Posting this as a top level comment hoping it gets visibility.Everyone interested in this conflict should read/watch Dr Norman Finklestein’s works.He has sacrificed his own well-being in the name of academic honesty and has championed the rights of Palestinians for decades.He is a Jewish-American whose parents (both of them) were victims of the holocaust; imprisoned in concentration camps and part of Warsaw ghetto uprising.He has been barred from Israel and has lost his tenure in the US due to his work.https://youtu.be/MON2HL02mec
As Biden's $4 trillion economic growth plan faces political obstacles, prices and wages are already on the rise.
The warring sides meet in Doha on the second day of a three-day ceasefire to speed up stalled peace talks.Negotiators from the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government have met in Qatar, according to the warring sides, after a long pause in peace talks between the two.
The development came on Friday, the second day of a three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
They began negotiations in September last year to find a way to end decades of war. But the talks stalled after a few rounds and violence has escalated since the United States started a final pullout of troops from Afghanistan on May 1.
“The two sides discussed the on-going situation of the country and emphasised speeding up the peace talks in Doha,” the negotiating team representing the Afghan government said on Twitter.
The spokesman for the Taliban’s political office, Mohammad Naeem, posted a similar message on Twitter, and added that both sides had agreed to continue talks after the Eid holidays.
Finding common ground between the two warring sides has been a top priority for Western capitals, particularly Washington, which has announced it will withdraw all US troops by September to end its 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban refused to attend a Washington-backed conference in Turkey’s Istanbul last month that was being held in a bid to speed up peace talks. The event was later indefinitely postponed.
submitted by /u/kashmiriboi [comments]
Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli speaks at the parliament in Kathmandu, Nepal, Monday, May 10, 2021. (AP)KATHMANDU: Nepal’s ousted prime minister, who lost a vote of confidence in Parliament earlier this week, will stay in office as the leader of a minority government after political parties couldn’t agree to a coalition. Khadga Prasad Oli still must prove he has majority support of lawmakers within a month _ a struggle since his own party has split and other parties are unwilling to support him. Oli will head a minority government because his party is still the biggest one in Parliament, according to a statement late Thursday by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s office. Oli became prime minister after his Nepal Communist Party won two-thirds seats in the 2017 parliamentary elections. The strong support gave people hope of a stable, long-lasting government that would work on developing the country, but his party split earlier this year over differences on party leadership. The emergence of another rebel faction within the party led to Oli’s defeat in a confidence motion in Parliament on Monday. Oli has been criticized as giving attention to the party squabbles instead of to the coronavirus pandemic. Nepal has seen its highest daily numbers of infections and deaths this month while hospitals are running short of treatment space and oxygen. His government has imposed lockdowns to try to curb infections but failed to work on preparations for further outbreaks. The latest lockdown, in effect since last month, has been extended to the end of May. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Two South Korean fisheries associations have filed a lawsuit, demanding the Japanese government’s compensation over its plan to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.
The court filing is seeking 10 million won ($8,850) per day from the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) due to the environmental impact of the plan to dump the water. Fishers fear they will make 50% less in commissions from consignment sales after the contaminated liquid is released.“Insisting on discharging the water into the sea, when there are other safe ways to handle it, is an illegal act against the fishermen and people not only of Japan but also of neighboring countries,” one of the plaintiffs said outside the Jeju District Court on Thursday.It is not clear how far the case will get in the judicial system, as the fishing associations accept that a judge could rule the Japanese government and its actions are protected by “sovereign immunity.” However, the groups hope that the court will grant an exception over the situation, as they feel it’s a serious crime, having likened it to a “crime against humanity.”The lawsuit comes weeks after South Korean fishing vessels took part in a rally, with 800 individuals sailing off the coast of Incheon to demonstrate against the dumping of more than one million tons of contaminated water. The boats displayed slogans stating “withdraw Japan’s decision” and “condemn irresponsible nuclear attack” to express their concern and opposition to Japan’s actions.The Japanese government and TEPCO are currently set to begin releasing the contaminated water in 2023 despite objections from neighboring nations, including South Korea and China. Speaking on May 7, the Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Japanese officials for acting like “ostriches” and choosing to “bury [their] head in the sand,” instead of admitting that releasing the water could “endanger the global marine environment.”
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‘Don’t learn from ostriches’: Beijing tells Tokyo not to bury its head in the sand over Fukushima wastewater row
Japan has repeatedly defended its decision to release the supposedly treated radioactive water into the ocean, claiming it’s “unavoidable” and complies with expert advice of a “controlled environmental release.” If you like this story, share it with a friend!
Nepal’s ousted prime minister, who lost a vote of confidence in Parliament earlier this week, will stay in office as the leader of a minority government after political parties couldn’t agree to a coalition government
From our hard-working friends at AAP:
Defence minister Peter Dutton insists the quarantine system will be able to cope when the travel ban lifts and flights from India resume.
