praises The Hindu
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
founder and editor-in-chief, has commended The Hindu in an
interviewto Business Standard
published on 21st December, 2010.
In the interview given at
Suffolk, the United Kingdom, Mr. Assange spoke of his impression of the Indian
media. “Well, there are some very great little journalistic groups in
India. [The] Hindu, [The] Times [of India] have been
quite good… some of their material. In my dealings with Indians, there is such
an incredible potential in the Indian media, because there is still a lot of
On the other hand,
journalism is quite vibrant in the medium and lower level.
You have a rising middle class. You have more people getting
access to the Internet. So,
I am quite hopeful of about what is going to develop
in India,” he was quoted as saying.
Chinese media knocks off 1,600 km from China-India border
China appears to be making
ground for claiming some 1,600 km of Indian territory judging by reports in the
state-owned media on the length of China-India border.
Even as the two countries
have been discussing the unresolved boundary issue for decades, the state-owned
Xinhua and ‘ Global Times ., an English language newspaper published by the
‘People’s Daily’, the official mouthpiece of the ruling
Chinese Communist Party, have described the China-India border as nearly 2,000 km long.
The reports about the
length of the border were carried in the Chinese official media ahead of Prime
Minister Wen Jiabao’s December 15-17 visit to India.
Xinhua on the eve of Wen’s
arrival in New Delhi had said the length of the border was nearly 2,000 km long.
This Chinese assessment
contradicts the Indian figure of 3,500 km for the operational border between the
The Chinese premier was
sharply critical of the Indian media, saying it was causing “damage” to
India gears up to
serve in Security Council with new outlook
India is gearing up to
serve the powerful UN
as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years with a fresh outlook on
several international issues, especially human rights.
will return to the Security Council on January 1, 2011
for a two-year period along with South Africa,
Colombia, Germany and Portugal.
China to provide flood data ofSutlej river to India
China will provide India
with real time flood data of Sutlejriver during monsoon, according to an
agreement signed between the two countries.
five year agreement,China will set up a special station in Tibet to monitor
rainfall and flood situation to enable India get advanced warnings.
India will pay Rs 12 lakh per annum to China. The money will be used by Beijing
to maintain the station, sources in the government said.
data will be provided twice daily between June and October every year.
US Congress passes contentious Obama tax deal
US lawmakers gave final
President Barack Obama’s
contentious deal with Republicans to avert a New Year’s tax hike and
extend aid to the jobless, despite a Democratic
Senate passed the package by an 81-19 margin, the House of
Representatives followed suit 277-148, sending the measure to Obama to
sign and reap a restorative bipartisan victory six
weeks after an elections rout.
858-billion-dollar measure was expected to give the US
much-needed boost while digging the country’s deficit and debt deeper, as the
world’s richest country emerges from the worst downturn since the 1930s.
Japan shifts post-Cold War defence focus to China, NKorea
Japan would shift its
defence focus from the Soviet Cold War
threat to southern islands nearerChina, labelling the
military build-up of its giant neighbour a global "concern".
from boosting its southern forces and submarine fleet
and upgrading its fighter jets, Japan will strengthen missile defences against
the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea, it said in a major strategic review.
cabinet of officially pacifist Japan approved the
Programme Guidelines months after a territorial row flared up with China and
weeks after North Korea launched a deadly artillery strike against South Korea.
guidelines labelled North Korea, which in recent years has fired missiles over
Japan, staged two nuclear tests and last month unveiled a new uranium enrichment
plant — an "urgent, grave factor for instability".
India, China relationship is a key milestone defining 21st
India and China will march
together as friends and not rivals in the years to come and
stressed while addressing the gathering that partnership between the two
countries will be a key milestone in defining 21st
century. PM Manmohan Singh Added.
that resolution of the boundary question is one of the ten-pronged strategies
agreed by leaders of the two countries, the leaders decided that
pending its resolution, the two sides shall work
together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas in line with the
sides also noted the good cooperation between China
and India in the field of trans-border rivers with the Indian
side appreciating the assistance provided by the Chinese side on the
flood-season hydrological data and emergency management.
