Pakistan Expels South Korean Man For Preaching The Gospel Of God

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Pakistan officials say a South Korean national who it accused of using a business visa to preach the Gospel inside the Islamic republic has been expelled from the country.

(Photo: Reuters)

The news comes after two Chinese nationals believed to be associated with the South Korean were killed last month by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group.

“Investigations have revealed that the South Korean national went to Pakistan on a business visa, set up an Urdu academy in Quetta and got involved in illegal preaching activities,” a Ministry of Interior official told ucanews.com this week. “We have revoked his visa and asked him to leave the country.”

According to World Watch Monitor, the South Korean national is Juan Won-seo. Pakistani officials told ucanews.com that 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi, who were abducted and killed last month, were preaching Christianity under Won-seo’s guidance.

(Photo: [email protected])Lee Zingyang and Meng Lisi of China were killed by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group in Pakistan in May 2017.

However, the Hindustan Times reports that South Korea has rejected Pakistan’s claims that Lee and Meng, who were in the country on the premise that they were Mandarin teachers learning Urdu, were preaching Christianity. A South Korean official told the news outlet on June 14 that there is no evidence from Pakistan to backup the claim that they were proselytizing under the leadership of the South Korean.

World Watch Monitor notes that Lee and Meng were only two of a dozen Chinese nationals in Pakistan for Urdu classes but Chinese media has claimed that the school is “merely a front for conducting religious activities.”

According to World Watch Monitor, a Chinese student interviewed by a Chinese government-sanctioned English news outlet claimed that South Koreans recruit Chinese “teenagers to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries.”

“Compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions,” the student was quoted as saying. “Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans.”

However, critics have warned that China’s placing the blame on South Korean missionaries is an attempt to “mislead the Chinese people.”

“Most Chinese Christians have become Christian through Chinese evangelists. It has been very difficult for foreign citizens to proselytise in China. China does not have a visa category for religious clergy or missionaries,” Yang Fenggang, the director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University in Indiana told the Hindustan Times. “Some foreign students, professionals and business people may do evangelistic work within China, but evangelistic activities are restricted.”

Carsten Vala, an associate professor of political science at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, told the Hindustan Times that Chinese nationals have also been “eager to go abroad as missionaries.”

“At least one Chinese church leader I interviewed reported that his congregation had sent missionaries to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Arabic-speaking countries,” Vala said.

Both China and Pakistan are listed as two of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List ranks Pakistan as No. 4 and China as No. 39.

Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew Created A Near Perfect National Healthcare System

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SINGAPORE NATIONAL REVIEW)

(I GOT THIS ARTICLE FROM OUR FELLOW BLOGGER ‘1EARTUNITED’ 1EARTHUNITE.WORDPRESS.COM’)

