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APAC Assistance Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research

v3_GdF_Transnational Crime PPT

 

Database Extraction of Transnational Crime & Cash Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Transnational Crimes & Cash Smuggling)

 

Database Extraction of Domestic & Gang Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Domestic & Gang Crimes)

 

Database Extraction of  CiT Vehicle Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(CiT Vehicle Robbery)

 

Database Extraction of International Heist Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(International Heists)

 

Database Extraction of Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery)

 

APAC Assistance CIT Truck Features

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Zardari threatens to topple government. Former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari accused the government of trying to roll back the 18th amendment of the Constitution and targeting the opposition parties with corruption charges. He was speaking at a rally on the 40th death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan who was sentenced to death and hanged by the military government in 1979. He said It is time to march towards Islamabad and oust the government. He said that if the Prime minister does not have funds and if he can’t collect funds through the Federal Board of Revenue then he should leave. Tensions between the political parties have been rising with multiple corruption cases against the opposition party leaders. Tensions can potentially trigger nationwide unrest if the protests by the opposition parties gain traction across the country.

 

BANGLADESH

(Update) Jute mill workers protest turns violent. Into its third day, the protest by the jute mill workers turned violent yesterday, leaving more than 16 people injured in Khulna district. Workers from major mills including Crescent, Platinum, Khalishpur, Daulatpur, Star, Eastern, and Alim Jute Mills held separate demonstrations to press home their nine-point demand which includes clearing their arrears, clearing gratuity and insurance payments of retired workers and regularising temporary workers. Jute mill workers also blockaded roads and railways in different parts of the country during their demonstration.  Clients are advised to steer clear of still ongoing protests and plan for potential transport and road travel disruptions.

 

Travel Alert by the United States. The United State Embassy in Dhaka has updated its travel advisory for Bangladesh. The US embassy has cautioned that In light of calls for revenge in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand, U.S. citizens should exercise heightened awareness of the ongoing threat posed by transnational terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida. The update comes about a month after the Christchurch attack. Nore of the other Five Eyes countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have issued a similar alert. Clients are advised to note the updated advisory from the US embassy and employ caution while traveling in Bangladesh.

 

INDIA

Highways closed for civilian traffic. The government of  Jammu and Kashmir has announced that civilian traffic will be banned on the Baramulla-Jammu highway twice weekly to facilitate movement of security forces. A government spokesman said, “No civilian traffic movement will be allowed along the highway on Sundays and Wednesdays between 4 am and 5 pm. Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the parliamentary elections and associated possibility of the fidayeen terror attack on security forces’ convoys”. The restrictions will remain in force till May 31. The decision has been taken after the February 14 terror attack on a paramilitary convoy at Pulwama along the highway which left 44 security personnel dead and several others wounded. The spokesman said that another “possible fidayeen attack” on another security force convoy at Banihal took place on March 30 but was foiled by the security forces. Security in the state has continued to deteriorate since the suicide attack and cross border shelling and firing continues along the line of control. Clients are advised to avoid all nonessential travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

INDONESIA

Terror suspects arrested. The anti-terrorism Special Detachment 88 arrested a suspected leader of terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Karawang, West Java on April 3. The suspect was allegedly involved in several terror acts last year, including the bombings in Surabaya. He is now detained in East Karawang, West Java. The anti-terror arrests are indicative of persistent terror threat, and Indonesian authorities are likely to step up such operations to ensure a trouble-free election this coming April 17. There is no certainty that all terrorists with a plan to disrupt the upcoming elections have been arrested. Clients are advised to employ extra caution for the entire election season. As much as possible, avoid political campaign rallies and religious events. Be alert and cautious near polling stations.

