Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Video Report - What do we know about the Iran protests? | DW News

Video - Putin sums up relations between US and its European allies in 50 seconds

US told to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs

Beijing lodges strong protest against approval of SAR-related bill by Senate
The United States Senate's passage of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 has prompted strong opposition and protest from China, which warned it will take countermeasures to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.
The US should immediately take measures to prevent the bill from becoming law and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China's internal affairs, or negative consequences will boomerang, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in an online statement on Wednesday.
The bill would require annual US certification of human rights in Hong Kong to determine whether the US would continue the separate status it provides the special administrative region in trade and finance. The US House of Representatives approved a similar measure last month.
The two pieces of legislation aren't identical, and the two chambers would have to work out their differences before any legislation could be sent to US President Donald Trump for his consideration.
Geng said the act ignores facts and truth, applies double standards and severely violates international law and basic norms governing international relations.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997, the practice of "one country, two systems" has been proven to be a universally recognized success, Geng said, adding that citizens in Hong Kong now enjoy democratic rights at an unprecedented level and lawfully practice their freedoms.
The act paints rioters' criminal activities as the pursuit of human rights and democracy, when the truth is that violent criminals have rampantly smashed facilities, committed arson, bullied and attacked innocent civilians, forcibly occupied university campuses, mobbed young students and assaulted police officers in a premeditated way, he said.
He said that the aim is to bolster the anti-China extremists and violent radicals who attempt to damage the city's prosperity and stability so as to contain China.
Such vicious moves will not only undermine China's interests but also US interests in Hong Kong, he said, adding that attempts to interfere in or impede China's development will be in vain.
Also on Wednesday, Vice-Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu summoned William Klein, the US embassy's acting charge d'affaires. Ma emphasized China's firm determination to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, implement the "one country, two systems" principle as well as oppose external interference in Hong Kong affairs.
The spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Yang Guang, said Hong Kong will be prosperous and stable in the long term under the strong support of the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong people's lawful rights and freedoms will be guaranteed.
Swift condemnation also followed from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, which said that stopping the violence and restoring social stability are the priorities for Hong Kong because they are in the public's interest and will protect human rights there.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee stressed in a statement that "if the US obstinately holds on to the wrong beliefs and sticks to its wrong stand, we support the central government carrying out strong countermeasures".
In Hong Kong, the Liaison Office of the Chinese Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region took the same stance.
A spokesman for the government of China's HKSAR said the act is unnecessary and unwarranted and will harm relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the US.
Stressing that the HKSAR government will continue to implement the "one country, two systems" principle resolutely in accordance with the Basic Law, the spokesman said the HKSAR government attaches great importance to human rights and freedoms and is determined to safeguard them.
After the Senate legislation passed, British political analyst Tom Fowdy tweeted that he thinks the act "aims not really to protect Hong Kong rights, but transform itself into a Trojan horse for American geopolitics".
"Nothing the US can do can change Beijing's stance that Hong Kong is a part of China," Fowdy wrote.
"In turn, those who pay the biggest price of American actions are the Hong Kongers themselves, who will find their city stripped of the market advantages which once made it great," he added.
US businesses in the city are worried that the act will harm the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the United States.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong — which represents over 1,200 US companies doing business in the city — said in an email response to China Daily that passage of the bill may bring "unintended, counterproductive consequences on American business and its ability to continue exercising a strong positive influence in support of Hong Kong's traditional core values".
Samuel Yung Wing-ki, executive district director of AIA International Ltd, said the bill, which threatens Hong Kong's separate status in trade and finance, may lead to heavy losses to the global economy.
With US firms in Hong Kong suffering, and considering the close trade connections among the world's major economic entities, a negative chain effect might be inflicted on global businesses, Yung cautioned.
There are 1,344 US companies in Hong Kong, of which 278 are regional headquarters. At the same time, about 85,000 US citizens live in Hong Kong, according to the latest statistics of Invest Hong Kong and the Census and Statistics Department.
According to a spokesman for the HKSAR government, the US has in the past 10 years earned the largest worldwide bilateral trade surplus with Hong Kong among its trade partners, at over $33 billion in 2018.

