Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 5th of September, 2017 :-
1. Pakistan rejects BRICS declaration, says no ‘safe haven’ for terrorists on its soil :-
Pakistan on Tuesday rejected the BRICS declaration saying that there was no “safe haven” for terrorists on its soil.
Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir dismissed the BRICS declaration naming terrorist groups in the region by leaders of member countries at the BRICS Summit in China on Monday.
“We reject the declaration released by member countries at the BRICS Summit,” Geo News quoted Dastagir as saying during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence.
Highlighting that 40 percent of Afghanistan is a safe haven for terrorists, the minister said Pakistan has taken action against all groups on its soil and only the remnants of some are left.
He further said that the Pakistan will consult regional partners and then proceed to the US for talks on the recent ‘anti-Pakistan’ comments by US President Donald Trump.
Dastagir said this will result in better engagement as Pakistan is in favour of resolving all matters peacefully since any American action in Pakistan will cause instability in the region.
BRICS leaders on Monday unveiled the Xiamen Declaration in which member countries unequivocally condemned terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations and called upon all states to adopt a comprehensive approach in combating the menace, including countering radicalisation, recruitment, and movement of terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters.
The Xiamen BRICS Declaration signed by the BRICS members specifically stated, “BRICS express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir.”
“BRICS deplore all terrorist attacks worldwide, including attacks in BRICS countries, and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stress that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism. We reaffirm that those responsible for committing, organising, or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable,” it added.
2. Trump scraps ‘Dreamer’ programme, 800,000 young immigrants now at risk of deportation :-
President Donald Trump on Tuesday scrapped a program that protects from deportation almost 800,000 young men and women who were brought into the United States illegally as children, giving a gridlocked Congress six months to decide their fate.
Trump’s action, announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rescinds a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program, created by Democratic former President Barack Obama, is supported by Democrats and many business leaders. The Trump administration said no current beneficiaries of the program would be affected before March 5.
Sessions said the action does not mean the DACA recipients are “bad people.”
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It’s just that simple. That would be an open-border policy and the American people have rightly rejected that,” Sessions said.
The move marked the latest action by Trump that is sure to alienate Hispanic Americans, a growing segment of the U.S. population and an increasingly important voting bloc. Most of the immigrants protected by DACA, dubbed “Dreamers,” came from Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Trump’s action, deferring the actual end of the program, effectively kicks responsibility for the fate of the Dreamers to his fellow Republicans who control Congress. But Congress has been unable since the president took office in January to pass any major legislation and has been bitterly divided over immigration in the past.
Obama bypassed Congress and created DACA through an executive order.
Trump appeared determined to pressure U.S. lawmakers to act. “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” the president wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning before the policy announcement was made.
There were some signs that Congress might be willing to act, with a number of senior Republican lawmakers coming forward to express an interest in protecting the Dreamers.
The president’s decision may have been forced by nine Republican state attorneys general, led by Texas, who had threatened a legal challenge in federal court if Trump did not act to end DACA. A number of Democratic state attorneys general have threatened legal action to defend the program.
3. After North Korea’s Hydrogen bomb test, South Korea conducts live-fire drills :-
Just two days after North Korea donated a hydrogen bomb, South Korean navy held live fire drills on Tuesday as the Korean peninsula continued to be the focus of world attention.
“If the enemy launches a provocation above water or under water, we will immediately hit back to bury them at sea,” Captain Choi Young-chan, commander of South Korea’s 13th Maritime Battle Group, said in a statement.
In fact, on Monday, South Korea had said it was talking to the United States on deploying aircraft carriers and bombers to counter the North Korean threat after it picked up signals its neighbour might launch more missiles.
North Korea had on Sunday conducted its sixth nuclear test which was widely condemned by Japan, South Korea, US including the United Nations. Japan had lodged a formal complaint with Pyongyang.
The explosion caused a 6.3 magnitude tremor at North’s nuclear testing site.
South Korea’s fire drills was conducted in the sea of Japan in which frigate Gangwon, patrol ships and guided missile vessels participated.