 

THAILAND

Election Commission orders recount. The Election Commission ordered the recounting of votes at two polling stations in Khon Kaen province and re-voting at six polling units in Bangkok, Lampang, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, and Yasothon. The commission said recounts are needed for the Khon Kaen polling stations because the first counts were inconsistent with the number of voters and marked ballots. New voting is needed in polling stations where the number of voters who turned up on March 24 did not match the number of marked ballot papers. The Election Commission’s order of recount and re-voting gives credence to allegations of election-related anomalies. However, the recount and re-voting in the eight polling units are not expected to significantly affect the outcome of the elections.

 

PHILIPPINES

Duterte rebukes China.  President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted China to keep away from Thitu Island, an island in the Spratly archipelago held by the Philippines. He said he would send troops to defend the island if necessary. Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the presence of Chinese boats near Thitu Island is “illegal” and a “clear violation” of national sovereignty. The Philippine Navy has said it had spotted almost 300 Chinese vessels, suspected to be militia boats, near Thitu Island from January to March. Duterte’s statement was a rare rebuke of China. The president has chosen to be friendly with China in exchange for Chinese investments and aid. He has publicly said several times that the Philippines cannot go to war with China because the country is no match to the Asian superpower. China is yet to respond to Duterte’s latest statement.

 

CAMBODIA

Opposition leader calls for Hun Sen’s ouster. Exiled acting Cambodia National Rescue Party chief Sam Rainsy has called on the Cambodian public to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen like the Algerians recently did to their ruler. He said he would throw his support behind Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng if he were to stage a coup. Hun Sen has been Cambodia’s PM since 1985 and is expected not to transfer power until his dying days or until one of his sons is ready to assume leadership of Cambodia. The chances of a successful coup against him in the foreseeable future remain uncertain.

 

SOUTH KOREA

Fire triggers an evacuation. An enormous fire in the South Korean border town of Goseong left at least one person dead, injured at least 11 others, destroyed about 120 houses, and forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. The blaze broke out yesterday in the northeastern province of Gangwon near the frontier with North Korea. It is now subdued after South Korea mobilized about 200 firetrucks and 2,700 emergency personnel and firefighters to battle the inferno.

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

THURSDAY, April 4, 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan debt at alarming levels. Finance Minister Asad Umar said yesterday that Pakistan’s basic debts have reached an alarmingly high level and that the country is near bankruptcy. Pakistan is in an economic crisis over mounting external debt, with more than USD 60 billion owed to China alone. Pakistan continues its prolonged negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and has entered a final round of talks last week with the aid agency for an economic assistance package. Asad Umar defended the economic policies of the government, claiming that the inflation has not increased to double digits despite the debt crisis.

 

BANGLADESH

(Update) Jute mill workers continue protests. Jute mills workers in different parts of the country continued their protests for the second day yesterday, blocking off railway tracks and highways over unpaid wages and other benefits. A shutdown was enforced by workers of nine state-owned jute mills across several districts including Khulna, Jessore, Rajshahi, and Chittagong, on the second day of the 72-hour strike. Protesters claimed that the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation promised to fulfill only one point of their nine-point demand, and did not give any directives regarding the other eight. Clients are advised to avoid all protests and employ high caution in the districts affected by the rallies and the blockades. Consider contingency plans for potential supply chain disruptions.

 

SRILANKA

Colombo police use teargas on students. The police fired tear gas on protesting university students near the Parliament roundabout in Colombo yesterday. The protest forced traffic in the area to grind to a standstill. The students marched from Rajagiriya to the Parliament roundabout, demanding an audience with the Education Minister. The protest took place while Parliament sessions were underway, prompting the city police to block the road leading to the facility. The students then pushed down the barricades, forcing the police to fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Students are likely to continue their protest today. Student demonstrations near the legislature are common, and skirmishes between security forces and protesters do sometimes erupt. Clients are advised to avoid the vicinity of the Parliament building in Colombo while rallies are in progress. Special traffic measures may be implemented near Parliament and surrounding areas; seek road advisories and plan your routes accordingly.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, THURSDAY, April 4 2019

Paul Quaglia  – APAC Assistance Director

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

THURSDAY, April 4 2019

 

