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||12 Friday May to 19 Friday May 2017||



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. INDIA’s Army chief General BIPIN RAWAT says that INDIA does not have a national military strategy as of now and the Directorate General of Perspective Planning has been given the task to produce a comprehensive one at the earliest. General RAWAT was addressing a gathering at the unveiling of “Strategic Yearbook 2017” on 17 May at the United Service Institution, a national security and defense think-tank. He further stated that at the same time a national security strategy too will be prepared and submitted to the government. Speaking about the mounting tensions with PAKISTAN and CHINA, the Army chief insisted on the country looking for close ties with countries like IRAN, IRAQ, and AFGHANISTAN considering the security matrix, and enabling INDIA to recreate the outreach INDIA had before the partition. Referring to the country’s foreign policy, the general said that time has come for INDIA to have a say in all major issues at the United Nations and the need to attain permanent membership at the UN Security Council.

2. PAKISTAN. The MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) KARACHI’s biggest and country’s fourth largest party asked the UN Secretary General and the international community to intervene to stop the bloodshed of Mohajirs, Balochs and Pashtoons in PAKISTAN by the PAKISTAN army and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence). The plea was made by MQM’s leader ALTAF HUSSAIN also referring to the recent Iranian statement warning PAKISTAN for providing safe havens for Taliban and Jihadists. Further that ISI was harbouring terrorists including OSAMA BIN LADEN, MULLAH MOHAMMAD OMAR and MULLAH AKHTER MANSOOR and now along with the army, has virtually taken control of all PAKISTAN including KHYBER-PAKHTUNKWA, SINDH and all BALOCHISTAN. The MQM has political dominance in the Southern Sindh provinces urban areas, notably in KARACHI, HYDERABAD, MIRPURKHAS and SUKKUR and says that PAKISTAN Army and ISI are pushing the Sindh province towards a civil war, where more than 20,000 Mohajirs have been extra-judicially killed in Army –led operation since 1992.

3. MALDIVES. Political observers note that the political situation in the MALDIVES continues to deteriorate. All opposition leaders and their leading supporters have been jailed and President ABDULLA YAMEEN RASHEED has been accused of the murder of the outspoken media activist, the creator of the most popular blog ‘The Daily Panic’ and 18 other politically motivated attacks and abductions since 2012. RASHEED’s father HUSSAIN was in COLOMBO last week to lobby the diplomatic community to seek international support for an impartial probe on his son’s death. The fate of the MALDIVES has always been deeply intertwined with that of SRI LANKA and thus the studying of Islamists extremism in the Sunni Muslim country would be extremely beneficial for SRI LANKA’s national security. The most significant factor is the way the Islamists used the democracy movement to position themselves comfortably in the country’ political, Judicial and administrative establishments over the years. Foreign educated Maldivians who envisioned a secular and democratic society were in the pro-democracy movement along with like-minded people and it was remarkable that the MALDIVES experimented with democracy two years before the ‘Arab Spring’ took place in TUNISIA and made it the only bloodless revolution in a Muslim country. They tried to educate people on democracy through movements like ‘Silent Solidarity’, public meetings, conferences and several social media networks. However, almost all of them have now gone into hiding after the violent deaths and disappearances of their colleagues. The fall of the NASHEED government in 2012 ended MALDIVES’ experiment with democracy and NASHEED now in exile in the UK claims that the anti-government protests were a part of an organized coup d’etat by Islamist groups which have been allowed to grow unchecked. At the time, the Indian, US, UK governments and also other non-Islamic SAARC countries along with the Commonwealth of Nations did not accept these allegations. Today, over 200 Maldivians have joined the ISIS (Daesh) in the Syrian civil war making the MALDIVES, the second biggest per capita contributor to the ISIS.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

4. CHINA. CHINA has pledged US$ 124 billion for the Belt and Road initiative launched in 2013 to rebuild ports, roads and rail networks from CHINA to the West creating a new trade corridor. Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN said on 15 May in Beijing said that RUSSIA would be an active partner in the project and praised the idea of creating a Belt of economic development and mutually beneficial trade between Asia and Europe, the successful completion of which would add “splendour to human civilization”. The Belt and Road international cooperation forum in Beijing was attended by 29 heads of state during the weekend (14-15 May) sans the leaders from the USA, the UK, INDIA, JAPAN and GERMANY. INDIA has not taken kindly to CHINA’s ambitious soft power project in which both PAKISTAN and SRI LANKA have become foremost partners. It seems to be a worrisome proposition for India, which naturally feels concerned about SRI LANKA’s dependence on CHINA for loans, investments and also becoming a part of its maritime Silk Road network of ports.

5. NORTH KOREA. The UN Security Council is due to hold an emergency session next week at the request of the USA, SOUTH KOREA and JAPAN to discuss NORTH KOREA’s latest test-fire of a new ground – to – ground medium long – range strategic ballistic rocket. Experts at the ‘38 North’ based in the USA observe that the missile would have flown a distance of some 4500 Kilometers if launched at a flatter trajectory which would place all of SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN and US military bases in GUAM within its reach. It seems to be a substantial advance to developing an operational ICBM without actually launching them. The distance between NORTH KOREA and the US mainland is approximately 10,000 Kilometers. On 10 May, the new South Korean President MOON JAE- IN was inaugurated replacing impeached former President PARK GEUN- HYE who is jailed awaiting a corruption trial. MOON is a supporter of the “Sunshine Policy” followed by the former Presidents KIM DAE -JUNG and ROH- MOO- HYAN, which highlighted engagement with the North. He has proposed an inter- Korea summit but says the missile test is a grave threat to the Korean Peninsula and the international security. Meanwhile the USA on 12 May expressed its dissatisfaction to CHINA for inviting NORTH KOREA to the “Belt and Road Forum” held during the weekend (14 – 15 May) in BEIJING.

