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Showing posts from January 31, 2021

Iran conducts surgical strike in Pakistan, frees border guards held by Baloch terrorists

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Ground Force's Quds Base in Southeastern Iran said in the statement that two of its border guards were freed in a successful intelligence operation on Tuesday night. ADVERTISEMENT Geeta Mohan   New Delhi February 4, 2021 UPDATED: February 4, 2021 18:36 IST File photo: Members of the revolutionary guard attend the anniversary ceremony of Iran's Islamic Revolution at the Khomeini shrine in the Behesht Zahra cemetery, south of Tehran. (File photo: Reuters) Iran has reportedly conducted a 'surgical strike' in Pakistan this week and rescued its imprisoned men from the country. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) freed two of its soldiers in an intelligence operation inside Pakistan, the force said in a statement. The IRGC Ground Force's Quds Base in Southeastern Iran said in the statement that two of its border guards were freed in a successful intelligence operation on Tuesday night. "A successful operation was

India farmers' protests: internet shutdown highlights Modi's record of stifling digital dissent

Rajat Gupta/EPA Subir Sinha ,  SOAS, University of London February 1, 2021 12.52pm GMT The storming of the Red Fort in Delhi on January 26 marked an escalation of tensions between the Indian government – led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and farmers who have been protesting against agricultural reforms since August 2020. With footage of the farmers clashing with police going viral, the Red Fort incident also marked a spike in interest in the farmers’ movement around the world, much to Modi’s embarrassment. The authorities’ response to events at the Red Fort – a historic building symbolic of Indian independence, and located in the very heart of Old Delhi – was swift. Delhi Police shut down the city’s internet, affecting more than  52 million mobile phone subscribers . The shutdown was  ostensibly in the interest of public safety , but it’s also the latest episode in India’s long-running story of heavy-handed internet crackdowns – a strategy used time and again to quell swelling prot

Staying in an area controlled by a terrorist organisation: crime or operational necessity?

Dr. Christophe Paulussen ,  Emanuela-Chiara Gillard 11 Jan 2021   As is well known, especially states in Western Europe have been reluctant to take responsibility for their citizens who have  flocked  to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq. Illustrations are the occasional deprivation of nationality, the suggestion to establish an international tribunal, or simply looking away and hoping that other actors will deal with the problem. Indeed, most states keep refusing to do what is the  arguably  the right thing from an international legal, moral and long-term security perspective: repatriate the fighters and their families and prosecute where necessary. The justifications for this reluctance are numerous, but in our view, not convincing. They include security concerns at home, even though  security experts  have indicated that the non-repatriation of the children will lead to more security risks in the future. With respect to the adults, they have noted that while there are certainly risks

Staying in an area controlled by a terrorist organisation: crime or operational necessity? The Dutch Senate discussed a bill January 12 that regulates the criminalisation of persons who intentionally stay in an area under the control of a terrorist organisation. In a new ICCT perspective, Asser researcher and ICCT fellow Christophe Paulussen and co-author Emanuela-Chiara Gillard argue why this bill is problematic: ‘This is a dangerous move into the pre-crime space, far removed from actual criminal conduct.’ The ICCT perspective was published today, prior to a debate on the bill in the Dutch Senate Committee for Justice and Security (J&V). The bill regulates the criminalisation of persons who intentionally stay in an area under the control of a terrorist organisation without the permission of the Minister of Justice and Security. Problematic bill In the perspective, Paulussen and Gillard are expressing their doubts. Is it the most appropriate and proportio

Artificial intelligence: Is the answer more law?

Published 25 January 2021 By Taylor Woodcock  Smart technologies collect and analyse big data through mobile services and applications. (©ShutterStock) Artificial intelligence (AI) intersects with everyday life in myriad ways and is increasingly integrated into human decision making processes in various domains. Whether it be in hospitals, factories or courtrooms; on our roads, smartphones or social media; or being used by governments, companies or academia, reliance on AI-enabled technologies is undeniably becoming a pervasive global phenomenon. Yet, the AI revolution with which we are faced poses a number of social, political and legal challenges. So is the answer to this more law? In his Sixth Annual T.M.C. Asser Lecture on ‘ Almost Human: Law and Human Agency in the Time of Artificial Intelligence’  and a prior  interview , Prof. Andrew Murray called for the development of a legal framework to regulate AI. An international institution tasked with setting new standards on the develo

