PAKISTAN and Afghanistan have in recent weeks and months witnessed a wave of serious terrorist incidents that have cost the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. Alarmingly, most of the attacks have been the handiwork of the so-called Islamic State (Daesh). It no longer can be denied that the lethal terrorist group has sprung roots in the sub continent. The suicide attack on one of the most famous Sufi shrines in the region, the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, situated in Sindh province, in the third week of February is an illustration.
THE unexpected pardon that the former American president, Barack Obama, has given to the whistle blower, Chelsea Manning, has come as a welcome surprise for human rights activists and millions of ordinary Americans, who had demanded his release. Obama has not extended the same gesture to Edward Snowden, the other famous whistle blower, who exposed the widespread State surveillance by US intelligence agencies. The Obama administration has arrested more whistle blowers on charges of espionage than any previous administration.
A seminar on ‘Fidel’s Legacy for Cuba, Latin America and the World’ was organised by the Friends of Latin America-India at Sahid Surya Sen Bhavan in Kolkata on February 19. The organisation secretary Suman Putatunda started the programme, discussing how Fidel Castor had transformed his country and later, the rest of South America as a symbol of resistance and social justice to the oppressed millions of this planet.
IN the last week of December, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2334 reaffirming that Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem are illegal. The United States this time did not veto the resolution. A similar resolution was vetoed by the Obama administration in 2011, despite the US characterising itself as “an honest peace broker” in the Israel-Palestine dispute and terming the settlements as “illegal”. The US has in fact been indirectly subsidising much of the illegal settlement activity.
The South Asian Peasants Convergence (SAPC) on Food Sovereignty and Peasants Rights held at Kathmandu, Nepal on February 2-3, 2017, was attended by over 100 delegates from Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It was hosted by the All Nepal Peasants Federation (ANPFa), an umbrella association of Nepali peasants fighting against feudalism, imperialism and neoliberalism that was founded in 1951. With the ushering in of the Democratic Republic of Nepal the organisation has expanded in keeping with the evolution of peasant consciousness and struggles.
THE Parties of the Working Group of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties denounce once again in the strongest possible terms the attempts to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine in view of the relevant trial due to take place tomorrow (08.02.17) in Kiev. This parody trial aims at annihilating the CP Ukraine through a process that is contrary to the principles of International Law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international principles and conventions.
AFTER years of protracted negotiations, India and Japan finally inked a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement in November last year, during the course of the State visit by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. The deal will now allow Japan to supply India with nuclear fuel, equipment and technology for nuclear power production. India and Japan had started negotiations soon after the signing of the India-US nuclear deal in 2006. Formal negotiations started six years ago.
THE Indo Canadian Workers’ Association of Canada held its biennial conference on January 22, 2017 at Strawberry Hill Library Hall in Surrey, Canada. On this occasion ICWA released its annual calendar dedicated to the memory of Bhai Balwant Singh and to the centenary of Russian Revolution. The conference was attended by a number of people and many local politicians and personalities participated.
THE election of Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine presidency could mean the realisation of America's worst nightmare in the region coming true. The Philippines is the lynchpin of the Obama administration's military “pivot to the East”, aimed at militarily encircling China. Now within a few months after being sworn in as president, Duterte is threatening to upset the American applecart by not only cosying up to China but also threatening political and military “separation” from the United States. Philippines is America's oldest military ally in the region.
THE ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya community in Myanmar's Rakhine state is ongoing despite pleas by the international community and neighbouring countries. Satellite images have shown conclusive evidence of destroyed villages and mass dislocation. There has also been incontrovertible proof of children being killed and women being killed by rampaging soldiers. Aid workers have been refused permission to visit the affected areas. A new wave of Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.