court stressed that the decision did “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group,” reports Al Jazeera.

The court said that it would maintain existing measures for three months to ensure effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds.

Responding to Hamas’ de-listing, Israeli prime minister slammed the EU for its ‘prejudice’ against the Jewish community.
[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
Norwegian court convicts Rwandan man of genocide
A court in Norway has found a Rwandan man guilty of genocide, ruling that he had a leading role in the two key massacres during the 1994 genocide where over 2000 were killed.

The man, 49 year old Sadi Bugingo, was found guilty for 19 out of the 20 charges he was accused of, reported a local newspaper. He will be sentenced in January by the court of appeal in Oslo.

“This case shows that Norway has the ability and the will to punish the most serious international crimes,” the state prosecutor, Marit Bakkevig, was quoted by the paper as saying.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 17 December 2014
10 Bosnian Serbs arrested for war crimes
Ten Bosnian Serb officials were arrested on Tuesday by Bosnian police for alleged war crimes committed between 1992 and 1995.

The officials, all senior military and police personnel, are accused of "planning, leading and participating" in the killing of 67 Muslim civilians, including women and children, in 1992 in the Bosnian village of Lokanj, reports VoA.

Recent months have seen a steady number of arrests of former Bosnian Serb officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Afghan Taliban condemn school attack

The Afghan Taliban has condemned the attack on a military-run school in north-west Pakistan, which has killed at least 132 students.

"The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government," said Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. "Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their love[d] ones."

At least 141 people, including 132 students have been reported dead so far. The death toll is set to rise.

The Pakistani Taliban or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack saying it “selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females… we want them to feel the pain”.

Leaders across Pakistan condemned the attack with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying,

"This is in retaliation of our military operation against the terrorists. The government together with the army has started Zarb-e-Azb and it will continue until the terrorism is rooted out from our land."

Zarb-e-Azb is the name of the military operation against TTP being carried out in North Waziristan. Soon after Pakistan’s army chief of staff, General Raheel Shariff, said that “massive air strikes” were being launched in retaliation.

[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Former SS officer to stand trial for 300,000 counts of accessory murder

A German court has decided that there is enough evidence for a 93 year old former Nazi to stand trial for 300,000 separate counts of accessory to murder, over his involvement in the murder of Jews in Auschwitz.

A court in the city of Lüneburg ruled that former member of the Waffen-SS Oskar Groening, who worked as a guard in the Auschwitz concentration camp, will face trial for the killings, though a date is yet to be set.

Groening, who admits to being at the camp, says he was only involved in going through the luggage of those detained, searching for money and other valuables. Although Groening spent two years at the camp, the charges brought forward relate only from May 16 to July 11, 1944.

When Groening was first charged in September, the court had said in a statement,

“The accused knew that, as part of the selection process, those not chosen for work and told they were going to the showers were really going to the gas chambers where they would be put to death in an agonizing manner.”


[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Kenya delists hundreds of NGOs

The Kenya government has “deregistered” more than 500 non-governmental organisations (NGO) for allegedly not complying with the law, following the passing of a controversial security bill last week.

In a statement announcing the closing of the NGOs, the government said,

“Some NGOs have been and continue to be used for criminal activities, including as conduits of terrorism financing in Kenya and in the Horn of Africa.”

Although it did not name any groups, 15 of those deregistered were accused of being linked to terrorism. The organisations were identified “in collaboration with security agencies both locally and internationally,” said the government.


[more]

Tamil Guardian 16 December 2014
Taliban militants kill 132 children in Pakistan school siege
At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday after Taliban gunmen opened fire in a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, reports Reuters.

Gunmen entered the school compound with suicide vests strapped to their bodies and indiscriminately opened fire on schoolchildren and teachers, witnesses have told press.


The school, which is run by the military, is attended by over 1,100 people, many of them children of army personnel.


The Pakistani army ended the siege 8 hours after the Taliban militants infiltrated the school, declaring that all nine militants had been killed.


The Taliban, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.


“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females. We want them to feel pain,” said the Taliban spokesperson Muhammed Umar Khorasani.


The United States Secretary of State John Kerry, condemning the attack, said, “This act of terror angers and shakes all people of conscience, the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

 
HIGHLIGHTS
  Editorial
A legacy for generations
Impeding justice
Thunderclap
  Opinion
Topography of terror and exile
Gendered Genocide: Sri Lanka’s War Against Tamils
Review: 'Sri Lanka's Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder'
  Feature
Remembering Bala Anna - the Voice of the Nation
Maaveerar Naal 2014 commemorated worldwide
Who is Maithripala Sirisena?
  Culture & Community
Youth Tamil footballer to train with top English Footballing Association scouts
Breaking the Silence Journal 2014: Cardiff University
Tamil students inspired to excel at UKTSU's Careers Network 2014



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