7. WIKILEAKS. WikiLeaks has named its latest revelation as “Vault 7” exposing the way the US intelligence agencies can evade encryption to access smartphones and core devices on the “Internet of things”. Further that how US intelligence agencies have compromised operating systems supplied by leading US tech firms themselves. This has now been identified as “forced transparency” or the revolution of secrets that can quickly undermine a powerful person, an organization or even government. The US analyst say countries like IRAN, NORTH KOREA and terrorists, hackers and online criminals may treat this story as news they can use for their benefits. They also point out that among political implications, the US negotiation with the EU on data privacy and cross-border data flows could be affected. Foreign governments will be hesitant about sharing information with US intelligence agencies and publicly suspect the security of the devices produced by the tech firms drastically reducing their market share. At the same time relations between the US government and information technology companies will go down to lowest level. Other observers view that the growing problem of “forced transparency” can impact other governments as well as in the case of the release of the Panama Papers which revealed illicit financial dealings of powerful people (including several Sri Lankans) such as presidents and prime ministers. Further that ‘hackers’ are now in the business of selling their services to even for governments of smaller countries, making it a lucrative industry.

8. CYBER SECURITY. EDWARD SNOWDEN, the former CIA contractor and whistleblower said on 15 May that the US National Security Agency (NSA) could have avoided the global ransomware cyber- attack since they had an advanced knowledge about this flaw in US software. SNOWDEN blamed the NSA for failing to report it to Microsoft after learning that it had been stolen by some outside group. He was taking part in a conference on online identity, security and privacy, via satellite from MOSCOW to WASHINGTON DC organized by a former Google executive TRAVIS JARAC, founder of One World Identity. The ‘Wannacry’ virus is being blamed for the world’s biggest cyber-attack, affecting State Police (INDIA), Fedex and Nissan (USA), Central Bank, railways and the Interior Ministry (RUSSIA), over 16 National Health System Hospitals (UK) and numerous other institutions over 150 countries around the world. SNOWDEN, who in 2013 was responsible for the largest trove of American secrets ever purloined advises that companies should opt for the ‘bare minimum’ in determining what information they collect and save about customer behavior and provide users with an ‘opt-out’ from data collection upfront. He further says that the world has become a quantified spider-web where people can be tracked a situation which is negative for a free and open society.


||05 Friday May to 12 Friday May 2017||



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA . Times of India reported on 7 May that the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigations) in a 3-year probe has unearthed a complex web of 393 shell companies used for unscrupulous financial operations. These companies were allegedly being used to divert loan funds meant for specific purposes, creating fake invoices and sending money abroad ( round-tripping of funds) to tax havens evading taxes and generating black money , in the guise of payments for fake imports. At the same time, millions of funds are also being sent abroad after undervaluation of imports causing irrevocable damage to the national economy. According to sources, these findings are just a tip of the iceberg and banks have been cheated for millions of funds in gross violation of laws like Companies Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Income Tax Act etc. and they are very common to other South Asian countries as well.

2. AFGHANISTAN. In spite of US military, accusing RUSSIA of providing arms to the AFGHAN TALIBAN in the guise of weakening the ISIS, RUSSIA remains silent. However Russians are nevertheless quite open about their willingness to cooperate with the militant group which has no expressed ambitions beyond PAKISTAN and AFGHANISTAN. But the ISIS which has established its presence in AFGHANISTAN and known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) maintains links with the main Islamic State movement and is determined to attack within RUSSIA itself. The leader of the ISIS-K, ABDUL HASIB was killed on 27 April but it continues to fight both the AFGHAN TALIBAN and the US-NATO forces. RUSSIA now seems to be treating TALIBAN as a partner in a future coalition government in KABUL or a political force which could form a government of its own. Meanwhile the AFGHAN journalists such as NAJIB AYUB and her fellow media activists carry out their own probe into the drop of the largest US non-nuclear device and report that the area attacked is full of lithium deposits and local people had built tunnels to extract the invaluable metal even in a small scale. Now that the attack has effectively stopped Afghan people from entering the area, the multinational companies could move in with no opposition at all.

3. PAKISTAN. AFGHAN and PAKISTAN militaries blamed each other on a violent skirmish took place on 5 May at a major border crossing that divides PAKISTAN’s southwest Balochistan province and AFGHANISTAN’s southern Kandahar province. Pakistani officials were carrying out a census count and AFGHANISTAN blamed census enumerators accompanied by soldiers for straying across the border. The 2,400 Km (1500-mile) frontier drawn by the British in 1896 and called the ‘Durand Line’ is disputed by AFGHANISTAN, and has been in the centre of increased tension between the two countries since PAKISTAN began trenching along the line last year. In addition to the border dispute AFGHANISTAN accuses PAKISTAN of sponsoring Pakistani Taliban while PAKISTAN says it provides the militants with safe havens as a ‘lever’ to bring them to peace talks. SOUTH EAST ASIA

4. PHILIPPINES. The PHILIPPINES began its 12 - day ‘BALIKATAN’ annual military exercise with the US army on 8 May while scaling them down in line with President RODRIGO DUTERTE's pivot to CHINA and RUSSIA policy. In spite of the USA being the PHILIPPINES mutual defense treaty partner and former colonial ruler , President DUTERTE is seeking to weaken ties with the USA which is considered by him as a diminishing global power. DUTERTE’s pro - American predecessor BENIGNO AQUINO was committing the full strength of the Philippine armed forces to these war games during his period. At the time they were conducted as a show of strength against CHINA over competing claims in the South China Sea and also focusing on boosting the PHILIPPINE’s maritime defense capabilities.

