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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, TUESDAY, 19 March 2019

Bhargav Reddy – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

TUESDAY, 19 March 2019

 

BANGLADESH

Election official killed in southeastern Bangladesh. Seven people, including two electoral officials and four paramilitary personnel, were shot dead and more than 26 others were injured yesterday in a gun attack in the Rangamati district southeast of Bangladesh. The polling officials were engaged in poll duty at three polling centers in the Baghaichhari sub-district for the second phase of the local elections this week. Clients are advised to avoid the polling offices in the southwestern parts of Bangladesh

 

INDIA

Two people killed at the Vedanta refinery in Orissa. Two people including a security guard were killed when a mob tried to storm the Vedanta alumina refinery in the Kalahandi district of the eastern state of Orrisa. The protesting mob of local people was demanding jobs at the premises of the refinery when the clash broke out. The incident took place when residents of Rengopali and nearby villages were staging a demonstration near the refinery at Lanjigarh. Twenty people were also injured in clashes between the Odisha Industrial Security Force (OISF) personnel and the protesters. The situation can potentially worsen in the area with more clashes between the protesters and the security personnel.

Pramod Sawant sworn-in as Chief Minister of Goa. Goa state assembly speaker Pramod Sawant of the Bhartiya Janata Party was sworn in as the Chief Minister today. Pramod succeeds Manohar Parrikar who died of cancer this week. The new government in Goa was formed in alliance with two other regional parties including the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Geo Forward Party. With the new alliance, a potential political crisis was averted as the opposition was seeking dismissal of the BJP led government.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, TUESDAY, 19 March 2019

Paul Quaglia – APAC Assistance Director

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

TUESDAY, 19 March 2019

 

INDONESIA

President Widodo extends lead. The latest pre-poll survey by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting shows that President Joko Widodo has widened his lead over Prabowo Subianto to 26 points. Widodo and his running mate, Ma’ruf Amin, garnered 57.6% up from 54.9% in January. The survey included 2,820 respondents from Feb. 24 to March 5. Subianto and Sandiaga Uno secured 31.8%, down from 32.1%. The undecided voters declined from 13% to 10.6%.  The survey predicts that Widodo is set for comfortable re-election on April 17.

Jamaah Ansharut Daulah leader sentenced to prison. The chief negotiator behind last year’s suicide bombings in Surabaya, East Java was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday. Abu Umar was the provincial leader of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in East Java. He held regular motivational meetings reportedly attended by some of Indonesia’s most extreme militants. Indonesia’s fight against terrorism continues with the arrests, prosecution, and conviction of suspected terrorists. Nevertheless, clients in Indonesia are advised to employ caution and avoid political and religious gatherings before the elections in April.

 

MALAYSIA 

Filipino militants detained in Sabah.  Malaysian authorities have detained 12 Filipinos and one Malaysian in Sabah on suspicion of being members or supporters of terrorist groups. Six of the suspects were believed to be members of the Maute Group or Abu Sayyaf who were allegedly involved in the attack of Marawi City in the southern Philippines in 2017. Five others were suspected of protecting the terrorists. The remaining two were believed to be members of the Royal Sulu Force that attacked Sabah in 2013. The suspects were arrested in the districts of Semporna and Tambunan in a two-day operation on March 11 and 12. The arrests indicate increasing infiltration of Sabah by pro-Islamic State Filipino militants. Militants could be turning Sabah into a new terrorist training ground. Filipino militants are being driven into Sabah as the security forces intensify their operations against them elsewhere. Clients are advised to avoid nonessential travel to eastern Sabah and employ appropriate high-risk security measures for critical business missions.

 

MYANMAR

Fighting continues between the Arakan Army and military.  Fighting between Myanmar’s soldiers and the rebel group Arakan Army has reached the ancient town of Mrauk-U in Rakhine, which is home to many ancient temples. More than 20,000 locals have been displaced, including 3,000 from Mrauk-U. The Arakan Army is among seven rebel groups that have not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. The Arakan Army’s engagement in the peace negotiations is unlikely. The National League for Democracy-led civilian government is struggling with the military in pushing for the amendment of Myanmar’s military-scripted Constitution. Clients are advised to avoid Rakhine and its neighboring states as fighting between the military and ethnic rebels continue.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Monday, 18 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in PAKISTAN

  • A blast targeting a passenger train has killed four people and injured six others near Dera Murad Jamali in the southern province of Baluchistan yesterday.
  • Baluchistan is plagued by a separatist insurgency. Terror attacks by the insurgent groups are a major concern in the province.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the frequent attacks by the insurgents and avoid traveling to remote areas of the province.

NEPAL

  • The Nepali Congress party has called on the government to take the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal into confidence and convince them to come to the negotiating table.
  • The Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist was banned by the government last week after a series of arson attacks and bomb blasts in the last month. The attacks were targeted at assets of foreign companies including the Malaysian telecom operator Ncell.
  • The main opposition party cautioned the government to avoid the path of the prohibition against the constitution. Chand led Communist Party of Nepal has been accused of indulging in extortion and criminal activities.