INDONESIA

Widodo retains lead in the opinion polls. Two new surveys indicate that President Joko Widodo and his running mate, Mar’ruf Amin, will win in the April 17 presidential election, with the election just two weeks away. The Melbourne-based Roy Morgan released yesterday its March survey of 1,102 respondents across Indonesia showing that the Widodo-Ma’ruf pair is 13% ahead of their rivals. The margin is lower than in February when the Widodo-Ma’ruf tandem was 14% ahead of Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno. Another survey of 1,200 respondents released on April 2, that of Indo Barometer, also showed that 50.8% of voters were expected to vote for Jokowi-Ma’ruf, compared to Prabowo-Sandiaga’s 32%. An 18% gap in favor of team Jokowi. The survey also gathered information that explained why Indonesians would be voting for Widodo-Ma’ruf. The latest survey of the Indo Barometer, an Indonesian research company, adds to other Indonesian polls showing that Widodo and Ma’ruf will win with 17% to 20% margin over their rivals. The Roy Morgan survey is different from the Indonesian polls in that it shows a lower margin for Widodo-Ma’ruf, 14%. It confirms a survey by Kompas last month showing Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno gaining momentum as voting day approaches. The decline of Widodo’s lead, however, is not as big as in the Kompas survey, where Widodo’s margin was reduced to 11%.

 

THAILAND

Sedition case against Thanathorn. The Pathumwan police station in Bangkok summonsed Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to appear on April 6 to answer a sedition complaint. Thanathorn is accused of helping anti-coup demonstrators in 2015 escape arrests, a crime punishable by up to nine years in jail. Col. Burin Thongprapai, legal affairs chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, said that in May 2015, about 20 demonstrators protested at the Pathumwan police station and fled in a van, escaping arrests and detention by authorities. The authorities found later that the van was owned by Thanathorn. The sedition complaint against Thanathorn suggests that he and his Future Forward Party are being targeted by the military regime. Thanathorn and several other officials of the party are also facing a cybercrime charge over a speech made on Facebook criticizing the military government in July 2018. Prosecutors will decide on April 26 whether to put the party leaders on trial for the cybercrime charge. The Future Forward Party made a strong showing in the March 24 election, coming in third with 6.2 million votes, after the Palang Pracharat Party and the Pheu Thai Party. It has joined a coalition led by the Pheu Thai Party that has vowed to block Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha from staying in power.

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Protests against mining company. Porgera town in the central Enga province has come to a standstill as 17 of 24 landowners and their supporters stageed protests, calling for gold miner Barrick (Niugini) Limited to leave the mining area. The Porgera landowners have been given the opportunity to speak their minds on Barrick’s application for renewal of mining lease for another 20 years. Barrick has operated the Porgera mining area for 30 years and its special mining lease is expiring on August 19.   The fate of Barrick’s application for mining lease extension is uncertain. Barrick’s mining operations in Porgera have been hounded by many controversies, including alleged exploitation of miners and violence against the locals. The Porgera landowners have the support of the Enga provincial government. Clients in Papua New Guinea are advised to avoid protest-hit areas in Porgera and exercise high caution across the town at this time due to ongoing tensions.

 

MALAYSIA

Najib pleads not guilty. Former prime minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to three counts of breach of trust, three counts of money laundering and one count of abuse of power at the Kuala Lumpur High Court complex yesterday. The charges were related to transfers totaling USD 10.3 million into Najib’s bank account from SRC International, a former unit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The trial started at 2:00 PM and was adjourned to April 15 at 5:36 PM. Najib is facing a total of 42 charges over his alleged involvement in the looting of USD 4.5 billion state funds from 1MDB. The trial of 1MDB cases will be a test of the functioning of Malaysia’s judicial system.

