Featured

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.

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.

“The battle of Thanakha” – How the traditional cosmetic paste ‘Thanakha’ became a tool for civil disobedience against military coup in Myanmar
Asia, Featured, World

“The battle of Thanakha” – How the traditional cosmetic paste ‘Thanakha’ became a tool for civil disobedience against military coup in Myanmar

Thanakha is Myanmar’s traditional yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground barks of the Thanakha tree.
Now, civil disobedience movement (CDM) participants are using the country’s traditional facial cosmetic paste ‘thanakha’ as a tool to send the message of boycott and disobedience.
The protesters designed a campaign titled as “The battle of Thanakha” where the participants painted “CDM” on their foreheads.
The use of Thanakha for protests is expected to further increase the demand for the paste and in turn help the growers and producers.

State-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan is a threat, not only to India but to other countries in the region and beyond – India at UNHRC
Featured, World

State-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan is a threat, not only to India but to other countries in the region and beyond – India at UNHRC

India reiterated that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India.
The steps taken by the Government to ensure good governance and development in these Union Territories are our internal matters, it said.
India highlights institutionalized discrimination and persecution faced by Pakistan’s minorities and its state-sponsorship of terrorism at UNHRC council
As many as 126 individuals and 24 entities, sanctioned under the UN Security Council 1267 and 1988 Committees’ Lists, are associated with Pakistan.
India also condemned statements by Turkey and OIC as factually incorrect and unwarranted references to internal matters of India

Chinese firms buying out British schools that are under financial stress; Ploy to expand Chinese influence over Britain’s education system, investigation reveals
Analysis, Europe, Featured, World

Chinese firms buying out British schools that are under financial stress; Ploy to expand Chinese influence over Britain’s education system, investigation reveals

Hundreds of independent schools which are under financial stress after the impact of coronavirus pandemic are being targeted by Chinese investors
Nine of the 17 schools under Chinese control are owned by firms whose founders or bosses are among China’s most senior Communist Party members;
Schools are using educational tools for teaching children a ‘whitewashed’ view of China
One firm admitted its acquisition of British schools is aimed at supporting China’s controversial Belt And Road strategy, which aims to expand Beijing’s global influence.
This is not a new phenomenon as it was reported way back in 2015 that Chinese investors were buying Britain’s schools.
Neither the British government nor the opposition saw the threat from such buying of schools.
Will the British take control of their schools back? Brexit Party founder Nigel Farage and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat have raised their voices on the issue but there has been no official response from the British government over the revelations of the Daily Mail investigation

WHO Chief slams rich countries for hogging Covid-19 vaccines, resulting in reduction in doses for poorer countries
Featured, World

WHO Chief slams rich countries for hogging Covid-19 vaccines, resulting in reduction in doses for poorer countries

WHO Chief Tedros said money is not the only challenge we face. If there are no vaccines to buy, money is irrelevant.
Even if we have the funds, we can only deliver vaccines to poorer countries if high-income countries cooperate in respecting the deals COVAX has done, and the new deals it is doing, Tedros said.
The G7 countries have shown leadership, but we need all countries to step up. We still face a gap of at least 22.9 billion dollars to fully finance the ACT Accelerator this year.