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China hosts Silk Road forum to revive trade route

Saturday 13 May, 2017: Chinese President Xi Jinping offered tens of billions of dollars for projects that are part of his signature foreign policy initiative linking China to much of Asia, Europe and Africa. Xi made the announcement in his opening address to a two-day “Belt and Road” conference in Beijing that brought together leaders from 29 countries. It was Xi’s latest high-profile appearance that seeks to cast him as a global leader and chief advocate for free trade. “We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy,” Xi said. Despite China’s public defense of free trade, Beijing faces mounting complaints that the government is hampering or reducing market access to foreign companies. Xi said China would contribute 100bn yuan ($14.5bn) to the Silk Road Fund, which was set up in 2014 to finance infrastructure projects and provide aid worth 60bn yuan ($8.7bn) to developing countries and international organizations taking part in the initiative to revive the ancient trade route. Two Chinese banks will also set up lending schemes valued at 380bn yuan ($55bn) to support the initiative, Xi said.

‘INDIA  SHOULD  STOP  FANNING  SCEPTICISM  TO WARDS  CHINA’

By :  PTI | Beijing                                                                                                                              

India should seek to build “joint strength” across South Asia rather than fanning scepticism towards China, a state-run Chinese newspaper said today as it criticised India for being “overly nervous” about Beijing’s economic initiatives. Responding to an Indian media report that, China may put South Asia on the road to a debt trap, an article in the state-run Global Times said, “There’s nothing good about being overly nervous, a motto highly recommended for India, which seems to have gone too far in its conspiracy theorising.” It said that some Indian media are going to the extreme of smearing China as “a snake in the grass”. China’s push for implementing the ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative, which aims to facilitate joint prosperity across the countries and regions along the route, was presented as “offering benefits only to China while setting a trap for countries in South Asia”, it said, referring to the criticism. “Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in particular, were billed as two obtuse nations that have fallen into a huge debt trap as they were purportedly burdened with heavy loans from Chinese lenders asking for high interest rates,” it said. While China is building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with about USD 50 billion, Sri Lanka is saddled with the USD eight billion Chinese loans and investments.”It’s truly ridiculous to assume that its two neighbours Sri Lanka and Pakistan would be so naïve that they would prefer unbearably hefty loans from China to more affordable loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank or India’s Line of Credit,” the daily said. “If there had been better options, there’s no doubt that the two countries would have opted for them,” it said. The daily also refuted criticism that CPEC is “a strategic Chinese blueprint for China’s colonial control of Pakistan in perpetuity, strategically and economically.” “All of this essentially points to India’s tight nerves about its giant neighbour. In fairness, it makes sense for India to stay awake and alert,” it said. “Nevertheless, defamation and conspiracy theories won’t be of any help in this regard, and instead they only belittle India itself,” it said  “Rather than fanning scepticism towards China, India should seek to build joint strength across the region,” it said.

India skips China’s Silk Road summit, warns of ‘unsustainable’ debt

NEW DELHI: India has not sent an official delegation to attend the “Belt and Road Forum” in Beijing and instead criticized China’s global initiative, warning of an “unsustainable debt burden” for countries involved. Chinese President Xi Jinping is hosting dozens of world leaders and senior officials for the country’s biggest diplomatic showcase of the year, touting his vision of a new “Silk Road” that opens trade routes across the globe. Government officials from New Delhi did not travel, Indian officials said, although scholars from Indian think-tanks have flown to Beijing to attend some of the meetings at the forum. Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay, asked whether New Delhi was participating in the summit, said India could not accept a project that compromised its sovereignty.

