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Showing posts from February 10, 2019

The Balochistan Insurgency and the Threat to Chinese Interests in Pakistan By:  Adnan Aamir February 15, 2019 04:02 PM Age: 16 hours Smoke rises over the PRC Consulate in Karachi after an attack by militants of the Baloch Liberation Army, November 23, 2018. (Source: Twitter) Introduction On November 23, 2018, insurgents of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) attacked the PRC Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. The assault resulted in the deaths of seven people, including two police officers and three of the attackers ( Dawn , November 23 2018). One month after this incident, the BLA commander responsible for the attack—Aslam Baloch, alias “Achoo”—was himself killed in a suicide attack in the Afghan city of Kandahar ( Tolo News , December 26 2018). Despite the death of their leader, the BLA has vowed to continue attacks on Chinese interests in Balochistan ( Balochistan Post , December 26 2018). The BLA is one of the oldest, and arguably the largest, of a

Donate to Martyrs' families: Bharat Ke Veer

AN APPEAL  Friends,                 14th feb'19 was a very sad day in Indian history, when 44 soldiers were martyred in Kashmir ( a figure which might go up ), and many others wounded . They died fighting an enemy whom they did not know, had not seen. They died fighting for our country and us, so that we could live peacefully with our families and children, without giving a second thought as to what would happen to their families and children if they did not return.We are forever in their debt , but merely accepting this fact is not enough……we need to do our bit too in whatever way possible. We have all heard horror stories as to how relief , both financial and in kind, has been misused whenever given to government agencies,but now we have a choice. Most of you are aware of the joint venture launched by actor Akshay Kumar and MoD-Bharat Ke Veer . For those who are not, this is a venture in which Rs. 15 lacs is transferred directly into the accounts of the martyrs next of kin.Th

GCSC Cyberstability update, February 15th, 2019

GCSC Cyberstability Update, February  15 th , 2019 Your weekly news updates on the GCSC, its members, and relevant developments in the field of international cyber affairs. For more information about the GCSC, please visit . THE GCSC IN THE NEWS: Europe Hopes to Fend Off Election Hackers with ‘Cyber Sanctions’ The article by Laurens Cerulus was published in  Politico , 11 February 2019   A regime for "cyber sanctions" is taking shape — and it could already hit mischievous election hackers in May. The European Union is closing in on a procedure that would allow it to sanction foreign hacker groups when they target the upcoming EU election. The measures would not only allow EU countries to slap sanctions on hacker groups that succeed in intruding into IT systems, but also those attempting to get in, like the suspected Russian intelligence officers who allegedly plotted but failed to hack into the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Ch

The economic war on Syria: Why Europe risks losing Commentary Nour Samaha  @@nour_samaha 11th February, 2019 Ron Van Oers via Wikimedia Commons  (cropped) -  CC BY 3.0 Sanctions can never be ‘smart’; new EU and US measures on Syria are only likely to strengthen the regime, not weaken it As the frontlines in Syria largely fall silent and the Syrian government works on reasserting its control across the country, a new war is in the making: that of the West on the Syrian economy. Over the last few months several new punitive measures have been inflicted on the Syrian state. In November the US Treasury  Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a new advisory  threatening sanctions on ships transporting oil and gas to Syrian ports. And this month the European Union issued  new sanctions  against several Syrian businessmen and companies operating inside the country. In the United States an  expansive bill  is awaiting Senate approval, one which would see crushing sanctions not just against Syrian government entities and affil

India strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on our security forces in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir

India strongly condemns the cowardly terrorist attack on our security forces in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir February 14, 2019 The Government of India condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly terrorist attack on our brave security forces in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir earlier today (14 February 2019). This heinous and despicable act has been perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organisation proscribed by the United Nations and other countries. This terror group is led by the international terrorist Masood Azhar, who has been given full freedom by Government of Pakistan to operate and expand his terror infrastructure in territories under the control of Pakistan and to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity. The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to take all necessary measures to safeguard national security. We are equally resolved to fight against the menace of terrorism. We demand that Pakistan s

Vasant Panchami is Indian Day of Love and Devotion; Valentine’s Day is drab, without substance

