Amid rising tensions in the region, China launched its first indigenously built aircraft carrier, expanding its fleet to two such vessels.
China plans for a fleet of six such aircraft carriers. The launching is a key milestone in China’s effort to build a “blue water” navy capable of projecting power beyond the country’s immediate coast and protecting increasingly far-flung interests, said Bloomberg. China’s first aircraft carrier was constructed by the Soviet Union and refitted by the Chinese. The new carrier is slightly larger.
The launch comes as tensions between North Korea and the United States over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs recently dragged Beijing into the debate. The US Army began installing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system onto a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, as a response to the North Korean threat.
ETHNIC NATIONALISM, TINGED WITH BIGOTRY
“A virulent nationalism, tinged with bigotry, is on the rise across much of the world,” says an essay in the New York Times. This kind of nationalism helped Narendra Modi and Donald Trump come to power, it sustains Vladimir Putin in Russia, and has now catapulted Marine Le Pen in France to the final round in elections.
But the essays says, this kind of ethnic nationalism presents difficult choices to citizens.
“Should voters eschew their favorite candidate and vote for one with the best chance to defeat the nationalist? Should policy experts be willing to work in an administration that plays footsie with intolerance? Should a museum dedicated to fighting hate, like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, host a hateful president?”
“Too many well-meaning people are erring on the side of putting other priorities first.”
RUSSIAN HAND IN FRENCH ELECTIONS
A lot has been said about Moscow’s interference in the American election campaign that may have helped Trump win. Can Moscow do the same in the final round of voting in the French election next month? The outcome in France will have a significant impact on the future of Europe and the Western security order.
Now, a security firm says that a new cyberattack on the campaign offices of the French presidential front-runner bears Russian ‘fingerprints,’ similar to the suspecting hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the U.S. It was targeted by a cyberspy group called “Pawn Storm”. Some cyberespionage experts have previously linked the group to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services.
Macron’s opponent, the far right candidate Marine Le Pen has taken loans from Russian banks and has repeatedly praised Putin. Russian state media has openly supported her.
WHO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL?
It has been 100 days and Donald Trump is yet to begin building the wall. More importantly, who is going to pay for the wall is still unclear. He wants the lawmakers to allocate about $1.4 billion for it or he will shut down the government. But even Republicans are not fully supporting the wall.
Earlier, Trump said that America will make Mexico pay for the wall.
This week Trump tweeted that Mexico will pay at a later date, “in some form”. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told CNN that there are ways that Mexico can be made to pay, perhaps by leveraging the trade situation.
A Pew poll in January said that since 2012, Mexicans have been leaving the United States in greater numbers than they arrive. The wall was “always more of a revenge fantasy than an actual proposal,” said The Washington Post.
COMPLAINT AGAINST DUTERTE IN HAGUE
In a 77-page complaint filed at the International Criminal Court at Hague, a Filipino lawyer has accused his country’s controversial president Rodrigo Duterte and eleven officials of mass murder and of “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” committing extra-judicial executions in the three decades in the bloody war on drugs. The complaint says that nearly 9,400 people have died since 1988 when Duterte was the mayor of the southern city of Davao.
The complaint contains testimonies of former police officers, a hit man, Duterte’s own statements, human rights and media reports. The court has no powers of enforcement. It may take cases only when a nation’s own judicial system is unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute. Duterte enjoys high approval ratings domestically for his tough talk and action.
Picture Courtesy: Ministry of National Defense, Beijing