Beijing has accused New Delhi of “severe military provocation” after the two have accused each other of firing warning shots during a confrontation Monday on their disputed border in the Himalayas known as the Line Of Actual Control (LAC).
India denies its soldiers crossed the disputed border which saw an incident earlier this year in Galwan Valley of hand-to-hand combat in the Ladakh region on June 15th in which 20 Indian troops and 43 Chinese troops were killed, Anewspost previously reported. This latest incident marks the first time shots have been fired along the Sino-Indian border in more than four decades. Both sides have blamed the other for violating agreements.
A 1996 agreement between both countries bars the use of guns and explosives from the Line of Actual Control (LAC.)
In May, China was accused of building up troops and artillery along the border and engaging in unusual movements, which India considered to be a violation of its sovereign territory.
Following the June 2020 border clash, senior retired Indian diplomats argued that situation marked the “end of a chapter in relations,” and that “the entire architecture [of border and military agreements between China and India] has collapsed,” with “very serious repercussions.”
Now, those tensions have flared up once again. In a statement on Monday night, a spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Western Theater Command said Indian troops “illegally crossed” the Line of Actual Control (LAC), New York Times reported.
“The Indian troops brazenly fired warning shots at Chinese border patrols troops who came up to negotiate, and the Chinese border troops were forced to take countermeasures to stabilize the situation,” said Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili, the Chinese military spokesperson, without specifying what those “countermeasures” were.
Colonel Shuili called the action a “serious military provocation.” Shuili further asked the Indian side to “immediately stop dangerous actions … strictly restrain frontline troops and seriously investigate and punish personnel who fired shots to ensure similar incidents do not occur again.”
On Tuesday, the Indian army rejected China’s accusations and called the statement “an attempt to mislead their domestic and international audience.” Adding that the Indian troops had “exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner,” and instead accused the Chinese military of “blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive maneuvers.”
“At no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing,” the statement said.
India previously warned its Army to “prepare for war” if the conflict between India and China escalated as Anewspost reported. In addition, the India Navy was also given orders to deploy its assets near the Malacca Strait, and, if needed, anywhere else in the Indo-Pacific to counter the Chinese, the India Economic Times reported.
Following the previous incident, Indias Army also released new rules of engagement with China on the LAC, “In future, if they carry clubs, so will our soldiers. If they use rocks, so will we. Rules need to be followed equally by both sides,” an India military source told India Today.
China and India have been sparring over the area that surrounds the Pangong Tso Lake since the two fought a bloody border war in 1962. The Line of Actual Control, which passes through the lake, was established in the wake of the original conflict. Though it shows up on maps, India and China do not agree on its precise location and both regularly accuse the other of overstepping it, or seeking to expand their territory.
In 1996, the two countries signed an agreement that states that neither side shall open fire within 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from the LAC to “prevent dangerous military activities.”
That was among a series of agreements signed by China and India since 1993 to “keep forces at the minimum level at the border” and “shape the behavior of troops,” said Indian’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
“If these are not observed, then it raises very, very important questions. At this moment, I note that this very serious situation has been going on since the beginning of May,” Jaishankar said at an event on Monday.
The previous altercation in June happened after a failed diplomatic meeting, as part of military commitments to de-escalate tensions on the disputed border.
The situation was temporarily resolved after the two sides engaged in talks and withdrew soldiers from the LAC. But tensions flared again last week when Delhi and Beijing accused each other’s troops of carrying out provocative actions near Pangong Tso. During that incident, at least one soldier with India’s special forces was reportedly killed, The Guardian reported.
The two sides have pledged multiple times to disengage however at least five rounds of high military-level talks have failed to resolve the ongoing dispute.
Meanwhile, more negotiations between Indian and Chinese officials failed with a recent meeting last Friday in a bid to deescalate tensions. The Chinese and Indian defense ministers met on the sidelines at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Moscow, and the two countries’ foreign ministers are scheduled to meet there again on Thursday. However, multiple other online sources have indicated there have been meetings since Monday’s live firing issue.
Amid flaring heightened moves India also recently accused China of abducting five men three days ago, stating the People’s Liberation Army was responsible for the kidnapping near the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh, known to China as “South Tibet.” The incident took place amid talks between India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe in Moscow.
Indian media has since reported that a process to release the five youths was underway. After China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had confirmed that five youth from Arunachal Pradesh who went missing three days ago were found on their side of the border.
U.S. President Donald Trump was recently asked about the dispute at a news briefing at the White House, in which he said Washington was in communication with both countries about what it could do to help defuse the situation.
