Australian Tamil Congress raises money for breast cancer research

October 28, 2010 Comments Off on Australian Tamil Congress raises money for breast cancer research

"We need…independent investigation" – UK PM

October 28, 2010 § 3 Comments

27th October 2010, House of Commons Debate, United Kingdom

Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden) (Lab): As a former PR man, does the Prime Minister agree that no matter how much Bell Pottinger tries to spin the Sri Lankan Government, the demands for an international independent war crimes tribunal intensify as more evidence of alleged assassination and civil rights abuses comes out?

The Prime Minister: The hon. Lady makes a fair point. We need to see an independent investigation of what happened. Everyone has read the papers and seen the TV footage, but we need an independent investigation to work out whether what she suggests is right.

Click here to read from UK Parliament Hansard.

BBC Sinhala – Cameron supports Sri Lanka investigation call

Breaking News – British PM calls for war crimes investigation

October 28, 2010 Comments Off on Breaking News – British PM calls for war crimes investigation

Global Tamil Forum – British Prime Minister calls for an independent war crimes inquiry in Sri Lanka 

David Cameron made clear today that given the serious allegations and alleged evidence that continues to surface in relation to war crimes during the closing weeks of the civil war in Sri Lanka an independent investigation was necessary.

The issue was raised with him by Siobhain McDonagh MP during Prime Ministers Questions. Photos which emerged last week are said to show a massacre of Tamils. The Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, rejected this evidence as fraudulent. Previously a video, apparently showing government troops summarily executing Tamil men, was examined by the UN Special Rapporteur on summary and extra-judicial executions. His analysis found the evidence credible and strongly suggests the video is authentic.
Ms McDonagh MP also raised concerns over the role of the British PR firm Bell Pottinger, who have been employed by the government of Sri Lanka to rehabilitate their image. They are paying Bell Pottinger in the region of £3million per year – this does not sit well with the fact that the British government have provided Sri Lanka with £13.5m over the past 2 years in humanitarian funding. The Prime Minister has previously spoken of the ‘urgent need to shine the light of transparency on lobbying.’

SL Govt has 4.4m of Tamil jewels

October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

BBC (22/10)  –  Sri Lankan government urged to return gold and jewels 

A Sri Lankan politician has demanded that the government return gold and jewels seized during the final stages of the war against Tamil Tiger rebels last year.

Mano Ganesan’s demand comes after the government reportedly disclosed details about gold jewels “collected” by the army in the Wanni region.

Reports say the jewels weighed 110kg and were valued at about $4.4m.

They have been handed over to the country’s central bank, reports say.

Mr Ganesan, who also leads a civil rights group, has demanded return of the jewels to the rightful owners, after proper verification.

Tissa speaks at prestigious awards ceremony

October 26, 2010 Comments Off on Tissa speaks at prestigious awards ceremony

Tamilnet (23/10) – Tissainayagam speaks at 2010 Mackler Award ceremony

2009 recipient of the prestigious Peter Mackler Award, Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagma, who was incarcerated in Sri Lanka prison for his writing, and was unable to receive the award in 2009, spoke at the 2010 Award ceremony held Friday at 6:00 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Tissainayagam was announced as the Award’s first recipient on August 31, 2009, the same day he was convicted on terrorism charges relating to his work as a journalist. 2010 Mackler award winner is a 24-year old Russian, Ilya Barabanov, the deputy editor of the New Times, an opposition magazine in Russia. Tissainayagam was previously hailed by US President Barack Obama as an “emblematic example” of journalists who are persecuted for their craft.

AFP (23/10) – Russian journalist receives Peter Mackler award

Russian journalist Ilya Barabanov praised the dozens of colleagues who have lost their lives over the past decade as he accepted the Peter Mackler Award for courageous journalism.

“Today standing here at this podium I would like to call upon you to pay attention to all of these cases,” Barabanov, deputy editor of Novoye Vremya (New Times), said in an acceptance speech at the National Press Club.

Ancient Tamil script missing from records

October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

Tamilnet (21/10) –  Tissamaharama Tamil Brahmi inscription ‘missing’

The third century BCE potsherd inscription in Tamil language and in Tamil Brahmi script found at Tissamaharama in Hambantota district by German excavators is now missing in Sri Lanka’s Archaeology Department, informed sources said. The inscription found sometimes back was not included in the excavation reports of the Archaeology Department. Photo and decipherment of the inscription was brought out by Iravatam Mahadevan in The Hindu in June this year, followed by TamilNet. Meanwhile, accusing TamilNet for false publications, Dr. Susantha Goonatilleke in an article posted by and published by Daily Mirror said that TamilNet had recently published inscriptions claimed to be from the South of Sri Lanka, which nobody in the Archaeology Department had seen.

On a related but different note:

Tamilnet (23/10) – Millennium old Tamil inscription found in Trincomalee

A stone slab having a Tamil inscription, clearly in the alphabet of the Chola times, was found in Trincomalee while digging for cricket stadium construction work recently. The land where it was found is a part of the esplanade, on the right side of the Koa’neasvaram Road leading to the Siva temple inside Fort Frederick and is adjacent to the bay where the temple’s Theerththam (water cutting) ritual is held. Sometimes back, a Buddhist Vihara and another structure called Sanghamitta Buddhist Rest were constructed at this place. The inscribed slab was taken into possession by the Trincomalee police and was sent to the Department of Archaeology in Colombo.

UK PR firm hired to fix SL's reputation

October 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

BBC (22/10) – Sri Lanka ‘pays PR firm £3m to boost post-war image’

SL Guardian (16/10) – Sri Lanka award multi million pounds contract to image building consultants

The government of Sri Lanka, through its High Commission in London has appointed Bell Pottinger, a public relations company to carryout image building consultancy work for the government in the United Kingdom.

The undisclosed, multi-million pounds contract is said to cover pro-active engagement of the consultancy to counter the Tamil Diaspora campaign work in the United Kingdom.

Bell Pottinger, Public Affairs and image building consultancy is based at 5th Floor, Holborn Gate, 26 Southampton Buildings, London WC2A 1QB and is said have been given a open ended contract to reach all the forums in the UK to counter the campaign of the Tamils in the UK. They have been even instructed to penetrate into Tamil organisations and their campaign work and be a step ahead in their campaign work.

The present High Commissioner the retired Justice Nihal Jayasinge’s term is coming to an end and he will be replaced by a senior military commander who had served in the final assault against the LTTE last year. The government has appointed Bell Pottinger well in advance to counter any negative publicity and campaign against the military commander.

According to sources, Bell Pottinger is already tapping the doors of the House of Commons and the media with its proactive engagement. They are also expected to reach the Amnesty International.

Bell Pottinger’s consultancy services is graphically illustrated in its website:

The website under its introductory heading ‘Today, more than ever, your reputation will determine whether you succeed or fail’ states: ‘At Bell Pottinger, we understand how to create, build and protect reputations in the modern age. We serve more than 600 clients – including UK and global brands, service firms and charities. We also work with governments, government departments and public sector bodies. We operate in a wide range of sectors, disciplines and geographies. Our great strength is the experience we have drawn from serving such a wide client base. It enables us to bring you the communication solutions you need, so you can achieve better results.’

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