Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Farmers block oil refineries and depots across France

French farmers began a blockade of at least 14 oil refineries and depots belonging to energy company Total on Sunday evening.
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The demonstrators positioned their tractors and straw bales at the sites to protest against what they see as unfair standards in the importation of palm oil for use in fuel.
President of the National Federation of Agricultural Holders’ Unions Christiane Lambert insisted that the imports can undermine French agriculture, according to local media.
The blockage was described as “illegal” by French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert. He said that the government is not going to backtrack on its decision to allow Total to use imported palm oil, and warned that the protest could not lead to any “adequate solutions.”

Putin’s visit ‘strong impetus’ to Sino-Russian relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to China was successful, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. The spokesman told reporters on Monday, that the visit gave a new “strong impetus” to the bilateral relations and said that the friendship medal given to the Russian leader reflects the “deep friendship” between the two states. He became the first foreign leader to receive one of the highest awards of China, officially called Order of Friendship. Putin came to China on June 8, where his met his counterpart Xi Jingping and later took part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO summit.

Erdogan vows to ‘drain terrorist swamp’

Erdogan vows to ‘drain terrorist swamp’ after strikes in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains.
Turkey has destroyed 14 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains. The region is considered to be the headquarters of the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara. Some 20 Turkish jets were involved in the attack on Monday. Speaking at a rally in the central Turkish city of Nigde, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to “drain the biggest of the swamps” in reference to the region, which he said was a “source of terrorism” affecting Turkey, according to Daily Sabah.

Netanyahu questioned in probe

Israeli PM Netanyahu questioned in probe for corruption.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been quizzed by the police on Tuesday in his official residence in Jerusalem, in a criminal investigation into his involvement in a telecom corruption case. New testimony, presented by his former confidant Nir Hefetz in the so-called Case 4000, reveals that from 2014 to 2017 Netanyahu had allegedly used his former position of communications minister to have Walla!, a news site run by Bezeq communications giant, provide favorable coverage of him and his wife Sara.