INDIA

  • The Congress party has announced that they will be contesting the general elections in West Bengal without an alliance this year. The announcement comes are their talks with the Communist Party of India – Marxist broke down last week.
  • The Congress party has been trying to form an alliance with regional parties to take on the incumbent Bhartiya Janata Party this year. The Bhartiya Janata Party has a majority in the lower house of the parliament and is seeking to retain power for a second term.
  • The Bhartiya Janata Party is facing a crisis Goa after it’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away yesterday. A political crisis in the state broke out after opposition parties led by the Congress party requested the Governor to dissolve the state government and laid claim to form a new government.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in INDONESIA

  • Vice-presidential candidates Ma’ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno faced off in the third round of presidential debate last night. The debate touched on employment, education, health, and social and cultural issues.
  • Sandiaga, Prabowo Subianto’s running mate was expected to overshadow Ma’ruf, President Joko Widodo’s vice-presidential pick. However, Ma’ruf kept up with Sandiaga in a largely cordial contest. Ma’ruf promised that the Widodo government will continue the national health insurance scheme and will consolidate research funds.
  • Latest polls indicate that Widodo and Ma’ruf maintain their comfortable lead over their opponents. However, a survey by Gallup International shows that 40% of Indonesian voters may still change their minds.

Also in INDONESIA

  • A Widodo ally, the United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy, was arrested and charged with bribery by the Corruption Eradication Commission on March 16. The PPP said it will suspend and replace Mohamad.
  • Mohammad’s arrest is a setback to both the PPP and the Widodo coalition. However, the party and coalition officials said it will not affect their electability.

Also in INDONESIA

  • More than 73 people have died, and 60 others are missing in Sentani and Jayapura in flash floods and landslides in the far eastern Indonesian province of Papua. The disaster was triggered by torrential rain that began on March 16. More than 4,000 people have also been displaced, with many housed in government shelters.
  • Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the October-April rainy season. Emergency officials say they had warned of flood risks in Papua due to deforestation of the mountains surrounding Jayapura.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the areas affected by the flash floods and follow the directions of the local authorities.

THAILAND

  • The Election Commission reported that more than 2.6 million Thais participated in peaceful advance voting yesterday, ahead of the March 24 general elections. The figure represents 75% of all registered advance voters. The advance ballots will be sent to the constituencies for counting, along with the ballots on March 24.
  • The high advance voters’ turn-out indicates that the Thais are eager to participate in the upcoming electoral exercise. The peaceful conduct of the voting also indicates that the March 24 elections are expected to be calm.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the vicinities of polling centers on March 24. Continue to avoid political and religious events before the election.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • The Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) took effect yesterday, one year after the withdrawal was filed. However, the lawyer who filed a complaint with the ICC against President Duterte said the withdrawal cannot prevent the tribunal from arresting and trying the president. The ICC is yet to formally investigate Duterte on the killings of thousands of people in his so-called anti-drug operation.
  • Duterte has vowed to make his anti-drug war harsher in the last three years of his term. He also maintains that the ICC does not have powers over him.

HONG KONG

  • The Mass Transit Railway services between the Central and Admiralty stations will be suspended today after two trains collided with each other. One driver was reportedly injured in the collision.
  • The rare incident took place near Central station at around 3 AM when a Tsuen Wan-bound train collided with a Central-bound train at the crossover section during a trial run for a new signal system.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the disruptions in the subway service and consider alternate modes of public transport.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Monday, 18 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific 

Firstly in INDONESIA

  • Vice-presidential candidates Ma’ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno faced off in the third round of presidential debate last night. The debate touched on employment, education, health, and social and cultural issues.
  • Sandiaga, Prabowo Subianto’s running mate was expected to overshadow Ma’ruf, President Joko Widodo’s vice-presidential pick. However, Ma’ruf kept up with Sandiaga in a largely cordial contest. Ma’ruf promised that the Widodo government will continue the national health insurance scheme and will consolidate research funds.
  • Latest polls indicate that Widodo and Ma’ruf maintain their comfortable lead over their opponents. However, a survey by Gallup International shows that 40% of Indonesian voters may still change their minds.

Also in INDONESIA

  • A Widodo ally, the United Development Party (PPP) Chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy, was arrested and charged with bribery by the Corruption Eradication Commission on March 16. The PPP said it will suspend and replace Mohamad.
  • Mohammad’s arrest is a setback to both the PPP and the Widodo coalition. However, the party and coalition officials said it will not affect their electability.

Also in INDONESIA

  • More than 73 people have died, and 60 others are missing in Sentani and Jayapura in flash floods and landslides in the far eastern Indonesian province of Papua. The disaster was triggered by torrential rain that began on March 16. More than 4,000 people have also been displaced, with many housed in government shelters.
  • Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the October-April rainy season. Emergency officials say they had warned of flood risks in Papua due to deforestation of the mountains surrounding Jayapura.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the areas affected by the flash floods and follow the directions of the local authorities.

