Thailand: Deadliest Terror Attack

THAILAND experienced its deadliest terror attack on August 17 when a bomb went off at the Erawan Shrine. It is a popular Hindu and Buddhist shrine, frequented throughout the day by large numbers of tourists. 22 people were killed and more than 120 injured in the attack which was designed to cause maximum casualties. Many foreigners, seven of them from China and Hong Kong, were among those killed. Many of the wounded are also from China and Taiwan. Two unexploded bombs were discovered after the carnage.

Afghanistan after Mullah Omar

THE confirmation by the Taliban, after some initial hesitation, that their supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was no longer alive, brings to an end another interesting chapter in Afghanistan's recent history. The remnants of the Taliban leadership located in Pakistan had no alternative but to confirm the demise of their reclusive leader after the government in Kabul announced in the last week of July that it was certain that the former head of the Taliban government that ruled the country from 1997 to 2001, was no longer alive.

Japan: Rewriting the Pacifist Constitution

IN the third week of July, the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, took another decisive step towards abandoning the post war pacifist Constitution of Japan. Using the brute majority in the lower house of the parliament, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) passed a raft of laws that will allow the deployment of Japanese troops on foreign soil. The government has sought to justify its move on the basis of the “collective security” agreement it has with the United States and a few other countries.

US-Iran Nuclear Deal

IRAN and the United States have finally formalised the historic nuclear deal and signed a 159 page Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the second week of July. It had taken the two sides 20 painstaking months to finally seal the deal. Both the sides had threatened to walk out on several occasions. There was a lot of give and take involved, with the Iranian side making the bulk of the concessions.

Saudi Monarchy: Spewing Petrodollars & Bombs

YEMEN, among the poorest countries in the Arab world has been subjected to unprovoked aggression by its wealthier neighbour, Saudi Arabia since the last week of March. The Saudi Kingdom has assembled an alliance that includes all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states barring the honourable exception of Oman. The other non GCC monarchies in the region like Jordan and Morocco have been participating in cowardly air raids targeting heavily populated Yemeni cities. A Moroccan F-16 fighter jet was shot down over Yemen in the first week of May.

SYRIZA – The Party That Was and Is

SYRIZA, which literally means, 'coalition of the radical Left', broke, with 25 of its members of parliament and a section of the central committee, coming out to form another platform called the 'Popular Unity'. This move in fact, had immediately followed after Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece and leader of the Syriza, resigned and recommended for immediate elections. The deep divisions within Syriza after the government capitulated to the harsh conditions imposed by the troika, even ignoring the 61.3 percent vote against austerity, hastened these developments.

The Rohingya Exodus

IT has been one of the biggest crises to hit the region since the exodus of Vietnamese boat people in the 1970's. The sight of helpless Rohingya refugees packed in rickety boats floating on the high seas with nowhere to go has finally grabbed the attention of the international community. In the first fortnight of May, hundreds of Rohingya refugees were found abandoned in the waters off the coast of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Thousands more remain unaccounted for.


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