Joint Defence Against US Eavesdropping
Brazil and Argentina have decided to increase their cyber defence mechanism to protect the data of e-mails, phone calls and other communications from the US surveillance programme; which was allegedly being used for spying against various countries (including India). Brazilian Defence Minister Celso Amorim and Argentine Defence Minister Agustin Rossi signed an agreement under which, starting in 2014, Brazil will provide cyber defence training to Argentine officers.
The reason behind this development is the report shown a few weeks ago by Brazil’s Globo TV which said that US National Security Agency (NSA) was intercepting phone calls of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Mexican leader Enrique Pena Nieto. The report was made by Gleen Greenwald who received thousands of top secret documents from Edward Snowden.
India Still Defenceless-
Although the said report explicitly mentioned that India was also amongst the countries on whom US was spying; and that it (India) was classified under the category of ‘Friends, Enemies or Problems’ but still no steps have been taken by the Indian Government to increase its cyber defence like Brazil and Argentina are doing.
Diplomacy on Syria
Even after a month of the chemical weapon attack of August 21 the uncertainty is still prevailing in the international community over the ongoing Syrian situation. On September 16, UN report confirmed the use of chemical-weapons which lead to the death of many civilians. Following this, France, US and UK asked for a “strong” UN resolution with “serious consequences” if Syria doesn’t handover its chemical weapons; to which Russia warned that any UN resolution must not threat Syria of military intervention.
Now in the latest change in the situation Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has claimed that it was not Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but the rebels who were responsible for the use of chemical weapons. Mr. Lavrov said that Syrian officials have provided evidence for this. Russia has decided to give these evidences to the UN Security Council. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has also raised questions on the UN report and has termed it as “politicised, biased and one sided.”
Two ‘Colours’ of America
On September 17, when Nina Davuluri became the first American of Indian descent to win the title of ‘Miss America’ it was a historic event for many Indians; especially to her hometown Vijayawada in South India. But there was a section of American society for whom her winning the title was not so pleasant news. A huge number of Americans on social media, especially on twitter, started a virulent racist criticism of this event. Some called her “Miss Arabia”, some connected her with “al-Qaida” and some even went to the extent of saying that her coronation must have ‘made Obama happy’. Meanwhile while commenting on this hate campaign Nina Davulyri said “I have to rise above that” and that “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American”.
The incident shows the two different faces of American society; where a foreign descent person can win a prestigious title like that of ‘Miss America’ but at the same time there are such elements (though in minority) who are still downright racist and loathe anyone whose skin -colour is different from theirs.
Shooting at Washington D.C.
In a shocking incidence on September 16, a gunman started open firing on the Navy Base in the Washington D.C. (USA). 12 people were killed and 8 were left severely injured in the incidence. The shooter is recognised as Aaron Alexis (34), a onetime navy contractor. Since he was a navy contractor he had the valid pass to enter the Navy Yard. Aaron was killed in the gun battle with police. The reason behind this act is believed to be the unstable mental condition of Aaron. An Indian-American- Vishnu Pandit was among the people who died in the unfortunate incidence.
A similar incidence took place in 2009 when a US Army Major Nidal Hasan opened fire on unarmed soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. He killed the US soldiers in retaliation for US wars in Muslim countries. 13 people died and 31 others were wounded in the attack and Hasan was sentenced to death by a military jury court.
Riots in Bangladesh
Fresh riots broke out in Bangladesh on September 17, 2013 when Supreme Court of Bangladesh ordered death penalty to the top Islamist leader Abdul Quader Mollah. About 2000 protesters took to streets in the capital city of Dhaka and the port city Chittagong where they marched, exploded handmade bombs, torched vehicles and pelted stones on police.
Mollah (65), also infamously known as “Butcher of Mirpur”, was one of the top leaders of the now banned Islamist party ‘Jamaat-e-Islami’. He was sentenced to death for committing “crime against humanity” in the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh. ‘Jamaat-e-Islami’ supported Pakistan Army in that war. Mollah was convicted of rape, torture and killing more than 350 civilians including a man, his pregnant wife and two year old son. In February this year Mollah was given life sentence by the country’s war crime tribunal; this lead to protests by secular groups who found the punishment too lenient. So the government had to change the laws governing the war crimes allowing the protesters appeal against the verdict and ask for death penalty.