November 2021


Shi’ites under siege

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for an Oct. 15 suicide bombing on a Shi’ite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, which killed at least 41 people and wounded many more. In a statement released on its Telegram channels, the terror group said two Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) suicide bombers executed separate attacks on different parts of the mosque in Kandahar – the spiritual heartland of the Taliban – while worshippers prayed inside. The attack came just a week after another IS-claimed assault on Shi’ite worshippers at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that left over 60 dead.

Peace prize for Filipina journalist

The office of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has sent congratulations to journalist Maria Ressa for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, calling it ‘a victory for a Filipina’. Ms Ressa and fellow journalist Dmitry Muratov from Russia shared the 2021 prize, after courageously risking their leaders’anger to expose corruption and misrule. Ms Ressa has been fighting multiple legal challenges in the courts related to Rappler – the digital media company she co-founded – following its tenacious investigative reporting of Mr Duterte’s government, including its use of social media to target opponents.

Deadly attack near LOC

Suspected militants shot dead five soldiers in India-administered Kashmir in the deadliest incident since a ceasefire between India and Pakistan was announced in February. The Oct. 11 shootings happened in a mountain pass near the Line of Control (LoC) dividing the area from Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Tensions have been fuelled again in recent weeks with a spate of shootings of civilians in the area, including the killing of a school teacher and principal on Oct. 7, for which TRF, an anti-India militant group said to be a front for terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility.

HK pro-democracy party shuns elections

Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy party will not contest upcoming ‘patriot only’ legislature elections after none of its members met the party’s own Oct. 11 application deadline. The decision means the December polls have been effectively boycotted by the city’s pro-democracy opposition, with even the movement’s most moderate wing deciding it is not worth taking part. The Democratic Party’s membership had been split on whether to continue with Hong Kong’s political process as the authorities clamp down on dissent in response to mass protests two years ago.

Green gains

China is petitioning the Australian government for its support to join a multilateral regional trade pact, despite the two nations being in a deteriorating geopolitical dispute that has economic reprisals. ‘China’s accession to the CPTPP would yield large economic benefits,’Beijing’s embassy in Canberra wrote in a submission to an Australian parliamentary inquiry into broadening the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. ‘China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind, and stands ready to work together with all the other parties to promote globalisation and regional economic integration.’

Sins of the children

China’s Parliament is set to consider legislation to punish parents if their children display ‘very bad behaviour’ or commit crimes. In the draft of the family education promotion law, guardians will be chastised and ordered to undergo family education guidance programmes if prosecutors find very bad or criminal behaviour in children under their care.‘There are many reasons for adolescents to misbehave, and the lack of or inappropriate family education is the major cause,’ said Mr Zang Tiewei, spokesman of the Legislative Affairs Commission under the National People’s Congress (NPC).


Miracle survival

Two people have survived several days without water in Australia’s Outback, ending a frantic five-day air and land search. Twenty-one-year-old Shaun Emitja and 14-year-old Mahesh Patrick were reported missing on October 12 in the Harts Range area of central Australia, after they failed to return to the remote community of Hermannsburg following a weekend away.The pair were feared to be in great danger, due to a lack of water and the area’s extreme temperatures of more than 40 degrees celcius. But Northern Territory police said that the two men – who had become separated – were found alive and well by an ‘absolute miracle’.


Cryptocurrency surge

Indians are at the forefront when it comes to adopting cryptocurrency, fuelled by curiosity and a desire to get rich quick, especially among millennials. While the Indian government is ambivalent about how to regulate the digital coin ecosystem (the central bank banned it briefly in 2018), a 50-country study by investment portal Broker Chooser found that at more than 100 million, India has the largest number of cryptocurrency owners, followed by the United States and Russia. Many of them entered the crypto universe only last year, when their number grew seven times, and investments grew from approximately US$923 million (S$1.24 billion) in April 2020 to US$6.6 billion in May 2021.