THAILAND

  • The Election Commission reported that more than 2.6 million Thais participated in peaceful advance voting yesterday, ahead of the March 24 general elections. The figure represents 75% of all registered advance voters. The advance ballots will be sent to the constituencies for counting, along with the ballots on March 24.
  • The high advance voters’ turn-out indicates that the Thais are eager to participate in the upcoming electoral exercise. The peaceful conduct of the voting also indicates that the March 24 elections are expected to be calm.
  • Clients are advised to avoid the vicinities of polling centers on March 24. Continue to avoid political and religious events before the election.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • The Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) took effect yesterday, one year after the withdrawal was filed. However, the lawyer who filed a complaint with the ICC against President Duterte said the withdrawal cannot prevent the tribunal from arresting and trying the president. The ICC is yet to formally investigate Duterte on the killings of thousands of people in his so-called anti-drug operation.
  • Duterte has vowed to make his anti-drug war harsher in the last three years of his term. He also maintains that the ICC does not have powers over him.

HONG KONG

  • The Mass Transit Railway services between the Central and Admiralty stations will be suspended today after two trains collided with each other. One driver was reportedly injured in the collision.
  • The rare incident took place near Central station at around 3 AM when a Tsuen Wan-bound train collided with a Central-bound train at the crossover section during a trial run for a new signal system.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the disruptions in the subway service and consider alternate modes of public transport.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in PAKISTAN

  • A blast targeting a passenger train has killed four people and injured six others near Dera Murad Jamali in the southern province of Baluchistan yesterday.
  • Baluchistan is plagued by a separatist insurgency. Terror attacks by the insurgent groups are a major concern in the province.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the frequent attacks by the insurgents and avoid traveling to remote areas of the province.

NEPAL

  • The Nepali Congress party has called on the government to take the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal into confidence and convince them to come to the negotiating table.
  • The Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist was banned by the government last week after a series of arson attacks and bomb blasts in the last month. The attacks were targeted at assets of foreign companies including the Malaysian telecom operator Ncell.
  • The main opposition party cautioned the government to avoid the path of the prohibition against the constitution. Chand led Communist Party of Nepal has been accused of indulging in extortion and criminal activities.

INDIA

  • The Congress party has announced that they will be contesting the general elections in West Bengal without an alliance this year. The announcement comes are their talks with the Communist Party of India – Marxist broke down last week.
  • The Congress party has been trying to form an alliance with regional parties to take on the incumbent Bhartiya Janata Party this year. The Bhartiya Janata Party has a majority in the lower house of the parliament and is seeking to retain power for a second term.
  • The Bhartiya Janata Party is facing a crisis Goa after it’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away yesterday. A political crisis in the state broke out after opposition parties led by the Congress party requested the Governor to dissolve the state government and laid claim to form a new government.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Tuesday, 12 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

PAKISTAN

  • A judge of the Lahore High Court has recused himself from hearing two petitions related to the disqualification of Prime Minister Imran Khan. A request has been sent to the Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice to nominate another judge.
  • The two petitions accuse Prime Minister Khan of concealing his alleged parentage of an individual in his nomination papers filed for 2018 general elections. Thus, violating Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan which sets precondition for a member of parliament, to be honest, and righteous.
  • However, according to the state lawyers, the petitioners did not belong to the Mianwali constituency from North West Punjab province from where Imran Khan had contested the election. Only a voter of the constituency can challenge the eligibility of Imran Khan.

Also, in PAKISTAN

  • Four policemen were injured yesterday in an explosion in the Main Ghundi area of Quetta in the southern province of Balochistan.
  • Rescue teams and security forces have reached the site of the incident. The blasts damaged a police vehicle.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in Balochistan as there has been an increase in roadside bomb attacks.

BANGLADESH

  • A group of Qawmi madrasa students attacked and thwarted a program yesterday held by the World Sunni Movement in Brahmanbaria Press Club in Brahmanbaria district in eastern Bangladesh. Qawmi madrassa students attacked the program attendees with sticks and stones and tore apart the banners and festoons of the organizers.
  • Police upon reaching the program venue dispersed the Qawmi madrassa students. The Sunni organization was demanding a state holiday on the occasion of Eid-e-Meraj Sharif also known as Eid-e-Merajunnabi festival.
  • Fights between Islamic groups of different sects are frequently reported in Bangladesh. Clients are advised to avoid all religious events.

Also in BANGLADESH

  • Teachers who were independent observers of the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union and hall union elections have reported irregularities during the voting period. Some student members called for fresh election due to irregularities.
  • They alleged that the ballot papers had no serial numbers which would make it very easy to rig the results. In another case, the ballots were kept outside of polling counters instead of inside a secured place.
  • Other students alleged that the Chhatra League members enjoyed a free movement in and around polling booths but other candidates and activists of other panels faced resistance leading to long queues. Many student voters left without voting.