DeadlyBombing in Kabul Is One of the Afghan War’s Worst Strikes

31 May, 2017 | KABUL, Afghanistan — A suspected suicide bomber drove into Kabul’s heavily guarded diplomatic quarter during the morning rush, leaving behind chaos and destruction. The sound of the bomb, which went off near Kabul’s busy Zanbaq Square, reverberated across the city, with residents comparing it to an earthquake. In one moment, more than 90 lives ended, hundreds of people were wounded and many more were traumatized, in the heart of a city defined by constant checkpoints and the densest concentration of Afghan and international forces. The bombing happened just as the United States is weighing sending more troops, deepening its entanglement, to try to slow or reverse government losses to the Taliban insurgency this year. “The attack demonstrates a complete disregard for civilians and reveals the barbaric nature of the enemy faced by the Afghan people,” Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. He applauded the Afghan security forces for having prevented the truck from entering the Green Zone, the area that houses the headquarters of the coalition forces as well as several foreign embassies. Kabul’s vulnerability to such an attack spoke volumes to the frustrations of stabilizing the country despite 15 years of American-led military intervention to thwart the Taliban, coupled with hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid to a population that for the most part has known only war. Security has steadily worsened since 2014 and the end of the main NATO combat mission, which at its peak featured more than 100,000 American troops and tens of thousands more from alliance partners like Britain. The current international force in Afghanistan numbers about 13,000 — about 8,400 of them are American — mostly tasked with training and advising the Afghan forces.

WARLORD HEKMATYAR RETURNS TO KABUL AFTER 20 YEARS

 05 May 2017( AFP )  A former warlord branded the “Butcher of Kabul” returned to the Afghan capital on Thursday, two decades after leaving the city where he is accused of carrying out war crimes. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former Prime Minister, has returned to mainstream political life after his dormant Hezb- i-Islami terrorist group signed a peace deal with the Government in September. His convoy to the capital on Thursday, comprising several hundred vehicles, mainly pickup trucks equipped with machine guns, was greeted by hundreds of onlookers, including supporters bearing the green party flag and flowers.

The Afghan Intel Crisis Satellite State – War of Interests and the Blame Game

by Jalaizai Musa Khan

This book was published on 15 March 2017 from Algora Publishing, New York, you can purchase it from amazon.com, or if you are in the USA or EU, you can buy it from any book shop. This is very interesting book that highlight the 40 year history of torture of Afghan intelligence, KHAD and NDS. The book also spotlights the Indian terrorist networks inside Afghanistan, and its intelligence networks in Baluchistan in two chapters. Moreover, it also limelight how RAW uses Afghan soil against Pakistan and how the agency operates inside Jalalabad, Farah, Kunar, Nimrose, Nooristan, Paktia, Kandahar, Khost and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.The War on Terror has left Afghanistan without a viable centralized intelligence agency. Thousands of bloodstained and heartbreaking stories in newspapers, journals and books document the failures of the KHAD and NDS. The government and military are both crippled by “bad intel” due to lack of mutual trust and limited information sharing. Thousands of innocent people are killed in secret prisons, in broad daylight, and during brutal “investigations.” Torture, custodial death, and denial of due process continue to drive citizens into revolt. He shows how such illegal and repugnant tactics have alienated the citizens from the state and forced young people to take up arms against the government and its international partners.

Indian troops martyr Hizb commander Sabzar

The news of Bhat’s death triggered protests and stone-pelting across the Valley. A protester was killed in Tral and over 60 others were injured as security forces fired bullets and pellets in several places in South Kashmir. The state government has snapped mobile Internet, re-banned social media sites, and imposed curfew in several parts of the Valley. The separatists have called for a complete shutdown for two days. The Indian security forces, in their fresh acts of state terrorism, martyred 12 Kashmiri youth including top Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, Sabzar Ahmed Butt in Baramulla and Pulwama districts of occupied Kashmir. Sabzar Ahmed Butt is said to be successor of Burhan Wani, who was martyred by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir in July 2016. Wani’s killing sparked new wave of protests in Kashmir. The Indian troops martyred eight youth in Rampur and Uri areas of Baramulla and three others at Saimoh in Tral area of Pulwama. Indian army claimed that the youth were killed in encounters with troops. However, independent sources said that Sabzar Ahmed Butt and his associates were arrested first and later killed in custody, the KMS said. Massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in India-held Kashmir after a top commander from the largest group in the disputed region was killed in a gun battle with government forces. Sabzar Ahmad Bhat, head of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, was killed in an overnight gunfight in Tral area, some 40 kilometres south of Srinagar.