Underlining their unequivocal opposition to terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations, the two countries stressed that there is no justification for
any act of terrorism anywhere.
UN set to lift some Iraqi sanctions
is set to take new steps to restore Iraq to the international standing it held
before Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, including lifting sanctions
that prohibited the country from pursuing a civilian nuclear programme.
held the council presidency this month and US Vice-President Joseph Biden was
presided at council meeting where American officials added action is also
expected to return control of Iraq’s oil and
natural gas revenue to the
government and terminate all remaining activities of the oil-for-food programme
which helped ordinary Iraqis cope with sanctions.
India, China to resolve outstanding differences
In a bid to ease irritants
which have creeped in the last one year, India and China reached broad consensus
on several issues and pledged firm commitment to resolve outstanding
differences, including the boundary issue at the earliest through peaceful
"There is enough space in the world for the development of both
India and China and indeed, enough areas for India and China to cooperate."
Noting that resolution of the boundary question is one of the
ten-pronged strategies agreed by leaders of the two countries, the leaders
decided that pending its resolution, the
two sides shall work together to maintain peace
and tranquility in the border areas in line with the previous agreements.
The two sides also noted the good cooperation
between China and India in the field of trans-border rivers with the Indian
side appreciating the assistance provided by the Chinese side on the
flood-season hydrological data and emergency management.
Indo-China sign six
India and China signed
six pacts, including one in the field of green technology, after talks
Manmohan Singh and Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao.
Besides the MoU on green technology, the two sides also signed an
MoU each on exchange of hydrological data of common rivers, media exchanges
and cultural exchanges.
Two pacts were signed in the banking sector.
These were an MoU each between Reserve Bank of India
and Chinese Bank Regulatory Commission and EXIM
Bank of India and
Fund set up for promotion of collaboration in Science & Tech
and France based EADS agreed to donate 200,000 euro
(about Rs 1.19 crore) to set up a fund that will help students of
of Technology (IITs) and the Paris Institute of
donation made by Infosys and EADS of 100,000 euro each that will contribute to
the creation of the IITs-ParisTech-Fund for
Science and Technology,
it is proposed to establish an ambitious tool to
strenthen the collaboration between these two groups of eminent institutions in
France and in India,"
euro 200,000, 70,000 euro will be used for the undergraduate level and rest will
be used for PhD students in India and France.
EADS is a
global leader in aerospace, defence and related services.
The IITs-ParisTech Internership programme in Science &
Technology will provide undergraduate students and postgraduate students
opportunity to complete an intership in the partner country within an academaic
institution or a company.
objective is to structure long-term cooperation in
education and research between ParisTech and IITs, associating academic and
The objective of the programme is to encourage students to
discover Science & Technology in the partner institutions and give them
the desire to contribueb for a longer period of time to a joint research project
between France and India or to start their professional careers as part of an
industrial project between the two countries.
Time readers select Assange as ‘Person of The Year’
founder Julian Assange, who is in custody in London on
rape charges, has won an online vote to be Time
magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’, amid continuous leak of thousands of
confidential US diplomatic cables by his whistle-blower website.
39-year-old Australian national secured 382,020 votes, which gave him an easy
first place, while US
President Barack Obama
was in the sixth position with 27,478 votes.
received 148,383 votes more than Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey,
who stood second with a score of 233,638.
Lady Gaga was third with 146,378 votes, according to the magazine, which said
that its editors, who choose the actual ‘Person of the Year’, reserve the right
to disagree with the
results of the
Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke was the 2009 Time ‘Person of the Year’.
Richard Holbrooke passes away
Richard Holbrooke (69),
President Barack Obama’s
Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,
died. Role in Vietnam war.
Mr. Holbrooke’s career both began and ended in
the service of American diplomacy trapped within the perimeter of
unrelenting wars of occupation. As a young Foreign Service officer he was
assigned to the U.S. embassy in Vietnam in 1962, where he served for six
years and made important policy contributions for economic
development and local political reform. In this
posting he was most remembered, however, for lending his expertise to the
Paris peace talks of 1968, which ultimately helped end the war.
