Weekly Global Newscast |14 October – 20 October, 2019
Imran Khan to Open Kartarpur Corridor to India
Pakistan will open the much-awaited Kartarpur Corridor to India on November 9, 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Sunday. The proposed corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, India. The move will allow visa-free movement of Indian Sikh devotees, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.
“Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India’ said Gulf News.
‘Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has accepted his invitation to attend the Kartarpur corridor inauguration ceremony as “a common man”. However, sources close to Singh in New Delhi said that the former prime minister would not attend the formal inauguration ceremony but would visit the historic shrine as a common pilgrim’ said Economic Times.
U.S. Envoy Urges Kazakhstan to Improve Rights Situation
U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan William Moser says Washington is ‘strongly encouraging’ Kazakhstan’s government to improve the human rights situation in the Central Asian country. Kazakhstan’s longstanding ruler, Nursultan Nazarbaev, stepped down as president but still holds considerable sway as leader of the ruling Nur Otan party and the chairman of the country’s security council.
“Opponents, critics, and rights groups say Nazarbaev, who tolerated little dissent, denied many citizens basic rights and prolonged his hold on power in the energy-rich country of 18.7 million by manipulating the democratic process. No vote held in Kazakhstan since 1991 has been deemed free and democratic by international observers’ said Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
‘Protests over social issues, low incomes, police and court abuses, and poor living conditions have increased in recent months in the Central Asian nation after five children from one family died when their home in the capital burned down’ said Occasion2B.
Middle East & North Africa
Lebanon Scraps WhatsApp Tax as Protests Rage
The government had announced a $0.20 (£0.16) daily charge on voice calls made through WhatsApp and other apps. But it scrapped the plans later amid clashes between security forces and protesters. Thousands have protested, calling on the government to step down over its handling of an economic crisis. Dozens were reported injured as protesters burned tyres and security forces fired tear gas. The demonstrations were the biggest seen in Lebanon for years.
“Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said the country was going through an “unprecedented, difficult time” but stopped short of resigning. He issued a 72-hour deadline to his “partners in government” to stop blocking reforms’ said BBC.
‘Lebanon faces high debt, stagnant growth, crumbling infrastructure and reduced capital inflows. The Lebanese pound, pegged against the dollar for two decades, has been under pressure’ said Reuters.
Sub Saharan Africa
More Than 60 Men and Boys Freed From ‘inhumane’ Islamic School
Police in Nigeria have rescued 67 men and boys who were subjected to ‘nhumane and degrading treatments’ at an Islamic school in the northern state of Katsina, a police spokesman said. The religious school, which also served as a rehabilitation center, was run by a 78-year-old Muslim cleric in Daura, the birthplace of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The pupils, whose ages range from 7 to 40, said they were denied food for days and beaten with chains by the teachers in the school. Authorities visited the school after students protested about their welfare, tipping off the police about the conditions in the facility,’ Katsina police state spokesman Isah Gambo told CNN.
‘Daura which lies 45 miles from the state capital and near the border with Niger, is the hometown of President Muhammad Buhari. The students are from ‘various parts of Nigeria’, including Katsina state and neighbouring Niger Republic’ said Daily Mail.
Catalan President Calls for Talks with Spain’s Government after Unrest
Catalonia’s president, Quim Torra, has called for talks with the Spanish government. Torra again condemned the violence, adding: ‘Violence has never been our flag’. He urged talks with Spain’s acting government ‘to open a dialogue to find a democratic solution and a political and democratic’ way out of the crisis over regional independence.
“The pro-independence regional president has been criticized for his delay in condemning the violence – and for calling for civil disobedience before sending police forces in to quell it. His call for talks came two days after he suggested another unilateral independence referendum should be held in response to the imprisonment of nine leaders over their roles in the failed push for secession’ said The Guardian.
‘Since protests began, over 300 people have been detained, with nine remaining in custody, while about 200 police officers have been injured and 171 vehicles damaged’ figures quoted by CNN.
Australian PM’s Office Accidentally sends Confidential Document to Journalists
The Australian Prime Minister’s office sent confidential talking points to the media by mistake, instead of sending the document to its own coalition’s members of parliament (MPs). The idea behind the document was to prepare the Australian government’s Liberal-National Party coalition members for resumption of Parliament.
“Instead of sending confidential talking points to their own members of parliament (MPs), the internal document was sent to journalists and news outlets across the country, including Xinhua. Addressing everything from a rise in asylum seeker numbers, taxation, conflict in Syria, the Paris Agreement and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the email offered politicians strategic answers to tough questions that may be asked by journalists and opposition party members’ said The Asian Age.
‘In another section of the document, the email suggested party members address fears of worker exploitation Down Under, after official statistics recently confirmed an all-time high number of asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by air over the past five years, by arguing “the exploitation of any worker in Australia is something we have zero tolerance for”’ said Xinhua Net.
Hillary Clinton Mocks Trump’s Letter to Erdogan
Hillary Clinton has openly mocked Donald Trump’s style of correspondence with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – the latest joke shared at the president’s expense by his former rival. Mr Trump’s letter to the Turkish premier – which called on Mr Erdogan not to ‘be a tough guy’ or a ‘fool’ – was deemed so bizarre that the White House was forced to confirm its legitimacy after US outlets presumed the screed was a hoax.
“Now the peculiar nature of the correspondence was further compounded by his 2016 rival Hilary Clinton – who shared a parody letter purported to be from former President John F Kennedy to Russia’s Nikita Krushchev in relation to the Cuban missile crisis’ said Independent.
‘Erdogan reportedly rejected Trump’s attempt at diplomacy and threw his succinct letter into the garbage. The reports have thrown into question hopes that Mike Pence will be able to convince Turkey to halt its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria when he meets with Erdogan today amid a deepening humanitarian crisis’ said Daily Mail.