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Showing posts from February 28, 2021

India: Maoists Step Up Low-Intensity Warfare Strategy With Pressure Bombs

Advertisement Several killed and many injured when men in uniform fell to Naxal’s plot in Chhattisgarh. Head Constable Laxmikant Dwivedi of Chhattisgarh police stepped on a pressure IED and was killed on the spot. Arunima CNN-NEWS18 UPDATED ON: MARCH 5, 2021, 19:55 IST FOLLOW US ON: Head Constable Laxmikant Dwivedi of Chhattisgarh police had just finished lunch and took a few steps to reach the shade of a tree nearby. Unaware that his next step would be his last, Dwivedi stepped on a pressure IED and was killed on the spot. His entire body below the abdomen was ripped apart, one of his legs found on the top of the tree, at least 20 feet away from the ground. And four hours before Dwivedi’s death, three constables from the Jharkhand police had met a similar fate. Head constables Hardwar Shah, Kiran Surin and Devendra Kumar were on area domination duty in the forests of Toklo in west Singhbhum district. One of them stepped on an IED accidentally, killing three and injuring at least four

An amazing real-life espionage thriller By Bill Gates

SPY VS SPY An amazing real-life espionage thriller By  Bill Gates |   December 08, 2020   4 minute read       This year has been brutal on so many levels. But 1983 could have been far worse. In the first half of that year, President Ronald Reagan dramatically ratcheted up rhetoric, military spending, and psychological operations against the Soviets. And then in November, NATO conducted a massive military simulation involving 40,000 troops. The Soviets, convinced that NATO was getting ready for a surprise nuclear attack, prepared for nuclear war. But then, without explanation, the West pulled back from the brink. And now we know why: A double agent embedded high in the KGB’s outpost in London got word to his British handlers that the Soviets had mistaken NATO’s war games as war preparation. Without disclosing the source of the intelligence, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was able to convince Reagan to soften his tone and halt further escalation. I learned about this episode fr

Balochistan: Land of enforced disappearances

ANI 3 March 2021, 2:43 pm Islamabad [Pakistan], March 3 (ANI): There are many heartbreaking stories of enforced disappearances in Pakistan's Balochistan province. According to an article that appeared in The Economist on July 24, 2017, "...In 2016 alone, 728 people across Pakistan suffered 'enforced disappearance', as counted by the commission of inquiry that investigates them. Some reappear alive and well, others as roadside corpses. The state flatly denies any unpleasantness," reported The News International. A large number of political activists, intellectuals and students have gone missing in the Balochistan province of Pakistan in the past few decades. The families allege Pakistan's spy agencies behind enforced disappearances, tortures and killings of these missing persons. There are even reports of protesting family members being harassed by the spy agencies and security forces. Fareeha (not her real name) recounts the ordeal of forced abduction of her f

Watching China in Europe - March 2021

Welcome to Watching China in Europe, a monthly update from  GMF’s Asia Program . Now more than ever, the transatlantic partners need clarity and cohesion when it comes to China policy. In this monthly newsletter and the WCIE podcast series,  Noah Barkin—a veteran journalist, managing editor at Rhodium Group and a senior visiting fellow at GMF—provides his personal observations and analysis on the most pressing China-related developments and activities throughout Europe.   We hope you find it useful, but if you would like to opt out at any time please do so via the unsubscribe button below.   If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter please sign up  here . Selmayr on EU-China Two years ago, the European Commission and the EU’s diplomatic service published a document with the simple title “ EU-China – A Strategic Outlook ”. In it, China was described as a partner, an economic competitor, and a systemic rival. It was the last term that got everyone’s attention. The 11-page

Space Force is here to stay

AXIOS.com Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios   Key Democrats in the House and Senate  are in support of the U.S. Space Force, firmly signaling that the newest branch of the military — championed by Donald Trump — will continue under President Biden,  my colleague Ursula Perano reports . Why it matters:  It would take an act of Congress to dissolve the Space Force as a separate service branch, and while Democrats were  widely critical  of its creation, the political tide now appears to have turned in favor of the force. Driving the news:  Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) supports the Space Force existing as a separate branch of the military, despite previous comments insisting the force would add unnecessary bureaucracy, a Reed spokesperson tells Axios. Reed’s outright support for the branch comes after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last month that Space Force has  President Biden’s "full support " and is here to stay. Reed  told Fox News