INDIA

  • A joint statement by Army and other security agencies claimed eighteen militants were killed, out of which fourteen belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group including its six main commanders. Eight of the killed militants were allegedly from Pakistan and ten were locals.
  • Security officials said they are still on alert and will respond any threats accordingly.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly, in INDONESIA

  • Prabowo’s running mate, Vice-Presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno said that he wants to change the free trade agreement deal with Australia if his team wins April 19 elections. He claimed that the deal was unfair to Indonesia and wants to abolish special treatment to Australian beef imports. This type of inward only focus and a lack of International awareness is a reason Probowo is trailing the outward looking Widodo 59-31% according to the latest credible poll by the Survey Network LSI.
  • Both countries signed the free trade agreement on March 4, 2019. Under the agreement 99% of Australian imports to Indonesia will be tariff-free by 2020.
  • Trade between the two countries stands at USD 11.2 billion. Indonesia is Australia’s eight largest source of imports, while Australia is Indonesia’s 14th largest export destination.

Also, in INDONESIA

  • Police have arrested two suspects alleged to be members of domestic pro-Islamic State terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. The suspects were arrested from the Lampung province, South Sumatra Island and the West Kalimatan province of Borneo Island.
  • Police said both suspects wanted to attack non-believers of Islam and had plans to attack the police. Suspicious materials used to make a homemade bomb were also found during the arrest.
  • Jamaah Ansharut Daulah is a banned organization in Indonesia since 2018. The group has been accused of multiple deadly bombings in East and West Java Island in 2018. The leader of the group Aman Abdurrahman, was sentenced to death in 2018 for his alleged role in committing terror attacks in Indonesia.

THAILAND

  • The Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that he would not support General Prayut Chan-o-Cha’s bid for getting re-elected as prime minister. Prayut is the sole prime ministerial candidate for Palang Pracharath Party.
  • Abhisit claimed that under General Prayut Thailand’s economy has slowed down and it’s against its party ideology. Abhisit’s statement comes days before March 24 elections which is likely to become a race between pro-democracy parties and the pro-regime party.
  • However, there has been no official statement made by the Democrat party on Abhisit’s statement.

Also, in THAILAND

  • A soldier was injured by a roadside bomb in Cho Airong district of the southern Narathiwat province yesterday. The injured soldier has been sent to hospital for treatment.
  • The incident occurred near a political campaign poster of a Member of Parliament candidate of the Phue Khon Thai Party. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who is also defence minister said yesterday that due to increase in security measure in the southern provinces, the insurgents are setting off bombs outside the four southern provinces. This statement is of course quite unusual in admitting there was no plan for adjoining provincial security that could defend the people or stop attacks there.
  • Intelligence officials have issued a warning of expanding bombing acts by insurgents and recommend tight security until the March 24 election to avoid creating panic among the general public. The statement being somewhat unusual given the post election period will be as tenuous or perhaps even more tenuous than the existent security paradigm.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • A fight broke out between youths from different ethnic groups in the Kokopo town of the southern East New Britain The fight involved knives and other weapons.
  • Local villagers attacked a settlement burning down houses and other properties. One person was hospitalized.
  • Situation is still tense, amid fears of another fight between the different ethnic groups. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in the East New Britain province.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • Five militants who are alleged members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have been killed by air and artillery attacks this week.
  • According to Police, the members belonged to a faction led by Abu Toraife. He is the leader of one of the three factions in the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
  • The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have declared its allegiance to Islamic State. The group has been blamed for recent bombings on the Mindanao Island.

SOUTH KOREA

  • South Korea’s military yesterday said that it was closely monitoring North Korean facilities for a possible long-range missile or space launch. The statement came after there was increase in activity in two launch sites including the Samundong missile research facility near Pyongyang and Sohae rocket-testing facility in the North Pyongan province.
  • The increased activity comes after the United States and North Korea failed to reach an agreement last month during their bilateral summit in Hanoi. The United States National Security Adviser John Bolton said that President Donald Trump would be very disappointed if there is a new missile test by North Korea.
  • After the failed summit, President Trump has remained positive about North Korea saying that the deal between the two nations is still possible.

Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Tuesday, 12 March 2019

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly, in INDONESIA

  • Prabowo’s running mate, Vice-Presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno said that he wants to change the free trade agreement deal with Australia if his team wins April 19 elections. He claimed that the deal was unfair to Indonesia and wants to abolish special treatment to Australian beef imports. This type of inward only focus and a lack of International awareness is a reason Probowo is trailing the outward looking Widodo 59-31% according to the latest credible poll by the Survey Network LSI.
  • Both countries signed the free trade agreement on March 4, 2019. Under the agreement 99% of Australian imports to Indonesia will be tariff-free by 2020.
  • Trade between the two countries stands at USD 11.2 billion. Indonesia is Australia’s eight largest source of imports, while Australia is Indonesia’s 14th largest export destination.

Also, in INDONESIA

  • Police have arrested two suspects alleged to be members of domestic pro-Islamic State terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. The suspects were arrested from the Lampung province, South Sumatra Island and the West Kalimatan province of Borneo Island.
  • Police said both suspects wanted to attack non-believers of Islam and had plans to attack the police. Suspicious materials used to make a homemade bomb were also found during the arrest.
  • Jamaah Ansharut Daulah is a banned organization in Indonesia since 2018. The group has been accused of multiple deadly bombings in East and West Java Island in 2018. The leader of the group Aman Abdurrahman, was sentenced to death in 2018 for his alleged role in committing terror attacks in Indonesia.

