July 18, 2014
Swords, Scales And Blindfolds: The Law Has Let Us Down Again

Swords, Scales And Blindfolds: The Law Has Let Us Down Again

By Gehan Gunatilleke -July 18, 2014 
Gehan Gunatilleke Colombo Telegraph
Gehan Gunatilleke
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty- Thomas Jefferson
Justice stands boldly, armed with a sword and tempered with scales. Her blindfolds demonstrate her impartiality. She wields the Law and bends it to her will. Yet the Law is prone to misuse when stripped from its true mistress and usurped by tyrants. They use her sword to strike the innocent; manipulate her scales to subjugate citizens; and apply her blindfold to conceal atrocities. Law without Justice is perhaps worse than no law at all.
Throughout history, unjust laws have compelled resistance. The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. sought to repeal or revise oppressive laws that deprived the African American community of basic civil liberties. Likewise, Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, apartheid in South Africa, and the statelessness of plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka were all once sustained by laws, and were therefore considered ‘legal’. The liberation of those victims became possible only when those oppressive laws were eventually abolished.
Sri Lanka is at a critical juncture in its own history, wherein citizens must pause to judge the Law. We must reflect on whether the Law, in its present incarnation, is our friend or foe.
The Sword
Time and again, the Law in Sri Lanka has been employed to torment the government’s opponents. It has been wielded like a sword to strike down dissenting voices. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), for instance, was enacted in 1979 presumably as a temporary measure to curb terrorism. Yet its preamble fails to offer even the courtesy of subtlety, as it presents the principal object of the Act as preventing ‘governmental change’. Consumed by fear, we permitted this Act to become a permanent fixture in our statute books. For more than thirty years thereafter, the PTA was selectively applied to target ethnic minorities.[1] In 2009, J.S. Tissainayagam was found guilty of committing an offence under Section 2(1)(h) of the Act. This provision criminalises words spoken or written with the intention of ‘causing the commission of acts of violence or racial or communal disharmony’. The prosecution argued that the Tamil journalist, by accusing a predominantly Sinhalese Army of committing atrocities, had intended to incite acts of violence by Sinhalese readers against Tamils. This argument was sufficient to convince the High Court. During the early 1990s, a middle-aged Tamil couple was found guilty under Section 5(a) of the PTA for failing to report a suspect to the police. The prosecution argued that the couple personally knew the suspect and that he was suspected of committing offenses under the PTA. Yet the suspect was never charged. In a bizarre twist of irony, he sat in the courtroom as a free man witnessing his so-called ‘supporters’ being sentenced for their failure to report him.  Read More

