Weekly Global Newscast | 26 August - 02 September, 2019


India’s Economic Growth Hits Six-Year Low

Fears of an economic slowdown in India are mounting after figures published showed that growth slackened to its slowest pace in six years. India’s economy grew only five percent year over year from April to June, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of deceleration, according to data released Friday by the country’s Central Statistics Office.


“The first step in tackling a downturn is the acknowledgment of it, which we finally received last week from the government, Saurabh Mukherjea, founder and chief investment officer of Marcellus Investment Managers, told Al-Jazeera.’ ‘Falling food prices and construction wages have put India’s huge rural population under stress, and those problems have been exacerbated by a credit crunch following the near-collapse of one of India’s biggest consumer finance providers in October last year’ as quoted by CNN.

India is ‘Close, Trusted Friend’ of Uzbekistan: Envoy

India is a ‘close and trusted friend’ of Uzbekistan and both countries share fast-growing and dynamic relations, said Uzbek Ambassador Farhod Arziev on August 1, 2019. ‘I should mention the dynamic, fast-growing and deepening cooperation between India and Uzbekistan. India is our strategic partner,’ said Arziev told ANI. ‘We really appreciate and value this relationship. India is our close and trusted friend with whom we shared the centuries of culture and civilization. India and Uzbekistan have wide-scale cooperation,’ he added Arziev thanked New Delhi for helping Uzbekistan in establishing an IT park.


“Asserting that India and Uzbekistan are strengthening their ties, the Indian entrepreneurs are establishing joint investment program including in the area of pharmaceuticals, agriculture, hotels, business education, petrochemical and many others’ said by Central Asia News. ‘”We have seen the very active involvement of India entrepreneurs who are entering the Uzbek market. We are very happy to see this dynamism,”’ quoted by Business Standard.

Middle East & North Africa

Iran Tanker row: US Blacklists Vessel ‘Bound for Syria

The US Treasury has blacklisted an Iranian tanker it says is being used to ship oil to Syria. The Adrian Darya 1, previously known as Grace 1, was detained by British authorities in Gibraltar in July after it was suspected of moving oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. It was released earlier this month after Iran gave assurances it would not discharge its cargo in Syria. In a statement, the US Treasury said the Adrian Darya 1 was being used to transport 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil for the benefit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard – a branch of the country’s armed forces the US has designated a terrorist organization.


“It insisted ships like Adrian Darya 1 were being used to sell oil illicitly to fund Iran’s “malign activities and propagate terrorism”’ said BBC. ‘US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added in a Tweet that America had “reliable information” the vessel was on course to Tartus, a major Syrian port city which is also home to a Russian naval base.’ ‘Since its release from Gibraltar, the Adrian Darya 1 has been bouncing around the Mediterranean, its every move followed with intense speculation’. ‘The vessel was in waters north of Cyprus as of 10:30 GMT on August 31, 2019, according to the Marine Traffic tracking website’, Al-Jazeera quotes.

Sub Saharan Africa

Child Refugees Trying to Reach Europe After Facing Exploitation

More than three quarters of child refugees trying to reach Europe are facing ‘appalling’ levels of human rights abuses along the central Mediterranean route, a new study has revealed. Of nearly 1,600 child refugees aged 14-17 who came to Italy through the Mediterranean during the second half of 2016, 77 per cent reported direct experiences of abuse, exploitation and practices which may amount to human trafficking. Survey results from early 2017, based on the testimonies of some 22,000 refugees, indicate that the situation might be worsening – with 91 per cent of children reporting such experiences.


“The report, co-produced by UNICEF, the International Office for Migration (IOM) and the UN Migration Agency, shows that children and young people on the move are nearly twice as likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above on the eastern Mediterranean route’. ‘One 17-year-old Nigerian girl reported being raped and held prisoner in a house in Tripoli, before being threatened once she sought help’ said Independent. ‘An Afghan boy, 16, reported being forced to work on a farm in Libya, where he was “beaten with a cane” if he stopped working, to pay his smugglers’.