The key is to ensure that one generation won’t bankrupt future generations by living beyond its means. Obituaries of Lee Kuan Yew, the first prime minister of Singapore who died this week at age 91, broke down into roughly two camps: He was a hero, building a “clean as Disneyland” republic that runs like a Swiss watch. He was an autocrat, who built a successful economy but crushed opponents and journalists who challenged his “managed” democracy.  Both statements have big elements of truth. I take a third approach, based on a fascinating visit I made to Singapore earlier this month. Lee Kuan Yew, a member of Britain’s left-wing Labour party while a student at Cambridge, managed to create a workable welfare state, one that provides for people without creating Social Security–like Ponzi schemes or unsustainable entitlements. Both liberals and conservatives have much to learn from what he built, the details of which are missing in most of the tributes to him.  Lee’s first priority when he became prime minister in 1959 was to reimagine Singapore’s economy. “Back then, this place was a swamp, with no natural resources, and it even had to import its drinking water from Malaysia,” Jim Rogers, a noted American investor who has lived in Singapore for nearly a decade, told me during my visit there.  By embracing free trade, capital formation, vigorous meritocratic education, low taxes, and a reliable judicial system, Lee raised the per capita income of his country from $500 a year to some $52,000 a year today. That’s 50 percent higher than that of Britain, the colonial power that ruled Singapore for 150 years. Its average annual growth rate has averaged 7 percent since the 1970s. “A 2010 study showed more patents and patent applications from the small city-state of Singapore (population 5.6 million) than from Russia (population 140 million),” noted economist Thomas Sowell observes. But that wealth wasn’t used to create a traditional welfare state. Economist Mark Skousen notes that Singapore is rated along with Hong Kong as one of the two most free economies in the world. Any expansion of government is gradual and grudging. In 2013, when Singapore broadened its medical-benefits program, the local Straits Times newspaper made clear the government’s philosophy: “The first [priority] is to keep government subsidies targeted at those who most need them, rather than commit to benefits for all. Universal benefits are ‘wasteful and inequitable,’ and hard to take away once given, [finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam] said.” That mindset is embodied in Singapore’s philosophy of welfare, which rests on four pillars: Each generation should pay its own way. Each family should pay its own way. Each individual should pay his own way. Only after passing through these three filters should anyone turn to the government for help. But it will be there when needed. Singapore’s approach to the provision of health care, retirement income, and housing is in sharp distinction to that of other countries. People are required to make relatively high payments into savings plans from which they can later buy a home, pay tuition, and purchase a variety of insurance policies. For those under age 50, the employee contributes 20 percent of his income, and the employer 16 percent. A third of the employee’s share is put into a private Medisave account. When the balance reaches 34,100 U.S. dollars, any excess funds can be used for non-health-care purposes. All are enrolled in a catastrophic-health-care plan, although they can opt out.  MORE LEE KUAN YEW, FATHER OF THE SINGAPORE MIRACLE LEE KUAN YEW’S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN SINGAPORE’S ECONOMIC SUCCESS Health-care expert John Goodman is credited (along with economist Richard Rahn) with first proposing medical savings accounts in the U.S. He says Singapore shows that they can work as the backbone of a health-care system. “The issue is,” he says, “can individuals be counted on to manage their own health-care dollars responsibly, or does health care work better if all the dollars are controlled by government or insurance companies?” The answer is clear.  Not only is Singapore’s population healthy, but the private sector dominates health-care spending, and consumer choice keeps health-care costs down. In Singapore, the government’s share of health-care spending has fallen to 20 percent, down from 50 percent 30 years ago. “Singapore has found a rational way to provide services that are provided by legalized Ponzi schemes in the rest of the developed world,” Goodman told me in an interview. “Those governments have made promises they must either default on or impose draconian taxes to pay for. Singapore has avoided that problem.” It’s no wonder that other countries constantly consult Singapore for guidance on how to turbo-charge their economies. In 2011, Ghana’s vice president, John Dramani Mahama, told a visiting delegation from Singapore that his country “takes a lot of inspiration from Singapore in their economic transformation from a third- into a first-world country.” There is less to emulate from Singapore’s brand of politics. As Frank Lavin, a former U.S. ambassador to Singapore from 2001 to 2005, notes: “Lee believed that open politics can lead to demagoguery, rent-seeking, and short-term thinking. Yet over time, Singapore did become more open, allowing for both political debate and contested elections. . . . Of Lee’s many successes, his most important legacy might be the move to that more open political system to complement the open economics.” But from my visit there, I believe that the least appreciated part of Lee Kwan Yew’s legacy is his method of ensuring that one generation won’t bankrupt future generations by selfishly living beyond its means. It’s a welfare state that works, and one he always said was available to any political leader with the courage to tell his people the truth about the limits of government’s power to pass out goodies. — John Fund is national-affairs correspondent for NRO.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416071/singapore-lee-kuan-yew-built-welfare-state-works-john-fund

History of Laos

(I GOT THIS ARTICLE FROM GOOGLE PLUS)

Pathet Lao

The term Pathet Lao (land of Lao) is generally used to describe the communist movement of Laos that began in 1945 and continued until 1975, when Laos became communist. It was one of three groups active in the politics of Laos, the other two being the Royal Lao Government (RLG) and the neutralists.

Laos became a French protectorate in 1893. During World War II, the Japanese took control of Laos and declared it independent from French colonial rule on March 9, 1945. After Japan’s surrender, an independent Lao Issara (Free Laos) government was proclaimed on September 1, joined by the Pathet Lao, with its strong nationalist leanings.

