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|13 Friday October to 20 Friday October 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. PAKISTAN. It has been revealed that the rescue on 11 October 2017, of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children held for 5 years by the Haqqani network, a faction of the Taliban took place, following information given by DAVID HALE, the American Ambassador in PAKISTAN to the Pakistani Government. The American military planners were to launch a raid deep inside PAKISTAN to free the family which had been sighted by a CIA drone in September 2017 by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, reminiscent of the operation that killed OSAMA BIN LADEN in 2011 and a failure to act would have underscored the US belief that the Pakistani Government gives safe haven to the Taliban-linked Haqqani network that had kidnapped the family. It is said that Pakistani Army with assistance from American Intelligence rescued the family in a confrontation with its captors.

ASIA

2. CHINA. Addressing the 19th Communist Party Conference in BEIJING, on 18 October 2017, Chinese President XI JINGPING warned TAIWAN that CHINA has the resolve, the confidence and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwanese independence in any form. Since the election of TSAI-ING-WEN as the President in 2016, CHINA has cut off official communication with the Government due to her refusal to publicly accept the “One China” concept. President XI also offered to restore communication with TAIWAN, if the Government readopts the understanding. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has noted that in the 5 years since the last congress, there has been an “uncontrolled growth of Christianity” and is very likely to act more strongly against all other ideologies not fitting into the system, including the Christian religion. WANG ZUOWN, the head of CHINA’s Religious Affairs Bureau warned that the foreign use of religion to infiltrate CHINA has intensified by the day and religious extremist thought is spreading in some areas. The Church is the largest social force in CHINA not controlled by the CPC. During the last 5 years CHINA has imposed the world’s most restrictive mechanism for cyberspace with Facebook, Twitter and Google among the platforms blocked by the Chinese online censorship identified as the “Great Firewall”. In the run up to the Congress, the Government brought rules against Virtual Private Network (VPN) software that allows users to bypass the firewall and online videos that do not adhere to ‘correct political and aesthetic standards’, were ordered to be removed.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

3. MYANMAR. Political analysts claim that while the mainstream International media is focusing exclusively on the Buddhist - Islam religious context of the current conflict in MYANMAR, they seem to be deliberately avoiding the potential roles of CHINA’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, geopolitical confrontation between the US and CHINA as a whole and SAUDI ARABIA’s growing influence in the ASEAN and South Asia regions, the presence of the ISIS and also TURKEY’s fully-fledged participation in the Rohingya crisis backed by the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC). Critics are of the view that judging the behavior of Western media for the last several decades, it is not going to involve in a faraway location such as MYANMAR, unless there is some hidden agenda related to billions of Dollars and the Military-Industrial complex. It is since 2006, Mining corporations and Oil/Gas companies from across the world rushed to MYANMAR and today they have carved up various parts of the country for their mega projects, resulting in mass eviction of people from their lands. This happens throughout the world and often creates political, financial and legal issues for the corporations. Many people refuse to leave and the companies have to pay US $ 1000 per person for 500,000 people who are willing to relocate. Therefore critics suspect the possibility of a covert plan to effect a mass exodus out of the area involving foreign corporations. Rohingya Muslims are primarily located in the RAKHINE State in the West coast adjacent to BANGLADESH and surrounded by oil / gas fields and massive Chinese projects such as KYAUK PYUC deep sea port of the OBOR initiative. It is quite natural that wherever CHINA’s Silk Road goes, the US is going to follow it and MYANMAR is no exception.

4. INDONESIA. The newly declassified US Embassy documents covering the period 1964 - 1968 at the peak of the Cold War, reveal that the US Government had been aware of the massacre of over 500,000 Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters between October 1965 and March 1966 by the Army and Civilian Militias. It was the most tumultuous period in modern Indonesian history where the anti-Communist purge was carried out by General SUHARTO following a failed coup. He then went on to rule the country for three decades. INDONESIA had the world’s third - biggest Communist Party after CHINA and the SOVIET UNION before the mass slaughter.