THAILAND

  • The Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said that he would not support General Prayut Chan-o-Cha’s bid for getting re-elected as prime minister. Prayut is the sole prime ministerial candidate for Palang Pracharath Party.
  • Abhisit claimed that under General Prayut Thailand’s economy has slowed down and it’s against its party ideology. Abhisit’s statement comes days before March 24 elections which is likely to become a race between pro-democracy parties and the pro-regime party.
  • However, there has been no official statement made by the Democrat party on Abhisit’s statement.

Also, in THAILAND

  • A soldier was injured by a roadside bomb in Cho Airong district of the southern Narathiwat province yesterday. The injured soldier has been sent to hospital for treatment.
  • The incident occurred near a political campaign poster of a Member of Parliament candidate of the Phue Khon Thai Party. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who is also defence minister said yesterday that due to increase in security measure in the southern provinces, the insurgents are setting off bombs outside the four southern provinces. This statement is of course quite unusual in admitting there was no plan for adjoining provincial security that could defend the people or stop attacks there.
  • Intelligence officials have issued a warning of expanding bombing acts by insurgents and recommend tight security until the March 24 election to avoid creating panic among the general public. The statement being somewhat unusual given the post election period will be as tenuous or perhaps even more tenuous than the existent security paradigm.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

  • A fight broke out between youths from different ethnic groups in the Kokopo town of the southern East New Britain province. The fight involved knives and other weapons.
  • Local villagers attacked a settlement burning down houses and other properties. One person was hospitalized.
  • Situation is still tense, amid fears of another fight between the different ethnic groups. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in the East New Britain province.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • Five militants who are alleged members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have been killed by air and artillery attacks this week.
  • According to Police, the members belonged to a faction led by Abu Toraife. He is the leader of one of the three factions in the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
  • The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have declared its allegiance to Islamic State. The group has been blamed for recent bombings on the Mindanao Island.

SOUTH KOREA

  • South Korea’s military yesterday said that it was closely monitoring North Korean facilities for a possible long-range missile or space launch. The statement came after there was increase in activity in two launch sites including the Samundong missile research facility near Pyongyang and Sohae rocket-testing facility in the North Pyongan province.
  • The increased activity comes after the United States and North Korea failed to reach an agreement last month during their bilateral summit in Hanoi. The United States National Security Adviser John Bolton said that President Donald Trump would be very disappointed if there is a new missile test by North Korea.
  • After the failed summit, President Trump has remained positive about North Korea saying that the deal between the two nations is still possible.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Monday, 11 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for General Elections yesterday. The elections will begin on April 11 till May 19 in seven phases and the results will be declared on May 23.
  • The state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim will be held simultaneously, however, no tentative dates have been announced yet. Elections in Jammu And Kashmir is being postponed due to security concerns.
  • More than 600 million voters are eligible to vote for 543 seats for the lower There will be approximately 1 million polling stations. All digital content posted by political parties and their candidates will fall under the purview of the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission of India.

Also in INDIA

  • Mudasir Ahmed Khan, an alleged member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group has been identified by security officials as the planner of February 14, suicide attack on Indian soldiers which killed 44 paramilitary personnel. He allegedly procured the vehicle and explosives used in the attack.
  • Mudasir reportedly joined the Jaish-e-Mohammed group in 2017. He is also accused of the attack at an army camp in February 2018, in which six personnel and a civilian were killed.
  • The Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group has been banned by the UN and several other countries as a terror group. The February 14 attack led to a military response by India and brought India and Pakistan on brink of a full-scale war.

In SRI LANKA

  • President Maithripala Sirisena hopes to be declared as the joint candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in the presidential elections expected in September 2019.
  • To make his claim stronger, President Maithripala has increased his campaign against drugs and illicit liquor in the country. President Maithripala has proposed separate courts to try drug offenders and also proposed to enforce the death sentence on drug convicts.
  • The election will be a key event in Sri Lankan politics after the constitutional crisis in October 2018 when President Maithripala appointed the former president and Member of Parliament Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister after dismissing the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Also in SRI LANKA

  • China Machinery Engineering Corporation has won a contract worth more than USD 25 million to expand coal yard of the Lakvijaya coal power plant located in Norocholai, northwestern Puttalam province. The company has investments in Hambantota port for a natural gas power plant and Basnagoda-Attanagalu Oya water supply project.
  • Only two bidders participated in the coal yard tender advertised in August 2017, the only other contender was Shanxi Xintang Engineering Design. Shanxi Xintiang’s bid was rejected by a Technical Evaluation Committee on various grounds.
  • According to a cabinet committee, the Lakvijaya power plant operations were affected for six months from April to the middle of September last year due to rough seas requiring the expansion of the coal yard.