“We stand ready to help with respect to China and India. If we can do anything, we would love to get involved and help,” he said.
U.S President Donald Trump told reporters the ongoing tensions were a “very nasty” conflict as “the two countries were going at it much more strongly than a lot of people even understand.”
Trump has offered to mediate as a middle man between the two nuclear-armed nations in the past. However, both China and India have dismissed the idea stating said that there is no need for a third party to mediate the situation.
Both countries seem to have amassed troops along the border, deploying additional forces after the clash in June, with reports of more troops headed to the LAC. The two countries have been trying to settle their border dispute since at least the early 1990s.
The war drums seem to be beating loud between India and China with multiple causalities thus far and things have escalated with warning shots fired into the air, as the two nations play a dangerous game of tug a war with the LAC border.
Colombian Govt Wants To Legalize Cocaine And Then Sell It
This article was originally published On Dec 3, 2020
Colombia is one of the most notorious producers of cocaine in the world, despite the fact that the country has gone to great lengths in hopes of diminishing the trade of the drug trade within its borders.
Now, some members of the Columbian government are proposing a new approach. They are calling for the drug to be legalized and for the government to take control of the industry for themselves.
In a new bill first proposed earlier this year, senators Iván Marulanda and Feliciano Valencia call for the Colombian government to take total control of the cocaine industry to bolster public funds and cut violent cartels out of the trade.
In a recent interview with VICE, Marulanda explained that the government would purchase coca at market price from the 200,000 farming families that are believed to be involved in the trade.
Columbia is considering a bill that makes the government buy up and sell the country’s cocaine production.
HOLY. SHIT. So instead try to stamp out drugs, Columbia tries to take control of the trade and regulate the problem? https://t.co/8SBmE45dmX
— Jason Ng (@ByJasonNg) December 2, 2020
The senators argued that it would actually be cheaper for authorities to buy the crop from the farmers than it would for them to destroy their crops. It costs the government roughly $1 billion every year to destroy coca crops, while it would only cost about $680 million to buy it.
“The thing is, we have to recover control over the state. We’re losing control of the state to corruption, narcos in politics. They’re in municipalities, in departments and in congress. All the way to the highest echelons of government,” Marulanda explained.
From here, the state would supply cocaine to users and research groups looking to study its use for painkillers, but it would not be sold recreationally. However, cocaine use is already legal in Columbia, after a court ruled that personal consumption was a human right.
Marulanda is not sure if his bill will make an impact, or how long it will take to gain traction, but he is hoping to make it a major election issue in 2022.
‘The first big obstacle is to open up the conversation among public opinion. This has been a giant taboo. Colombians are born and raised under this assumption that drug-trafficking is a war. There’s no information about coca and cocaine. So, with this bill we hope to open the conversation,” he explained.
In recent years, the government has stepped up their military-police-style enforcement of the industry, and yet cocaine production continues to grow in the country.
Coca cultivation reached 212,000 hectares last year, a rise of nearly 2% from 208,000 hectares the year before, according to figures released by the White House in March. Potential pure cocaine production, meanwhile, rose to 951 metric tons, an 8% increase, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s pretty remarkable that they manually eradicated 100,000 hectares last year and didn’t move the needle,” Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America think tank said earlier this year. “I guess it means replanting has at least kept pace.”
It seems that no matter what the government does, the cocaine keeps on coming, so politicians are willing to try things that may drastic. However, as Marulanda pointed out in his interview with Vice, cutting out the criminal middlemen will reduce the violence seen in the country’s drug war, and also make the drug safer for the people who use it.
Another Little Black Book That Once Belonged To Epstein With New Names Is Found
It is well-known that the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein kept detailed records of all the powerful people that he stayed in contact with. There is a notorious “little black book” that was published by Gawker in 2015, which exposed many of the powerful people in his circle. This book is believed to contain the contacts that he most frequently called around 2004 and 2005. However, a new list of contacts, recently published by The Insider, reveals new names that were friends with Epstein in the 1990s.
The new black book has the names of 349 people, many of whom did not appear in the list that was previously released to the public.
Among the names on the list are Suzanne Ircha, who’s married to Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, famous wall street investor Carl Icahn, supermarket owner John A. Catsimatidis, actress Morgan Fairchild, former New Republic owner Marty Peretz; and Cristina Greeven, the wife of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo.
The new black book was made public through a strange twist of fate. A woman initially found the book in the late 1990s and saved it for many years until she finally sold it on eBay.