5. INDONESIA. Chief Security Minister WIRANTO said on 7 may that an Islamic group called HIZB UT -TAHRIR Indonesia [HIT] would be disbanded. The group is the Indonesian branch of HIZB UT – TAHRIR, a global Islamist party that has been banned in some Arab and Central Asian countries, and seeking to establish an “Islamic Caliphate”. After an evaluation of the activities of HTI it has been found that they are in conflict with the ‘PANCASILA’, the state ideology of INDONESIA which includes belief in God, the unity of the country, social justice and democracy. It also enshrines religious diversity in an officially secular system. WIRANTO added that HTI activities threaten INDONESIA’s tradition of pluralism, moderate Islam, security and order and unity of the country which is home to sizable communities of Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

6. NORTH KOREA North Korean Ministry of State Security on 5 May accused the ClA and the SOUTH KOREA Intelligence Services of conspiring to assassinate the President KIM JON UN with a biochemical weapon and says that US is acting as a colonial power. NORTH KOREA is not a current signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) after its withdrawal in 1997. NORTH KOREA points out that the US invaded the country 64 years ago and despite repeated requests, refuses to sign a peace accord, claiming that it is exercising strategic patience. Thus technically the US and NORTH KOREA are yet at war. NORTH KOREA says nobody objected the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Airblast Bomb) attack which was carried out without the approval of AFGHANISTAN and nobody called for sanctions on the US. NORTH KOREA further justifies the need for nuclear arms by also referring to the US missile attack against SYRIA which was made without any independent inquiry. Meanwhile NORTH KOREA has arrested several US citizens on espionage charges and the US is considering whether to re-designate NORTH KOREA as a state sponsor of terrorism.

MIDLE EAST

7. IRAN. The border area between IRAN and PAKISTAN has long been plagued by unrest from separatist militants, drug smuggling gangs and JAISH AL ADL, a Sunni militant group carrying out cross-border attacks since 2013. On 8 May Maj Gen MOHAMMAD BAQERI of the Iranian armed forces warned PAKISTAN that it would hit bases inside PAKISTAN if the government does not confront the Sunni militants who had killed 10 Iranian border guards last month. Iran’s foreign minister MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF visited PAKISTAN last week and asked Prime Minister NAVAS SHARIF to strengthen border security. JAISH AL ADL militants claim that its aim is to highlight discrimination against minority Sunni militants in IRAN.

8. YEMEN. The 2nd May statement made by the Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN “a long war in YEMEN would be of SAUDI ARABIA’s interests” explain as to why the SUNNI majority kingdom rejects any rapprochement between SAUDI ARABIA and IRAN. Shia majority IRAN has been accused of stirring regional conflicts by supporting Shiite movements in SYRIA, IRAQ, BAHRAIN and as well as in YEMEN. IRAN denies the charges and in turn says SAUDI ARABIA supports radical Islamist groups. In the meantime war-ravaged YEMEN is facing the world’s largest food security crisis since a military attack on HODEIDA, a Red Sea port the main entry point for aid and imports seems to be imminent. The SAUDI-led military coalition has been fighting IRAN-backed Shiite HUTHI rebels who control a string of key ports including HODEIDA. The UN says 7700 people have since been killed, over 3 million displaced and around 17 million, 62% of the population are unable to access food. A third of the country’s provinces are on the brink of famine. The UN World Food Programme chief DAVID BEASLEY on 3 May warned that the closure of the HODEIDA port would bring total disaster to YEMEN.

9. SYRIA. Three countries backing rival sides in the conflict signing an agreement in the presence of the UN’s SYRIA envoy, STAFFAN DE MISTURA, seems to be strange but has become a reality. A previous ceasefire agreement signed in ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN on 30 Dec last year by RUSSIA, IRAN and TURKEY held on for several weeks but eventually collapsed. The 4th May agreement calls for the setting up of four de-escalating zones in SYRIA and halting flights by the Syrian air force over the designated areas in the north, central and south. However the opposition rebels protested against IRAN’s participation and its role as a guarantor of the agreement and walked out of the sessions. Meanwhile military operations are likely to continue against Jabhat Fatah Al Sham, an Al Qaeda-linked group which is active in the four designated zones. Meanwhile President TRUMP met Russian Foreign Minister SERGEY LAVROV on 10 May at the White House to discuss the latest attempt at peace-making in the Syrian conflict.

NORTH AMERICA

10. USA. Acting FBI Director ANDREW McCABE on 11 May rejected assertions by the Trump administration that FBI employees had lost faith in JAMES COMEY, the FBI director sacked by President DONALD TRUMP on 8 May. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he has the highest respect for COMEY’s considerable abilities and his integrity. Further that the Bureau’s probe into Russian election meddling is a highly significant investigation and not of a minor concern as claimed by the Trump team. The acting FBI director vowed to inform a Senate panel if the Trump administration tried to intervene in the process and said that no one cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. Meanwhile the day, May 1st simply passed by without any celebrations as the USA’s Workers’ Day falls on the First Monday of September. “Chicago Tribune” gives 5 historical events that happened on the 1st May sans the 1886 killing of several labourers of the Haymarket Square in CHICAGO, which gave the birth for the May 1st International Workers’ Day.

