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Trudeau talks ‘Modi snub’, and why China is set to raze Beijing’s poor localities

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There is more to USA’s Indo-Pacific Command than what meets the eyes and the journey of ‘tea’ through globalisation. 

Trudeau calls his India visit ‘a trip to end all trips’

Close on the heels of the super-controversial White House Correspondents’ Dinner is the lesser known Canadian version: The Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner. According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the dinner is “a chance to mock everyone else’s mistakes while downplaying one’s own”. However, this year, it seems he decided to focus on his own widely-criticised India trip.

At the dinner, Trudeau spoke about his glittering sherwanis, and even made a tactful remark on how he was snubbed by PM Narendra Modi at the airport. “Apparently you people don’t get this… this is a very big deal,” he said about being received at the Delhi airport by Gajendra Shekhawat, minister of state for agriculture, and not by Modi. He further shared photos of his son Hadrien, lying face-down on the ground while his parents signed the guestbook at the Gandhi Memorial. “See, this was the point he just totally gave up on the trip,” Trudeau quipped.

Presenting a slide-show on what he called “the trip to end all trips”, Trudeau’s analysis of his trip to India had the room in splits. He sure poked fun at himself, saying he never wanted to take another trip during his term again, but it’s not clear if anything has changed on the ground.

Are the Canadians ready to give up their soft pro-Khalistani stance? Are they willing to thoroughly investigate the blowing up of the Kanishka Air India flight?

The big questions remain.

Indo-Pacific strategy ‘a trap by Washington’

According to an editorial in China’s state-run Global Times, there may be more to the renaming of the US military’s Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command than meets the eye. “Many media outlets also viewed the decision as Washington roping in India to exert more pressure on China,” the paper said.

Many analysts see this as a move to pit India and China against each other. The two countries might be dragged by the US into an exhausting dispute, all thanks to the renaming. Another editorial further elaborates how this symbolic nod could, in turn, become an irritant for Pakistan. For Washington, this could be a new strategy to force developing nations against each other, where the US can be a major dominant player.

No sanctions relief without steps to denuclearise: Mattis tells North Korea

North Korea will not get sanctions relief until it has demonstrated “irreversible” steps to denuclearisation, US defence secretary Jim Mattis said Sunday, reports the South China Morning Post.

The statement came a week before the planned summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. However, according to reports by CNN, concerns have risen among the US’ regional allies that Trump may cut a deal with Kim that only centres on Pyongyang giving up only its long-range missiles, leaving countries like Japan and South Korea at risk.

Poor neighbourhoods no longer fit into metropolis Beijing

Beijing is razing its poorest neighbourhoods because they don’t fit into the metropolitan image Chinese President Xi Jinping has envisioned for the city.

The affected 2 lakh people — the “low-end population”, as the Chinese authorities call them — are migrants who had moved to the city in order to escape poverty and have since helped clean the city and feed its population.

“But they no longer fit the dazzling image President Xi Jinping wants for Beijing. His dream is a showpiece capital, befitting China’s ambitions as a world superpower,” writes Aljazeera.

By 2020, Beijing plans to reduce its population by 15 per cent and is said to be acting on it with “unrelenting ruthlessness” with the residents of these poor neighbourhoods being given only a few days to pack up and find a new home.

But is this the cost that China is set to pay to become a superpower?

“What President Xi Jinping said on television sounded really good…reforms and opening up the country….Now, see what’s happened?… We’re no longer allowed to remain in Beijing,” said Xin Jie, a resident of one such neighbourhood.

US’ poor financial regulation could mean 2008 all over again

The actions of US financial regulatory agencies may lead to a 2008-like crisis situation, writes Larry Beinhart for Al Jazeera. In President Trump’s latest deregulation push accompanied by sweeping tax cuts, only big names such as Harley Davidson have emerged prosperous.

The country is doing exactly what it had planned against, that is, keep a major chunk of financial assets with only a handful of banks. “Previously, the threshold was at $50 bn in assets, which put 35 banks on the list. The new threshold is $250 bn, with only 10 banks that make to the list.”

While big banks and investors know the fact, nothing is being done about it. In the words of the famous former baseball player Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

The link between tea and globalisation

There are only two variations in the way the word ‘tea’ is pronounced, and you can blame it on globalisation.

It all depends on whether the term spread through land or sea from China thousands of years ago.

“The words that sound like ‘cha’ spread across land, along the Silk Road. The ‘tea’-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe,” writes Quartz.

“This form (cha) spread beyond Persia, becoming ‘chay’ in Urdu, ‘shay’ in Arabic, and ‘chay’ in Russian, among others.”

However, in the coastal province of Fujian, tea is pronounced as ‘te’. Given that it is a coastal province, ‘te’ seems to have spread to Europe via the Dutch and now has similar pronunciations in English, French, and German.

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