Is South China Sea, in crucible treat

Modi  echoed American rhetoric about a “shared vision of an open, stable, secure and prosperous” Indo-Pacific, which he described as “a natural region” — countering those who wonder if an area stretching from Bollywood to Hollywood might too vast and disparate to be cast into a geopolitical fact on the ground.
Modi also heaped praise on China, despite its border dispute with India and increasingly close economic ties with Pakistan, India’s neighbor and nuclear rival.
“Our cooperation is expanding. Trade is growing. And, we have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border,” Modi said.
Ending the “provocative actions” is an essential step towards easing tensions around the Korean Peninsula and creating the “atmosphere of trust” in the region, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. This was in response to US President Donald Trump’s statement that it was now “inappropriate” to stage war games in light of the negotiation process. Trump made the remark after the historic summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Stopping the US-South Korea war games was one of the conditions Pyongyang proposed for denuclearization.
China’s foreign ministry described Modi’s speech as “positive,” while one of its military delegation at the Singapore conference gloated that India and the U.S. “have different understandings, different interpretations, of this Indo-Pacific.”
The Trump and Kim summit has its new fulcrums, US denuclearisation means North Korea dismantling its nuclear arsenal, for Pyongyang it means scaling down of US forces from both South Korea and Japan, besides ending the annual military drill between the US and South Korea.
Further, there was no mention of missiles, an issue that was brought to the fore in 2017.
Also, the text on MIA remains implies US military figures will visit North Korea. As contained in the joint text, the US and North Korea commit to recovering PoW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified. However, commitment to ‘expeditious’ implementation is good.
The most important of those four key points in the joint text is the third point in which both Trump and Kim ‘commit to work towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’.
Indeed, there is plenty of wriggle room in committing to work toward denuclearisation.
The joint text clearly mentions thus: ‘President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his form and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.’
According to Jonathan Cheng of The Wall Street Journal, there are four key points in the Trump-Kim Declaration.
First: The US and North Korea commit to establish new US-North Korea relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
Second: Both would make efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
Third: Reaffirming the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, North Korea commits to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
And fourth: Both sides commit to recover PoW/MIA remains including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
China welcomed the summit as ‘historic’. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi observed the fact that the two leaders ‘can sit together and have equal talks has important and positive meaning, and is creating new history.’
Wang also spoke of the need for a peace mechanism for the peninsula. While calling for ‘full denuclearisation’ to resolve tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Wang observed: ‘Resolving the nuclear issue, on the one hand, of course, is denuclearisation, full denuclearisation.’
‘At the same time, there needs to be a peace mechanism for the peninsula, to resolve North Korea’s reasonable security concerns.’
It needs to be remembered that Beijing is Pyongyang’s sole major ally and main trading partner. However, it supported others in implementing a slew of UN sanctions to punish the North over its nuclear and missile tests.
Yet, Beijing welcomed Kim twice in quick succession prior to the latter’s summit with Trump. That China continues to remain relevant in any peace process in the Korean Peninsula remains unquestioned.
Despite tensions, the Cold War-era allies sought to mend ties recently, and Kim even borrowed an Air China plane to travel to the landmark summit with Trump in Singapore.
Take others view, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s account of a conversation he had with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, was startling.
During a meeting between the two leaders in Beijing in May 2017, the subject turned to whether the Philippines would seek to drill for oil in a part of the South China Sea claimed by both countries. Duterte said he was given a blunt warning by China’s president.
“[Xi’s] response to me [was], ‘We’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war,” Duterte recounted.
A year later, Duterte was asked for a response to news that China had landed long-range bombers on one of the South China Sea’s Paracel Islands — a milestone that suggests the People’s Liberation Army Air Force can easily make the short hop to most of Southeast Asia from its new airstrips. “What’s the point of questioning whether the planes there land or not?” Duterte responded.
His refusal to condemn China’s military buildup underlines China’s success in subduing its rivals in the South China Sea. Since 2013 China has expanded artificial islands and reefs in the sea and subsequently installed a network of runways, missile launchers, barracks and communications facilities.
These military advances have led many to wonder if Beijing has already established unassailable control over the disputed waters. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea and its islands – claims that are looking increasingly forlorn in the wake of China’s military buildup.
“What China is winning is de facto control of nearly the entire South China Sea, including all activities and resources in it, despite the other surrounding Southeast Asian states’ respective legal rights and entitlements under international law,” said Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.
At stake is the huge commercial and military leverage that comes with controlling one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, through which up to $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year.
U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis insists that China faces “consequences” for the “militarization” of South China Sea, which he says is being done for “the purposes of intimidation and coercion.”
“There are consequences that will continue to come home to roost, so to speak, with China, if they do not find the way to work more collaboratively with all of the nations,” Mattis said on June 2 at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a security conference organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Mac Thornberry, chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, added that the U.S. naval presence means China does not have a free hand in the South China Sea.
“I think you will see more and more nations working together to affirm freedom of navigation through the South China Sea and other international waters,” Thornberry told the Nikkei Asian Review.
But what those consequences might be was left unsaid by Mattis, who suggested that there was little prospect of forcing China to give up its growing network of military facilities dotting the sea.
“We all know nobody is ready to invade,” he said.
Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “There is no reasonable basis for the U.S. to use military force to push China off its outposts, nor would any country in the region support such an effort.”
The U.S. pushback so far has included disinviting China from a major Pacific naval exercise. It also continues to carry out so-called freedom of navigation operations, or FONOPs, the most recent of which took place on May 27. This was followed by U.S. military aircraft flying over the Paracel Islands in early June, a move that prompted a countercharge of “militarization’” against the U.S. by China’s Foreign Ministry.
China regards the FONOPs as sabre-rattling and “a challenge to [our] sovereignty,” according to Lt. Gen. He Lei, Beijing’s lead representative at the Singapore conference.
He restated the government position on troops and weapons on islands in the South China Sea, describing the deployments as an assertion of sovereignty and said that allegations of militarization were “hyped up” by the U.S.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stopped short of endorsing the FONOPs but told the Nikkei Asian Review that “it is our belief that those sea lanes should be left open and free.”
