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China Pakistan Economic Corridor goes belly-up

Sheshadri Chari

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The much-touted 4 million dollar CPEC is turning out to be an enviable project for China. While the Balochistan freedom fighters are up against arms, China wants Islamabad to tackle their issue and protect Chinese assets or allow the Chinese army to be stationed in Guadar. With no government in Islamabad,  and army calling the shots, the CPEC project could well be jettisoned by China.

India International

Campaign to raise awareness on Hinduism launched in US

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Hinduism

Houston | A nationwide campaign has been launched in the US to raise awareness on the Hinduism and bring down the cases of bullying against the people following the religion has been launched here. Titled “I am Hindu American”, the campaign was launched by the US-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and includes a social media campaign, a 30-second public service announcement and a companion website to provide resources about Hinduism and Hindu Indian-Americans.

During the campaign, the organizers would boost awareness and clarify common stereotypes and misunderstandings about Hinduism through social media networks nationwide. “The goal of this campaign is to drive online conversation by putting a face on the Hindu American community. Despite the fact that Hindus are one of the most successful minority communities, knowledge about Hindus and Hinduism is very low among the US general public.

Our own data shows that one in three Hindu-American students report being bullied for their religious beliefs,” Suhag Shukla, the executive director and co-founder of HAF, said in a statement. He said that most of the bullying cases were based on misperceptions about Hindus and the narrative needs to be changed.

Hate crimes in the US increased by about 17 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016, according to the FBI. He said that Hinduism has contributed a lot towards the daily activities of humans. “There are many Hindu contributions to our daily lives: from yoga and meditation to the decimal system as well as an understanding of the law of cause and effect known as karma,” the statement said.

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India International

India, France hold talks on deepening bilateral cooperation

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New Delhi | India and France Saturday held discussions on deepening bilateral strategic partnership through cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, defence, space and civil nuclear energy sectors.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and French minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean Yves Le Drian discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation. “We had very fruitful talks. We closely looked at all the aspects of our mutual ties. We are taking our cooperation forward in the Indo-Pacific region, which will not only benefit these two countries but also other countries in the region,” she told reporters.

Noting that the foundation of India and France relations is based on “mutual trust”, Swaraj said the two countries are looking to strengthen their ties in various sectors. “Our defence relations are historic and we have been involved in a number of exchanges in the form of training and joint exercises,” she said.

The External Affairs Minister also reiterated the resolve of the two countries to jointly fight against terrorism. “We both are also working in strengthening our ties in the space sector. We both are also leading the fight against climate change,” she said.

“Last year, our bilateral trade was worth 9.62 billion euro, if we both have to reach the trade of 15 million euro by 2022 we both will have to work towards further strengthening our trade relations,” she said. There will also be an exchange of 10,000 students between the two countries by 2020, Swaraj said.

Her French counterpart Le Drian said the two leaders reviewed the status of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) project in Jaitapur, Maharashtra and adopted an action plan to guide our work for the coming months so as to advance as efficiently as possible towards the final decision for building this power plant.

“Six EPRs account for a total capacity of almost 10 GW, which is a significant contribution to India’s aim of producing 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030, in keeping with its commitments made ahead of the Paris Climate Conference,” he said.

The Jaitapur project will also contribute to Make in India as it involves transfers of production, technology, joint research and training, Le Drian added. He said the discussion between the two leaders was “characterized as always by a great convergence of views and shared ambition”.

“It is not by chance that France and India are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their strategic partnership this year. It is because we attach the same importance to multilateralism, respect for the rule of law, the same ambition to usher in a just and sustainable world,” he said.

“It is also because India knows that in France it has a partner that has never failed it and on which it can count in the future. This holds true on the strategic front, notably with the strengthening of our exchanges on the Indian Ocean, which today are fast developing and our shared commitment to fighting terrorism, as we mark 10 years since the deadly Mumbai attacks,” Le Drian said.

“This holds true on the economic front: our companies are investing and innovating in India under the Make in India programme. On the fronts of urban development and the digital economy, our companies are present and working to build the India – and France – of tomorrow,” he added.

His visit comes amid a massive controversy over the procurement of 36 Rafale jets from French aerospace company Dassault Aviation under a Rs 58,000 crore deal.

A senior MEA official said discussion over the Rafale deal did not figure out in the talks between the two leaders.

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India International

New York man charged with hate crime for assaulting Indian-origin woman

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New York | A 54-year old man has been charged with hate crime for assaulting an Indian-origin woman travelling in a subway and using homophobic slurs against her.

Allasheed Allah, 54, was arraigned on Thursday and charged with assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment against Avneet Kaur, 20, for the attack in New York City‘s Queens borough last month. If convicted, Allasheed faces three and one-half to 15 years in prison, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“Queens County is the most diverse county in the nation. It is home to many races, nationalities and sexual orientations. Crimes motivated by bias – particularly those involving violence – will never be tolerated in this county. When they do regrettably occur, they will be vigorously prosecuted and those involved will be severely punished,” Brown said.

According to the charges, Kaur was travelling on a subway train in Manhattan last month when Allasheed engaged her in a verbal dispute.  During the dispute, he began making homophobic slurs towards Kaur and her friend.
As the two women began to walk away, the defendant followed them and struck Kaur in the back of her head and then once in her chest causing her to fall and strike her head and neck on a pole before hitting the floor.

According to the charges, the defendant admitted that he used homophobic language against Kaur and threatened her if she kissed her friend, travelling with her on the subway, again.

Kaur was immediately transported to a local Queens hospital where she underwent treatment for a fractured spine.

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