Asia

Why didn’t India sign the RCEP agreement?
Asia, Featured

Why didn’t India sign the RCEP agreement?

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), covers over 2.2 billion people and accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s economy. India decided to hold off on signing the agreement. It comprises of ten South East Asian countries viz., Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India's outstanding issues and concerns. In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join the RCEP agreement." The RCEP aims to remove trade barriers, including tariffs...
CCP government cracks down on members of Mentuhui religious movement across China; Key leaders arrested again
Asia, Featured, World

CCP government cracks down on members of Mentuhui religious movement across China; Key leaders arrested again

The crackdown against Mentuhui which started again in May 2020 by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government continues to haunt the members of the neo-religious movement to this day. Bitterwinter.org reports that the key leaders continue to be arrested even in November with no let up in the harrassment and torture of its followers. The crackdown on Mentuhui is as lethal as the suppression of the Falun Gong if not more, say the members who took risk to report the arrests to the outside world. Following Mentuhui has been banned in China since 1990. The Association of Disciples, or Mentuhui, is a Chinese neo-religious movement based on Christianity which was founded in 1989 but was banned by the CCP government the next year. In 1995, it was included in the list of the xie jiao. The ...
Pakistan: A 1300 year old Vishnu Temple unearthed in Swat district
Asia, Featured, World

Pakistan: A 1300 year old Vishnu Temple unearthed in Swat district

A 1300- year old Hindu temple dedicated to Bhagwan Sri Vishnu was unearthed in the Swat district of Eastern Pakistan in an excavation carried out by Pakistani and Italian archaeologists. As per a report in Organiser Weekly, the Italian archaeologist Dr Luka Maria Olivieri, who heads the Italian archaeological mission, stated that this was the first temple of Gandhara civilisation was discovered in Swat. Experts believe that the temple was constructed during the period of Hindu Shahis or Kabul Shahis who ruled eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and North-Western India from 850 C.E to 1026 C.E. Fazle Khaliq of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa archaeological department, while announcing the discovery on November 19 confirmed that the temple was dedicated to God Vishnu and constructed during Hindu Shahi regi...
France declines Pakistan’s request to upgrade its Mirage fighters and Agosta Submarines
Asia, Defence & Security, Europe

France declines Pakistan’s request to upgrade its Mirage fighters and Agosta Submarines

The refusal is seen as a fallout of Pakistan PM Imran Khan's personal and unsavory criticism of French President Macron's statement on Islam. As per news reports, France has refused to help Pakistan to upgrade its fleet of Mirage fighter jets, air defence system and Agosta 90B class submarines. The HT news report also says that France has told Qatar not to allow Pakistan-origin technicians to work with the plane over concerns that they could leak technical information about the fighter to Islamabad. Qatar is one of the countries that bought the Rafale fighters. France has already detailed scrutiny of asylum requests from Pakistanis. The relationship between the two countries deteriorated after the recent terror attacks in France, one involving a terrorist of Pakistani origin and ...
“Be careful or eyes will be plucked out”, China’s response to criticism by Five Eyes alliance over silencing of pro-Democracy activists in HK
Asia, World

“Be careful or eyes will be plucked out”, China’s response to criticism by Five Eyes alliance over silencing of pro-Democracy activists in HK

The US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who form the Five Eyes alliance, have strongly criticised the arrest and silencing methods used by China to stop the pro-Democracy activists in Hong Kong. The alliance rebuked China over imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong and urged it to reverse the new rules. In response to the criticism, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned countries to stay out of China's affairs saying: "They should be careful or their eyes will be plucked out". He further told journalists in Beijing on Thursday that the Chinese never make trouble and are never afraid of anything, and it did not matter if they had five or 10 eyes. In early November, the Hong Kong government expelled four pro-democracy lawmakers fr...
Trump in a hurry to cut US troop size to 2500 in Afghanistan and Iraq before January
Asia, Defence & Security, Featured, World

Trump in a hurry to cut US troop size to 2500 in Afghanistan and Iraq before January

U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani Senators including Republicans have slammed the President saying that the terrorists would 'love the idea' President Trump who before the elections had said that he wants "all" troops home by Christmas, seems to be acting in a hurry on that front. US media reports that as per the President's order, US troops in Afghanistan will be cut from about 5,000 to 2,500 by mid-January and those in Iraq will be reduced from 3,000 to 2,500. If all goes as planned, the withdrawal should be finished by 15 January. The new US President takes oath of office on 20th January. Though withdrawal of Troops had been on Trump's agenda since his election campaign in 2016, his late...
ASEAN countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand sign China backed RCEP, excluding India and USA
Asia, World

ASEAN countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand sign China backed RCEP, excluding India and USA

Fifteen Asian countries along with Australia and New Zealand have formally signed the China backed  Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the regional summit in Hanoi. The agreement to lower tariffs and open up the services trade within the RCEP. Excluding the United States from the pact is viewed as a Chinese-led alternative to a now-defunct Washington trade initiative. India pulled out of RCEP talks in November last year, but ASEAN leaders have said the door remained open for it to join. First proposed in 2011 at the summit in Bali, the  agreement was finally signed at a virtual ASEAN Summit on 15 November 2020. The deal is important as the countries part of the pact are trying to get their pandemic-hit economies back on track. The arrangement will also ...
Jack Ma’s world’s largest IPO was scuttled personally by Chinese President Xi Jinping: Report
Asia, World

Jack Ma’s world’s largest IPO was scuttled personally by Chinese President Xi Jinping: Report

A WSJ report says that the Chinese President took the decision to stop Ant groups IPO after Jack Ma criticised the country's financial watchdogs and Communist Party’s handling of the economy. The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that China’s President Xi Jinping personally made the decision to halt the initial public offering of Ant Group after controlling shareholder Jack Ma infuriated government leaders by attacking the country's financial watchdogs and Communist Party’s handling of the economy. The Ant IPO which sought to raise $37bn would have been the world’s biggest IPO. The WSJ report quoted Chinese officials who had the knowledge of the matter. The scuttling of the IPO by the intervention of the president himself is seen as the culmination of years of tense relat...
China’s strike on Democracy in Hong Kong – City’s pro-Democracy legislators resign in protest
Asia, World

China’s strike on Democracy in Hong Kong – City’s pro-Democracy legislators resign in protest

Pro-democracy legislators Wu Chi-Wai, Claudia Mo, Lam Cheuk-ting and several others have resigned from the Legislative Council after Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok were disqualified when China passed a new resolution on 11, 2020 In a major jolt to China's machinations in the island nation, pro-democracy legislators of the Hong Kong parliament have tendered their resignations. They formally tendered their resignation on Thursday in protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues. https://in.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-security/hong-kong-opposition-lawmakers-expected-to-formally-tender-resignations-in-protest-over-oustings-idUSKBN27S04P The dismissals came after China's National People's Congress Standing Committee passed a resolution...