MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 15 MARCH
PICTURE OF THE DAY
An injured protester receives help during a protest in Hlaingthaya township against the country’s military coup. Demonstrations continued despite violent crackdowns by security forces.
‘Racist agenda’: Fear, worries over Sri Lanka’s burqa ban
Sri Lanka’s move to ban the burqa on “national security” grounds while calling its use “religious extremism” has been termed a “racist agenda” used to cause divisions in the country. A burqa is an outer garment worn to cover the entire body and the face and is used by some Muslim women. On Saturday, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Public Security Sarath Weerasekera said he had signed a paper for cabinet approval to ban the burqa, adding that the government also plans to ban more than 1,000 Islamic schools that were defying national education policy.
Myanmar’s security forces totally out of control committing “crime against humanity”
Myanmar’s security forces continue to terrorise the country’s civilian Promises by the US and its allies to pump up India's COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 1 billion doses by the end of 2022 across Asia is more of an exchange of interests, and whether this effort is able to supply vaccines to developing countries is still a question mark, Chinese analysts said, amid India's complacency that its vaccine diplomacy is getting a boost. Leaders of the US, Australia, India and Japan pledged at their first Quad summit on Friday to boost India's vaccine production capacity by enabling it to produce at least 1 billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022. The US and Japan will fund Indian manufacturer Biological E to undertake production, including of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, via the US International Development Finance Corp and Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Bangladesh-Nepal relations: Connectivity and business
Currently, the communication between Bangladesh and Nepal is dependent only on the Dhaka-Kathmandu air connection. Nepal wants to widen the radius across the airports in Chattogram and Sylhet. Discussions on introducing air connectivity between Saidpur and Biratnagar has been going on since 2016. Nepal revived the issue at the latest commerce secretary-level meeting. High officials of the two countries believe that a 15-20-minute flight distance between Saidpur and Biratnagar would help enhance connectivity. Diplomatic sources of Nepal have said that the road communication between the two countries is still very limited despite the links of Banglabandha of Bangladesh and Kakarbhitta of Nepal to the Asian Highways. Multiple visa from India becomes a barrier. The officials hope for road communication between the two countries after a quick settlement of the visa issue.
Taliban expresses scepticism over interim Afghan gov’t proposal
A Taliban spokesman has expressed scepticism over a proposal by the United States for an interim government in Afghanistan, saying transitional governments have proven ineffective and that the group’s vision for the country revolved around a strong central administration capable of enforcing their definition of an Islamic system of governance. Washington had earlier in March proposed replacing the current government with an interim administration until a new constitution is agreed and elections are held, while a joint commission monitors a ceasefire. But Muhammad Naim, a Taliban spokesman, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview on Sunday that the group did not believe an interim government could deal with the country’s challenges.
After attacks on Chinese businesses, Myanmar imposes ‘full martial law’ in Yangon
Myanmar’s junta declared “full martial law” late on Sunday in parts of the commercial capital Yangon after clashes between soldiers and protesters ended in more deaths. Coup leaders imposed the measure after the Chinese embassy asked authorities to protect Chinese-owned businesses and to guarantee the safety of its investments and citizens. Several Chinese-owned factories in Yangon were burnt during clashes this weekend.
Press body ‘faces watershed’ after Meghan interview row
Oprah Winfrey’s interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is set to inflict further damage to the reputation of the British media this week. The couple’s accusations of endemic racism have challenged the tone of royal coverage and prompted the high-profile departure of Piers Morgan from ITV’s morning show. Now the aftershock is rocking the heart of Fleet Street culture. Leading newspaper editors and journalists warn that the Society of Editors, a key industry body, will lose all credibility if it fails to announce fundamental changes and issue an apology for an initial refusal to recognise recurrent racism in some quarters of British journalism.
Biden's China reset is already on the ropes
On Mar. 18, senior American and Chinese officials will meet in Anchorage, Alaska, to discuss the tense state of U.S.-China relations. Bilateral relations spiraled precipitously during the Trump years. Many keen observers thought that the new Biden administration might reflexively adopt an anti-Trump stance, and urgently adopt cooperation with China on global challenges, such as climate change. The prospects of a reset are rapidly fading, however, and both sides bear some measure of responsibility. On day one, the new Biden administration invited Taiwan's de facto ambassador, Hsiao Bi-khim, to participate in the inauguration ceremony. This was the first time China's rival received such an invitation since the U.S. switched its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan for China in 1979.