There was a Lao committee section in the Indochinese Communist Party, and the separate existence of the Lao communist movement was established in 1945. The leader of the Pathet Lao, Prince Souphanuvong, had met the Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh in 1945 and gained control of central Laos with the help of Vietnamese troops.

The prince had nurtured the communist movement and was prepared to fight against the French, who had seized the capital city, Vientiane, in 1946. Laos was soon engulfed in the First Indochina War, and the Pathet Lao fought along with the Vietminh and the Khmer Rouge. The granting of limited independence on July 19, 1949, by the French was not accepted by the communists.

However, Souvanna Phouma joined the new French-sponsored government in February 1950, where Souphanouvong proclaimed the parallel government of Pathet Lao along with its political organ, Neo Lao Issara (Lao Free Front).

The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954, ended its colonial rule in Indochina. The Pathet Lao was recognized as a political party with control over Phong Saly and Sam Neua Provinces and began to consolidate its position.

In December 1959 the military-dominated government of Phoumi Nosavan arrested the Pathet Lao members of the National Assembly, although Souphanouvong escaped. Laos was plunged into civil war. North Vietnam supported the Pathet Lao by sending arms, ammunitions, and troops.

The U.S. government included Laos in its containment strategy defense against North Vietnam and China. Another attempt was made to bring peace to Laos with the Geneva Accords of 1962. But the attempt failed, and Laos was soon embroiled in the Vietnam War.

A three-pronged coalition between the Pathet Lao, the royal government, and the neutralists did not last long, and the United States and Hanoi stepped up economic and military assistance to their respective allies.

War in Laos became a sideshow in the Vietnam War, marked by heavy civilian death toll. The Pathet Lao military advance captured more territory and by 1972 controlled four-fifths of the land and half the population of Laos.

Finally, the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements on Vietnam in 1973 led to accelerated negotiations in Laos. An agreement on Restoring Peace and Achieving National Concord on Laos was signed in the same year. With the United States out of South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese conquered the south in 1975.

After the fall of South Vietnam, the Pathet Lao assumed effective control of Laos, and the coalition government in Laos was dissolved. On December 2, 1975, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) was formed with Souphanouvong as president.

ISIS Murderers 2 Chinese Missionaries In Pakistan For Sharing The Gospel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

ISIS Kills 2 Chinese Missionaries Accused of Violating Visa Rules in Pakistan by Sharing the Gospel

Jun 13, 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Church approves gay marriage
Pakistan’s interior ministry has said the two Chinese nationals who were kidnapped and killed by Islamic State-affiliated militants last month were preachers who allegedly violated their business visa rules.

(Screengrab: JustPaste.It) A masked ISIS militant reads the charges facing the two men tied to a cross, who were later shot in the back of the head for banditry, Mosul, Iraq.

According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.

“Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan,” Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.

On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.

“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national … were actually engaged in preaching,” Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

The statement didn’t indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.

According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.

Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.

Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s interior ministry has decided to “streamline” its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.

According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.

“This data bank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies,” the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.

The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.

Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.

Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.

In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.

Taiwan reacts defiantly as Panama switches diplomatic ties to China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

Taiwan reacts defiantly as Panama switches diplomatic ties to China

 (PANAMA’S GOVERNMENT STABS OLD FRIEND IN THE BACK TO GAIN AN EXTRA DOLLAR?)
June 13 at 12:31 PM
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen reacted angrily Tuesday to Panama’s decision to shift diplomatic ties to China, insisting that Taipei will never bow down to threats and intimidation from Beijing and is determined to uphold its sovereignty.Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced on television Monday evening that he was establishing diplomatic ties with China and breaking with Taiwan, saying he was “convinced this is the correct path for our country.” He added that China constituted 20 percent of the world’s population, has the second-biggest economy and is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal.

The move comes as Beijing steps up efforts to isolate Taipei internationally since last year’s election of Tsai.

“The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that only one China exists in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” a joint statement from China and Panama read.

Panama is the second country to break with Taiwan since Tsai’s election last year, following the small African islands of Sao Tome and Principe.

For the first time in eight years, Taiwan was not invited to the annual assembly of the World Health Organization last month. It was also excluded from a global forum of the International Civil Aviation Organization last year. Both moves reportedly came at the insistence of Beijing, which has made clear its displeasure with Tsai’s reluctance to explicitly endorse the idea that there is only one China, encompassing the mainland and the island of Taiwan.