FAR EAST

5. NORTH KOREA. NORTH KOREA (DPRK) is emerging as a significant actor in cyberspace with both its clandestine and Military Organizations gaining the ability to conduct cyber operations. Intelligence agencies in the West claim that, NORTH KOREA has an Army of more than 6000 hackers, under the command of its Primary Intelligence and Clandestine Operations organization the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), most of them dispersed abroad, a majority in INDIA. They run a cyber programme that steal hundreds of millions of Dollars from digital bank heists ransomware, online video game cracking and most recently from hacks of South Korean Bitcoin exchange. Bitcoin is a crypto currency used to transfer funds in a fast and economical mode (at low cost) when compared to traditional channels of fund transfers. Intelligence agencies in the West which had dismissed the cyber potential of DPRK have now begun to acknowledge that hacking is an almost perfect weapon for the DPRK that is isolated and has little to lose. It was revealed last week that North Korean cyberwar hackers had successfully broken into SOUTH KOREA’s Military networks to steal war plans. Intelligence agencies now predict that the North Korean regime would certainly use its hacking capabilities for actual attacks against non-friendly nations anywhere. SRI LANKA is now among the countries which have imposed economic sanctions on the DPRK and probably could become a target of a cyber-attack as in the case of BANGLADESH Central Bank. Experts say that crypto currencies may pose a challenge to Central Banks as regards management of monetary policy, exchange control and possible tax evasions by investments made in crypto currency. It would also be a concern to anti-money laundering and counter - terrorist financing agencies. In 2014, the DPRK hacked into the British Television Network, Channel Four to stop it from broadcasting a drama about a British Nuclear Scientist being kidnapped in PYONGYANG. In May this year hundreds of thousands of computers across dozens of Western countries were brought down as a result of a North Korean ransom ware attack which briefly crippled BRITAIN’s National Health Service.

6. IMF. In the ‘2017 Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific Report’ released on 13 October 2017, the IMF says with an upswing of growth in CHINA, JAPAN and KOREA, Asia, remains the fastest growing region in the world with a 5.6% growth in 2017 but countries with large debts and weak balance sheets such as SRI LANKA remains vulnerable. SRI LANKA has been ranked by the Global Hunger Index (GHI) with the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, MAURITANIA and VENEZUELA as having been ineffective in containing hunger and food security over the years. The overall world growth will only be at 3.6% during the period and a global shift toward inward- looking protectionist policies, such as President TRUMP’s “AMERICA First Doctrine” could suppress ASIA’s exports and reduce foreign direct investment in the region. The IMF warned that the region faces the impact of escalating geopolitical tensions and crises such as population ageing and slow productivity growth. It urges policymakers to accelerate the rate of reforms and says that ongoing structural reforms in CHINA which has a rapid credit growth at the moment would be crucial in deciding if the region continues to lead global growth. Furthermore, the sudden tightening in global financial conditions could trigger disruptive capital outflows that would affect emerging and developing Asian economies and weaken their growth prospects.


|06 Friday October to 13 Friday October 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. SOUTH ASIA. The South Asia Economic Focus (SAEF) released this week, reported that, after leading global growth for two years, South Asia has fallen to second place, after East Asia and the Pacific. Thus the regional economic growth is expected to slow to 6.9% in 2017, from 7.5% in 2016. INDIA’s GDP growth slowed due to surging imports and declining private investment along with effects from withdrawing large amounts of banknotes and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). INDIA’s slowdown directly affects BHUTAN. However, PAKISTAN continues its upward growth performance with economic activity expected to accelerate, while NEPAL has seen an impressive economic recovery after shocks from earth quakes and trade restrictions. AFGHANISTAN’s economic recovery remains slow with continuing insecurity curbing private investment and consumer demand. The Bangladeshi economy remains strong with accelerating industrial production, but export growth and remittances weakened. BHUTAN’s hydropower projects, supportive policies combined with low inflation, a stable exchange rate and greater financial reserves have contributed to growth and poverty reduction. In the MALDIVES, GDP growth rebounded as the Government embarked on several major infrastructure projects to help more people to the capital city MALE for opportunities. SRI LANKA’s economic growth is projected to grow at 4.6% in 2017, while frequent natural disasters continue to weaken economic performance and are likely to increase poverty.

