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Showing posts from June 15, 2018

Amnesty International alarmed at enforced disappearances in Pakistan

June 15, 2018 Amnesty International has said that it is alarmed by the ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Pakistan. New York-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International appealed to authorities in Pakistan to end what it described as an alarming crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other civil society members in the run up to the July 25 general elections. “Key freedoms are under relentless attack in Pakistan, with the authorities cracking down on dissent, whether it takes place on the streets, on television news channels, in newspaper columns, or on social media,” Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy Director for South Asia at Amnesty International, said. The strong-worded statement comes at a time when enforced disappearances and military raids are at all-time high in Balochistan. Scores have been arrested and subsequently ‘disappeared’ by Pakistani security

Belt and Road. London on the Map

The City of London Corporation is to launch a publication to promote London as the ‘natural western hub’ of the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which could add up to £1.8 billion annually to UK GDP. City of London Corporation Policy Chairman Catherine McGuinness will present  ‘Belt and Road: London on the Map’  to senior Chinese financial figures during a visit to China next week, where she is travelling to speak at the  Lujiazui   Forum  in Shanghai. The publication presents for the first time how firms from the UK financial and professional services (FPS) sector are involved in the BRI, including Standard Chartered, HSBC, Linklaters, Clifford Chance and UK Export Finance, bringing together specific examples of projects underway in countries along the initiative. It also highlights London’s strengths as a hub for the soft infrastructure required by the BRI, with the aim being to advertise London as the ideal partner for companies involved. Partnerships between UK and C

In Southeast Asia, Belt and Road Attracts Takers, But Skepticism is Rising

A train runs through during the groundbreaking ceremony of the cooperation between Thailand and China on the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail development in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on December 21, 2017. Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters Blog Post by  Joshua Kurlantzick June 15, 2018       Since China’s Belt and Road Initiative was formally launched in 2013, Southeast Asia has been one of the major priorities of the infrastructure investment project. Beijing launched a new high-speed railway from Kunming to Laos (a line that is supposed to eventually stretch through Southeast Asia), a high-speed rail link connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and multiple other projects throughout the region. The giant infrastructure project still has many fans in Southeast Asian governments, and in Southeast Asian private companies. Laos’ government is pushing forward with the $5.8 billion railway, which it has touted as critical to transforming Laos into a transport hub for the region, to spark

CPEC a good model of socio-economic cooperation : Says Chinese Vice Premier

BEIJING : Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and similar arrangements with other countries have deepened socio-economic cooperation at the regional level. These corridors created strong bonds between South Asian and South East Asian Countries. South Asia is closed neighbor of China and an important partner of belt and road initiative, he said while addressing the opening ceremony of the 5th China-South Asia Expo in Kunming , capital of Yunnan province . The CPEC is a good model of socio-economic cooperation, he added. The delegates from Pakistan, South Asian and South East Asian Countries and representatives of International Organizations attended the Ceremony. Pakistan’s traders have established stalls in a pavilion, displaying different products including, leather, garments , decoration pieces made from marbles and bross , carpets ,wood furniture and other displayed in the different stalls getting attention of Chinese customers. Accord

Grand optics but little gains

Shastri Ramachandaran   The Doklam stand-off came soon after PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had “cordial and friendly” exchanges on the sidelines of the Astana summit — Picture for representational purpose India’s participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China, on June 9-10 has revived the debate over the usefulness of this membership for the country’s foreign policy, economic development, security goals and Sino-Indian relations. The question has been debated since 2009, when India and Pakistan attended the summit as observers in Russia’s Yekaterinburg; and India showed interest in joining the SCO. It was in June last year at the SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, that India and Pakistan became full members of the China-led grouping. This year’s summit was the first for India and Pakistan as full members and where Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain. Predictably enough, there arose an ‘India-Pakist

Vietnam protests over feared 99-year leases for China

By  Asian Correspondent Staff Vietnamese protesters shout slogans against a proposal to grant companies lengthy land leases during a demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City on June 10, 2018. The draft law at the centre of the furore would allow 99-year concessions in planned special economic zones, which some view as sweetheart deals for foreign and specifically Chinese firms. Source: Kao Nguyen / AFP PROTESTS blocked streets in several major Vietnamese cities on Sunday over plans for new special economic zones, which many fear would be dominated by investment from Chinese firms. The draft law would allow 99-year concessions to be leased to foreign firms, as part of an initiative to open three new economic zones providing incentives and fewer restrictions announced by Vietnam last May. About 40-50 protesters gathered at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake holding placards reading “Protest against the draft law on special economic zones”. The demonstrators carried anti-China banners, including one t

China, Pakistan to jointly produce film on CPEC

Source: PTI China and Pakistan will jointly produce a movie to highlight the "intimate friendship" of the people from the two countries, according to a media report. PTI @moneycontrolcom     For the first time, filmmakers from China and Pakistan will jointly produce a movie showcasing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to highlight the "intimate friendship" of the people from the two countries, according to a media report. The USD 50 billion CPEC, a flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has become a major issue as it traversed through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), prompting strong protests from India. India has refused to endorse the BRI at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit held this month in Qingdao in China. The movie named "The Journey" will tell stories of Chinese businesses participating in the construction of the corridor in response to the BRI, Wang Haiping, di

TTP Leader Reportedly Killed In US Drone Strike In Kunar

In March, the US offered a $5 million reward for information on Mullah Fazlullah’s whereabouts.  Reliable sources have told TOLOnews that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a drone strike on Wednesday in Kunar Province in Afghanistan. Wednesday’s drone strike reportedly took place in Marawayra district along the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Reports also indicate another four TTP commanders were killed in the strike. This is not however the first time reports have emerged of the death of Fazlullah after the elusive chief of the banned group was named TTP chief in late 2013. He succeeded Hakimullah Mehsud who was killed in a drone strike in November of that year.  US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Martin O’Donnell meanwhile confirmed the US Forces conducted a counterterrorism strike on Wednesday in Kunar province and that a senior leader of a terrorist organization had been targeted.  However, he did not reveal