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Ex Labor MP Back Behind Bars For Coal Theft
Asia Pacific Focus

Ex Labor MP Back Behind Bars For Coal Theft

 Australia Australia -The disgraced ex-Labor MP Eddie Obeid isn’t going to go out scot-free. Despite having served a prison term just less than two years ago, he is again going to be serving time in prison.

He is aged 77 years and will now be serving a term of three years and 10 months, at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre after being sentenced over his role in a conspiracy that involved then-mining minister Ian Macdonald committing acts of misconduct benefiting the Obeid family, who received $30 million.

His lawyers had been able to secure bail for him on the pretext of contracting Covid-19 and his advanced age; though he comes back well in time to serve his sentence.

Despite him being jailed, the money still remains unpaid. Speaking moments after Obeid was jailed, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Crime Commission would review the decision not to pursue the Obeid family for $30 million dollars secured from the corrupt coal tender.

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According to Perrottet, this is the right thing to happen. “He should be behind bars … when you’re in public life, you do not act corruptly. This behaviour in public office is unacceptable and should never, ever happen again.”

Meanwhile, Obeid pulled his son in this mess too and he is now getting a five-year term of imprisonment. In July this year, it was discovered that both father and son along with Mining minister Macdonald were hand-in-glove in a conspiracy where the minister had agreed to commit acts of misconduct to commercially advantage the Obeids. This was specifically in relation to the tender for a coal exploration license over the family’s rural property, Cherrydale Park, in the Bylong Valley.

McDonald was sentenced to nine and a half years, of which five years and three months will be non-parole, while Moses, will have to serve at least three years behind bars. Australia is primarily a fossil rich country that deals in exports of the same.

Taiwan’s Presidential Office Says “We Will Defend Our Nation with Full Determination”
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan’s Presidential Office Says “We Will Defend Our Nation with Full Determination”

 Taiwan Taiwan -Taiwan’s Presidential Office representative Xavier Chang responded following U.S. President Biden’s statement saying Taiwan will safeguard itself with full determination. 

According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States and Taiwan share a strong unofficial relationship. However, the United States doesn’t support Taiwan independence, however keeping up with solid, informal relations with Taiwan is a significant U.S. objective, in accordance with the U.S. desire to promote peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.

On Thursday, at a CNN town hall meeting, a journalist asked United States President Joe Biden if he could “promise to defend Taiwan”, ‘to which the President said that the U.S. would shield Taiwan if China advanced. The U.S. has a law that requires it to assist Taiwan with defending itself. The White House had likewise said that U.S. policy on Taiwan remains the same. 

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin requested the United States to try not to convey any wrong signals to Taiwan. China has no space for concessions with regards to its core interests, The Strait Times reported. 

Self-governed Taiwan has lived under the threat of a Chinese attack since the two nations split following the conflict in 1949. 

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Yet, the continuous unexpected spike in Chinese fighter planes entering the island’s air defence zone has posed more risk to the security of Taiwan.

The most recent attack happened toward the beginning of this month as China celebrated its annual national day when a record 149 fighters entered Taiwan’s southwestern air defence zone. 

Taiwan’s retired admiral Lee Hsi-min told AFP that these flights are part of what we term ‘grey zone strategies; it maintains mental pressure on Taiwan.

Taiwan, which has its independent government and is home to 23 million people, and political pioneers have contrasting views on the island’s relation and status with the mainland. 

Taiwan, officially recognized as the Republic of China (R.O.C.), is an island isolated from China. However, China considers Taiwan as part of its province. However, considering the old tensions amid the nations, any attempt by China to forcibly regain control of the island would be a difficult task.

Why Is Australia Not Moving Ahead With Nuclear Energy?
Asia Pacific Focus

Why Is Australia Not Moving Ahead With Nuclear Energy?

 Australia Australia -Australia will not be able to move forward with its plans to shift to clean use of nuclear energy informed, deputy PM Barnaby Joyce. In fact, Australia is being “held back by Anthony Albanese” on establishing nuclear power in the country.

Albanese is the leader of the Labor Party and has not approved of the use of nuclear power. It is being said that the Labor Party has played up on the ‘fear factor’ to veto the move.

An evident fear has been created over the Iranian movement of energizing its uranium despite sanctions levied on it since 2015. NATO countries have been tensed over Iran going notorious and holding the world ransom over this issue.

Meanwhile, Australia is facing pressure under the Paris Agreement to quickly reduce its carbon emissions. It is one of those nations that makes maximum use of coal. It is aware that it must cut emissions fast (at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and probably by about 75% if it wants to limit temperature rises to less than 1.5C). Recently, there has been a rumour over Australian pressure to UK to drop green initiatives in its Free Trade Agreement.

