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‘Feverish Russophobia’ says Kremlin as it terms EU, US sanctions as intervention in Russia’s internal affairs
Europe, World

‘Feverish Russophobia’ says Kremlin as it terms EU, US sanctions as intervention in Russia’s internal affairs

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that the feigned partnership of the European Union and the United States is based only on unbridled Russophobia, and it does not pursue any constructive solutions to any challenges. She was speaking to Vesti FM radio station on Wednesday. “This is sort of a quasi-alliance with the […]

China’s work scheme planned to reduce Uighur population density in Xinjiang says study
Analysis, Asia, Featured, World

China’s work scheme planned to reduce Uighur population density in Xinjiang says study

A study by Nankai University of China shows that the government labour programmes in Xinjiang are mostly designed to reduce the population density of the Uighur ethnic minority group.
The report provides new evidence from Chinese sources that show Xinjiang’s labor transfers to other regions or provinces in China meet the forced labor definition of the ILO.
The report indicates that labor transfers are not just serving economic purposes, but are implemented with the intention to forcibly displace the ethnic minority populations from their heartlands

The ‘Pineapple’ in China’s flesh – How the tropical fruit helped Taiwan fight economic bullying by its Communist neighbour
Analysis, Asia, Featured, World

The ‘Pineapple’ in China’s flesh – How the tropical fruit helped Taiwan fight economic bullying by its Communist neighbour

China imposed a blanket ban on all imports of Taiwanese pineapples last week, alleging that “harmful organisms” had been found in the fruit.
President Tsai condemned China for its “ambush-like, unilateral notice that it would ban imports of Taiwan pineapples”, despite the fact that 99.79 percent of imported batches had passed inspection.
China’s move has been interpreted by observers in Taiwan as directed at the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is frequently critical of China.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu launched the “Freedom Pineapple” campaign on Twitter. The aim of the online campaign was to secure orders for pineapple from farmers
Taiwanese farmers received pre-orders for 41,687 tons of pineapples from companies, e-commerce platforms, and consumers, already exceeding the annual quantity of exports to China.
With the call to take on the ban by China, Taiwanese businesses and citizens made up for the potential shortfall in sales by buying an entire year’s worth of the tropical fruit in just four days!
The U.S., Japan, and Canadian embassies in Taiwan all came on board to help promote Taiwan’s pineapples, in response to a Chinese import ban on the fruit.
While Taiwan has shown that it can stand up to economic bullying, it has also offered the olive branch to China urging it to respect its fruit inspection negotiation system.

Thousands of Algerians join the renewed ‘Hirak’ movement to demand change in political system
Africa, Featured, World

Thousands of Algerians join the renewed ‘Hirak’ movement to demand change in political system

Nationwide protests emerged against then-Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after his nomination for a fifth term sparked mass outrage from citizens
The citizens were frustrated with growing corruption, sluggish economy and lack of freedom in a country besieged by the clout of the military and the islamists.
Bouteflika resigned on 2 April 2019 after months of mass protests. However, the Hirak members were unsatisfied with the resignation as they demanded a change in the entire system.
New President Tebboune signed a decree adopting a new constitution but protesters allege that the army remains the center of power behind a civilian facade led by Tebboune.
Though Arab Spring has ended in countries where it began, the flame of the spring is being kept alive by the Hirak movement.
The Hirak pro-democracy movement is important for a country which has long felt trapped between the Military controlled regime and the Islamists.

Indian Scientists develop low-cost optical spectrograph that can locate sources of faint light from distant galaxies
Science & Technology

Indian Scientists develop low-cost optical spectrograph that can locate sources of faint light from distant galaxies

Indigenously designed and developed ‘Made in India’ spectrograph, commissioned on Devasthal Optical Telescope, can locate faint light from distant celestial objects
The spectroscope, the largest of its kind among the existing astronomical spectrographs in the country, has been successfully commissioned on the 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), the largest in the country and in Asia, near Nainital Uttarakhand.
Expertise from various national institutes, organizations, including the ISRO and some MSMEs, were involved to review and build parts of the instrument serving as an example of effective collaboration.

COVID-19 Education Crisis – More than 168m children worldwide have missed school for a year
World

COVID-19 Education Crisis – More than 168m children worldwide have missed school for a year

Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost a full year, says UNICEF
UNICEF unveils ‘Pandemic Classroom’ at United Nations Headquarters in New York to call attention to the need for governments to prioritise the reopening of schools
The analysis on school closures report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed since March 2020 to February 2021.
Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren.

Cybersecurity firm says China-linked RedEcho hacker group Targeted Indian Power Sector – What we know so far
Asia, Defence & Security, Featured, National

Cybersecurity firm says China-linked RedEcho hacker group Targeted Indian Power Sector – What we know so far

Study by Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future found that China-linked hacker Group RedEcho targeted at least “10 distinct power sector organisations” with malware known as ShadowPad last year resulting in power shutdowns and loss of power to Mumbai’s metro network on 13 October 2020. The findings which were published on the firms website was reported by New York Times on Monday.

Central Bank Digital Currency – Why India must consider it seriously
Analysis, Featured, National

Central Bank Digital Currency – Why India must consider it seriously

Digital payments in India have grown at a phenomenal speed, some accounts suggest that there has been an overall 60% rise in the use of digital payments since demonetisation
A central bank digital currency would be an electronic form of central bank money that could be used by households and businesses to make payments.
Digital currency does not have to replace bank notes in fact it will complement bank notes. Rs 500 digital currency would have the same value as Rs 500 physical note.
Unlike a flat currency, digital currency is by its nature traceable. Digital currencies can show the movement of money in an economy. It can build a record of the trail of transactions as it changes hands.
Digital currency can be programmed to reach a certain section of society in a very specific time. This will be a great tool for the government to reach out to backward classes of the country with specific schemes.
However, there are many challenges ahead such as creating a safe and protected infrastructure. Just as any algorithm is susceptible to hacking, digital currencies too are prone to hacking
Digital currency is a good move by the government and the RBI as it is the next and natural progression to a digital and cashless economy as envisioned by PM Narendra Modi.

China’s new Coastguard law – An open call for war with neighbors?
Analysis, Asia, World

China’s new Coastguard law – An open call for war with neighbors?

China’s newly-enacted Coast Guard Law allows the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”
The new law also empowers the CCG to halt construction or destroy foreign structures on Chinese-claimed land features, like those on the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island and Second Thomas Shoal.
Several Asian countries including Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia have opposed China’s law saying it could escalate maritime disputes and be invoked to assert “unlawful claims”.
The Philippines has filed a formal rejection of the law, emphasizing that, given the large area involved and China’s ongoing disputes in the South China Sea, the law is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies it.
The lack of a definition of ‘jurisdictional waters’ in the final version of the new law will increase the potential for conflict.
In addition to creating opportunities for misunderstandings between foreign vessels and the CCG, it gives the coastguard flexibility to conduct law enforcement outside of its traditional jurisdictional waters.

2 years of Balakot Airstrike – The planning, execution and sequence of events you should know
National

2 years of Balakot Airstrike – The planning, execution and sequence of events you should know

On this day in 2019, the Indian Air Force fighter jets carried out cross-border airstrikes to pulverise the Jaish-e-Muhammad training camp situated deep inside Pakistan, in Balakot. The attack, first of its kind on Pakistani soil, was authorised in response to the Pulwama attack by the terrorists of Jaish-e-Muhammad on February 14, 2019, which claimed […]