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Briefing :- 29/8/17

Here is CurrentHow’s Briefing™ for the 29th of August, 2017 :-

1. North Korea fires missile over Japan :-

North Korea today fired a missile over Japan which experts said was an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile escalating tensions in the Korean peninsula even as US and South Korean forces continue to conduct military drills in the region.

Japanese air defence personnel participated in a drill just hours after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over its territory.

The drill was conducted at Yokota US air base on the outskirts of Tokyo with Japan’s air defence personnel conducting drills with radars, antennas and Patriot Advanced Capability 3 and PAC-3, Reuters reported.

North Korea had fired three short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday, two missiles failed in flight and the third blew up “almost immediately” however this time the missile flew over Japan and landed in waters off northern Hokkaido.

The missile launch led to a huge panic with Japan warning its citizens of a missile launch in the J-Alert system, bullet trains were stopped and Japan’s stock market the Nikkei fell one per cent.

“North Korea’s reckless action is an unprecedented, serious and a grave threat to our nation,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

PM Abe said Japan is seeking an urgent UN meeting to pressure North Korea, the test he said was a clear violation of the UN resolution. South Korea too condemned the recent missile launch by its neighbour.

North Korea’s state media had published photographs last Wednesday of Kim standing next to a diagram of a three-stage rocket it called the Hwasong-13. Missile experts were unsure whether it was fully developed, some felt it could even be a ploy by Kim’s government to tacitly warn its neighbours including the US but the latest missile test has almost made Pyongyang’s intentions clear.

South Korea’s military said the missile was launched from the Sunan region near the North Korean capital in the morning before 6am and flew 2,700 km, reaching an altitude of about 550 km.

2. Pakistan suspends talks with the U.S. in protest against Trump’s fiery comment :-

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif announced on Tuesday that Islamabad has suspended talks and bilateral visits with Washington.with Washington.

The talks were suspended to express disapproval of US President Trump’s comments criticising the nation, media reports said.

Asif informed the Senate on Monday that the South Asian nation has taken President Trump’s remarks in serious light.

Trump has announced a new South Asia policy which has condemned Pakistan.

Last week, during his very first speech as the commander-in-chief, Trump called for more troop deployment in Afghanistan and spoke about India’s role in the country.

On the other hand, he attacked Pakistan and accused the country of offering a safe haven to “agents of chaos”.

This led to a series of protests and as a consequence, Pakistan postponed the visit by a US acting assistant secretary of State.

According to the previous schedule, US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells was supposed to arrive in Pakistan on Tuesday, while Asif was to travel to the US last week.

In context to Trump’s South Asia policy, Asif does not foresee a military role for India in Afghanistan. The minister said that it was rather a role of economic development.

The minister said that India would not be allowed to use Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan. This particular remark took most committee members by surprise as they were under the impression that India was already using Afghanistan to plan subversive activities in Pakistan. The members sought information on the terror events in Pakistan that were sponsored in India, with emphasis on Indian intelligence agent Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Members wanted to understand that what mechanism would be put in place to check if Indian presence was not being abused to instigate terrorism in Pakistan.

They were also keen on understanding why there were an unusually high number of Indian consulates in Afghanistan–more than those it had in the US.

Additionally, the members demanded the government to share a fact-sheet on US assistance received after 9/11, the reimbursed amount of coalition support fund (CSF) and the financial loss incurred by the country as a frontline state against the war on terror.

According to media reports, Foreign Secretary Teh­mina Janjua told the Senate that a meeting of Pakistan`s representatives had been convened from September 5 to September 7 to draw a strategy over the new US policy on South Asia.

It was decided that the Senate will have another meeting on Tuesday to standardise the policy guidelines, keeping in mind the emerging realities and the role of the US, curated by a six-member committee of the house.

The policy guidelines are likely to be passed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is to make a trip to the US in the second half of September.

The visit will be his first visit to the US as Prime Minister and he is expected to meet American officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.

3. Mumbai submerged as it battles worst rain crisis since 2005 :-

Mumbai faced its worst rain crisis since 2005 on Tuesday as the city was lashed by nine times the usual rain.

Three hours of shower (85 mm) was equivalent to an entire day’s rain, submerging most of India’s financial capital by noon.

The torrential rain disrupted road, rail and flight services, uprooted trees, swamped homes and brought life in the megapolis and its satellite towns to a grinding halt.

A ‘Red’ warning has been issued for the next 24 hours for the city and adjoining areas, indicating the possibility of very heavy rainfall, a top official of the India Meteorological Department said. He added that the city and surrounding areas would continue to receive heavy rainfall over the next 2-3 days.