The first plane load of Australians from India will land on Saturday morning after flights were suspended for several weeks to allow the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin to deal with positive Covid-19 cases before more potentially infectious people arrived.
Dutton said the commonwealth had been working closely with the Northern Territory government since the India travel ban was imposed.
“We will continue to work particularly with vulnerable groups to help them back into our country as quickly as possible,” he told Nine on Friday.
“We have put in other measures around pre-flight testing and making sure if we’re bringing people out of a zone like India at the moment we can do it safely so we don’t undo what is a magnificent story here in Australia.”
Indira Gandhi airport in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images
Complicating that story is mixed messages about the timetable for the vaccine rollout.
Dutton insists everyone willing to be vaccinated will receive two shots by the end of this year.
“Now some people will make a decision that they don’t want the vaccine, and the government is not going to force them to have the vaccine, so let’s be realistic in terms of some parts of society,” he said.
This end of year deadline puts Dutton directly at odds with the prime minister, who has spent the week walking back an end date for the rollout’s completion.
The treasurer and health minister have also clashed on the rollout timeline.
Deputy opposition leader Richard Marles leapt on the mixed messaging.
“You’ve got complete confusion, even with Peter today, as to whether or not there’s going to be two jabs by the end of the year,” Marles said.
“They can’t give you a straight answer in relation to that question and we all know properly vaccinating the country is how we actually more forward and past this in an economic sense.”
The government has ordered 25m doses of Moderna vaccines, giving its rollout a shot in the arm.
Marles said the vaccine deal should have been secured last year.
“The reason why we are now back on the queue is because the work they’re doing now they didn’t do last year when it mattered,” he said.
“This time last year we knew vaccines were in the pipeline. It was then the government should have been actually spreading the country’s risk.
“Instead they bet the house on the idea AstraZeneca being manufactured in Australia would be able to do the whole job.”
Vials with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters
The first 10m doses of Moderna are due to arrive this year while the rest – booster jabs for different variants – are slated to be delivered next year.
The Moderna jab has not yet been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration but the company is expected to apply for that soon.
People under 50 are set to receive the Moderna vaccine.
CSL is already making the AstraZeneca vaccine in Melbourne; the Pfizer vaccine is fully imported.
A clear flow of supply will be needed as GPs begin the rollout to all Australians aged over 50 next week.
KP Sharma Oli, whose party has 121 seats in Parliament, may again claim stake as the new prime minister.Kathmandu: Nepal’s political parties were struggling to reach a deal over the formation of a new government due to their factional feuds ahead of Thursday’s deadline set by the President after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli lost a crucial trust vote on Monday.The political stalemate comes at a time when the country is experiencing its worst COVID-19 surge with acute shortages of health facilities and oxygen for patients.The Nepali Congress, under the leadership of party president Sher Bahadur Deuba, on Tuesday decided to stake a claim for the prime minister’s post.But its plans to stake claim to a coalition government, however, seems to have hit a snag after a section of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP-N), led by Mahanta Thakur, has made clear that it won’t participate in any government formation process.The Mahanta Thakur-led faction has around 16 votes in the House of Representatives.The Nepali Congress has 61 votes, backed by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), which has 49 votes.The Congress-Maoist Centre alliance has the support of around 15 lawmakers from the Upendra Yadav-led faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party.But together they can ensure just 125 votes-11 short of the required 136 in the 271-strong House to form a coalition government.President Bidhya Devi Bhandari has asked the Opposition parties to come up with the support of majority lawmakers to form a new government by 9 PM Thursday.In a bid to break the deadlock, CPN-UML lawmaker Bhim Bahadur Rawal, who belongs to the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the party, on Tuesday urged lawmakers who were close to the two leaders to resign en masse to facilitate the formation of a new government.Bhim Bahadur Rawal on Wednesday wrote on his Twitter that to topple the Oli-led government, they needed to resign from the Parliament.”Extraordinary problems require extraordinary remedies. KP Sharma Oli should be toppled to prevent him from taking additional steps against national interests and party statute and to prevent him from engaging in undemocratic activities.””For that, we should resign as members of Parliament. This is appropriate in terms of political morality and legal principles,” Bhim Bahadur Rawal tweeted.If 28 UML lawmakers of the Nepal-Khanal faction, who had abstained from the voting process when KP Sharma Oli sought a vote of confidence on Monday resign en masse, it will make it easier for the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre to form a new government even if Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal ((JSP-N) lawmakers close to Thakur and Rajendra Mahato don’t support them.If the 28 UML lawmakers quit en masse, the strength of the 271-member House of Representatives will be reduced to 243.To avert the possible resignation of lawmakers close to the Nepal-led faction, KP Sharma Oli has withdrawn the party’s earlier decision to suspend four leaders.These leaders include