Vasant Panchami is Indian Day of Love and Devotion; Valentine’s Day is drab, without substance Written by  Mamta Upadhyaya Long before Valentine’s Day happened to India there was already a day which stands for love and devotion. Vasant Panchmi (or Basant Panchmi) the fifth day of the Magha month (Indian traditional calendar month) is though traditionally celebrated as a day of Goddess Saraswati in every part of India and several other countries, it is also the day of Kamadeva. It was on this day that Kamadeva played cupid to bring Lord Shiva and Parvati together. The story goes such that grief-stricken Shiva had become ascetic and retreated to the Himalayas to meditate for penance after Sati (his first wife) immolated herself at her father’s palace. Parvati who was a reincarnation of Mahadevi and Sati in her previous life was born to King Himavat (King of Himalayas) and wife Menaka to fulfil her duties of the world and also to marry Shiva. Ever since her childhood

Widening wealth disparities will drive populist voting

Source: Oxford Analytica Tuesday, February 12, 2019 Wealth is more unequal than incomes; countries with stable or falling income inequality will increasingly address wealth Source: Rosatom; Income Gini coefficients from the World Bank, wealth Gini coefficients from the 2018 Credit Suisse Global Wealth report, top 10% wealth and income shares from the World Inequality database. Outlook Wealth inequality is surging across advanced, emerging and former communist countries, in contrast to income inequality, which eased from a global Gini coefficient of 68% in 2005 to 65% in 2016 (nearer 100% is more unequal). ➡ The top 10% hold more than 70% of Russian and US private wealth and over ➡50% in the United Kingdom, India and France. However, public wealth is plunging as a share of these countries’ GDP, reducing the resources with which governments can invest in identifying wealth holders and planning politically palatable redistribution. Research into the relationship between wealth a

India-Iran relations must move beyond symbolism

Hindustan Times Underscoring Iran-India historical and cultural relations has always been the headline of every bilateral meeting between the officials of both countries. Chabahar port enjoys special strategic status and is the gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia and Europe. (File Photo) Updated: Feb 10, 2019 13:59 IST By Ali Chegeni Underscoring Iran-India historical and cultural relations has always been the headline of every bilateral meeting between the officials of both countries. In my view, these inherent advantages cannot be taken away, because apart from the foreign policy agenda, these ties have pushed the relationship forward. These civilisational ties are the cornerstone for drawing a multidimensional and longstanding relationship. From Sanskrit ties in the Vedic era and “Hindi Style” in Persian poetry in the late medieval period to partnership engagements in contemporary times, mutual interactions have shaped an Indo-Persian culture of which we ha

Older doesn’t mean wiser when it comes to fake news

The sources of ‘fake news’ have been much studied since the British referendum on leaving the European Union and the US election that brought Donald Trump to power.  Researchers from New York University and Princeton have now crunched the numbers of Americans who shared fake news in the run up to the 2016 presidential election and come up with some surprising conclusions.  The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, found that those who identified themselves as ‘conservative’ or ‘very conservative’ were the most likely to share content from fake news sources. This is to be expected, given that the vast majority of fake news came from conservative, pro-Trump sources.  While conservatives shared more fake news links than liberals, and Republicans more than Democrats, the best predictor of who shares fake news online is not your political party, it is your age.  The researchers found that people over 65 were three times more likely to share fake news sourc

America's Mideast retreat Paul Salem looks at how the region will fare if Trump carries out his threatened withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan US soldiers board a plane at Baghdad. Salem says Iraq could be the most significant country to watch At the end of last year, President Donald Trump shocked US allies by declaring his intention to withdraw all US troops from Syria and to reduce by half the US military presence in Afghanistan. With Trump one can never tell if he will follow through on his promises or change course, and this policy has already been slowed down by his advisers.  Nevertheless, this bald statement of the president’s ambition to end US military entanglements in the Middle East – and the subsequent resignation in protest of Defence Secretary James Mattis – raised questions about the US commitment to the troubled region. So how have the political dynamics of the Middle East changed, and what can be expected in 2019?  A

AfPak Digest: Ananta Centre

  Ambassador Sharat Sabharwal  Adviser, Ananta Centre   Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan FEBRUARY 2019 | VOL 03 ISSUE 02 | MONTHLY H I G H L I G H T S • Overview  •  Developments in Pakistan   • Developments in Afghanistan  I Overview Pakistan :  • Status of “Gilgit-Baltistan” • Blasphemy Law- acquittal upheld • Proposed extension of term of military courts • Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force • Indo-Pak relations  Afghanistan:   • Peace and Reconciliation  • Presidential election • Results of Parliamentary election • India and Afghanistan ......................................................................................................................... II Developments in Pakistan Supreme Court extends its jurisdiction to “Gilgit-Baltistan” Delivering a judgment on January 17 on a set of petitions challenging the Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018 and Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment Order, 2009 and praying for the right of the citizens of the