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"In a free society, all is allowed unless explicitly prohibited by the government. In a slave society, all is forbidden unless explicitly authorized by the government." -- Michael Rivero
The US provided India with unprecedented intelligence-sharing during a clash between Indian and Chinese troops in December 2022 along the disputed border high in the Himalayas, known as the Line of Actual Control, US News reported on Monday.
The report cited current and former US officials who said the intelligence sharing was possible thanks to a military pact Washington and New Delhi signed in 2020, known as the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA). The deal was inked following deadly clashes between Chinese and Indian troops along the LAC in the Galwan Valley that killed 20 Indian soldiers and at least four Chinese troops.
Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will lead a delegation to mainland China next week in an effort to improve cross-strait relations as tensions are soaring in the region.
The trip will be historic as no Taiwanese president, whether former or sitting, has visited China since Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang (KMT) forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 following their defeat in the civil war against the Communist Party of China.
Today, the KMT is the main opposition party and favors friendlier relations with Beijing than the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The DPP and President Tsai Ing-wen have taken steps to significantly boost ties with the US, resulting in more Chinese military pressure on the island, making a conflict seem much more likely.
China has increased purchases of Russian oil and gas in the year since Russia invaded Ukraine and the energy relationship between the two countries will be an important topic when presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping meet in Moscow this week.
Here are some facts about their energy ties.
- Russia's Gazprom supplies gas to China through a 3,000 km (1,865 mile) pipeline called Power of Siberia under a 30-year, $400 billion deal launched at the end of 2019. In 2022 exports amounted to about 15.5 billion cubic meters (bcm). They are planned to increase to 22 bcm in 2023 and reach full capacity of 38 bcm by 2027. In February 2022, China also agreed to buy up to 10 bcm of gas annually by around 2026 via a pipeline from Russia's far east island of Sakhalin. Russia's gas exports to China are still a small fraction of the record 177 bcm it delivered to Europe in 2018-19. Since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022, volumes to Europe have shrunk, reaching about 62 bcm in 2022.
The United States and Philippines will announce new sites as soon as possible for an expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which gives the Western power access to military bases in the Southeast Asian country.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr last month granted the United States access to four military bases, on top of five existing locations under the 2014 EDCA, which comes amid China's increasing assertiveness towards the South China Sea and self-ruled Taiwan.
Speaking at the Basa Air Base in Manila, one of the existing EDCA sites, visiting U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the defence agreements between the two countries were "not focused on any particular issue."
-Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the chief justice of Pakistan to allow him to appear for court proceedings virtually to reduce the risk of any threat to his life, he said in a video message on Monday, as his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party prepared for a rally in Lahore on Wednesday.
Supporters of Khan's party, clashed with police in the city of Lahore last week as they attempted to arrest him at his home, and later with police in Islamabad as he arrived to appear before a court on Saturday.
"My life is in danger, why must I appear in court," said Khan in a live video stream, asking to appear by video conference for court proceedings and vowing: "I will appear for all cases".
On Sunday, March 19, Palestinian Authority (PA), Israeli, American, and Jordanian representatives met in Egypt’s city of Sharm El-Sheikh. The March meeting was preceded by an earlier summit held in Aqaba, Jordan on February 26, which was immediately derailed a few hours later by a Palestinian shooting in Huwwara and a subsequent settler rampage that burned over 70 houses in the Palestinian town.
The period since then has been punctuated by a string of Israeli assassination missions and army raids, as well as a number of Palestinian resistance operations. In the wake of the ongoing Israeli onslaught, Israeli and PA representatives gathered once again this past weekend at Sharm el-Sheikh to put a stop to the rising tide of Palestinian revolt.
While details of the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting have been sparse, another resistance shooting took place in Huwwara, injuring two Israeli settlers, as the conference took place. The shooting solidified the Palestinian town as the graveyard of the recent diplomatic efforts to calm the rising tensions.
Speaking to a gathering of right-wing Jews in Paris yesterday, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich categorically denied the existence of Palestinians, saying that “there’s no such thing as “Palestinian people.” The statement came during a speech where Smotrich outlined his belief that Israel has exclusive Jewish, God-ordained rights to the land, and the lectern was adorned with a map of Israel that included the occupied Palestinian territory and the country of Jordan as part of Israeli territory.
Postcard from Golda Meir showing Palestine as her address.