MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 03 MARCH
PICTURE OF THE DAY
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Trees are seen adorned with mini Taegeukgis, or the South Korean national flag, at Hyochang Park in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Feb 28, 2021, on the eve of the Independence Movement national holiday.
Myanmar military urged not to ‘invite’ foreign intervention, as Asean foreign ministers meet
Asean foreign ministers held an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon during which the bloc called on Myanmar’s military rulers to stop violence against demonstrators and immediately release civilian leaders as a first step towards quelling the unrest that has followed last month’s coup. Ahead of the talks, police in Myanmar continued to use violence – including the firing of live bullets – to disperse crowds as protests continued in Yangon and across the country, Reuters reported, citing activists and eye witnesses.
Turkey widens war tech hunt by tapping Pakistan’s China ties
Turkey is pushing to co-manufacture warplanes and missiles with Pakistan, a hookup that could also give it access to prized war technology from China. Turkish defense and government officials have held periodic talks with Pakistani counterparts -- the last high-level discussion was in January -- about developing and manufacturing military hardware with Pakistan, according to people from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations. The people didn’t say when they’ll meet again or how close they are to an agreement. A deal would get NATO-member Turkey closer to some of China’s military technology. Pakistan builds its JF-17 fighter jets with China and is said to have adapted Chinese designs for its Shaheen ballistic missile.
Is Bangladesh moving to normalize relations with Israel?
Israel turns out to be on a diplomatic spree of late. After mending fences with erstwhile foes in the Gulf and North Africa, a new door seems to have opened to a country far away from its familiar turf: Bangladesh. Yes, you read that right. According to an investigative report by Al-Jazeera in February, the two countries seem to have been on friendly terms for the past few years, in secret, of course, since Muslim Bangladesh does not recognize Israel and forbids its citizens from visiting there. Bangladesh vehemently denied the allegations, and Israel declined to comment on the story. Still, the evidence points to the fact that the two countries might have been exploring diplomatic avenues to normalize relations. The question is, what are the odds?
Is India calibrating to reverse or shift policies in the post-Trump era?
After months of border standoff from May 2020, Indian and Chinese troops had successfully carried out disengagement at the northern and southern banks of Pangong Tso lake, a move that aims to ease tensions along the border. And in another attempt to bring peace and stability along the Line of Actual Control, India and Pakistan implemented a cease-fire agreement from midnight February 24/25. New Delhi made these moves after careful calculations of its interests. It knows well that long-term confrontation with China consumes its resources, and there is no way that it could force Beijing to step back or compromise. Against the backdrop of lagging logistics and weapons procurement and the pandemic-stricken economy, India has no chance of winning a large-scale conflict or war.
Bhutan conspiracy trial to begin this week
As a Thimphu court prepares for the opening of a trial against three prominent officials accused of plotting to topple and take over top jobs in the Supreme Court and the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), the spotlight is on a woman who was a former protocol secretary at the Indian Embassy. Khandu Wangmo allegedly played a key part in the intrigues.
Criminal complaint filed against Mohammed bin Salman in German court
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-ranking Saudi officials have been accused of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint filed in Germany by Reporters without Borders (RSF), the press freedom group. The 500-page complaint, filed with the German public prosecutor in general in the federal court of justice in Karlsruhe, centres on the “widespread and systematic” persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the arbitrary detention of 34 journalists there and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist.