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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ Initiative – Analysis


Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the Serum Institute of India, in Pune to review COVID-19 vaccine trials, on 28 November 2020. Photo Credit: Prime Minister's Office

By Ashok Sajjanhar*

Speaking at the first UN General Assembly Session he attended in September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that India’s foreign policy is governed by its age-old maxim of ‘’Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’’ (The World is One Family).

As soon as the coronavirus hit the world, India emphasised the imperative of collaboration to overcome the inimical health and economic impact of the virus. It was with this objective that the Indian government organised a virtual meeting of SAARC leaders on March 15, 2020. A SAARC Fund to combat the disease was established, with India contributing an amount of $10 million.

In the initial months of the pandemic, India, by virtue of the fact that it is the ‘pharmacy of the world’, ramped up production of essential medicines like hydroxychloroquine, paracetamol etc. as well as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, ventilators and masks. It should be noted that at the start of the pandemic, India’s production capacity to manufacture such equipment was negligible. However, India was very quickly able to significantly augment its production competence to not only meet its own domestic requirements but also emerge as a significant exporter of these items.

The United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) failed miserably to provide leadership in dealing with this crisis. The UN Security Council (UNSC) could not meet in March 2020 because China was chairing the body and did not want questions to be raised on its actions of deception and hypocrisy, after the virus first erupted in Wuhan and spread around the world. Even when the UNSC met to discuss the issue in April 2020, it could not agree on any concrete course of action because of deep divisions amongst the members.

Speaking on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UN in September 2020, PM Modi pointed out that the world body faced a ‘crisis of confidence’ as it operated on outdated structures. On the same occasion, Modi affirmed that India’s vaccine production capacity will be used to help humanity in fighting the virus.

Roll Out of ‘’Vaccine Maitri’’ (Vaccine Friendship)

India produces 60 per cent of all vaccines manufactured in the world. The head of the WHO recently complained that the developed countries monopolised the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for their own populations and were not making them available to developing countries.

In accordance with the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy enunciated by Modi at the beginning of his first term in 2014, Bhutan and Maldives became the first two countries to receive 150,000 and 100,000 vaccines respectively, on January 20, 2021. Bangladesh and Nepal received two million and one million doses on January 21. Myanmar received 1.5 million doses, Seychelles 50,000 doses, and Mauritius 100,000 doses on January 22.

The two million doses gifted by India to Bangladesh were the single largest consignment of vaccines provided by India to any country thus far, prompting the Bangladesh Health minister to comment that India had stood by his country during the Liberation War of 1971 as well as during the pandemic. Bangladesh was supposed to get 110,000 doses of free vaccines from the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, but its reluctance to contribute towards the development cost of the vaccine, led to a deadlock.

India’s vaccine assistance reached Nepal within a week of a request made by Nepalese Foreign Minister during his visit to New Delhi on January 15, 2021. India’s gesture to Nepal came at a time when its ties have been strained by a territorial dispute as well as concerns over China’s expanding political and economic influence in the Himalayan nation. China, which had promised Nepal help to deal with the pandemic, is yet to receive Nepali clearance for its Sinopharm shots.

It is pertinent to flag that there is huge demand for vaccines in some of the above mentioned countries who are desperate to revive their tourism-dependent economies. This has provided an important opportunity for the Indian government to expand and strengthen its outreach.

All the above vaccine supplies by India were made on a gratis basis. Several of these countries are among the reportedly 90 countries including South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE and a host of others that have signed commercial agreements with Indian manufacturers, supplies pursuant to which will be made in the coming days.

Regulatory approvals by Afghanistan are awaited to effect supplies to it. Shipment of 500,000 doses to Sri Lanka was effected on January 27, 2021. India has also conducted training programmes for its neighbours to help them in the vaccination drive.

Apart from countries in India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood, Brazil and Morocco, close strategic partners, also got 2 million doses each on January 22. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro thanked PM Modi for sending the vaccine supplies and equated the gesture with that of Lord Hanuman bringing the holy ‘Sanjeevani’. PM Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominican Republic called for assistance from India ‘with great humility and respect … to make our population safe’.

