Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

December 4, 2013

U.S.: Patience with Sri Lanka could ‘wear thin’

WASHINGTON — International patience could wear thin with Sri Lanka unless it takes action to address allegations of atrocities during the island nation’s civil war, the top U.S. diplomat for South Asia said Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal stopped short of endorsing a deadline set last month by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would call for a U.N.-backed inquiry into allegations of war crimes unless there was progress on postwar reconciliation by March.

A U.N. report has suggested Sri Lanka’s military may have killed up to 40,000 civilians in the final months of the war in 2009 as it crushed ethnic Tamil rebels, who are also accused of atrocities.

Biswal urged Sri Lanka to take concrete steps on its own, particularly on issues of accountability.

“We would like to see Sri Lanka address these issues through its own processes, and we hope that can in fact be the case,” Biswal told reporters, adding that recommendations of a Sri Lankan-government appointed reconciliation commission pointed the way forward.

She said without real progress the patience of the international community “will start to wear thin.”

The government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has so far ignored calls for a thorough local inquiry into war abuses and says it will not allow any international probe. He denies allegations of abuses by the army.

Since the Tamil Tigers’ 27-year battle for an ethnic homeland ended, Rajapaksa’s grip on power has tightened. Recent reports of media harassment and rights abuses have also raised alarms, although a convincing victory for the main ethnic Tamil party in provincial elections in northern Sri Lanka in September were seen as a small step toward devolution of power.

Biswal, portfolio covers South and Central Asia, also voiced concern Friday about political violence in Bangladesh, where street clashes between rival factions have killed about 40 people and wounded hundreds in the past month.

The opposition is resisting government plans to hold a general election on Jan. 5 unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina allows a neutral caretaker administration to oversee the polls.

Biswal, who recently visited Bangladesh, called for the major political parties to come together and work out a compromise “that will allow for elections to take place that the people of Bangladesh have confidence in and feel are credible.”

She said failure to achieve a peaceful political transition poses the greatest obstacle to Bangladesh continuing its progress of the past decade in areas such as reducing child and maternal mortality and improving food security.

Text Only
Top News
  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commission to vote to purchase new computers

    Lowndes County commissioners discussed replacing outdated computers, a bid for an emergency bypass pump, an annexation request from the City of Hahira, a juvenile justice grant application, and an appointment to the dangerous dog board.

    April 22, 2014

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results