International

Growing International Boycott of Israel

EVEN as the Obama administration is trying to get a recalcitrant Israeli government to give some meaningful concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA), the beleaguered Palestinians got a strong endorsement for their just cause from the American Studies Association (ASA). The Association, America’s oldest and largest academic association devoted to an interdisciplinary study of American culture and history, passed a resolution in the second week of December, agreeing to join a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

South Sudan: Descending into a Civil War

BARELY two and a half years after South Sudan joined the community of independent nations, the bloody sceptre of a civil war has once again cast its shadow. The latest cycle of violence erupted on December 15. According to reports, the trouble started when a clash took place between two sections of the presidential security guards. The fighting was said to be on ethnic lines, with the Dinka clashing against the Nuer. The Dinkas constitute around 15 per cent of the population and the Nuer around 10 per cent.

DPRK: Facts & Fiction

A Tongue in cheek disclaimer was printed in The Hindustan Times of January 7, 2014, under the heading ‘You Thought Kim Fed His Uncle to Dogs? Not Really, It was a Satire!’ The news item referred to the widely circulated story that the execution of Jang Thong Sack, the uncle of Kim Jong Un, was undertaken by stripping him and some of his colleagues, who were then fed to some 120 hungry hounds in horror story style in full view of Kim Jong Un and 300 other witnesses. Such an extraordinarily public event can hardly be kept secret, but it was assumed that it was.

Syria after Three Years of War

FINALLY, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel in Syria. The Geneva 11 peace talks are in all likelihood finally going to be held from January 22 to 25. More than 30 countries, including India, have been invited to attend the peace talks. The Syrian government and the opposition, which is under American pressure to attend, will be holding direct talks that will be chaired by the UN special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

UNITED KINGDOM:IWA-GB Opposes Immigration Bill

THE Indian Workers’ Association Great Britain (IWA-GB) has taken serious note of the new immigration bill which proposes removal of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights that protects an individual’s right in regard to private and family life. If this bill becomes an act, the IWA-GB fears that it will add to the current legislative discrimination, further contribute to the breaking of families and deprive children of their parents’ love.

Bangladesh: Challenge Before Third Hasina Govt

DESPTE the hartal, blockade and boycott call by the BNP-Jama’at-e-Islami combine and the sporadic violence, the people of Bangladesh cast their vote to elect the tenth parliament on January 5. Before the polling started, armed cadres of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) burnt down around 350 polling booths including schools, set afire ballot boxes with ballot papers, killed one presiding officer by hurling bombs, and cut the road links to prevent the movement of polling parties and security forces in some places.

Afghanistan: Karzai Talks Tough

THE visit of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, to India in the second week of December came at a time when negotiations with the Americans on the future of their forces in his country were poised at a critical stage. Before Karzai landed in Delhi, there were reports that the Obama administration had asked India to intervene on its behalf and persuade President Karzai to put his signature to the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) on the presence of US troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Pro-Liberation Forces on Offensive

A LAST-DITCH attempt by the BNP-Jama’at-e-Islami combine to lay a siege at capital city, Dhaka, on December 29 so as to force the Sheikh Hasina government to quit has fizzled out. A week before the Bangladesh parliamentary election --- that were scheduled to be held on January 5, 2014 --- Mrs Khaleda Zia, chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), called upon all the ‘able-bodied’ men to come to Dhaka on the day for what she called ‘March to Democracy.’

Iran Interim Nuclear Deal: Important Breakthrough

THE preliminary nuclear deal which Iran and the P-5+1 (the US, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany) finally signed in the last week of November, has partially lifted the sanctions on Iran for six months. The groundwork for the agreement was laid much before the formal agreement was announced. Secret talks between American and Iranian officials have been ongoing since last year. The contacts were intensified following the election of the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who had won the elections with a massive majority earlier in the year.

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