The Sri Lankan government is reporting that thousands of people have escaped from a war zone where they were being held as human shields by the Tamil Tiger rebels in a disputed area of Sri Lanka. A UN spokesman confirms the report. Sri Lanka has launched a major offensive against the Tamil Tigers this year, leaving tamil civilians in the crossfire. Sri Lanka has given the group 24 hours to surrender, BBC News. The Tamils had already scheduled protests in capital cities around the world for tomorrow at 9am. A Tamil spokesman said that as many as 25,000 protesters could be bussed to Ottawa from Montreal and Toronto, Canoe. We’ll be covering the event live from Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Fallout from the UN racism conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the only world leader to attend the event. After he had dinner with Switzerland’s president last night, Israel withdrew its ambassador to Switzerland in protest. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has made inflammatory comments about wanting to wipe Israel off the map said that he doesn’t believe that past wrongs against Jews justify Israel’s current policies and that “his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history”, CNN. [See this Guardian article for a fascinating account of how Ahmadinejad’s intent can be subject to the vagaries of translation.]
Today marks the 10 year anniversary of the Columbine school shooting that resulted in thee death of 13 students and one teacher as well as the two shooters who committed suicide in Columbine, Colorado in 1999, AFP. ABC News has more on the psychology of the shooters as well as reports on what some of the victims who survived on doing now. Meanwhile, gun sales are strong, Seattle Times editorial.
The European Union has started an anti-trust investigation of airlines, including Luftansa, AirCanada, Continental, and United. The airlines are part of an alliance that the EU suspects may result in price fixing, the Star.
BREAKING NEWS: CanJet hijacking in Jamaica ends. Military police stormed the plane after negotiations broke down. None of the crew were harmed, National Post. Globe and Mail has a video report of the hijacking from a passenger on the plane.