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UK got flakes over this too. Australian PM also reluctantly agreed to attend the forthcoming crucial UN COP26 in Glasgow. But back home, the Labor Party probably also understand that the cost of setting up nuclear plants is huge and will not yield great benefit too soon.

Surprisingly, Anthony Albanese last month had supported the Australian UK and US alliance that was the most significant security development for Australia since the ANZUS Treaty. In this, Australia shifted its alliance from France to US and bought nuclear submarines, something that has worried other nations about their geographical safety.

At the moment, the general consensus has fallen through the cracks, over extending nuclear capability into electricity generation.

North Korea insists on missile tests
Asia Pacific Focus

North Korea insists on missile tests

An unidentified missile was launched from North Korea and ended up in the sea off its east coast. The South Korean General Staff Command reported without further details, signaling the launch as yet another series of tests started a month ago.

The launch seems to follow the one made on 28 September, when a rocket touted as a supersonic gliding rocket was tested “almost impossible to intercept and capable of flying at 6 thousand kilometers per hour”, announced the men of the Korean Central News Agency. Before that, North Korea had tested two ballistic carriers that ended up in Japanese territorial waters, off the Noto Peninsula, in the central-western archipelago. On that occasion, the news agency of the Kim Jong-un regime, the KCNA, had presented the missiles as the first launched from a train.

Consultations between North Korea and the United States are expected to resume in the next few days through US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim. North Korean chief Kim Jong Un in a customary military parade. According to the South Korean military, it was launched from a site near Sinpo, in South Hengyang province, around 10:17 local time. “The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are conducting an in-depth analysis,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff Command in Seoul remarked in a statement. The launch took place as key nuclear envoys from South Korea, the US, and Japan are in Washington to discuss joint efforts to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table over humanitarian aid and other incentives.

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The North continued to work on its weaponry, as evidenced by the series of recent missile tests, including last month’s launches of a new type of long-range cruise missile and a hypersonic one. Cautious optimism towards Pyongyang resurfaced after the reactivation of inter-Korean communication channels in early October. However, envoys from the USA, South Korea, and Japan, respectively Sung Kim, Noh Kyu-duk, and Takehiro Funakoshi, will meet in Washington to discuss a joint strategy on the North.

Yesterday, Noh and Kim met bilaterally and discussed Seoul President Moon Jae-in’s recent proposal on the formal declaration of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which Seoul believes is an effective measure to build trust with Pyongyang. The US envoy plans to visit Seoul at the weekend to discuss further confrontation on what to do with Pyongyang.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Bureau has urgently convened the National Security Council to examine the situation in response to North Korea’s ballistic launch in a complex scenario. On Thursday, South Korea will launch Nuri, its first space rocket developed on the domestic front, from the Naro Space Center in Go Heung. Hopefully, Seoul will be the 10th nation to send a satellite into space with its technology.

Indonesia & Malaysia shows concern as Australia plans to get nuclear submarines
Asia Pacific Focus

Indonesia & Malaysia shows concern as Australia plans to get nuclear submarines

 Indonesia Indonesia -The foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia expressed severe concerns on Australia’s plan to obtain nuclear-powered submarines. It is really bothering other countries as there are increased chances of having rivalry between major powers in Southeast Asia.

Last month, superpowers the U.S., Britain, and Australia announced that they have formed a security alliance that will help equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The alliance will reshape relations in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. With this agreement in place, Australia disclosed its intention of building eight nuclear-powered submarines by using the expertise of the U.S.

They will also be dumping a contract with France for diesel-electric subs. Giving more power to Australia now, these nuclear submarines will enable them to conduct longer patrols and give the alliance a stronger military presence in the region.

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Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said after meeting with her Malaysian counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah, in Jakarta that this situation will certainly not benefit anyone. They have agreed that efforts to maintain a peaceful and stable region must continue and don’t want the current dynamics to cause tension in the arms race and also in power projection.

Saifuddin said having near-neighbor build new nuclear-powered submarines could encourage other countries to come more frequently into Southeast Asian territory.

Both the ministers expressed stern disappointment with Myanmar as they delayed on a planned visit by an ASEAN envoy to help mediate in its political crisis. They said that the ASEAN special envoy was not given the access he deserved to visit Myanmar to fulfill his mandate and they are very disappointed.

 Although, both the ministers also said that they agree to cooperate in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, which will be the main topic of the ASEAN summit, in the protection of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia.

Australia ‘Reluctantly’ Agrees To Attend The Crucial UN COP26 In Glasgow
Asia Pacific Focus

Australia ‘Reluctantly’ Agrees To Attend The Crucial UN COP26 In Glasgow

 AustraliaAustralia– After weeks of initial hesitations, the Australian PM is sure to attend the forthcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the UK (COP26).

The meeting is to be held in Glasgow between 31 October to 12 November 2021.

