Sunday, July 5, 2020

Iraq's air defence systems intercept rocket targeting US Embassy in Baghdad

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Baghdad [Iraq], July 5 (ANI): The air defence systems in Iraq have intercepted a rocket targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad.

Al Arabiya reported that a patroit battery system had responded to the rocket but could not intercept it far enough and, hence, fell within the Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. (ANI)

US President thanks PM Modi for his wishes on American's 244th Independence Day

US President Donald Trump.

\Washington (ANI): US President Donald Trump on Saturday (local time) thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his wishes on America's 244th Independence Day.

Earlier today, Modi tweeted: "I congratulate @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and the poeple of the USA on the 244th Independence Day of the USA. As the world's largest democracies, we cherish freedom and human enterprise that this day celebrates.@WhiteHouse"

While replying PM Modi'swishes, Trump tweeted: "Thank you my friend. America loves India!"

The US President also attended the July 4 American Independence Day celebrations in South Dokota. (ANI)

China discreetly launches initiative to combat 'illegal activities in key areas' in South China Sea

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Washington (ANI): Without vying much attention of South-East Asian countries, China has discreetly initiated a maritime law enforcement initiative aimed at enhancing marine environmental protection and combating "illegal activities in key areas", including offshore oil exploration as well as shipping and related operations.

The US-based Diplomat magazine, in its report, said that China's Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Ministry of Transport and China Coast Guard, in a joint statement released on April 1, had announced the commencement of an eight-month-long "Bihai 2020" (or "Blue Sea 2020") initiative.

According to the joint statement, which is available only in Chinese, the Bihai 2020 initiative, which is stipulated to last from April 1 to November 30, focusses on combating illegal activities in eight key areas -- marine engineering construction, offshore oil exploration, dumping of marine waste, shipping and related operations, sea sand mining and transportation, marine protected area, land-based pollution and marine ecological environment.

The media reported that the seemingly uninteresting and mundane Bihai 2020 announcement was overshadowed by the rising tensions in the South China Sea in recent months. So far, none of the 10 ASEAN member states has responded to the initiative, at least in public. However, the academic debate on China's possible motivations and the implications of the initiative is also notably lacking.

On the surface, the initiative appears to be solely aimed at enhancing marine environmental protection. But, as noted in the joint statement, law enforcement activities conducted under the initiative would involve coastal and sea patrols, as well as remote monitoring capabilities.

"This presents a worrying possibility that the initiative could be used by Beijing as yet another justification for the increased presence of Chinese law enforcement vessels in the disputed South China Sea," the report said.

While the exact geographical scope of the Bihai 2020 initiative remains ambiguous at present, the joint statement gives no indication whether the law enforcement activities would be carried out only within China's territorial waters or have a wider application in the disputed South China Sea.

"South-East Asian countries should place more attention on the Bihai 2020 initiative before it turns into another source of conflict," the report warned. (ANI)

US Ambassador to India wishes Americans on country's 244th independence Day

US Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster (Photo: official twitter)

New Delhi (ANI): US Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster on Saturday extended wishes to the Americans on the occasion of the country's 244th Independence Day.

"From all of us at the U.S. Mission in India, we wish our United States of America a very Happy 244th Birthday! #IndependenceDay #4thofJuly," Juster tweeted.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated US President Donald Trump and the people of United States on America's Independence Day. (ANI)

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