China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and insists that any country that establishes diplomatic relations with Beijing must cut them with Taipei. It says its relationship with Taipei is founded on the “1992 consensus” between the two sides that effectively rules out the idea of Taiwan ever gaining independence.

But that was a deal reached by a government run by the Kuomintang party in Taiwan, not Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, and while Tsai has indicated she respects the agreement and says she wants dialogue and friendly ties with Beijing, she has been reluctant to spell out an explicit endorsement.

In the past, China and Taiwan had competed to win diplomatic allies, wooing poorer countries with promises of aid and investment. But they established an unofficial truce under the Kuomintang government, with neither trying aggressively to upset the status quo, experts say.

Panama’s move decreases to 20 the number of countries formally recognizing Taiwan, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A former ambassador to China for Mexico, Jorge Guajardo, tweeted that he expected the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to follow suit soon. “Big question is, will Vatican ditch Taiwan for Beijing?” he added.

Tsai addressed the Taiwanese people on Tuesday afternoon, vowing that Taipei will not engage in a “diplomatic bidding war,” nor succumb to Beijing’s threats.

“We are a sovereign country. This sovereignty cannot be challenged or traded,” she said, insisting that her people want peace but that Beijing is pushing relations toward confrontation.

“Coercion and threats will not bring the two sides together. Instead they will drive our two peoples apart,” she said. “On behalf of the 23 million people of Taiwan, I declare that we will never surrender to such intimidation.”

Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Taiwan’s international isolation is not in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world.

“Taiwan has a great deal to offer the international community, ranging from top-quality medical services to strong IT talent and active international NGOs that provide disaster relief to countries in need,” she said, adding that the United States and other countries should find “creative ways” to engage with Taiwan.

Nor are China’s pressure tactics doing anything to help it win hearts and minds in Taiwan, experts say.

“So far the tactic has only succeeded in alienating the Taiwanese public and reinforced notions of separateness,” said J. Michael Cole, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute and chief editor of the Taiwan Sentinel website.

“As long as such efforts do not substantially undermine Taiwan’s ability to function as a sovereign state — and no theft of a smallish diplomatic ally will ever achieve this — then I don’t see how or why the Taiwanese would give in to such pressure by deciding to accommodate Beijing,” he said.

A poll released by the Taiwanese government over the weekend showed nearly three-quarters of respondents rejected Beijing’s insistence on the one-China principle as a precondition to political ties. More than 80 percent said China’s efforts to limit Taiwan’s international space hurt their interests, and a similar proportion said China should recognize the existence of the “Republic of China,” as Taiwan officially calls itself.

Cole said Taiwan needs to focus more on developing healthy relations with unofficial allies that are democracies and important economies and not worry about maintaining official ties with small states that want infrastructure investment Taiwan cannot afford.

Dennis Rodman says he’s in North Korea to ‘open a door’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ESPN)

Dennis Rodman says he’s in North Korea to ‘open a door’

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Dennis Rodman, the former NBA bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, flew back to Pyongyang on Tuesday for the first time in Donald Trump’s presidency.

He said he is “just trying to open a door” on a mission that he thinks his former “Celebrity Apprentice” boss would support.

Rodman, one of the few people to know both of the nuclear-armed leaders, sported a black T-shirt advertising a marijuana cybercurrency as he talked to reporters briefly before his flight from Beijing to the North Korean capital.

Asked if he had spoken to Trump about his trip, he said, “Well, I’m pretty sure he’s pretty much happy with the fact that I’m over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.”

Rodman has received the red-carpet treatment on four past trips since 2013, but has been roundly criticized for visiting during a time of high tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over its weapons programs.

His entourage included Joseph Terwilliger, a professor who has accompanied Rodman on previous trips to North Korea.

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is “not my purpose right now.”

In Tokyo, a visiting senior U.S. official said Rodman’s trip is as a private citizen.

“We are aware of his visit. We wish him well, but we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon told reporters after discussing the North Korean missile threat and other issues with Japanese counterparts.

