China blocks listing of JeM Chief Masood Azhar as terrorist, again

In yet another blow to India, China has again held back on the proposal to blacklist Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed(JeM) Chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist. The proposal at the United Nations has been backed by the US, France and UK.

The proposal was first brought to the UN Security Council in January and blocked by China in February. The deadline for the country to take action on this technical hold was August 2, 2017. However, just hours before this deadline lapsed, Beijing once again sought a three-month extension until November 2, 2017. This is now the fourth time that it has blocked such moves by India and the Western nations. If the proposal was accepted and passed, Masood Azhar would by default have been considered a UN-designated terrorist.

India considers Azhar the mastermind of the January 2, 2016 terrorist attack on the Pathankot air force station and holds JeM responsible for a series of attacks, including the December 13, 2001, attack on the Parliament. In March 2016, China was the only member of the 15-nation UN Security Council to block the application moved by India to designate him as a terrorist and place him on the sanctions list. However, sources had claimed that the block would not prevent India from pursuing issues of terrorism or sanctioning of leaders of terror outfits at the world body.

Notably, the Chinese action comes in the midst of a tense military standoff between India and China at Dokalam in Bhutan.

 

Sources: NDTV, Livemint

A new legislation for immigrants in the USA

After the immigrants’ issue in the USA, President Donald Trump announced that he supports a legislation which will cut in half the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US while moving to a “merit-based” system favoring English-speaking skilled workers for residency cards.

If this new legislation, Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act,  is passed then it can be beneficial for technology professionals and highly-educated people  from countries such as India.
Taking factors in account such as education, English language skills, , high- paying job offers and age, the new act will be a points-based system for earning a green card.

Speaking at the end Trump highlighted the event by saying that the Act will help in reduce proverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billion dollars.
Trump said at the White House during the event, “Trump said this legislation will not only restore America’s competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens.This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first,”.

Sources-

  1. The Times of India- http://m.timesofindia.com/india/donald-trumps-merit-based-immigration-system-may-benefit-indians/articleshow/59891768.cms

2. NDTV- https://www.google.co.in/amp/m.ndtv.com/indians-abroad/donald-trumps-merit-based-immigration-plan-may-benefit-indian-professionals-1732768%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off

Image  Source- Times of India

Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia

Washington, D.C., August 2: Following the passage of legislation imposing sanctions on Russia in the 115th U.S. Congress, President Donald Trump approved the law, albeit grudgingly, signing on the bill on August 2, 2017. He criticized the bill of consisting of “unconstitutional elements.”

Congress passed the legislation on July 25, 2017, with an overwhelming majority (419-3), imposing sanctions on North Korea and Iran along with Russia. Along with Russia’s energy sector, the sanctions include entities such as banks, weapons manufacturers, as well as those accused of interfering in the US Presidential Elections 2016. It also bars Trump from waiving the economic sanctions on Moscow without approval from Congress.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, while reacting to the passage of this bill, had ordered the US to cut the number of staff at its diplomatic mission by 755.

Interestingly, neither Trump nor Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was in favor of this bill. Trump was reported to have signed the bill for “the sake of national unity” by USA Today. “It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.” While Rex Tillerson said that, “neither the President nor I am very happy about that. We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.”

The bill, despite Trump’s reluctance, would have become a law because of the thumping majority it received in the Congress.

 

News Sources- RT, USA Today 

Imran Khan accused of harassing women through obscene text messages

Reports from Hindustan Times stated that Ayesha Gulalai, a lawmaker of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accused Imran Khan, party chief of harassing women leaders in the party. During a press conference, she voiced her concern regarding the “honour” of women affiliated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) who felt unsafe. While resigning the party she said, “My integrity matters to me the most” and “I cannot compromise when it comes to my honour and dignity.”