The Coup In Bolivia Has Everything To Do With The Screen You’re Using To Read This – OpEd

When you look at your computer screen, or the screen on your smartphone or the screen of your television set, it is a liquid crystal display (LCD). An important component of the LCD screen is indium, a rare metallic element that is processed out of zinc concentrate.
The two largest sources of indium can be found in eastern Canada (Mount Pleasant) and in Bolivia (Malku Khota). Canada’s deposits have the potential to produce 38.5 tons of indium per year, while Bolivia’s considerable mines would be able to produce 80 tons per year.
Canada’s South American Silver Corporation—now TriMetals Mining—had signed a concession to explore and eventually mine Malku Khota. Work began in 2003, two years before Evo Morales and the Movement for Socialism (MAS) won their first presidential election in Bolivia. South American Silver conducted several studies of the region, all of which found substantial deposits that were poised to make this Canadian firm one of the major players in the mining industry.
A study done by Allan Armitage and others for South American Silver, and delivered to the company in 2011, showed that the Malku Khota mine would produce substantial amounts of silver, indium, lead, zinc, copper, and gallium. “The indium and gallium,” the study noted, “are regarded as strategic metals that give the project future upside potential.” Gallium is used for thermometers and barometers, as well as in the testing side of the pharmaceutical industry. There is Fort Knox level treasure to be made from these minerals.

Resource Nationalism

Evo Morales rode to victory in 2006 with the promise of a new day for Bolivia. Key to his agenda was to take control of the country’s resources and use them to improve the quality of life of Bolivia’s deprived populations. One of the great tragedies of Bolivia has been that since the mid-16th century, the indigenous populations have had to work to remove precious wealth from underneath their lands and send that wealth to enrich the people of Europe and later North America. They did not benefit from those riches.
Millions died in the mines of Potosí to bring the silver, and later tin, out of the ground. For the indigenous people who live near and on the hill, everything is upside down—one of the most lucrative hills is known as Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), while in Spanish there is a phrase that toys with the idea that wealth is equivalent to Potosí (vale un Potosí). Morales’ message during his campaign was framed around the concept of resource nationalism—use our resources to better the lives of those who live in deprivation and indignity.
Morales first went after the oil and gas industry. It is important to recall that his opponent in this year’s election—Carlos Mesa—was the president right before Morales won the election in December 2005. Mesa had come to power when his predecessor Sánchez de Lozada resigned in disgrace over the mass demonstrations in 2003 when Bolivians demanded more control over their gas reserves (the state repression was severe, with at least 70 people killed in the demonstrations). In May 2006—just over three months after being sworn in as president—Morales announced that the oil and gas industry had been nationalized. It is important to recall that his approval rating was well above 80 percent.
Nationalization was not easy, since the Bolivian government could not expropriate assets but only raise taxes and renegotiate contracts. Even here, the government faced problems since it lacked enough technical skills to understand the opaque energy sector. Furthermore, the problem with the energy sector is that even nationalized oil and gas must be sold to the transnational firms that then process them and market them; they remain in control of the value chain. What Morales’ government was able to do was to ensure that the State controlled 51 percent of all private energy firms that operated in Bolivia, which allowed the State’s coffers to fill rapidly. It was this money that was invested to go after poverty, hunger, and illiteracy.

Revenge of the Mining Companies

Canada’s Fraser Institute—a libertarian think tank that is heavily funded by the energy and mining sector—publishes an annual survey of mining companies. This survey is conducted by asking mining executives their opinions on a range of issues. The 2007–08 survey said that Bolivia is the second-worst country for investment; the worst was Ecuador. In 2010, the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index rated Bolivia at 161 of 183 countries. Heads of mining firms—from Barrick’s Peter Munk to Repsol’s Antonio Brufau—made disparaging comments about the nationalization program. “If Bolivia keeps on this path,” a Wall Street banker told me at that time, “these companies will make sure that Bolivian natural gas remains underground.” Bolivia might be embargoed; Morales might be assassinated.
Pressure mounted daily on the MAS government, which began a process to write a new Constitution that would both protect nature and insist on resource wealth being used for the people. There was an immediate contradiction here: if the MAS government was going to undo centuries of deprivation, it would have to mine the earth to bring out the wealth. A tragic choice befell the government—it could not both conserve nature and transform the wretched conditions of everyday life at the same level of caution. At the same time, to get its minerals and energy to market, it had to continue to negotiate with these transnational firms; no immediate alternative was present.


Despite the constraints on it, the MAS government continued to nationalize resources, and insist on State firms being partners in resource extraction. Transnational firms immediately took Bolivia to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a part of the World Bank system. The ICSID—formed in 1966—is based in Washington, D.C., and shares an outlook toward business that mirrors that of the U.S. Treasury Department.