In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim Jong Un with a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” On the same trip, he suggested that an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

A foreign ministry official who spoke to The Associated Press in Pyongyang confirmed Rodman’s visit was expected but did not provide details. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the ministry had not issued a formal statement.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield, and Rodman has been criticized for failing to use his influence on leaders who are otherwise isolated diplomatically from the rest of the world.

Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea because the two countries never signed a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. Thousands of U.S. troops are based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

A statement issued in New York by a Rodman publicist said the former NBA player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States. Rodman was a cast member on two seasons of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Rodman tweeted that his trip was being sponsored by Potcoin, one of a growing number of cybercurrencies used to buy and sell marijuana in state-regulated markets.

North Korea has been hailed by marijuana news outlets and British tabloids as a pothead paradise and maybe even the next Amsterdam of pot tourism. But the claim that marijuana is legal in North Korea is not true: The penal code lists it as a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin.

Americans have been sentenced to years in North Korean prisons for such seemingly minor offenses as stealing a political banner and likely could not expect leniency if the country’s drug laws were violated.

China commends Panama for establishing ties with China: Dropping All Ties With Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

China commends Panama for establishing ties with China: Chinese state TV

China commended Panama for its decision to establish formal relations with Beijing, Chinese state television said on Tuesday.

Panama’s government said earlier that it pledged to end all relations or official contact with Taiwan, making it the latest country to break with the self-ruled island that Beijing says is a breakaway province.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Michael Perry)

Real Heroes ARE NOT The Frauds/ Cowards We Call Politicians, Like The Coward Trump

(I GOT THIS ARTICLE OFF OF A FACEBOOK POST)

You’re a 19 year old kid.
You are critically wounded and dying in the jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam .
It’s November 11, 1967.
LZ (landin…g zone) X-ray.
Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in.
You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you’re not getting out.
Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then – over the machine gun noise – you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look up to see a Huey coming in. But.. It doesn’t seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.
He’s not MedEvac so it’s not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.
Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He’s coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 3 of you at a time on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety.
And, he kept coming back!! 13 more times!!
Until all the wounded were out. No one knew until the mission was over that the Captain had been hit 4 times in the legs and left arm.
He took 29 of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho.
May God Bless and Rest His Soul.
I bet you didn’t hear about this hero’s passing, but we’ve sure seen a whole bunch about the thug Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin,
The gov. shut down, “what difference does it make!!!?”)
and the bickering of congress over Health & OBAMA CARE!
BUT NOTHING ABOUT THE PASSING OF
Medal of Honor Winner Captain Ed Freeman.
Shame on the media !!!
Now… YOU pass this along.
Honor this real Hero.
Please

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Bangladesh: Powerful Cyclone ‘Mora’ Comes Ashore Nearly One Million Being Evacuated

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) Bangladesh is scrambling to evacuate nearly one million people from low-lying areas as a powerful tropical cyclone pounds the country’s southern coastline.

The cyclone, dubbed Mora, made landfall early Tuesday morning between the cities of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar and is heading north, authorities in the capital Dhaka said.
“More people were still waiting for evacuation,” said Abu Syed Mohammad Hashim, acting director general of the department. Authorities have also shut airports and ports in the regions expected to be worst hit.
Khalid Mahmood, a director at Disaster Management Department, told CNN that no major casualties had been reported yet.
Residents were seeking shelter in schools and other safe buildings in 17 coastal districts, Hashim said. Officials have organized 3,800 relief centers ahead of the storm.
Medical teams have been formed and doctors and nurses have had their leave requests canceled in anticipation of the storm’s landfall, according to Bangladeshi state media. Hashim told the state-run news agency BSS that rescue teams comprised of members of the armed forces and other agencies were also on standby.
With about 700 kilometers of coastline, Bangladesh is exposed to cyclones and is often battered by deadly storms. Seven of the top ten deadliest storms in recorded history have occurred in either Bangladesh or Myanmar, according to CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.
“A combination of its lengthy and exposed coastline, inadequate infrastructure and plenty of fuel in the way of warm Bay of Bengal waters play a role in making this region the deadliest in the world as it relates to tropical cyclones,” Javaheri said.
At the southern end of the Bay of Bengal, Sri Lanka has been experiencing heavy monsoon rains and severe flooding, which have left at least 160 people dead and dozens more missing. The two weather systems, however, are unrelated.