In contrast to Duterte’s reluctance to confront China, his predecessor as president, Benigno Aquino, was frequently outspoken about China’s increasing control of the sea. He pressed a case against Beijing to an arbitration tribunal in 2013 after a protracted naval stand-off the year before around Scarborough Shoal, a rock claimed by both countries and lying about 120 nautical miles off the Luzon coast.
In mid-2016 the tribunal dismissed China’s expansive “nine-dash line” claim to much of the South China Sea and its artificial island-building and expansion, all of which the tribunal said contravened the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS.
Duterte said he would not “flaunt” the tribunal outcome, in contrast with his campaign pledge to assert the country’s sovereignty — he even vowed to ride a jet ski to one of China’s artificial islands and plant the Philippine flag there. Manila hopes for significant Chinese investment in roads, rail and ports, as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multicontinent plan outlining China-backed infrastructure upgrades.
Defense Secretary Lorenzana emphasized in remarks to the media in Singapore that good relations with China remain a priority, regardless of bilateral disputes. “It is just natural for us to befriend our neighbor. We cannot avoid dealing with China, they are near, [and] many Filipinos, including me, have Chinese blood.”
For the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally, there are growing doubts about whether the American navy would protect them in a conflict with China, something Duterte, a brusque critic of the U.S., has questioned publicly.
Mattis, like former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sidestepped a question on that issue in Singapore, saying, “The reason why public figures do not want to give specific answers is that these are complex issues.”
American evasiveness is a reminder to the Philippines that the U.S. might not risk war with China over its old ally. “It is debatable whether Filipinos believe that the U.S. will have its back in a conflict with China,” Batongbacal of the University of the Philippines said. “Duterte’s repeated statements against the reliability of the U.S. as an ally tends to undermine this further.”
Duterte’s reticence has left Vietnam as the sole claimant willing to speak up. Discussing recent developments in the South China Sea, Vietnamese Defense Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich told the Singapore conference, “Under no circumstances could we excuse militarization by deploying weapons and military hardware over disputed areas against regional commitments.”
Lich did not name-check China in his speech, but described “a serious breach to the sovereignty” of another country that “violates international laws, complicates the situation and negatively affects regional peace, stability and security.”
As well as hindering oil and gas projects in waters close to Vietnam, China’s navy has for several years harassed Vietnamese fishing boats — as it does around the Philippines — and continues to occupy islands seized from Vietnam nearly five decades ago.
In 2014, anti-China riots kicked off across Vietnam after China placed an oil rig in South China Sea waters claimed by Hanoi. In early June there were demonstrations against proposals that protesters claimed will give Chinese businesses favored access in so-called Special Economic Zones in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s response to potential isolation has been a cautious dalliance with the U.S. In late 2016, shortly before the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president, American warships docked in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay naval base, the first such visit since the former antagonists normalized ties in 1995. That landmark was followed in March this year by the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier to the central Vietnam city of Danang.
Hanoi recently called for greater Japanese involvement in the region’s maritime disputes, perhaps signalling an interest in a wider effort to counter China. But unlike the Philippines, Vietnam, which like China is a single party communist-run state, is not a U.S. treaty ally. Historical and ideological differences mean that there are limits to how closely Vietnam will align with the U.S.
“I think there is a good momentum with defense cooperation with the U.S. But I don’t think that it would immediately mean jumping into the ‘American camp,’ whatever it means,” said Huong Le Thu, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
U.S. has sought to widen the array of countries it hopes will join it in countering China’s rising influence. During his 12-day swing through Asia in late 2017, Trump peppered his speeches with references to the “Indo-Pacific,” dispensing with the long established “Asia-Pacific” label in favor of a more expansive term first used by Japan.
The “Indo-Pacific” was then mentioned throughout the U.S. National Security Strategy published soon after Trump’s Asia trip — a document that alleged China aims to “challenge American power” and “is using economic inducements and penalties, influence operations, and implied military threats to persuade other states to heed its political and security agenda.”
Three days before his Singapore speech, Mattis announced in Hawaii that the U.S. Pacific Command would be renamed the Indo-Pacific Command, describing the expanded theater as stretching “from Bollywood to Hollywood.”
Mattis later added some gravitas to the cinematic catchphrase, saying in Singapore that “standing shoulder to shoulder with India, ASEAN and our treaty allies and other partners, America seeks to build an Indo-Pacific where sovereignty and territorial integrity are safeguarded — the promise of freedom fulfilled and prosperity prevails for all.”
The Trump administration clearly hopes for greater Indian involvement in its efforts to counter China’s growing influence. Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that while “Indo-Pacific isn’t yet an established part of the lexicon,” the implications of the term are clear.
“India is an Asian power. The countries adopting the term are encouraging India into greater cooperation in maintaining the maritime commons in the Indian and Pacific oceans,” said Schake, a former U.S. State Department official.
South Korean media were sharply divided in their assessments of Tuesday’s historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with conservative news outlets blasting the meeting and one liberal paper lauding it.
North Korean media regard Tuesday’s summit with the United States as an epoch-making event to create “a radical switchover” in hostile bilateral relations.
State-run media reported on Wednesday for the first time that the nation’s leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump had held an “epoch-making meeting” in Singapore and signed a joint statement.
The report says the leaders shared the recognition of the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It suggests that Trump showed his understanding of a North Korean demand for the phased denuclearization of the peninsula.
The media report quotes Kim as saying that “it is urgent to make a bold decision on halting irritating and hostile military actions against each other.”
It says Trump expressed his intention to halt US-South Korea joint military exercises over a period of goodwill dialogue between North Korea and the United States.
The report says Trump suggested the US would offer security guarantees to North Korea and lift sanctions against it, if mutual relations improve through dialogue.
It says the summit was an “event of great significance in making a radical switchover in the most hostile North Korea-US relations, as required by the developing times.”
The media made no mention of Trump’s remarks to reporters that the leaders had discussed the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, or that Kim had agreed to destroy a major testing site for ballistic missile engines.
Trump told reporters on Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton will hold follow-up talks with North Korean officials next week.
But some observers say the upcoming talks are likely to face twists and turns because the leaders did not agree on any details of the denuclearization process
media agencies

Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps need HR

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This is beginning of the monsoon and the sojourn camps dwelling are of conflicting Rohingya with their colleague in old settlement for and on trivial matter, putting the life of each other in disarray are finding themselves in natural catastrophe, where safety is first priority. Myanmar  government needs to send some spiritual and best motivators to teach to live in peace and harmony for the betterment of the the inhabitants are their native place with brotherhood among,  the Buddhist, the Hindu and the Muslims and the Christians. Lesson of ethics is also responsibility of the democratic government of land.
Cox’s Bazar – Heavy monsoon rains that began on Saturday (9/6) have caused severe structural damage to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camps. Over 31,000 of the camps’ one million refugees, who fled Myanmar, are still living in areas considered to be at high risk of deadly flooding and landslides.
Within 24 hours of the rains starting, humanitarian agencies reported some 59 incidents, including landslides, water logging, extreme wind and lightning strikes. The incidents are being mapped and shared on an interagency communal incident overview platform. Over the same period aid agencies reported that over 9,000 people were affected and that this number will increase as the rains continue.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is working against the clock to secure infrastructure, including road access and drainage, and to improve preparedness. Working with partners, it is ensuring that refugees continue to receive lifesaving assistance, including water, sanitation and hygiene, health, protection and shelter support during the monsoon.
The risks remains huge, given the vast size and nature of the congested, makeshift camps. The hilly terrain is now largely bare of vegetation and the rains have made the soil extremely unstable, increasing the risk of large scale flooding and landslides.
IOM and its partners have responded by relocating thousands of vulnerable households to safer ground ahead of the rains. Since January, 5,196 households (about 25,000 individuals) vulnerable to landslides and floods or in areas of communal infrastructure construction have been moved to safer areas. Before the end of June, IOM and its partners plan to move another 1,602 vulnerable households  (7,248 individuals) to safer ground.
In Unchiprang, a camp in Teknaf sub-district, IOM moved 787 households ahead of the heavy rains. But another 65 households remain at risk of landslides and floods.  “Yesterday 19 households were identified as at risk of landslides and moved to learning centers and child friendly spaces of the camp. They’ll be relocated to a new land once the rain stops. Relocation of these families is not possible as their shelters can’t be properly constructed amid continuous heavy rains,” said IOM site manager Mohammed Manun.
“The situation in the camps is growing more desperate with every drop of rain that falls,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. “You have close to one million people living on hilly, muddy terrain with no trees or shrubs left to hold the ground in place. People and their makeshift shelters are being washed away in the rains. We are racing to save lives, but we urgently need more funding to maintain and expand key humanitarian support during these rains. Without this, our operations, which are currently only 22 percent funded, will run out of money by the end of this month,” he added.
IOM, WFP and UNHCR have also strategically positioned heavy machinery in key camp locations for disaster response operations in a joint project called the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP.) Teams are also continuously working to increase available land for relocations. IOM has already prepared 186.8 acres of new land to relocate at least 7,000 people.
Existing refugee shelters have also been upgraded to better withstand heavy rain and high winds, and refugees have been advised on measures they can take to reduce their vulnerability to any upcoming disaster.
Key shelter and non-food items have been stockpiled to ensure sufficient provision during times of high demand. Mobile medical teams will also ensure that displaced and hard to reach populations have uninterrupted access to healthcare.
Access to clean water also poses a huge challenge during the monsoon and IOM and its partners have worked to improve water and hygiene infrastructure, as well as pre-positioning acute watery diarrhea kits and aquatabs in remote areas to meet basic needs.
For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:
Manuel Pereira, Tel: +8801885946996, Email: mpereira@iom.int
Shirin Akhter, Tel: +88034152195 or +8801711187499, Email: sakhter@iom.int

