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Showing posts from June 25, 2020

Contract for Kenya’s China-funded railway ruled ‘illegal’

Court of Appeal finds against US$3.2 billion contract for belt and road project which started operating in 2017 Ruling throws question mark over future of this and other construction agreements Jevans Nyabiage Published:  6:00pm, 23 Jun, 2020 Updated:  11:02pm, 23 Jun, 2020 When Chinese President  Xi Jinping  hosted African leaders at last week’s  China-Africa Summit , he singled out Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway, a multibillion-dollar Chinese-funded  Belt and Road Initiative  project, for helping to move cargo during the coronavirus pandemic.   Xi congratulated Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta for ensuring the uninterrupted flow of cargo from the Port of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast into the East African hinterland via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which first started operating in 2017. Kenya’s decision, he said, had helped keep trade flowing in the region despite freight restrictions required by Covid-19 containment measures.   But the rail project has faced one setback after ano

China lends huge sums to rebuild ancient Silk Road

DECODERS JUNE 19, 2020 It’s one of world’s biggest infrastructure projects ever. Here’s how China plans to rebuild the ancient Silk Road — and how it could reshape the globe. A caravan shelter on the Silk Road in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo taken by Ben Barber in 2010 By Ben Barber Flush with cash from its exports of everything from electronics to furniture to Europe, the Middle East and America, China has embarked on one of the world’s most ambitious projects: reconstructing the ancient Silk Road. Since Beijing launched what it calls “the Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) in 2013, it has invested more than a hundred billion dollars to start building a vast network of railroads and shipping lanes between China and 65 countries in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Eruope. BRI’s projects include a railroad in Kenya, a port in Sri Lanka and a new city in Malaysia. Already, 160 countries hav

Kenya court rejects China's multi-billion dollar BRI rail project

China's BRI project in Kenya Photograph:( AFP ) Jun 25, 2020, 10.39 AM (IST) Kenya's appeals court has ruled that the contract between the Kenyan government and China Road Bridge Corporation(CRBC) failed to comply with its laws. Also Read: 20% Belt and Road Initiative 'seriously affected' due to coronavirus, says China The court said that the state-run Kenya railways failed to comply with the country's law in the procurement of the Standard Guage Railway(SGR), which is part of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative(BRI), according to a report. The court further declared that the contract was "illegal". A Kenyan activist along with the Law Society of Kenya had brought a lawsuit in 2014 to stop the construction of the railway link. It had alleged that the contract was "single-sourced" and not put on tender. The petition said that it was "a 100 per cent Kenyan funded venture" with the Kenyan taxpayers who would be repaying the loa

China forcing citizens to work in ‘horrendous conditions’ on BRI projects: US report

ANI Updated Jun 26, 2020 | 09:03 IST Since 2017, the US has placed China in Tier-3 category, as the Asian country "does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so". US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. | File image Washington DC:  The United States on Thursday retained China in Tier-3 category (lowest ranking) of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report and said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its state-owned enterprises often force citizens to work in "horrendous conditions" on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. Unveiling the annual report here, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said, "Our Trafficking in Persons Report calls out a group of nations with a state-sponsored pattern of forced labour. Among them is China, where the CCP and its state-owned enterprises often forcing citizens to work in horrendous conditions on Belt and Road project." Since 2017, the US has p

Baloch lives matter

TARIQ KHOSA DURING the current budget session, Sardar Akhtar Mengal, chief of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) announced his decision to quit the ruling coalition, causing a setback to the PTI government. This latest voice of dissent does not augur well for the nation. The government has been accused of displaying a “non-serious attitude” towards Balochistan’s problems and of failing to implement the two agreements arrived at with the PTI leadership before the formation of the government soon after the 2018 polls. Two pressing issues referred to by Mengal during his speech focused on missing persons and non-implementation of the Counterterrorism National Action Plan (CT NAP). The BNP-M and PTI signed a six-point MoU in August 2018 for an alliance at the centre. The points related to the recovery of missing persons, NAP’s implementation, six per cent quota for Balochistan in federal government departments, early repatriation of Afghan refugees and construction of small dams

CPEC to be game changer for Pak''s Balochistan: Experts

Source: IANS CPEC to be game changer for Pak''s Balochistan: Experts Islamabad, June 26 (IANS) The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be a game changer for Pakistan''s southwest Balochistan province, according to experts. The observation was made by speakers at a webinar on "Security and Development in Balochistan: Existing Dynamics and Way Ahead" on Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency. Organized by the prominent Islamabad-based think-tank Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), the webinar discussed bringing peace, prosperity and development in Balochistan by empowering the Baloch people through development projects and governance reforms. Speaking at the event, Rafiullah Kakar, a development and policy expert from Balochistan, said that CPEC has the potential to be the game changer for Balochistan to uplift the underdeveloped areas and sectors of the province. Kakar said that the benefit of the multi-billion-dollar project has yet to reach the

Akbar Barakzai rejected the Academy of Literature award By Pakistani government

Date:  25 Jun 2020 Current Balochistan  Leading Balochi poet and writer Akbar Barakzai has recently refused to accept the award for best book in Balochi prose announced by the Academy of Literature Pakistan. “He has sent this news exclusively in an email to the editor of Hal Hawal and asked him to publish his detailed position in this regard” as per the Hal Hawal. Along with the said email, he has also forwarded the email which he has written to the Chairman of the Academy of Literature, Dr. Yousof Kashak. In that e-mail, he wrote to Dr. Kashak: “I learned through a friend that my book has been nominated for the Academy of Literature Award. I am grateful to you for this honor, but I apologize for the award.” Unable to take. The question asked by the editor Hawal is why does he not want to accept this award? He wrote in a reply email “Thank you for reminding me that I could not explain the reason for not receiving the award. Certainly, the reason is the policies imposed by the governmen

Another teenage ‘forcefully disappeared’ from Kech

Date:  25 Jun 2020 Current Balochistan  Pakistani security forces forcefully disappeared another teenage boy from kech area of Balochistan on Thursday. According to details, earlier at morning Pakistani forces raided in koshkalat area of Tump, kech and forcefully disappeared a teenage boy from the aforementioned area. who has been identified as Sattar son of Ellahi Baksh. Moreover, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a campaign group by families of Baloch missing persons, claimes that more than 40,000 Baloch men, women, and children are under threat of Pakistani forces custody. Baloch Political activists and families of Missing Persons have long been urging the UN and other international Human Rights Organisation to take action against Pakistani state brutalities and take notice of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. Balochistan plagued by enforced disappearance remains under heavy military control and despite the pandemic coronavirus Pakistani forces intensified human rights

Awaran: Large scale military operation underway, communication system shut down

Date:  25 Jun 2020 Current Balochistan  Large-scale military operation continues in Balochistan’s Awaran district, communication system and public transport are completely shut down, people are trapped in their homes. According to reports, a large scale operation of Pakistani Army has been going on in different areas of Awaran district since Wednesday. According to local sources, a large number of troops are present in Peerandar, Geshkour, Jaho and other areas between Awaran and Kech districts, where the movement of public transport and private vehicles has been completely stopped. The nearby areas of Awaran and Kech districts have been completely surrounded by the army and the entrances and exits of the aforementioned areas have been completely closed. Sources said that the army was moving into the mountain ranges with a large number of modern weapons and equipment and people were trapped in their homes. However, no details regarding arrests or loss to lives and property have been rec