Nearly 300,000 people were evacuated as Cyclone Mora barrelled towards Bangladesh's southeastern coast at speeds of more than 85 kilometres (53 miles) per hour, officials said.

Airports closed

Mora is the equivalent of a strong tropical storm and will bring winds around 100 kilometers per hour as it moves onshore, said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward. A more significant problem than the winds will be the potential for flooding — from storm surge and heavy rainfall, he said.
“The coastline of Bangladesh is very low-lying and is prone to storm surge problems,” Ward said. “Additionally, tropical cyclones in the region bring extremely heavy rainfall which often turns deadly in the densely populated areas.”
In May 2016, Cyclone Roanu made landfall in Bangladesh with similar speed winds causing the deaths of at least two dozen people.
Some low-lying areas of Cox’s Bazar are already underwater due to an unusually high tide, state media reports.
The country’s two main seaports in Chittagong and Mongla have suspended container handling, and river transports across Bangladesh have been suspended. Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar have been advised to hoist the number 10 warning signal — the highest level — and other areas the lesser number eight signal.
The airports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar have also been closed; Cox’s Bazar indefinitely and Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport until at least 2 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) Tuesday.
“We will reopen the airport if weather permits after 2 p.m. tomorrow… the suspension period will linger if the brunt of cyclone badly affects our airport infrastructure,” CAAB flight safety director Ziaul Kabir was quoted as saying.

CPEC route through Kashmir could create tension with India: UN report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

CPEC route through Kashmir could create tension with India: UN report

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s route through Kashmir could fuel geo-political tension with India and more political instability, a UN panel has warned in a report.

WORLD Updated: May 25, 2017 00:29 IST

Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

China has said the CPEC is an economic initiative that is “not relevant to disputes over territorial sovereignty”.(Reuters File)

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s route through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir could create tensions with India and lead to “further political instability” in the region, a UN body has warned in a new report.The report on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, released on Tuesday by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (ESCAP), the UN’s regional development arm, said President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project has the potential to position the region as an epicentre for growth and trade.

However, the report prepared at the request of the Chinese government flagged concerns about social and environmental safeguards and the route of the CPEC passing through Kashmir.

“The dispute over Kashmir is also of concern, since the crossing of the (CPEC) in the region might create geo-political tension with India and ignite further political instability,” the 94-page report said.

India has repeatedly voiced its objections to the route of the CPEC passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). New Delhi did not send a representative to the Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing last week because of these concerns.

Read more

China has said the CPEC is an economic initiative that is “not relevant to disputes over territorial sovereignty”. Beijing has also said the project does not affect its position on the Kashmir issue, which should be addressed through negotiations between India and Pakistan.

The ESCAP report also referred to the political instability in Afghanistan and said this could “limit the potential benefits of transit corridors to population centres near Kabul or Kandahar, as those routes traverse southern and eastern Afghanistan where the Taliban are most active”.

It was more critical about the implications of the CPEC for Balochistan, Pakistan’s resource-rich province that has been troubled by a long-running insurgency. It referred to the impact of migrants on the ethnic Baloch, who have been demanding a greater say in the use of the province’s abundant natural resources, including gas and minerals.

The CPEC, the report said, “could lead to widespread displacement of local communities”.

“In Balochistan, there are concerns that migrants from other regions of Pakistan will render ethnic Baloch a minority in the province…In addition, Hazaras are another minority of concern. If the benefits of the proposed (CPEC) are reaped by large conglomerates, linked to Chinese or purely Punjabi interests, the identity and culture of the local population could be further marginalized,” the report said.

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There were also concerns that the CPEC would pass through an “already narrow strip of cultivable land” in mountainous western Pakistan, “destroying farmland and orchards”.

“The resulting resettlements would reduce local population into an ‘economically subservient minority’. Marginalisation of local population groups could re-ignite separatist movements and toughen military response from the Government,” the report said.

ESCAP’s executive secretary Shamshad Akhtar, a former chief of the State Bank of Pakistan, was silent on the concerns related to Kashmir in her foreword to the report but said the “success of an initiative of this scale and ambition will depend on intelligent implementation built on strong analysis”.

“For it to be inclusive, the BRI should be informed by broad consultation of affected communities, including on health, employment and land rights issues,” she wrote.

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