2. PAKISTAN. The Government of PAKISTAN passed a controversial Amendment to the Election Laws on 02 October 2017, which allows ousted Prime Minister NAWAZ SHARIF to retain the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), in defiance of the Supreme Court ruling. Under this law any person condemned by a Court of law can form and lead a Political Party and continue to run the Government through proxies. Critics say that the manner the Government passed the bill through Parliament does not augur well for Democracy and instead of bringing Courts under pressure it may lead toward legal encounters at national scale. Furthermore, the Government which seems to be preoccupied with the political rehabilitation of the former Premier is fast losing its governing space and acceptance.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

3. THAILAND. A totally unexpected announcement from THAILAND’s Junta Chief and Prime Minister PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA was made on 10 October 2017, that there would be an Election in November 2018 and the exact date would be notified in June 2018. He had immediately after the May 2014 Military Coup, promised elections within 18 months, but which never took place. The Junta has drafted a new Charter that curbed the power of elected politicians and formed a fully appointed Senate (Upper House) with several positions reserved for the military. It also strengthened the Constitutional Court, making it easier to impeach civilian leaders. The Junta further enshrined that any future administration must adhere to its “legally binding 20- year- plan” for the country. The new Charter is THAILAND’s 20th since 1932 and the Junta claims it is necessary to curb the political unrest destabilizing the country for over a decade. Political observers say that the Military is committed towards destroying the political culture nurtured by ousted Prime Ministers THAKSIN and YINLUCK SHINAVATRA who have won every election since 2001, now living in self-imposed exile in DUBAI to avoid conviction, which they claim are politically motivated.

EUROPE

4. SPAIN. SPAIN, one of the most decentralized nations (with 17 autonomous regions) in Europe, faces the possibility of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by Catalan separatists and its future remains unpredictable. The extraordinary turn of events in SPAIN has now brought out to the open a potentially dangerous development of using popular referendums as a way out by separatist ethnic groups worldwide. Though referendums are considered as the highest form of democracy, their increased use has indicated another manifestation of the anti-establishment moves by various stakeholders. Critics point out that Catalan separatists claimed only the residents of CATALONIA should vote while SPAIN’s remaining 42 million had no opportunity to have a say over their country’s future. There were no electoral rolls, no checks on who voted, no electoral commission and no campaign and the voters had been encouraged to print their ballot papers, nor did the separatists represent a majority as demonstrated in the 2015 Regional Election. CATALONIA’s drive has rekindled hopes of independence in ethnic regions of PRESEVO VALLEY in SERBIA (ethnic Albanians), REPUBLIKA SRPSKA in BOSNIA (ethnic Serbs), HERCEG-BOSNA in BOSNIA (ethnic Croats) in the Balkans which had been encouraged by unilateral secessions such as KOSOVO (2008), SOUTH SUDAN (2011, closely studied and associated by the LTTE), MONTENEGRO (2012) and EASTERN UKRAINE (2013) which have been encouraged by KOSOVO’s unilateral declaration of secession in 2008. Meanwhile, SERBIA denounced the European Union’s double standards in backing KOSOVO’s separation from SERBIA while considering the CATALONIA referendum illegal.