HOW TO ASYMMETRICALLY OUT-COMPETE XI JINPING’S ONE BELT ONE ROAD INITIATIVE

  HOW TO ASYMMETRICALLY OUT-COMPETE XI JINPING’S ONE BELT ONE ROAD INITIATIVE PATRICK CRONIN MARCH 2, 2021 COMMENTARY Beijing’s One Belt One Road project is an aggressive attempt to expand Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, Chinese President Xi Jinping calls it  “a project of the century.”  But for Washington to respond head-on, trying to match it port-by-port or road-by-road, would simply allow China to set the agenda. Instead, the United States should compete on its own terms with an asymmetric foreign assistance strategy that draws on its natural strengths. This means preventing the rise of an illiberal world order by promoting open commerce, fair rules for the digital space and freedom of the seas. With such an approach, the Biden administration can make good on its vow to  “out-compete”  China. One Belt, One Road, Multiple Challenges To understand Xi’s One Belt One Road, we must place it in the context of China’s contemporary domestic politics, historical identity and

We Don't Need Data Scientists, We Need Data Engineers

January 2021 Data. It’s everywhere and we’re  only getting more of it . For the last 5-10 years,  data science has attracted newcomers near and far trying to get a taste of that forbidden fruit. But what does the state of  data science  hiring look like today? Here’s the gist of the article in two-sentences for the busy reader. TLDR : There are  70% more open roles  at companies in  data engineering  as compared to  data science . As we train the next generation of data and machine learning practitioners, let’s place more emphasis on engineering skills. As part of my work developing an  educational platform  for data professionals, I think a lot about how the market for data-driven (machine learning and data science) roles is evolving. In talking to dozens of prospective entrants to data fields including students at top institutions around the world, I’ve seen a tremendous amount of confusion around what skills are most important to help candidates stand out in the crowd and prepare fo

Loans worth Rs 8 lakh crore written off by Indian banks in the last decade

In its latest Trend and Progress report, the RBI said that the decline in gross NPAs in the banking system was largely aided by loan write-offs. DINESH UNNIKRISHNAN   DECEMBER 31, 2020 / 08:31 AM IST RBI Indian banks wrote off loans worth around Rs 8,83,168 crore in the last ten years, a significant chunk of which came from government-owned banks, the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India shows. Of this, public sector banks (PSBs) alone wrote off Rs 6,67,345 crore worth loans since 2010. This is about 76 percent of the total written-off loans in the decade, while private banks wrote off loans worth Rs 1,93,033 crore constituting about 21 percent of the total chunk. Foreign banks wrote off Rs 22,790 crore loans or 3 percent of the total write-off, the RBI data showed. In the financial year 2019-2020 alone, banks wrote off a total of Rs 2,37,206 crore or about a quarter of the total loan write-offs in the last one decade. Of this, Rs 1,78 lakh crore was by PSBs and Rs53, 949 crore b

How to Be a Dictator by Frank Dikötter review – the cult of personality

Show caption Book of the day Charisma, a lust for power, an absence of principles … what links Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler and other 20th-century dictators? Sheila Fitzpatrick Sat 26 Oct 2019 02.30 EDT Born in obscurity, frustrated in youth, the dictator rises through accident, patronage or anything except merit to blossom into a fully fledged evil-doer, desperate for the respect and admiration that are wrung from the populace only by skilled PR manipulation. Often feigning modesty, he soon generates a cult that he personally develops. Women and even brave men feel overcome in his presence; schoolchildren chant the praise of the father of the nation; artists and writers deify the great leader. Dictators generally come equipped with an ideology, but since they have no principles, only a lust for power, the process of propagation turns it into a mockery. Although dictators often fancy themselves as writers or philosophers, they fail to make the grade as intellectuals, and the Little R