Rise of Donald Trump is ‘Obscuring Lessons of the Second World War

The lessons of the Second World War risk being forgotten because of the rise of ‘extreme’ rightwing leaders such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, the mayor of London has said. Before events to mark the start of the conflict 80 years ago, when Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, Sadiq Khan has branded Trump as “the global poster boy for white nationalism”, whose example is being followed by too many leaders across Europe, including Johnson.


“Writing in the Observer, Khan says Johnson and the Brexit party leader Nigel Farage are promoting similar far-right thinking in this country, and showing contempt for the European Union, which was established to prevent another world war after up to 85 million people died between 1939 and 1945’, The Guardian. “The impact can also be seen in the UK, where the outsize influence of Nigel Farage and his Brexit party has pushed the Conservative party under Boris Johnson to become ever more rightwing and intolerant,” he says. ‘Referring to Johnson’s decision last week to shut down parliament for five weeks before the 31 October Brexit deadline, Khan says: “Just last week we saw the disdain Boris Johnson has for parliament and our democracy.”’ ‘The London mayor’s intervention is the latest in his extraordinary feud with the US president, whose language he compared to that of a “20th-century fascist” in the run-up to Trump’s state visit to the UK in June’ quoted by MSN News. ‘Trump responded before landing in the UK on Air Force One with a vitriolic counter-tirade, accusing Khan of being a “stone-cold loser” who “by all accounts has done a terrible job as mayor of London [and] has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting president of the United States”’. ‘Trump also said the mayor should concentrate on tackling crime in London, rather than attacking the leader of the United States’.


Chanting ‘Freedom Papua’, Protesters Burn Local Government Building

Protesters in Indonesia’s Papua province set fire to a local government building and broke into a prison on Thursday as thousands rallied against racism and called for their region’s independence, officials said. National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said the building was burnt in Abepura town. He said he could not confirm reports that protesters also set fire to several other buildings, including offices, shops and gas stations.


“The government has blocked telecommunication and internet access in the region since last week amid spreading protests that have at times turned violent’. ‘The protests were triggered by videos circulated on the internet showing security forces calling Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs” in East Java’s Surabaya city’, said The Sydney Morning Herald. ‘Wiranto, the co-ordinating minister for politics, law and security, told reporters ahead of a hearing with lawmakers in the capital, Jakarta, that he had received a report saying that protesters had also broken into a prison in Abepura’. ‘Wiranto, who uses one name, said he instructed security forces in Papua not to take repressive measures and not use real bullets in dealing with the protesters’, said MSN News


Trump Says U.S. Planning to Reduce Troop Numbers in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump on Thursday outlined plans for a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and said in a radio interview that China wanted to make a trade deal with the US.


Speaking to Fox News Radio, Trump said the U.S. is planning to cut the number of American troops in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 8,600.’ ‘The US currently has about 14,000 service members in Afghanistan, alongside NATO troops, helping to train and advise Afghan troops and conducting counterterrorism operations’. ‘The peace plan is expected to formalize a significant withdrawal of US forces after nearly 18 years of war,’ said by CNN.

Trump Launches US Space Command

President Donald Trump made the expected announcement on August 1, 2019 during a Rose Garden speech, adding that before long, the U.S. will establish a sixth branch of the military, U.S. Space Force, for space defense. “It’s a big deal,” Trump said in a speech at the White House Thursday (Aug. 29) to unveil the new Space Command (also called SPACECOM). “As the newest combatant command, SPACECOM will defend America’s vital interests in space — the next warfighting domain. And I think that’s pretty obvious to everybody. It’s all about space.


Trump expressed concern that United States adversaries are “weaponizing Earth’s orbits with new technology targeting American satellites.”’ ‘He added that the country needs to use its “freedom to operate in space” to seek and destroy missiles heading towards the United States,’ quoted by Space. ‘As things stand, the only proven method of waging such as space war is by firing a missile from the ground to smash a target in space: a “hit to kill” technique first tested by China in 2007 and subsequently by the US, Russia and, this March, by India’ said The Guardian.


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