On April 29, 2007, the leaders of Bolivia (Evo Morales), Cuba (Carlos Lage), Nicaragua (Daniel Ortega), and Venezuela (Hugo Chávez) signed a declaration to create an alternative to the investor-government system institutionalized in the ICSID. Bolivia and Ecuador formally withdrew from this U.S.-dominated system, while Venezuela’s Supreme Court declared that it did not have the power to intervene in Venezuelan sovereign affairs.
On July 10, 2012, Morales’ government nationalized the Malku Khota property of South American Silver. Company CEO Greg Johnson saidhe was “really shocked” at the decision. South American Silver’s shares dropped immediately; it had been trading at $1.02 on July 6, and it fell to $0.37 on July 11.
The immediate spur for the nationalization was the protest around the mine by indigenous artisanal miners who did not want this mega-project to undermine their livelihood. South American Silver had spent a great deal of money to convince 43 of the 46 neighboring communities to accept the mine; but they could not convince the artisanal miners. “Nationalization is our obligation,” said Morales.
All that indium would not make its way in significant quantities to the factories to produce LCDs for television sets, computer monitors, and cell phones.
South American Silver took the Bolivian government to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. In November last year, the Court ordered Bolivia to pay South American Silver $27.7 million rather than the $385.7 million that TriMetals (the new name for South American Silver) had demanded.


In July 2007, U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg sent a cable to Washington in which he pointed out that U.S. mining firms had approached his embassy to ask about the investment climate in Bolivia. Goldberg felt that the situation for mining firms was not good. When asked if he could organize a meeting with Vice President Álvaro García Linera, he said, “Sadly, without dynamite in the streets, it is uncertain whether the Embassy or the international mining companies will be able to attain even this minimal goal.”
“Without dynamite in the streets” is a phrase worth dwelling upon. A year later, Morales expelled Goldberg from Bolivia, accusing him of aiding the protests in the town of Santa Cruz. Just over a decade later, it was the “dynamite” that removed Morales from power.
Resource nationalism is no longer on the agenda in Bolivia. The fate of Malku Khota is unknown. The fate of your screen is guaranteed—it will be replaced with indium from the Potosí deposits. And the benefits of that sale will not go to improving the well-being of Bolivia’s indigenous population; they will enrich the transnational firms and the old oligarchy of Bolivia.

Video Report - U.S.-Backed Military Coup in Bolivia Condemned by Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn - Nov 12, 2019

Music Video - Googoosh - Man Amadeam گوگوش - من آمدم

Video Report - Joint opposition protest in front of CM House Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Why Jamaat-e-Islami in Kashmir is the South Asian version of Muslim Brotherhood

Today, it is firmly believed in Kashmiri circles that not a single targeted and political killing happens in Kashmir without Jamaat’s approval.