July 18, 2014
Hypocrisy & Human Rights

Hypocrisy & Human Rights

| by Ruwantissa Abeyratne
As I said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all of integrity, of honesty, but humility.
- Nelson Mandela
( July 18, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Hypocrisy has been defined as the practice of claiming to have moral standards and values that are not consistent with those of the person who claims to have such values and standards. Wikipedia defines hypocrisy as the claim or pretence of holding beliefs, standards, feelings, qualities, opinions, behaviours motives or other characteristics that one in actual fact does not hold. Hypocrisy is when one claims a virtue one does not possess and ascends to a level above others. It is said in Dhammapada 394: “What is the use of your matted hair, O witless man? What is the use of your antelope skin garment? Within, you are full of passions; without, you embellish yourself [with the paraphernalia of an ascetic]”.
A hypocrite who inwardly does not believe in human rights and wrongs another cannot be accepted as an enforcer and proponent of human rights since, simply put, a human right is a right not to be wronged. In other words, a right is not to be deprived wrongfully of a legitimate right. Therefore, hypocrisy and human rights are inextricably linked with the fundamental glue of “honesty” where human rights are made tangible, accessible and real by those who mean what they say and say what they mean.
A nation’s compassion inevitably flows from its recognition of its people’s rights. An individual’s rights flow not from an arcane institution, nor from God, but from an instinctive recognition of the various needs of that person not to be wronged. Today’s world is full of wrongs and there is no reason to believe that tomorrow is going to get any better. For every citizen of the world, rights have never been so important as they are today, although we tend to take them for granted until they are endangered or eroded. Instinctively, we are inclined to appreciate our rights even more when they are in jeopardy of being infringed. In this sense, the time honored adage that human rights are “inalienable” purely because they flow from a supernatural force is misguided and baseless, not because there is no such force but because such a force does not speak to humans in a single voice and rights should exist even if there were no God. Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, in his book “Rights from Wrongs” states that rights do not come from nature, as nature is value neutral, nor do they come from logic or law alone because, if rights emanated from law, there would be no basis to judge a given legal system. Dershowitz maintains that rights come from human experience, particularly experience with injustice. Our experience has taught us never again to tolerate a holocaust, never to curb freedom of expression and freedom of faith, and from that experience has stemmed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter. These documents, which embody fundamental rights are just pieces of paper if experience is not joined by logic. The marriage of logic and experience in the wisdom of human relations is ingrained in ancient Jewish philosophy, which, according to Isaac Abravanal, recognized that experience is more forceful than logic but logic and experience are not mutually exclusive. Without being applied to experience, logic tends to be hollow and directionless, but without the focus of logic, experience becomes multi directional and out of focus. Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions. In other words, rights emerge from wrongs and not from ancient parchments or tomes of wisdom hidden away in a forgotten memory that is subsequently revived.
The essence of a nation should be founded on human rights that are contrived from single instances of wrongs committed against the people. According to this principle, a right becomes something that is legitimately due to a person which he can justly claim as secured to him by law, and which ensures that some wrong committed in the past is effectively precluded by the right so secured. A right should not be confused with power, the former being based on moral justification and expectation and the latter being based on enforceability. Protection by the state of an individual, freedom to attend church or temple, and freedom to educate oneself are examples of a right where as sovereignty of State, authority to censor speech and enforce martial law are examples of power. A wise nation distinguishes between the two and maintains a balance.
The hypocrites of the world are those who assume positions of power by giving the causal illusion that within their positions of power and in their puritanical benevolence, they are ensuring the rights and welfare of those who depend on them, while in fact the opposite is true. The leaders of some African States have been brought before the international courts for depriving their citizens of their fundamental right to life and liberty. Others have been done away with by those whose rights have been blatantly taken away. These are all people who preach one thing and do the exact opposite. They also preach religious doctrines to give an aura of saintliness and virtue.
Alan Dershowitz said: ” hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you are moral; saying you are moral, is not the same as acting morally”. There is an age old story of a “holy” man who had matted hair and wore old clothes and gave the appearance of a pious mendicant. A wealthy trader, who took pity on him, built him an abode, and for safe keeping kept his family wealth of 100 gold coins in the phoney old man’s abode for safekeeping. The old man stole the money one day and went to the trader saying he must now move along so that he would not abuse the trader’s generosity and hospitality further. The trader begged of the old man to remain, but the old man went away with the trader’s life savings tucked under his belt.
After he went some distance the old man thought he must return to the village and make sure the trader did not suspect him. So he went to his abode, plucked a blade of grass from the roof and placed it on his head. He went to the trader and said: ” Sir, I found this blade of grass in my hair which belongs to the abode you so kindly gave me and came to return it”. The trader said, “venerable sir, what an honest person you are to return even the blade of grass that stuck to your head”. Such was the old man’s hypocrisy.
Later, of course, the old hypocrite was caught and the trader’s wealth restored to its rightful owner.
The morale of the story is given as: ” be careful of a holy man who puts on a big show”.

July 18, 2014
Keheliya plays down appointments

Keheliya plays down appointments

Colombo GazettekeheliyaBy admin on July 17, 2014
The Government has played down the appointment of three experts to advice the Presidential Commission on missing persons, with Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella saying it will be upto the Government to decide if to accept or reject any advice.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expanded the mandate of the Presidential Commission on mission persons and appointed three international experts to advice the commission.
Accordingly the President named Sir Desmond de Silva, QC (Chairman), Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC and Prof. David Crane as the three experts to advice the commission.
Responding to questions posed at the post cabinet press briefing this afternoon, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Government will decide what advice must be accepted and implemented.
“Advice is an advice. It will be up to us what to implement,” he said.
The experts will serve on an Advisory Council to the Commission of Inquiry to which the President says he may appoint other experts as may be required from time to time, to advise the Chairman and Members of the Commission of Inquiry, at their request, on matters pertaining to the work of the Commission.
Sir Desmond has developed a vast experience before international criminal tribunals in relation to the gravest of international crimes while Sir Geoffrey Nice led the prosecution in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the international tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
The Mission Persons Commission has now been tasked with investigating and reporting on on the principal facts and circumstances that led to the loss of civilian life during the internal armed conflict that ended on the 19th May 2009, and whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard by reason of a violation or violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law. (Colombo Gazette)