SOUTH AMERICA

11. VENEZUELA. Western media reports that VENEZUELA is sinking into chaos with clashes between anti-government activists and the police escalating. Several people have been killed during street protests, as the months-long crisis between the left-wing socialist government of President NICHOLAS MADURO and the opposition exploded this week when the government called for a new Constitution. The violence is marked by food shortages, economic collapse and the government’s attempt to consolidate authority. STEVEN LEVITSKY, a Harvard university political scientist says that in quasi-democratic systems like VENEZUELA such pressures on the government often lead elites of the society to force a change since an excuse is already at hand. However, the fact that the anticipated ‘elite fracture’ has not happened in VENEZUELA in the last two years seems to be the biggest puzzle of all. At the moment several countries such as MEXICO, BRAZIL, SPAIN, Argentina and the USA along with the Organization of American States (OAS) have informed the Venezuelan government that any process to modify the Constitution requires universal suffrage. President MADURO says that he is dealing with an alleged interventionist conspiracy and an armed insurgency aiming at a regime change in the country.


|28 Friday April to 4 Friday May 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. After the massacre of 25 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel by Maoist rebels on 25 April at SUKMA in the state of CHATTISGARH, INDIA’s Home Minister RAJNATH SINGH made a highly controversial public comment, claiming that there are two types of terrorists in INDIA, namely the Muslim terrorists and Communist terrorists, funded by PAKISTAN, US, UK, SAUDI ARABIA and CHINA. Following the attack, the Central and the State Governments is to hold a meeting of all Naxalite (Maoist/ Communist) hit states on 8 May to look at ways of rooting out the left-wing rebellion within the next five years. This may include the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) giving sweeping powers, such as the right to shoot at sight. The Dandkranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of the banned Communist Party of INDIA (Maoist) on 27 April said that the SUKMA attack carried out by the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA), the Military wing of the Maoist rebels, was in response to sexual violations by Security Forces against tribal women and recent murders of villagers. The Maoist movement which is now present in 13 States in the Indian Union has been created to fight against the exploitation of the Dalits, the Tribals (Adivasis) and the minorities and the violation of the very edifice of their culture and economic life style through mega projects such as mining in the Central and Eastern regions.

2. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), launched GSAT-09, a Communication Satellite on 5 May, bringing INDIA closer to its neighbours BANGLADESH, SRI LANKA, NEPAL and BHUTAN. The Satellite, would boost services such as telecommunication, direct-to-home, telemedicine, tele-education and other supporting systems in these countries. The Satellite is also expected to help support their water conservation initiatives, by providing data, forecasting weather and sending alerts on natural disasters. After Prime Minister MODI took office, he asked ISRO to develop a satellite that could be dedicated as a ‘gift’ for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations. However, PAKISTAN opted out from of this programme and chose not to be a beneficiary and the Indian Government changed the name of the vehicle to South Asian Satellite.

3. AFGHANISTAN. NATO Secretary General JENS STOLTENBERG said on 30 April, that the 28 nation alliance was considering boosting its troop strength in AFGHANISTAN, given the challenging security situation. This is in addition to calls by the NATO Commander in AFGHANISTAN, General JOHN NICHOLSON to the US Government for more troops to break the stalemate against the resurgent Taliban. The US has around 8400 troops with about another 5000 from NATO countries in AFGHANISTAN. Most of them take part in NATO’s train, assist and advise mission while also carrying out counter-terror missions targeting the ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) welcomed the conclusion of peace agreement between the Afghan Government and the Hezb-e-Islami faction led by GULBUDDIN HEKMATIYAR, a former Prime Minister of AFGHANISTAN. This agreement is a part of the process to seek peace with all armed anti-Government elements and was arrived after negotiations between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Hezb-e-Islami delegation.

4. PAKISTAN. PAKISTAN sent a high level Army delegation headed by Chief of Staff Lt Gen BILAL AKBHAR to AFGHANISTAN last week, to hold talks over bilateral border coordination measures. AFGHANISTAN’s acting Defence Minister TARIQ-SHAH BAHRAMEE and the Afghan Army Chief Gen SHARIEF YAFTALI assured that the Pakistan Army has control over all areas on the Pakistani side of the border and that AFGHANISTAN would not allow its soil to be used against PAKISTAN. The PAKISTAN Army also released a confessional video showing former TEHREEK-I-TALIBAN PAKISTAN (TTP) and JAMMATHUL AHRAR (JA) militant EHSA NULLAH EHSAN, in which he claimed that the TTP and JA have been coordinating with Indian and Afghan security agencies to move freely in AFGHANISTAN and have been guided by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), INDIA’s spy agency, in infiltration into PAKISTAN.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

5. CHINA. Under the guidance of the state-owned China Publishing Group, CHINA launched a new project to establish its own online Encyclopedia that can rival Wikipedia. CHINA fears that Chinese internet users are being corrupted by foreign influences and this new project will be a ‘cultural Great Wall’ for CHINA. It will also maintain various forms of web censorship which is collectively known as ‘The Great Firewall’, considered as necessary for protecting CHINA’s national security. As per a statement made by the project’s executive director YANG MUZHI, CHINA is under pressure to write its own Encyclopedia so that, it could guide public thought as they consider Encyclopedia Britannica also as a potential rival.