 

PHILIPPINES

Explosion in Sultan Kudarat province. More than 18 people were injured in an explosion outside a small restaurant in Isulan town in southern Sultan Kudarat province on the Mindanao island yesterday. Military officials said the attack was believed to be either an extortion attempt or retaliation by Islamist separatist militants targeted in recent military offensives. Unidentified people had recently tried to extort money from the restaurant owner, who refused to pay up. Authorities are also looking into the possibility that the attack was carried out by Muslim militants belonging to the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who have been targeted by military offensives. Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat province witnessed two consecutive bomb attacks in August and September 2018 carried out by suspected BIFF militants who have aligned with the Islamic State group. The bombings, which injured five people and injured 45 others, occurred despite tightened security on the Mindanao island. The whole of Mindanao has been under martial law since the five-month long siege in Marawi City in May 2017. Clients in the southern Philippines are advised to employ high caution in Sultan Kudarat. Travel to high-risk insurgency and kidnapping hotbeds, particularly in Western Mindanao, is not advisable.

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

WEDNESDAY, April 3 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Pakistan could be blacklisted by the FATF. Pakistan could be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to “lobbying by India”, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press conference in Lahore this week. Qureshi said he estimated that the country could suffer USD 10 billion loss annually if it remains on the watchdog’s grey list. A group of experts from the FATF recently visited Pakistan to review whether Islamabad has made enough progress on global standards against financial crimes to warrant its exclusion from the watchdog’s grey list. During its three-day visit to Islamabad last week, a delegation of the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on money laundering, a regional affiliate of the FATF, expressed reservations over insufficient physical actions on the ground against banned groups to block the flow of funds and activities. The FATF noted that Pakistan had revised its terror financing risk assessment but did not demonstrate a proper understanding of the risks posed by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, Falah-i-Insania, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad, Haqqani Network and persons affiliated with the Taliban.

 

BANGLADESH

Jute mill workers go on protest. Jute mill workers in Dhaka launched a three-day strike on Tuesday, April 2. The blockades created traffic congestion, causing inconvenience to commuters. Workers of two jute mills in the Demra area of Dhaka blocked a road while observing the 72-hour strike. The workers of Latif Bawani Jute Mills and Karim Jute Mills blocked the road near the Demra Staff Quarter area for more than five hours. The workers have announced that they will continue their protests today. The Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation has agreed to implement the wage commission long demanded by the workers of the state-owned jute mills, hours after the workers launched a fresh strike to press home their demands. But unless the company issues a more concrete assurance, the protests could persist and spread, gaining support from workers of other jute mills around Dhaka. Clients are advised to avoid all protests. Check on the status of roads in the southern and eastern parts of Dhaka, where several jute mills operate, before attempting travel.

 

INDIA

Congress promises review of AFSPA. The Congress party released their election manifesto yesterday ahead of the general elections in April and May this year. The Congress party has promised to review the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in their manifesto. The party has promised to amend the law that gives special powers to security forces in conflict zones, taking into account humanitarian issues. In insurgency-hit areas, AFSPA allows security forces to arrest and open fire on anyone breaking the law. There have been allegations of excesses, including extra-judicial killings in Jammu and Kashmir and in the northeastern states where the law is in force. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party criticized the move and accused the Congress party of catering to terrorists and anti-nationals.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, WEDNESDAY, 3 April 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

WEDNESDAY, 3 April 2019

 

INDONESIA

President Widodo stresses neutrality of armed forces. President Joko Widodo stressed that he had repeatedly said in meetings with the Armed Forces and the National Police that they must maintain neutrality. President Widodo was responding to claims by former Pasirwangi (West Java) Police District head Sulman Aziz that he had been told to mobilize votes and support for his presidential candidacy. Responding to the allegation, Garut Police Chief Adj. Grand Commissioner Budi Satria Wiguna denied he had issued such an order and said it might be Sulman who misunderstood an order. Claims of irregularities in the conduct of the campaign and in the preparations for the April 17 elections are increasing. The accusations are mostly directed against the incumbent presidential candidate. The camp of Widodo’s rival, former military general Prabowo Subianto, could be laying the ground for questioning the legitimacy of the outcome of the elections as he is substantially trailing Widodo in opinion polls.