July 18, 2014
Amnesty calls on Australia to return 153 asylum seekers to shore

Amnesty calls on Australia to return 153 asylum seekers to shore

Campaign group says it has ‘grave concerns’ about the conditions in which Tamils are being held on the high seas
Bunks on Customs vessel Ocean Protector, where it is believed the asylum seekers are being held. Photograph: /Supplied
The lower deck of the Australian Customs vessel Ocean Protector, where asylum seekers are held.
The Guardian home
-Thursday 17 July 2014 
Amnesty International has called on the Australian government to return the 153 Tamil asylum seekers detained at sea for three weeks back to shore to have their claims processed.
Court documents have shown that the asylum seekers, around 37 of whom are understood to be children, are being held in harsh conditions on an Australian ship understood to be the customs vessel Ocean Protector.
The claim document, submitted as part of an ongoing high court challenge to the legality of asylum seeker’s detention, revealed they are being held in windowless locked rooms, with no access to translators and with family groups being split up.
“We have grave concerns at reports from lawyers that they must request permission to move from one room to the other and can only leave their rooms in the presence of a guard,” Amnesty International Australia’s refugee campaign co-ordinator Graeme McGregor said.
“Detaining men, women and children on a boat, locked in rooms without windows and severely restricting their communication with the outside world with no access to translators, is inhumane.”
The high court has become the only public mechanism through which to get information about the 153, who left India for Australia more than a month ago before being intercepted. A hearing last week in Melbourne provided the government’s first official acknowledgement of the asylum seekers’ existence.
On Thursday the Australian government again refused to give details on the fate of the 153 but maintained they were in the “good care” of Australian customs.
Under senate questions from Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young, assistant minister for immigration Michaelia Cash said: “As I have stated previously the matter is currently before the high court, and it would not be appropriate to comment any further on the matter.
Hanson-Young, who asked if clean clothes had been given to the children, later said that the conditions revealed in the court documents highlighted the Abbott government had “reached a new low” in its treatment of asylum seekers.
“It’s outrageous that the Abbott government is holding children behind locked doors on a secret prison ship in the middle of the Indian Ocean,” Hanson-Young said.
“Our country’s international reputation is being dragged through the mud by this spectacle. Australia is better than this, but the Liberal Party’s obsession with the cheap politics of fear is having disastrous consequences.
The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, have voiced “profound concern” at the fate of those on board, with prominent Australian human rights barrister Julian Burnside describing their ongoing detention as an act of piracy.
A directions hearing into the case will start on Friday morning.

July 18, 2014
Rs 1 bn cutting-edge Medical Reference Lab off the ground

Rs 1 bn cutting-edge Medical Reference Lab off the ground

By Sanath Nanayakkare-July 17, 2014

Dr. Chandanamali Punchihewa explains methodologies and technologies used in the state-of-the -art Medical Reference Laboratory at Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics on Wednesday. She pointed out how the lab’s speed, performance and precision will further strengthen the confidence of doctors and patients.

- Pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja

Approved by the Board of Investments (BOI) in Sri Lanka, Lanka Hospitals Wednesday launched its cutting-edge Medical Reference Laboratory, making an investment of Rs. 1 billion and assuring that the cost of laboratory services borne by it will not be allowed to adversely affect hospital charges.

Dr. Wimal Karandagoda, CEO of Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics said Lanka Hospitals diagnostics lab is the only lab to perform all tests as per the highest American quality standard procedures, which will further strengthen the confidence of doctors and patients.

"The most important outcome of the new Reference Laboratory is that we will be in a position to offer over 300 new tests which are not offered by any other laboratory in Sri Lanka thus far. This will eliminate the need for sending samples for testing overseas, thereby significantly reducing the medical expenses currently incurred by a patient".