6. NORTH KOREA. MIKE WHITNEY, the respected American writer from WASHINGTON said on 17 April that the problem in the North Korean crisis is US adventurism and quoted the Asia-Pacific Journal in describing the wanton destruction of NORTH KOREA during World War II and the Korean War, by the US. They were in addition to the destruction of life and property under the Japanese occupation of KOREA from 1910 to 1945. He further notes that (quoting BLAINE HARDEN, American author and Journalist) Gen CURTIS LEMAY, head of the US Strategic Air Command as having told the office of Air Force History in 1984 that 20% of the North Korean population was killed. Since the signing of the Armistice in 1953, the US has subjected NORTH KOREA to starvation and installed lethal Missile Systems in Military Bases surrounding the country with the hope that it would cave in and do what they are told. Instead North Korean people have developed a small arsenal of Nuclear Weapons to defend themselves against any future American Military aggression. MIKE WHITNEY says that this bitter history justifies NORTH KOREA’s strong stand against the US and its demand for a non-aggression pact with the US. Political observers note that President DONALD TRUMP’s reference to Bloomberg News on 01 May that ‘he would consider meeting with KIM JONG-UN’ may have the ability to open up a fresh initiative toward a negotiated settlement.

MIDDLE EAST

7. PALESTINE. The new Palestinian policy charter recently unveiled by Hamas leader KHALED MESHAAL does not include the usual requirement for the complete Military annihilation of ISRAEL as a condition for a lasting peace in the Middle East. According to political observers this policy shift would be instrumental as never before in reducing Military tensions in the region. For the first time in their struggle the Hamas leadership, takes a non-racial stand on the conflict and makes it clear that they bear no animosity towards the Jewish people while stressing the need to set up a Palestinian state in the occupied-territories. Hamas move coincided with the historic meeting that took place in WASHINGTON DC on 3 May between the US President and Palestinian President MAHMUD ABBAS. The US has for several decades played a mediatory role in the Israeli - Palestinian conflict while remaining ISRAEL’s main supporter and it is still doubtful whether President TRUMP would be able to achieve success in the process. He has appointed a pro-Israeli figure as the US Ambassador to ISRAEL and promised to move the US Embassy to JERUSALEM while vacillating on the issue of Jewish settlements, all of which are unfavorable to the Palestinian cause.

8. UN - THE HAGUE MONSANTO TRIBUNAL. The Monsanto Tribunal (MT) set up in October 2016 in HAGUE, delivered its advisory opinion last week condemning the Transnational Corporation’s (TNC) planet destroying malpractices and the genocide and ecocide perpetrated in the name of profit. The Tribunal found that MONSANTO is guilty of manipulation and misrepresenting science through practices such as resorting to studies suppressing the negative impacts of ‘ROUNDUP’ by limiting the analysis to Glyphosate only, while the product is a combination of substances. The Tribunal assesses that International Law should precisely assert the protection of the environment and the crime of ecocide and concludes that in such a scenario, the activities of MONSANTO could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide. For example MONSANTO’s supply of Glyphosate - based herbicides to COLOMBIA negatively impacted the environment and the health of the local populations as in the case of Glyphosate debate in SRI LANKA. The Tribunal encourages nations affected by MONSANTO, influence authorities to protect the effectiveness of International Human Rights and Environmental cooperation. The Monsanto Tribunal which has become one of the most significant Tribunals in recent history listened to the testimony, evidence and eyewitness reports of farmers, scientists, activists, intellectuals, thinkers and citizens from across the world on the misery inflicted by MONSANTO especially on the developing agro-based nations.

9. UN. One of the major agencies of the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO) last week endorsed the world’s first ever vaccine, for Dengue Fever that threatens to affect close to half of the world’s population endangering the security of the affected countries. The ‘Danguaxia’ vaccine is the product of two decades of research by French based SANOFI PASTEUR which has already been licensed by MEXICO, BRAZIL, EL SALVADOR and the PHILIPPINES. Dr. IN-KYU YOON, Director of the Dengue Vaccine Initiative, an International consortium that has partnered SANOFI PASTEUR, says that in countries where dengue is endemic, it’s one of the most feared diseases and the trajectory globally is increasing and at this point it’s essentially a pandemic. The decision whether or not to implement the vaccine will be up to individual Governments. Dr. YOON further says that the company could manufacture about 100 million doses of the vaccine annually compared to an estimated demand of about one billion doses over five years.


|21 Friday to 28 Friday April 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. Students from various female colleges in Indian-administrated KASHMIR took part in mass protests on 26 April, against the Indian Army and Police deployed in the State. It was part of a state-wide protest campaign against the Police raid in North Kashmir’s Pulwama Degree College. A protest campaign by students has now erupted on the streets, and in a rare sight, even school girls are throwing stones at Police vehicles. Chief Minister MEHBOOBA MUFTI of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who leads a coalition with BJP rushed to NEW DELHI on 24 April and met Prime Minister NARENDRA MODI, to urge the Federal Government to announce a dialogue and show reconciliatory gestures. Authorities announced a one-month ban on 22 social media services including Facebook, Twitter, and Whats-App in JAMMU and KASHMIR on 26 April, claiming that the services were being used by Anti-Government elements to incite violence.

2. AFGHANISTAN. The Taliban attack on 21 April at the 209th Corps of the Afghan Army, killing over 150 trainee recruits adds to concerns that AFGHANISTAN will not be able to defend itself without a major commitment of US support. This is a latest in a string of deadly assaults against Afghan Military sites and underscores rising insecurity as AFGHANISTAN braces for an intense spring fighting season. The US Defence Secretary arrived in KABUL on 24 April by which time the Afghan Defence Minister and the Army Chief had resigned their posts fallowing the attack. The reality is that the Afghan Defence Forces, totalling more than 700,000 men remain plagued by poor coordination, illiteracy, high rate of attrition, defection to the Taliban, ethnic fighting and widespread corruption that includes the theft and resale of combat supplies meant for front-line troops. US General JOHN NICHOLSON, commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Operation claimed on 24 April that RUSSIA is sending weapons to the Taliban under the guise that it would be used to fight the ISIS in Eastern AFGHANISTAN.

