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Showing posts from August 15, 2021

Suicide bombings cast doubt on China’s Pakistan projects

Suicide bombings cast doubt on China’s Pakistan projects Sucide bombers targeted the convoy of Chinese nationals working in Gwadar port. | Photo Credit:  Reuters Ananth Krishnan 21 AUGUST 2021 21:52 IST UPDATED: 21 AUGUST 2021 22:59 IST         On Friday, a motorcade carrying Chinese personnel working at the East Bay Expressway project in Gwadar, was attacked by a suicide bomber Two  suicide bombings  in the space of just over one month have cast doubt on the future of China’s ambitious projects in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, with renewed concerns over the safety of Chinese personnel in the region. On Friday, a motorcade carrying Chinese personnel working at the East Bay Expressway project in Gwadar, the Arabian Sea port where the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) ends, was attacked by a suicide bomber, Pakistani and Chinese officials said, with two local children killed and one Chinese worker injured. This followed  another bomb attack  on July 14 targeting Chinese wo

Protests in Pakistan erupt against China’s belt and road plan

Show caption Seascape: the state of our oceans Demonstrations shut down Gwadar, where Chinese are blamed for lack of water and electricity and threat to local fishing Seascape: the state of our oceans is supported by Shah Meer Baloch   Protests have erupted in Pakistan’s port city Gwadar against a severe shortage of water and electricity and threats to livelihoods, part of a growing backlash against China’s multibillion-dollar belt and road projects in the country. This week, demonstrators including fishers and other local workers blocked the roads in Gwadar, a coastal town in Balochistan. They burned tyres, chanted slogans and largely shut down the city, to demand water and electricity and a stop to Chinese trawlers illegally fishing in the nearby waters and then taking the fish to  China . Two people were injured when the authorities cracked down on the protesters. On Friday a suicide bomber killed two children, in an attack on Chinese nationals driving along the main expressway to t

Meritocracy in Singapore: Solution or problem?

AUTHOR/S Global-is-Asian Staff 12 Nov 2018 Amidst increasingly heated debates in Singapore on inequality, we look at an important tenet of governance in Singapore and whether it perpetuates existing rich-poor divides, to the detriment of lower income Singaporeans.  The topic of inequality in Singapore is receiving increased attention these days thanks to Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality index. Singapore ranked a dismal  149 out of 157  countries, in an index that measures efforts to tackle income inequality. Reasons cited for the low score include a relatively low level of public social spending on education, health and social protection, and a low maximum tax rate for the highest earners. Anyone growing up in Singapore has been instilled with the notion that meritocracy is the country’s main principle of governance. One area that meritocracy is practised, is in Singapore's education system. In a meritocracy, everyone is allowed the opportunity to succeed based on the same

How will China seek to profit from the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan

Ryan Hass Wednesday, August 18, 2021 In recent days, many analysts have stepped forward to provide predictions on how America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will impact China’s regional and global standing. Some argue the withdrawal will free up American resources to focus on China and the Indo-Pacific. For others, the withdrawal opens a vacuum for China to exploit. Still others assert that Taiwan is now more vulnerable because Beijing has taken the measure of America’s resolve and competence and found it lacking. While it is difficult to know with certainty how China’s leaders are evaluating developments in Afghanistan, it is possible to draw a few preliminary conclusions. The following observations are based on over a decade of discussions with Chinese officials and experts focused on such questions. Does China see an opportunity to exploit in Afghanistan following America’s withdrawal? Most Chinese counterparts I know are unclouded by any optimism about their capacity to transform Af

How Afghanistan snags China in a $282 billion creditor trap

 Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose for a photo during their meeting in Tianjin, China. 5 min read   .   05:45 AM IST Bloomberg The hurried withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan — the 1975 fall of Saigon déjà vu — has been heralded as a win for China and an opportunity for Beijing to extend its influence across the region. It’s even been raised as a lesson for Taiwan not to rely on American protection, in the eyes of the Global Times, a state-run tabloid.  However, the ironic truth for China is that the only thing worse than US soldiers near its borders is not having them there at all. Afghanistan is now a big headache for Beijing, which fears chaos there will spill over not just to its restive region of Xinjiang but to Pakistan. The People’s Republic has invested huge infrastructure projects as well as extended huge loans to Islamabad as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, one of President Xi Jinping’s signature policies. S

BJP’s OBC line has silenced RSS Brahmins. But Shudras key to anti-Muslim battles

The RSS knows that Shudra agrarian communities across India are re-assessing their status in all spheres of life — spiritual, social, educational and economic. KANCHA ILAIAH SHEPHERD 17 August, 2021 Illustration by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint J ust a day before the Indian Parliament passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Amendment)  Bill  on the question of Other Backward Class reservation, the general secretary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Dattatreya Hosabale, gave an  unusual statement , given the history of his organisation. He said that reservation is a historical necessity for India, it should continue as long as there is inequality being experienced by a particular section of society. He also said that “the history of India would be ‘incomplete’ without the history of Dalits”. The statement of its new general secretary goes against the repeated statements that Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has given against reser

Commercial Space in Europe: A Balancing Act between Physics, Politics and Profession

Etudes de l'Ifri, June 2021 Satellite constellations have become core elements of the digital transition. Over the next decade, several thousand satellites will have to be launched, to build these constellations.  For positioning satellites, preferably in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), reliable and affordable launch services are essential. At the end of 2020, the European Space Agency (ESA) awarded three German space start-ups competing contracts in order to support its small-launch system. One may identify a change in Germany’s space policy, since the ESA Ministerial Council (MC) in Seville in late 2019. Besides supporting programs in its traditional fields of interest, Germany showed a special interest in supporting the Commercial Space Transportation Service acceleration program for the above-mentioned German space start-ups. This report is focused on a technical analysis of the market demands and the special commercial market conditions in LEO. It describes the competitive situation an

How New Satellite Connections Could Affect Global Internet Governance

https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/satellite-internet#hd-d15257e573 A number of companies from the US and China plan to build networks of several thousand satellites each to enable access to the Internet from any point on Earth. These satellites will be stationed in low Earth orbit. If these plans are put into practice, the global Internet infrastructure will acquire a whole new dimension. This would have far-reaching consequences for Internet access, the security and resilience of Internet infrastructure, and power relations in global Internet governance. The home countries of the leading companies – above all the US, followed by China – would have extensive potential for political influence. They would be able to control, at the level of the Internet’s global infrastructure, the worldwide flows of information. This research paper draws two scenarios to illustrate the range of possible developments and the corresponding potential responses: one describes the development of glob

Iran’s Expansion in the Middle East Is Hitting a Wall

SWP Research Paper 2021/RP 06, 12.08.2021, 35 Pages doi:10.18449/2021RP06 S ummary Since 2011 the Islamic Republic of Iran has significantly extended its influence in the Middle East. The expansion reached its apex in 2018. It has since entered a new phase in which Tehran, despite not suffering any strategic military setbacks, is hitting a wall. Iran’s biggest fundamental problem is that a majority of its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen are primarily military and terrorist actors. They frequently succeed in armed confrontations. Yet they are subsequently incapable of ensuring political and economic stability. The best option for German and European policymakers is a strategy of containment so as to put an end to Iran’s expansion in the four countries mentioned above, but also to acknowledge in the short term that Tehran and its allies are in a position of strength. Part of such a containment strategy would be to impose the most far-reaching isolation and sanctions possible on

Fertilizer transit trade from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port to Afghanistan undisturbed by war

By  Chu Daye Published: Aug 16, 2021 11:11  Photo: VCG  Even as battle raged across Afghanistan last week, Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, now operated by a Chinese company, continued to ship fertilizers to the landlocked country, the Global Times learned. A total of 500 tons of fertilizers were shipped out of the port’s warehouse by a fleet of Pakistani trucks during the past week, a source at the port told the Global Times on Monday.  Located in Pakistan's southwest province of Balochistan, Gwadar Port is a key project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since its operation, the port has begun to play a new role as an efficient transit stop and time-saving trade port for land-locked Afghanistan. It shipments of fertilizer started in January 2020. During the past week, the Taliban’s swift military offensive surprised observers worldwide. The Taliban has declared the war in Afghanistan over after its fight

Belt and Road Weekly Investor Intelligence, August 17, 2021

 by  China Briefing   Tuesday, August 17, 2021   In this week’s issue, we focus on the wider implications of the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan and what this means for China as well as each of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. We provide detailed analysis and special country reports devoted to each of them. If you find this useful, please forward it to a friend. Subscriptions can be obtained at  www.silkroadbriefing.com The Taliban Will Govern Afghanistan. What Does The Future Hold For China And Central Asia?  China’s Belt & Road Initiative And The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Have Key Roles To Play In Restructuring And Securing Afghanistan The Afghanistan Belt & Road: China’s Opportunity Or A US Exited Death Trap?  Iran To Finally Take Full Membership Of The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation  Tajikistan And The Belt & Road Initiative Kyrgyzstan And The Belt & Road Initiative  Pakistan’s Gwadar Port And Afghan Belt & Road Trade  Turkmenistan And Th

Watch | Should There Be A Caste Census in 2021?

Video Several parties, including BJP's allies, have been demanding a caste-specific census. Arfa Khanum Sherwani discusses the issue with a panel of guests. 7 hours ago | Arfa Khanum Sherwani         The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Apna Dal (S) on Sunday demanded a separate Central ministry for the welfare of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a caste-based census across the country. They wanted to ascertain the exact population of each community. Apna Dal (S) has made this demand when assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh next year. Apna Dal (S) is the second ally of the ruling BJP, after Bihar’s JDU, which has raised the demand for a caste-based census. In addition, opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have also been demanding this. The demand assumes significance a few months ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where a major chunk of voters belongs to the OBC category.  The Wire ‘s Arfa Khanum Sherwani discusses the issue with