Bombay mix-ups: the politics of placename changes

A few days ago, before hitting the headlines with the news that his newspaper would stop printing next month and become an online-only publication, the London Independent‘s editor Amol Rajan announced that henceforth the paper would stop calling India’s most populous city, Mumbai, and revert to using its previous name of Bombay. Explaining the move to Dan Damon on the BBC World Service, Rajan said that he wanted to use the name Bombay as a symbol of the city having … Read more

White vans of Sri Lanka, and the lessons of failing to make political agreements stick…

Leena Manimekalai, director of White Van Stories talked the Jon Snow last night about the full scale abductions currently ongoing in Sri Lanka, despite a much lauded ‘peace process’… Of the film she notes, the social instability it gives rise to “there is so much of hope, [in spite] of despair, there’s waiting, and there is apathy, there’s everything, you know.” Unlike our own cases of The Disappeared this is both the norm (rather than a cover for access or … Read more

Queen’s Chancellor (and Commonwealth chief) under fire over Sri Lankan abuses

Kamalesh Sharma, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth – and Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast – is under fire after being accused of withholding crucial legal advice that could have prevented Sri Lanka from hosting the imminent heads of government meeting. The legal opinion said that the firing of the Sri Lankan chief justice by President Mahindra Rajapaksa was a contravention of the Commonwealth Charter, which sets out the supposed shared values of the member states: democracy, human rights and the … Read more

Tri-Nation Tournament: Scotland v Ireland

Yesterday’s opening One Day International game in the Tri-Nation Tournament in Scotland, Ireland v Sri Lanka, was a wash-out.  But today’s, Scotland v Ireland, is underway.  Scotland won the toss and elected to field.  After 11 overs Ireland are 63 for 1.  ESPN Cricinfo scorecard here.  And, thanks to PaulT in the comments, here’s the Cricket Scotland TV live coverage. Update Ireland 320 for 8 from 50 overs. Adds Scotland 323 for 5 from 48.3 overs. Scotland win by 5 wickets … Read more

War crimes: caught on camera?

Jon Snow says it is “one of the most important” stories he has ever reported. It may not be on TV until 11.05 pm, yet the screening tonight of Channel 4’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields (trailer here) has not exactly gone unnoticed. The programme was shown to the United Nations Human Rights Council at the end of May. A UN special envoy has already said the execution videos featured appear to show evidence of “serious international crimes”. Amnesty International has called … Read more