3. MALDIVES. Whilst the crackdown on dissent is being continued by the regime of President ABDULLA YAMEEN, a liberal blogger, YAMEEN RASHEED was murdered on 22 April in the capital city of MALE. His blog ‘The Daily Panic’ had a considerable following due to it commenting on news and declared aim of satirizing the un-satirical politics of MALDIVES. In 2014, Journalist AHAMED RILWAN went missing and in 2012 another blogger, ISMAIL RASHEED was killed by unidentified men. The exiled former President MOHAMED NASHEED called for an inquiry into the death of YAMEEN RASHEED with International participation. The Government passed a new defamation bill in August 2016 despite US-led international concerns and in October 2016, steered the country out of the Commonwealth after being warned that the country risked suspension if it failed to show progress in promoting Democracy.

4. PAKISTAN. PAKISTAN’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence have been ordered by PAKISTAN’s Supreme Court to conduct a joint investigation on the corruption charges pending against Prime Minister NAWAZ SHARIF in collaboration with anti-corruption officials. The involvement of the Prime Minister and his four children in acquiring LONDON properties via off-shore companies came into light after the publication of 11.5 million secret documents from the Panamanian Law firm MOSSACK FONSECA in 2016. Meanwhile, 1500 militants belonged to various banned organisations including the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), Baloch Republican Army (BRA) fighting in the ethnic separatist struggle in BALOCHISTAN, surrendered to PAKISTAN authorities on 21 April. BALOCHISTAN, bordering IRAN and AFGHANISTAN is the largest province in PAKISTAN and the Chief Minister of BALOCHISTAN NAWAB SANAULLAH blamed RAW for instigating the Balochi terrorism in BALOCHISTAN.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

5. NORTH KOREA. NORTH KOREA conducted live-fire exercises on 25 April to mark the founding of the country's Army on its East Coast, instead of another Nuclear test or Missile launch. The USS Michigan, a Guided Missile Submarine docked in SOUTH KOREA on the same day in a show of force while a US Aircraft Carrier-Strike Group steamed to NORTH KOREAN waters. KIM JONG UN, the Korean leader totally ignores the US and its Western allies or the UN in spite of being isolated, with diminishing patronage of CHINA and RUSSIA. He seeks security against the West with Nuclear Power at his disposal. Chinese Foreign Minister WANG YI advised both AMERICA and NORTH KOREA to de-escalate before they get into an irreversible and an unmanageable state.

MIDDLE EAST

6. SYRIA. Political analysts have been referring to authors like RON JACOBS, STEPHEN GOWANS and Palestinian scholar EDWARD SAID to find out why the West is so intent on removing Syrian President ASSAD who is fiercely defended by RUSSIA, IRAN and Hezbollah of LEBANON. RON JACOBS says that the US missile attack on a Syrian airbase on 17 April was launched despite the lack of objective non-partisan evidence similar to the deliberate falsification of WMD evidence that led to the 2003 invasion of IRAQ and the US opposes a Russian backed plan to investigate the alleged chemical attack in SYRIA. GOWAN notes that the conflict between the West and SYRIA began with the creation of Baath Parties in IRAQ and SYRIA and their declared policies of secularism, nationalisation of oil and industry, wealth distribution, modernisation and demand for a political system based on Pan-Arabism and not religion, tribe or ethnicity and SYRIA remains the only nation left of the original nations that made up this Pan-Arab project.

EUROPE

7. FRANCE. In FRANCE’s, most important Election in recent history, voters on 30 May chose EMMANUEL MACRON and MARINE LE PEN to go to a runoff on 7 May to determine the next president. One is a political novice, the other a far-right firebrand both outsiders, but with starkly different visions for the country. The result was a rebuke of FRANCE’s traditional mainstream parties, setting the country on an uncertain path in an election that could also decide the future of the European Union. It is the first time in the nearly 59-year history both of the final candidates are from outside the traditional left-right party structure. The political establishment was rallying behind Mr. MACRON, warning of the dangers of a victory by Ms. LE PEN’s far-right National Front, though few analysts give her much of a chance of winning the May 7 runoff. Meanwhile, the Champs-Elysees shooting on 20 April was the latest in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in FRANCE since 2015. The killing of a Policeman added a new source of unpredictability to the Presidential Election. The outcome of the election could also have a bearing on FRANCE’s place in the world and in the European Union still reeling from ‘Brexit’. Almost all the candidates agree that the fight against ‘Islamist totalitarianism’ should be a priority for the next President.

8. UK. Prime Minister THERESA MAY’s announcement last week of an election 3 years before schedule came as a surprise because she was determined to stay the whole term of Government, during which time she would negotiate the best term on which BRITAIN would quit the European Union. Political observers doubt whether she would get the majority that could strengthen the Party and give her greater leverage negotiations with the EU. They also point out to a trail of discarded manifesto pledges given by the Conservative Party, the most serious being the dropping of a key budget proposal concerning national insurance contribution and the fact that people are getting more and more disgusted with politics and politicians. Further, the Prime Minister has a group of MPs who are opposed to UK pulling out of the EU and also the Scottish National Party (SNP), calling for another referendum on SCOTLAND’s future. The disarray of the main opposition Labour Party, seems to have pushed the Prime Minister to go for an early election.

