Weekly Global Newscast |02 September – 09 September, 2019
Pakistan Denies Indian President’s Request to Use Airspace
Pakistan says it has refused a request by India’s President Ram Nath Kovind to fly through its airspace due to New Delhi’s recent “behavior”. The decision comes amid heightened tensions between the two neighbors over the disputed region of Kashmir. “The Indian president had sought permission to use Pakistan’s airspace to travel to Iceland but we decided not to permit him,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a statement, without giving further details.
“On August 5, 2019, India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked a special constitutional status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir, imposing a communications blackout and deploying thousands of troops to the Muslim-majority state, where a rebellion has been ongoing for 30 years’. ‘Amid a strict lockdown, hundreds of activists and political leaders, including three former chief ministers, have been detained by Indian authorities in recent weeks’ as quoted by Al-Jazeera. ‘Islamabad responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with New Delhi in August, expelling the Indian envoy, suspending trade and calling back its ambassador in a deepening row over New Delhi’s clampdown in its portion of Kashmir’. Pakistan had closed its airspace to Indian traffic in February after a suicide bomb attack killed dozens of Indian troops in Kashmir ratcheted up tensions between the two neighbors and prompted tit-for-tat aerial dogfights, South China Morning Post said.
Kazakhs Protest Chinese Investments for Seventh Day
Dozens of activists have rallied in Kazakhstan’s southwestern town of Zhanaozen for the seventh day, protesting against Chinese investments and industrial projects as President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev is getting ready to pay an official two-day visit to Beijing. The protesters gathered on Zhanaozen’s central square, demanding that the government stop what they called “Chinese expansion” through factories and other projects in the oil-rich former Soviet republic.
“Anti-Chinese sentiment in Kazakhstan has been rising amid reports about the plight of indigenous ethnic groups, including Kazakhs, in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang’. ‘The United Nations said last year that an estimated 1 million ethnic Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking indigenous people of Xinjiang were being held in what it described as “counterextremism centers” in the province, with millions more reportedly sent to internment camps’ quoted by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. ‘Mr Toqaev is keen to capitalize on his strong relationship with Beijing, weathering domestic discontent to continue accruing Chinese investments’. ‘This has in part contributed to Kazakhstan’s economic recovery from a 2015-16 slump in the price for oil—the country’s main export’, Foreign Brief said.
Middle East & North Africa
Syria War: Turkey Warns Europe of New Migrant Wave
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for “logistical support” to establish a safe zone in Syria’s north-east. “Either this happens, or we will be forced to open the gates,” he said. Turkey is hosting more than 3.6 million Syrians who have fled the civil war. The US backs the “safe zone” plan. But the plan is controversial, because Syrian Kurdish forces are wary of Turkey moving many Syrians into the north-east who are not originally from that area.
“Under a 2016 agreement with the EU, Turkey imposed stronger controls to curb the flow of migrants and refugees to Europe’. ‘The deal involved an EU pledge to provide €6bn (£5.4bn; $6.6bn) in aid to Turkey to house Syrian refugees’. ‘Mr Erdogan complained that only €3bn of that had arrived so far, though earlier Natasha Bertaud, an EU Commission spokesperson, said €5.6bn had been provided’, said by BBC. ‘The comments come as Turkey mounts pressure on Washington for further concessions on the depth and oversight of the planned safe zone in the northeast, and as it comes under increasing pressure in Syria’s northwest Idlib region where a Russian-backed government offensive has pressed north’, Reuters said.
Sub Saharan Africa
Family Members Leave Zimbabwe to Bring Mugabe’s Body Home from Singapore
A plane carrying a delegation of government officials and Robert Mugabe’s has left Zimbabwe for Singapore Monday to retrieve the body of the ex-president for his burial, a family spokesman said. Leo Mugabe told CNN the delegation is expected back in Zimbabwe. Former Zimbabwe President Mugabe died after spending months in a Singapore hospital. A state funeral will be held in Mugabe’s honor on Saturday at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, according to a government statement sent to diplomatic missions.
“The statement did not mention details of where Mugabe would be buried, fueling speculation about his final resting place’. ‘The ex-president’s ruling party, Zanu-PF’s spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo told CNN that Mugabe should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre Monument in Harare unless his family opposes the decision’. ‘Mr Mugabe was the first post-independence leader of Zimbabwe who was initially lauded for liberating his country from white minority rule’. ‘But his regime later came to be remembered for crushing political dissent and policies that ruined the economy. He was ousted in 2017’ quoted by The Strait Times.
MPs Look to Bring Back May’s Brexit Deal with Vote on Referendum
MPs looking to stop no deal are exploring ways to bring back a version of Theresa May’s Brexit deal plus a vote on a second referendum in the last two weeks of October 2019, amid concerns Boris Johnson will still try to pursue a no-deal departure. Several sources told the Guardian that MPs will spend the next few weeks working on ways to bring back the deal – with added concessions to Labour – to the House of Commons via a backbencher or a temporary prime minister.
“MPs working on the options said more Tory and former Tory MPs were now open to backing a Brexit deal with a second referendum added, taking parliament closer to a cross-party majority for the plan,’ said by The Guardian. ‘One former Tory MP said the option was under consideration and would “certainly have to be linked to a referendum.”’ ‘Another former Tory said: “There is an element of seeing what the next step is from No 10’. ‘A lot would be pretty hesitant about backing a referendum until all other options have been tried’. ‘But, more attractive, is a way of bringing a deal back on to the table – a version of what was agreed between May and Corbyn’, said MSN.
Wooed by China, Solomon Islands to Cut Ties with Taiwan
The Solomon Islands intends to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and align itself with Beijing, the leader of a high-level government team representing the South Pacific archipelago has said. The switch, which still needs to be formalized, would be a prize for China in its bid to peel away allies from what it considers a wayward province with no right to state-to-state ties. Only 17 countries recognize Taiwan.
“Solomons lawmaker Peter Shanel Agovaka told a parliamentary committee that after four decades of independence and a long-term alliance with Taiwan, it was time to make a change’. ‘”We cannot sit for the next 40 years with our friends Taiwan said The Sydney Morning Herald. ‘It is time that we make new friends – it’s time that we should move on with our life,”’ Agovaka said’. ‘“The review is a broader one, and we have looked at our global posture, reviewing all our overseas missions and relations,”’ said Manele, who arrived in Taipei on Monday at the start of a five-day visit, said by South China Morning Post.
Trump Declares Afghanistan Peace Talks ‘Dead, as far as I’m Concerned
President Donald Trump said that negotiations over US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan are dead, two days after he called off a secret meeting at Camp David with Afghan and Taliban leaders to secure a deal. “They’re dead,” Mr Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to the negotiations. “They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”
“The chief envoy to the talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that an agreement “in principle” had been reached, under which the US would partially withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban renouncing al-Qaida, which had orchestrated the 2001 attacks’ said Independent. ‘But the Taliban has been staging deadly attacks throughout talks with US and at least 16 US soldiers have been killed during combat in Afghanistan in the year 2019, making Trump’s justification for abruptly calling off all negotiations somewhat dubious’, as said by Business Insider.