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Showing posts from May 2, 2021

30 killed, 52 wounded in blast near Afghan girls' school

AFP Published   May 8, 2021  -  Updated   about 9 hours ago An injured woman is transported to a hospital after a blast in Kabul on May 8. — Reuters A blast outside a girls' school in an area of the Afghan capital populated largely by the Hazara community killed at least 30 people and wounded scores including students on Saturday, officials said. The explosion rocked the west Kabul district of Dasht-e-Barchi — a regular target of Islamist militants — as residents were out shopping ahead of Eidul Fitr next week that marks the end of Ramazan. It comes as the United States military continues to pull out its last remaining 2,500 troops from violence-wracked Afghanistan, despite faltering peace efforts between the Taliban and Afghan government to end a decades-long war. Interior ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that at least “30 people were killed and 52 wounded” in the blast. Arian's deputy Hamid Roshan told  AFP  that an investigation had begun into the explosion, add

The 61 Greatest Love Songs to Dedicate to Your Special Someone

By:   Chelsea Candelario |   Oct. 1, 2020 Let’s be honest: Love songs always hit right in the feels. A ballad can turn from just a regular song to  the  soundtrack to your relationship—whether you’re celebrating your 25th anniversary or just uttering ‘I love yous’ for the first time. These hits have been added to mix CDs, belted out at weddings and quoted in movies as some of the most romantic gestures of our time. From Whitney Houston to Adele, the 61 greatest love songs you can dedicate to your special someone 〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰 A Fav😋  “DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART” BY ELTON JOHN & KIKI DEE (1976) Grab your beau and duet this ‘70s classic. Be the Kiki Dee to their Elton John and sing your heart out at karaoke “TIME AFTER TIME” BY CYNDI LAUPER (1983) Whether you’re adding it to your playlist or dedicating it to your partner at karaoke, this Cyndi Lauper bop is a classic “FAITHFULLY” BY JOURNEY (1983) Long distance can be hard, but Journey is letting us know it’s still worth it with lyrics

2 men arrested, over 7kg of uranium seized in India

Anadolu Agency Published   May 7, 2021  -  Updated   about 16 hours ago Facebook Count Twitter Share 22 The case was registered on Wednesday after a report from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai confirmed the seized material is highly radioactive. — Photo courtesy Hindustan Times Indian police seized over seven kilogrammes (15.4 pounds) of natural uranium and arrested two men in the western Maharashtra state for “illegally possessing” the highly radioactive substance, an authority said on Thursday. According to the anti-terrorism squad in Maharashtra, the confiscated material is worth around $2.9 million and an investigation into the case is under way. “We had received information that one person identified as Jigar Pandya was going to illegally sell pieces of uranium substance, a trap was laid and he was arrested,” the Maharashtra police said. “Investigation into the case revealed that another person identified as Abu Tahir gave him these pieces of uranium.” The police said

ARCTIC: THIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES

Ten months after giant Arctic spill, inspectors fear more accidents at Nornickel's oil tank farms The leakage of over 20 thousand tons of diesel oil into the rivers of the Taymyr Peninsula (over a 20 kilometre radius) made headlines around the world last June, and Nornickel was sentenced in February to pay 146.18 billion rubles (€1.62 billion) for environmental damage. Yet, this spill does not appear to be the last. An unannounced inspection by the Russian environmental authorities took place at the facilities of Taymyr Energy Company and the Norilsktransgaz. Many of these facilities were built more than 50 years ago, and the inspectors report that only 38 of the 115 irregularities previously discovered had been repaired. According to the Russian agency, similar accidents to last year's would be likely to happen. In addition, the agency reports that the storage facilities have not put in place plans to protect and restore the surrounding environment, as required. The outcome of

How to Structure a Foreign Malign Influence Center

April 30, 2021 Bradley Hanlon Program Manager and Analyst On Monday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)  confirmed  to Politico that it is working to establish a Foreign Malign Influence Center. The center, which was first authorized as part of the  2020 Defense Authorization bill , will serve as a hub for analyzing and informing policymakers about foreign attempts to exert influence in the United States. Experts have  long recommended  the creation of the center, and Politico reports that ODNI is continuing to review proposals to determine its appropriate size and structure. In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines  expressed  optimism that the center could serve as a starting point for “whole-of-government efforts” to combatting malign influence. To ensure that the center is able to fulfill this goal, ODNI should focus on empowering the center to look beyond elections, cut across bureaucratic stovepipes,

China’s State-Backed Messengers See Opportunity in India’s Coronavirus Woes

May 4, 2021 Bryce Barros China Affairs Analyst Etienne Soula Research Assistant Overview China’s state-backed messengers are using India’s health crisis to denigrate the United States and encourage India to step back from its deepening partnership with the United States and other democracies.  According to data from the Johns Hopkins University , daily Covid-19 cases in India have exceeded 300,000 since April 21. As Indian authorities struggle to stem the tide of new cases, Chinese government officials and state-backed media see the health crisis as an opportunity to mend relations. To alleviate strains caused by last summer’s border clashes and to drive a wedge between India and its democratic partners, Chinese government officials and state-backed media are portraying China as a friend, while denigrating the United States as an opportunist. What We’re Seeing on Hamilton 2.0 Through messaging and narratives about India’s coronavirus outbreak, Chinese officials and state-backed media h

A Turning Point for Europe and India

Transatlantic Take May 4, 2021 Garima Mohan Fellow, Asia Program       On May 8 India’s prime minister and the heads of state of all 27 EU countries will meet for a historic Leaders’ Meeting. This is the first time that an Indian leader will participate in such a meeting. In fact, the format is rarely used and offered by the EU. Such a meeting was supposed to take place last year with China’s President Xi Jinping under different circumstances but, with new tensions in the EU-Chinese partnership after the coronavirus crisis, it was reduced to a different, much smaller format. This unprecedented meeting marks a turning point for the Europe-India relationship, and the culmination of sustained efforts by New Delhi to invest more diplomatic resources in Europe, reversing years of political neglect. It also reflects a marked change of tone and posture in Brussels and other European capitals, which seem keen to invest much more effort into ties with India.   The deliverables of this meeting w

China’s soft power in Europe: falling on hard times

The new report of the  European Think-Tank Network on China (ETNC)  gathers analyses from 17 countries and EU institutions. It concludes that China’s soft-power status in Europe has fallen on hard times. MERICS researcher  Barbara Pongratz  argues that China’s economic power and its non-transparent channels of influence are viewed more critically in Germany than they used to be. You can  download a full text version of this chapter and the full ETNC report  on our website

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan – strengthening the domestic base to become a superpower

MERICS Mercator Institute for China Studies Apr 09, 2021 7 min read Formally adopted on March 11, China’s 14th Five-Year Plan marks a shift away from the quantitative growth-focus of Beijing’s previous plans. Instead, it aims to usher in a more inward-looking “new developmental stage” that targets “quality development.” The Chinese leadership's plan for China’s development from 2021 to 2025 prioritizes what it calls the “internal cycle,” by which it aims to strengthen the domestic economy and consolidate social development. The goal is to cut as quickly as possible the reliance on foreign technology and dependence on imported resources, and to double down on existing plans for industrial modernization and technological innovation. The long-term goal of this repointed development strategy – away from economic growth targets and towards systemic resilience – is not only self-sufficiency in essential resources and key technologies. Its stated aim is to become a “manufacturing superpow