PAKISTAN

  • Police have busted a gang of dacoits in Quetta city of Balochistan province. They have been accused of allegedly looting houses disguising themselves as policemen and other security officers.
  • The gang comprised of eleven members. Only six members of the gang have been arrested while five other members are still at large.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in Quetta and avoid traveling to smaller towns and remote areas of the city.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • Six home-made bombs exploded at different locations in the Pak Phayun district of the southern Phatthalung province yesterday. Later, three bombs were discovered and destroyed in the same district. Train services were suspended for three hours.
  • There were no casualties from the bombings but the shops in different locations were damaged. The separatist insurgents have been seeking to create unrest in southern Thailand through such terror attacks and put pressure on the military before the general elections. This is significant because this province has been void of incidents. The incidents have normally been confined to the provinces of Narathiwat, Songkhla, Pattani, and Yala. The incidents in the Phatthalung province signifies a change on modus operandi and possibly diverging goals between leaders of various insurgent groups.
  • A security alert has been issued by authorities in the Phatthalung province. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in the southern provinces of Thailand.

Also in THAILAND

  • The Prachathai Party candidate Meechai Khaiseng contesting in the March 24 election from the Constituency 2 of the northeastern Kalasin province has ended his candidacy and party membership citing lack of support from the party.
  • Meechai said since the party’s provincial office was opened, he has not received any financial support from the party leading to unpaid bills for the office.
  • However, other party candidates will continue their campaigns in the province.

In INDONESIA

  • Former Army General Muchdi Purwoprandjono has declared his support for President Joko Widodo. Retired military officials are seen as an influential factor in the upcoming presidential election in April.
  • The support from the retired general comes after Joko Widodo agreed to provide more civilian posts to active military personnel in the government institutions. Widodo’s challenger Prabowo Subianto, a former military general himself, has claimed that he has more former generals supporting him.

In the PHILIPPINES

  • The Philippines Air Forces have launched air strikes in Sulu province yesterday targeting hideouts of the Abu Sayyaf group.
  • The air raid was conducted after the intelligence agencies confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf group was plotting terror attacks in the area. No casualties have been reported so far.
  • Military Spokesperson said there would be no letup in military offensive and a clearing operation is ongoing by the ground forces to flush out the Abu Sayyaf members.

Also in the PHILIPPINES

  • The Damen Shipyard Group from the Netherlands has expressed its interests in taking over the ownership of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Constructions Philippines.
  • The two companies have different production models. Hanjin is involved in building large container ships, whereas Damen Shipyard is focused on smaller vessels like yachts, tug boats, and cruise ships.
  • Hanjin Heavy Industries and Constructions Philippines was established in 2006, as a subsidiary of South Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company Limited. It declared bankruptcy as it was unable to repay USD 400 million in loans to the Philippine banks and USD 900 million to South Korean lenders.

Malaysia

  • Malaysian police have increased their alert level following the arrest of nine terror suspects last month.
  • Some of the arrested suspects belonged to the Ansar Am Shariah Al Tunisia group which has been banned by the UN as an international terrorist group responsible for planning large scale attacks in several countries.
  • Police spokesman in a statement said yesterday that Malaysia will cooperate with foreign intelligence agencies to identify and arrest the members of terror groups. Some of the common methods adopted by foreign terrorists include marrying locals to get a spouse visa, or using student visa or set up businesses in Malaysia.

MYANMAR

  • Nine policemen have been killed and another missing in a militant attack in the Yoetayoke village, north of Sittwe, capital of the western Rakhine state. Weapons were reportedly stolen from the police station.
  • No insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. However, it is alleged that the Arakan Army is involved in the attack. The group was formed in 2009 and have several thousand recruits seeking independence and protection of Arakan people from Myanmar government.
  • The Rakhine state is plagued by separatist violence since 2017 after a military offensive which has forced more than seven million Rohingya Muslims to cross into Bangladesh as refugees.

CHINA

  • China’s central bank governor said yesterday that China and the U.S are close to securing a currency deal in the ongoing trade negotiations. According to the agreement, China would not manipulate its currency to keep the Chinese made goods cheap and gain a competitive advantage in the international market.
  • China has made similar commitments in several other multilateral agreements. However, it is still unclear on how the deal will be enforced and how both China and the S should respect each other’s monetary policy.
  • The United States President Donald Trump has accused China of devaluing its currency and has threatened to impose sanctions on Chinese goods worth USD 250 billion.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Monday, 11 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia.   Main Issues in South Asia   Firstly in INDIA The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for General Elections yesterday. The elections will begin on April 11 till May 19 in seven phases and the results will be declared on May […]
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Audio Overview of East Asia Pacific Issues, Monday, 11 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in East Asia Pacific.

 

Main issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly in THAILAND

  • Six home-made bombs exploded at different locations in the Pak Phayun district of the southern Phatthalung province yesterday. Later, three bombs were discovered and destroyed in the same district. Train services were suspended for three hours.
  • There were no casualties from the bombings but the shops in different locations were damaged. The separatist insurgents have been seeking to create unrest in southern Thailand through such terror attacks and put pressure on the military before the general elections. This is significant because this province has been void of incidents. The incidents have normally been confined to the provinces of Narathiwat, Songkhla, Pattani, and Yala. The incidents in the Phatthalung province signifies a change on modus operandi and possibly diverging goals between leaders of various insurgent groups.
  • A security alert has been issued by authorities in the Phatthalung province. Clients are advised to employ extreme caution while traveling in the southern provinces of Thailand.