NORTH AMERICA

9. USA. SRI LANKA is due to lose the entire US $ 38 million funding under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Economic Support Fund as a result of the cutting of US donations for Humanitarian Projects and the ‘America First’ initiative of the Trump administration. USAID has provided over US $ 600 million in assistance to SRI LANKA since 2001 and latterly been focusing more on Good Governance and Economic Development. The focus in the past had been on Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Prevention of Conflict and Disaster Relief. Under the current policy, nations would face a strong protectionist wave that would result in global trade slowdown, creeping protectionism and the failure of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the TPP marks the US disengagement from Asia as opposed to President OBAMA’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy which was a signal of US reengagement.

10. TERRORISM. In an audio massage released on 24 April by Al-Qaida’s Al-Sahab media, AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI advised Jihadists to remain steadfast and change tactics to a protracted Guerrilla War. He said the Syrian war is not an exclusively nationalist Syrian cause but a campaign by the entire Muslim nation that seeks to establish divine rule. Meanwhile, there is a steady drop of Jihadist attacks in Europe in spite of an ISIS attack on an FSB office (Russia’s main domestic intelligence agency) on 20 April in the country’s Far East. Improved efforts by Intelligence Services have weakened the ability of the ISIS and other Jihadists to mount complex, group attacks. Shutting down the migrant route to Europe by TURKEY has also made it much harder for ISIS followers to move to targets like PARIS and LONDON. OLIVIER ROY, a specialist in political Islam writes that unstable, marginal, individuals who Police have trouble linking to Daesh (ISIS), have stepped into the void left and often act alone and are harder to detect.




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Britain could ditch human rights laws for troops in battle because of rising compensation culture after Iraq and Afghanistan wars (497)

Is the US Giving Myanmar a Free Pass? (463)

MSF says bombing of Afghan hospital no mistake (393)

If we want to end poverty, we need to be able to measure it properly (469)

Putin's pivot: The Russians are coming to Asia (499)

What Would Reagan Do About Chinas Violations of the Law of the Sea? (477)

Time for UN to Shift Its Mission in Yemen (384)

Horses beaten with electric prods, cows left to bleed to death while still conscious and pigs crammed into 'gas cages' in horrifying footage from French abattoir which has prompted animal cruelty probe (542)

Marines Reunite With Dogs They Served With in Middle East After Years Apart (432)

The U.S. Military's 6th Generation Fighter: 5 Ways To Dominate the Sky (479)

Vietnam Between China and the United States: The Next Balancing Test Beckons. (463)

Russia Using Syria As Testing Ground For Its Modern Weaponry (373)

World Food Day and food security (461)

Malnutrition linked to nearly half of deaths among under-fives (498)

U.S. military wants to develop a vampire drone that vanishes in the daylight (502)

What South Africa leaving the International Criminal Court would mean... (470)

Refugees and Neighbors: Rohingya in Bangladesh. (492)

US troops deployed to Cameroon for Boko Haram fight (448)

Carter says U.S. will sail, fly and operate wherever whenever (443)

China Enforcing Quasi-ADIZ in South China Sea: Philippine Justice. (474)

Sri Lanka Tamil prisoners on hunger strike demand release (432)

Expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger UN report (455)

Police told to record hate crimes against Muslims separately: Cameron wants figures to be published (442)

Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds (475)

Catalonia, A New State Within Europe? (489)

Myanmars Cease-Fire Deal Comes Up Short. (398)

Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime (459)

ISIS and the Dangers of Black Market Oil (640)

Food prices lower for longer (370)

US Boosting ASEAN Capacity Amid South China Sea Tensions. (502)

'Australian Islamic State Fighters Doubled Last Year' (473)

Russias Goals, Tactics, And Strategy In Syria War (453)

Hundreds of thousands of migrants will be deported from the EU within weeks under secret plans intended to deter irregular migration (491)

Arsenic found in many American red wines but health risks depend on total diet (440)

Malaysia to Host New Conference to Tackle Islamic State Challenge. (495)

Does China Approve of Russias Airstrikes in Syria? (452)

CAN WE ERADICATE POVERTY AND SAVE OUR PLANET? (446)

US-Russia Proxy War In Syria Who s On Russia s Side? (500)

Taliban in Kunduz ISIS in Nangarhar: Fiefdoms of Conflict in Afghanistan (447)

FOOD SECURITY THE END OF A GOLDEN AGE (473)

What Does China Think of the TPP? (486)

Capitulation In Kunduz: Implications For Region (466)

Why We Need South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Patrols. (437)

What are the risks of Russian military involvement in Syria? (479)

How China Is Changing the UN (478)

Central Asia and the ISIS Phantom (378)

Obama-Putin meeting and why EU refugee crisis matters for Russia (483)

Strongest Militaries in the World (483)

Twists and Turns in Thailand s Bombing Case. (488)

China s Protracted War in Xinjiang (476)

Powerful El Nio to cause hunger among world s poorest people (385)

Modi Goes West: Taking Stock of the Indian Prime Minister s US Trip (449)

Inside the looming food wastage crisis (461)

Is Russia Going To Become The Next Superpower? (509)

China s Role in the Syria Crisis Revisited (410)

Pakistan and the Taliban: Past as Prologue? (442)

How Russia can deal with ISIS extremism within its own borders (411)

Cambodia and the Australian Asylum Seeker Deal. (438)

There is no planet B (450)

