• SMRUTI S. PATTANAIK,

    After 25 years, for the first time, election was held to the demerged Northern Provincial Council (NPC) on September 21. Though the victory of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) with a thumping two-third majority was predicted, some thought the development route to ethnic reconciliation as relentlessly articulated and pursued by the Rajapakse government, would give it some electoral benefits. It managed to win only 7 seats (18.38 per cent of the votes) in the 38-member council.

    • RAHUL MUKAND,

    Nairobi, the capital of African nation Kenya has witnessed one of the bloodiest terrorist events of recent times. Starting from September 21, the attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi which continued till September 24 resulted in more than 60 deaths and scores of people have been injured. Somali Jihadi terrorist group Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliated and a splinter of the Islamic Courts Union, (ICU) claimed responsibility for this four day long mindless mayhem.

     

    • AJEY LELE & GUNJAN SINGH,

    Syrian crisis has achieved the unachievable. It has compelled a communist country to talk peace and democratic/capitalist countries to talk war. Fortunately, it appears that the invasion of Syria by the US forces has been stopped, at least, temporarily. An agreement on chemical weapons stockpiled in Syria has been reached following the talks held in Geneva between the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey V. Lavrov, and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

    • South Asia Conflict Monitor,

    As the September 07 presidential elections are getting closer in Maldives, three out of four presidential candidates and their political parties have been trying to woo the security agencies and indulge in religion based campaigning.

    • AVILASH ROUL,

    The strategically significant Central Asian region, which feeds by two historically important river systems- Amu Darya and Syr Darya with credible hydrocarbon and oil resources, is quite often attracts theories of 'resource conflict', 'water war' and 'great game'. However, cooperative management on strategic rivers to cater to the needs of riparian countries remains an unresolved issue.  Presently, the UN is organising a two days (August 20-21) High-Level International Conference on Water Cooperation (HLICW) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

    • AJEY LELE,

    On July 26, 2013 India’s dedicated meteorological satellite INSAT-3D was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA-214 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana. This satellite has been designed and developed by India Space Research Organization (ISRO). The process of orbit raising maneuvers is under progress to place it in the 36,000 km high Geostationary Orbit.

    • DEBA R. MOHANTY,

    On 16 July, 2013 the UPA government decided in principle to open up as many as 13 sectors for foreign direct investment - ranging from 49 percent to 100 percent - with different caveats. Some needed approval through automatic routes, some approval through Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and others with distinct riders.

    • VIJAY SAKHUJA,

    There is good news from the Arctic for the shipping industry.  According to data released by the Northern Sea Route Administration, the nodal agency of the Russian Federal Government which manages the Northern Sea Route (NSR), 330 applications from ships have been received since April 2013 informing the agency of their plans to transit through the NSR this summer. Of these, 213 applications were approved and 51 rejected. The reasons for rejection of applications and the fate of the balance 66 applications have not been made public.

    • DR. R.BHANU KRISHNA KIRAN,

    Local police are the best personnel who can prevent the terror attacks by deactivating the sleeper cells and terror groups if they go after the basic principles of policing including patrolling, information gathering, and surveillance of suspects of the area concerned.

    • PARVEEN BHARDWAJ,

    The genesis of 'Directed Energy Weapon' (DEWs) came up during cold war when Karl Bendetson and the High Frontier panel of private citizens advised President Ronald Reagan for a crash program to develop missile defenses. It was not just to defend against Soviet nuclear weapons but also because of strong indications that the Soviets were going to deploy 'powerful directed energy weapons' in space to gain control of space by using weapons like lasers, jammers etc. Towards the end of Cold War, the US focused on ballistic missile defence and spending on DEWs.