Towards the conference, countries would have taken concrete steps to come in tandem with the Paris Agreement; which states that nations have to move towards a zero-emission rate by the end of the year 2050.

Under the Paris Agreement, some 200 such countries have been asked to pledge. Australia has been reluctant and in controversy over its request to the UK for removing any emission clause from their Free Trade Agreement.

In a sad excuse Australian PM Jim Morrison has cited challenges of Covid-19 as reasons he might not attend the COP26, saying he had already served a great deal of quarantine.

After its trade tussle with China, Australia, has been nervous over its exports and imports. While it has been scouting for new partners, it has wondered how to cut its dependency on its fossil fuel exports. As a large producer of coal and gas, however, there has been mounting pressure on it to commit to stronger climate action. In fact, Australia’s climate policies and emissions reductions are currently, ranked among the worst in the OECD.

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In September first week, the news was doing rounds that through an official document that had surfaced with a certain British media house, it was noted that 10 Downing Street was going to go ahead and sacrifice the climate change targets for trade with Australia.

The official document said: ‘The Business Secretary has agreed that, in order to get the Australia FTA over the line, DIT can drop both of the climates asks.’

The British government has been in denial saying that this is the first time ever that the mention of climate change has come while speaking of about trade with Australia. All it seems is that everything is status quo and there will be no harm to the environment while doing trade with Australia.

Finally, “Trade Minister Dan Tehan put out a statement saying, ‘Australia has remained consistent that all our FTAs should focus on international cooperation and meeting existing multilateral environment commitments. Australia and the UK have agreed to work cooperatively on environmental issues including emissions reduction’.”

Environmental concerns are on top priority for any country at the moment. In the first phase of the lockdown in 2019, Britain had been heavily investing itself in renewable energy due to the situation of loss of manpower to manage its other resources. It has been one of the most vocal proponents of the UN Sustainability Goals 2030 too.

Taiwan Is In No Mood To Bow Down To Chinese Pressure: President Tsai Ing Wen
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan Is In No Mood To Bow Down To Chinese Pressure: President Tsai Ing Wen

 Taiwan TaiwanTaiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has made it clear to China that it will never ‘bow to pressure’ and has pledged that it will bolster the island’s defenses to protect its ‘democratic way of life.’ This was communicated by Tsai Ing-wen on Taiwan’s National Day, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping actually vowed to achieve a so-called ‘peaceful reunification’ with the island.

Last week, Chinese President XI Jinping gave a sugar-coated pill when he gave the message to the media saying that Beijing wouldn’t tolerate separatism and therefore wanted a peaceful reunification, as much as possible. He went to quite a length to say that Xi saw the “Taiwan independence” movement as a major barrier adding that ‘those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good.’

Taiwan President has said that a record 145 Chinese fighter jets have entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone since October 10. Tsai has said that it intends to bolster its defense capabilities; but it also has the heart to resolve the issue with peaceful talks.

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The declaration to media is no less than a threat that it has to be surrender of the Chinese terms. Taiwan continues to consider itself a sovereign and this has been well taken by many Western countries itself. However, China has forced the US, who has been Taiwan’s long-standing alliance, to accept the One China Policy. Under this agreement, China wishes to be the only one to have a government and every country it feels should be within its jurisdiction, will be its subsidiary.

Frequent trips by America to Taiwan have been to strengthen its trade relations only. The US sells arms to Taiwan as part of Washington’s Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the US must help Taiwan defend itself.

In the past few days, China has repeated disrupted air peace by sending multiple military jets into Taiwanese aerospace. This has been seen as a way of bullying and creating pressure on Taiwan ahead of its National Day.

Speaking at an event marking the 110th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty in 1911, he said unification in a “peaceful manner” was “most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots”. Taiwanese counterparts admit that relations with China have not been as worst as it is as of now.

China is wishing to implement a ‘one country, two systems’ principle something similar to Hong Kong. The latter has not been happy with its fictious democratic status.

Japan’s Prime Minister dissolves lower house in view of national elections
Asia Pacific Focus

Japan’s Prime Minister dissolves lower house in view of national elections

 Japan Japan Japan’s new prime minister Fumio Kishida dissolved the lower house of Parliament on Thursday, paving the way for an October 31 election that will be the first since the country’s COVID-19 pandemic. The new Japanese government will face a potential recovery from the pandemic, giving new impetus to a sluggish economy. Kishida’s government inherits a complex social situation from Abe-Suga’s executive, which some describe as authoritarian who has come to silence different political positions.

Kishida said he sought consensus for his policies after being appointed prime minister by Parliament just ten days ago. Suga’s premiership should act as a cautionary anecdote. His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, only lasted a year as prime minister due to his overbearing approach to dealing with the pandemic and his insistence on holding the Tokyo Olympics despite the increase in infections that have put the Japanese health system in trouble.