US CIA s Operations in China Take a Step Back in Wake of OPM Breach (409)

Afghanistan Can t Afford to Lose Kunduz to the Taliban (477)

Australia s New Defence Minister. (489)

The Taliban Take Kunduz: An Eyewitness Account (442)

Southeast Asia s Piracy Headache. (428)

Russia U.S. Ties Putin And Obama Meet (448)

China-US Cyber Agreements Has Beijing Outmaneuvered Washington? (428)

Nepal Tests India s Much Touted Neighborhood Diplomacy (391)

Efforts in Syria against ISIS won t bring US Russia closer together (438)

How do we protect global food supplies from extreme weather? (473)

PUTIN goes to WAR against ISIS: Stop dithering and FIGHT Russian leader tells West (447)

What ASEAN Can Teach the World About Surviving a Financial Crisis. (471)

What to Read on Xi Jinping s US Visit (420)

Thailand s Military Junta is Clueless about Economic Policy. (466)

What Will The Xi-Obama Summit Really Deliver? (433)

India s Defense FDI Limit Will Hinder Technology Transfer: US Official (493)

The Truth About US Freedom of Navigation Patrols in the South China Sea. (510)

Russian-German relations A renewed dialogue? (482)

Tolerance levels & more (478)

China Myanmar Talk Border Security at Military Consultation (490)

Amid Ongoing India-Pakistan Clashes Is Diplomacy Possible? (405)

The BRICS and the West Partners or rivals? (481)

Good News Global Food Policy Report Strikes Optimistic Tone (411)

How Washington Can Manage Sustainable Strategic Competition With China (472)

How Do Indians Feel About Narendra Modi s Handling of Foreign Policy? (476)

Will Putin Exchange Donbass for Syria? (364)

Britain s Labor Party could be ready to change the nation s Russia policy (461)

China South America and Regional Integration (433)

The paradox of the Minsk Agreements (493)

Hidden hunger is a global killer (479)

The Chinese Cyber Threat in the South China Sea (451)

The Real Significance of the Japan-Vietnam Strategic Partnership. (376)

India and Sri Lanka Vow to Increase Security and Economic Cooperation (436)

China or Iran Who Is the Bigger Threat to U.S. Airpower? (477)

West vs. Russia Media War Heating Up (406)

Becoming the Zero Hunger generation Achieving food security for all (455)

Qatari troops join fight against Houthi rebels (332)

Evaluating the US-India Strategic Agenda (432)

Marine life plummets and food security at risk (472)

China Iran Predict Closer Ties Thanks to Nuclear Deal (444)

Iran Nuclear Deal Lands In the Middle of 2016 Debate (375)

Myanmar Shan Villagers and the Salween Dam Fight. (467)

Anti-Submarine Operations in the Indian Ocean (476)

Improving Women s Rights A Step Toward Global Food Security (376)

Europe s security situation significantly worsened last year (382)

US China Hold Cyber Talks Before Xi s Visit (438)

What new social unrest in Kiev means for Washington and Moscow (257)

Nepal: Terai Agitation And The Constitution Making Proces (458)

Investors Are Grabbing a Japan-Size Chunk of the Developing World for Food and Water (451)

Can the US Marines Help Build Indonesia s Amphibious Capabilities? (284)

India-Egypt Relationship: Looking for a new Momentum (388)

Amid Shifting Geopolitical Dynamics India Plays Hard Ball in Afghanistan (415)

Europe s refugee crisis explained (447)

Philippines Australia to Hold Joint Military Exercises. (440)

The Refugee Crisis Isn t a European Problem (474)

Trash or treasure? Repurposing would-be wasted food to feed the hungry and create jobs (494)

Cambodia s Montagnard Problem. (463)

Australia to Bomb Syria? (386)

Is India s APEC Membership on the Table at this Year s Summit? (382)

The solution to this refugee crisis? A revised EU treaty (467)

India and Food Safety (480)

What Thailand s Rejected Constitution Means. (454)

Without ensuring universal access to water there can be no food security (457)

Russia And China Expanding And Cooperating Militarily (407)

Australia Wants to Join India US and Japan in Naval Exercises- Defense Minister (480)

The Problems Foreign Powers Find In The Balkans (461)

Singapore s Impressive Food Security (468)

Afghanistan s Looming Crisis (450)

Exclusive Who s Really Behind Thailand s Erawan Shrine Bomb Blast? (512)

From a Unipolar to a Bipolar Superpower System The Future of the Global Power Dynamic (499)

A Balancing Act;Food for the Hungry Fuel for Your Car (446)

Russia Has a China Problem Too (394)

NATO vs. Russia War Could Begin Today Or Tomorrow (482)

India and Seychelles Strengthen Ties Around Maritime Security Economic Cooperation (470)

Thailand s Navy to Get Boost with New Patrol Vessels. (473)

Global Food Security and the Missed Message of Milan s Expo 2015 (463)

What Now for China s Afghanistan Strategy? (477)

Adrift in ASEAN Tackling Southeast Asia s Migration Challenge. (384)

Putin Says Russia-China Relations At Historic Peak (465)

Australia s Disastrous Asylum Seeker Deal. (464)

A Cold Summer for China and Russia? (397)

Peace is back off the agenda (442)

Iran Nuclear Deal Gains Momentum With Endorsements of Four House Democrats (465)

Philippines Asks for US Military Assistance in South China Sea. (514)

Russia Exploits Obamas Weaknesses To Destroy US Global Dominance (467)

Growing doubts over GMO safety a scientist s experience (475)

Rethinking the Obama-Xi Summit (494)

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