"Six pathologists will be allocated full-time to oversee all tests that are carried out in the laboratory".

"Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics will offer, for the first time in Sri Lanka, the facility for patients to log onto the Lanka Hospitals Diagnostics website and obtain laboratory reports, so that they can avoid visiting the hospital or a sample collection center to obtain the lab reports,Dr. Karandagoda added.

July 18, 2014
Principal’s sadistic order

Principal’s sadistic order 

Ten-year-old schoolgirl hospitalized , After other students give her knocks
By Premalal Wijeratne, Bandara Mudiyanse and Gamini Obeysekara

A 10-year schoolgirl of Bakamuna Diyabeduma Vidyalaya was admitted to hospital with the complaint of vomiting after having been hit on the head by her classmates on the orders of a sadistic school principal.
The girl was admitted to Diyabeduma hospital, and transferred to the Polonnaruwa hospital.
The victim was supposed to clean her class room on that day, but had arrived late to school.
This seems to have irked the Principal, who had then ordered the other students to give her knocks on her head.

Many a student has refused to comply with his order and the principal had found fault with them for disobeying him.

Based on a complaint lodged by the victim’s parents with the police, an investigation is being carried out, police media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said.

கல்லடி பாலத்தில் இருந்து சடலமாக மீட்கப்பட்டார் சாஜஹான்

கல்லடி பாலத்தில் இருந்து சடலமாக மீட்கப்பட்டார் சாஜஹான் logo
July 18, 2014 
மட்டக்களப்பு - கல்லடி பாலத்தில் ஆணொருவரின் சடலம் இன்று காலை மீட்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. 

கல்லடி பாலத்தின் கீழுள்ள நீரினுள் மூழ்கிய நிலையில் இவரது சடலம் காணப்பட்டதாக காத்தான்குடி பொலிஸார் தெரிவித்தனர். 

சடலம் காத்தான்குடியைச் சேர்ந்த சாஜஹான் என்பவருடையது என அடையாளம் காணப்பட்டுள்ளது. 

July 18, 2014
Guess What, NSA? U.N. Bureaucrats Will Be Scrutinizing Your Cyber-Snooping for Years.