NORTH AMERICA

5. US. Republican Senator, BOB CORKER, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee blamed US President DONALD TRUMP on 08 October 2017 for running his office like a reality show, in a stinging rebuke against a sitting President of his own party. Critics say that Senator CORKER’s comments were remarkable even by the volatile standards of the TRUMP administration. Mr. CORKER a respected moderate who once supported TRUMP has emerged as one of the President’s most outspoken critics and has warned that Mr. TRUMP’s impulsive threats against other countries could set AMERICA on the path to World War III. President TRUMP says Senator CORKER bore the responsibility for what he considers the deeply-flawed Nuclear deal with IRAN. The TRUMP-CORKER feud came to a peak after REX TILLERSON, the Secretary of State was not given the necessary support by Mr. TRUMP to open lines of dialogue with NORTH KOREA. In the meantime the Nuclear Disarmament Group, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) that won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on 09 October 2017, urged President TRUMP to uphold the IRAN Nuclear agreement to avoid causing any more conflict.

OCEANIA

6. AUSTRALIA. Prime Minister MALCOLM TURNBULL unveiled plans on 04 October 2017, to bring tougher national terror laws that would keep terror suspects for 14 days without charge and also to strengthen its national database to include biometric data from driver’s licenses. NEW SOUTH WALES (NSW) permits detention for 14 days but other States and territories only allow a week or less and now the Federal Government is standardizing the law. In addition, NSW Premier GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN outlined a plan to give the Supreme Court powers to keep prisoners in jail once their sentences are over but if they are deemed likely to commit terrorist offences when released. AUSTRALIA’s national terror alert level raised in September 2014 remains in place and authorities claim 13 terror attacks have been prevented in the past few years.

7. NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM). International observers note that the speech made by IRAN’s Ambassador to the UN, GHOLAM ALI KHOSHROO representing the NAM at the UN Security Council’s Ministerial open debate on “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism” has given a new lease of life to the NAM once again in the world stage. Under IRAN’s Presidency NAM has impressed on the international community and reiterated its call for an International Summit conference under the auspices of the UN to formulate a joint response, of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including identifying its root causes. The Iranian Ambassador stressed that it was of importance to reach an agreement among states on how terror could be managed and defused. Critics say that NAM’s member states should do well to avoid inter-state politics and be united and cooperative while guarding against being influenced by powerful external powers on world issues.


|29 Friday September to 06 Friday October 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA.

Poorly executed policy shifts seem to have stalled the growth of INDIA’s economy, Asia’s third largest, which grew at a 3-year low of 5.7 % in the April-June period. Industry leaders in INDIA note that surprise policy changes of the Government risk undermining Prime Minister MODI’s ‘Make in India’ initiative which aims to create millions of jobs and boost growth. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into INDIA passed US$ 60 million in the fiscal year 2016 - 2017, almost double the levels before Mr. MODI came to power in 2014. After increasing FDI by over 20% in the first 2 years of the MODI Government, FDI growth was less than half that rate in the latest financial year. It was hit by tax changes and the sudden demonetization exercise that withdrew most of Indian Banks notes overnight. INDIA’s Railway Ministry hoping to save on fuel and maintenance costs decided to scrap the deal awarded to the US firm General Electric to supply 1000 diesel locomotives, to overhaul INDIA’s colonial era infrastructure. It was the biggest FDI in INDIA, valued at US$ 2.6 billion and the first deal awarded to a foreign firm after INDIA allowed 100% foreign investment in its railways. Investors need stability and predictability, but INDIA says that for changes to happen in a country like INDIA, it sometimes has to be done in a disruptive manner and foreign investors should expect them and plan for such eventualities.