The US State Department, the WHO, Bill Gates and several others have spoken warmly and appreciatively of the selfless manner in which India is helping several developing countries with the vaccines.

India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ Mission appears to have taken China by surprise and put it on the back foot. Global Times, the mouth piece of the Chinese Communist Party, has started spreading lies and making disparaging remarks about the safety, efficacy and capacity of India to produce vaccines in adequate numbers. This is even as countries like Cambodia, Nepal and Bangladesh have refused to take China’s vaccines because of quality concerns or terms of supply.

China’s ‘iron friend’ Pakistan, meanwhile, has been informed that it could send its aircraft to Beijing to airlift 500,000 doses of the vaccine. This is in stark contrast to the dispatch effected by India to Nepal and Bangladesh in Air India special flights. Brazil which had also imported Chinese vaccines, is wary of using them because it finds that their efficacy is just around 50 per cent, which is much lower than all other vaccines in use in the world.

Conclusion

What has been particularly appreciated by observers is the rapidity and selflessness with which India rolled out millions of doses as aid despite the massive requirements of its own vaccination drive. While the world is witnessing the aggressive and threatening demeanor of China, the humane and caring attitude of India, in stark contrast, is evident. In the rapidly evolving global geo-political landscape, the healing and supportive actions by India through supply of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines will have a huge impact in promoting peace, security, cooperation and prosperity in the region and the world. India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative has further strengthened its image as the first responder in emergency situations. This is all the more commendable when there are only five countries in the world who have thus far been able to successfully manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.

Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or of the Government of India.

*About the author: Ashok Sajjanhar is President, Institute of Global Studies, and a former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia.

Source: This article was published by Manohar Parrikar IDSA

The article India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ Initiative – Analysis appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Indigenous Tribe That Worships Tigers Helps Protect The Species


tiger

Spirituality isn’t usually considered a factor in conservation efforts. But indigenous peoples who worship wildlife may be helping protect endangered species from extinction.

The Soligas tribe in the Western Ghats of India reveres the Bengal tiger. Their coexistence in India’s Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve has helped the tiger population flourish, says Shadi Atallah, a natural resource economist in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at University of Illinois.

Atallah first learned about the Soligas from a BBC article that discussed how the tiger population doubled from 2010 to 2014, after the tribe obtained property rights to their ancestral land.

“The BBC article stated that the local tribe venerates the tiger and that worshipping relationship makes them the best conservationists,” Atallah says. “We could not find anything in the conservation economics literature that backs that claim. There was nothing that accounted for spirituality ecosystem service values.”

He and co-author Adrian Lopes wanted to investigate how the tribe’s spiritual beliefs might make them effective conservation stewards.

The researchers conducted a case study to assess spiritual value of the Bengal tiger for the Soligas tribe and show how such values can be harnessed as an economic tool for promoting sustainable wildlife conservation.

Atallah and Lopes used bioeconomic modeling to estimate four different management scenarios: Whether or not the Soligas tribe had property rights to the land, and whether or not poaching fines were implemented for illegal harvesting of the tigers.

Their results were clear: Tribal property rights were by far the best policy to protect the tigers.

“We observed that if you remove the property rights and poaching fines, the species goes to extinction in 49 years. Implementing poaching fines alone delays the extinction by nine years but does not prevent it,” Atallah says.

He suggests the tribe’s veneration of the tiger makes them less likely to look for the quick reward of illegal poaching.

There is little precedent for including spiritual values in economic models, Atallah notes.

“Putting a dollar value on spirituality is controversial,” he says. “But by leaving it out of economic calculations, we assume it has a value of zero.”

Bioeconomic models include biological information such as status and growth rate of a species and economic policies such as property rights and fines. They can also account for the values generated from wildlife ecotourism. But so far, they have not included wildlife spiritual values, Atallah states.