Also in THAILAND

  • The Prachathai Party candidate Meechai Khaiseng contesting in the March 24 election from the Constituency 2 of the northeastern Kalasin province has ended his candidacy and party membership citing lack of support from the party.
  • Meechai said since the party’s provincial office was opened, he has not received any financial support from the party leading to unpaid bills for the office.
  • However, other party candidates will continue their campaigns in the province.

In INDONESIA

  • Former Army General Muchdi Purwoprandjono has declared his support for President Joko Widodo. Retired military officials are seen as an influential factor in the upcoming presidential election in April.
  • The support from the retired general comes after Joko Widodo agreed to provide more civilian posts to active military personnel in the government institutions. Widodo’s challenger Prabowo Subianto, a former military general himself, has claimed that he has more former generals supporting him.

In the PHILIPPINES

  • The Philippines Air Forces have launched air strikes in Sulu province yesterday targeting hideouts of the Abu Sayyaf group.
  • The air raid was conducted after the intelligence agencies confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf group was plotting terror attacks in the area. No casualties have been reported so far.
  • Military Spokesperson said there would be no letup in military offensive and a clearing operation is ongoing by the ground forces to flush out the Abu Sayyaf members.

Also in the PHILIPPINES

  • The Damen Shipyard Group from the Netherlands has expressed its interests in taking over the ownership of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Constructions Philippines.
  • The two companies have different production models. Hanjin is involved in building large container ships, whereas Damen Shipyard is focused on smaller vessels like yachts, tug boats, and cruise ships.
  • Hanjin Heavy Industries and Constructions Philippines was established in 2006, as a subsidiary of South Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company Limited. It declared bankruptcy as it was unable to repay USD 400 million in loans to the Philippine banks and USD 900 million to South Korean lenders.

MALAYSIA

  • Malaysian police have increased their alert level following the arrest of nine terror suspects last month.
  • Some of the arrested suspects belonged to the Ansar Am Shariah Al Tunisia group which has been banned by the UN as an international terrorist group responsible for planning large scale attacks in several countries.
  • Police spokesman in a statement said yesterday that Malaysia will cooperate with foreign intelligence agencies to identify and arrest the members of terror groups. Some of the common methods adopted by foreign terrorists include marrying locals to get a spouse visa, or using student visa or set up businesses in Malaysia.

MYANMAR

  • Nine policemen have been killed and another missing in a militant attack in the Yoetayoke village, north of Sittwe, capital of the western Rakhine state. Weapons were reportedly stolen from the police station.
  • No insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. However, it is alleged that the Arakan Army is involved in the attack. The group was formed in 2009 and have several thousand recruits seeking independence and protection of Arakan people from Myanmar government.
  • The Rakhine state is plagued by separatist violence since 2017 after a military offensive which has forced more than seven million Rohingya Muslims to cross into Bangladesh as refugees.

CHINA

  • China’s central bank governor said yesterday that China and the U.S are close to securing a currency deal in the ongoing trade negotiations. According to the agreement, China would not manipulate its currency to keep the Chinese made goods cheap and gain a competitive advantage in the international market.
  • China has made similar commitments in several other multilateral agreements. However, it is still unclear on how the deal will be enforced and how both China and the S should respect each other’s monetary policy.
  • The United States President Donald Trump has accused China of devaluing its currency and has threatened to impose sanctions on Chinese goods worth USD 250 billion.

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • The Election Commission of India announced the schedule for General Elections yesterday. The elections will begin on April 11 till May 19 in seven phases and the results will be declared on May 23.
  • The state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, and Sikkim will be held simultaneously, however, no tentative dates have been announced yet. Elections in Jammu And Kashmir is being postponed due to security concerns.
  • More than 600 million voters are eligible to vote for 543 seats for the lower There will be approximately 1 million polling stations. All digital content posted by political parties and their candidates will fall under the purview of the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission of India.

Also in INDIA

  • Mudasir Ahmed Khan, an alleged member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group has been identified by security officials as the planner of February 14, suicide attack on Indian soldiers which killed 44 paramilitary personnel. He allegedly procured the vehicle and explosives used in the attack.
  • Mudasir reportedly joined the Jaish-e-Mohammed group in 2017. He is also accused of the attack at an army camp in February 2018, in which six personnel and a civilian were killed.
  • The Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group has been banned by the UN and several other countries as a terror group. The February 14 attack led to a military response by India and brought India and Pakistan on brink of a full-scale war.