2. PAKISTAN.

At a time US foreign policymakers consider a more coercive approach with PAKISTAN, Foreign Minister KHAWAYA ASIF arrived in the US to hold talks with the US Government. The visit came after President TRUMP announced his South Asia policy and accused PAKISTAN of sheltering terror groups and within two weeks since the meeting between the Pakistani Prime Minister KHAQAN ABBASI and US Vice-President MIKE PENCE took place, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in NEW YORK. President TRUMP during his policy announcement confirmed Pakistani fears that the US was shifting to INDIA as its main partner for engagement in AFGHANISTAN and the region. Meanwhile the US has shown heavy concerns over continued terror attacks by violent extremist groups based in PAKISTAN, the most recent being the 3 October 2017 attacks on the BSF Camp near the SRINAGAR Airport in KASHMIR. The US proposals under discussion could possibly result in reducing military aid, increasing unilateral drone activity and revoking PAKISTAN’s special status as a major non-NATO ally which would reflect as a major Foreign Policy failure on the part of the Pakistani Government.

3. THE MALDIVES.

The Government of INDIA issued a positive credit profile of the MALDIVES on 27 September 2017 and the ABDULLA YAMEEN Government decided to continue with its existing economic policy despite heavy criticism by the opposition. INDIA has noted that there is a sustained period of political stability that encouraged policy continuity and driven reform and also an escalation in domestic political tensions that hinders effective policy making or undermines growth which is a negative factor. Further that there is a steady reduction in fiscal deficits and the Government debt burden while a successful diversification of the economy’s productive base could be observed. The MALDIVES’ GDP has grown from 2.8% in 2015 to 3.9% in 2016 and tourist arrivals remain strong despite motivated propaganda about Islamic radicalization under President YAMEEN. The MALDIVES is also an important part of CHINA’s 21st century One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

FAR EAST

4. NORTH KOREA.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) YUKIYA AMANO said on 29 September 2017 that NORTH KOREA’s 6th Nuclear test conducted on 3 September 2017 posed a new global threat. He further stated that the IAEA did not have the capacity to determine whether NORTH KOREA had tested a Hydrogen Bomb as it had claimed. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State REX TILLERSON said on 1 October 2017, that the US Government was in exploratory contact with NORTH KOREA and which statement was ridiculed by President TRUMP. The US has also urged its allies to ratchet up pressure on KIM JON UN’s regime by isolating it diplomatically to which ITALY responded by ordering NORTH KOREA’s incoming new Ambassador to leave the country.

EUROPE

5. SPAIN.

Critics observe that the brutal manner in which the Spanish Police acted against the banned Catalan referendum on 1 October 2017 injuring over 700 people would further strengthen the Catalan independence movement led by the nationalist leader CARLES PUIGDEMONT, the President of the Catalan Regional Government. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), CATALONIA took the side of the Republican-Communist front against General FRANCISCO FRANCO who later punished CATALONIA by banning the use of the Catalan language. Today the Catalan language has equal status and is the richest region of SPAIN attracting people from other parts of SPAIN. An independence referendum is illegal under the Spanish constitution and critics say that the Government of Prime Minister MARIANO RAJOY intervening to stop the vote was within the law. SPAIN’s King, FELIPE VI too instructed the Government to ensure constitutional order. Media coverage has brought out the news that the Spanish police were suppressing the popular will of the Catalan people, which was totally disadvantageous to the Spanish Government. However, the Catalan population is deeply split on the issue of independence and any attempt at a unilateral declaration of independence by CARLES PUIGDEMONT would be opposed by a large section of the people who agree that there are minor differences only which could be solved through negotiations.