In the current scenario, the most severe threat concerning radicalization leading to terrorism, comes from Jamaat-i-Islami. As said by Mr Shiv Murari Sahay, the veteran counter-terrorism official of J&K (Pultizer Project, November 5, 2012), JI is a South Asian version of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. Keeping in mind, the considerations of space, it may not be possible to delve deeper into the factual details of the origins of JI. However, suffice it to say that JI believes in political Islam.
Jamaat-i-Islami follows the teachings of Maulana Maududi, Syed Qutb, and Hasan Al Banna- the society and politics should be conducted in line with the divine law of Sharia. It is an extremist organization that dehumanizes non-Muslims, Shias, and Sufi Muslims. In social domains, it is conservative, fundamentalist, exclusivist and orthodox. Though like Etqadis or Barelwis, they follow the Hanafi school of thought, they do not believe in Shrine worship and see many syncretic Sufi practices as blasphemy; the impurities borrowed from the Hindu idolatry. They agree with Ahle-Hadith in their rejection of shrine worship, and attitude towards the Shia and Ahmadiya Muslims and non-Muslims.
In the political domain, Jamaat-i-Islami supports Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir. It is member of and ideologically aligned with the separatist Hurriyat Conference (APHC). JI’s de facto militant face is Hizbul Mujahiddin (HM). Its agenda is pro-Pakistan and it openly talks about that in its Ijtemas (religious-political discussions). Informed interlocutors during the interviews maintained that from 2002 through 2008, the peace period in Kashmir, Jammat-i-Islami strongly entrenched itself in the Kashmiri society through proselytization, social service, ijtemas (religious gatherings), threats, terror, and intimidation. The result of their heightened efforts was seen in the unrest that erupted in 2008, and continuing since then.
According to informed sources, JI is said to have played an instrumental role fomenting the fires of 2016 post-Burhan Wani agitation. Today, in most of the social and political circles of Kashmir, it is firmly believed that not a single targeted and political killing happens in Kashmir without JI’s approval. JI has strong presence in education and the social service sectors.  Hundreds of schools run by the Falai-Aam (FA) trust of JI are better than the government schools in infrastructure and the quality of teaching. These JI schools combine modern scientific education and Islamic teachings.
Local newspaper, “Greater Kashmir” reported that the Trust has helped spread education over the last 30-40 years to areas that had remained even beyond the reach of the government. (Greater Kashmir, “Falai Aam Trust-Providing Education for All”, December 3, 2015). Incidentally, government-run schools are viewed poorly by the local people. There aren’t enough non-religious private schools. In such a scenario where the state, private sector, and the secular non-profit sector do not have a strong presence in the field of school education, JI and Ahle-Hadith have intervened effectively, earning social legitimacy. JI also did impressive rehabilitation work during the disastrous floods of 2014.
JI generously distributes Islamic literature in the form of books, pamphlets, and brochures in colleges, universities, jails and social circles. The original Arabic literature is translated into Urdu and English in Pakistan and sent to India. Tons of literature on political Islam is available in all the bookshops in Srinagar. These include books of Maulana Maududi, Syed Qutb, and Hasan Banna which are readily available in all bookshops. These are available in English and the quality of printed versions is excellent. At first glance, one gets the impression that they are political science or IR books. The objective appears to be to motivate the youth and capture their intellectual imagination in the early impressionable years.
These books are widely read in universities and colleges. Prof. Muhammad Rafiq Butt, professor of Sociology in Kashmir University (native of Ganderbal) who joined HM and was killed in police encounter only three days after leaving home, was an avid reader of Maududi literature. According to the police officials who closely observed his case, he was blending political Islam with sociology in his classroom lectures. According to informed interlocutors, Jammat acts as a conduit for militancy.
Jamaat-i-Islami functions as a socio-political wing of HM and its cadres function as OGWs (Over Ground Workers) of HM in providing infrastructure/logistic support, organizing protective shell in which militants operate. JI has substantial penetration even in the state’s lower and middle-level civil administration, civil secretariat, colleges and universities, jails, legal fraternity, powerful financial institutions, political groups, and the police department. Allegedly, they also help in arranging logistics, weapons, and shelter for the Foreign Terrorists and in facilitating their movements. One can clearly see the evidence of extended JI presence on the ground.
According to a former LeT militant whose religious radicalization started after association with Islamic Jamiyat-ul-Talba, student wing of JI, Jamaati association facilitates easy entry into militancy. The cadres, in the beginning, are asked to perform their religious duties. Later, if someone expresses a strong inclination for joining a militant group, he is asked to resign from JI at least a year before his formal induction into the militant wing i.e. HM. This is done to feign innocence later with a justification that as soon as JI spotted radicalization tendencies, it expelled the concerned individual.
Getting formal membership of JI is rather tough. It begins with participation in Ijtemas, followed by an active association with its youth wing and after attaining the age of 40, one can apply for the basic membership. In a district of 500 villages, on an average, there could only be about 400 active membership of JI. They have a very dedicated cadre and strong grassroots presence.
Their modus-operandi involves the use of persuasion, threat, violence, and intimidation. People in the rural areas are scared of cooperating with the state and armed forces for fear of JI to the extent that they would not even like to be seen publicly with high-ranking government officials. They fear that JI OGWs also act as intelligence arm of militant organizations reporting the movements of ordinary rural and urban folk. The informers of security forces and others who want to collaborate in development work with the government are dealt with threats and violence.
Further, JI has expertise in psychological harassment and pressuring the opponents. For example, they keep intelligence of those citizens who vote during elections. After that, they indulge in intense character assassination of such individuals.
Further, according to informed sources, Jama’at and HM have been sending boys to POK since 2012 for the required training. Moreover, 2014 onwards, Jama’at has strengthened itself at the ground level in South Kashmir, and PDP that has a strong electoral base in South Kashmir, is widely known to have turned a blind eye for obvious reasons. Moreover, the result can be seen in the current phase of bloody militancy in South Kashmir. It may be emphasized that, more than any other Tanzeem, the JI symbolizes strongly entrenched Pakistani footprint in Kashmir. It is the gravest threat to India’s national security.
However, these days, it appears that the young generation has become a little disillusioned with Jamaat-i-Islami. The reasons are their threats and terror tactics. They are seen as fulfilling the agenda of foreign players and less concerned with the grievances of Kashmiris. Their malicious political machinations and complete disregard of Kashmiriyat further infuriate the local Kashmiris.  The young generation also sees JI as a corrupt organization.
Within JI, ideological differences have existed since 2001. The moderate and the intellectual section favour a more non-violent political action and therefore want JI to distance itself from HM. The remaining radicalized and hardcore Pakistan supporters seem to have captured the organization.
The youth finds JI archaic and orthodox. Ahle-hadith which has better financial resources, now attracts the younger generation, with profound linkages with global Islam. It projects itself intellectually and logically. It engages in prolific use of the modern communication technologies and internet which is instrumental in luring young impressionable minds.