Nepal, Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Surendra Pandey and Ghanashyam Bhusal.It was unclear whether the decision to revoke the suspension will stop the resignation of the lawmakers close to former prime minister Nepal.Nepal has given an ultimatum to the CPN-UML leadership to address their demands by 4:30 pm Thursday.KP Sharma Oli, who is the chairman of CPN-UML, held a telephone conversation with Nepal in an apparent bid to convince the dissident faction.Meanwhile, Baburam Bhattarai, a senior leader of JSP-N, said all parties needed to form a new national coalition government and hold elections in one year.Baburam Bhattarai said such a government should not be led by a former prime minister or the current prime minister.Baburam Bhattarai said such a government should be run based on a common minimum programme, should resolve the Covid crisis, and ensure economic relief packages, constitution amendment, and truth and reconciliation.Given the parties’ strengths and particularly the factional feuds in the CPN-UML and the Janata Samajbadi, many say the current numbers game is just a futile exercise and that the country, which has had eight different governments in a decade, would sooner or later head towards early polls, the Kathmandu Post reported.After KP Sharma Oli lost the trust vote, the NC, the CPN -MC and the faction of the JSP led by Yadav urged President Bhandari to invoke Article 76 (2) of the Constitution to pave the way for the formation of a new government.It says in cases where no party has a clear majority in the House, the President shall appoint as the prime minister a member of the House who can command the majority with the support of two or more parties in the lower house of Parliament.If two or more political parties failed to give a majority Prime Minister by Thursday evening then the President will invite parties to submit the name of a minority Prime Minister from the largest party as per Article 76 sub-clause 3 of the Constitution.In that case, KP Sharma Oli, whose party has 121 seats in Parliament, may again claim stake as the new prime minister.If KP Sharma Oli is appointed under the Constitution, he also needs to win the vote of confidence within 30 days from the date of the appointment.Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 last year after President Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).KP Sharma Oli’s move to dissolve the House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by his rival ”Prachanda”.In February, the top court reinstated the dissolved House, in a setback to KP Sharma Oli who was preparing for snap polls.Known for his pro-China stance, KP Sharma Oli had earlier served as the country’s prime minister from October 11, 2015, to August 3, 2016, during which Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi had strained.KP Sharma Oli said in Parliament on Monday that it was “unfortunate” that a government that “tirelessly worked for the country’s development and nation-building” was being “targeted for narrow and partisan interests”.Prominent leaders, including Deuba and ‘Prachanda’, blamed KP Sharma Oli for his failure to tackle the surge in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks.They said “corruption and scandals” had blocked the supply of timely delivery of vaccines from India.Just a month ago, the Himalayan nation of 31 million people was reporting about 100 COVID-19 cases a day.On Tuesday, it reported 9,483 new cases and 225 virus-related fatalities, according to its health ministry — the highest single-day death count since the pandemic began.
The Taliban has captured a district located less than an hour drive from Kabul. Government counter-offensive to retake it was launched just hours before three-day Eid al-Fitr ceasefire is expected to begin.
The Nerkh district fell into hands of the Taliban overnight, with a military base and police headquarters overrun by the militants. While, technically, the district lies in the province of Wardak, neighboring Kabul, it’s only some 40km (25 miles) away from the country’s capital.Afghanistan’s authorities have acknowledged the fall of the district, describing its capture by the Taliban as a “tactical retreat” of the government forces.“Security and defense forces made a tactical retreat from the police headquarters of Nerkh district,” Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told AFP.
On Wednesday, Afghani special forces were deployed to the district and an operation to retake it has begun. The government has only a few hours left to re-capture the area, as a three-day ceasefire is set to begin on Thursday midnight. The ceasefire was announced by the Taliban over the weekend to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Eir al-Fitr festivities.“We will have to do it today because after the ceasefire, it will give the Taliban enough time to dig in and will complicate the operations and increase our casualties,” a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.Afghanistan has seen an uptick in violence over the past few weeks following the announcement by the US President Joe Biden, who promised to withdraw the American troops from the country by September 11 following two decades of never-ending war. Taliban has criticized the deadline, urging Washington to stick to May 1 deadline, agreed under Donald Trump instead.The ongoing turmoil includes both the intensified fighting between the Taliban and the government, as well as assorted terrorist attacks, happening in Afghanistan on almost daily basis. One of the deadliest incidents of the past weeks occurred back on Saturday, when a school in Kabul was targeted by multiple explosions. The attack killed at least 68 and injured over 160, with the majority of the victims being female students.
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Kabul school attack: Death toll climbs to 68, over 165 hospitalized with many in critical condition
Kabul was quick to blame the Taliban for the blasts, yet the militant group denied any involvement, condemning the school attack and pointing fingers at Islamic State terrorist group.Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!