MIDDLE EAST

6. IRAQ.

Iraqi Prime Minister HAIDER AL- ABADI warned on 26 September 2017, that the Kurds had committed a historic mistake by holding the 25 September 2017 referendum in which more than 92% of the Kurds and non- Kurds in the autonomous Kurdistan region voted for separation. IRAN, SYRIA and TURKEY opposed the referendum fearing that an independent Kurdistan in IRAQ would encourage Kurdish separatism in their respective countries. Already TURKEY and IRAN have moved their forces to the borders with Kurdistan. Observers say that only ISRAEL is supporting the Kurdish referendum and it is not secret that ISRAEL wants balkanization of Arab countries in the region to weaken them and maintain its Military superiority. They also point out that JOE BIDEN, the former US Vice President had in 2006 moved a resolution in the US Senate, supporting the division of Iraq into 3 states – an Arab Shiite state, an Arab Sunni state and Kurdistan. The Kurds backed the 2003 American invasion of IRAQ and at the end of the war the US guided Iraqi constitution, recognized the right of return of those Kurds expelled from oil-rich KIRKUK area during SADDAM HUSSEIN’s Arabisation programme and allowed IRAQ’s Presidency to a Kurd. It also granted the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to conduct foreign relations and maintain its own armed force, called PESHMERGA. The US also maintains close relations with Syrian Kurds in its war against the ISIS in SYRIA. The KRG has even been illegally selling oil to foreign companies and IRAQ has now ordered the KRG to send oil revenue to the Central Government. The leader of the KRG, MASSUD BARZANI said that the non-binding referendum would only lead to negotiations and not for immediate declaration of independence.


| 22 Friday to 29 Friday September 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. US Defence Secretary JAMES MATTIS visited INDIA on 26 September 2017 at a time CHINA has ratcheted up maritime patrols around the Indian Ocean which embraces seaborne routes crucial to global trade as well as the US Military base in DIEGO GARCIA. In July CHINA established its first overseas Naval base in DJIBOUTI and State owned China Merchant Port Holding acquired the HAMBANTOTA Port. The State owned China Harbour Engineering Company bought a majority stake in PAYRA Port in BANGLADESH. It is also reported that CHINA would take a 85% stake in MYANMAR’s deep see port of KYAUK PYU in the Bay of Bengal. All these are part of CHINA’s Belt and Road Initiative and come just after the end of the DOKLAM border issue. These developments, judging by their strategic importance have become crucial for INDIA’S National Defence. One of the key topics of the discussion during General MATTIS’ visit to INDIA was the purchase of Naval drones estimated at US$ 3 billion to keep a constant watch on Chinese movements in the Indian Ocean.

FAR EAST

2. CHINA. Four decades after the introduction of economic reforms in CHINA, the Communist Party of China (CPC) that has ruled the country since the 1949 Chinese Revolution, is now opening out to the world. The CPC has been increasing engagements with the stake holders of other countries to readjust itself to improve connectivity. For example the National Congress of the CPC is due in October and the CPC, beginning from this month has invited leftist political parties in South Asia including SRI LANKA to BEIJING to brief them about the future course of the party. CHINA does this in the face of the changes and challenges to globalization from the imposition of nationalist and protective measures even in Western countries like the US. CHINA seems to be trying to provide new impetus to globalization under its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. Under its one party rule, based on consultative democracy CHINA has sustained robust economic growth for the past 30 years, and shown a clear path for the rest of the Asian countries.

3. NORTH KOREA. NORTH KOREA’s Foreign Minister RI YONG HU representing his country at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) sessions referred to US President DONALD TRUMP’s UNGA address on 19 September 2017 and his tweet on 24 September 2017, and said it was clearly a declaration of war since it came from the President though under the US Constitution only the Congress could declare war. Therefore, NORTH KOREA has the right to shoot down US strategic bombers even when they are not yet inside the air space border he said. The US disputed the interpretation of Mr. TRUMP’s speech by the North Koreans and said it seeks the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is not the first time the North Korean regime has accused the US of declaring war and it had in 1969, shot down a US navy Surveillance Aircraft killing 31 troops and an Army Helicopter in 1994, killing a pilot. The US and NORTH KOREA remain technically at war ever since the UN armistice signed in 1953 at the end of the Korean War. VIPING NARANG, an expert on the Korean Peninsula at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said provocations such as B-1B flights on 24 September 2017, may be taken as hostile and a counterforce strike could start by miscalculation.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

