Hong Kong Protesters Call on America for Protection

Protesters gathered at central Hong Kong on Monday, asking American lawmakers to process legislation that supports the territory’s democratic freedom and punishes those who try to stop it.

Crux of the Matter
  • This demonstration was the first approved by the authorities after ban on masks.
  • Instead of discussing demands, government retaliated with more police and imposed more restrictions.
  • More than 2,500 people have been arrested.
  • “Our citizens do not have any kind of power to fight against the government,” said Crystal Yeung, 23, a protester. “We are relying on the U.S. to punish those who are trying to breach the Hong Kong law.”
  • The protesters are hoping for Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to be discussed thoroughly.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 is a bicameral and bipartisan American legislation that reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in light of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill proposal and the ensuing protests against it. The act “directs various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law.” Read More

Former Bolivian President Takes Political Asylum in Mexico

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales had resigned after his government collapsed on 10th November due to ongoing political unrest in the nation. He has accepted the political asylum granted by Mexico on a humanitarian basis on account of the political crisis in Bolivia.

Crux of the Matter
  • Bolivian government collapsed after ruling party allies quit and the army urged Evo Morales to step down amidst a disputed election in which the country has been hit by weeks of protests.
  • Organization of American States‘ announced in its audit of the election that it had found “clear manipulation” and called for the election result to be annulled.
  • Morales had agreed to hold fresh elections but his main rival, Carlos Mesa was against Morales again contesting the elections.
  • This situation has led to chaos and uncertainty in Bolivia. Looting and vandalism are being carried out by both his supporters and opponents.
  • US President Donald Trump described it as “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere”.
  • The Russian foreign ministry said a “wave of violence unleashed by the opposition” had not allowed the “presidential mandate of Evo Morales to be completed”.

Juan Evo Morales Ayma born October 26 1959, is a Bolivian politician and former cocalero activist who served as the 80thPresident of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Widely regarded as the country’s first president to come from the indigenous population, his administration focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. More Info

India & Pak Inaugurate Kartarpur Corridor on 550th Guru Nanak Jayanti

The first batch of 562 Indian Sikh pilgrims entered Pakistan to offer prayers at Gurudwara Darbar Sahib through newly built 4km Kartarpur corridor which was inaugurated on 9th November by PM Narendra Modi in Gurudaspur.

Crux of the Matter
  • To celebrate 550th Guru Nanak Jayanti special train has been launched connecting all the important sites linked to Guru Nanak Ji.
  • PM Modi released a commemorative coin celebrating 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
  • 9th November is of significant importance as on this day the Berlin Wall fell and also in 1989 Shilanyas of Ram Mandir was done and today itself historic verdict of Ayodhya was given.
  • PM Modi said, “I want to thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi as he understood and honoured the feelings of Indians about the Kartarpur Corridor and worked towards its completion.” Using his full name with the word Niazi was seen as a veiled jibe by political analysts.
  • Former PM Manmohan Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, Union ministers Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash were present at the inaugural ceremony.
  • Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee felicitated the Prime Minister with the Quami Seva Award.

General A.A.K. Niazi was a former lieutenant-general in the Pakistan Army and the last Governor of East Pakistan, known for commanding the Eastern Command of the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war until the unilateral surrendering on the 16 December 1971 to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Eastern Command and the Bengali Liberation Forces. Niazi had the area responsibility of defending the borders of East Pakistan from India and was held morally responsible by authors and critics within Pakistan’s military for surrendering the Eastern Command, consisting of ~92,000 – 95,000 servicemen, to the Indian Army when the preparations were underway to lay siege on Dacca. After being taken and held as a prisoner of war by the Indian Army, he was repatriated to Pakistan on 30 April 1975. Niazi was dishonored from his military service after confessing at the War Enquiry Commission led by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman. The War Commission leveled accusations against him for human rights violations, supervising the smuggling of goods during the civil war in the East and held him morally responsible for military failure during the course of the war. More Info

Saudi Aramco IPO: China Weighs in to Expand Political Muscle

In the sale of a 2% stake through IPO, Saudi oil giant Aramco is in talks with China for a $10 bn investment. Providing the throttle for the IPO, China has beneficial stakes in ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and increasing oil prices, creating a win-win situation for both the countries.

Crux of the Matter
  • Amidst the Aramco valuation issues – Crown Prince estimates it to be $2 trillion – the IPO selling company’s 2% stake will come out at the end of 2019.
  • China’s Sinopec Group, China Investment Corp., Silk Road Fund, and other investors in talks with Aramco to acquire $5 – $10 bn stake in the IPO.
  • Aramco also reached out to Malaysia’s Petronas, offering them participation in the IPO.
  • The triangular situation created from the Aramco-Reliance deal and China-Aramco is yet to provide a clear image of the impact on India-Saudi-China ties.

Silk Road Economic Belt – Xi Jinping visited Astana, Kazakhstan, and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013, and proposed jointly building a new economic area, the Silk Road Economic Belt. Essentially, the “belt” includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The initiative would create a cohesive economic area by building both hard infrastructure such as rail and road links and soft infrastructure such as the trade agreements and a common commercial legal structure with a court system to police the agreements. Read More.

India Rejects RCEP for not Meeting Satisfactory Terms

The RCEP Agreement, formed to create the world’s largest free-trade zone, will be signed by 15 countries as India upholds its disagreements. PM Modi showed concerns regarding the potential negative impacts of the policy on the domestic industry. The discussion stage is still open for India as the RCEP goes ahead to 2020 for signatures.

Crux of the Matter
  • 10 ASEAN countries along with China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, are the 16 nation partners of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement launched in 2012.
  • The RCEP lacks the terms that support the growth of Indian farmers, professionals, businesses, and industries as per the Indian government.
  • Commitment to Rules of Origin, the threat of import surge, ambiguity on the access of different market and non-tariff barriers, and use of the year 2014 as the base year, were some of the shortcomings in the RCEP.
  • Considering India as one of the key benefactors of the trade deal, China and Australia stated that “The door still open for India”.
  • The opposition led by Congress had slammed the Indian Government last week stating that the acceptance of the RCEP would paralyze the economy, resulting in loss of millions of jobs. The RCEP negotiations had begun in the Congress regime in the first place.
  • At the end of the day the Indian government looked out for the country’s sovereign interests in rejecting the RCEP deal.

RCEP or Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is the largest free-trade zone pact in the world, and covering a mammoth 35% of the world’s GDP and one-third population – works on the fundamentals of integrating the partner markets by relaxing trade barriers and improving access to products and services of partner nations. Read More