Canadian PM unveils religious freedom office

Andrew Bennett named to head Office of Religious Freedom

Ambassador for religious freedom is a Catholic dean and former civil servant

By CBC News

Andrew Bennett has been named ambassador for Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today. “Around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread and they are increasing,” Harper said In a speech at the Ahmadiyya Muslim community centre and mosque in Vaughan, Ont. ….

Read more » – CBC

Link – http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/02/19/pol-ambassdor-office-religious-freedom-announced.html

In Memory of Sindhi writer Siraj

Larkano: Arts Council of Larkano held a condolence reference in memory of Sirajul Haque Memon. It was presided over by Prof. Mukhtiar Samo who speaking on the occasion said that people of caliber of Siraj take birth in the centuries but during their stay in this world they leave indelible mark on it through their outstanding performance and valuable contribution in its reformation. He said Siraj was a committed Sindhi writer who did not come to terms with political and social injustice during whole of his lifetime. He refused to bow down before the negative forces and fought against them through the help of his pen. He will long be remembered for his undeterred struggle through his writings for the rights of the people of Sindh. Prof. Saleem Korai said that Siraj introduced new trends of reporting and editorial writing in Sindhi newspaper. His editorials and columns brought him closer to the masses who saw the true representation of their troubles and problems in his writings. Dr. Baduruddin Dhamrah said that the novels of Siraj were like a living commentary on the history of Sindh. He said that Argun and Tarkhan invaders erased the libraries and seats of leanings in Thatto so as to destroy the history of sindh but latter Siraj recorded their atrocious actions in his novels for the appraisal of coming generations.

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Pressure mounts on Israel over Palestinian prisoner fast

By Noah Browning

RAMALLAH, West Bank – (Reuters) – Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast on Tuesday in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fuelled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank.

Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days. His lawyer says his health has deteriorated.

Gaunt and wheelchair-bound, Issawi appeared on Tuesday before a Jerusalem civil court, which deferred releasing him for at least another month.

The prisoners’ campaign for better conditions and against detention without trial has touched off violent protests over the past several weeks outside an Israeli military prison and in West Bank towns.

In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said a truce with Israel that ended eight days of fighting in November could unravel if any hunger striker died. ….

Read more » Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/19/us-israel-palestinians-prisoners-idUSBRE91I0MK20130219

How the Sri Lankan Army killed the 12-year old son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, in cold blood

The killing of a young boy

New photographs of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran’s son just before he was shot dead, obtained by Channel 4 TV, leave more questions for Sri Lanka to answer about war crimes

It is a war that has produced some truly terrible images, but this one is particularly disturbing. A young boy sits looking distressed, like a child who has been lost in a supermarket. He has been given a biscuit or some kind of snack. In the second photograph, he is looking anxiously up, as though hoping to see someone he recognises.

The boy is Balachandran Prabakaran, the 12-year-old son of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

These photographs, which we are releasing today, form part of the new evidence in the forthcoming feature documentary “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” the culmination of three years of research which will be shown for the first time next month in Geneva, to coincide with the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting. The new evidence in the film is certain to increase pressure on the Indian government not only to support a resolution on Sri Lanka and accountability, but also to ensure that it is robustly worded, and that it outlines an effective plan for international action to end impunity in Sri Lanka.

The new photographs tell a chilling story. This child is not been lost of course: he has been captured and is being held in a sandbag bunker, apparently guarded by a Sri Lankan Army soldier. In less than two hours he will be taken, executed in cold blood — and then photographed again.

Continue reading How the Sri Lankan Army killed the 12-year old son of LTTE leader Prabakaran, in cold blood