MORNING NEWS BRIEF: 23 JANUARY
PICTURE OF THE DAY
TAMIL NADU, INDIA
Villagers try to control a bull during a bull-taming festival, known as Jallikattu and is a part of south India's harvest festival of Pongal, on the outskirts of Madurai town, Tamil Nadu state, India Jan 15, 2021.
Pakistan, India spar at UNGA over minority rights in each other's countries
Pakistan and India sparred on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) over the situation of minority rights in each other's countries as the assembly adopted a resolution, co-sponsored by Pakistan, condemning damage and destruction of religious sites. Rejecting what were termed India's “unwarranted assertions” on the burning down of a Hindu shrine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak tehsil last month, Pakistani delegate Zulqarnain Chheena said India should set its own house in order rather than feigning concern for minority rights elsewhere.
Bangladesh Air Force to buy Kh-31A supersonic anti-ship missile
The Bangladesh Air Force has ordered the Russian-made Kh-31A anti-ship missiles for its upgraded MiG-29BM multi-role fighters that were recently upgraded in Belarus. As an air launched weapon the Kh-31A is designed to engage surface targets such as warships displacing up to 4,500 tonnes. According to Rosoboron export, the Russian arms training company in charge of exporting the Kh-31A it is an active radar seeker, derived from the Kh-31P, is capable of penetrating cohesi, and layered air defence of a large group of ships.
India continues to build embankment despite objections from Nepali authorities
The Indian authorities have continued the construction of an embankment along the Mahakali river in Khalanga despite Nepal’s request to halt the project, say local authorities in the border area of Darchula. India has been constructing the embankment across the district hospital in Khalanga since mid-December. Nepali officials have claimed that the embankment is being built by encroaching on the river bank after the river changed its course towards the east during the devastating floods of 2013.
Biden administration urged to see Pakistan beyond Afghanistan prism
Prime Minister's Special Assistant on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf has said Pakistan wants to pursue a bilateral relationship with the US that is not hyphenated or clouded by US interests in other regional countries but is based on mutual understanding. A day after the Biden inauguration, Dr Moeed addressed a gathering of US policymakers at the Washington-based think tank Wilson Centre titled “US-Pakistan Relations in the Biden Era” on Friday. Laying out a new vision of Pakistan’s engagement with the incoming Biden administration, Dr Yusuf said that the government wants to pursue a bilateral relationship with the US that is not hyphenated or clouded by US interests in other regional countries but is based on mutual understanding.
Tough tests for Joe Biden in 'new' Middle East
"Folks, it's a time of testing." So said America's new president in Wednesday's inauguration speech before listing the tests the country faces and concluding with "America's role in the world". Some of the toughest questions on that exam are in the Middle East. Joe Biden's team is dominated by old hands from the Obama administration returning to a region with new orders to revisit old issues. Their biggest challenges involve policies they personally helped to shape - in places in far worse shape now. But some see openings and opportunities in that.