Over 60% of selected candidates refuse to join India’s BSF

May 8, 2017| Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has had a poor intake over the last couple of years. According to the Home Ministry, they currently have a vacancy of 522 gazetted officers against a sanctioned strength of 5,309. “The second-class treatment meted out to paramilitary forces as compared to the armed forces and reports of stagnation of career, particularly in the BSF, were among factors that influenced their decision,” said the candidates while speaking to The Sunday Express.In 2016, only 17 out of 31 officers went ahead with training whereas in the same year those who appeared for the 2013 UPSC exams also joined the force. But only 69 of the 110 selected officers joined and of these, 15 resigned during training. Vivek Minz, one of the selected officers said he didn’t join because his first option was CISF. He is even appearing for his civil service exams and becoming an IAS officer is his goal.

Manchester Arena Suicide Bombing: 22 Die at Ariana Grande Concert

MANCHESTER, England  Children were among the 22 people killed in a suicide attack after an Ariana Grande concert at Britain’s Manchester Arena. Meanwhile, authorities identified the suicide bomber responsible for the carnage as 22-year-old Salman Abedi and warned angry residents against any reprisals. Police also arrested a 23-year-old man in Manchester in connection with the attack. Abedi had a British passport, but it was not immediately clear where he was born. He was killed when he detonated an improvised explosive device near one of the venue’s exits at 10:33 p.m. local ti me Monday,  22 May, 2017. Some 59 other people were wounded, including some who suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said. And thousands of grieving Manchester residents were expected to attend a vigil at 6 p.m. local time Tuesday to remember the victims. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack but provided no evidence and neither U.S. nor British officials have corroborated that.

Another London Hit by Deadly Terror Attack British  Prime Minister Says, Enough Is Enough’

Jun 4, 2017 | LONDON  Declaring “enough is enough,” Prime Minister Theresa May vowed on Sunday a sweeping review of Britain’s counterterrorism strategy after three knife-wielding assailants unleashed an assault late Saturday night, the third major terrorist attack in the country in three months. At least seven people were killed and dozens more wounded, including 21 who remained in critical condition, as  the men sped across London Bridge in a white van, ramming numerous pedestrians, before emerging with large hunting knives for a rampage in the capital’s Borough Market, a crowded night spot. In a matter of minutes, the three assailants were chased down by eight armed officers who fired about 50 rounds, killing the men, who wore what appeared to be suicide vests but subsequently proved to be fake. One member of the public also sustained nonfatal gunshot wounds, the police said.

24 killed in attack on bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt

By : BILL CHAPPELL

 Gunmen fired on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya, where many Christians live in Egypt. Here, a photo from 2015 shows Coptic Christians walking outside St. Markos Church in Minya. Roger Anis/AP Gunmen attacked a bus that was taking Egyptian Christians to a monastery Friday, killing at least 24 people and wounding 27 more, according to local officials and NPR’s Jane Arraf. The death toll was announced by a spokesman for Egypt’s health ministry. The attack occurred in Minya, a province some 160 miles south of Cairo along the Nile River. “Minya province has the largest percentage of Christians in Egypt,” Jane reports. “Religious tension in some communities in Minya has increased in recent years and in many villages, they are prevented from building churches.” Coptic Christians were targeted by two deadly attacks in northern Egypt last month, in suicide bombings that killed at least 44 people.

Take responsibility for Yemen – U.N. Secretary-General

BY CESAR CHELALA | NEW YORK  U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that international donors have pledged $1.1 billion in aid for Yemen. Rather than a humanitarian action, this pledge only underscores the responsibility that big powers have had in the crisis that has all but devastated that country. Some of the countries that have pledged support have actively contributed to the ravaging of Yemen. According to UNICEF, at least one child in Yemen dies every 10 minutes because of malnutrition, diarrhea or respiratory-tract infections as the war rages on. Some 462,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and nearly 2.2 million are in need of urgent care. “The state of health in children in the Middle East’s poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today,” Meritxell Relano, UNICEF’s acting representative, said in December. Doctors Without Borders, one of several medical charities operating in the country, has called the situation “extremely challenging.” According to that organization, hospitals have been repeatedly hit by shelling, airstrikes and gunfire. As a result of the war, more than 10,000 people have been killed and millions more have been driven from their homes. In addition to those killed and injured  many of them children  the conflict has taken a devastating toll on an already inadequate health care system, and left it in tatters.

ISIS beheads captured Russian officer

The ISIS terror organization claims that it has executed a captured Russian intelligence officer in Syria. According to SITE, ISIS terrorists released a 12-minute video narrated in Russian showing the alleged beheading of the captured Russian officer, who apparently had been taking part in the Kremlin’s efforts inside Syria to aid embattled President Basher Assad. The release of the video coincided with the annual Russian celebration marking the surrender of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II in 1945.

