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GLOBAL CRISIS

July 13th

At 6:54 p.m. three bomb blasts rip through Mumbai over the next 11 minutes.

July 14th

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, before the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, declared that each family of the deceased victims would be compensated Rs 5 lakh and the injured would receive Rs 50,000 each. He had added that all medical expenses would be paid by the government.

July 17th

Some phone numbers, out of 150,000 that were analyzed from towers near the blasts, were traced to Madhya Pradesh. The Kolkata Police detained a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative.

Riazul Sarkar, of Bangladesh origins, was arrested in the Kishanganj district, while hiding out in a village.

Faiz Usmani, a suspect in the bombings, died in the hospital. The family allege police tortured him, while the police claim the man had failed to take his hypertension medicine. A CID probe has been launched into the incident.

July 18th

Haroon, a known IM terrorist, was arrested in the morning as a result of information obtained by the Gujarat Anti-Terror Squad,

Both the police and an NIA team ask Riazul Sarkar questions as he is produced in court in Bihar.

July 19th

Blackburn Rovers put off the first ever Premier League pre-season friendly to be played in India. The team is owned by Venky, an Indian poultry company. The match was to be played in Pune, merely 200km from the location of the blasts.

July 20th

Mumbai police are examining closed-circuit footage recovered from the blast sites.

July 21st

The Maharashtra Government raised the compensation for the injured victims of the attacks on the 13th. New compensations would be Rs 3 lakh for the permanently disabled, Rs 1 lakh for inpatients, and Rs 10,000 for outpatients, according to an official release.

Rs 60 lakh is all that has been disbursed to relatives of 12 out of the 21 killed and Rs 76 lakh to 94 of the 140 injured. The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, which is currently active, adds an additional Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for each of the injured.

Diamond trading is relatively calm in spite of the attacks in the diamond hub of Mumbai. While the polished dealers are experiencing tranquility in the market, rough dealers are managing amidst a 10% De Beers Diamond Trading Company hike.


 

Three blasts hit India’s financial capital in under 11 minutes. Killing 21 people and injuring 140.  But Indians continue to prove that they are made of much stronger moral fiber.

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian right-wing extremist has been arrested for bombing the central Einar Gerhardsen plaza on July 22 and murdering 7 people. But it is too early to say if Anders acted alone or was part of a larger conspiracy. The attacks are said to be the deadliest on Norwegian soil since the Second World War. 

The United States has continued their drone based attacks on Al-Qaeda-centric targets. This latest round of missile attacks appears to be centered on the nation of Yemen. It is difficult to say how much control Yemen’s government has over when and where the United States can perform their attacks. Drone based operations are more prevalent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The same kind of technology with aircraft, such as Predator, is what the Central Intelligence Agency happens to be pinning their hopes on in Yemen.

Many of us were thirsty for blood in the Fall of 2008. There was talk of hanging a few Wall Street Bankers, along with a couple Washington responsibles. With New York Times financial journalist, Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big To Fail  becoming an instant bestseller, and its HBO adaptation which premiered last week, we now have a fantastically rare glimpse of the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealings on Wall Street.

The twenty first century is the century of Asia while China, an established Asian leader and on its way to becoming a world leader, rules the roost. China’s progress and quantum leaps towards modernization are a marvel to observe but a source of concern for its detractors in the west. The driving force behind China’s dramatic rise is the prudent planning of the Communist Party of China (CPC), founded on July 1, 1921 in Shanghai. After 28 years of struggle, the CPC finally attained victory under its “new democratic revolution” and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The CPC, the ruling party of mainland China, is founded mainly on ideology and politics and derives its ideas and policies from the people’s concentrated will and then turns that will into State laws and decisions which are passed by the National People’s Congress of China through the State’s legal procedures. In the nearly 90 years since its inception, the party has won over many admirers as well as detractors over the world. However, its success lies in the fact that it has steered the people of China from a sleepy nation, once labeled as “Opium eaters” into a vibrant and dynamic nation, rearing to take its rightful place in the comity of nations.