“If we can place a value on spiritual ecosystem services the way we do for ecotourism, we would not be under-accounting for those services when governments make policy decisions,” he notes.

Conservation efforts often consist of establishing protected areas by separating humans and wildlife. Such policies may involve expulsing indigenous communities and are controversial on ethical and humanitarian grounds. But Atallah and Lopes’ research also provides an economic argument by showing that local tribes are, indeed, the best conservationists.

The Indian Forest Rights Act grants indigenous tribes property rights to their ancestral lands; however, the tribes need to provide documentation for their claim to the land, and lack of proof has in some cases led to expulsion.

“Our research shows if a government has to decide which policy instrument to use, spending money in courts to secure the property rights of the local tribes is much more effective than spending money on catching and fining poachers,” Atallah says.

“If you care about the survival of the species, securing the property rights of the tribes that venerate them is the best tool you can have,” he concludes.

The article Indigenous Tribe That Worships Tigers Helps Protect The Species appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Detail of a 1000 rupee Pakistan bank note. Photo Credit: Abbas dhothar, Wikipedia Commons.

By Katyayinee Richchariya*

On 8 January 2021, a Pakistani court sentenced senior Lashkar-e-Taiba leader, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, to a five-year imprisonment on terror financing charges. This came weeks ahead of the February 2021 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary meeting that will decide on Pakistan’s listing. Pakistan’s retention in the FATF ‘grey’ list thus far, despite serious shortcomings in its compliance, suggest that the country might be retained in the grey list in the upcoming meeting as well.

Recent Developments

On 26 July 2020, Pakistan announced a set of eight legislations to implement the eight-point to do list, following the country’s retention on the FATF’s February 2020 ‘grey list’, and in light of the then upcoming FATF meeting (October 2020). Apart from a formulating a variety of measures that were largely superficial, the administration also portrayed the opposition’s ‘attitude’ as being a hinderance to the country’s efforts aimed at curbing terror financing.

Of the eight legislations, the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, are of particular interest. They were passed through a Joint Assembly in September 2020. The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill is aimed at expand the National Accountability Bureau’s jurisdiction by including transactions classified as money laundering in it and by regulating jewelers, lawyers, real estate agents, chartered accountants and people involved in businesses related to precious stones. The Waqf Properties Bill broadens the definition of Waqf Properties to include any property used for any religious purposes and enables government regulation of these in the capital area of Islamabad.

However, this is not the first time Pakistan has formulated laws on money laundering or to counter terrorism, only to be rendered ineffectual due to lack of genuine political will for enforcement. For example, despite instituting National Counter Terrorism Authority in 2009 and the parliament having outlined its mandate in 2013, 1500 of the 12000 candidates in the 2018 general elections were directly or indirectly affiliated with extremist groups.

Meanwhile, in August 2020, Pakistan sanctioned around 88 individuals affiliated with various terrorist outfits, including the Afghan Taliban, in a bid to project compliance with FATF recommendations. A month earlier, the UN Security Council Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team had found 6500 “Pakistani foreign terrorist fighters” currently active in Afghanistan—a significant increase from the estimate of 400-600 al Qaeda fighters in Team’s January 2020 report. Many of these terrorists are actively recruited/inducted by Pakistan-based terror outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

However, Pakistan has tended to enforce its anti-terror laws selectively, and countering of terror groups is also often an exercise in cherry picking. For instance, Islamabad/Rawalpindi differentiates between terrorists it considers to be its ‘assets’ (such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Afghan Taliban etc), other terror and violent extremist outfits targeting Pakistan such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and Baloch separatist groups; it views even peaceful dissent by aggrieved citizens as a threat to peace—a pattern which was also noted in the 2019 US Country Report on Terrorism. Additionally, just days before the October 2020 FATF meeting convened, the Australia-based Asia-Pacific Group’s review report identified Pakistan as having complied with 11 of the FATF’s 40 recommendations, with complete compliance in only two.