Train services on all three suburban railway lines– Central, Western and Harbour lines– have been paralysed.

Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were thrown out of gear. Several trains are stuck in the station premises. Eleven trains have been rescheduled and seven trains cancelled till 7 pm today.

Fidgety passengers could be seen jumping off stationary trains and walking along the tracks to their destinations.

Thousands of vehicles were stranded on arterial roads in Lower Parel, Dadar, Kurla, Andheri, Khar West, Ghatkopar, Sion and Hindmata areas that were under knee to waist deep water for several hours, many having broken down.

Commuters were seen standing under knee deep water on the steps of buses in low lying areas like Parel.

Traffic crawled at snail’s pace on important roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg.

Poor visibility caused delays in flights. While the main runway of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Aiport (CSIA) is operational, the nearby aerodrome at Juhu has been shut as it is very close to the Arabian Sea, sources said.

Aircraft stopped landing at the city airport after 4 pm but were taking off, officials said.

Flight operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport saw delay and disruptions since morning.

Till evening, the airport saw six flight cancellations, 10 go-arounds and 10 diversions, airport sources said.

The weather office forecasts predict that the downpour could continue for as long as 48 hours.

The authorities have advised residents to stay in or go home early “unless urgent”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also called Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and assured all possible help.
With high tide putting pressure on the worn-out drainage system, preventing the drainage of water into the sea, experts foresee that the situation will worsen.

The National Disaster Response Force has been alerted to handle the ongoing crisis.

Five flood rescue teams and two diving teams are also ready to render assistance at different locations across Mumbai, a spokesperson for the navy said.

Naval helicopters have been kept on standby to meet any eventuality and flood rescue teams and divers are also ready for deployment.

Schools and colleges have been ordered shut following forecast of heavy rainfall, Education Minister Vinod Tawde said.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) helpline number for emergencies is 1916.

In an official announcement, the Maharashtra government instructed offices to allow employees to leave early.

Locals have turned to social media to explain the intensity of the situation.

People spread the word about the critically affected areas that must be avoided.

People have been asked to stay away from beach areas. The rain will act as a hindrance in completing the immersion ritual of Ganesha idols, the closing ceremony of the famous 10-day-long Ganesha festival.

The sea-link between western suburbs and south Mumbai has been flooded. As the major bridge gets blocked commuters will have to wait to travel to the other side of the city.

Mumbai, south Gujarat, Konkan, Goa and west Vidarbha will get extremely heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours, the head of a climate monitoring centre warned.

“It is a serious situation. We have issued necessary warnings to the departments concerned, including airports,” A K Srivastav, head of climate monitoring and analysis at IMD Pune, told PTI.

“The status of the weather system, which has brought heavy showers over the Mumbai region, has been upgraded from ‘well marked low pressure’ to ‘depression’. It means it is set to bring more rains. Hence, we have predicted an extremely heavy rainfall,” he said.

More than 500 deaths were caused as a result of the floods in 2005, with the major number of deaths in slums– home to the majority of Mumbai’s population.

4. India and China to disengage troops along Doklam: Indian External Affairs Ministry :-

India and China have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement of border personnel” in Doklam, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Hours after issuing the statement, the external affairs ministry said that the process of disengagement of border personnel of India and China at Dokalam “has almost been completed under verification”.

It added that India’s principled position was that agreements and understandings reached on boundary issues must be scrupulously respected.

“Peace and tranquility at the border an essential pre-requisite for further development bilateral ties,” the MEA said.

Both countries will work towards easing tensions along the border at Doklam, the MEA had said in its statement.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, said Indian forces have already been withdrawn and that Chinese troops would continue to patrol the Doklam region.

“Indian forces and their equipment have already been withdrawn to the India side of the border. China’s personnel on the ground have already confirmed this. China will continue to exercise sovereignty rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance the rules of the historical boundary. As I mentioned, because the situation on the ground has changed, China will make necessary adjustments and deployments in accordance with the situation on the ground.”

Expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed and is on-going, the MEA had said, adding that the solution was achieved through diplomatic talks.

India and China have been in touch with each other over the Doklam issue, the ministry added.

During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests, the MEA said on the Doklam Disengagement Understanding.

The move comes ahead of PM Modi’s visit to China next week to attend the BRICS summit.

India and China have been clashing over Doklam for the past several months with reports of stone-pelting by Chinese troops at Indian soldiers patrolling the border post at Doklam.

However, India has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff, last week India’s home minister Rajnath Singh had said a solution to the ongoing standoff between India and China at Doklam would be found soon and hoped that Beijing would make a positive move.

 

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