Guess What, NSA? U.N. Bureaucrats Will Be Scrutinizing Your Cyber-Snooping for Years.
The United Nations’ campaign to rein in the U.S. National Security Agency’s ability to conduct mass surveillance of electronic communications is just getting started.
The U.N.’s human rights chief on Wednesday, July 16, charged that the mass surveillance and interception of electronic communications by the United States, Britain, and other governments threatens to erode long-established human rights and privacy protections.
The move sets the stage for ongoing efforts by key governments, including leading critics of U.S. surveillance practices like Brazil and Germany, to continue to press for greater constraints at the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council in the fall. Such U.N. initiatives and resolutions, which are routinely renegotiated each season, can be the subject of debate for years and years, providing a regular avenue for criticizing American espionage on the world stage.
In a report titled, “The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age,” Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said that the mass collection of electronic communications, including telephone metadata of the type routinely sucked up by the NSA, poses a threat to a range of existing human rights protections, including the right to freedom of expression, opinion, privacy, and peaceful assembly.
Pillay concludes that existing safeguards have failed to protect individuals’ privacy. For instance, judicial review bodies set up by governments to protect individuals from unreasonable privacy intrusions “have amounted effectively to an exercise in rubber-stamping.”
Mass surveillance is “emerging as a dangerous habit rather than an exceptional measure,” she said. “The very existence of a mass surveillance programme … creates an interference with privacy. The onus would be on the State to demonstrate that such interference is neither arbitrary nor unlawful.”
Pillay’s report does not directly accuse the United States of violating individuals’ privacy rights through its sweeping collection of electronic communications. Still, it notes that international concerns over such activities have amplified following revelations by former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden, first published by the Guardian and the Washington Post, suggesting that the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters, “have developed technologies allowing access to much global internet traffic, calling records in the United States, individuals electronic address books and huge volumes of other digital communications content.”
Pillay acknowledged that there are legitimate reasons for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to collect electronic communications. But she said that a “disturbing” veil of secrecy around the practice of government surveillance has made it all but impossible to hold people accountable for abusing such practices. “Surveillance is not an abstract phenomenon,” she told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. “It can result in damaging or even lethal actions. In some states, people identified as dissidents by digital surveillance have been targeted for further investigations — and in several cases, credible allegations indicate that they have been tortured or otherwise abused.”
The U.N. General Assembly commissioned the 16-page report last December at the urging of Brazil and Germany, which are waging a broad campaign to curtail the NSA due to disclosures that the U.S. surveillance agency has spied on the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, as well as Brazilian government officials and oil executives.
A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations declined a request for comment on the report. Germany, where anti-American feelings are spiking due to revelations of new U.S. spying efforts there, applauded Pillay’s findings.
"The search for a needle in a haystack cannot justify massive surveillance of personal data," Germany’s U.N. envoy, Harald Braun, toldForeign Policy in an email. “The report is an important step towards better protection of the right to privacy in the digital world — a goal we will continue to promote internationally.”
The report’s release sets the stage for a series of follow-on measures at the U.N. aimed at increasing the pressure on the United States and Britain to place limits on their electronic espionage. In September, the U.N. high commissioner will also discuss the report at a panel on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council session. The U.N. General Assembly is expected to discuss the report’s findings later in the year and possibly follow through with the adoption of a new resolution. Experts say the General Assembly may establish a special post for a U.N. special rapporteur to advocate for stricter rules protecting online privacy, or ask the U.N. Human Rights Council to take steps designed to address online privacy concerns.
In the report, Pillay called on governments to conduct a major review of their national laws in order to strengthen human rights protections, noting that “weak procedural safeguards and ineffective oversight” have “contributed to a lack of accountability for arbitrary or unlawful interference in the right to privacy.”
"Digital communications are vulnerable to electronic surveillance and interception — and it has become evident that new technologies are being developed covertly to facilitate these practices, with chilling efficiency," Pillay told reporters at the press conference, which was in Geneva, where the report was released. "In this technological era, people are increasingly reliant on digital media in their political, economic, and social lives. It is fundamental that the human rights they hold offline should also be protected online."
Pillay noted that existing treaties underscore the right to privacy. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for instance, states that “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his [or her] privacy, family, home or correspondence.” The United States, however, has challenged the notion that the right to privacy applies to the extraterritorial activities of foreign spies.
The U.N. official criticized governments for engaging in the “de facto coercion of private-sector companies to provide sweeping access to information and data relating to private individuals without the latter’s knowledge or consent.” She warned in the report that any company that complies with such demands “risks being complicit in or otherwise involved with human rights abuses.”
Photo via U.N. Photo/ Paulo Filgueiras

