Pakistan Observer


Japan, U.S. to extend naval missions after law change

Tokyo—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to allow Tokyo to come to the aid of an ally under attack will pave the way for closer cooperation between U.S. and Japanese forces across Asia, a top U.S. commander said on Tuesday. Expanded training and joint missions could extend from Japan through the disputed South China Sea - claimed in whole or part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations - into the Indian Ocean. ... Wednesday, April 01, 2015 Details

Kremlin Nukes Every Spark of Revolution

LAST week, the Russian Security Council published its analysis of the 35-page National Security Strategy that the U.S. published in early February, thereby giving an indication of just how thoroughly Russian officials study U.S. doctrinal papers. ... Wednesday, April 01, 2015 Details

Thai PM seeks king’s permission to lift martial law

Bangkok—Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he has asked for King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s permission to lift martial law, which has been in place since before a coup 10 months ago, replacing it with a law that maintains the army’s wide-ranging powers. Critics of the junta warned that the new law could prove more draconian and would allow Prayuth to exercise unrestricted power by citing a risk to national security. Thailand’s military seized power on May 22 last year, after months of sometimes violent street protests in Bangkok. It imposed martial law days before the coup. Prayuth told reporters that once martial law is lifted it will be replaced with Article 44 of the interim constitution. ... Wednesday, April 01, 2015 Details

OIC calls for closer cooperation in Pak relief work

Jeddah—There is a need for close cooperation between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said an OIC humanitarian delegation that recently visited Pakistan. The OIC delegation, headed by Fuad Al-Maznaee, met with the NDMA in Islamabad to discuss relief work in the country and also, later on, held a joint awards ceremony in Karachi with the UK-based Al-Khair Foundation. ... Wednesday, April 01, 2015 Details

Northeast Asia’s shared destiny

WHEN the foreign ministers of China, South Korea, and Japan convened in Seoul last week to discuss potential cooperation on a range of issues, from counterterrorism to air pollution, it was the first time they had met in nearly three years. But, beyond agreeing to hold a trilateral summit at the “earliest convenient time,” the key question that all three face remains unresolved: Will they manage to settle — or at least set aside — their territorial and historical disputes in order to advance their common interests? ... Monday, March 30, 2015 Details

Myanmar must restore peace on China border

HEAVY fighting continues in Myanmar’s Kokang region despite the ongoing peace talks between the Myanmar government and the Kokang ethnic rebels. The fighting near the China-Myanmar border has at times spilled into Chinese territory, as was seen on March 13 when a bomb killed five Chinese nationals. Such conflicts have plagued Myanmar ever since it became independent 67 years ago and have their roots in the political and economic differences between the Myanmar central government and regional minorities. ... Monday, March 30, 2015 Details

Ukraine Is Not the New Yugoslavia, It’s Worse

THE ongoing turmoil in Ukraine has frequently been compared to the Yugoslav crisis of the early 1990s — and, indeed, there are many similarities. But when it comes to understanding why the conflict between Ukraine’s government and Russian-backed separatists has persisted — and why, after a year of increasingly brutal fighting, a resolution seems so remote — the differences are far more important. President Vladimir Putin’s tactics in Ukraine do resemble those of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic during the breakup of Yugoslavia. Putin’s misuse of World War II references in propaganda, aimed at fueling intense Russian nationalism, is often said to be a cut-and-paste replica of Milosevic’s disinformation campaigns in the early 1990s, which stirred up anti-Croat sentiment among Serbs. ... Monday, March 30, 2015 Details

Police probe threat to BBC boss over Clarkson firing

London—British police are investigating a death threat made to the head of the BBC after the broadcaster fired “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson over an assault on a colleague. The Mail on Sunday newspaper ran photos of security guards outside the home of director-general Tony Hall. The Metropolitan Police said detectives were “investigating an allegation of threats to kill” made in an email. No one has been arrested. The force did not name Hall but offered the statement when asked about him. The BBC said it wouldn’t comment on security matters, but carried the story in its news bulletins. ... Monday, March 30, 2015 Details

23 hurt in Air Canada plane’s ‘abrupt’ landing

Halifax, nova scotia—An Air Canada plane made an “abrupt” landing and skidded off the runway at the Halifax airport in bad weather, and officials said Sunday 23 people were taken to a hospital for observation and treatment of minor injuries. The airline said Flight AC624, an Airbus 320 that left Toronto late Saturday, had 133 passengers and five crew members. ... Monday, March 30, 2015 Details

US should now respond to Arab peace plan

WHAT should Israel, the Palestinians and the world make of the statement by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough that the United States expects the next Israeli government to end nearly 50 years of occupation and clear the way for a Palestinian state? This could be a significant turning point in one of the ugliest dimensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict during the past 66 years: US’ apparent total support or acquiescence of any Israeli policy or action, and Washington’s consistent refusal to take a clear, explicit position on the two critical dimensions of the conflict and its resolution from the Arab perspective. ... Saturday, March 28, 2015 Details

Russian Propaganda Exploits Western Weakness

IT is becoming clear that certain authoritarian models of government are capable of matching and, in some respects, even exceeding the accomplishments of their democratic counterparts. Whether Russia, with its dependence on energy exports and otherwise undiversified economy, should be counted among them is debatable, but there is one area in which the Russian state has so far demonstrated a clear mastery over its Western opponents: its propaganda or, to use the public relations term, its messaging. ... Saturday, March 28, 2015 Details

Boko Haram headquarters destroyed: Nigerian army

Abuja—The Nigerian army said it destroyed the headquarters of Boko Haram after capturing the northeastern town of Gwoza from the Islamist insurgent group. Several members of the group had been killed and a mop-up operation was taking place in the city, the army said on its official twitter account, adding that details would follow. Nigeria’s military on Friday announced that troops had retaken the town of Gwoza from Boko Haram, from which the group declared their caliphate last year. “Troops this morning captured Gwoza destroying the Headquarters of the Terrorists self-styled Caliphate,” Defence Headquarters in Abuja said on Twitter. ... Saturday, March 28, 2015 Details

Xi’s initiative spurs scholarship plan

Beijing—China plans to set up a scholarship designed exclusively for students coming to study in the country from nations involved in Beijing’s initiatives to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. An official from the Ministry of Education confirmed the “One Belt and One Road” scholarship plan on Tuesday. “We are negotiating with the Ministry of Finance on establishing scholarship programs under the (One Belt and One Road) plan to provide more support to students from those countries,” said Tian Lulu. ... Thursday, March 26, 2015 Details

Pragmatism still hallmark in post-Lee era

WHEN as a child I first met Lee Kuan Yew in the early 1980s, he was very much in his prime, addressing a huge noon-time crowd in an election rally in downtown Singapore. When I last saw him in a banquet a few years ago, he was holding forth in a question-and-answer session. In both instances, Lee’s undaunted forcefulness and confident forthrightness was almost palpable. ... Thursday, March 26, 2015 Details