News

    Sri Lanka's Military Parades in Celebration of Defeat of Tamil Rebels

    Sri Lanka's president is calling for national unity, including outreach by Sinhalese to Tamils, as the island nation formally celebrates the end of the quarter-century civil war. President Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke Wednesday at a military parade and victory ceremony in Colombo.

    In the Sri Lankan capital, soldiers and military vehicles paraded across the Galle Face waterfront, celebrating last month's victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

    The event was billed as a celebration of what was called the "defeat of terrorism."

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the decades of conflict left 24,000 security personnel dead and another 5,000 disabled.

    The president, addressing the troops, says they gave their feet, hands, eyes, flesh and blood to bring about a pleasant and prosperous nation.

    Switching from the Sinhalese to Tamil language, Mr. Rajapaksa calls for national unity and he called on soldiers to win the hearts of the minority community.

    President Rajapaksa says all Sri Lankans are the children of one motherland.  There can be no divisions in the country.  The war, he says, was against the LTTE, not innocent Tamils.

    The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese, who are mainly Buddhists, while the Tamils are predominately Hindus.

    Many Tamils worry about further repercussions against the minority group after the rebels' defeat.

    The Tamil Tigers waged war, dispatched suicide bombers, and assassinated politicians in an ultimately failed quest to establish an ethnic homeland on the island.

    In his victory speech, Mr. Rajapaksa also called for a new era of Sri Lankan diplomacy.  The president hinted that favor would be shown to those Asian, African and Arab nations which supported his government during its controversial final offensive to destroy the Tamil rebels.
     
    Some European nations were especially vocal in calling for restraint during the last weeks of combat.  Both the military and the rebels are accused of committing war crimes.

    The United Nations estimates tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died or were wounded during the final months of fighting.  Nearly 300,000 Tamils, who fled the fighting, are in displacement camps.   

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora