Track 2

All the chatter and goss from around the world.

“If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office.”

Recep ErdoganTurkey President on Russia’s allegation that Turkey buys ISIS oil

Big Idea

A handbag, when opened, plays a recorded message asking owners to put back their money and not to spend. The accessory, newly developed by Dundee students, is meant to be a deterrent for big spenders.


EcuadorFaulty Chopper Strain Ties

Most Indian diplomats may find it difficult to locate Ecuador on the world map. But the cancellation of an Ecuadorian presidential visit to New Delhi is being seen as an affront in South Block. Rafael Correa was to be the first Ecuadorian president to come visiting India. But the early November trip has been called off. The ostensible reason for the ‘postponement’ is being linked to political developments in Ecuador. But it could be related to the series of crashes that India-supplied choppers have met with in Ecuador. Of the seven Dhruv helicopters, four have crashed. Only one was due to pilot error, while rest developed mechanical faults. By cancelling his India visit, Correa is perhaps trying to put his growing disappointment with New Delhi on record. If that is so, India’s ambition of becoming a major hub for defence hardware does suffer a serious setback.

TanzaniaOffice Late-Comers Risk Being :Locked-Up

Civil servants habitually reporting late for work must be careful if their bosses draw lessons from Tanzania. Perked up by a new government’s clean-up drive, Paul Makonda locked up 20 workers for being late for a meeting. The district commissio­ner of Kinondoni, near capital Dar es Salam, justified this by say­­ing latecomers failed to explain their actions. Recently, newly elec­ted President John Magufuli, nicknamed ‘Bulldozer’, replaced ind­­ependence day celebrations with a clean-up drive cam­­­­paign. Lateness and long tea-breaks in public offices are a problem in Tanzania. The lock-up was criticised by rights gro­­­­ups. “If someone does not show up for work, we have to fol­low the law...,” a rights activist said. But social media gave it a thumbs up. The effect of Makonda’s action was evident when the erring officials arrived two hours early for the rearranged meeting next day.


“Sue me Saudi” campaign

Saudi Arabia’s dubious human rights record has often led to criticism of the House of Saud. A renewed campaign has now begun with thousands tweeting the challenging message ‘Sue me Saudi’. An unconfirmed newspaper report said the Saudi justice ministry threatened legal action after someone compared the human rights record in the kingdom with that of ISIS. This seems to have sparked off the campaign. A 35-year old poet, Ashraf Fay­adh, who is on death row in Saudi Arabia for apostasy, is the rallying point of the Twi­­tterati. A tweet about him from a prominent Saudi religious reform campaigner, comparing Saudi Arabia with ISIS, prompted several others to join in the campaign. Already, 151 people have been executed this year and 50 more are to be executed soon, say reports. The number of people being executed in the kingdom only strengthens the campaigners’ argument. Ironically, Saudi Arabia now holds the chair of the UN Human Rights Council.

Diplomatic Chatter

Foreign envoys are talking about...Indo-Pak Talks

The Modi-Sharif ‘pull-aside’ tete-a-tete in Paris has raised hopes on resumption of the stalled Indo-Pak dialogue. But New Delhi is grappling with finding the right face to push the ball forward. Normally, the choice should have fallen on the foreign minister. Initially, there were talks that Sushma Swaraj could represent India in the forthcoming dialogue on Afghanistan in Islamabad. But she is considered ‘too much’ of a hardliner on Pakistan. Sushma had joined the other hawks to scuttle the last NSA-level talks in Delhi. Officially, both sides still stick to their stated position. Pakistan says dialogue should be without preconditions. India insists that terrorism and Kashmir should be together. Add­it­ionally, it is averse to including the Hurriyat in the process—which is a must for Pakistan. Under the circumstances, India could be represented by a senior official and not Sushma for the Islamabad meet. The Union foreign minister will certainly be kept in reserve for a push-comes-to-shove situation to convince recalcitrant Pakistan of India’s point of view at the right juncture.

Compiled by Pranay Sharma and Sunit Arora



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