Further, those terrorists sanctioned by Pakistan in August 2020 include key leaders of the Afghan Taliban, including its co-founder and deputy political head, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and the head of the Haqqani Network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, among others; and they are subject to travel bans and asset freezes. However, given how the negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government have commenced following the signing of the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, key Afghan Taliban leaders, including Baradar, have continued to be able to travel freely between Doha, Pakistan, Iran etc; and Taliban offensives in Afghanistan have only skyrocketed. Moreover, given the extensive linkages between the terrorist outfits operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, these sanctions are unlikely to bear meaningful results.

Meanwhile, several armed groups have also continued to receive foreign funds and assistance due to the lackadaisical asset freezing and due to them operating under more than one name. For instance, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Islamic Circle of North America, groups affiliated to Jamaat-e-Islami, have been endorsed by the US federal agencies, even though the FBI had ended ties with them over terror funding charges in 2009. Such gaps result in these terror groups ultimately becoming the beneficiaries.

Looking Ahead

While indeed Pakistan too has suffered from terrorism, the Pakistani state has also been an enabler of terrorism; and these two circumstances are not mutually exclusive. An FATF blacklisting of Pakistan may be needed to ensure that Islamabad takes concrete action to combat terror financing in earnest. However, Pakistan’s role in the effort to reach a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan has provided Islamabad/Rawalpindi with room to manoeuvre. These factors combined with past trends and emerging regional geopolitical developments suggest there is a possibility that both blacklisting, and concrete action by Pakistan against terror financing, might be a distant prospect at this juncture.

*Katyayinee Richhariya is a Research Intern with the Centre for Internal and Regional Security (IReS), IPCS.

The article The FATF ‘Grey List’ And Pakistan’s Prospects – Analysis appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Indian Army soldiers with the 99th Mountain Brigade's 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod, Wikipedia Commons.

Official data on each of India’s internal conflict theatres for the past successive years have continued to portray progress towards peace and stability. Guns are falling silent across conflict theatres and the death count has reduced drastically. Government reach is expanding into hitherto no-go areas. Gun-toting insurgents/militants are mostly fighting battles of survival. India today is probably witnessing the last phase of armed insurrections. A decadal review of India’s campaign to bring stability to its three prominent conflict theatres—Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the Northeast (NE), and the left-wing extremism (LWE) affected states—do portray an array of achievements. Yet, several challenges remain, which must be overcome for the country to have durable peace.  

The following five trends sum up this decade’s violent extremist campaigns and official efforts to counter them, although these certainly don’t exhaust the entire debate on the subject.

Imperfect Wars

Efforts to end conflicts in each of these prominent theatres have been radically different from one another. Whereas the Indian Army is the preferred choice against militants in J&K and the NE, owing to the indigenous nature of the LWE, which operates without any external assistance, police and the central armed police forces are deployed. A restrained application of force that bars heavy artillery and machine guns from being used has been the hallmark of counter-insurgency (COIN) campaigns. Yet, each of these campaigns has been riddled with human rights abuses, with the forces operating with a sense of impunity. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, operational in J&K and some NE states, which enables security forces to summarily arrest and even kill suspected militants, has been identified as a primary problem by activists. At the operational level, however, a lack of ground-level intelligence, disconnect with the local population, and the haphazard nature of force deployment, remain problematic.

Whether any COIN operation can ever be a perfect war without any collateral damage is a continuing debate. At the same time, however, due diligence of critical COIN elements such as leadership and the training and quality of personnel can lead to significant improvements in the way forces approach their duties. Several corrective measures have been taken by the government, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of staged encounters and incidents of torture, etc. Still, from time to time, the discovery of a unmarked grave (J&K), or the killing of a villager termed as an “extremist” (LWE-affected states), or extra-judicial killings of civilians and militants (Manipur), produce narratives of an abdication of authority.   

Does an Absence of Violence Equal an Absence of Peace?

There is perceptibly less violence in India’s conflict theatres today. Militancy-related incidents have significantly reduced as compared to 2011. In the words of the J&K Police, much of it is due to successful counter-terrorist (CT) operations that have eliminated the top militants of various outfits. In the NE as well as with regard to LWE, the capacity of extremists to orchestrate violence stands drastically reduced. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), incidents of killing in the entire country have reduced from 555 in 2011 to 297 in 2020. The reduction is even more pronounced when compared to the previous decade (2001-2010), during which the average yearly incidents of killing was 1671. Between 2011 and 2020, it is barely 453.

An absence of violence, however, hasn’t resulted in peace. While the government has managed to conclude a number of peace agreements with insurgency movements in the NE, there isn’t a single peace-making effort worth its name either in the J&K or LWE theatres. The peace process on NE’s oldest insurgency—with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)—is still inconclusive despite several official promises and efforts. While the group remains adamant on its demand for a separate constitution and a flag, the government’s veiled threat that it will go ahead with a peace process by excluding the NSCN-IM has not worked. As a result, in each of these conflict theatres, islands of tranquillity coexist disharmoniously with pockets of resistance and instability. And more often than not, instability from those pockets spill over into areas that are considered to have stabilised.                         

Residual Violent Extremism

According to official estimates, barely 250 active militants are operative in J&K; another 3-4,000 (including those belonging to the NSCN-IM) in the NE states; and there are less than 1,000 in the LWE-affected states. Experts often term this as residual militancy/extremism because of their inability to pose a major threat to India’s national security. The truism in this assertion is incontestable. A major achievement of security force operations over the past decade is that extremism and insurgency are fuelled today by a mix of dissent and sedulous fidelity to waging a fight against the state, rather than any conviction of vanquishing the over-imposing state.

At the same time, however, the state has continued to find residual and dispersed extremism a more challenging phenomenon to deal with than a full-fledged armed insurrection. The cadre strength of existing armed groups has remained more or less the same for the past few years, nullifying the steady attrition imposed by COIN/CT operations. Violent extremism is proving to be a complex challenge to be solved by security force operations alone.              

Changing Character: Externally Assisted to Locally Sourced

One of the prominent trends in India’s internal conflicts over the past decade is their transformed nature: from being externally assisted to locally sourced and managed. While LWE has been an indigenous movement throughout its existence, external support even to armed groups in J&K and NE are on the wane. The number of Pakistani militants in J&K has decreased over the past few years. Local groups like the Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) have gained ascendency over the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Today, even among the LeT and JeM militants active in J&K, there are more local Kashmiri youth than those from Pakistan. Officials blame this on Pakistan’s strategy to portray the Kashmiri militancy as an internally-fuelled armed insurrection and not so much an externally-assisted one. However, available data does indicate a growing desire among local youth to be a part of ongoing militancy movements. While 257 locals joined the militancy between 2011 and 2016, 631 locals have joined various groups over the past four years (2017-2020).

Policy and Operational Hits and Misses

According to SATP, 4,332 terrorists, extremists, and insurgents were killed in India in various security force operations between 2011 and 2020. Further, a large number have either been arrested or have surrendered. Concerted official efforts have prevented global jihadism—al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Islamic State (IS)—from finding a foothold in Kashmir and elsewhere. The neutralisation of prominent militants/extremists—Burhan Wani and Zakir Musa (J&K), Drishti Rajkhowa (Assam), and scores of others in the LWE-affected states—have limited the extremists’ violence potential and curbed the romanticism that feeds extremism.

And yet, 2010-2020 will also go down as a decade of undelivered promises. The central government’s  August 2019 decision to alter the status of J&K is yet to produce much impact on its security scene. In spite of its surgical strikes and intense diplomatic efforts, New Delhi has not succeeded in making Pakistan give up its sponsorship of Kashmiri militancy. The much hyped expectation of the surrenders of Ganapathy, former general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), or Paresh Baruah, the chief of the United Liberation Front of Asom, (ULFA) have not materialised. In 90 districts across India, over 100 battalions of security forces are still battling the LWE. In the NE, groups like the ULFA, NSCN-IM, and many other peripheral outfits continue to remain attached to the objective of ‘freedom’ and a recognition of their rights.