 

THAILAND

Army Chief warns the political parties. Army Chief Apirat Kongsompong yesterday made a warning against any attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy. Apirat said: “Those who graduated from abroad shouldn’t bring extreme leftist ideology to topple the Thai democratic regime with the monarchy as head of state. Why don’t you follow rules and fight in the parliament?” Apirat’s warning indicates that the military is concerned about the prevailing political conditions in Thailand. Tensions between competing political parties, namely the Pheu Thai Party and its coalition of seven parties and the Palang Pracharat Party, are mounting. The campaign to impeach members of the Election Commission over alleged irregularities in the counting of election results is also gaining traction. The military chief’s warning signifies that the military will tackle any protest against the announcement of the official election results on May 9 and the election of the prime minister after that. Clients in Thailand are advised to employ caution and avoid any post-election protests.

 

MALAYSIA

Najib’s trial begins today. Malaysia’s ex-prime minister Najib Razak will go on trial today over the multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Najib will face seven of 42 charges over his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of USD4.5 billion state funds from 1MDB. In today’s trial, Najib will face charges of corruption and money laundering over the alleged theft of USD 10.3 million from the SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary company. The trial was originally scheduled in February but Najib’s lawyers managed to postpone it. On April 1, the Najib camp again attempted to delay the trial. The 1MDB scandal is believed to be the main cause of Najib’s and his Barisan Nasional’s defeat in the 2017 general elections. Najib has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him related to the scandal. The trial of 1MDB cases will be a test of the effectiveness of Malaysia’s judicial system. Clients are advised to avoid the Kuala Lumpur court today as traffic congestion is possible around the court, where protests could be launched by Najib’s supporters.

 

MYANMAR

The NLD wins municipal elections. Candidates of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) dominated Yangon’s municipal council election. The NLD won 89 of the 105 seats up for contest. The rest of the seats were garnered by independent candidates. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party did not win any seat. The election outcome indicates overwhelming popular support for the NLD and its push for constitutional change in Yangon.

 

SOLOMON ISLANDS

General elections today. More than 350,000 registered voters are expected to participate in the Solomon Islands’ general election today. There are 333 candidates contesting 50 seats in parliament. The Solomon Islands has a multi-party system, with the United Democratic Party and Democratic Alliance Party presently leading the parties in parliament. Clients are advised to exercise extra caution near polling stations in the Solomon Islands.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, TUESDAY, 2 April 2019

Paul Quaglia  – APAC Assistance Director

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

 

INDONESIA 

Prabowo’s team complains of irregularities. The Prabowo Subianto campaign team complained to the Election Commission (KPU) that it has uncovered irregularities affecting 9% of voters affecting 17 and a half million voters in the election rolls. The anomalies include errors in dates of birth or duplication in identity card numbers. Hashim Djojohadikusumo, media director of the opposition campaign team, said “We demand that this be resolved as quickly as possible. Unless we obtain satisfactory answers, there is a clear possibility that we will go to the constitutional court.” The Election Commission is expected to address the Prabowo camp’s concerns quickly. Indonesia’s voters list issues have been problematic for some time due partly to dysfunction between different authorities overseeing the data. The opposition camp’s concerns raise the likelihood that the legitimacy of the outcome of the April 17 elections will be questioned by the opposition. In 2014, the Constitutional Court rejected an attempt by Prabowo to overturn his loss in the election over claims that the elections were tainted by cheating.              Pre-election surveys show Widodo commands a comfortable lead over his rival. Probowo’s actions may be laying a platform for his actions as a loss in the election becomes more likely.

 

THAILAND 

Prayuth defends the Election Commission. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha defended the Election Commission yesterday and said quote “there should be no more disorder. The Election Commission has already given explanations. Please listen to them.” End quote. Prayut defended the Election Commission after campaigns were launched to impeach its commissioners over alleged election irregularities. Yesterday in a worrying sign for peace and order a motorcyclist torched a car owned by an activist campaigning for the impeachment of the Election Commission. At present, protests against the Election Commission remain minimal, but they could gain ground should major personalities or parties increase efforts to promote the rallies. The commission is set to announce the official full results of the March 24 general election on May 9.