July 18, 2014

Israeli forces enter Gaza in ground assault after ceasefire talks fail

Israel says 14 ‘militants’ have been killed as infantry, tanks and artillery target Hamas tunnels
Link to video: Israel exchanges fire with Hamas as its troops begin a ground offensive in Gaza
 in Gaza city,  in Jerusalem and agencies-Friday 18 July 2014
The Guardian homeIsraeli tanks, infantry and engineering units have launched a broad assault on Gaza after last ditch efforts to secure a ceasefire deal in Cairo collapsed.
Eleven Palestinians were killed, Palestinian health officials said, whileIsrael claimed it had killed 14 “militants” in the attack which began on Thursday evening.
One Israeli soldier was killed and another two soldiers were wounded.
Israel’s chief military spokesman told Army Radio “there were a number of points of friction through the night” and said the military was investigating the circumstances behind the soldier’s death.
It said Israel had targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other sites.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the decision to launch the ground invasion was taken at an Israeli security cabinet meeting on Tuesday night after Hamas had rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and after Hamas militants tried to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel from Gaza.
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defence minister Moshe Ya’alon then met on Thursday with the Israeli military leadership where the decision to launch the operation later that night was taken.
"In light of the despicable and relentless aggression by Hamas and the dangerous infiltration into Israel, Israel is obliged to protect its citizens," the statement said.
In reply, Hamas said Israel’s ground incursion into the Gaza Strip would have “dreadful consequences”.
"It does not scare the Hamas leaders or the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We warn Netanyahu of the dreadful consequences of such a foolish act."
As evening fell over the coastal enclave, an increasing barrage of tank fire, naval gunfire and air strikes lit up the night sky. Israeli media reported the loud rumblings of Israeli tanks and D9 bulldozers revving up their engines to cross the border.
It was the first major Israeli ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years.
The opening barrage hit eastern areas before moving to the north where it intensified. The heaviest hit areas were a band of northern areas from Sudaniya on the coast running through Attatra and Salateen to Beit Lahia and Jabaliya.
Later in the evening, attacks were reported in the south of Gaza in Khan Younis and Rafah.
The long threatened assault came after a five hour humanitarian pause in Gaza, observed by both sides, to allow civilians, who have been under fire for 10 days to stock up on food and medicine.
As the assault started, electricity was cut to large areas of the north and Gaza city.
A large number of flares over Jabaliya suggested that was the route of the Israeli ground forces advance.
As the barrage began, Hamas and other factions fired rockets from their launch sites, including the largest rockets in their arsenal, the R160.
gaza assaultIsraeli ground troops have moved into Gaza after ceasefire talks in Cairo failed. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Strikes by the Israeli Iron Dome system scattered some of the rockets in bright shards across the sky.
One target was the Hamas run Wafa hospital near Shuyaiiya in the east of Gaza city where foreign volunteers called for help after the building came under rocket fire.
The hospital had been ordered to be evacuated of its 17 severely ill patients on Thursday, many of them bed ridden but the hospital’s management had refused.
During the afternoon Gaza hospital sources reported that four children had been killed in the latest violence.
Lt Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said that the operation is open-ended.
"We will be striking the infrastructure," he said. "We will be striking the operatives in order to safeguard the civilians of the state of Israel especially issues to do with tunnelling, that was exemplified earlier today."
"Our forces, large ground forces accompanied by massive air force support, naval forces and intelligence, are taking over targets in Gaza, operating against tunnels and terror activists and infrastructure," Israel’s chief military spokesman Brig Gen Motti Almoz said.
He called on Gaza residents to evacuate areas, warning the “military is operating there with very great force”.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July to stamp out rocket attacks from Gaza and the army said the new operation will include ground and air assaults.
"This stage of operation ‘Protective Edge’, led by the IDF’s Southern Command, will include close coordination between IDF units including infantry, armoured corps, engineer corps, artillery, and intelligence combined with aerial and naval support," it said.
"This effort will also be supported by the Israeli Security Agency and other intelligence organisations," the army added.
"In the face of Hamas’ tactics to leverage civilian casualties in pursuit of its terrorist goals, the IDF will continue in its unprecedented efforts to limit civilian harm," it said.
Thousands of Israeli soldiers had massed on the border with Gaza in recent days, waiting for the order to go in.
Israel had called up 48,000 reserve soldiers, and later the cabinet authorised the military to call up 18,000 more, the military said.
At least 240 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes since 8 July, many of them children, medics in Gaza said, with a NGO based in the coastal enclave saying 80 of the deaths are civilians.
Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said the Islamist Palestinian movement refused to accept the Cairo proposal “in its current form” and is seeking a series of conditions for a truce with Israel.

July 18, 2014

U.S. intelligence confirms pro-Russian rebels shot down Malaysian plane

A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 298 people and traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, falls in a Ukrainian field.
July 18, 2014Personal belongings and luggage of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed while flying over eastern Ukraine. The plane was carrying 295 people.Anastasia Vlasova/European Pressphoto Agency
 July 18 

 A preliminary U.S. intelligence assessment indicates that a Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine was shot down by an antiaircraft missile fired by pro-Russian separatists, a U.S. official said Friday in Washington.

Russian President Vladi­mir Putin offered condolences to families of those on a plane shot down over eastern Ukraine, but said it “would not have happened if there was peace on that land.” (Reuters)

July 18, 2014
World leaders demand answers after airliner downed over Ukraine with 298 dead

World leaders demand answers after airliner downed over Ukraine with 298 dead

1 OF 6. The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen at the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.