In 1994, when Mr. Holbrooke took on the mantle of
of State for European and Canadian Affairs, he
headed the negotiation team that was responsible for resolving the Balkan
crisis. For the seminal role he played as chief architect of the Dayton
Peace Accords, in 1996 Mr. Holbrooke was awarded the Manfred Wörner Medal by
the German Ministry of Defence for public figures rendering “special
meritorious service to peace and freedom in
B’desh to honour 226 Indians for role in 1971 ‘Liberation War’
Bangladesh will honour
some 500 foreigners, including 226 Indians, for their crucial support to the
country’s 1971 ‘Liberation War’, as it marks the 40th Victory
Day anniversary next year.
cabinet approved the proposal to accord reception to distinguished
foreign nationals and organisations for their
extraordinary contribution in our Liberation War."
Samy Vellu to be Malaysia’s Special Envoy to India
Samy Vellu (74), until
recently president of the Malaysian Indian
Congress (MIC), will be Malaysia’s Special Envoy to
India and South Asia for Infrastructure with effect from New Year’s Day 2011.
Announcing his appointment,
while releasing his biography at a function in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Prime
Minister Najib Tun Razak praised Samy Vellu for his “connection” with the South
Asian countries. “Many Malaysian companies will benefit from his role as a
Special Envoy on Infrastructure.”
Singapore hails ties with India
Singapore reaffirmed its “positive” ties with India
and other countries which figured in a set of leaked United States’ diplomatic
cables on the city-state’s relations with some of its neighbours.
Singapore official was quoted, in a cable, as telling U.S. officials in
September 2009 that India’s policy towards the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations was “stupid” and Japan was a big “loser” in the context of China’s
enhancedties with ASEAN. Malaysia and some of its leaders were also seen in poor
light in the comments attributed to some Singapore officials, one of whom
praised China’s “intelligent diplomacy in the region”.
India to extend ties with Russia in defence, nuclear spheres
India and Russia are likely
to sign half-a-dozen agreements, including a long-pending one on co-developing
and producing a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).
important agreement will be in the civil nuclear sphere where both sides will
seek to fill in more details to the umbrella agreement signed during
Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh’s visit to Moscow in December last year. India is willing to
shift the Russian nuclear site from West Bengal and a concrete offer in this
respect will be made during the visit.
sides are also expected to ink pacts in space and trade, the two areas where
they have made tentative beginnings but want
substantial cooperation to take place.
Sri Lanka scraps Tamil version of its national anthem
Sri Lanka has
scrapped the Tamil version of its
at official and state functions, a move likely to further alienate the ethnic
Tamils in the country.
national anthem–’Sri Lanka matha….’ can only be
rendered in the majority Sinhala language at official functions, the Sri
Lankan cabinet decided.
The decision was taken at
the last cabinet meeting headed by the President Mahinda Rajapksha, who pointed
out that no country in the world uses thenational anthem in other than one
language, the ‘Sunday Times’ reported on 12th December, 2010.
“The move will mean that
the current Tamil version will no longer be played at any official or state
The Sinhala version is
widely used across the country except for the north and east where a majority
“A directive to use only
the Sinhala version is to be sent out by the Ministry of
Govt approves signing pact for TAPI gas pipeline project
The govt has approved
signing of agreements to import natural gas through
the US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, whose terms are
far less stringent than those it had set for another proposed pipeline involving
In a major departure from
its previously stated policy of the
seller delivering the gas at its border, India has agreed to take custody
of the gas at Turkmenistan-Afghanistan border and will rely on an international
consortium for safe transfer of the fuel through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
While negotiating a similar
project to import gas from Iran via Pakistan through a pipeline that would have
been shorter, cost cheaper and easier to build, India had insisted that Tehran
take the responsibility of safe passage of gas through Pakistan.
No talks have taken place
for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipleline in the last few years.
Besides, in the TAPI
pipleline project, Turkmenistan is not agreeable to making up for any shortfall
or disruption in gas supplies.