Outlook

The government’s projected aspiration of making India a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2025 has been linked to the goal of ending all internal conflicts. It is obvious that the political leadership hopes to use concerted security force operations to further weaken extremists across theatres. While that is still achievable, the changing nature of violent extremism coupled with systemic changes may pose additional complex challenges.

The spectre of radicalisation, still in evolution, will have to be dealt with a nuanced approach. The outcome of the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan amid a reduced international footprint may inflate the capacities of existing armed groups, especially those in Kashmir. The new US administration’s Af-Pak policy may play a role in shaping the contours of violent extremism in India. And lastly, at home, the official policy towards minorities and deprived and alienated groups and regions will decide the longevity of dissent and protraction of conflicts. A lack of unity of purpose among the Centre and States continues to remain one of India’s major challenges in addressing internal security threats. Some attention to evolving a united approach will be essential for long-term stability and peace.

Source: This article was also published at IPCS

The article India’s Internal Security: A Fog Of Triumph? – Analysis appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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Trump and FBI – News Review from Michael_Novakhov (10 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (51 sites): Eurasia Review: Past River Activity In Northern Africa Reveals Multiple Sahara Greenings


Sahara Oasis Libya Lake Rest Mirroring Desert Nature

Large parts of today’s Sahara Desert were green thousands of years ago. Prehistoric engravings of giraffes and crocodiles testify to this, as does a stone-age cave painting in the desert that even shows swimming humans. However, these illustrations only provide a rough picture of the living conditions.

Recently, more detailed insights have been gained from sediment cores extracted from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya. An international research team examined these cores and discovered that the layers of the seafloor tell the story of major environmental changes in North Africa over the past 160,000 years. Cécile Blanchet of the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ and her colleagues from Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands and the USA report on this in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Together with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, a team of scientists organized a research cruise on the Dutch vessel Pelagia to the Gulf of Sirte in December 2011.

“We suspected that when the Sahara Desert was green, the rivers that are presently dry would have been active and would have brought particles into the Gulf of Sirte”, says lead author Cécile Blanchet. Such sediments would help to better understand the timing and circumstances for the reactivation of these rivers.

Using a method called “piston coring”, the scientists were able to recover 10-meters long columns of marine mud.

“One can imagine a giant hollow cylinder being pushed into the seafloor”, says co-author Anne Osborne from GEOMAR, who was onboard the research ship.

“The marine mud layers contain rock fragments and plant remains transported from the nearby African continent. They are also full of shells of microorganisms that grew in seawater. Together, these sediment particles can tell us the story of past climatic changes”, explains Blanchet.

“By combining the sediment analyses with results from our computer simulation, we can now precisely understand the climatic processes at work to explain the drastic changes in North African environments over the past 160,000 years”, adds co-author Tobias Friedrich from the University of Hawai’i.

From previous work, it was already known that several rivers episodically flowed across the region, which today is one of the driest areas on Earth. The team’s unprecedented reconstruction continuously covers the last 160,000 years. It offers a comprehensive picture of when and why there was sufficient rainfall in the Central Sahara to reactivate these rivers.

“We found that it is the slight changes in the Earth’s orbit and the waxing and waning of polar ice sheets that paced the alternation of humid phases with high precipitation and long periods of almost complete aridity”, explains Blanchet.

The fertile periods generally lasted five thousand years and humidity spread over North Africa up to the Mediterranean coast. For the people of that time, this resulted in drastic changes in living conditions, which probably led to large migratory movements in North Africa.

“With our work we have added some essential jigsaw pieces to the picture of past Saharan landscape changes that help to better understand human evolution and migration history”, says Blanchet. “The combination of sediment data with computer-simulation results was crucial to understand what controlled the past succession of humid and arid phases in North Africa. This is particularly important because it is expected that this region will experience intense droughts as a consequence of human-induced climate change.”

The article Past River Activity In Northern Africa Reveals Multiple Sahara Greenings appeared first on Eurasia Review.

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