Denise Ondayko, the woman who found the book, said she was walking down Fifth Avenue in the mid-’90s when she spotted a black address book on the ground. She said that she didn’t realize it was Epstein’s book at the time, because he was pretty much unknown to the public, but she did realize that it had a lot of famous names and figured that it might be worth something, so she held onto it.
Last year, Ondayko was cleaning out an old storage unit where she was keeping some of her things and she stumbled upon the book. Now that Epstein was all over the news, the information contained in the book was much more obvious to identify.
Ondayko said she reached out to everyone in the media that she could, including John Oliver, Rachel Maddow, and The New York Times, but none of them ever got back to her, so she eventually just put it up for sale on eBay.
The buyer was Chris Helali, an aspiring politician from Vermont. He purchased the book for $425.
Helali also tried reaching out to the media, including journalists that were already reporting on Epstein, but none of them seemed interested. Finally, Nick Bryant, the reporter who wrote the original Gawker black book story forwarded the book to the Insider who decided to publish.
Insider hired Dennis Ryan, a former forensic document examiner and laboratory supervisor for the Nassau County Police Department, to verify the authenticity of the book. Ryan says that the book is definitely from the late 90s, and many of the dates and addresses match up perfectly with Epstein’s properties and known contacts at the time.
The Insider also reached out to dozens of contacts listed in the book who had never previously been publicly associated with Epstein. Fourteen acknowledged on the record that they knew or had met Epstein in the ’90s.
There are over 120 names that appear in both books, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Some of the other names included, Steve Rattner, Beth Anne Bovino, Dominique Bluhdorn, Jill Harth, Ted Field, Robert Nunnery, Stanley Shopkorn, Steve Ruchevsky, Ellen Susman, William and Ann Nitze, Les Gelb, Ron Daniel, Sandy Warner, Cyril Fung, Marius Fortelni, Michael Cutlip. Many of these names aren’t necessarily famous, but they are very powerful people in business and finance.
The address book is now available in a searchable database on the Insider, but it is unfortunately hidden behind a paywall.
Ghislaine Maxwell’s Lawyers Cite Cosby Case As Precedent To Have Her Released From Prison
Last week, former actor Bill Cosby was released from prison on a technicality, despite the fact that he admitted to drugging and assaulting multiple women, and was accused by many others. After his release, legal experts warned that the ruling could set a dangerous precedent that attorneys in similar cases would use to get their clients released as well.
Now, just a week later, Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers are arguing that she should have her case thrown out on the same grounds, according to The Guardian.
Cosby was released because the prosecutor involved initially didn’t press any charges, and claimed that Cosby would not be facing any legal trouble, so when Cosby later confessed, his confession was called into question and no longer admissible in court. The judge also ruled that Cosby had no chance of a fair trial because evidence that was not admissible was so freely available in the media that the jury was unable to make a judgment without considering those facts.
Maxwell’s case is similar because the first time that Epstein was arrested for human trafficking, he was given a sweetheart deal by Alex Acosta, a friendly prosecutor. The deal helped Epstein avoid any serious jail time, but it also gave him and his associates legal protection from being held accountable for any future crimes.
Obviously, it is not possible to shield a criminal from the consequences of actions that they will take in the future, so Epstein was arrested again many years later after it was discovered that he continued his crimes long after his initial arrest. If Epstein and his friends did have any kind of immunity from that deal, it ended when they continued to commit crimes after the deal was made.
Still, Maxwell’s lawyers are optimistic after Cosby’s recent release.
“The government is trying to renege on its agreement and prosecute Ms Maxwell over 25 years later for the exact same offenses for which she was granted immunity,” Maxwell’s lawyers wrote in a statement to Judge Alison Nathan.
However, the judge has previously ruled that the deal did not apply to the current case.
In an opinion piece for the New York Daily News, Maxwell’s attorney David Oscar Markus wrote that releasing Bill Cosby from prison was the right decision, and that Ghislaine Maxwell should be released as well. Markus argued that prosecutors should have to keep the promises that they make to suspects, because people will sometimes incriminate themselves if they think they have immunity.
However, many times prosecutors are corrupt and make promises that are against the best interests of the public, as we saw in Jeffrey Epstein’s first “sweetheart deal” with Alex Acosta while he was district attorney in Southern, Florida. Prosecutors are lawyers, they aren’t the judge and jury, and they shouldn’t hold this much power in a case this serious.
Judge Alison Nathan has not yet responded to the recent request, but she did condemn the recent opinion piece that was published by her lawyers in the New York Daily News earlier this week.
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