MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 13 FEBRUARY
PICTURE OF THE DAY
Street graffiti against the military coup in Myanmar popped up in Bangkok this past week. Meanwhile, Facebook is trying to limit the spread of "misinformation" by Myanmar's military after it took power in a coup last week. The social media company said Thursday that it was "treating the situation in Myanmar as an emergency," adding that it would "significantly reduce the distribution of all content" on pages and profiles run by the military, "that have continued to spread misinformation."
Myanmar junta targets sweeping data access with cybersecurity bill
Myanmar's new military regime is preparing to grant its telecommunications ministry sweeping control over data access as well as online content and service, a week after seizing power from Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government. Initially drafted by Suu Kyi's government, the legislation would permit government entities to access personal information for security reasons and designate a place for online service providers to store consumer data, based on a copy of the 36-page document seen by Nikkei Asia and provided by a senior industry source.
US leaves issue of sanctions on India under CAATSA open-ended
The US, it seems, is craftily leveraging its threat of sanctioning India over acquiring Russian defence equipment, particularly five Almaz-Antel S-400 Triumf self-propelled surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, possibly as a force multiplication strategy to ‘persuade’ New Delhi into buying more of its materiel, especially combat aircraft. Over the past few months, US officials in Delhi and Washington have slyly cautioned India against procuring Russian military kit-especially the S-400-as that could invite penalties under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) of 2017 while simultaneously hinting that the threat was negotiable.
Bangladesh keeps an eye on Myanmar
Since the coup in Myanmar, Bangladesh has discussed the situation in Myanmar with four countries including China and the US. In these discussions at different levels, Bangladesh has tried to assess the position of the countries on Myanmar. The issue of peace and security and peace in Myanmar features significantly in these discussions for the sake of regional stability. Diplomatic sources in Dhaka told Prothom Alo on Monday and Tuesday that Bangladesh has held separate meetings with the US, China, the Netherlands and Sweden at senior diplomatic levels over the last two days. With the changed scenario in Myanmar, Bangladesh wants to move very cautiously to resolve the Rohingya issue.
There is no point to extending commitments in Afghanistan
On Jan. 22, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his Afghan counterpart that the Biden Administration would assess whether the Taliban are living up to their commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups. While such an assessment is entirely reasonable for an incoming Administration, it must not be used as an excuse to halt the May 2021 end date of our military operations in Afghanistan, which the United States agreed to last year. The deal brokered by the Trump Administration last February called for the United States to completely withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 2021. There were four primary conditions for this withdrawal. The conditions not part of the agreement are just as significant.
Farmers’ movement in Modi’s la-la land: What next?
The complexion of the movement is changing as about 18 opposition parties have supported the movement besides the Dalit-a section of women and local students. The Dalit leader, Chandra Sheikhar, galvanized the movement by delivering a Gettysburg-like speech `eik jut ho kar larain gay’ (we shall fight untied). He alluded to the minorities’ unsuccessful struggles, often gory, to unshackle the unjust class-based social order, and strive for achieving equality. The widening scope of the farmers’ emancipation movement created the impression that it has been transformed into an all-India oppressed people’s movement.
US’ new China task force will identify top priorities, its chief says – and tech is ‘huge’
The US defence department has revealed more details about its new task force to evaluate its strategy on China, with technology among its priorities as the two countries’ rivalry looks set to continue under Joe Biden, the new American president. Ely Ratner, special assistant to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and leader of the task force, said on Thursday that the group would examine all activities in the Pentagon related to what Austin has called America’s “pacing challenge” to ensure efforts were prioritised and coordinated.