Lately, Jamaat has increased its operations in Central Kashmir. This can be seen in the form of weekly invitations being sent to individuals in rural areas inviting them to participate in Ijtemas. Recently, the leadership has also been charged with a mandate to go on a high recruitment drive. Over the last few months (2018-April Onwards), JI-administered WhatsApp groups are being created in large numbers. It appears that some dominant long-term strategy is being designed to capture the current youth unrest.

Pakistan- To Pakistan's ignorant ,Selected PM - Mind your language, please

The kind of political atmosphere that has developed since PTI’s rise to prominence, not just to power,
is bad for just about everything and everybody for a variety of reasons. One, it does nobody any favours, least of all the government itself, when the primes minister speaks in a manner that he did while inaugurating a CPEC-related motorway project on Monday. Since the moment was about projects and roads, and especially since the Chinese ambassador was reportedly in attendance, one expected to be spared the usual “No NRO” speech that the nation is treated to every time the prime minister makes an outing. Yet not only was there a lot of “No NRO,” he also chewed into the opposition a lot more than usual. And nobody was laughing, except senior government officials eager to please the prime minister perhaps, when Imran Khan mimicked Bilawal Bhutto’s Urdu accent.
Two, such antics hardly harm the opposition, especially when everybody is so used to hearing the same remarks over and over again. If anything, Bilawal has been enjoying a wave of social media sympathy since immediately after Imran’s speech. This ought to have been clear to almost anybody yet, somehow, such facts continue to dodge the prime minister as well as his many special advisors. And three, and perhaps most importantly, such rhetoric no doubt further alienates the opposition, on top of the dozens of arrests and corruption cases of course, and you don’t have to be prime minister to understand just what kind of strain that can put on the process of legislation in Parliament. So ordinary people, whose interests governments are primarily meant to serve through effective legislation, become the biggest losers.
Only very recently, the government had to withdraw as many as 11 presidential ordinances, which it muscled through the House, when the opposition threatened a no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker. How does the government expect this particular, rare example of reconciliation in the national assembly to play out now? Already PTI’s performance is not much to write home about in areas that really matter. Foreign relations stand more or less where PML-N left them, especially the matter getting Uncle Sam to resume the free aid, and the less said about the economy the better. If, somewhat correctly, the finance and foreign ministries are hamstrung because of the rot they inherited, what is the excuse about failure to legislate?
Eventually, surely, the government will realise that taking the opposition along is an essential requirement of representative government. But the longer it takes, the more it will paralyse the whole system. And, as always, the common man will continue to pay the price for a direction-less government trying to find its feet.

#Pakistan #PPP - Imran Khan doing ‘selected’ politics for 20 years: Bilawal

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Monday that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been doing “selected politics” for the past 20 years
Tweeting in Urdu written in the Roman script, he said: “Neither am I a liberal, nor a corrupt or a hypocrite. I am a progressive and an ideologue. I have been in politics for the last year.”
His tweet came in the wake of the prime minister’s speech at the inauguration ceremony of Havelian-Mansehra section of Hazara Motorway where he took a jibe at the young PPP leader.
PM Imran said that PPP chairman shocked the remarkable scientists like Einstein with his theory. He was quoted as saying, “When it rains, water pours down. When it rains more, more water pours down.” He asserted that Bilawal Bhutto claims to be a liberal but he was liberally corrupt. Bilawal took to Twitter and expressed that he was neither a liberal nor corrupt and hypocrite. “I am a visionary and progressionist who has been in politics for more than a year,” he said, adding that PM Imran was a 70-year-old elder who had been exercising ‘selected’ politics for more than 20 years.
The PPP chairman said if the prime minister had any identity then it was “[taking] U-turn, hypocrisy and puppet”. “Na liberal hoon, Na corrupt hoon aur Na hi munafiq. Main taraki-pasand aur nazriyati hoon. Aik saal say siyasat main hoon. Tum 70 saal kay burhay ho, 20 saal say selected siyasat kartay aa rahay ho. Agar Imran ki koi pehchaan hai – tau woh U-turn hai, munafiqat hai, katputli hai,” Bilawal tweeted in Urdu.
Earlier, on November 16, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had said that the PPP chairman contradicted martyred Benazir Bhutto’s philosophy by hinting at re-election next year.