"Megacities" on the rise

Axios Cities By Jennifer A. Kingson ·Jan 28, 2021 Places with more than 10 million residents  — known as megacities — are becoming more common as people from rural areas migrate to urban ones. Why it matters:  The benefits of megacities — which include opportunities for upward mobility and higher wages — can be offset by their negatives, like the fact that they're breeding grounds for COVID-19. What's happening:  Urbanization is proceeding rapidly, with more than half the world's population now living in cities,  according  to Visual Capitalist, an online publisher aimed at investors. Cities like Delhi and Shanghai are growing particularly fast. Tokyo — population 37 million — has the most people, but declining birth rates and an aging population could mean that Delhi surpasses it by 2028. Where it stands:  The U.S. has two megacities — New York and Los Angeles — but only New York cracked the global top 20, according to Macrotrends, a research platform for investors that  p

Are women free to loiter on the streets of India in 2021?

On the 10th anniversary of their book ‘Why Loiter?’ Sameera Khan, Shilpa Phadke and Shilpa Ranade talk about women’s access to public places (from left) Shilpa Ranade, Shilpa Phadke and Sameera Khan. (Avadhoot Khanolkar) By  Somak Ghoshal LAST UPDATED28.01.2021   |   10:12 AM IST Ten years ago, when writers Sameera Khan, Shilpa Phadke and Shilpa Ranade wrote  Why Loiter?: Women & Risk On Mumbai Streets , India was yet to experience one of its most horrific crimes against a woman in public—the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi. Since then, women have occupied the streets in numbers to raise their voices against harassment and violence, defy the limits imposed on their freedom of movement, and rebel against the fences put up by patriarchy. Movements like Pinjra Tod have gathered momentum, the women of Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh set a template for public protests all over the country in 2019, and recently, women have joined the agitation against the new agricultural laws.  Why

The strategic spectrum of the EU’s Arctic policy

A quantum of possibilities The strategic spectrum of the EU’s Arctic policy “Geography is changing – even though we cannot change geography”, were the words of Norway’s then Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, almost 10 years ago when he  succinctly captured the essence  of Arctic change – from the impact of global climate change to increased awareness of all matters pertaining to the region. A decade later, Støre’s analysis is more pertinent than ever. The Arctic is still in a complex state of flux. Be this because of the  extraordinary rate of change , evidenced by extreme warm air temperatures in the Eurasian Arctic, Russia’s militarisation efforts, China’s increasing regional interests or the tweets of a particularly polarising (former) US President. In steps the European Union. A complicated creature that has also had to contend with multiple crises and their resulting challenges and calls for change. A Union that is currently in the process of defining what kind of security and d


________________ Biden signals plans to halt oil activity in Arctic refuge  On Wednesday, January 20, after Biden had been in office for less than 24 hours, the new administration announced a plan for a moratorium on oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A priority, after 4 years of a completely opposite policy, where sales of exploration leases in the region have increased. This announcement comes the day after the public announcement, on the last day of Trump, of the sale of leases on nearly 1,770 square kilometres of land in Alaska. However, the moratorium as announced by Biden will only be temporary. It provides for the conduct of a new environmental assessment in order to evaluate the impacts of possible oil and gas drilling in the refuge on flora and fauna. This decision, based on scientific facts, has many socio-economic stakes. There is a great debate between those who argue that oil is the basis of the Alaskan economy and the Gwich'in, wh

Research and resources are two pillars of India’s draft Arctic policy

by  Sahana Ghosh and Mayank Aggarwal  on 22 January 2021 The Indian government has released a draft Arctic policy that focuses on enhancing India’s engagement with the region, including with a focus on research and resources. The draft policy discusses the importance of understanding the impact of climate change in the Arctic region and its connection with India’s monsoon, which is crucial for its economy. India also proposes to focus on vast resources of the Arctic region including hydrocarbons, minerals and renewable power to ensure its energy security. The policy is cautious in framing its involvement in the Arctic as “common heritage of mankind” but it’s priorities are similar to that of other non-Arctic states. India has been invested in the Arctic region for years and to secure its share of the pie that the region offers in terms of research and resources, including minerals and hydrocarbons, the Indian government has now unveiled a  draft Arctic policy . It envisages India’s eng