Reuters blog archive
from Russell Boyce:
I am not a gamer at all but while looking at the file this week was reminded of a facility on electronic gaming my son showed me that allows you to see a different view point of the action. You can have wide, close and closer still. Two pictures of police beating protesters with batons have been shot as close as you can possibly get to the action but for sure this is no game. Philippines based Romeo (Bobby) Ranoco picture is actually so close that it has been shot over the shoulder of the soldier, who, judging by the blood on the head of the unarmed protester, seems to have scored at least one direct hit . In India and shot just slightly wider is Jayanta Dey's picture. The fact that it is shot slightly wider makes sure we are aware that it is actually three soldiers beating a protester and not one. The line of composition created by the baton and the flexed arm creating a perfect compositional triangle - Although I am not sure the protester would actually care about that.
An anti-riot policeman hits a protester with a baton at a rally against what protesters claim to be U.S. intervention outside the U.S. embassy in Manila July 4, 2011. Filipino and U.S. troops are holding exercises in the Sulu Sea off the western Philippine province of Palawan, which lies near the disputed Spratly Islands. Conflicting territorial claims by several countries over the Spratlys and Paracels are raising tensions in Asia. Besides the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei are claiming the islands as theirs. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
A policeman wields a baton against an activist of India's Congress party during a protest in Agartala, located in northeastern Indian state of Tripura July 10. 2011. Police used batons to disperse activists on Sunday protesting against the state's alleged discriminatory policies towards reservation of seats in local medical colleges, local media reported. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey
Continuing on the theme of public disobedience and violent confrontation with authority thousands of people massed on the Streets of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to demonstrate for electrial reform. Malaysia chief photographer Bazuki Muhammad, his colleague Samsul Said and Thailand based chief Photographer Damir Sagolj were on the streeets all day as police fired repeated rounds of tear gas and detained over 1,400 people. Both their pictures make me feeling like gagging with the amount of tear gas that is in the air. An unexpected piece of drama to unfold from the demonstration was the fact that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was slightly injured in the clashes and that Bazuki managed to get access as Anwar's daughter administered some tender care. Lastly with this week's Asian civil disobedience I have to include Nepal based Navesh Chitraker's picture of a Tibetan woman striding purposely towards a line of riot police as she tries to enter a school. The tension in the picture created by the shape of the stride and the tyre mark lines in the mud all pointing to the open gate. but you already know she is just not going to get past the line of soldiers.
from Afghan Journal:
Under blazing June sunshine in the Hindu Kush mountains, U.S., Russian and Afghan officials gathered by the entrance of the Salang tunnel, arguably the most important stretch of highway in Afghanistan, linking the country’s south with its north.
They had come to celebrate emergency repair works carried out by the U.S. government on the 2.6 km (1.6 miles) of concrete passageway that the Soviets built in 1962. Constantly congested and leaking, the tunnel is on the brink of collapse.
from Ian Bremmer:
By Ian Bremmer
The views expressed are his own.
When President Barack Obama announced in late 2009 that he would send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, few were as pleased as Defense Secretary Robert Gates. A holdover from the George W. Bush administration, Gates had championed the 2007 surge of troops into Iraq, a move that helped turn both the tide in that country and public opinion in the U.S. on its future. Gates and the generals hoped for similar success against the Taliban.
But how do you measure success in a place like Afghanistan? Soldiers, no matter how many, can’t build democratic, financial and industrial institutions overnight. At best, they can help make Afghans safer and life much harder for those who would launch attacks beyond the country’s borders. By that measure, the record of both surges is mixed, if generally positive. But post-surge, one thing is certain: Obama allowed Gates to prosecute the war on his terms, but new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will be asked to implement a plan that has less to do with Kandahar than with Capitol Hill.
from Afghan Journal:
Launching an air strike in another nation would normally be considered an act of aggression. But advocates of America's rapidly expanding unmanned drone programme don't see it that way.
They are arguing, as Tom Ricks writes on his blog The Best Defense over at Foreign Policy, that the campaign to kill militants with missile strikes from these unmanned aircraft, is more like police action in a tough neighbourhood than a military conflict.
from Russell Boyce:
Last week a series of unconnected bomb attacks across Asia left dozens dead and many more injured. Thirty-five people were killed in a suicide bombing next to a hospital in Afghanistan's Logar province south of Kabul, at least four police officers were wounded in blast in eastern Pakistan, and suspected Taliban militants stormed a police station in a town in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least five policemen. Four explosions rocked Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw. In Thailand a triple bombing by suspected insurgents kills at least two people and wounded nine others in Thailand's deep south.
A victim of a suicide bomb attack yells as medics apply burn cream to his torso after he was brought to the Lady Reading hospital for treatment in Peshawar June 20, 2011. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a market area on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least two people and wounded three, police and hospital officials said. This image has been rotated 180 degrees. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz
from India Insight:
By Annie Banerji
As India and Pakistan begin diplomatic talks between the two countries' foreign secretaries, Pew Research Centre published a survey this week that shows Pakistanis are strongly critical of India and the United States as well.
Even though there has been a slew of attacks by the Taliban on Pakistani targets since Osama bin Laden's killing in May, the Pew Research publication illustrates that three in four Pakistanis find India a greater threat than extremist groups.
from Expert Zone:
(The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not represent those of Reuters)
U.S. military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan had reportedly requested a slower pace of withdrawal to afford them the opportunity to consolidate recent gains against Taliban insurgents. President Obama has denied his military commanders flexibility to determine the pace and scope of withdrawal based on conditions on the ground, and instead appears to have based his decision largely around the U.S. domestic political calendar.
from Tales from the Trail:
When President Barack Obama announced the 30,000 U.S. troop surge for Afghanistan in December 2009, he said: "It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan."
Obama, president for less than a year, said those words at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was still trying to prove that he had what it took to be commander-in-chief.
from Tales from the Trail:
The longest day of the year probably seemed even longer for some.
Jon Huntsman started the day in New Jersey to formally throw his hat into the ring against the picturesque backdrop of the Statue of Liberty. Here's the thing about backdrops and TV... Huntsman made it into every shot, but not Lady Liberty. And then he was off to New Hampshire for a rally.
At the Capitol, it was scheduled as a two-hour meeting, but the issues seem never-ending as Vice President Joe Biden and lawmakers negotiate on the deficit and debt limit. Some speculation swirling that perhaps a short-term increase in the debt limit may be an option if agreement is out of reach.
Tajikistan has taken the first step toward banning children and adolescents from worshipping in mosques and churches, drawing criticism from Muslim leaders who oppose the Central Asian state's crackdown on religious freedom. The lower house of parliament in the impoverished ex-Soviet republic this week passed a "parental responsibility" bill that would make it illegal to allow children to be part of a religious institution not officially sanctioned by the state.