New Delhi had previously
raised security and financing concerns over Iran-Pakistan-India
gas pipeline but appears to be satisfied about the
line from Turkmenistan that would not just pass through Pakistan but also
The TAPI pipeline is backed
Asian Development Bank
(ADB), and the
Ministry sees it as an opportunity to project India’s commitment to Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan will supply gas
from its South Yoloten-Osman field and state-owned gas utility GAIL India will
enter into a
Gas Sales and
(GSPA) with the Central Asian country’s national oil firm Turkmengaz later.
China reveals world’s
China played host to
railway authorities and railway experts from around
the world in
Beijing , and
used the opportunity to showcase a high-speed train
that clocked the fastest ever speed in a test run last week.
In the spotlight is the
16-car CRH380A, a new generation of high-speed train
of Railways officials say recorded a top speed of 486.1 kilometers per hour on
9th December, 2010, far exceeding Japan’s bullet trains.
Chinese railway officials
say the CRH380A, designed to operate at a cruising speed of 380 kph, is the
fastest train in operation in the world on 9th December, 2010.
China is reportedly in the process of developing a super high-speed train
that can run at 600 kph.
Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp., which designed the
CRH380A, was clearly the focus attention as foreign railway experts toured an
international exhibition of railway technology organised
Ministry of Railways
on the sidelines of a world congress on high speed rail.
China boasts the world’s longest high-speed railway network, which totals
7,531 km, and Chinese railway officials say the country plans to expand the
system to 16,000 km by 2020.
India to attend Nobel
night for Chinese dissident
decided to attend the ceremony where the
Nobel Peace Prize
will be presented to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo on 10th December,
2010, notwithstanding China’s call for a boycott of the function.
Although China has called
upon all countries, including India to keep away from the ceremony, New Delhi
does not see it as a bilateral issue with Beijing, official sources said.
India is among 44 countries
which has confirmed its participation as against 19 countries, including
Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Columbia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia,
Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam and Afghanistan which have
for various reasons declined the invitation.
The sources said the
country’s representation will be at the same level as in the past at the
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London & refused bail
The founder of
has been refused bail by a court in London but vowed to fight extradition to
Mr Assange denies sexually
assaulting two women in Sweden. He was remanded in
custody pending a hearing next week.
at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court refused bail because of the risk of
the 39-year-old fleeing.
A Wikileaks spokesman said
the arrest was an attack on media freedom and pledged to continue publishing.
After the court appearance
Mr Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens said he would be applying again for bail.
He claimed the charges were
“politically motivated” and said the judge was keen to see the evidence against
Mr Assange, an Australian citizen.
Mr Stephens said Wikileaks
would continue to publish material and added: “We are on cable 301 and there are
250,000 secret cables.”
Wikileaks’ Visa payments suspended
Europe has begun suspending
payments to whistle-blowing website
ahead of carrying out an investigation into the organisation.
It follows a similar move
by rival payments processor Mastercard on 7th December, 2010.
Visa’s announcement comes
after Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange was arrested by police in London.
whose website has published secret documents, is wanted in Sweden on sexual
Wikileaks relies on online
donations to fund its operations, which will now not be possible using both Visa
and Mastercard debit and credit cards.
payment firm PayPal and
Amazon have also cut their links with Wikileaks in recent days.
Wikileaks: Swiss bank freezes Julian Assange’s account
The Swiss post office’s
bank, PostFinance, has frozen the accounts of
founder Julian Assange.
The whistle-blowing website
says the freeze includes a defence fund and personal assets worth 31,000 euros.
Wikileaks has published
hundreds of secret
cables, angering the US government and triggering
moves by several companies including PayPal and Amazon to end their services.
Meanwhile, a warrant for Mr
Assange’s arrest has reached the UK authorities.
Sources have told that the
European Arrest Warrant for Mr Assange arrived on 6th December, 2010
Swedish prosecutors want to
question Mr Assange in connection with allegations of
rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, which he denies.
He is believed to be in
hiding somewhere in south-east England. Once the police have located him, he
would be expected to appear at a magistrate’s court within 24 hours, pending
extradition to Sweden.
Top Chinese officials led Google hacking: WikiLeaks
The hacking of
that led the
Company to briefly pull out of China was orchestrated
by two members of China’s top ruling body, according to US diplomatic cables
The New York Times
on 4th December 2010.