CII Business Delegation to Belarus : 4-6   June , 2018

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)   organized a business delegation  to Belarus  on 04 to 6th  June 2018. The visit aimed to promote Indian industry’s commitment to strengthen investment and trade between India and Belarus. The 14-member delegation met with diverse stakeholders – including government, industry and media in a bid to strengthen the economic relationship  between the two countries.
CII business delegation comprised of 14  members from 8 companies  interested in setting up business in Belarus   in sector such as Textile,Machinery, Agro Chemicals, Automative, Tractor and Farm Equipments, Financial Technology (Fintech) , Power Transmission. Members of the delegation included Industry Representatives from Bajaj Industries Limited,  Expotech International Pvt Ltd, KEC International Limited, Maruti Suzuki India Limited ,Tafe Limited, Iris Business Services Limited and  Uniphos International Ltd and Durofibretex.
India- Belarus Business forum   
India-Belarus  Business Forum was organized in Minsk  (Belarus  ) on June 4th, 2018. Indian Ambassador to Belarus  H.E  Saangeeta Bahadur  and Leader of Indian Delegation Mr Pankaj Bajaj spoke from Indian side during the forum. Ambassador stressed the need to  reimagine the existing pattern of economic relations between the two countries and open news ways of economic cooperation for private sectors of both the countries.  For example Joint Manufacturing for EAEU market, parternering the reform process of Belarus by  sharing IT and regulatory support  and increasing the current level of trade between the two countries were the main topic of discussion among Forum members. Vladimir Ulakhovich   Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) adressed the forum and  led the Belarussian Delegtaion during the forum. A presentation on Business and investment climate of the Republic of Belarus was done by Mr. Mikhail Dashuk. The deputy director of the National Agency of the Investments and   Privatization
More than 50 representatives from various industries of Belarus participated in the Forum.Many Belarussian companies participated in   the B2B meetings organized by the BCCI.
Delegation met with Deputy Minister of Economy, Deputy Minister of  Anti-Monopoly  and Regulation, Chairman of Belarussian Stock Exchange, Head of Settlement Registry of Belarus Central Banks and Mr Myasnovich Speaker of Belarus National Assembly.
Visit  to Special Economic Zone – Orsha 
Some of the delegation members visited the special economic zone located in Orsha region of Belarus . Chairman of the Orsha  District Executive Committee hosted a business lunch and participated in business negotiation with the interested members of Indian Delegation.
Orsha region is located near the border of Russia and has very well developed infrastructure for  setting up industries, logistics  hub and can be an  important business hub/transit point  for  Indian Businesses interested in EAEU market
Manish Kumar
Deputy Director, International
Confederation of Indian Industry
The Mantosh Sondhi Centre
23, Institutional Area
Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003
Tel: +91 11 4577 1000
Ext:463
Email: manish.kumar@cii.in
Mobile:8860030312
Website: www.cii.in

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