Is a new “Quad” emerging with Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran as members?

Is a new “Quad” emerging with Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran as members?

The Pakistan Foreign Office on Thursday expressed ignorance about a reported meeting of spy chiefs of Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan in Islamabad over the growing threat to the region from the militant Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan. But both the US  and Russia have reported the meeting and there is speculation that this might lead to the formation of a “Quad” to solve problems posed by Islamic militancy in Afghanistan, a group without Western nations. 

Maldives President Yameen expects EU sanctions later in July

Maldives President Yameen expects EU sanctions later in July

The Maldives’ embattled President Abdulla Yameen said on Tuesday that he is expecting the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions against his government later this month (July). Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate a new harbor and sewerage system in Meemu Atoll Dhiggaru island, Yameen remained defiant in the face of looming sanctions saying that he would not change his policies due to international pressure or the threat of sanctions.

Ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam jailed in Avenfield property case

Ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam jailed in Avenfield property case

In a verdict which will echo across the political landscape of Pakistan for decades, the Accountability Court hearing the Avenfield reference sentenced deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10-years imprisonment and daughter Maryam to seven years. Son-in-law, Safdar was also sentenced to a year in prison. Nawaz was further fined eight million pound sterling and Maryam with a two million pound fine.

Maldives aims at getting one million Chinese tourists per year in the next five years

Maldives aims at getting one million Chinese tourists per year in the next five years

The Maldives is aiming at attracting one million Chinese tourists per year in the next five years says the country’s Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer. Speaking at a forum on China-Maldives Tourism Cooperation on Tuesday, Zameer said: “The forum is an important step in efforts to increase the number of Chinese tourists,” he asserted.

How US tried to bully Lanka in the final phase of war against LTTE

How US tried to bully Lanka in the final phase of war against LTTE

This essay by the Adelaide-based Sri Lankan-Australian academic Dr.Michael Roberts  is an effort to unravel the whispers about an American military team’s secret mission to Sri Lanka  at the height of the SL armed forces successful squeeze on the LTTE in 2009. The political significance of such a mission is profound and there are numerous tangential issues that are also significant

New York Times seeks protection for scribes threatened by Rajapaksa group

New York Times seeks protection for scribes threatened by Rajapaksa group

The International Editor of the New York Times, Michael Slackman, has appealed to the Sri Lankan authorities to protect its journalists and others from threats issued by leaders associated with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa following an article in the NYT on the latter’s alleged acceptance of funds from a Chinese company ahead of the 2015 Presidential election.

Modi’s 41 jaunts abroad in four years have cost the Indian tax payer US$ 51.6 million

Modi’s 41 jaunts abroad in four years have cost the Indian tax payer US$ 51.6 million

In his 48 months as Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made 41 trips to 52 countries, and spent 165 days abroad. His globe-trotting cost the Indian taxpayer INR 3.55 billion (US$ 51.6 million), reports S.Venkat Narayan in The Island. This was revealed through replies to Right to Information (RTI) queries submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) by RTI activist Bhimappa Gadad of Karnataka.

China-funded Confucius Institutes change goals to suit local needs

China-funded Confucius Institutes change goals to suit local needs

China’s Confucius Institutes (CIs) and Confucius Centers (CCs) found across the globe, are undoubtedly the emerging giant’s “soft power instruments”. They are meant to serve the ever expanding political, economic and strategic interests of Beijing in an unobtrusive way. 

But in the process of doing so, they have encountered resistance in several countries. Therefore, the authorities in China have of late been changing the goals and styles of functioning of the CIs to accord with ground realities, writes P.K.Balachandran in South Asian Monitor.