Diplomacy

Norway PM chides China obliquely; asserts might is not right

New Delhi: Norway on Tuesday commended India for adhering to the international rules of law with respect to the law of seas and indirectly pulled up China for using might as right. By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury The Economic Times “When large countries respect international law, smaller countries take note. The principle of ‘might is right’ cannot be used as a basis for governing our oceans, or anything else, for that matter,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at the… Earlier ... Read More »

Rohingya left in border limbo amid new Myanmar border clashes

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since a military crackdown started in 2017, desperate to escape persecution. AFP – SBS Panic is gripping thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees living in no-man’s land on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, with daily clashes between Myanmar security forces and ethnic Rakhine insurgents. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since a military crackdown started in 2017 – most to sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh – but many have been living in ... Read More »

Need for International Unity as DR Congo Awaits Electoral Results

The Democratic Republic of Congo awaits the official results of 30 December 2018 elections, amid hints that unofficial numbers show an opposition presidential candidate winning. ICG Conflicting tallies could spark violence. Outside powers should stand together in urging calm and careful verification of the electoral outcome. The Independent Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will likely declare results of the 30 December elections this week. Already there are worrying signs of divisions among international actors, after a… Need ... Read More »

Japan Slams China for Unauthorized Research Around Okinotori Island

Japan’s exclusive economic zone around the remote island is being challenged by China again. Thisanka Siripala The Diplomat The Japanese Embassy in Beijing has filed official protest with China after they admitted to conducting marine surveys around the Japan-held Okinotori island without permission. In mid-December last year, the Japanese Coast Guard intercepted a Chinese research vessel in waters surrounding Okinotori Island. Japan claims the uninhabited Okinotori island in the Pacific Ocean as its southernmost territory, which is 1700 kilometers south ... Read More »

Fire and Ice: Conflict and Drugs in Myanmar’s Shan State

Civil strife has turned Myanmar’s Shan State into a crystal methamphetamine hub. ICG The richer the traffickers get, the harder the underlying conflicts will be to resolve. Instead of targeting minor offenders, the military should root out corruption, including among top brass, and disarm complicit paramilitaries.  What’s new? Shan State has long been a centre of conflict and illicit drug production – initially heroin, then methamphetamine tablets. Good infrastructure, proximity to precursor supplies from China and safe haven provided by ... Read More »

Why the UK should stay within the EU’s asylum system after Brexit

Until recent media coverage of an increase in people crossing the English Channel by boat, Brexit debates have largely overlooked the future of asylum and international protection after the… Ali Bilgic The Conversation The UK’s options are challenging – and the risks for current and future asylum seekers are real and serious, particularly if the UK were to leave without a deal. Complications will stem from the UK’s involvement in the EU’s international protection and asylum governance structures, known as ... Read More »

Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US

The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the European Union’s delegation to the United States, an EU official has confirmed to DW. Michael Knigge The demotion happened at the end of last year without notice. The unannounced move by the US State Department, which has not previously been reported, downgraded the EU delegation’s diplomatic status in Washington from member state to international organization. “We don’t exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us,” an ... Read More »

Even Dutch planning can’t avoid the chaos of a no-deal Brexit

Rotterdam: The Hook of Holland, a stretch of land outside Rotterdam sliced by canals, functions in many ways like Britain’s backyard. Michael Birnbaum WAtoday The Washington Post Greenhouses stretch for miles, nurturing tulips, tomatoes and other supermarket specialties. The bounty is gathered into warehouses and sorted under signs denoting destinations such as Sheffield and Gateshead. Then trucks whisk it all onto ferries headed across the North Sea. Thanks to this precisely calibrated ecosystem and the European Union’s borderless trading zone, ... Read More »

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa flees to US

Venezuela Supreme Court judge Christian Zerpa has fled to the US to protest over President Nicolás Maduro’s second term in office. BBC Last year’s election “was not free and competitive”, the former Maduro loyalist told a Florida radio station. And he accused President Maduro of systematically manipulating the affairs of the Supreme Court. In response, the court said Mr Zerpa was fleeing allegations of sexual harassment. Opposition parties boycotted the 2018 vote, calling it a sham. Mr Zerpa had been ... Read More »

China could occupy more areas in WPS — expert warns

MANILA, Philippines — China may end up occupying more areas in the West Philippine Sea if it would be allowed to unilaterally rehabilitate coral reefs in the disputed region, a maritime expert warned. Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said China’s announcement that it would carry out coral reef rehabilitation and restoration in the South China Sea should be taken with a… “Interested states should take ... Read More »

India’s Muslims: Rich Hunting Ground for Middle Eastern Rivals

How Turkey’s President Erdogan is seeking to expand his leadership claim in the Islamic world in India. James M. Dorsey The Globalist Indian Muslims, 180 million strong, constitute the Islamic world’s second-largest community, after Indonesia, and well ahead of Turkey and ten times larger than Saudi Arabia’s population. Thus, when the ever expansionist and ambitious President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that Turkey was “the only country that can lead the Muslim world,” it stands to reason that he wasn’t ... Read More »

Ireland loves exactly what Britain hates about Europe

London and Dublin’s mental geographies have embarked on different trajectories Bobby McDonagh The Irish Times Although Ireland will be deeply affected by Brexit, we have to an extraordinary extent been unaffected by the Brexit debate. The main arguments and fears of the Brexiteers are essentially alien to us. We don’t share their wish to return to an imagined past. Unlike the UK today, we are confident about our ability to promote our interests in the modern interdependent world. Xenophobia in ... Read More »

Washington Trained Guatemala’s Mass Murderers—and the Border Patrol Played a Role

Now two Guatemalan children have died under Border Patrol custody. But the agency’s role in Latin American oppression has a long history. Greg Grandin and Elizabeth Oglesby The Nation John P. Longan was an agent with the US Border Patrol in the 1940s and ’50s, working near the Mexican border, where two Guatemalan migrant children fell mortally ill last month in the custody of the Border Patrol—7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquín, who died on December 8, and 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo, ... Read More »

Government’s post-Brexit agriculture scheme falls short of protection needed to safeguard environment, farmers warn

Call for tougher policies comes after Michael Gove addressed two major farming conferences in Oxford Josh Gabbatiss Independent The government’s vision for post-Brexit farming does not provide enough protection for the environment, meaning food production is at risk, according to a farming group.Michael Gove’s agriculture bill is a cornerstone of his plan for a “green Brexit”, but campaigners say it has fallen short of providing long-term protection for UK nature. The environment secretary addressed two farming conferences in Oxford on Thursday, one focusing on traditional agriculture and the other based around ... Read More »

Why the Singapore model won’t work for the UK post-Brexit

The city state has a strange appeal to some Tories yet even its prime minister doubts its approach would work in Britain Patrick Wintour The Guardian The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on a visit to Singapore to learn how such a relatively isolated city state has become so successful is only the latest, but most explicit, of a long line of Tory ministers to extol it as the model for the UK post-Brexit. Quite how Singapore, an authoritarian state capitalist economy akin ... Read More »

German government cagey on spy cooperation in Pinochet’s Chile

The German Foreign Ministry has refused to shed light on the BND’s cooperation with the CIA to aid General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime in Chile. Ben Knight DW The vague responses have outraged the German Left party. The German government has offered only cagey responses to questions about cooperation between the German secret service, the BND, and military dictatorships in Chile and Greece in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The socialist Left party’s Jan Korte submitted 68 questions to ... Read More »