Morning Brief: Sri Lanka’s nightmare

Top Story A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding right now in Northern Sri Lanka after Tamil Tiger rebels ignored a surrender deadline from the government and troops moved in to retake a rebel stronghold where tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped. The area is restricted to journalists but the rebels claim that 1,000 civilians have ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
586583_090421_srilanka5.jpg
586583_090421_srilanka5.jpg
An injured child is cared for at the main hospital in Anuradapura, some 200 kms north of Colombo on April 20, 2009. The Sri Lankan army said that more civilians have escaped from a patch of territory controlled by the Tamil Tigers, who are facing an ultimatum to surrender. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Story

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding right now in Northern Sri Lanka after Tamil Tiger rebels ignored a surrender deadline from the government and troops moved in to retake a rebel stronghold where tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped.

The area is restricted to journalists but the rebels claim that 1,000 civilians have already been killed in the assault. Over 39,000 people fled the area bringing the total number to around 50,000, but between 50,000 and 100,000 remain, according to Human Rights Watch. Rights groups have accused the Tigers of holding civilians against their will to serve as human shields. The Tigers are now confined to a 12 mile strip of land of the northern coast.

Top Story

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding right now in Northern Sri Lanka after Tamil Tiger rebels ignored a surrender deadline from the government and troops moved in to retake a rebel stronghold where tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped.

The area is restricted to journalists but the rebels claim that 1,000 civilians have already been killed in the assault. Over 39,000 people fled the area bringing the total number to around 50,000, but between 50,000 and 100,000 remain, according to Human Rights Watch. Rights groups have accused the Tigers of holding civilians against their will to serve as human shields. The Tigers are now confined to a 12 mile strip of land of the northern coast.

The International Crisis Group’s Robert Templer writes for FP that while today’s carnage is likely inevitable, “How the war ends will be critical to Sri Lanka’s future.” 

Middle East

Iranian officials have suggested that U.S. journalist Roxana Saberi’s espionage sentence could be reduced.

Turkish policed detained 37 people believed to have links to al Qaeda.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed in Israel and throughout the world today.

Americas

The U.S. is giving new aid to troubled automakers GM and Chrysler.

California Representative Jane Harman has denied wrongdoing after reports surfaced that she had offered a quid-pro-quo in a taped telephone conversation with an Israeli agent.

Mexico has approved Carlos Pascual — formerly of the Brookings institution — as the new U.S. ambassador.

Asia

The highly anticipated meeting between North and South Korean diplomats today has been plagued by delays.

The leaders of Thailand’s “red shirt” protest movement say they are planning new action against the government.

China is showing off a new fleet of nuclear submarines today.

Africa

Sudanese leader Omar al Bashir is making yet another international trip, this time to Ethiopia.

South African parties are making their final push for votes before tomorrow’s parliamentary elections.

The surviving Somali pirate from the Maersk Alabama hijacking is due to stand trial in New York.

Europe

Jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has pleaded not guilty to new embezzlement charges.

The European Commission’s new plan to regulate hedge funds has come under attack.

Forces in South Ossetia briefly detained two observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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