4. THAILAND. Thai Prime Minister and Military Junta Chief, General PRAYUT CHAN-O-CHA is due in the US on an invitation by US President DONALD TRUMP. US-THAILAND relations were strained by PRAYUT’s Military coup in 2014 during the OBAMA administration. THAILAND’s Military has suspended democracy for more than 3 years, outlawing street protests, jailing dissidents and ramping up prosecution under the Kingdom’s draconian Royal Defamation Law. BRED ADAMS, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch said the US Government has shamelessly thrown Human Rights considerations out of the window by extending an invitation to General PRAYUT who heads THAILAND’s most authoritarian Government in a generation. Meanwhile, ousted Premier YINLUCK SHINAWATRA was sentenced in absentia on 27 September 2017, to 5 years in prison that likely ends the political career of a leader who is popular and supported by the poorest sections of the country.

NORTH AMERICA

5. US. President DONALD TRUMP, during his maiden speech at the annual UN General Assembly on 19 September 2017, became the only national leader in the 70-year history of the UNO to threaten the annihilation of another UN member nation NORTH KOREA (DPRK) from the UN forum. His statement ran counter to the very purpose of the UN as a forum for negotiations and peace. Commentators the world over noted that the threat to wipe out a nation of 26 million would be nothing less than a war crime but the US is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court and cannot be charged before the world body. Critics say that US President’s language justifies countries like NORTH KOREA in not trusting the US in any Nuclear arms negotiations. President TRUMP also hinted that the US may renege on the IRAN Nuclear Agreement which was negotiated by the US and five other world powers. Meanwhile the former undercover CIA agent VALARIE PALME WILSON alleged on 21 September 2017, that a Jewish conspiracy was pushing the US into war with IRAN. The only country that praised the President speech was ISRAEL which has violated a number of UN resolutions and strictures in its on-going illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

EUROPE

6. GERMANY. The totally unexpected electoral gains by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party at the 24 September 2017, general election (Bundenstag polls) seems to be pointing toward the re-emergence of Nazism. It has gained over 13% of the popular vote and for the first time there are 93 deputies of AfD branded far right. According to opinion polls the AfD had the support from the voters of mainstream Conservatives as well as the Social Democrats (SPD) who were in the grand coalition that led GERMANY for 8 of the Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL’s 12 years in power. They have expressed their anger over Ms. MERKEL’s border policy which allowed more than one million asylum seekers into GERMANY since 2015. Not only GERMANY, two more vibrant democracies in Europe, FRANCE and BRITAIN too have experienced the rise of the Far Right recently. It is now patently clear that there is a strong challenge for progressive political opinion the world over, from the rising influence of the Far Right. It is understood that a high powered EU forum is assessing the fallout from the rise of the Far Right in Europe before violent extremism spread across society. Religion oriented groups such as the ISIS are in the habit of engaging in extremism and setting the stage for possible violent backlash by sections opposed to them including the Police and Armed Forces. Then they exploit the situation to increase their following by the section of the public. This is a scenario that should be anticipated by the nations in both the West and East. Nations now begin to respect the idea that the ill management of refugee and IDP issues is a foremost contributing factor for many a contemporary political upheaval and also for the rise of the Far Right.

7. UNO. UN Secretary General ANTONIO GUTERRES, opened the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for signing, amid tensions over North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile tests on 20 September 2017. The agreement which was adopted by 122 countries in July 2017, by two thirds of the 193 UN member states after months of negotiations led by AUSTRIA, BRAZIL, MEXICO, SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND will enter into force 90 days after 50 countries ratify it. The nine Nuclear powers which opposed the treaty including the US, BRITAIN and FRANCE boycotted the event at the UN headquarters and instead pledged commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which aims to prevent the spread of Nuclear Weapons and its technology. NATO condemned the treaty, saying it may in fact be counterproductive by creating divisions among nations. This historic agreement is the first multinational disarmament treaty signed in more than two decades, in a world that has more than 15,000 atomic warheads stockpiled.




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