According to Indian Express, Ayesha Gulalai, who hails from South Waziristan tribal region indicted Imran Khan of sending lewd text messages to the women leaders of the party. However, she refused to share the messages by stating that, “they were so mean that nobody can tolerate them.” She also added that her repeated complaints regarding the harassment were ignored. She criticized Khan by stating that he suffers from “psychological problems” and “gets jealous of, people who are better than him”. To counter her, Shireen Mazari, Chief whip of PTI declared Gulalai’s allegations as deceitful and extended her support for Imran Khan by acknowledging his respect for women workers. Corruption charges were filed against PTI government at Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and its Chief Minister Pervez Khattak who was described as “mafia boss” by Gulalai.

In favour of Khan, some party members disapproved Gulalai’s claims. They deemed her allegations as an act of resentment as she was refused a ticket for the upcoming general elections. They also stressed on her desire of joining the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister. Gulalai denied this speculation.

 

Sources: Hindustan Times, New Indian Express

China has the confidence to defeat all invasions: Xi Jinping

“The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions. We will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form,” President Xi Jinping at the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of People’s Liberation Army.

Speaking at the Great Hall of the People, Xi did not direct his message to any single country. However, with the standoff between India and China near the Sikkim sector, his comments become crucial.

The border clash ruptured over a disputed plateau which India calls Doklam and China recognizes as Donglang. The plateau, lying at a junction between China, Sikkim and Bhutan, is disputed between Beijing and Thimphu. India, being a close ally of the latter, deployed troops to obstruct China’s road project, which led to accusations on India for trespassing on Chinese soil. Officials say such transgressions are numerous, since both sides have varied perceptions of the Line of Actual Control.

Amidst the border face-off, there were no signs of strained ties at an event in New Delhi to mark the 90th anniversary of China’s army, which was attended by representatives from India, Bhutan and China.

Sources on both sides have suggested that talks are on to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff. Channels of communication are on as was seen by the participation of the Indian representative at the PLA event.

 

Sources: Reuters, NDTV

Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Iraqi Embassy in Kabul

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul on Monday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the embassy allowing three gunmen to enter the compound. This was followed by gunfire that lasted for several hours until about mid-afternoon when the Interior ministry announced that the Afghan security forces had killed all the assailants.

There were conflicting reports regarding the casualties of the assault with the Islamic State in their claim stating that seven guards were killed, whereas according to the official statement of the spokesman of the Interior ministry, Najib Danish, only one guard was injured and there were no fatalities among the security forces or the civilians. However, as reported by Hindustan Times, a witness at the spot claims to have seen the bodies of at least two dead policemen outside the embassy soon after the attack.

According to Iraqi Foreign ministry, during the gunfight, its top diplomat in Kabul was taken to the Egyptian embassy and eventually, all the embassy diplomats and employees were evacuated to safety.

This attack comes two weeks after a press conference was held at the embassy, where the concern was raised that the local IS affiliate might plan large scale attacks elsewhere to draw away attention from their defeat in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Sources – HT, BBC

Venezuela election day turns violent, leaves ten dead

In a wave of bloodshed, ten have been killed in the last 24 hours of the Venezuela protests. The protests turned violent during the elections to choose members of the all-powerful new legislative body that is supposed to reform the country’s constitution. According to an Indian Express report, protesters had swarmed the streets and attacked polling stations, which drew fire from the security forces.

The shootings left a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old in the western state of Tachira, as well as a soldier and a 30-year old regional leader of a youth opposition party, taking the total death toll over the last four months to 120, reported Al Jazeera. Many more protesters with bullet wounds were moved to Colombia for treatment. The national guard troops were deployed to disperse the protesters and used armoured vehicles, rubber bullets and tear gas.

AFP quoted senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles saying “We do not recognize this fraudulent process,” at the close of voting on Sunday. The opposition has boycotted the elections, calling it a method to consolidate unpopular president Nicolas Maduro’s power. Since his election in 2013, he has faced months of protests of economic crises and food shortages.

The United States has condemned the violence, calling it a sham and urged neighbouring countries to take action against those who “undermine democracy, deny human rights.”

 

Sources: Indian Express, Al Jazeera