 

PHILIPPINES

Tensions persist over disputed islands. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed yesterday that over 600 Chinese vessels were seen near the Manila-held Thitu Island part of the Spratly archipelago between January and March this year. Philippine soldiers have been repairing the runway on the island. Panelo said a diplomatic protest has been filed with the Chinese embassy. The announcement came on the same day that the 35th annual Balikatan US-Philippines-Australian military exercises started. The presence of Chinese ships near Thitu Island is likely to continue, if not increase. President Duterte has chosen to downplay the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China as it pursues improved economic ties with the regional power, the world’s second-largest economy.

 

Tensions persist over disputed islands. A Philippine Army soldier was injured after soldiers clashed with about more than 20 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay  (village) Quintin Remo, Moises Padilla town in the Negros Occidental province in the central Philippines. The army is still verifying information that about 14 of the communist rebels were either killed or injured. More than 17 hundred people in the area were also evacuated after the gunfight.            Clashes with the NPA rebels are likely to increase after President Duterte ended the peace talks and quote “with finality” end quote with the Communist rebels.         Clients in the Philippines are advised to exercise high caution in communist hotbeds in the Philippines. These hotbeds include the Cagayan region in Northern Luzon, the Bicol region in Southern Luzon, the Negros island and Samar island in the Visayas, and parts of northern, central and southern Mindanao island.

 

CHINA 

Forest fire in southwest China. At least 30 firefighters died battling a forest fire in remote mountains in southwest China’s Sichuan province on March 31. Authorities deployed almost more than 700 firefighters to tackle the fire on March 30. A separate forest fire that lasted two days in the northern province of Shanxi was brought under control also on March 31. Almost More than 3,000 firefighters doused another forest fire in the outskirts of Beijing on the same day. Authorities have warned that warmer temperatures have raised the risk of forest fires in the north of China. A forest fire in northeast Heilongjiang province killed 119 people, injured 102 others and left 51,000 people homeless in May 1987.

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, TUESDAY, 2 April 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

Tuesday, 02 April 2019

 

SRI LANKA

Cases filed against LTTE suspects. The Government says criminal cases filed on 54 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suspects are set to commence. Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale said that the police are also still conducting investigations on six suspects. She was responding in Parliament to questions raised by some Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members over the plight of Tamil political prisoners. Atukorale has said in the past that there are no political prisoners in Sri Lanka. The cases against the LTTE suspects can potentially trigger protests by the Tamil political parties and pressure groups who allege that the prisoners are political prisoners. The civil war between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka ended in 2009 after three decades while the Sri Lankan Military was accused of war crimes against the Tamil population in the northern regions of the island.

Suspected smugglers arrested. Naval personnel of the Northern Naval Command arrested four Nigerians in the Northern seas. The suspected Nigerian smugglers were arrested with two Sri Lankans on a trawler 12 nautical miles North of the Thalaimannar lighthouse. Drug smuggling has emerged to be a major concern for the law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka. Drug smuggling gangs pose a threat to law and order in major cities of the country. Clients are advised to employ caution in major cities including Colombo and avoid nightlife areas.

 

INDIA

Fighter jets scrambled along the border. The Indian Air Force today scrambled two Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets after the Indian Army detected a suspected Pakistani drone flying close to the border in the northern state of Punjab’s Khemkaran sector today. Pakistan responded by allegedly sending two of its American-made F-16 jets. The Pakistani jets soon turned back. Several Pakistan drones have been shot down by the Indian Air Force in the last two months along the border in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Tensions between the two countries have mounted following an air strike on a camp of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. The air strike was launched following a suicide attack on Indian paramilitary troops at Pulwama in the Indian-controlled Jammu and Kahsmir region on February 14.

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