The site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen at the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014.  REUTERS-Maxim Zmeyev
ReutersBY ANTON ZVEREV-HRABOVE Ukraine Fri Jul 18, 2014
(Reuters) - World leaders demanded an international investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on board over eastern Ukraine in a tragedy that could mark a pivotal moment in the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

July 18, 2014

MH17 senseless violence robs us of finest minds on HIV - See more at: 
Victoria Macdonald-Friday 18 Jul 2014
Channel 4 NewsAs you leave Melbourne Airport, there is a desk to welcome the delegates pouring in over the next couple of days for the International Aids Conference 2014.
Suddenly it seemed so heartbreaking, knowing that some of those delegates (perhaps as many as 100) will not arrive, will not pick up their welcome pack, will not give their speeches or add their contributions.
There is a sense of terrible disbelief here that something so appalling could have happened. Every life lost is mourned but for those attending this conference there is also the knowledge that on board that plane were some of the finest minds working in the world of HIV.18 mh17aids w MH17 senseless violence robs us of finest minds on HIVEven as I write, the International Aids Society is meeting to discuss the implications although they have already made the decision that the conference should go ahead.
Earlier they issued a statement saying that it would be in recognition of “our colleagues’ dedication to the fight against HIV/Aids”. There will be opportunities, it continued, to reflect and remember those we have lost.
It is also the case that the world of HIV/Aids scientists and doctors is not so large and many people here will know someone or know of someone who was on that plane.
Rightful tributes have been paid to Joep Lange, who was thought to have been on MH17 with his wife. Dr Lange had been researching HIV for 30 years, was pivotal in several antiretroviral therapy trials, including those involving mother to baby transmission.
A friend of his has just emailed me to say he was a truly inspirational scientist. “He was one of the first people to show that people in poor countries could be treated and then he pushed for universal access. Now there are over 10 million people taking antiretrovirals,” the email read.
Inevitably there are questions being asked about what this means for HIV/Aids research. And I have seen one person quoted as saying the cure for HIV could have been on that plane.
It is really too early to even begin that sort of speculation but there is no doubt that the fight against this disease will be the poorer for the senseless act of violence.
Follow @vsmacdonald on Twitter.
- See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/victoria-macdonald-on-health-and-social-care/mh17-senseless-violence-robs-finest-minds-hiv/2294#sthash.adfldkTn.dpuf

July 18, 2014

State Department Spokesperson on Israel’s Bombing of Four Gaza Children


Reporters prod at State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki to show that the State Department understands what it means for Palestinians, who think Israel is targeting and killing their children. She consistently claims to not understand. (Maybe, she just doesn’t want to understand.)

July 18, 2014

Congress Knows About Government Sponsored Child Trafficking And Its Relationship To The Present Immigration Crisis

http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/img/headerlogo1150.pngJuly 15, 2014 | By Dave Hodges | GovernmentGovernment CorruptionSleuth JournalUS CongressUS News
child trafficking
Today was the day that I was going to produce the final chapter on the present immigration crisis. What a difference 24 hours can make. It is with a heavy heart that I am compelled to state that there is so much new information surfacing about the current government planned and sponsored immigration crisis, that the end is no longer in sight.

July 17, 2014
Electoral stakes and reconciliation non-starters

Electoral stakes and reconciliation non-starters

 July 17, 2014
  • With presidential elections in the offing and the incumbent setting his eyes on an unprecedented third term in office, the prospect of reconciliation and a final political solution to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic question looks as remote as ever

Ten months ago, the Tamil people of the Northern Province who were liberated from the clutches of the LTTE by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his security forces went to the polls to elect a provincial government for the first time in 25 years.

July 17, 2014
One month after the anti-muslim violence in Aluthgama-Statement by Secretariat for Muslims

One month after the anti-muslim violence in Aluthgama-Statement by Secretariat for Muslims

A Statement by the Secretariat for Muslims on the Need for Action.
journalist penJune 16, 2014
It is one month since violence in Aluthgama, Dharga Town, Welipanna, and Ambepitiya in Beruwela – primarily targeting the Muslim community – killed 4 persons, injured over 80 individuals, destroyed countless properties, and severely traumatized thousands. As many have pointed out this has been the most intense spate of inter-ethnic violence since the end of the war, and today, Muslims and other religious minorities fear more widespread violence in other parts of the country.

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »