US finds LTTE financial network still operational ban remains

Although the Sri Lankan Government maintained a comprehensive counterterrorism stance, counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States in 2015 was limited.The report further noted that Sri Lanka continued to operate a one-year long rehabilitation program for former alleged LTTE combatants, participation in which was mandatory for a majority of the prisoners formerly held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) who were released on bail. (Colombo Gazette) The US State Department, in its annual country reports on terrorism, said that there have been no known attacks in Sri Lanka that could verifiably be attributed to the LTTE since the end of the war, but a total of 13 LTTE supporters, several of whom had allegedly planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic facilities in India, were arrested in Malaysia in 2014. Additional LTTE members were arrested in Malaysia and India in 2015, one of whom was accused of exhorting other Sri Lankans to fund and revive the LTTE. The US report noted that in 2015, the Sri Lankan Government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and continued to voice concern about the possible reemergence of LTTE sympathizers, but the new, democratically-elected Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized its commitment to seek political reconciliation with the Tamil community, including through talks with the Tamil diaspora.The report also said that the security services’ focus on a possible LTTE resurgence affected the government’s attention to emerging threats, such as reports of Sri Lankan foreign terrorist fighters joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The United States has found that the LTTE’s financial network of support continued operations in 2015 and so the ban on the outfit in the US will remain.The LTTE, in the past used its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funds, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for its activities. read more

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Burlington mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

The West Nile virus has made its way to Burlington, according to the Halton Region Health Department.Mosquitoes collected in traps this week in Burlington tested positive for the virus. This is the first record of West Nile virus confirmed mosquitoes in the city this year.In 2017, seven batches of infected mosquitoes have been found in the Halton Region. Public health is warning people in urban areas to take precautions. Most mosquitoes that transmit the virus to humans are likely found in places that hold water such as bird baths, plants pots, old toys, and tires.“We can all work together to keep our community safe and protect ourselves from West Nile virus by removing standing water sites that breed mosquitoes and covering up or applying DEET or Icaridin when outside during dusk and dawn,” says Dr. Julie Emili, the Acting Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region.Health officials have offered its residents the following measures to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week. read more

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