4. North Korean leader ‘begging for war’, says US ambassador to UN :-
The United States on Monday said countries trading with North Korea were aiding its “dangerous nuclear intentions” as the United Nations Security Council mulled tough new sanctions and the isolated regime showed signs of planning more missile tests.
South Korea said it was talking to Washington about deploying aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula following the North’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday.
At a Security Council meeting, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was “begging for war” and urged the 15-member group to adopt the strongest possible measures to deter him.
“War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited. We will defend our allies and our territory,” Haley said.
“The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions,” she said.
Haley said the United States will circulate a new Security Council resolution on North Korea this week and wants a vote on it next Monday.
China, a top trading partner with North Korea, and Russia called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
“China will never allow chaos and war on the (Korean) Peninsula,” said Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations.
Russia said peace in the region was in jeopardy.
“A comprehensive settlement to the nuclear and other issues plaguing the Korean peninsula can be arrived at solely through political diplomatic channels,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Typically, China and Russia only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible UN sanctions.
US President Donald Trump had asked to be briefed on all available military options, according to his defence chief.
Officials said activity around missile launch sites suggested North Korea planned more missile tests.
“We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Jang Kyoung-soo, acting deputy minister of national defense policy, told a parliament hearing on Monday.
North Korea tested two ICBMs in July that could fly about 10,000 km (6,200 miles), putting many parts of the US mainland within range and prompting a new round of tough international sanctions.
5. Caribbean islands, Florida brace for fierce Hurrican Irma :-
Hurricane Irma, barreling toward the Caribbean and the southern United States, was upgraded to a powerful Category 4 storm on Monday as islands in its path braced for a possible onslaught.
Hurricane advisories were issued for territories that dot the West Indies, including parts of the Leeward Islands, the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, in preparation for the intensifying storm that could pummel the area with life-threatening wind, storm surges and torrential rain by Tuesday evening, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Ahed Daas, owner of the Food Center in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, said traffic at his store on Monday was about 50 per cent higher than normal as people stocked up on water, canned products and batteries. Since it is the off-season for tourists, almost all the customers are local and there were few liquor sales.
People began to shop as early as last week as Irma neared and continued through the weekend.
“It’s kind of dwindling down now, everybody’s pretty much stocked up,” Daas said. “You make sure you have fuel in your generator and hope it’s not that bad when it does arrive.”
A Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale means sustained winds of 209-251 kmph with “catastrophic” outcomes, including uprooted trees and downed power lines, water and electricity outages, and significant property damage causing uninhabitable conditions, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.
Irma, now packing 220 kmph winds, also threatens the US East Coast and Florida, which on Monday evening declared a state of emergency. The hurricane center expects Irma to reach southern Florida on Saturday.
The NHC cautioned that it was too early to forecast the storm’s exact path or what effects it might have on the continental United States, but warned of likely effects to hit some areas by later this week.
“There is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week and this weekend. In addition, rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern US coast by later this week,” the center said.
Irma will be the second powerful hurricane to thrash the United States and its territories in as many weeks.
Residents of Texas and Louisiana are still reeling from the catastrophic effects of the deadly Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25 and dumped several feet of rain, destroying thousands of homes and businesses.
Irma is forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours and could “directly affect Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Cuba as a dangerous major hurricane later this week,” the NHC said.
In preparation for the storm, the government of economically struggling Puerto Rico on Monday declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.
“Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has $15 million for the emergency fund,” Governor Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement.
The US island territory, home to about 3.4 million people, has 456 emergency shelters prepared to house up to 62,100 people.
To help residents prepare for the storm, Puerto Rico activated a price freeze on basic necessities, including food and water, medicines, power generators, and batteries.
Telemundo TV station WIPR in Puerto Rico showed long lines of shoppers stocking up on bottled water, flashlights, batteries, generators, food and other items.
The executive director of the state power authority, Ricardo Ramos, told the station that the power grid was so vulnerable from lack of investment that parts of the US territory could be without power for three to four months.
“We’re preparing for the worst-case scenario,” he said.