In SRI LANKA

  • President Maithripala Sirisena hopes to be declared as the joint candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in the presidential elections expected in September 2019.
  • To make his claim stronger, President Maithripala has increased his campaign against drugs and illicit liquor in the country. President Maithripala has proposed separate courts to try drug offenders and also proposed to enforce the death sentence on drug convicts.
  • The election will be a key event in Sri Lankan politics after the constitutional crisis in October 2018 when President Maithripala appointed the former president and Member of Parliament Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister after dismissing the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Also in SRI LANKA

  • China Machinery Engineering Corporation has won a contract worth more than USD 25 million to expand coal yard of the Lakvijaya coal power plant located in Norocholai, northwestern Puttalam province. The company has investments in Hambantota port for a natural gas power plant and Basnagoda-Attanagalu Oya water supply project.
  • Only two bidders participated in the coal yard tender advertised in August 2017, the only other contender was Shanxi Xintang Engineering Design. Shanxi Xintiang’s bid was rejected by a Technical Evaluation Committee on various grounds.
  • According to a cabinet committee, the Lakvijaya power plant operations were affected for six months from April to the middle of September last year due to rough seas requiring the expansion of the coal yard.

PAKISTAN

  • Police have busted a gang of dacoits in Quetta city of Balochistan province. They have been accused of allegedly looting houses disguising themselves as policemen and other security officers.
  • The gang comprised of eleven members. Only six members of the gang have been arrested while five other members are still at large.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in Quetta and avoid traveling to smaller towns and remote areas of the city.

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Tuesday, 5 March 2019

APAC Assistance Operations Assistant Bhargav Reddy discusses Main Issues in South Asia.

 

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in PAKISTAN

  • The Government of Pakistan has decided to crack down on extremist and militant organizations by seizing their assets which are in accordance with the National Action Plan 2014 and the United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order 2019.
  • No timeline was announced for the operation against groups including Jaish-e-Mohammed, Jammatud Dawa and its charity wing Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation. All the groups in the sanctions list have been accused of terror activities by India.
  • Such action will help in addressing concerns raised by the Financial Action Task Force which promotes effective control of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Also in PAKISTAN

  • Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority yesterday said airspace has been fully reopened for commercial traffic. The air space was closed from February 27 after airstrikes conducted by India inside Pakistan.
  • The closure led to the disruption of major flight routes between Europe and South and South East Asia.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the delays in air travel due to increased security measures by the airport authorities.

SRI LANKA

  • Railway Locomotive Engine Drivers Union secretary said railway drivers have launched an indefinite strike from midnight today.
  • The decision was made after the department of railways decided to recruit drivers who are above the age of 45 which is against the government procedure.
  • Clients are advised to avoid traveling by train and expect increased congestion and delays in road and air travel.

INDIA

  • The Indian Air Force yesterday allegedly shot down a Pakistani military drone near Bikaner, in western Rajasthan.
  • It was second such situation that a spy drone was shot down, the first was shot down near Gujarat border on February 27.
  • The shooting down of the alleged drone came after India and Pakistan came close to war after India conducted airstrikes inside Pakistan after a suicide attack allegedly conducted by Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group based in Pakistan.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

Firstly, in CHINA

  • China’s 13th National People’s Congress is set to meet from today until March 15. More than 3,000 representatives will discuss the country’s plan for the next one year including the economy, security and political issues.
  • The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory, will also meet at the simultaneously. As a result, the annual March meetings are also known as “Two Sessions”. Important issues such as China-US trade war, slowing of Chinese economy, arrest of Huawei executive are expected to be discussed in the meetings.
  • Security has been tightened in Beijing. Clients are advised to expect travel delays due to increased security measures in the city and access to Virtual Private Networks are also blocked making it harder to communicate with others outside China from Beijing.

INDONESIA

  • In a recent poll by Australian market research company Roy Morgan showed President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’ruf Amir was leading with 58% while the Prabowo Subianto and his Vice-President running partner Sandiaga Uno were lagging behind with 42%.
  • President Joko Widodo won the 2014 presidential election by 6.2%, but his recent lead puts him ahead by 16%. Strong growth in the economy and confidence among the citizens have led to the success of President Jokowi’s popularity.
  • The election campaign team of Prabawo-Sandiaga, however, contested the accuracy of the survey results, saying that its own internal polls indicate the race was much closer.

THE PHILIPPINES

  • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad will be on an official visit to the Philippines for two days from tomorrow. This will be the first visit to the Philippines by Prime Minister Mahathir since he assumed power as seventh prime minister of Malaysia in 2018.
  • The visit is crucial to both sides as it is expected that they will discuss the issue of Sabah province which both the countries claim as their own territory.

Also in The PHILIPPINES

  • More than 1,500 living exotic turtles were found inside a passenger luggage at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The passenger was travelling from Hong Kong to Manila in Philippine Airlines.
  • The turtles were handed over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit. Illegal trading of wildlife is punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine up to USD 3861.
  • Smuggling of wildlife is a major concern by the authorities. More intense security checks are likely at the airports to clamp down on illegal trafficking.

THAILAND

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to debut in the election campaign as the prime ministerial candidate of the Palang Pracharath Party on March 10 at Nakhon Ratchasima city which is also the birthplace of Prayut.
  • It is expected that more than 20,000 voters from all fourteen constituencies of the province will attend Prayut’s first public speech. Key leaders of the Palang Pracharath Party will also attend the rally.
  • The Civic Election Participation Partnership which is a network of election watchdogs endorsed by the Election Commission said, they will monitor Prayut’s speeches to observe whether they are in compliance with the election law on campaigning.

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