31st 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 […]