July 2014

Our Gaza – How many Palestinians must die for Israel to feel protected? 40,000?

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Tisaranee Gunasekara – “Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire no criticism may be heard.” – Petition by 50 Israeli army reservists on refusing to join the Gaza offensive[i] Israel calls it the Operation Protective Edge. How many Palestinians must die for Israel to feel protected? In the latest horror from Gaza, an Israeli attack on a UN school killed at least 19 Palestinians and injured about 90. According to Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner General of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees), “….children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom […]

Ebola outbreak: fight against disease hampered by belief in witchcraft, warns British doctor

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

A British doctor fighting the devastating Ebola outbreak in west Africa has told how belief in witchcraft is hampering the fight to stop the spread of the deadly disease. Benjamin Black, 32, a volunteer with the charity Médecins Sans Frontières in Sierra Leone, said that some of those in infected areas were not seeking medical treatment as they thought the disease was the work of sorcerers. Belief in witchcraft and traditional medicine is still prevalent in parts of west Africa, particularly the remote rural areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia where the outbreak has been concentrated. In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr Black, who completed a four-day stint earlier this week at an Ebola treatment clinic in Kailahun, near Sierra Leone’s northern border […]

Sinhala settlements continue in North says TNA MP

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Trying to win Indian goodwill.

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Rajapaksa family has made a big attempt to grant ample business privileges in Sri Lanka to the five-member team of unofficial representatives of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janatha Party in order to promote India’s goodwill towards Sri Lanka, reports say.  Accordingly, a company owned by Dr. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, a member of the team and former federal cabinet minister of industry, energy, environment and forests, chemicals and fertilizers, heavy industry, and public enterprise, and his son, have been allowed to set up a 1,000 megawatt windmill power park in Sri Lanka’s western coast and transmit the power generated there to India.  Sri Lanka has a capacity to generate around 20,000 mw of windmill power and an US research institute […]

Death threats to FMM convener came from defence ministry!

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

It has now been established that the death threats to Free Media Movement’s convener Sunil Jayasekara in the past few days have come via defence ministry telephones. He received the threats until yesterday (27), which stressed that he would be finished. An investigation following a complaint to the service provider in which he had furnished the relevant telephone numbers has indicated the ministry involvement. FMM convener Sunil Jayasekara is faced with a serious threat to his life, say sources close to him. http://lankanewsweb.net/news/8357-death-threats-to-fmm-convener-came-from-defence-ministry

Journalists protest against media repression in North

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

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 […]

For a Trilingual Sri Lanka: First-ever Conference on Promoting Bilingual Education

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Bilingual Education Branch of the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education in partnership with British Council Sri Lanka recently organised the first-ever conference on promoting bilingual education to achieve a trilingual Sri Lanka. The programme was organised with a number of different objectives: To make different stakeholders aware of current practices in bilingual education at the local and global levels through research findings and other methods. To provide an opportunity to learn from different experiences and share good practices at the local and international levels. To develop a strategic paper on Bilingual Education based on the outcome of the conference as a supportive document for a bilingual education policy for the general education system in Sri Lanka. The Conference was attended […]

Australia asylum: ‘Cover-up on child health’, inquiry told

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

A psychiatrist says the Australian government sought to cover up the extent of mental health problems among children held in asylum detention. The comments came at a national human rights inquiry into the treatment of children in immigration detention. His claim came a day after church leaders accused Australia of holding children in “inhumane” conditions. The government rejected that as “offensive”. It says it is working to reduce the number of child detainees. Dr Peter Young worked for International Health and Mental Services, a provider of health services at detention centres contracted by the government. He told the Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry that he had collected figures showing “significant” mental health problems among child detainees, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. His company provided this data to […]

Tamil Film Portraying Prabha’s Son As A Hero Creates Controversy

31st July 2014 // 0 Comments

A Tamil film Pulipaarvai, believed to portray slain LTTE leader V Prabhakaran’s son Balachandran as a hero handling weapons with ease has met with stiff resistance from supporters of the Tigers. The film’s trailer shows Balachandran in LTTE uniform with a pistol in hand, receiving combat training. Pro-Tamil outfits say it could be an attempt to depict the child as a heroic fighter, amidst the heat of war and the child character depicted as a heroic individual will certainly get subjected to controversy. The Tamil Diaspora has condemned the movie through social media and through their website saying that the plot of the movie is offensive. “Showing Balachandran as an LTTE fighter would only lend credibility to the Lankan government’s defence that Balachandran was killed […]

Trade is more important than killing of Tamils to BJP

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Seshadri Chari, National Convener of BJP’s Foreign Policy Cell, today denied a report quoting him as saying that India has told Sri Lanka that the Tamils issue should be resolved for making progress on bilateral trade and commerce. Referring to a PTI report from Singapore last week in this regard, he said he never spoke these words in a seminar there. Chari said in Colombo, which he had visited from July 20 to 22, he had expressed his opinion that the Tamils issue was an internal matter of Sri Lanka and should not be internationalised. “I am a votary of greater trade and commerce with Sri Lanka,” he said in a statement here. A Sri Lanka politician said that the Indian leaders were more keen on trade and commerce with Sri Lanka and not […]

She if after the UN post or at least a diplomatic post………..

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

“I’m here as I’m a Sri Lankan and I’m proud to be a Sri Lankan. I do not believe that separatism or partition is the answer for problems of the society. I’m convinced that the unity of all Sri Lankan people can free the country and the people from exploitation and preserve our sovereignty and independence. People joined together will be able to combat all exploitation,” said Ms Tamara Kunanayakam, former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office and Sri Lanka’s former envoy to Cuba. Addressing the rally held by the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) at Viharamahadevi Open air theatre on the 27th Ms. Kunanayakam said, “We should struggle against all types of separatism. We should amass all patriotic forces. We should […]

Pillay stands by her report on Lanka

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says she stands by her report on Sri Lanka submitted to the UN Human Rights Council last year and rejected the notion that it was “propaganda”. In an interview with Al-Jazeera television this week, Pillay said that some of the information mentioned in her report and the UN Experts Panel report was similar to what was reported by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). “It’s true the country is reconstructing and wants to move forward but you have to address what victims ask. So I would reject the notion that this is propaganda and made up. These are facts mentioned to us and again and again we placed it before them,” she said. Pillay […]

Navy to be placed on alert for Indians

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The navy will be placed on alert to arrest Indian fishermen if they attempt to force their way into Sri Lankan waters, the military said today. Indian fishermen have threatened to cross into Sri Lankan waters on August 2 in protest over the navy arresting Indian fishermen. Militarily spokesman and Director of the Media Centre of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that Indian fishermen had made similar threats even on earlier occasions but never went ahead with it. However he said even if the Indians go ahead with their plans then the Sri Lanka navy will be on standby to apprehend them. The Indians have said they will attempt to land on the disputed Kachaitivu island. Wanigasooriya said that Indian […]

Norway not so keen on SL: TNA

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Norway, which facilitated the peace process between the then Government and the LTTE is now giving less emphasis to the peace building process in Sri Lanka, a TNA politician said yesterday.During his European visit, TNA Northern Provincial Councillor Dharmalingam Sitharthan is reported to have met Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry Officials in Oslo and Swiss Government officials.  Mr. Sitharathan told Daily Mirror that he had talks with Peace and Reconciliation Assistant Director General Tone E.B. Allers and Senior Advisor Toril Langlete of the Department of Regional Affairs and Development.“I understand that Norway is less interested in Sri Lanka’s issue. Instead, they have shifted their focus more on the situation in Ukraine which is in their neighbourhood. However, they said they continued to observe the developments in […]

Military Intimidation Over US Funded Digital Security Training For Jaffna Journos

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The United States is deeply concerned by the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of a journalism training session in Colombo over the weekend and threats and intimidation by security forces against journalists covering the July 25 Jaffna court proceedings related to an 11-year-old victim of sexual abuse, allegedly at the hands of  Sri Lankan Navy personnel from the Karainagar Naval Base, the US Embassy Colombo said today. Issuing a statement the US Embassy said; “The eventual cancellation of journalism training, which was focused on digital security for Jaffna-based journalists and financially supported by the U.S. government, was accompanied by a series of threats and intimidation of training participants and other journalists around the country, including threats against at least one journalist who made a statement criticizing the government over the cancellation. This […]