US blasts China over ‘unprofessional’ intercept of military plane by fighter jets

19 MAY 2017 | Two Chinese fighter jets conducted an “unprofessional” intercept of a US Air Force plane, US officials said, with one flying upside down directly above the aircraft in a manoeuvre similar to the one performed in the Hollywood movie Top Gun. The two Chinese Su-30 jets came within 150 feet of the US radiation detection plane during the confrontation over the Yellow Sea, CNN and other US media outlets reported. The Yellow Sea is between China’s east coast and the Korean Peninsula. “The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” said Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge.   ‘Courtesy   CNN’

Indian Army gets its first artillery guns three decades after Bofors, will be tested at Pokhran

by Sushant Singh | New Delhi | May 18, 2017

Nearly three decades after the Bofors howitzers were inducted, the Army has got its first artillery guns from BAE Systems. Two 155mm/39 caliber ultra light howitzers (ULH) will be firing at the Pokhran field firing range in Rajasthan. Having initiated the deal for M777 guns with the United States in 2010, the government finally announced a deal for 145 guns on June 26 last year. The Rs 2,900-crore deal, which was a government-to-government deal under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, was completed in November last year. The Army has not seen induction of any modern artillery gun after the Swedish Bofors guns were inducted in the late 1980s. There was a controversy over payment of alleged kickbacks in the deal, which put on the backfoot all deals for the modernisation of the artillery. The Army has plans to equip 169 regiments with 3,503 guns by 2020 but acquisition plans, which include indigenously manufactured guns, have been delayed considerably.

As government gropes for ideas, Kashmir descents into chaos

by : Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab

Sometimes towards the end of March and beginning of April, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism started placing advertisements in national newspapers inviting tourists to come and witness the seasonal blossoming of tulips in Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden (the erstwhile Siraj Bagh), which was inaugurated by chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2008. Azad not only created another beautiful garden in the verdant landscape of the Kashmir Valley, he also chose to name it after a national leader instead of a Kashmiri personality; another unwitting reminder of who takes precedence in the state. Hence, at least in this case, the locals simply call it Tulip Garden. Housing nearly 20 lakh tulips of over 46 varieties, Srinagar’s garden claims to have the largest collection of tulips in Asia; it frequently draws comparisons with the Keukenhof Park of The Netherlands. No surprise then that it is one of the new attractions for tourists. The advertisements in the national newspapers were aimed to tell the world that the flames of the summer of 2016 had been doused and the Valley was readying itself to embrace spring. Unfortunately for the eternal optimists, the flames may have been put out by the winter snow, the embers remained; hidden in earthen pots (kangri) that Kashmiris carry to keep them warm. Nursed by anger that has refused to abate, the embers were frequently fanned by the State, which remained both insensitive and unmindful. And so, before the potential tourists could get lured by the resplendent tulips, the embers rose and claimed the spring; and possibly the summer too. For a people who live from summer to summer, two washed-out seasons imply economic hardship, not to speak of loss of life and limb, another academic year and a temporary sense of things being normal. Or as they say in Kashmir: normalcy. Despite hope, and in some quarters, anticipation too, normalcy has not returned to Kashmir, which is now the biggest priority of all concerned citizens, both in Kashmir and the rest of the country.

Italian coastguard: 3,000 rescued in Mediterranean Sea

Italian coastguard says about 3,000 refugees were saved from boats in the Mediterranean Sea in a single day. About 3,000 people have been saved in the Mediterranean Sea in a single day while trying to make the journey from northern Africa to Europe, according to the Italian coastguard. They were picked up in more than 20 separate rescue operations on Saturday, involving the Italian coastguard and navy, the EU’s EUNAVFOR mission in the Mediterranean, European Union border agency Frontex, NGOs, and merchant ships. The coastguard gave no details of the nationalities of those rescued.

Egyptian archaeologists unearth 2,300-year-old

necropolis containing at least 17 mummies of top officials and priests The discovery was made in the village of Tuna el-Gabal, a vast archeological site near the city of Minya The mummies were elaborately preserved therefore likely belong to officials and priests The unprecedented find is expected to be ‘much bigger’ as work is currently in only a preliminary stage Officials hope the find will boost Egypt’s tourism industry which has taken a hit due to militant attacks ‘It’s the first human necropolis to be found here in Tuna al-Gabal,’ Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site, some 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo.

Indian Spy ‘Kulbhushan Jhadav’ Case ICJ verdict: Nothing is lost India has only achieved a momentary respite

By : Mian Abrar

Though the interim verdict by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) may have provided a temporary respite to India, it has provided Pakistan with an ample opportunity to unmask the real face of Machiavellian India which has been involved in state terrorism against Pakistan since partition in 1947. Media assertions from India and Pakistan portray a wrong picture, suggesting as if the ICJ may direct Pakistan to set free Jhadav. The Indian case actually deals with its claim that Pakistan violated Vienna Convention for Consular Access to Jhadav. The ICJ can’t, however, rule on the fate of Jhadav. It is about time that the people and state of Pakistan don’t lose faith in each other; rather than accusing each other, the civilian and military leadership should work in tandem to fight the case against Indian saboteur. Political bickering among our own politicians and point scoring would provide India with a sense of satisfaction, as their aim to divide and weaken the state of Pakistan is being achieved without much efforts. The case in Pakistan against Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav is backed by undeniable evidence and valid points of law. This is something the people here need to remember and remind others lest India succeeds in making people completely lost in the riddle created on the humanitarian ground around the case of Jhadav to hide its exposed face of state involvement in terrorism against a sovereign state (Pakistan). Pakistan’s case is strong enough and there is no need to buckle under the Indian media’s vicious propaganda. Granted the BJP government may have scored some political points on the domestic front, in its heart of hearts India knows that it has made a blunder by claiming ownership of its spy-cum-saboteur Kulbhushan Jhadav. Apparently, four judges chose to stay away as they may have felt uncomfortable being part of the scheme that does not behove an Institution meant to deliver justice without prejudice. Even though Pakistan’s counsel did not raise an objection to the presence of the Indian judge on the premise of conflict of interest, the panel itself should have excluded the Indian judge. Moreover, the concerned judge of India should have recused himself in best judicial practices and norms. But Bhandari chose to stay on, and one cannot rule out the possibility that the Indian judge not only could’ve been biased but he may have also influenced his fellow judges in India’s favour. It is about time that Pakistan should review its strategy and hire a new legal team to defend the case in the ICJ, which has ruled its jurisdiction over the case despite the fact that Pakistan had recently entered a Revised Declaration under Article 36(2) of the statute of the ICJ on March 29, 2017. India played on the humanitarian ground for a person who is responsible for numerous innocent human lives. One may wonder why India was so frustrated to save Jhadav and why unprecedented measures were being adopted to save him. The answer lies in the confessional statement of Jhadav. “My name is Commander Kulbhushan Jhadav and I am the serving officer of Indian Navy. I am from the cadre of the engineering department of Indian Navy and my cover name was Hussein Mubarik Patel, which I had taken for doing some intelligence gathering for Indian agencies,” Jhadav had said in a confessional video message aired by the DG ISPR in March last year. Jhadav told he was picked up by RAW by end of the year 2013 and ever since that time, he has been directing various activities in Balochistan and Karachi at the behest of RAW for creating law and order situation. “I was basically the man for Mr Anil Kumar Gupta who is the joint secretary of RAW and his contacts in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan Student Organisation,” he had admitted. He said RAW is involved in some activities related to the Baloch liberation movement within Pakistan and the region around it besides funding the Baloch movement through various contacts. The ultimate aim was to maim or kill people within Pakistan. These activities were mostly centred around the ports of Gwadar, Pasni, Jewani and various other installations. But his confession was backed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public vow to separate Balochistan from Pakistan exactly five months after Jhadav’s admission last year. India today stands exposed in state-sponsored terrorism, terror financing, spying and subversive activities. It is desperately trying to divert the world’s attention by presenting Kulbhushan’s case from a humanitarian angle. India is trying to defend a person whose actions have led to the killing of scores of innocent Pakistanis. But as the famous quote of Abraham Lincoln goes“ You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time ”India can’t fool the ICJ again and again. ‘Courtesy Pakistan Today’

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