Citing the cables, the
Times said China made repeated and often successful hacking attacks on the
private enterprises and Western allies as far back as 2002.
world’s top Internet search engine, closed its
China-based search service in March, two months after
it had said it would stop censoring search
response to what it said was a sophisticated cyber attack that it traced to
China and increasing limits on freedom of expression.
The dispute was resolved in
July after Google tweaked the way it directs users to
an unfiltered search engine.
The Times quoted one cable
dated earlier this year as saying: “A well-placed contact claims that the
Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions
of Google systems. According to our contact, the closely held operations were
directed at the Politburo
The cables did not make
clear how the cyber attacks blamed on China were coordinated, the Times said,
and “the cables also appear to contain some suppositions by Chinese and
Americans passed along by diplomats.”
The paper added that the
cable quoted the contact as saying the hacking of Google “had been coordinated
out of the State Council Information Office with the oversight” of two members
of the Communist Party’s Politburo: Li Changchun and Zhou Yongkang. It said Zhou
isChina’s top security official.
WikiLeaks diverts to European websites amid US fury
WikiLeaks directed readers to a web address in
3rd December, 2010 after two U.S.
providers ditched it in the space of two days, and
Paris tried to ban French servers from hosting its trove of leaked data.
The Internet publisher
directed users to www.wikileaks.ch after the wikileaks.org site on which it had
published classified U.S. government information
vanished from view for about six hours.
A Dutch- and a German-based
site, www.wikileaks.nl and www.wikileaks.de , were also giving readers access to
the leaked documents.
EveryDNS.net, which helps
computers to locate the sites of its members, said it had stopped providing
services to WikiLeaks at 2200 U.S. Eastern time on 3rd December.
WikiLeaks had turned to
EveryDNS and host servers in
Amazon.com stopped hosting the site on 2nd December, 2010.
is furious about WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of confidential diplomatic
cables that have given unvarnished and sometimes embarrassing
insights into the foreign policy of
the United States
and its allies.
India, China making ‘steady progress’ on border dispute: Menon
India and China
concluded their 14th round of Special
border talks, with both sides agreeing to seek a “fair deal” as they made
“steady progress” on a
framework to resolve the long-running boundary dispute.
Dai discussed the whole gamut of issues bedeviling the two countries, including
the resumption of defence exchanges put on hold by India following denial of
visa to a top Indian General B S Jaswal.
declined to go into details of the progress made during the border talks,
India, B’desh sign
crucial transshipment agreement
India and Bangladesh
have signed a crucial deal to allow Indian heavy equipment to be transshipped to
its landlocked northeastern Tripura state for a proposed
territory, officials said.
Highways chief engineer Azizur Rahman and India’s Oil and
Natural gas Corporation’s senior adviser R K Madan signed the Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU) which would allowIndia to transport heavy equipment for
its proposed Palatana Power Plant in Tripura in 96
assistance to boost agriculture in Sri Lanka
India has provided seeds
and 500 tractors to
in the neighbouring country, Parliament was informed.
also gifted 95,000
agricultural starters packs for reviving the livelihood activities of returning Internally
Displaced Persons in Northern Sri Lanka.
six-member delegation was sent to the
island country in September 2009 for a detailed discussion for
setting up of an Institute of Agricultural Transformation.
US in damage control, welcomes global leadership role for India
The US said it welcomes
a greater global leadership role for India, two days after its Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton’s
remark describing India as a “self-appointed front-runner” for a permanent UNSC
seat was leaked.
of its massive leak of a quarter million classified documents of the
the website released a “secret” cable issued by
Clinton where she has described India as a “self-appointed front-runner” for a
also directed US envoys to seek minute details about Indian diplomats stationed
at the United Nations headquarters, according to classified documents released
WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears
U.K. diplomats warn of terrorists getting hold of fissile material and of
Pakistan-India nuclear exchange.
American and British
diplomats fear Pakistan’s
nuclear weapons programme could lead to
fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists
or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.
latest cache of U.S. embassy cables released by
WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile
despite the country’s growing instability and “pending