Prudent planning and astute preparations have been the contributing factors to China’s success. Since the mid-1990s, China began to accelerate its integration with the world economy, thus exposing itself to the impact of the changing international economic situation. It has withstood at least two major external impacts: One was the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and the other was the 2008-09 international financial crisis. The former crippled China’s export growth to 0.5 percent and foreign direct investment (FDI) growth to 0.4 percent in 1998. The latter resulted in a negative growth rate for China’s export sector for the first time in the nation’s history. It also caused a drop in FDI. But the 2008-09 financial crisis was global, rocking China and the whole of Asia. Yet, as seen from the internal system, the aftermath looked much better than 10 years ago and has provided favorable conditions for resisting external impacts. The resistance to external factors is the result of major achievements in China’s reform and opening up over the past three decades. Sound political leadership combined with the continuity of thought process is the major factor behind this quantum leap by China in the last three decades.

International2

With the Arab Spring hitting Tunisia, a remarkable chapter in world history began to unfold as the revolutionary upsurge began to spread across many countries in the Middle East. The Libyan conflict has heated things further. The oil rich Arab world speaks of some of the worst political freedom records in the world and has long been subjected to geopolitical games to safeguard energy resources of the developed world. It was due to this that the humanitarian intervention in Libya was viewed through the prism of suspicion.

Libya is neither as geopolitically important as other countries experiencing uprisings in the region (like Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain) nor does it boast of having much influence over the greater Arab world. Its oil deposits are not as vital as those of Iraq or Saudi Arabia, although some of the European nations do have strong interests in the Libyan reserves. The terrorism and nuclear track record of the country has bettered in the past. The possibility of Gaddafi exploiting the political vacuum in Egypt and Tunisia is real, but intervention does not make it impossible. The humanitarian crisis, although severe, is not as worse as in many other countries in Africa. So then, why Libya?

International1

The Middle East peace process having remained dormant for twenty two months since November 2007 was revived in September 2010 after intensive diplomatic efforts by President Obama. The talks were, however, abandoned just after five days as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refused to extend the freeze on Jewish settlements and the Palestinians declined to continue negotiations unless settlement construction.

The winds of revolutionary change sweeping across the Middle East since the beginning of this year have radically altered the strategic landscape of the entire region, offering opportunities for a stable and equitable political system. A significant manifestation of the new mood and mindset is the reconciliation move between warring factions of Palestinians in the form of the Unity Accord signed in Cairo on May 4.

Neighbor

In 1979 the Iranian people overthrew the pro-American monarchical police state of the Pehlavi dynasty and replaced with an anti-American theocratic police state dominated by the Shia ulema. Following the change of regime, Iran came under punishing sanctions and was subjected to a long and brutal war of attrition by the then U.S.-backed Iraqi Baathist regime of Saddam Hussain. The combination of economic sanctions and eight years of warfare proved to be a great socioeconomic setback for Iran but, in spite of its alienation from the West, the overall performance of the Iranian economy remains respectable.

International

The Arab street is angry and it is justified to be, except that this is not just a typical protest over the price of bread and falafel - it has been a protest for the struggle to save the region’s soul. The ouster of Ben Ali from Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak from Egypt seems to be the perfect tonic as small and large scale revolutions have engulfed some countries in the Middle East region in recent weeks and months.

The Middle East (stretching from North Africa to Western Asia) has played host to authoritarian dictators who have perpetrated themselves to power using deadly force against their people. This authoritarianism has been masked in different styles of governance, ranging from the once populist-Arab socialism also known as Nasserism to the absolute monarchy in the Arabian Gulf and to Iran’s dictatorial theocracy. While, some of the countries in the region haven’t failed to disappoint in producing some of the world’s worst despots, they have failed in producing employment, enabling a strong civil society and free and fair elections. In some countries in the region, elections are a charade and a circus show. It isn’t unusual to see an incumbent dictator win an election by 96% in their respective countries even if their unpopularity is the most popular issue.

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