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Tobias Harris, a senior fellow of the Center for American Progress, took Twitter to say that Kishida’s not wasting any time at all. October 31 puts the opposition on its heels, takes advantage of a honeymoon in the polls, plus a better chance of lower Covid-19 contagions. “If he wins comfortably in the general election and can hold things together well enough to win the upper house elections next year, he will have up to three years without an election,” Harris stressed.

According to the Japanese news agency, Kishida, charged with gathering support for the ruling party, has promised to pursue a policy of “trust and empathy.” In addition, four main opposition parties have agreed to cooperate on some procedures, such as addressing the gap between rich and poor that widened during Shinzo Abe’s rule and aggravated the health crisis.

After Tadamori Oshima, the Speaker of the House, announced the dissolution, the 465 lawmakers in the lower house stood up, shouted “banzai” three times, and left. The official campaign for the 465 new vacancies in Parliament will begin on Tuesday. The last lower house election was held in 2017 under Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister. Considered a staunch conservative, Abe, during his tenure, pushed the long-standing Conservative-Liberal Democrat party further to the right.

Pinning blame on US for chaos in region, Kim Jong-un vows to assemble an irrepressible military
Asia Pacific Focus

Pinning blame on US for chaos in region, Kim Jong-un vows to assemble an irrepressible military

  Kim Jong Kim Jong -North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has taken the opportunity while exhibiting the country’s weapons system to signal that his military isn’t looking for targeting South Korea. The ultimate target is the United States of America, which Kim said is the sore reason for the chaos in the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-un also took this rare opportunity to declare his pledge of building an “invincible” military to take on the US’s persistent hostility.

“The U.S. has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said Monday, as quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. is continuing to create tensions in the region with its wrong judgments and actions.”

The rare exhibition of North Korea’s weaponry was to mark the 76th birthday of the ruling Workers’ Party on Sunday, according to KCNA. This was also the first such exhibition since 2011 when Kim took the leadership role. An array of newly inducted weapons in the North Korean military were exhibited, including intercontinental ballistic missiles that have already been test-launched or displayed in parades in recent years. Yang Wook, a military expert who teaches at South Korea’s Hannam University said, “Basically, North Korea wants to send this message: ‘We’ll continue to develop new weapons and arm ourselves with nuclear force, so don’t slap sanctions with these as we can’t agree on the double standards.”

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During Monday’s event called “Defense Development Exhibition Self-Defense-2021” Kim took on the USA for its consistent aggression and called it the source of all conflicts in the peninsula. He stressed that the ultimate objective of his leadership is to build an “invincible military capability” that can’t be challenged by anyone. The Biden administration has repeatedly said that it has no enmity or such intents towards North Korea, but Kim refuses to believe so. “There is no basis in their actions for believing that it is not hostile,” he said.

Washington is eager to engage in constructive talks with Pyongyang after the last attempt in 2018 ended with sour taste as talks collapsed over the relief of US sanctions on Pyongyang and what the latter would be ready to give in return. Seoul and Washington, on the other hand, are strong security allies. The US has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Koreas to support its guard against the neighbor in the north that invaded in 1950.

EU, UK squabble over reduced fishing Rights
Europe

EU, UK squabble over reduced fishing Rights

 UK UK -Fourteen EU member states are gearing up to issue a joint declaration alleging the British government of “significant social and economic damage” to their fishing communities. Wider relations between the UK and EU countries appear close to breaking point.

Belgium, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany, Cyprus, Sweden, Latvia, and Malta will call for the UK to adhere “in letter and spirit” to the Brexit agreement struck last Christmas Eve.

The governments of Jersey – a British crown dependency – and the UK have piled agony upon the French government in the last few weeks over the limited numbers of licenses handed out to small boat owners who perform fishing in coastal waters.

Now, in a pointed sign of solidarity, the EU member states will lay out a thinly veiled threat about the possible impact on future UK-EU fisheries negotiations if the Kingdom does not rethink its stance.

France, against Britain, has called for a common front over its handling of a squabble with Paris over the handing out of post-Brexit fishing licences in its waters.

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Germany, Spain, and Italy joined France in condemning the British response, terming it as completely “inappropriate and incomplete”.

Their statement came forth after the EU’s fisheries and agriculture ministers met in Luxembourg – a week after Paris called for added pressure on Britain in the dispute.

The UK has refused to give all the fishing licenses asked for by French boats as a part of the post-Brexit access deal, leaving fishers worried for their livelihoods and France agonized.

Annick Girardin – French Fisheries Minister – welcomed Monday’s statement, saying the French and European answer to Britain’s position would be publicized in October’s second half and could include retaliatory measures.

David Frost, the Brexit minister, says that the EU will be resorting to a “historic misjudgment” if it does not meet the UK’s demands.

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