Gotabaya And I Were Right

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

By Rajiva Wijesinha – A Presidency Under Threat – Promoting Alienation I was privileged, a couple of weeks back, to attend the release of the Northern Education Sector Review Report at a ceremony held at Vembadi Girls School. I had last been at Vembadi in 2008, when the then Commander of the Special Forces in Jaffna, General Chandrasiri, arranged what was termed a Future Minds Exhibition. It was at the height of the war, but the General had already begun to plan for the future, and sensibly so for he stressed the need for the development of human resources. I was struck by the irony now, with the controversy over his continuation as Governor. I will look at that issue elsewhere, but here I will dwell on the […]

450 Tamil Families Lose Their Homes In Trinco As Rajapaksas’ Woo China

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Over 450 families in Trincomalee are to lose their homes as a result of the Rajapaksa regime’s continuous wooing of the Chinese to remain in their good books. The Australian media establishment ‘Green Left Weekly’ in an article on Monday has revealed that President Rajapaksa during his recent visit to China had signed an agreement to hand over 1200 acres of land in Trincomalee to the Chinese on a long term lease for ‘defense-related development’. The land that has been promised to be given over to the Chinese is said to be occupied by temples, mosques, schools and houses and the majority among the 450 families who are affected are said to be Tamil speaking Muslims. Several similar land transfers have been made to China recently by […]

British Council join hands to teach migrant workers English

30th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in partnership with the British Council has launched a training program for outbound migrant workers to improve their proficiency in the English language, with a focus largely on speaking practice. The British Council which would formulate and carry our the study program with the involvement of its expert instructors, would also offer an internationally accredited qualification for those who complete the program successfully, SLBFE sources said. The program would be conducted at 15 SLBFE training centres islandwide and those following the course would also be directed to sit for the APTIS test conducted by the British Council. “The program offers a new approach to language learning, using information technology to provide a high-quality interactive learning environment for migrant […]

Kachchatheevu ,India and Sri Lanka

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

Kachchatheevu/ Kadchatheevu   Published in South Asian Analysis Group on Monday, February 08, 2010. Paper no. 3655 India’s Bilateral Agreements and Centre-State Relations – A Perspective from Tamil Nadu By V. Suryanarayan http://www.tamilnet.com/img/publish/2010/02/Indias_Bilateral_Agreements_SAAG.pdf Know the Etymology: 22 Place Name of the Day: Wednesday, 26 December 2007 Kachchatheevu/ Kadchatheevu Kaccatīvu Kadcha+theevu The forest / desert island The island of refuge The island for taking rest The island on the way http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=98&artid=22641 Satellite image showing the location of Kachchatheevu [Image courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth, Legend by TamilNet] India, Sri Lanka and the Kachchatheevu Crisis:  A Fact Sheet and Possible Solutions Prof. V. Suryanarayan Senior Professor and Director (Retd.), Centre for South and  Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras. http://www.ipcs.org/article/india/india-sri-lanka-and-the-kachchatheevu-crisis-a-fact-sheet-3917.html Share Blame for Fishing Dispute http://www.newindianexpress.com/columns/Share-Blame-for-Fishing-Dispute/2014/01/04/article1980977.ece Maritime boundary […]

Leaked U.S. Terrorist Watch list Rulebook Reveals “Global Stop and Frisk Program”

29th July 2014 // 0 Comments

The Obama administration has expanded the national terrorist watchlist system by approving broad guidelines over who can be targeted. A leaked copy of the secret government guidebook reveals that to be deemed a “terrorist” target, “irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary.” Both “known” and “suspected” suspects are tracked, and terrorism is so broadly defined that it includes people accused of damaging property belonging to the government or financial institutions. Other factors that can justify inclusion on the watchlist include postings on social media or having a relative already deemed a terrorist. We are joined by investigative reporters Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept. Last week they published the secret U.S. document along with their new article, “The Secret Government Rulebook for […]

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